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Bible Commentaries

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 2

Verse 1

1 Peter 2:1

Laying aside -- discard, "put away," stripped off.

New Testament writers often utilize lists of vices to denounce certain types of behavior and activities (e.g., Matthew 15:19; Romans 1:29-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21).

Malice -- ill will, evil disposition

Guile -- to catch with bait

Hypocrisies -- deceit, insincerities

Envies -- discontent, unhappiness, not what is forbidden.

Evil speakings -- slander, belittling remarks.

v.1 We are to love the brethren - 1 Peter 1:22.

Verse 2

1 Peter 2:2

Newborn babes -- Babies have a real desire for physical fool. Unnatural for them not to grow. [See Importance of the Word.] The new birth imagery introduced earlier is continued to show believers as they mature in Christ. Peter urges believers to desire and depend on Christ as a newborn needs and thirsts for milk.

Desire -- yearn

Sincere -- unadulterated

(Pure [adolon] is deliberately contrasted with “deceit” [dolon] in v. 1. God’s Word does not deceive; neither should God’s children.) - BKC

Milk of the Word -- It nourishes spiritual life, Acts 20:32, Hebrews 5:11-14.

Verse 3

1 Peter 2:3

if you have tasted -- which they did in conversion. (Peter continuing the "milk" analogy of 2:2.)

tasted that the Lord is kind -- Here Peter draws on Psalms 34:8 and its surrounding context to encourage Christians to set aside the immoral behavior of their former lives (see Psalms 34:13-14) and instead to place their hope in God (see Psalms 34:9-10). - FSB

Peter quotes this psalms again in 1 Peter 3:10-12.

Verse 4

1 Peter 2:4

Living stone -- Ref. to Jesus’ resurrection.

Disallowed -- Jesus was rejected after examination.

Precious ..honored, prized.

Verse 5

1 Peter 2:5

Lively stones -- cf. 1 Peter 1:3, lively hope.

The OT temple is the background for this metaphor, for the temple was the place of God’s presence and of proper worship. - NIVZSB

The living stones are not isolated, heaped in a pile, or scattered across a field; each stone takes its place in the design of the Father’s spiritual house. NIVZSB

Are built up -- already. cf. Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21-22.

Spiritual house -- i.e. a spiritual temple; and priests of that temple.

holy priesthood -- Each saint is a priest, and has his/her own avenue of approach to God, and his own sacrifice to offer. [See MSB for great list of a priest’s work/service.]

spiritual sacrifices -- not the animal sacrifices of the OT priesthood, but one’s own self as a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1-2. Hebrews 13:15-16; Romans 15:16, Ephesians 5:2; Revelation 8:3.

Verse 6

1 Peter 2:6

Vs 6 = Isaiah 28:16; (Romans 9:33) Vs. 7 = Psalms 118:22 (Matthew 21:42)

Chief corner stone -- laid with ceremony and governs the lines and angles of the wall.

Confounded -- put to shame, Isaiah 28:16.

Verse 7

1 Peter 2:7

Builders disallowed -- rejected, Mark 8:31. (A story told by all Jewish fathers to their children referring back to the time of Solomon’s building of the temple when all the stone quarry work was done outside the city and not a sound of hammer was heard in Jerusalem, with each individual stones engineered for a specific place in the temple, and then the stones moved to Mt Zion. An important stone was put aside, rolled down into the Kidron valley, rejected at the time, but later realized to be the important corner stone, and was searched for and recovered.)

Head of the corner -- Christ, the corner stone, and stone of stumbling, v.8 1 Peter 2:8.

Verse 8

1 Peter 2:8

Rock of offence -- a rock used in a trap. Romans 9:32-33, Isaiah 8:14-15.

Being disobedient -- The reason for their stumbling.

They were appointed -- Anyonewho takes a position of revellion and disobedience will stmble over the "word."

Verse 9

1 Peter 2:9

Ye -- Contrasted with the "disobedient" in v. 8.

Generation -- race/ family. The church is spoken of as a spiritual Israel.

Peculiar -- specially owned; acquired. Differing from the world in life.

That -- Purpose of Christians to proclaim to those without (in darkness) what has taken place within (the light).

Shew forth -- publish, proclaim.

Praises -- excellencies

Hath called you -- by the gospel 2 Thessalonians 2:14, the gospel is for all Mark 16:15-16.

Out of darkness -- Colossians 1:13.

Verse 10

1 Peter 2:10

Not a people -- Gentiles, cf. Hosea 2:23.

Are now -- Illustration as a beautiful rose among weeds, different from surroundings.

Verse 11

1 Peter 2:11

Abstain -- Philippians 3:20.

War -- "aggressive conflict". Present tense, thus a constant conflict.

Verse 12

1 Peter 2:12

V. 12, Christians charged with being enemies of the state.

Christian conduct refutes the slander Christians receive.

Behold -- examine carefully.

Glorify God -- your life which they see, glorifies God. It may be that also when see your life, their conversion, glorifies God.

Verse 13

1 Peter 2:13

2:13–3:7 This section revolves around the key phrase respect (or submit to) all human authority, which Peter applies to several relationships: 1) Christians should accept the authority of those in government (1 Peter 2:13-17), 2) Christian slaves should accept the authority of their masters (1 Peter 2:18-25), and 3) Christian wives should accept the authority of their husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6). Peter seems to be following an early Christian usage of the traditional household code, in which a series of instructions was given for different members of the household (cp. Eph 5:21–6:9; Col 3:18–4:1; 1 Tim 5:1–6:2; Titus 2:1–10). - NLTSB

the king -- was the Roman emperor. Christians were suffering in the hands of the state and would soon suffer more intensely under Nero.

Lord’s -- He is honored when Christians obey government and don’t have a reputation as trouble-makers.

Verse 14

to governors Local officials who rule on behalf of the Roman emperor and represent Roman imperial power in the region. - FSB

To punish (Gk. ekdikēsis, “justice, punishment, retribution”) includes not just deterring evil but carrying out retribution against those who do evil (see note on Romans 13:4). - ESVSB

for the punishment of evildoers -- Government has the God-given authority to maintain order and to restrain and punish disorder. Capital punishment is one form of this mandate (cf. Romans 13:4; Acts 25:11). - Utley

Verse 15

1 Peter 2:15

silence (phimoun, lit., “muzzle” Mark 1:25; Mark 4:39) the ignorant talk of foolish men -- Each of the three Greek words rendered “ignorant talk of foolish men” begins with the letter alpha, as do the three Greek words in 1 Peter 1:4 rendered “never perish, spoil, or fade.” Apparently Peter enjoyed alliteration! - BKC

silence the ignorance of foolish people By believers doing good, even in the midst of persecution, they stun their persecutors into silence. - FSB

the ignorance -- This refers to someone who lacks spiritual discernment (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:34). - Utley

Verse 16

1 Peter 2:16

Freedom in Scripture is not a license to sin but expresses itself in devotion to what is good (cf. Galatians 5:13-14). - ESVSB

If under the pretence that they were asserting their Christian freedom, they were rude, over-bearing, insolent, regardless of the conventional courtesies of life, what was this but to make their liberty a cloke (the word is the same as that used in the LXX. of Exodus 26:14 for the “covering” of the Tabernacle) for baseness? - Utley

liberty as a cloak for vice -- Believers should enjoy their freedom in Christ, but ought not to put on a veil or mask of freedom to cover what really is wickedness. - MSB

as slaves of God -- As opposed to slaves (or servants) of sin (compare Romans 6:16-17, Romans 6:20; compare note on 2 Peter 2:19). - FSB

Verse 17

1 Peter 2:17

Honor. Highly esteem is the id

Christians are to respect (timēsate, “honor, value, esteem”; cf. timēn, “respect, honor,” in 3:7) … everyone - BKC

everyone -- All people deserve the same honor and respect as the emperor. -

This means to recognize the worth of all humans in God’s sight.

love the brotherhood -- It is the family characteristic of God. Believers are to love all humans for the sake of the gospel and love other Christians because they are part of the family of God. - Utley

fear God -- Respecting God is the hallmark of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 10:27; Proverbs 19:23; Ecclesiastes 8:12; Ecclesiastes 12:13).

We get the English word “phobia” from this Greek word. It is used in the sense of awe and respect. All believers’ actions must issue from their relationship with and respect for God! - Utley

Verse 18

1 Peter 2:18

servants -- The Greek word for slaves here is not douloi, the common term for slaves (cf. v. 16), but oiketai, which refers to household or domestic servants (cf. Luke 16:13; Romans 14:4). BKC

slaves -- Peter’s use of the Greek word oiketēs here for a specific kind of slave indicates that he has household slaves in mind, although his comments are applicable also to slaves serving in other capacities. Graeco-Roman literature did not often address slaves. The early Christian writings regard slaves as full members of the household unit; they too have rights and moral obligations to the members of their household (see Eph 5:21–6:9; Col 3:18–4:1). - FSB

The slave was legally bound and could not change his or her master, whereas the modern employee has the right to stop working for a cruel employer. NLTSB

Many slaves in the Roman empire held responsible positions and had a decent income, but most were harshly treated and all were deprived of legal status and rights. - NLTSB

Servants, be submissive -- One’s Christianity does not give the right to rebel against one’s superior in the social structure (see notes on 1 Corinthians 7:20-24; Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:22-25; Philem.; see also Exodus 21:26-27; Leviticus 25:39-43; Deuteronomy 23:15-16), no matter how unfair or harsh he may be. - MSB

harsh -- (those who are unjust) -- Passive resistance to injustice also reflects the character of Jesus, who endured the same treatment during His trial and crucifixion (Mark 14:65; Mark 15:17-20, Mark 15:29-32; Luke 23:34).

Harsh -- is from the Greek skolios (lit., “curved,” “bent,” or “not straight”). The medical term “scoliosis,” referring to curvature of the spine, comes from this word. - BKC

[See Utley at this point where he discusses the cultural aspect of biblical interpreation. ]

Verse 19

1 Peter 2:19

Peter’s instruction to slaves included two reasons why they should patiently endure personal injustice. First, this found favor with God, and second, it faithfully followed Jesus Christ’s example. - BKC

commendable before God. Favor with God is found when an employee, treated unjustly, accepts his poor treatment with faith in God’s sovereign care, rather than responding in anger, hostility, discontent, pride, or rebellion (cf. Matthew 5:11). - MSB

because of conscience -- The motivation for patiently bearing up under … unjust suffering is a believer’s conscious awareness of God’s presence. BKC

while suffering unjustly -- Like the persecuted Church at large, slaves must patiently endure (see note on Colossians 3:22; note on Colossians 4:1). God is aware of their suffering (compare Exodus 2:23-25). - FSB

Verse 20

1 Peter 2:20

beaten -- Peter has in mind sin leading to punishment according to criminal law (compare 1 Peter 4:15-16). - FSB

your faults -- No credit accrues for enduring punishment for doing wrong. It is respectful submission to undeserved suffering that finds favor with God because such behavior demonstrates His grace. BKC

Verse 21

1 Peter 2:21

2:21–25 While there is no explicit change of address here, the general character of these verses makes them applicable to all believers.

called -- Christians are called (eklēthēte; cf. 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 2:9) to follow Christ, to emulate His character and conduct, because He suffered for them. - BKC

suffered: Some manuscripts read died. -NLTSB

Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice in which he gave his life for sinners is unique, and yet those he has saved may follow Christ’s example when they suffer unjustly, even though their sufferings do not atone for sin. - ESVSB

example -- The Greek word used here, hypogrammos, occurs only here in the nt. The word technically refers to a pattern or model for copying in writing or drawing, but it came to be used figuratively to describe a model for behavior. - FSB

Verse 22

1 Peter 2:22

2:22–25 In this passage Peter draws extensively on the language and theology of the fourth Servant Song in Isaiah (Isa 52:13–53:12). The particular form of the Servant Song used by Peter may have already been circulating among the early church as a type of hymn. Isaiah 52:13–53:12 would have been helpful for Peter’s audience because it contains one of the most theologically rich messages about Jesus’ death and resurrection ...- FSB

2:22 This is a quote from Isaiah 53:9. He was the perfect example of patient endurance in unjust suffering because He was sinless, as the prophet said He would be. Cf. 1 Peter 1:19. - MSB

who did not commit sin -- Jesus’ innocence and sinlessness was a key belief in early Christianity (see John 19:4; Acts 3:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5).

- FSB

Verse 23

1 Peter 2:23

[See first note on v.22 regarding verses 22-25.]

while being reviled, He did not revile in return -- There is a series of three IMPERFECT ACTIVE INDICATIVES, which mean repeated action in past time. - Utley

But Jesus behaved like the meek lamb of Isaiah 53:7.

reviled -- To “revile” is to pile up abusive and vile language against someone. Though verbally abused, Christ never retaliated with vicious words and threats (1 Peter 3:9; cf. Matthew 26:57-65; Matthew 27:12-14; Luke 23:7-11). - MSB

while suffering, He uttered no threats -- He did speak, but in forgiveness to all those involved in His death (cf. Luke 23:34) - Utley

committed Himself . .“To commit” was “to hand over to someone to keep.” Christ was “handed over” to Pilate (John 19:11); Pilate “handed Him over” to the Jews (John 19:16); Christ “handed over” Himself to God, suffering in surprising silence, because of His perfect confidence in the sovereignty and righteousness of His Father (cf. Is. 53:7). - MSB

but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously -- This entrusting was the normal attitude of Jesus’ life. It is seen so powerfully in Luke 22:42 and Luke 23:46. - Utley

God, who observes that the righteous are suffering, will ultimately reward their endurance and punish those who are afflicting them ... - FBS

judges justly -- Likewise believers, knowing that God judges justly, are able to forgive others and to entrust all judgment and vengeance to God (cf. Romans 12:19). Every wrong deed in the universe will be either covered by the blood of Christ or repaid justly by God at the final judgment. - ESVSB

Verse 24

[See first note on 1 Peter 2:22 regarding vs. 22-25]

Peter employs Isaiah 53:3-4 and Isaiah 53:12 to identify Jesus’ death and resurrection as the fulfillment of the Suffering Servant’s vicarious sacrifice

bore our sins -- To bear sins was to be punished for them (cf. Numbers 14:33; Ezekiel 18:20). Christ bore the punishment and the penalty for believers, thus satisfying a holy God (3:18; see notes on 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13). This great doctrine of the substitutionary atonement is the heart of the gospel. - MSB

in His own body -- This is a powerful affirmation of the true humanity and physical death of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Colossians 1:22). - Utley

live for righteousness -- It is because of the Suffering Servant’s righteousness, even unto death, that Christians can be declared righteous before God.

Because of the atonement Christians should devote themselves to living in a holy manner (live to righteousness).

by whose stripes you were healed -- From Isaiah 53:5. Through the wounds of Christ at the cross, believers are healed spiritually from the deadly disease of sin. - MSB

on the tree -- [cross] -- The phrase “on the cross” may have a connection to Deuteronomy 21:23, where anyone who was impaled on a stake (i.e. tree) instead of being properly buried was cursed by God. By Jesus’ day the rabbis had interpreted this as including Roman crucifixion. Jesus was accused of blasphemy which, according to the Mosaic Law, demanded stoning. Why then did the Jewish leaders want Him crucified, which required Roman approval and ceremonial defilement for them before the Passover? Some have said they did this because the Jews did not have the authority under Roman law to put someone to death, but what about Stephen in Acts 7?

I think they wanted Jesus crucified to suggest that this messianic pretender was cursed by God! But this is exactly what happened. Jesus became the curse for us (cf. Galatians 3:13). The OT itself had become a curse (cf. Colossians 2:14). It states that the soul that sins must die (cf. 2 Kings 14:6; Ezekiel 18:4, Ezekiel 18:20). But all humans have sinned (cf. Romans 3:9-18, Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:22). Therefore, all deserve to die and were under its death penalty. Jesus the sinless Lamb of God bore the sin of the entire fallen world (cf. Romans 5:12-21) - Utley

Verse 25

[See first note on 1 Peter 2:22 re: vs. 22-25]

going astray -- Does this refer to (1) OT Jews (cf. Rom. 3:9–18, which is a series of OT quotes); (2) Gentile believers who were succumbing to persecution (i.e. possibly denying Jesus at trial) or (3) believers, Jews and Gentiles, who were losing the daily battle to the sin nature? - Utley

Here Peter draws on Isaiah 53:6 but updates the language to apply it to his own audience—indicating, ... that all people have turned away from God and are in need of the savior Jesus. - PSB

returned -- Means “to turn toward,” and refers to the repentant faith a person has at salvation. -MSB

returned -- "turned about" rather than "returned." BKC

Shepherd -- This title is used of God (cf. Psalms 23:1, Ezekiel 34:1 ff) and here of Jesus as in John 10:1-18 and Hebrews 13:20. It connotes tender, thoughtful, continuous care. This title may even reflect Peter’s discussion with Jesus in John 21 (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-3).

Shepherd and Overseer -- “Shepherd and Overseer” were the most appropriate descriptions of Christ for Peter to use in order to comfort Christians who were being persecuted and slandered (1 Peter 2:12). These two terms are also used for human spiritual leaders. “Shepherd” is the word for pastor, and “overseer” is the word for bishop (cf. Ephesians 4:11; Titus 1:7), both referring to the same persons who lead the church (cf. Acts 20:28). - MSB

“Shepherd” and “Overseer” stress Christ’s matchless guidance and management of those who commit themselves to His care (cf. Ezekiel 34:11-16) - BKC

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Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/1-peter-2.html. 2021.