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Bible Commentaries

Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

1 Peter 1

Verse 1

1. We must remember that the Christian Church originally consisted of Jews only, gradually absorbing the Gentile element, which continued to increase till it not only predominated over the Jewish, but receiving a grand impetus after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the apostles into all nations, so that within a few centuries the Judaic element was so absorbed in the Gentile as forever to disappear, thus radically revolutionizing the Church and superinducing a complete transformation out of Judaism into cosmopolitanism.

Verse 2



2. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit.” In regeneration, we receive the nomination as candidates for heaven. As it here says, in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit we are elected into the heavenly inheritance. The Calvinistic churches, which are founded on the doctrine of election, ought to be red-hot sanctificationists because their election only becomes valid in the sanctified experience, wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit. If they are not sanctified, their election inevitably turns out Satanic and sends them to hell instead of to heaven. Hence this Scripture settles the conclusion that the whole system of the Calvinistic theology hinges on the sanctification of the Holy Ghost, or it inevitably capsizes, dumping them into hell; therefore all the Calvinistic churches would consistently make a life and death fight on the great and glorious experience of entire sanctification, wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit. While we are nominated in conversion and elected in sanctification, we are crowned in glorification. If Mr. McKinley, though now elected President of the United States, should

die before March 4th, he will never be inaugurated nor encumber the Presidential chair. Though sanctified people are already elected to the glories of heaven, they are still on probation, liable to fall, forfeit their election, die spiritually and lose their own souls. God help us to make our calling and election sure. “Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Our faithful obedience and co-operation with God in this world and in the heavenly worlds through all eternity, constitute the ad ultimatum for which we are called into existence. Entire sanctification is absolutely necessary to eliminate all antagonism and render us perfectly free and obedient as angels, not only through life, but the flight of eternal ages. Some churches preach salvation by obedience. They ought to be uncompromising sanctificationists, because perfect and satisfactory obedience is utterly impossible till sanctification has removed all depravity, and thus swept away all the antagonisms to that complete and delightful obedience which alone can satisfy our Heavenly Father. This lost world can only be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Though that blood has been shed, it must come in contact with human souls in order to save them. God’s true people are all faithful sprinklers of the blood on the ruined millions of this fallen world. The Word is the great medium through which the blood is sprinkled on the people who hear it. The Gospel in sermon, exhortation, appeal, prayer, testimony and song, sprinkles the cleansing blood of Jesus on all receptive and appreciative hearers. This verse reveals the fact that the sanctification wrought by the Holy Spirit is the condition of our election, acceptable obedience and true efficiency in the sprinkling of the blood, by which the world is to be saved.



“Grace and peace unto you be multiplied.” The Bible contains but one grand primal truth, i. e., sin and its remedy. This great compound truth is elucidated by imagery infinitesimal, deduced from every conceivable ramification of the material world, and especially domestic life. Here we have mathematics tied in to elucidate the wonderful plan of salvation. Regeneration is a wonderful addition, bringing life into the dead soul and

adding the kingdom of God to a bankrupt spirit. Sanctification is subtraction taking the hereditary sin element out of the heart, leaving it in Edenic purity. Really there are only two fundamental rules in arithmetic, i. e. addition and subtraction, multiplication being a rapid form of addition and division an expeditious method of subtraction. Sin goes out of the heart to make room for grace. Then multiplication follows in the incoming floods of the Holy Ghost filling and inundating the entire spiritual being with unutterable floods of rhapsody and heavenly fruition, so we ere long find ourselves floating in an ocean without bottom or bank. Then division follows as a normal fruitage of multiplication. With thrilling enthusiasm we delight to impart the heavenly benefaction to all we meet, thus dividing indefinitely and unstintedly. Meanwhile the Omnipotent Giver incessantly supplies us faster than we can possibly dispense. A penniless orphan boy in France, feeling the innate predilection to seek happiness, observing the rich moving in pomp and pageantry, soliloquizes, “I will get rich, and then I know I will be happy.” He works hard, becomes a business expert, a shrewd speculator, runs day and night, eventually gets vast money-making enterprises on foot, and as the years roll on, accumulates a princely fortune. In his enthusiasm he neglects matrimony and finds himself a bachelor of sixty years, prematurely old, worn out with toil and racked with rheumatism because of exposure. He is now a millionaire, his finances dispersed in merchandise, real estate, railroads and bank stocks. Again he soliloquizes, “Is life destined to be a failure? I thought when I accumulated all the wealth heart can wish, I would certainly be a happy man; but, alas! the happiness of my boyhood when I toiled all day for my victuals and clothes, and slept soundly on a rick of straw at night, has fled and left me a miserable old man, tortured with rheumatic pains and burdened with innumerable cares and responsibilities. I will make one more effort; selling out all my vast estates for gold, I will put it in a bag and keep it hid in my house, then I certainly can take my rest and enjoy the world and be happy, for the gold will bring me everything heart can wish.” He proceeds at once, turns all of his estates into glittering gold, brings it home, sits down in his easy chair, perfectly free from every care and says, “Now I will be happy.” Oh, how he has mistaken! He thinks every man he sees is a robber, coming to kill him and take his gold. Sleep takes its flight. In the dismal dreams of exhausted nature, he sees daggers gleaming in the moonlight, and is affrighted by the reports of fire-arms. Again he

soliloquizes, “Alas for me! Would that I had never been born! Life is no longer bearable. There is nothing left but suicide.” He goes down to the beautiful river Seine to plunge beneath the rolling billow and put an end to a life intolerably wretched. Standing on the bank contemplating the fatal leap, putting his hand in his pocket, he lights on a few coins. Now he soliloquizes, “It would not be right to plunge in with this money and waste it, But what shall he do with it? For the first time in his life he thinks about giving something to the poor. Espying a squalid hovel in a rocky ravine, he goes to the door and overhears a voice within, “please God, do send on the good man I saw last night in my dream. Come and give me some money to buy bread for my starving children, for here my husband lies dying on this bed, and my children are starving. Oh, send on the good man.” Responsive to his rap, the door swings open. Meanwhile he holds out the money to the woman, who praises God for the answer to her prayer, certifying that he is the very man she saw in her dream. The little children kiss the hand that ministers to their wants, while the sick man calls the benefactor to his bed to receive his dying blessing. Down on their knees the woman and children fall to pray God’s blessing on their benefactor. The sick man joins them at the throne of grace. The old iron heart of the miser begins to heave and bound like a volcano with the first spiritual emotions he ever felt in all his life. There and then he is powerfully converted to God, forgets all about suicide, hastens to his bag of gold, gets an ample supply to relieve the pauper, mounts the thoroughfares, goes on missions of mercy to the ends of the earth, preaching Jesus and relieving all in distress. Wherever poverty frowns and misery lingers, into lonely prisons and dark hovels, there he goes, carrying the sunshine of both worlds, till he gives away the vast fortune he had accumulated. Then the angels come for him and take him to heaven. We narrate this incident to illustrate the wonders of spiritual multiplication and division. The accumulation of this fortune was the necessary antecedent to its disbursement among the suffering poor. In spiritual mathematics we first receive the addition of a new heart, then the sanctification of a clean heart, which is followed by multiplication in the wonderful incoming floods of the Holy Ghost. This is the transcendent qualification for a life truly efficient in soul saving. Well did Jesus say, “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” There is not a literary school in America that would tolerate a

teacher incompetent to lead the pupils beyond addition. Yet the great majority of the churches (the schools of Christ) are taught by preachers who have never even reached subtraction, to say nothing of multiplication and division. No wonder their members starve to death, because division which can only follow multiplication, is the dispensation of soul food. Good Lord, how long shall this spiritual famine prevail in the churches?

Verses 3-12



3. .. “Having begotten us into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Remember once for all, throughout the New Testament “begotten” and “born” are precisely synonymous, both being translations of gennaoo. From this fact the logical sequence follows that the natural analogy in this case does not obtain in the spiritual kingdom, but the very moment the Holy Ghost begets a soul, that soul is born of God. This undeniable fact, revealed in the inspired Greek, sweeps from the field some very foolish theology which I have heard proclaimed from the pulpit, i. e., “begotten by the Word and born of the water.” “The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” was a sunburst, reviving and gloriously vitalizing the waning hope of Israel, verifying all the Messianic prophecies, which had held the nations spellbound four thousand weary years, and flooding the world with the “living hope” of universal salvation.

4. “Having been reserved in the heavens for you.” Ouranois, “heavens,” is here, as uniformly in the New Testament, in the plural number, corroborating the astronomical revelation of innumerable worlds, constituting the celestial universe, the enormous number of one billion and one hundred and seventy millions of worlds already reached by the telescope, which, we have ample reasons to believe, constitute but a fraction of God’s boundless dominions. How glorious it will be in coming eternity to wing our flight from world to world, exploring the illimitable glories of Omnipotence.

5. .. “Unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last dispensation.” This is final salvation consummated in the transfiguration of the body when our Lord descends to “steal” away his Bride. It constituted the climax of Christian hope in the Apostolic age, waning with the apostasy of the Church and finally, with the other great spiritual truths, sinking into total eclipse. God used Luther and his compeers to restore the long lost experience of justification by faith independently of priestly manipulation; Wesley and his comrades to restore the glorious experience of entire sanctification, instantaneously received by faith. It is the glory of the present holiness movement to restore divine healing, woman’s ministry, the Lord’s coming, and the transfiguration of the Bride. Salvation in this final, complete and triumphant sense was the constant and flowing inspiration of the Apostolical saints. It is much to be regretted that this most potent of all incentives to a holy experience in life was ever forfeited by the Church. The restoration of the Apostolic hope of the glorious privileges of the transfigured bridehood is becoming the most transcendent stimulant to entire sanctification, holy living and heroic achievement in the conquest of the world for Christ.

6. Here we have indirect allusion to the bloody persecutions everywhere developing which very soon after this writing nailed Peter to the cross, decapitated Paul and opened the bloody Coliseum to fatten the lions on the saints of God.

7. Here God tells us that the true heroic faith which will not flicker amid persecutions is more valuable than gold. If the people only believed it, what a wonderful revolution would supervene “in the revelation of Jesus Christ.” This means the revilement of the glorified personal Christ, who now encumbers the Mediatorial throne, back to this world, where He wilt again be visible to human eyes, and His voice again audible on the earth. We now live amid a grand culmination of prophecies assuring us that the time is at hand when our glorious Lord shall again appear. What an inspiration to us all to be under the blood robed and ready and on the constant outlook.

8. .. “Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” God’s salvation is the same in all ages. Here we see how the saints in the Apostolic age were literally transported with delight in contemplation of the Lord’s glorious descension to this world, which is a confirmatory proof that they were fully sanctified and filled with the Spirit as none others will be competent to meet Him with a shout, thus vividly illustrating the true Bible standard of Christianity in all ages, i. e., emptied of sin and filled with the Holy Ghost.

9. “Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” How wonderfully simple is Apostolic preaching. Here you see that all salvation is by faith. If you are not fully, completely and triumphantly saved with the clear attestation of the Holy Spirit, rest assured faith is still deficient. The Holy Spirit is with you to give you all you need, forever ejecting all doubt, enabling you to believe with a perfect faith, and thus appropriate entire sanctification.

10. The wonderful Pentecostal experience of the complete soul victory in the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, constituting the normal standard and the crowning glory of the Gospel dispensation, moved in gorgeous panoramic visions before the inspired gaze of the old prophets, thrilling them with enthusiasm and inundating them with utter bewilderment.

11. “Searching into what, or what kind of a dispensation the Spirit of Christ, who was in them, witnessing the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories, did reveal.” John Wesley says this is the glory of holiness, which was destined to supervene after the suffering of Christ, the wonderful plan of salvation having been thoroughly perfected forever, verifying and satisfying the violated law, lifting forever the dark veil of condemnation from a sinking world, and irradiating all the dismal hell dens of earth with the transcendent possibility of an uttermost salvation, and the population of heaven with the teeming millions of a sin debauched earth. No wonder these prophetic visions astounded and thrilled the prophets of a moonlit dispensation.

12. .. “Which are now proclaimed unto you by those who preach the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost, who has been sent down from heaven.” The personal Holy Ghost, the predicted successor of the ascended Christ, came down on the day of Pentecost and filled the disciples, thus inaugurating the full orbed Gospel dispensation. The antediluvian world had skylight, the patriarchal age starlight, and the Mosaic Church moonlight. Day dawned with John the Baptist, the sun rose when Jesus was born, and the glorious noonday culminated at Pentecost, never to wane, but to brighten into the perennial glory of God’s millennial day. It was not the Divine plan that the Church should ever be dragged back into the moonshine dispensation by unsanctified Gospel preachers. Hence He positively forbade His own apostles to go preaching till after the reception of the Pentecostal baptism. Peter and all the disciples had received the personal in-dwelling Holy Ghost sanctifying them to preach the everlasting Gospel of full salvation to all nations. Oh, the blessedness of those who “preach the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,” and transcendent felicity of those who hear! “Into which things the angels desire, bending over to look.” Here Peter has a vision, including earth and heaven, in which he sees the blood-washed and fire-baptized sons and daughters of Zion standing amid the slums and jungles of sin and misery “preaching the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” Meanwhile he sees the angels in heaven strolling around over the golden pavements, bending over the celestial battlements with seraphic eyes looking down upon the scene enraptured with the sight of God’s humble children filled with the Holy Ghost, preaching the everlasting Gospel to a dying world.

Verse 13



13. “Therefore having girded up the loins of your mind, being perfectly sober, hope unto the grace which is to be conferred upon you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Man is a trinity similitudinous to God. He has body, mind and spirit. The great bulk of theologians, since the Constantinian apostasy, have been dichotomists, i. e., dualists treating man as consisting of two natures instead of three, confounding mind and spirit. As the result of this heresy, mentalities are everywhere preached as a substitute for spiritualities. John Wesley was a staunch trichotomist, in harmony with Paul, Peter and other inspired writers. He fought the dichotomists all his life, little anticipating that within one hundred years the great majority of his Gospel sons would preach dichotomy. In ordinary parlance, soul, heart and spirit are synonymous, meaning the man himself in contradistinction to the mind and body, his servitors. When God said to Adam, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” He meant just what He said. He did not tell him his mind should die (in which case he would become idiotic), nor that his body should die (in which case he would become a corpse). Adam the immortal spirit did die, i. e., forfeit the life of God, and so remains till that life is restored in regeneration. Hence you see that total depravity (which means entirely deprived of spiritual life) only appertains to the spirit of Adam and not to his mind nor his body. Consequently great systems of religion prevail in the earth, consisting of materiality and mentality, utterly destitute of spirituality and equally devoid of salvation, for when you leave out the human spirit you eliminate the man, retrogressing toward brutality. The human spirit is constituted of the conscience, the will and the affections. The conscience was the only survivor of the fall, the voice of God still lingering in the soul of the vilest reprobate, true and faithful, taking God’s side against the sinner. The will, the king of the man, is on the devil’s side till turned over to God in conversion, after which it ever remains true to God, unless unfortunately turned back to the devil in apostasy. After conversion, hereditary evil still survives in the deep regions of the affections, until utterly extirpated in the glorious subsequent work of entire sanctification. The mind consists of the intellect, the judgment, the memory and the sensibilities. The popular gospel is mainly mentality, which is simply no gospel at all. Popular religion consists of morality, philanthropy, mentality and churchianity, all of which are utterly destitute of salvation, leaving the poor devotee to drop into hell. The true religion, while including all these things, is pure spirituality, begun, perpetuated and perfected in the heart by the Holy Ghost, bringing in the new life in regeneration, eliminating carnality in sanctification, then filling and flooding the soul. “Perfectly sober.” In this valuable passage, unfortunately the adverb “perfectly” is omitted in the English. Sin is the only thing that ever made the human soul drunk. When your soul receives entire sanctification, expurgating all original sin, then it is made “perfectly sober.” “Hope unto the grace which is to be conferred on you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In this verse we are commanded first to “gird up the loins of our minds” i. e., to use all the sense that God has given us to the best possible advantage. Then we are to reach perfect spiritual sobriety, which is none other than complete sanctification. Now, we have reached the attitude of preparation and expectancy of our Lord’s coming in His glorious kingdom. Then follows the positive commandment, “Hope unto the grace which is contained in the revelation of Jesus Christ.” What is that grace which is to be conferred on the true saints when our Lord is revealed in His glory? It is none other than our glorified transfiguration. The New Testament repeatedly certifies that the Gentile age in which we live is the last predecessor of the glorious millennial kingdom, while the prophecies certainly settle the conclusion that we are living in the time of the end when our Lord’s coming is very nigh. Pursuant to the prophecies we are on the constant outlook for the rapture in which the glorified Jesus will transfigure the members of His bridehood, taking them up while the great tribulation sweeps over all nations. As none but the wholly sanctified will constitute the bridehood, the greatest conceivable incentives constantly inspire the true Christian to keep under the blood, robed and ready for the transcendent grace of this glorious transfiguration when the Lord shall ride down on the cloud.

Verses 14-21



14. “As children of obedience.” This phrase is a Hebraism, and means the highest order of obedience to God. “Not being fashioned after your former lusts in ignorance.” This recognizes the complete and radical revolution of the entire practical life, which can only result from a total internal transformation of spirit and mind.

15. “But according to the Holy One, who calleth you, be ye also holy in all your deportment.” Anastrophee ” (conversation) is a very strong word, meaning not only the conversation but the entire practical life, deportment and even the moral and spiritual character. Hence this commandment is a hundred per cent. stronger in the Greek than in the English.

16. “Therefore it has been written, Ye shall be holy because I am holy.” The Greek here has the imperative “shall,” identifying it with the Ten Commandments, and thus giving it all the force of the Decalogue. No created intelligent man or angel can ever go back on God’s “shall.” Hence you see that holiness is the one indispensable, inevasible sine qua non of the heavenly administration, which the combined ingenuity of theology, popery, prelacy and priestcraft can never contravene.

17. This verse certifies the utter impartiality of that infallible Judge who will accept nothing but spiritual purity when we stand before the great white throne. Hence the combined incentives of earth, heaven, hell, life, death, judgment and eternity all conspire to flood the heart, soul, mind and body with an irrepressible and indefatigable enthusiasm to utilize each fleeting moment of this fugitive probation, focalizing all the powers of triune humanity, co-operated by the omnipotent grace of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and inspired by the heroic example of two hundred millions of sainted martyrs to secure and appropriate entire holiness of heart and life at every conceivable cost, fearlessly of men and devils.

18, 19. “Knowing that you have not been redeemed from your depraved character transmitted to you from your fathers, by corruptible things, silver or gold, but by the precious blood of Christ as a lamb, blameless and spotless.” In 1611, when the English Bible was translated, conversation, from the Latin conversatio, meant not only our words, but moral character, deportment and living. In the last two hundred years that word has been spoliated of about nine-tenths of its original meaning. Consequently it is no longer an adequate translation of the original. This is really an unanswerable revelation of total hereditary depravity, transmitted from Satan, through Adam the first, to every fallen son and daughter. The value of this and other parallel Scriptures can not be overestimated as impassable break-waters against the fearful tide of slipshod theology, superficial professions and sham religions, which this day flood Christendom. The great Bible doctrines of hereditary depravity and entire sanctification, like Siamese twins, live or die together. All we mean by total depravity is the uniform Bible recognition of the sinner as spiritually dead. A dead man is entirely deprived of life. Hence total depravity does not mean debauchery, sensuality or criminality, but simply destitution of spiritual life. The great salient fact of redemption focalizes in total depravity. Whenever you ignore the utter ruin of humanity by the fall and the perfect redemption of Christ, you are adrift, compassless and chartless, on the boundless ocean of skepticism.

20. “Known truly before the foundation of the world.” This statement settles forever the absolute and unconditional foreknowledge of God. He foresaw the fall of humanity and provided the remedy before the creation. This fact can not be construed to antagonize most perfect human freedom, as knowledge is not influence, and really determines nothing. “But being made manifest at the last of the times.” God in His inscrutable wisdom is preparing the world for the glorious coming kingdom by a series of consecutive ages, i. e., the Edenic, the antediluvian, the patriarchal, the Judaic and the Gentile, which began with the destruction of Jerusalem and deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 587, and repeatedly by Christ and the Apostles certified to be the last dispensation. As all the lights of prophecy converge to reveal the momentous fact that we are rapidly approaching the end of this age, when the Lord will ride down on the throne of His glory, the grandest conceivable conspiracy of incentives inspire us to a holy experience and life.

21. God’s resurrection and glorification of Christ forever swept from the field all possible cavil and controversy as to His Christhood, flooring infidelity with-out the possibility of recuperation, and rendering it a laughing stock for men, angels and devils. “So your faith and hope are toward God.” The transcendent victory of Christ over death, hell, the grave, mortality, carnality and Satan, disencumbers faith of every doubt and sweeps every cloud from hope’s azure sky. With the unsanctified, faith and hope are largely selfward, worldward, moneyward and churchward. The baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire exterminates all these carnal elements, so that faith and hope bound away on untiring wing, enjoying a glorious and perpetual balloon ride with God alone.

Verses 22-25



22, 23. “Having purified your souls in obedience the truth unto brotherly love free from hypocrisy, love one another with divine love fervently out of the heart, having been born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the Word of God, who liveth and abideth.” Peter is a powerful exponent of the great double salvation which inundates the Bible from the alpha of Genesis to the omega of Revelation. In this isolated sentence, comprising two verses, he clearly, specifically, and unequivocally sets forth in their connection the two works of grace, i. e., regeneration and sanctification. The Word of God is here symbolized by the seed sown in the field, germinating and producing the abundant harvest. As none but God can make the seed sprout, so the Holy Spirit is the only Agent in regeneration. We preach the Word, which is the seed of the kingdom, and the Holy Spirit develops out of it divine life, thus raising the dead human soul into spiritual vitality. “Having purified your souls.” This is spoken of the regenerate who are now obedient to the truth revealed in God’s Word, and is a beautiful description of the modus operandi by which we are sanctified “through the truth,” pursuant to our Savior’s valedictory prayer, John 17:0. The Bible is a wonderful book, delectably beautiful in variety. In the plan of salvation, there is a perfect co-operation of the human and divine agency. In this passage the human is brought to the front and conspicuously emphasized. “Unto brotherly love free from hypocrisy.” Nothing but entire sanctification can fully and finally expurgate the heart from every tincture of hypocrisy, which is one of the most subtle emissaries of Satan, lurking clandestinely in the deep subterranean jungles of the fallen soul. “Love one another fervently out of the heart with divine love.” In the Greek Scriptures agapee, which never occurs in heathen literature, means divine love, i. e., the divine nature, for “God is love,” while philia always means “human love,” being the word used by the heathen Greek writers. Unfortunately, the English Scripture has obscured this great and valuable truth by translating agapee and philia simply by the same word, “love.” Myriads have been swept into the popular churches on a profession of love to God and the brethren, when it was nothing but human love, utterly destitute of salvation, as all wicked people have it, and even Dives in hell loved his brethren, so that he wanted to send them a missionary to save their souls. The divine agapee is never in a human heart till imparted by the Holy Ghost in regeneration. Romans 5:5.

24. In this verse we are exhorted, from the evanescence of the flower which blooms today and fades tomorrow, to remember the transiency of probationary opportunities, to be constantly on our watch towers looking out for the enemy, with our eye on Jesus, ready to go at His bidding and come at His beck, ever mindful that these fugitive days and years constitute our only opportunities to be regenerated into the kingdom of grace and sanctified for the realms of glory.

25. While this world with its emoluments and aggrandizements is fleeting as the falling leaf and fading flower, Peter reminds us that the Word of the Lord, the glorious Gospel, which it is our heaven-born privilege to proclaim to a dying world, will abide forever, judging us and all mankind when we stand before the flaming tribunal.

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Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".