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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

1 Peter 1

Verse 1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Ver. 1. To the strangers ] That is, to the provincial Jews. See Trapp on " Jam 1:1 " These strangers were (probably) those that came up to Jerusalem at Pentecost, and were converted by St Peter, Acts 2:7-11 ; Acts 2:41 , to whom therefore he here writes, as to newly born babes, 1 Peter 2:2 , and such as met with manifold afflictions for Christ’s sake, 1 Peter 3:14 , &c. He exhorts them therefore to steadfastness in the faith and constancy in trial. Christ’s young plants need watering.

Verse 2

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Ver. 2. Through sanctification unto obedience ] To the means as well as to the end, to sanctification as well as to salvation. Some there be (saith Mr Philpot in an epistle of his to the congregation) that for an extreme refuge in their evil doings, run to God’s election, saying, If I be elected I shall be saved, whatever I do. But such be great tempters of God, and abominable blasphemers of his holy election; these cast themselves down from the pinnacle of the temple in presumption, that God may preserve them by his angels through predestination. God’s election ought to be with a simple eye considered, to make us more warily walk according to his word, and not set cock in the hoop, and put all on God’s back, to do wickedly at large. Thus he.

Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied ] πληθυνθειη , or, enlarged to the utmost, filled up and accomplished. He prays for further measures, that they might be past the spoon and get to a well grown, fully grown age in Christ, Ephesians 4:13 , until they came to be fathers, gray headed, experienced Christians, such as the Psalmist speaketh of, Psalms 90:12-14 .

Verse 3

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Ver. 3. Blessed be the God ] A stately proem, and such as can hardly be matched again, unless it be that of St Paul to the Ephesians, Ephesians 1:3 .

Unto a lively hope ] Sure and solid, clearing the conscience, and cheering the spirit. Vivere spe vidi qui moriturus erat. If it were not for hope, the heart would break; as they do whose lives and hopes end together. True hope lives when the man dies. It hath for its motto, Dum expiro, spero. The righteous hath hope in his death, as St Stephen had; who

" Ibat ovans animis, et spe sua damna levabat, "

Went with good cheer to take his end. (Bembus.) And many of the holy martyrs went as willingly to die as ever they did to dine; they called it their wedding day. They knew it was but winking only, and they should be in heaven immediately; hence their invincible courage at the hour of death. The ungodly are not so; their hopes are dying hopes, they are no better than as the giving up of the ghost, Job 11:20 .

Verse 4

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

Ver. 4. Undefiled, and that fadeth not ] The two Greek words here used are also Latin; Amiantus is a precious stone (saith Dr Playfere out of Isidore), which though it be never so much soiled, yet it cannot be blemished. And Amaranthus is the name of a flower, which being a long time hung up in the house, yet still is fresh and green, as Clemens writeth (Paedagog. p. 8). To both these possibly the apostle might here allude: and it is as if he should say, The crown that you shall receive shall be studded with the stone Amiantus, which cannot be defiled; and it is garnished with the flower Amaranthus, which is fresh and green, &c.

Verse 5

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Ver. 5. Who are kept ] φρουρουμενοι , as with a guard, or as in a garrison, that is, well fenced with walls and works, and so is made impregnable.

By the power of God ] Much seen in the saints’ perseverance. "My Father is stronger than all; none therefore can take you out of my hands, since I and the Father are one,"John 10:29-30; John 10:29-30 .

Verse 6

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

Ver. 6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice ] Gr. αγαλλιασθε , ye dance for joy, ye dance a galliard, or as children do about a bonfire; ye cannot but express your inward joy in your countenance, voice, and gesture.

If need be, ye are in heaviness ] When our hearts grow a grain too light, God seeth it but needful to make us heavy through manifold temptations. When our water (as it were) looks but a little too high, our heavenly Father, a physician no less cunning than loving (saith Bayn), doth discern it, and quickly fits us, whom he most tendereth, with that which will reduce all to the healthful temper of a broken spirit.

Verse 7

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Ver. 7. That the trial of your faith ] If affliction (which is the trial of our faith) be so exceeding precious, what is faith then, and the promises whereon faith lays hold? There are those who by the trial of faith understand here a well tried faith, which is called "gold tried in the fire," Revelation 3:18 .

Verse 8

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Ver. 8. Whom having not seen ] They had not been, belike, at the feast of the Passover (at which time our Saviour suffered), but came up to the feast of Pentecost, and were converted,Acts 2:7-11; Acts 2:7-11 ; Acts 2:41 .

And full of glory ] Gr. δεδοξασμενη , glorified already; a piece of God’s kingdom and heaven’s happiness beforehand. Oh, the joy! the joy! the inexpressible joy that I find in my soul! said a dying saint.

Verse 9

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Ver. 9. The end of your faith ] The period and perfection, the reward and meed of it, in all fulness. See Psalms 19:12 ; Proverbs 22:4 . Some grapes of Canaan God gave them beforehand, to sustain them, not to satisfy them.

Verse 10

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

Ver. 10. The prophets have inquired ] This highly sets forth the weight and worth of it, since such men took such pains upon it. Base spirits are busied about light matters; as Domitian spent his time in catching flies, Artaxerxes in making knife hafts; not so Caleb, "who had another spirit, and followed God wholly," Numbers 14:24 . So did the ancient prophets, as Isaiah: while the merry Greeks were taken up at their Olympic games in the year 1590 from the Flood, the prophet Isaiah seeth that heavenly vision of Christ sitting on his throne, and heareth that thrice happy Trisagion, Isaiah 6:1-3 . (Buchol. Chron.) And in this disquisition and scrutiny, the prophets with singular desire and industry exercised themselves, as the two compound Greek words, εκζητειν, εξερευναν , used in the next verse, do import.

Verse 11

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Ver. 11. Searching what, &c. ] ερευνωντες , with greatest sagacity and industry, as hunters seek for game, and as men seek for gold in the very mines of the earth.

The sufferings of Christ, &c. ] Macarius was utterly out in saying that the prophets knew that Christ should be born for man’s redemption, but that they knew nothing of his death and sufferings. Isaiah writes of them more like an evangelist than a prophet, and is therefore called the "evangelical prophet."

Verse 12

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Ver. 12. Not unto themselves ] In regard of the accomplishment of those oracles that they uttered; and yet to themselves, in regard of their right and interest therein.

They did minister ] None must hold themselves too good to serve the saints.

The angels desire to look into ] To look wishly and intently, as the cherubims of old looked into the mercy seat, Exodus 25:18-19 . παρακυψαι , Prono capite et propenso cello accurate introspicere.

Verse 13

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Ver. 13. Wherefore gird up, &c. ] We are seldom comforted, but we have need to be exhorted. So apt are our hearts to security, and so apt is Satan to interrupt our joys with his base injections. How soon did Hezekiah fondly overshoot himself to the Babylonish ambassadors, after his sweet intercourse with God in holy duties! And how shamefully did Jonah forget himself and break out into a brawl with God, after his embassage faithfully discharged to the Ninevites, and the sweet comforts that came in to his soul thereupon!

Gird up the loins of your mind, &c. ] Gird yourselves and serve God, Luke 17:8 . A loose, discinct, and diffluent mind is unfit for God’s service. Girding implies, 1. Readiness; 2. Nimbleness, handiness, and handsomeness. The main strength of the body is in the loins. Therefore some say, the strong purposes and resolutions of the mind are here meant.

Hope to the end ] Gr. τελειως , hope perfectly or entirely; q.d. do it not by halves; let there not be any odd reckonings between God and you, but work out your salvation,Philippians 2:12; Philippians 2:12 . See Trapp on " Php 2:12 "

For the grace ] That is, for the glory.

That is to be brought unto you ] It must be brought unto us (such is our dulness), we will scarcely go seek it, hardly be persuaded to live happily, reign everlastingly.

Verse 14

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

Ver. 14. Not fashioning yourselves ] συσχηματιζομενοι . As a player is fashioned to the obscene speeches and carriages of him whom he is impersonateting.

In your ignorance ] Men may remain grossly ignorant amidst abundance of means, as these Jews did. "Who is blind but my servant? or deaf as my messenger?" &c., Isaiah 42:19-20 .

Verse 15

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Ver. 15. In all manner of conversation ] Our very civilities must savour of sanctity, and our common conversation relish of religion. St Paul’s civil conversation, πολιτευμα , was in heaven, Philippians 3:20 . Holiness must be written upon our bridles when we war; upon our cups when we drink,Zechariah 14:20-21; Zechariah 14:20-21 . It is said of a certain Scotch divine, that he did even eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life.

Verse 16

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Ver. 16. Be ye holy ] i.e. Separate from sin, and dedicated to God, in conformity to whom stands our happiness. See Trapp on " Mat 5:48 "

Verse 17

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Ver. 17. Of your sojourning ] παροικια inchoatns, commoratio. Having your commoration on earth, but your conversation in heaven. Fugiamus ad caelestem patriam, &c., could a heathen say.

In fear ] Those that fear, of all others, are most likely to hold out, Jeremiah 32:40 . It is a reverential, filial fear of God, as of a father, that is here required; causing us, 1. to have high and honourable conceptions of God in our hearts; "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and let him be your dread, and fear ye him." 2. Making all honourable mention of him with our mouths, whether we speak to him, or of him, Ecclesiastes 5:1 ; Deuteronomy 28:58 . Presume not in a sudden unmannerliness to blurt out the dreadful name of God; much less to blaspheme it, and bore it through with hideous oaths and imprecations. To speak evil of one’s father was death by Plato’s law as well as by God’s law; and Suidas testifieth of the same Plato and other heathens, that when they would swear by their Jupiter, out of the mere dread and reverence of his name, they for bear to mention him; breaking off their oath with a Μα τον , as those that only dared to owe the rest to their thoughts. 3. Walking before him in our whole course with a holy bashful ness, being evermore in the sense of his presence and light of his countenance, in the "fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost," as those ancient Christians, Acts 9:31 .

Verse 18

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

Ver. 18. Ye were not redeemed with silver and gold ] These are poor things to purchase a soul with (more likely they are to drown it in perdition and destruction, 1Ti 6:9 ). Our Saviour, who only ever went to the price of souls, tells us that one soul is more worth than a world, Matthew 16:26 .

Received by tradition ] Children are very apt to follow their parents’ example, whether of good or evil. Me ex ea opinione quam a maioribus accepi de cultu Deorum, nullius unquam movebit oratio, saith Cicero, I will never forsake that way of di vine service that I have received from my fore fathers.

Verse 19

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Ver. 19. Without blemish ] Of original pollution.

And without spot ] Of actual sin: or thus, without blemish, that is, sound within; and without spot, right in the outward parts. A lamb may be fair without that is rotten within. Christ was none such, but a complete sacrifice for sin.

Verse 20

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Ver. 20. Who verily, &e. ] So careful was God to make all sure concerning our redemption in Christ, saith one here.

Verse 21

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Ver. 21. Might be in God ] And so in a safer hand than our own; he hath laid help upon one that is mighty.

Verse 22

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Ver. 22. Ye have purified ] Animabus vestris castificatis. A metaphor from the legal purifications.

Verse 23

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Ver. 23. Born again ] A man shall never have occasion to curse the day of his new birth.

By the word of God ] Made prolific and generative by the Spirit, 1 John 3:9 . It is the Father that regenerateth us originally, Titus 3:5 , the Son meritoriously and effectively, John 14:19 ; Ephesians 5:26 ; the Holy Ghost consummately and applicatorily, through faith wrought and increased in us by the word and sacraments, James 1:18 ; Acts 22:16 ; "Be baptized, and wash away thy sins," i.e. be renewed.

Verse 24

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

Ver. 24. All flesh is grass ] To live is but to lie dying. Can a picture continue that is drawn upon the ice? Faenea quadam faelicitate temporaliter florent, saith Austin, after David, Psalms 37:2 . The wicked flourish as grass, but they shall be cut down in their flourish.

Verse 25

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Ver. 25. The Lord of the Lord, &c. ] This sentence is the motto of the Dukes of Saxony. (Manlii, loc. com.) See Psalms 119:89 . By the word of the Lord understand that which is written in cordibus, non in codicibus; in the heart, not in the book.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.