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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

1 Peter 1


1 Peter 1:1,1 Peter 1:2 The apostle's address to the strangers elect in Christ, dispersed throughout the Lesser Asia.

1 Peter 1:3-9 He blesseth God for having raised them to the hope of a blessed immortality.

1 Peter 1:10-12 He showeth that their salvation in Christ had been foretold by the prophets of old,

1 Peter 1:13-21 and exhorteth them to a vigilant and holy conversation, suitable to their calling and redemption by the blood of Christ,

1 Peter 1:22-25 and to mutual love.

Verse 1

To the strangers; not only metaphorically strangers, as all believers are in the world, 1 Peter 2:11; but properly, as being out of their own land, and so really strangers in the places here mentioned.

Scattered; so James 1:1.

Throughout Pontus; a country of the Lesser Asia, bordering upon the Euxine sea, and reaching as far as Colchis.

Galatia; which borders upon Pontus, and lies southward of it. To the Gentile churches inhabiting here, Paul wrote his Epistle inscribed to the Galatians.

Cappadocia; this likewise borders upon Pontus, and is joined with it, Acts 2:9.

Asia; that part of Asia the Less, which was especially called Asia. viz. the whole country of Ionia, which contained in it Troas, Phrygia, Lydia, Carla, &c. See Acts 16:6,Acts 16:9; Acts 19:10,Acts 19:31.

And Bithynia; another province of the Lesser Asia, bordering upon Pontus and Galatia, and opposite to Thracia.

Question. Who were the strangers to whom this Epistle was written?

Answer. Chiefly the Christian Jews scattered in these countries, as appears by 1 Peter 2:12, and 1 Peter 1:18, where he mentions the traditions of their fathers, of which the Jews were so fond, Matthew 15:2; Galatians 1:14; but secondarily, to the converted Gentiles. As Paul, the apostle of the uncircumcision, wrote principally to the converted Gentiles, at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, &c., but doth not exclude those Jews that were among them, who, being converted to the faith, were of the same mystical body with them; so Peter, though he firstly wrote to the converted Jews, as being an apostle of the circumcision, yet includes the Gentiles that were mingled among them, and joined in faith and worship with them.

Verse 2

By elect he means, either:

1. Singled out of the world, and separated unto God in their effectual calling, as 1 Corinthians 1:1; those that are said to be called, 1 Corinthians 1:26, are said to be chosen, 1 Corinthians 1:27,1 Corinthians 1:28; and so the word seems to be taken, James 2:5; or:

2. Chosen to salvation, and the means of it, in God’s eternal decree, Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

According to the foreknowledge; either:

1. The Divine preordination, or decree of election, as the word is taken, 1 Peter 1:20, and then we may take elect in the first sense; men are chosen out of the world, or called in time, according as they were chosen from eternity, Romans 8:30; or:

2. Foreknowledge here is as much as approbation or love, Matthew 7:25; Romans 11:2; and so signifies the free favour and good will of God, which is the fountain from whence the decree of election proceeds; and then we are to take elect in the latter sense, and so elect according to the foreknowledge of God, is, eternally designed unto life, according to, or out of, that free grace and love God did from eternity bear to them, which was the only motive he had for his choosing them: or, (which comes to the same), by foreknowledge we may understand election itself, as it is in God; and by election, the same, as terminated in the creature, and executed in effectual calling.

Of God the Father; this doth not exclude the Son or Spirit from their interest in and concurrence to the Divine decree, but only notes the order of working among the three Persons in the affair of man’s salvation; election is ascribed to the Father, reconciliation to the Son, and sanctification to the Spirit.

Through sanctification: sanctification seems to be taken in a large sense, for the whole change of our spiritual state, both as to real grace in regeneration, and relative in justification; so that God may then be said to sanctify us, when in our effectual calling he justifies us from our sins, and renews us unto obedience: so it is taken, Hebrews 10:10.

Of the Spirit; this is to be understood rather of the Spirit of God, the efficient of sanctification, than the spirit or soul of man, the subject of it.

Unto obedience; either:

1. The obedience of Christ to God; and then the sense is, elect, or ordained to be, by the sanctification of the Spirit, made partakers of the benefits of Christ’s obedience: or:

2. The obedience of believers to Christ, and that either in their believing, faith being a giving obedience to the great command of the gospel, John 6:29, and particularly called obedience, Romans 1:5; and then the sense runs thus, elect unto faith, which was to be wrought in you by the sanctification of the Spirit: or else in the exercise of holiness, which is the fruit of faith; and then it signifies the same as Ephesians 1:4, chosen, that you might be made, by the sanctification of the Spirit, holy and unblamable, and might accordingly demean yourselves.

And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; an allusion to the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifices under the law, Hebrews 9:13,Hebrews 9:14,Hebrews 9:20-22; Hebrews 12:24; it signifies the application of the blood of Christ for the purging of the conscience, (which was typified by those legal sprinklings), especially from the guilt of sin; which sprinkling, or application of the blood of Christ to our consciences, is performed on our part by faith, on God’s part by his Spirit working that faith in us (as well as enabling us unto obedience) in our effectual calling, as likewise by God’s imputing Christ’s righteousness to us; and so the sense of the whole is: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, to be by the sanctification of the Spirit brought into the participation of all the benefits of Christ’s redemption; the sum of which consists in the renovation of your natures unto gospel obedience, and the justification of your persons.

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied; there being several kinds of grace, 1 Peter 4:10, and several kinds of peace, outward and inward, he wisheth them all kinds of each; and there being several degrees and measures of both, he prays for an increase of these degrees in them, and so a multiplication of all good, both temporal and spiritual, to them.

Verse 3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; either the conjunction and is here but an explicative particle, and so we render it, 2 Corinthians 1:3, God, even the Father, & c.; or if we take it for a copulative, as Ephesians 1:3; God is called the God of Jesus Christ, according to Christ’s human nature, and his Father according to his Divine.

Which according to his abundant mercy; this shows the fountain from whence regeneration and all other spiritual blessings flow, and excludes all merit and dignity in us, as the cause of so great benefits.

Abundant mercy is the same with riches of mercy, Ephesians 2:4.

Hath begotten us again; translated us out of a state of sin and misery into a state of grace and life; and so begotten again here, is the same as sanctifying in the former verse.

Unto a lively hope; either a lively hope, for hope of life; or rather, a lively hope is a true and effectual hope, such as proceeds from a lively faith, and is itself productive of peace and purity, Romans 5:2; 1 John 3:3, in opposition to the vain hope of worldly men, which neither comes from faith nor tends to holiness.

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: this may be referred either:

1. To God’s begetting us again, and then it implies the resurrection of Christ to be the cause of our regeneration, we being raised to a spiritual life by the power of Christ’s resurrection, and our vivification being often ascribed to it, 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 4:25; Romans 6:4,Romans 6:5; see Ephesians 2:5. Or:

2. To the lively hope to which he begets us, which depends upon, and ariseth from, the faith of Christ’s resurrection, Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:17,1 Corinthians 15:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:13,1 Thessalonians 4:14. Christ’s resurrection being the cause and pledge of ours, as the certainty of ours depends upon his, so the liveliness of our hope follows upon the faith of it. Possibly the apostle may have in these words some respect to the languishing condition of the hope of him, and the other disciples, Luke 24:21, which was then ready to expire, but was again revived by their being well assured of his resurrection, Luke 24:33,Luke 24:34.

Verse 4

To an inheritance; so eternal life is called, Ephesians 1:18, and elsewhere, as being given not as wages to hirelings, but as an inheritance to children born of God, and adopted to him.

Incorruptible; immortal, everlasting, which being once possessed, cannot be taken away, nor pass over to others.

And undefiled; both as being pure in itself, and having nothing to offend them that enjoy it; and likewise as being incapable of any pollution or defilement, contrary to what is said of the land of Canaan, the earthly inheritance of the Israelites, Jeremiah 2:7; Ezekiel 36:17.

And that fadeth not away; always retains its vigour and gratefulness, never causes weariness or satiety in them that possess it. It seems to be a metaphor taken from flowers, probably the amaranthus, (the very word here used), which still keeps its freshness and verdure, without any decay or withering.

Reserved; laid up, Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:8; secured for the heirs, though not yet possessed by them.

In heaven; and therefore safe, and out of the reach of enemies. This is opposed to the uncertain condition of earthly possessions, such as Canaan was.

For you; margin, for us, viz. whom God hath begotten again: or if we read it, as in the text, for you, the apostle may change the person in order to his exhortation.

Verse 5

Who are kept: lest it should be objected, that though the inheritance be safe in heaven, yet the heirs are in danger here upon earth, by reason of the power and stratagems of enemies, and their own imprudence and weakness; he adds, that not only their inheritance is reserved for them, but they preserved unto it, kept securely and carefully, as with a garrison, (for so the word signifies), against all the assaults, incursions, and devices of the devil and the world.

By the power of God; which power is infinite and invincible, and therefore able to keep them, John 10:28,John 10:29; Romans 8:31,Romans 8:38,Romans 8:39; 2 Timothy 1:12.

Through faith; which, resting on the power of God, overcomes all their enemies, the flesh, 1 John 3:9, the devil, 1 Peter 5:9; Ephesians 6:16, and the world, 1 John 5:4. It implies, that not only they themselves are kept through faith, whereby they rely on the power of their Keeper, and his promises of keeping them, but that they and their faith too are kept by the power of God.

Unto salvation; viz. full and complete in glory, and not only begun and imperfect here.

Ready; as being already purchased, prepared, and laid up for them; and so he intimates, that their not as yet possessing it, is not because it is not ready for them, but because the time of their being put in possession of it is not yet come.

To be revealed: it was said to be reserved in heaven, 1 Peter 1:4, kept safe, but close too, as a rich treasure, the greatness of it is not yet known, even to them that are the heirs of it, Colossians 3:3,Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2; here he adds, that it is to be revealed, and made known to them, so soon as the time of its manifestation shall come.

In the last time; simply and absolutely the last, viz. the day of judgment, which is called the last day, John 6:39,John 6:40; John 11:24; John 12:48.

Verse 6

Wherein; this refers to the whole foregoing sentence; Ye rejoice in your being kept by the power of God unto salvation.

Ye greatly rejoice: the Greek word signifies something more than a bare rejoicing, and therefore is added to a word that signifies to rejoice, Matthew 5:12, and implies an outward expression of the inward gladness of the heart, by looks, words, gestures, &c. Some read the word in the imperative mood, by way of exhortation; but the indicative, according to our translation, seems most agreeable to the context, in which, as yet, he commends the saints, to whom he writes, for the grace of God in them; descending to his exhortation afterward, 1 Peter 1:13.

Though now for a season; viz. while this life lasts, which is but a little time, 2 Corinthians 4:17.

If need be; if God see it fit, needful for your good, and conducing to his glory; intimating, that God doth not always afflict believers, but when he sees just cause, and never doth it without cause.

Ye are in heaviness:

Question. How could they be in heaviness, and yet rejoice?

Answer. Their grief and joy were about different objects; they might be in heaviness by reason of present afflictions, and rejoice in hope of future glory; they might grieve as men, and rejoice as saints; sense of suffering might affect them, and yet the faith of better things coming relieve them. If their heaviness did in any degree abate their joy, yet it did not wholly hinder it; and though their joy did overcome their heaviness, yet it did not wholly exclude it.

Through manifold temptations; he so calls afflictions, from the end and effect of them, the trial of their faith, Luke 22:28; Acts 20:19; Galatians 4:14; James 1:2; 2 Peter 2:9; he calls them manifold, as being not only numerous, but various, and of divers kinds.

Verse 7

That the trial of your faith; i.e. your faith when tried. He compares the faith of the saints with gold, and argues from the less to the greater: q.d. If men do so far esteem their gold, that they will make the excellency and preciousness of it appear by trying it in the fire, which purgeth away the dross, and discovers the goodness of the metal; no wonder if God will have the faith of the saints (more precious to him than gold is to men) tried by afflictions, that the excellency of it may more fully be discovered.

Being much more precious than of gold; i.e. than the trial of gold; or gold tried, compared with faith tried.

That perisheth; is worn away, and consumed by use, as many particles of it likewise may be in the very trial of it, 1 Peter 1:18; whereas faith is not consumed nor wasted, but increased by being used, and made more conspicuous by being tried.

Might be found unto praise and honour and glory; i.e. may be found to be, or to have turned, to praise, &c., the dignity of it being by that means evidenced. These several words show whither present trials tend, and in what they issue; they may be reproachful and ignominious now, Hebrews 12:2, but they end in glory. We need not be critical about the difference of these three words, praise, honour, and glory, which may be synonymous expressions (by way of amplification) of the same thing, yet they are mentioned distinctly with relation to believers elsewhere; praise, 1 Corinthians 4:5, honour, 1 Samuel 2:30; John 12:26, glory, as well as honour, Romans 2:10.

At the appearing of Jesus Christ; i.e. at the day of judgment, frequently so called, as 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 5:4; Colossians 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:7. Christ’s glory is at present hid and obscured, while he is instructing his elect, and training them up unto patience, and defers his judging of his enemies; but at last it will be fully manifested in the face of the world, when he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, &c., Revelation 1:7.

Verse 8

Whom; which Christ.

Having not seen; with your bodily eyes. Most of these Jews lived out of their own country, and so had not seen Christ in the flesh; and this was the commendation of their love, that they loved him whom they had not seen, though sight doth ordinarily contribute toward the stirring up of affection.

Ye see him not; neither as others have done in the days of his flesh, nor as you yourselves hereafter shall in his glory; ye walk by faith, and not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Ye rejoice, in hope of seeing and enjoying him.

With joy unspeakable; which cannot be expressed with words. See the like phrase, Romans 8:26; 2 Corinthians 9:15.

And full of glory; both in respect of the object about which this joy is conversant, the heavenly glory; the degree, it is the highest here in the world; the duration of it, it is most solid; as likewise in comparison of the joy of this world, which is vain and transitory, and whereof many times men are afterward ashamed.

Verse 9

Receiving; either this word is to be taken improperly, and by an enallage, the future being put for the present tense; q.d. Being about to receive; or rather properly, in the present tense, and then it intimates the certainty of the thing spoken of.

The end of your faith; i.e. the scope to which faith tends, or the reward of faith.

The salvation; either:

1. Salvation more generally taken, which is begun in this life, Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5; or rather:

2. Complete final salvation in the other, as 1 Peter 1:5; and then the sense is, either, ye rejoice that ye shall certainly receive the full salvation of your souls, or, ye rejoice that ye do receive that salvation, viz. in the promises of it, in those graces of the Spirit wrought in you, which begin this salvation, and are the pledges of it, and in the certain assurance of it.

Of your souls; i.e. by a usual synecdoche, the salvation of your persons.

Verse 10

Of which salvation; either:

1. The more full and clear manifestation of salvation promised to be at the coming of Christ, when life and immortality should be brought to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10; and then this place is parallel to Luke 10:24; or:

2. The salvation of the dispersed Jews, i.e. their public conversion by the gospel, and eternal life following upon it; which (as well as the calling of the Gentiles) was reserved for the times and glory of the Messiah.

The prophets; viz. those under the Old Testament, out of whose writings the faith of New Testament believers is to be confirmed, John 5:39; Acts 17:11; and whom this apostle therefore mentions, that he might strengthen the faith of the Christian Jews, by assuring them that the doctrine he had delivered to them was no new invention, but the very truth of God revealed of old to the prophets.

Have inquired and searched diligently; the words imply their vehement desire of knowing, as well as great diligence in seeking.

Who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: what he called salvation before, he calls grace here, to intimate their salvation to be merely of grace.

This grace revealed under the gospel, the prophets foretold, but in a more dark way; the Sun of righteousness not being yet risen, the shadows were not gone, and the light was but obscure.

Verse 11

Searching what? Whether near or farther off, or what particular part of time. This may relate particularly to Daniel’s weeks, Daniel 9:1-27.

What manner of time; whether peaceable or troublesome, when the people were free or when in bondage; what were the qualities of the time, or signs by which it might be known, Jacob foretells Christ’s coming, when the sceptre was departed from Judah, Genesis 49:10; Isaiah, in a time of universal peace, Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:6. This diligent inquiring after the time of Christ’s coming showed their earnest longing for it.

The Spirit of Christ; so styled, as being of the Son, no less than of the Father, both by eternal procession and temporal mission, John 14:16,John 14:26; John 15:26. This shows, that not only Christ had a being under the Old Testament before his coming in the flesh, (for if Christ were not, there could be no Spirit of Christ), but likewise that Christ is God, because of his inspiring the prophets with the knowledge of future things, which none but God can do.

When it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ; what the prophets did foretell concerning Christ, was not their own conjecture, but what the Spirit did dictate to them.

And the glory that should follow; Greek, glories, in the plural number, i.e. the manifold glory which was to follow upon his many sufferings, the glory of his resurrection, ascension, sitting at the right hand of God, sending the Spirit, &c. Christ’s suffering and glory are often joined together, Psalms 22:6; Psalms 110:1-7; Isaiah 53:3,Isaiah 53:10-12; Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:8,Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 2:9,Hebrews 2:10; to show that there is the same way (and no other) for the salvation of the members, as for the glory of the Head, viz. by sufferings.

Verse 12

Unto whom; unto which prophets.

It was revealed; viz. by the Spirit of Christ that was in them.

That not unto themselves; who lived before Christ’s coming in the flesh.

But unto us; not only apostles, but believers, who live since Christ came.

They did minister; declare and foretell. The preaching of the word is called a ministry, Acts 6:4; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18.

The things; the whole doctrine of the gospel concerning Christ’s person, offices, benefits, kingdom, and the whole New Testament state.

Which are now reported unto you; viz. as fulfilled, and actually exhibited now, which were only foretold by the prophets.

By them that have preached the gospel unto you; the apostles, and other gospel ministers assistant to them: the sense is: The prophets under the Old Testatnent did, by the Spirit, foresee and foretell Christ’s passion, resurrection, ascension, the effusion of the Spirit, the enlargement of the church by the calling of the Gentiles, &c.; but did not live to see their own prophecies, and God’s promises, fulfilled, Hebrews 11:13, as you now do. They did spread the table that you might feed at it; they had but a taste by faith, and at a distance, of those things you feast upon in their accomplishment; yet they did not grudge to declare these things, being instructed by the Spirit, that what they spake of should not be fulfilled in their time, but in the generations to come; that so ye, by comparing what they said should come to pass with what you have now been assured is come to pass, may be confirmed and established in the belief of the truth, being the same held forth by the prophets formerly, and gospel ministers at present.

With the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven: Christ promised to send the Spirit, Luke 24:49; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; and actually sent him, Acts 2:1-47; the apostles, not of themselves, but acted by this Spirit, have declared unto you the fulfilling of those things, which the former prophets, by the instinct and power of the same Spirit, (the Spirit of Christ, which was in them), did foretell would in their proper season come to pass.

Which things; the things before said to be reported by them that preached the gospel.

The angels desire to look into: it seems to be an allusion to the cherubims that stood above the ark, with their faces toward the mercy-seat, which was a type of Christ. The word signifies a bowing down the head, and stooping to look iuto a thing. Luke 24:12; John 20:5; and implies a prying, or looking narrowly into it; which argues an earnest desire to know it. The angels thus look into the mysteries of the gospel, as desirous to see the accomplishment of them, admiring the manifold grace and wisdom of God in them, Ephesians 3:10, and rejoicing in the salvation of sinners, which is the end and effect of God’s revealing them.

Verse 13

Wherefore; the following exhortation may be connected, either with 1 Peter 1:4, Being so glorious an inheritance is reserved in heaven for you,

gird up, & c.; or with 1 Peter 1:12; Seeing ye know those things, which the prophets that foretold them did not fully see, and the angels themselves desire to look into; the grace of God vouchsafed to you is so excellent and admirable, gird up, & c.

Gird up the loins of your mind; i.e. let your minds be attent, prompt, ready, prepared for your spiritual work, restrained from all those thoughts, cares, affections, and lusts, which may entangle, detain, hinder them, or make them unfit for it. It is a metaphor taken from the custom of the Oriental nations, who wearing long loose garments, were wont to gird them up about their loins, that they might not hinder them in their travelling or working, 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 4:29; Luke 17:8; See Poole on "Luke 12:35", See Poole on "Luke 12:37". Perhaps it may have a special respect to the like rite used at the Passover, Exodus 12:11, when the Israelites were just ready to enter upon their journey, aud go out of Egypt.

Be sober: this may relate, either:

1. To the body; and then the sense agrees with Luke 21:34, where the cares of this life seem to be opposed to the girding up the loins of the mind, and surfeiting and drunkenness, to sobriety here. Or rather:

2. To the soul; and then girding up the loins of the mind, may refer to the understanding, and thoughts, and sobriety, to the will and affections, and may signify that moderation which belongs to them, in opposition to their inordinateness, which is a sort of drunkenness. Or, it may be rendered, be watchful, as it is translated, 2 Timothy 4:5, and with which it is joined, 1 Thessalonians 5:6,1 Thessalonians 5:8; and so it agrees well with the former clause; they that have the loins of their mind girt up, being of a vigilant, present mind, and ready for any work they are to undertake.

And hope to the end; Greek, perfectly, as in the margin, i.e. sincerely, entirely, with a firm confidence; but the following words favour our translation, which signfies perseverance in hope. See Hebrews 3:6.

For the grace that is to be brought unto you; final salvation, which is the gift of grace, Romans 6:23, and is called the grace of life, 1 Peter 3:7.

At the revelation of Jesus Christ; called the appearing of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:7.

Verse 14

As obedient children; Greek, children of obedience, by a usual Hebraism, for obedient children. So children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 3:6. And this we may understand either absolutely, children of obedience for obedient persons; or with relation to God, obedient children of God; and then the apostle persuades them to their duty by an argument taken from their adoption; being the children of God, he would have them behave themselves obediently, as becomes them in that relation.

Not fashioning yourselves; not accommodating, not conforming yourselves, not shaping or ordering your conversation. See the same word, Romans 12:2.

According to the former lusts; the lusts you formerly indulged yourselves in: see Ephesians 4:22.

In your ignorance; your ignorance of Christ and the gospel: q.d. Not fashioning yourselves according to those lusts you lived in when you were ignorant of Christ. He distinguisheth between the time of their ignorance, and of their illumination. Another age requires other manners. They formerly lived according to the dictates of their lusts, but now ought to live according to the will of Christ: see 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 17:30; Ephesians 4:17,Ephesians 4:18.

Verse 15

But as he which hath called you; God the Father, to whom, as the First Cause, our calling is frequently ascribed, Romans 9:11,Romans 9:24; 1 Corinthians 7:15; Galatians 1:6,Galatians 1:15. It may be rendered: According to the Holy One that hath called you, i.e. according to his example; you are children, and should therefore imitate your Father, Ephesians 5:1.

Called you; viz. effectually, to the knowledge and faith of Christ.

Is holy; so God is often styled by Isaiah and other penmen of the Scripture, as the fountain and exemplar of holiness.

So be ye holy in all manner of conversation; either, through the whole course, and in the several parts, of your conversation; or, in all manner of conversation, as we read it, i.e. with whomsoever ye converse, believers or infidels, friends or enemies, relations or strangers; and in whatsoever condition ye are in, peace or trouble, prosperity or adversity.

Verse 16

I am your Father, and therefore you ought to imitate and obey me: or, I that have severed you from other people, that you should be mine, Leviticus 20:26, to which place particularly this seems to refer.

Verse 17

And if; this particle is used here, and frequently elsewhere, not as a note of doubting, but by way of assertion, and supposition of a thing known.

Ye call on the Father; either this is to be meant of invocation, their calling on God in prayer; and then the sense is: If you be servants and worshippers of the Father; prayer being many times put for the whole worship of God, Isaiah 43:22; Acts 9:11; or, of their calling God, Father, as Matthew 6:9; and then the sense is: If you would be counted God’s children, James 2:7.

Who, without respect of persons; and so will no more excuse you that are Jews, and descended from Abraham, than those that are born of Gentile parents, Job 34:19; Acts 10:34; Ephesians 6:9.

Judgeth; and so is not a Father only, but a Judge, and that a most righteous one.

According to every man’s work; i.e. works, the singular number put for the plural, as James 1:25; see Romans 2:6; Job 34:11.

Pass the time of your sojourning here; the word signifies the temporary abode of a man in a place where he was not born, or doth not ordinarily reside; such being the condition of believers in the world, that they are sojourners, not citizens of it; they are travelling through it to their Father’s house and heavenly country, Hebrews 11:9,Hebrews 11:10,Hebrews 11:13,Hebrews 11:16. They are here exhorted to a suitable carriage, expressed in the next words.

In fear; which is due to him as a Father and a Judge. It may imply the greatest reverence, and the deepest humility, Philippians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 1 Peter 3:2,1 Peter 3:15.

Verse 18

Forasmuch as ye know; considering that ye were, &c.

That ye were not redeemed with corruptible things: see Titus 2:14. This implies them to have been in a servile condition, and in bondage to their own errors, till they were converted to Christ.

As silver and gold; the most precious things, of greatest esteem among men.

From your vain, because unprofitable to, and insufficient for, righteousness and salvation, conversation, viz. in your Judaism, wherein you were so much addicted to uncommanded rites and ceremonies, as to have little respect for God’s law.

Received by tradition; and so not only by their example and practice, but by their doctrine and precepts, Matthew 15:3, &c.; Mark 7:7, &c. See likewise Galatians 1:14.

From your fathers; either your ancestors, as Ezekiel 20:18, or doctors and instructors, who are sometimes called fathers, 1 Corinthians 4:15.

Verse 19

Precious; because the blood not only of an innocent person, but of the Son of God, Acts 20:28.

As of a lamb; i.e. who was a Lamb.

A lamb; the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, John 1:29; not only like a lamb, for his innocence and gentleness, Isaiah 53:7, but the Antitype of the lambs which under the law were offered in the daily sacrifices, and more especially of the paschal lamb; whatever was shadowed out in that, and those other sacrifices, having its accomplishment in Christ.

Without blemish; without fault, without defect, in which nothing was wanting that was requisite to its perfection; or, in which nothing could be blamed. The Greek word seems to be derived from the Hebrew Mum, so often used for a blemish; see Leviticus 24:19,Leviticus 24:20.

And without spot; without any other deformity. The lamb might have no defect, but yet might have some spot; and it was to be perfect, Exodus 12:5, which implied its having neither the one nor the other. Christ was such a Lamb, perfect in holiness, and free from all sin, John 8:29,John 8:46; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22.

Verse 20

Who verily was fore-ordained; by God’s decree appointed to the work of redemption, and to be that Lamb that should take away the sins of the world, Ephesians 1:9.

Before the foundation of the world; from eternity; there being nothing before the world began but what was eternal, John 17:24.

But was manifested; not only by his incarnation, 1 Timothy 3:16, but by the preaching of the gospel. See these Scriptures: Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 9:26.

In these last times; last, in comparison of the times of the Old Testament; the same as the fulness of time, Galatians 4:4.

For you; that you, with other believers, might partake of salvation by him. The fruit of Christ’s redemption reacheth all ages, but much more abundantly the times after his coming in the flesh. The sum of the argument is, Christ was ordained from eternity, promised to the fathers, but manifested to you: your privilege therefore being greater than theirs, Matthew 13:17; Hebrews 11:39,Hebrews 11:40, you should be the more holy.

Verse 21

Who by him do believe in God; both as revealing God to you, Matthew 11:27; John 1:14; and making way for you to God, who, out of Christ, is a consuming fire, so that there is no coming to him but by Christ, John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 7:25.

Gave him glory; viz. in his resurrection, ascension, sitting at the right hand of God, &c., Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 2:9,Hebrews 2:10.

That your faith and hope might be in God; that seeing Christ raised and glorified, ye might be fully confirmed in the belief of a thorough satisfaction made to Divine justice for sin, and perfect reconciliation wrought (for had not Christ fully paid the price of redemption, his Father would never have let him out of the prison of the grave, in which his justice had shut him up); from which faith ariseth a hope, which looks to the resurrection of Christ your Head, as the certain pledge and earnest of your resurrection to life and glory. Christ’s resurrection and glory are the great grounds of faith, 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:32,Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:40; Romans 4:24,Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:14,1 Corinthians 15:17.

Verse 22

Your souls; i.e. yourselves; the whole person is implied, the soul being the principal part.

In obeying the truth; in subjecting yourselves to the truth of the gospel, by faith, to which the purification of the heart is ascribed, Acts 15:9, not only as to justification, and purging away the guilt of sin, but as to sanctification, and cleansing from the defilement of it: q.d. Seeing ye have begun to purify your hearts by faith in Christ, set forth in the gospel, and made sanctification to them that believe, 1 Corinthians 1:30.

Through the Spirit; by the operation of the Spirit working faith in you.

Unto unfeigned love of the brethren; without hypocrisy, and which is not in word only, but in deed and in truth, 1 John 3:18. Love to the brethren in Christ, and for Christ’s sake. This notes one great end of our sanctification, viz. the exercise of brotherly love, whereby our love to God is likewise manifested, when we love them upon his acconut. The whole clause may likewise be understood, as an exhortation to purify themselves more and more by faith, that so they might (being purged from carnal affections) be the better able, and more disposed, to love one another.

Love one another with a pure heart; as the source and fountain of your love to each other, and from whence it proceeds, 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22.

Fervently; or, vehemently, and intensely, strongly. The word seems to be a metaphor taken from a bow, which the more it is bent, with the greater force it sends forth the arrow; so love, the more fervent and strong it is, the more abundantly it puts forth itself for the benefit of others.

Verse 23

Being born again: this may refer either:

1. To the general exhortation to holiness, 1 Peter 1:14,1 Peter 1:15, and then the argument runs thus: Ye are in your regeneration become the children of God, and therefore ought to walk holily as become his children. Or:

2. To the more particular exhortation to brotherly love, 1 Peter 1:22; q.d. You are by your regeneration become spiritual brethren, and therefore ought to live like brethren.

Not of corruptible seed; which is itself corrupted ere any thing can be generated out of it, or out of which nothing is begotten but what is corruptible; so that all such generations tend but to a mortal life.

But of incorruptible; so the word is said to be, because containing still the same, and being immutable in itself, it changes and renews the hearts of those that by faith receive it. Or: it may be understood of its being incorruptible effectively, because it leads, or tends, to an immortal life.

The word of God; the same which he called incorruptible seed, which is the instrument in regeneration, as is implied in the preposition, by, going before it.

Which liveth; this and the following verb may be joined, either:

1. To God, the word of God, who liveth, &c.; or rather:

2. To the word, so our translation reads it, which word liveth, and abideth, &c.; and this agrees best with the testimony of Isaiah in the next verse.

The word of God is said to be a living word, because it enliveneth the hearts of those that entertain it.

Verse 24

All flesh; all men as born of the flesh, and in their natural state, in opposition to regenerate men, 1 Peter 1:23.

All the glory of man; whatever is most excellent in man naturally, and which they are most apt to glory in.

The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: see James 1:10.

Verse 25

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever; not only absolutely in itself, and in respect of its perpetual verity, Psalms 119:160; Matthew 24:35; but relatively, as received by and dwelling in believers, 1 John 3:9, who always experience the effects of it in themselves in their regeneration, receiving a solid and lasting being from it, (the new nature), which is likewise preserved by it, in opposition to that flux and mutable being they had by their first birth.

And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you; this word, of which Isaiah speaks, and which he so much magnifies, is the very same word of the gospel, which is preached unto you by us apostles.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Peter 1". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.