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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 1

Verse 1

1 Peter 1:1 f. The provinces named cover the whole of Asia Minor, since Pamphylia is probably reckoned in Galatia, Cilicia as belonging to Syria, and Lycia may not have possessed Christian communities. The order from NW. to SE. may represent the route of the bearers of the letter. The verses contain the cause, method, and purpose of their choice by God, which involves a covenant of fellowship. The salutation is similar to that in Rom. and Gal., but the phrase be multiplied is found only in 2 P. and Jude, and is probably derived from Daniel 4:1 and Daniel 6:25. Does this hint at the apocalyptic strain in these epistles?

Verses 3-12

1 Peter 1:3-12 . The section contains a deep and rich thanksgiving to God for the certainty of an eternal fellowship with Christ. This no sufferings can mar, nor death itself break. He is the unseen Friend, and since they know Him by the power of faith, they have a richer inheritance than the prophets, and in their joy is a note that is wanting even in the song of angels.

1 Peter 1:7 . revelation: lit. apocalypse. Thus was every manifestation of Christ regarded. He is always present, sometimes more clearly seen.

1 Peter 1:11 . Spirit of Christ is regarded as the inspirational power of the prophets. As by Paul ( 2 Corinthians 3:18) the Lord and the Spirit are identified.

1 Peter 1:12 . minister: Rendel Harris, by a slight alteration of the original word, secures a very much clearer meaning, viz. “ to them it was revealed that they got this intelligence not for themselves but for you” (Moffatt’ s NT). The ordinary reading leads us to think of the prophets as servants of God for our sakes, doing tasks whose full import they could not understand ( cf. 2Esther 13:16-20). For the angels’ share in this joyful mystery, see Ephesians 3:10 *. The Jewish apocalyptic books ( e.g. Enoch) had much to say of the angels’ concern in human affairs, and these may be the sources of the ideas in the NT.

Verses 13-21

1 Peter 1:13-21 . Here the practical aim of the epistle becomes at the earliest possible moment clearly manifest. The writer finds in the central reality of the Christian faith— the example, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus Christ— the truest source of good conduct. He reminds them that all this has taken place that they may be sharers in the character of God. Hope in God can have no other logical issue than conformity to His will.

1 Peter 1:13 . girding up: a metaphor derived from a necessity of Eastern costume, and perhaps with special reference to the Passover. It is found also on the lips of Jesus ( Luke 12:35).

1 Peter 1:14 . in the time of your ignorance: one of the proofs that the communities were originally Gentile.

1 Peter 1:15 . Read mg., “ Like the Holy One which called you,” a reminiscence of Isaiah’ s distinctive name for God.

1 Peter 1:17 . May not this refer to the Lord’ s Prayer and be an evidence of its early use in worship? Speaking of this verse and those which follow, Bigg writes: “ This full passage affords an admirable illustration of what we may call ‘ Petrinism,’ the mingled severity and tenderness of the Christian disciplinarian.” It is noteworthy, as Gunkel points out, that no attempt is made to reconcile or explain Fatherhood and Judgeship— they are simply postulated as equally real. The necessity of holiness is here grounded on three considerations: ( 1 ) the character of God, ( 2 ) the reality of judgment, and ( 3 ) the costliness of redemption.

1 Peter 1:19 . precious blood: this goes back not only to the sacrifices of the OT and such passages as Isaiah 53, but much more strikingly to the scene at Calvary; love’ s constraint is, as with Paul, the supreme argument.

1 Peter 1:20 . foreknown: this implies Christ’ s pre-existence, in which this writer agrees with other NT thinkers, a doctrine derived from later Jewish speculation, e.g. the Book of Enoch ( passim) .

1 Peter 1:21 . faith and hope: as by all the NT writers this is grounded on the fact of Christ’ s resurrection, and it is God’ s action in that event which is here, as by Paul, emphasized, since the gist of the whole argument rests on God’ s consistency of character, and our reliance thereupon.

Verses 22-25

1 Peter 1:22 to 1 Peter 2:10 . The Christians, who were formerly pagans, are created a new race in Christ Jesus, and consecrated as a special priesthood of service to the whole world. Their life must be in accordance with this profession. They are to manifest to one another brotherly love, “ that noblest jewel in the diadem of early Christianity” (Gunkel), and as children naturally seek milk for nourishment, so their desire is to be for spiritual refreshment in the purity of faith. By a changed figure they are to become living stones in a living temple founded on a living Lord, who of old time was termed by the prophets the Corner Stone. To them He is a precious possession, but to those who refuse Him, He is like a stone in the path to trip over, as a rock in the way, over which one may fall.

1 Peter 1:22 . love of the brethren: not brotherly love, but brother-love. Not “ love men as though they were your brothers,” but “ love men because they are your brothers.” As Maurice finely said, “ There can be no brotherhood without a common father” (Masterman).

1 Peter 1:23 . word of God is here transitional between the written word, and the personal Word of the Fourth Gospel. It is better to take “ liveth and abideth” as referring to “ word” than to “ God” ( mg.) .

1 Peter 2:2 . spiritual milk: a curious phrase, but meaning “ nourishment that belongs to the spiritual nature.”

1 Peter 2:6 . Two of the OT passages here quoted are found in combination in Romans 9, and in the same chapter is the reference to Hos. made below ( 1 Peter 2:10). From this and similar instances it has been suggested that selections of Messianic passages were already in use by Christian teachers (p. 700 ).

1 Peter 2:7 . the preciousness: the phrase may be understood in various ways, but probably “ for you is the honour” is most likely in contrast with “ shame” mentioned in 1 Peter 1:6 and referred to throughout. On the other hand, “ precious” may refer back to the quotation in the sense of the inherent unique quality of Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 . royal: because belonging to a king, not as consisting of kings.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.