Peter begins this chapter[ 1 ] with an exhortation to lay aside malice and several other sins. He explains that Christians as living stones are to grow into a holy temple. Jesus is the chief cornerstone. The NT church is a chosen generation with a purpose of proclaiming God's praises. Again Peter urges righteous living before the world, together with submission to civil government. Slaves are to be submissive to their masters. The chapter closes with a discussion of the great and marvelous example of Christ (see chart 1 PETER 2 OUTLINE).
1 PETER 2 OUTLINE
- As newborns desire milk of word (2:1-3).
- Living stones, spiritual priesthood (2:4-12).
- Submit to rulers (2:13-20).
- Christ our example (2:21-25).
2:1-3 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Therefore [so, wherefore, then].[ 2 ] With "therefore" Peter begins a new segment of thought. In chapter 1, he wrote of the eternal inheritance and the interest prophets had in it. He also wrote of holy living, of redemption by the blood of Christ and of the new birth by imperishable seed. Therefore, because of what he wrote in chapter 1, he begins this exhortation on holy living. He commences by exhorting his readers to lay aside malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy and slander (see chart FIVE THINGS TO PUT ASIDE).
FIVE THINGS TO LAY ASIDE
- All malice [ill-will, evil in general].
- All guile [deceit].
- Hypocrisy [pretended holiness].
- Envy [wishing others harm to gain something].
- All evil speaking [slander].
STRIP OFF AND LAY ASIDE EVIL ATTITUDES
Laying aside [put, putting, away].[ 3 ] The Greek word for "laying aside" is elsewhere used as taking off clothes.[ 4 ] Here the picture is the removal and ridding oneself of foul and evil things. Each believer is actively putting aside the sin in his life. Note that malice and envy are mental. The Christian regulates his thoughts as well as his words and actions. The doctrine that says one is to relax and let the Holy Spirit transform the life without personal effort is false.
PUTTING ASIDE EVIL
- Put aside the works of darkness (Ro 13:12).
- Put off the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Eph 4:22).
- Putting away lying (Eph 4:25; see verse 31).
- Put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth (Col 3:8).
- Laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking (1Pe 2:1).
SEVEN ACTIVE PARTICIPLES
- Receiving the end of your faith (1Pe 1:9).
- Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things (1Pe 1:18).
- Laying aside all malice, etc. (1Pe 2:1).
- Coming to Him as to a living stone (1Pe 2:4).
- Minister it to one another (1Pe 4:10).
- Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings (1Pe 4:13).
- Casting all your care upon Him (1Pe 5:7).
All.[ 5 ] All evil is to be put aside. There is no compromise. Do not put away a little, some or most, but all of it.
Malice [wickedness, all wickedness].[ 6 ]Y The English word "malice" sometimes refers to spite, ill-will or a bad feeling toward another. In the Greek, however, the word is more general.[ 7 ] It embraces any desire or inclination to do that which is harmful, illegal or bad.
All guile [and all guile, deceit].[ 8 ] Subtlety, deception, two-facedness, fraud and trickery are wrong (see Ro 1:29; 2Co 12:16; 1Th 2:3). When Christians put aside guile they become honest, ethical, forthright, loyal and sincere. A Christian has the same standard of righteousness regardless of what crowd he is with. He is honest and his speech forthright before the face of, and behind the back of, friends and enemies alike. He or she talks and behaves the same way at home that as before elders of the church.
Hypocrisy [and hypocrisies, insincerity].[ 9 ] Hypocrisy is pretentiousness. Those who "join the church" for social or financial reasons are hypocrites but not the only ones. All affected, insincere behavior is hypocrisy and must be laid aside (see Mt 23:28; Ga 2:13; 1Ti 4:2).
Envy [and envy, envies].[ 10 ] Envy is akin to hate (see Mt 27:18; Mk 15:10; Ro 1:29; Php 1:15; 1Ti 6:4; Tit 3:3). It is displeasure at the accomplishment, success, prosperity or recognition of someone else. Love wishes only good for others, even enemies.
Envy is the opposite of that. When one is envious, he feels discomfort or resentment because of the good or good fortune of others. Some of the apostles envied each other and worried about who would be the greatest but I do not think Paul ever did. That was because he crucified self with Christ (Ga 2:20). In so doing, he had crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Ga 5:24).
And all evil speaking [and all evil speakings, slander].[ 11 ] Slander is evil speaking against another and often is the fruit of envy. How can one have a sincere love for the brethren and, at the same time, speak against them (see 1Pe 1:22)? Slander may take the form of libel, character assassination or false accusation. Gossip may fall into the same category.[ 12 ] Hearsay and scandal hurts the church. Innocent victims as well as its perpetrators suffer. Hear Paul:
For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults (2Co 12:20; compare chapter 13).
LIKE A HUNGRY BABY
[2:2] As newborn babes [like newborn babies].[ 13 ] Regardless of their state of growth, the Christians to whom Peter wrote were to be as free from the evils listed as newborn babies.[ 14 ] In addition, like babies, they are to desire the milk of the word. They are not necessarily beginners in the service of Christ. They are to be as "newborn babes" in that they are to be free from the above-mentioned evils.
An infant knows how to let its mother know when it is hungry. Nursing mothers know how the babe works at satisfying that hunger! Surely, not all of Peter's readers were new Christians. He does not say they were. He used this metaphor to show what kind of spiritual hunger every Christian should have. Every believer is to have the healthy appetite of a baby. A mature Christian never loses his or her initial hunger for righteousness.
- To whom would He teach knowledge? . . . Those just weaned from milk? (Isa 28:9).
- Converted and become like children (Mt 18:3; compare Mk 10:14, 15).
- Begotten through the gospel (1Co 4:15).
- Born again (1Pe 1:3, 23).
- Born of God (1Jo 5:1).
- Babes (1Pe 2:2).
- Stones (1Pe 2:4).
- Priests, royal priesthood (1Pe 2:4, 9).
- Sojourners and pilgrims (1Pe 2:11).
- Free men (1Pe 2:16).
- Bondservants of God (1Pe 2:16).
- Sheep (1Pe 2:25).
CRAVE THE MILK OF THE WORD
Desire [long for, desire earnestly].[ 15 ] The Greek expression for "desire" is more intense than the English translation may indicate. It implies an earnest desire, an intense craving, a strong yearning or a healthy hunger for the word of God (compare 2Co 9:14; Php 1:8; 2:26). The longing of a baby for its milk does not forever end after one feeding. The little one returns again and again for more nourishment. After the first feeding, a mother does not usually have to beg and coax a baby to return to the breast. May it always be so for Christians who desire and need spiritual food!
- Desire the pure milk of the word (1Pe 2:2).
- Abstain from fleshly lusts (1Pe 2:11).
- Having conduct honorable (1Pe 2:12).
- Submit to every ordinance of man (1Pe 2:13).
- [Live] as free people (1Pe 2:15).
- Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (1Pe 2:17).
- Servants be submissive to masters (1Pe 2:18).
The pure [the sincere, which is without guile].[ 16 ] Pure, fresh, unadulterated, milk is both wholesome and good. The word of God is good and it is nourishing. It has the splendid properties of pure milk. Have you ever wondered if the milk in stores is adulterated or watered down? Probably not.[ 17 ] Evidently, some early false teachers were "walking in craftiness" and "handling the word of God deceitfully" (see note on 2Co 4:2). They were diluting or changing it. Christians must never long after doctrine that is mixed with the poison of false teaching. The word of God must not be mixed with the "commandments of men," "doctrines of demons" or contradictory traditions (see Mt 15:7-9; 1Ti 4:1-4).
Milk of the word [spiritual, mental, milk of the word].[ 18 ] Some versions and lexicons render this "spiritual milk." The rendering "spiritual service"[ 19 ] in Romans 12:1 is similar. The spiritual food by which Christians live and grow is "every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4). Some NT writers make a distinction between milk and solid food. Milk may denote elementary teachings (1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12). Solid food is for the mature (Heb 5:14).
That you may grow thereby [that by it ye may grow up, may grow by it].[ 20 ] A person begins the Christian life at the new birth (Joh 3:3-8; Ro 6:3-6; 2Co 5:17; Ga 3:26, 27; Eph 2:10). As a newborn baby he partakes of the pure, unmixed word of God and grows. Only those who partake of the truth in Scripture will grow spiritually. The purpose of the milk of the word is so that Christians may thrive, grow and mature, not be amused, coddled or entertained.
SEVEN RESULTANT ACTIONS
- That you may grow (1Pe 2:2).
- Offer up spiritual sacrifices (1Pe 2:5).
- Proclaim the praises (1Pe 2:9).
- By your good works others may glorify God (1Pe 2:12).
- Patient suffering, commendable before God (1Pe 2:20).
- Follow His steps (1Pe 2:21).
- Live for righteousness (1Pe 2:24).
In respect to salvation [to, unto, salvation].[ 21 ] Only those who are faithful in the matter of spiritual growth may expect to receive eternal salvation (see Arndt in footnote). Jesus said, "He who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 10:22; 24:13). He assures faithful Christians of heaven. "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Re 2:10).
IF YOU HAVE TASTED
[2:3] If indeed you have tasted [if you, ye, so be ye, for you, tasted].[ 22 ] This is one of the instances in the NT where the word "if" is used to mean "since." "Tasted" means "experienced" (compare Mt 16:28; Mk 9:1; Joh 8:52; Heb 2:9; 6:4, 5). Peter was aware that all Christians had tasted that the Lord is gracious. The mother of a new baby may need to be patient the first time she gets it to nurse. After the babe gets the initial taste of the milk, there is usually no trouble in getting him to feed. After he first tastes the milk, he wants more. The initial taste of God's goodness in salvation excites within Christians a desire to study and practice the word. The first-century saints, as well as all other Christians, have tasted "that the Lord is gracious." The taste makes them long for the word (verse 2).
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Ps 34:8).
That the Lord is gracious [the kindness of the Lord, that the Lord is good].[ 23 ] The Lord is good. He is gracious and kind. His goodness relates to salvation. Paul wrote to Titus of the appearing of Christ.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:4, 5; compare Ro 2:4).
Some have been deceived into thinking God's ways must be detrimental to their enjoyment and well-being. Not so. Well, I suppose His ways do bring misery to half-hearted, undedicated, fearful Christians. But those who live close to Him experience joy beyond measure. When one realizes that "the Lord is gracious" and His will is only for his good, a real desire to learn more of His word is created. Not only that, but there develops a passion to put it into daily practice.
The kindness of the Lord is mentioned as a motivation to offer spiritual sacrifices (verse 5). It provides a dynamic to abstain from evil and perform good deeds before others (verses 11, 12). God's gracious kindness is never an excuse for laziness or sin.
LIVING STONES IN GOD'S TEMPLE
2:4, 5 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Coming to Him [come, continue coming, unto whom coming].[ 24 ] A magnificent temple is being built, the first and most important part of which is a magnificent corner-stone. People are coming to Christ in order to be saved (see Mt 11:28-30). Obedient believers are continually coming to Him in worship. They are part of the glorious temple of which He is an indispensable portion. They lean upon Him for strength and support.
CHRIST, THE LIVING STONE
- In Him was life (Joh 1:4).
- Life in Himself (Joh 5:26).
- The resurrection and the life (Joh 11:25).
- The way, the truth and the life (Joh 14:6).
- Life and immortality to light (2Ti 1:10).
- The life was manifested (1Jo 1:2).
- He who has the Son has life (1Jo 5:12).
THE REJECTED STONE
As to a living stone [to, as unto, that, the Living Stone].[ 25 ] Christ was the living, spiritual Rock [PETRA] from which the Israelites drank (see 1Co 10:4). The living Christ is presented here as a large corner stone, chosen, living and precious (verse 7). He is living because He has been raised from the dead to die no more (Ro 6:9; Re 1:18). He is living because He gives life to believers (see 1Co 15:45; chart CHRIST, THE LIVING STONE).
Jesus gave Simon a new name, PETROS Peter, a stone. The meaning is a small unhewn stone as contrasted with Jesus the foundation or the huge corner stone..
Rejected indeed by men [disallowed, cast away indeed as worthless, of, by, people].[ 26 ] The word "rejected" signifies that, after examination, something was declined or repudiated. In a restaurant, spoiled food is thrown out because it is nauseating and disgusting. In a bank, counterfeit money is refused because it does not pass inspection. The figure is taken from the Psalms.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone (Ps 118:22).
The chief priests and elders of the Jews were the builders. Jesus was the stone (see Mt 21:42; Mk 12:10; Lu 20:17). Peter, in speaking of Christ to the rulers, elders and scribes, perhaps some of the same crowd to whom Jesus had spoken, said:
This is the "stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone" (Ac 4:11).
The builders "examined" Christ. They cast Him aside. They repudiated Him. Remember, that which is refused and cast aside by men may not be valueless in God's eyes.
THE CHOSEN STONE
But chosen by God [but with God, in God's sight, elect, but chosen of God].[ 27 ] Jesus was despised and rejected of men, but to God, He was choice, elect, chosen (see chart REJECTED BY MEN, CHOSEN OF GOD).
REJECTED BY MEN, CHOSEN OF GOD
- Nailed to cross but God raised Him (Ac 2:23, 24; 32, 33).
- Rejected by builders but became chief corner stone (Ac 4:11).
- Murdered but God exalted Him to His right hand (Ac 5:30, 31).
- Killed but God raised Him up (Ac 10:39, 40).
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!
(William J. Kirkpatrick)
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily (Isa 28:16).
[2:5] You also, as living stones [be, ye, yourselves, also, and, like living
stones].[ 29 ] The metaphor of a house built of "living" stones is astonishing to
some who think of the church as a literal building. In the present figure the
church is a dwelling for God (compare Eph 1:22). The church is God's family
and is made up of people who are His "called out ones." In a figurative sense
only is the church a building, a temple.
Another aspect of the church of Christ as a building or temple is that the
stones of it are shaped and prepared before being set in place. Not just any
old stone picked up on the path or rock pile will do. Each stone must be
readied for God's building ahead of time. This is done when a person hears
the gospel, believes it, repents of sins, confesses the name of the Savior as
Lord prior to being baptized into Him.
Everyone understands that members of the church are not literal stones, but
living Christians. They are only pictured in figuratively as building stones in
God's temple. Just as Christ was rejected, men may reject a good stone in
God's temple. Men or women may unjustly reproach a faithful teacher, a
godly elder or a quiet follower. Just remember that Christ too was rejected by
men but accepted by God. If one's teaching is true and done in a loving
manner, he has nothing to be ashamed of from those who ridicule. God values
faithful service. Remember that Noah, Job and Daniel did not always have a
crowd of followers with them either.
Are being built up [built, are built, up, into].[ 30 ] In verse 2, babes in Christ
were growing in respect to salvation. Here, in the figure of living stones, they
are being "built up." Jesus said to the disciples:
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Mt 16:18; compare 1Co 3:10-15; 1Ti 3:14, 15).[ 31 ].
Building up (edification) is stressed in the NT (see note on 1Co 14:26). The
stones are built up into God's temple. They are useless lying around
somewhere in the weeds. It is impossible to serve God faithfully and not be
a Christian, a part of His church.
A spiritual house.[ 32 ] The spiritual temple of God is made up of spiritual
people. Each one is a precious stone redeemed by precious blood (1Pe 1:18,
A holy priesthood [to be, unto, for, an holy priesthood].[ 33 ] Have you ever
had an interesting dream where the scenes changed frequently? Peter's
writings are like that. The panorama changes from sinners sprinkled with
blood (1Pe 1:2) to Christians as newborn babes (1Pe 1:3, 23; 2:2) and then as
living stones (1Pe 2:5). In the same verse, the scene changes again and
Christians are pictured as priests in God's temple offering up sacrifices. They
are set apart, consecrated and holy (see notes on 1Pe 1:15, 16).
To offer up spiritual sacrifices [to offer spiritual sacrifices].[ 34 ] The main
duty of OT priests was to offer sacrifices. The same is true of NT priests
except that their offerings are unlike those offered in OT days. First of all,
Christians present their bodies as "living sacrifices" (Ro 12:1). They offer
sacrifices of praise and prayers in which they "proclaim the praises" of Christ
(see verse 9), giving Him glory forever (Re 1:6). Their worship is continuous.
If at all possible, they faithfully attend all local worship assemblies.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Heb 13:15).
When one is offering praise to God, it is sublime, glorious and thrilling. It
never becomes boring, monotonous or tedious.
Acceptable to God [well pleasing to God].[ 35 ] The worship of Christians is acceptable to Him only if it is performed according to the revealed word. In fact, the only way man can determine whether anything is acceptable to God is by the Bible. Divinely authorized acts of worship please Him. Humanly-invented acts of worship are no more acceptable than offering "profane fire" or "strange fire" (see Le 10:1, 2; chart ACCEPTABLE NT WORSHIP).
2:6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a
chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means
be put to shame."
Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture [because it is, wherefore also
it is, contained, for it stands, this also is found, in Scripture].[ 37 ] Everything
recorded in Scripture is important. The OT contained a statement about a
great and wonderful change that would occur in the future. The change had
to do with the establishment of a new, spiritual temple. The prophecy Peter
cites was contained in a particular passage, namely Isaiah 28:16.
Behold I lay in Zion [Behold, I am laying in Sion].[ 38 ] Zion was a hill in
Jerusalem. It was to this hill that David brought the ark (2Sa 6:10-12).
Eventually, Solomon built the temple on nearby Mount Moriah and moved the
ark there. The new location was also called "Zion." Apparently, the name of
the old location where was expanded to include the nearby mount where the
temple was erected (see Isa 8:18; 18:7; 24:23; Joel 3:17; Mic 4:7). It was as if
the original Mount Zion spread itself to join Mount Moriah and impart its own
name to both mounts. Later, the term "Zion" was enlarged again to encompass
the entire city of Jerusalem (see 2Ki 19:21; Ps 48; 69:35; 133:3; Isa 1:8). The
Lord's house, His church, was to be established in Zion, that is, in
Jerusalem.[ 39 ] Isaiah used Zion in this sense.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isa 2:2, 3).
Notice that the prophet used the word Zion and Jerusalem interchangeably (see Isa 2:3). However, there is a higher, spiritual sense in which Zion is used in Scripture. Spiritual Zion is the "mountain" where Christ reigns in heaven (see Ps 2:6; 110:1, 2; Heb 12:22).
But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel) (Gen 49:24).
It was Isaiah who made clear the function of "the Stone of Israel" as a corner-stone.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,[ 41 ] a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily (Isa 28:16; see chart CORNER-STONE).
Precious [and precious, a precious]. The foundation and chief corner-stone is Jesus Christ. He is elect, chosen and of great value.
And he who believes on Him [and the one believing, that believeth, in
him].[ 42 ] Grammatically, the Greek AUTOO it, Him, may refer to the corner-stone (it) or to Christ (Him), who is represented by the corner-stone in the
metaphor.[ 43 ] Either way, belief is in Christ, the precious stone.[ 44 ]
Will by no means be put to shame [will not be, shall not be,
confounded].[ 45 ] In the corresponding OT passage (Isa 28:16), the KJV has
"shall not make haste." The NKJV has "will not act hastily." It has been
suggested that acting hastily may be an aggravated or nervous attitude
characterizing one who is stampeded into a rash, foolhardy escape from threat
or danger. An obedient believer has no need to be anxious.
Another view is of someone disappointed in another who simply walks away
hurriedly and in shame. The context in one of the Psalms helps us
understanding the meaning.
I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! (Ps 119:31).
The psalmist trusted in the divine promises. He pleaded with God not to
disappoint him at last. He was cleaving to His word and faithfully serving
Him. The implication is that the Lord will not disappoint. "Now hope does
not disappoint" (Ro 5:5). Peter uses the term "put to shame" in a similar way.
He who believes in Christ, the precious corner-stone, will not be disappointed.
God may be relied upon to keep all of His precious and magnificent promises
through Christ (see 2Pe 1:4). Throughout the years, I have heard many prayers
including words of trust: "If we have been found faithful until death, give us the
crown of life." The faithful Christian will not be disheartened, dismayed or
2:7, 8 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are
disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief
cornerstone," 8 and "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense." They stumble,
being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
Therefore. Peter refers back to the thought that Christ is the chief cornerstone together with the blessing on the believer.
In the present passage, the plural pronoun "you" in Greek includes all
believers. Jesus is precious to each and every one of them. Without Him there
would be no Christians, no salvation. With Him, there can be hope for
anyone. He is able to save "to the uttermost" those who draw near to God
through Him (Heb 7:25).
He is precious [is the preciousness].[ 47 ] The Stone (Christ) is precious.
Its value is priceless (see charts PRECIOUSNESS OF CHRIST A and B).
Christ is a living stone, elect, precious (verse 4). Christians, as living stones
share the preciousness. Christ is the high priest (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 10:21).
Christians, as priests, share His honor (see Re 1:6). He is the Son of God. In
a general sense, so are Christians. He is the Bridegroom. The church of
Christ is the bride. He shed His precious blood. Christians are redeemed by
it. The preciousness of Christ is cherished by believers. It is gratefully shared
But to those who are disobedient [but for those, but for such, but unto them, who do not believe, as disbelieve, which be, but to the, unbelievers].[ 48 ] Those who disbelieve the gospel are lost (Mk 16:16). Christ becomes a stone of stumbling to them, as He said:
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Joh 3:18).
John pointed out that:
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (Joh 3:36).
The stone which the builders rejected [the very stone which the builders
disallowed, cast away as worthless].[ 49 ] The rejected stone was Jesus and the
builders were the Jewish religious leaders.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone (Ps 118:22).
When Jesus, in the temple at Jerusalem, was speaking to the chief priests and
the elders of the people, he cited the very passage Peter used (Ps 118:22). He
added these words:
Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it (Mt 21:43).
The chief priests and the Pharisees understood that Jesus was speaking about
them. They, the "builders," had rejected Him (compare 1Pe 2:23, 36; 4:10).
To those who are perishing, He is "an aroma of death leading to death" (2Co
2:16). To them, He is not a precious Savior to love but a judge to be feared
(see 2Co 5:11; Heb 10:31).
Has become the chief cornerstone [the same is made, was made, this is
become, head, the head, of the corner].[ 50 ] The chief corner-stone is the main
foundation stone. It joins a building together and makes it strong. However,
it usually sticks out on the side of a corner so that one who carelessly or hastily
goes around the corner may stumble on it (see chart CORNER-STONE).
[2:8] And, A stone of stumbling [and A stone that will make men
stumble].[ 51 ] Peter's quotation follows the Hebrew text of Isaiah 8:14:
He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (compare also Ro 9:23).
The Greek word for "stumbling" may refer to the "trigger" of a trap or
anything over which one might stumble or trip over. The pure life of Christ,
together with His opposition to hypocrisy and ungodly traditions, became a
stumbling block to some of the Jews. It prompted many religious leaders to
reject Him. Some were convinced that He was a blasphemer and a Sabbath
breaker worthy of death. Their false conceptions about Him amounted to
unbelief. They refused to accept and follow His teachings. By rejecting Him,
And a rock of offense [a rock that makes, that will make, them fall, to
stumble against].[ 52 ] Some of the religious Jews recoiled because Jesus failed
to meet their opinion of what the Messiah should be like. It was hard to
accept the idea that anyone scourged and crucified was more than just a
common criminal deserving His punishment. Since they expected an earthly
king, it was especially difficult to accept the crucified One as the Son of the
Most High God. To hold these false conceptions about Him was a form of
They stumble [who, for they, even to them, to those who, which,
stumble].[ 53 ] In view of the fact that salvation is only in Christ (Ac 4:11, 12),
stumbling over the Chief Corner-stone is much more serious than a stubbed
toe. The injury of those who stumble is not trivial. It constitutes eternal ruin.
"He who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk 16:16). On the other hand,
those who have believed and have obeyed the Gospel have purified their souls
and look toward eternal life in heaven.
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart (1Pe 1:22; Ro 6:23; 1Ti 6:12, 19).
The great apostle Paul spoke of a different law in body members, waging war
against the law of the mind (Ro 7:23). Christians carry on mental warfare in
order not to live according to the lusts of the flesh but to the will of God (1Pe
Being disobedient to the word [being disobedient at, because they disobey,
the word]. By and large the nation of Israel stumbled at Christ's Person, His
teaching, His atoning Death and the Gospel relating thereto. All these were
contrary to their ideas as of becoming righteous before God.[ 54 ]
But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone (Ro 9:31, 32).
To which they also were appointed [as, whereunto also, to which also, they
were destined to do, have been appointed, have disposed themselves].[ 55 ]
People who have chosen unbelief are appointed to condemnation (see Mk
16:16; Joh 3:18; 2Th 2:12).
2:9, 10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called
you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people
but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have
But you are a chosen generation [but ye are a chosen, an elect, race,
people].[ 56 ] Christians are a chosen stock, strain or people. They are a
different breed from the world. They have all been begotten of gospel seed
and have been born again of water and the Spirit. The tribe into which they
are born is so large that it is called a race. It is a spiritual race composed of
people of all nationalities. It is a chosen race because God's grace and favor
rest upon it.
A royal priesthood [a kingly priesthood].[ 57 ] Christians are noble. They
are children of the King! They make up a royal priesthood that offers up
sacrifices of praise for what their King has done and is doing for them. They
proclaim His "praises" or "excellencies" by their daily living, their teaching and
A holy nation [an holy nation].[ 58 ] The Israelites were God's nation in OT
days. They were holy in that they were set apart from all other nations.
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel (Ex 19:6).
Modern Israel is not a holy nation. Most of the citizens claim to be
atheists,[ 59 ] infidels or agnostics. Spiritual Israel, the church of Jesus Christ,
is now God's holy nation. Just as faithful Jews were God's people in OT days,
so faithful Christians are His people today (see Eph 1:14).
His own special people [God's own, a special, a peculiar, people, a people for a possession].[ 60 ] James remarked about the conversion of the Gentile household of Cornelius, saying:
Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name (Ac 15:14).
God was purifying for Himself "His own special people" (Tit 2:14). They
became holy when they were purified by the blood of Christ (see Ac 20:28;
22:16). When the Hebrew writer said: "There remains therefore a rest for the
people of God" he was not speaking about Jews in particular, but Christians
(see Heb 4:9).
The Jews had been a people obtained or acquired by God. At one time, they
were His possession.
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine (Ex 19:5).
By and large, fleshly Israel failed to keep God's covenant. The prophets
foretold the formation of the church, the people of God.
This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise (Isa 43:21).
That you may proclaim the praises of Him [that ye might set forth, show
forth, should shew forth, declare, the wonderful deeds, the excellencies, the
perfections, of him].[ 61 ] The backdrop for Peter's statement is in Isaiah:
Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands (Isa 42:12; compare Septuagint).
This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise (Isa 43:21).
One great purpose and privilege of Christians is to glorify God (see note on 2Ti 2:15). They continuously praise the Savior in preaching, prayer and song (see chart PROCLAIMING PRAISES A and B).
You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created (Re 4:11).
Worthy of praise is Christ our Redeemer;
Worthy of glory, honor and pow'r!
Worthy of all our soul's adoration,
Worthy art Thou! . . . Worthy art Thou!
(Tillit S. Teddlie)
Who called you [who hath, has, called you]. Christians have been drawn
by God's teaching. They are called by the gospel (see notes on Joh 6:44, 45;
Out of darkness.[ 62 ] The domain of darkness is the dominion of Satan. Souls in darkness are not forgiven and have no eternal inheritance until they come into the light of Christ.
Into His marvelous light [to his wonderful light].[ 63 ] The marvelous light of
Christ is the dominion of God. The dominion of God is the same as the
church of Christ, the kingdom of His beloved Son. Those entering into it
receive forgiveness of sins. They are sanctified by faith and obedience to
Christ. They enjoy the hope of an eternal inheritance among the saints.
[2:10] Who once were not a people [once you, who, which in time past,
were, you were, no people].[ 64 ] Peter's readers were Gentiles, or predominately
such. A correct understanding of a prophecy confirms this. Through Hosea
the LORD said:
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, "You are not My people," there it shall be said to them, "You are sons of the living God" (Ho 1:10).
There is a lot of difficulty in matching the above Scripture with the Jews who,
at one time, were God's people. Those who were not God's people but now
are "sons of the living God" are none other than Gentiles who have obeyed the
gospel of Christ.
But are now the people of God [but now you are God's people].[ 65 ] In case
anyone still doubts that the people spoken here are Gentiles, hear Paul's
application of the very OT passage quoted above:
As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved." 26 And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, "You are not My people," there they shall be called sons of the living God (Ro 9:25, 26; compare Isa 65:1; Ho 2:23).
Who had not obtained mercy [you had not, which had not, once you had
not, received mercy, who were not enjoying mercy].[ 66 ] Peter quotes additional
words from Hosea 1:10, the prophecy about Gentiles who had not at that time
But now have obtained mercy [but now you have received, have found,
mercy].[ 67 ] The mercy spoken of is that which brings forgiveness, salvation and
undeserved honors in Christ.
This ends a major section of Peter's letter in which he has discussed mainly
the relation of Christians to God. A variation of thought now begins. He
begins to plead for a change of behavior for the aliens and pilgrims. At least
in human terms they are considered to be sojourners. However, God has
blessed them with His mercy and forgiveness. He has honored them as His
own holy people (see verses 9, 10). Peter now pleads with them to abstain
from fleshly lusts, to behave well among others, specifically the Gentiles. He
instructs them to submit to authority and to follow the example of Christ.
2:11, 12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly
lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the
Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your
good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Beloved [dearly beloved].[ 68 ]
I beg you as sojourners [I beseech, admonish, exhort, you, as aliens, as
strangers].[ 69 ] Peter has previously addressed his readers as aliens (see 1Pe
1:1). Since their citizenship is in heaven, all Christians are aliens on the earth.
They are set apart and were different from other earthlings. In 1 Peter 2:9, he
calls them a royal priesthood and a holy nation. In the present verse, he again
addresses them as aliens in a land not their own. He urges or beseeches them
to abstain from fleshly lusts that were so common among men and women of
And pilgrims [and exiles, sojourners].[ 70 ] "Pilgrims" are people who are
sojourning in a strange place. The home country of Christians is heaven.
Abstain from fleshly lusts [to abstain from the passions of the flesh].[ 71 ]
Paul exhorted the Romans and Galatians to abstain from fleshly lusts with
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (Rom 13:14).
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish (Gal 5:17).
And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Ga 5:24).
Many unconverted Gentiles lived in the lusts of their flesh, indulging "the
desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Eph 2:3). Associated with their fleshly
lusts were fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking and
coarse jesting (Eph 5:3, 4).
Which war against the soul [that wage war against your soul].[ 72 ] The
apostle pictures an aggressive army encamped and ready to wage war against
Christians. The soldiers in that army are a battalion consisting of lusts. Make
no mistake about it. Lusts of the flesh stand ready to do spiritual battle.
[2:12] Having your conduct honorable [maintain, let your, good conduct,
conversation, behavior, manner of life, be seemly, honest, excellent].[ 73 ] It is
not enough for a Christian's behavior to be average. It is to be excellent and
honorable. Neighbors ought to be able to observe godly traits far above those
others who are not Christians in the community.
Among the Gentiles.[ 74 ] Although some pagans may be surprised at the righteous behavior of God's people it is important what and how others think about Christians and how they judge them. Believers must behave in such a way that non-Christians have reason to respect them. Dear reader, when you are at work, at school, in the grocery lines and in the community does your behavior speak well of your Savior? Or do your actions and words cause people to think less of Him and His church?
That when they speak against you [so that, whereas, wherein, in which, in
case, as to that, they slander you].[ 75 ] There seems to be a tendency
everywhere for the Lord's people to be criticized. This is to be expected. Even
Jesus was criticized. The Jews in Rome once gave Paul their impression of the
church of Christ. They said, "Concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is
spoken against everywhere" (Ac 28:22). The Gentiles reproached it also. One
reason was because of the original association with the Jews who were
generally disliked. Criticism of God's faithful people is never justified
(compare 1Pe 4:15, 16). On the other hand, Christians should never
deliberately stir up trouble against others (see Ro 12:18).
Kindness and patience go a long way in smoothing ruffled feathers.
Persecution may be avoided by cautious and discreet diplomacy.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Pr 15:1).
By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone (Pr 25:15).
Peter commanded Christians to put away "all evil speaking" (1Pe 2:1). They
show respect to others. They "honor all people" (verse 17).
As evildoers [as wrongdoers].[ 76 ] Evildoers are punished by governmental
authorities for their violations of civil or criminal law (1Pe 2:14; 4:15). Some
Christians have been falsely accused and punished as criminals (see charts
SLANDERING EARLY CHRISTIANS A and B). Even Jesus Christ was
falsely charged with being an evildoer (Joh 18:30).
They may, by your good works [they may see, through, because of, the,
your, good deeds, you do].[ 77 ] Good behavior is important. Peter has already
admonished his readers concerning holiness in relation to God.
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct (1Pe 1:15).
He now focuses upon conduct as an example before others. Good behavior
is a part of faithfulness to God but it has a secondary purpose. It has a useful
effect upon those who slander Christians. Those who observe the good
conduct of the saints may eventually obey the gospel and glorify God.
Which they observe [which they behold, shall behold, themselves witnessing
them].[ 78 ] Many unbelievers are Christian watchers.
Glorify God [and glorify God].[ 79 ]
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Mt 5:16).
A day of visitation may occur anytime during a Christian's lifetime. It might
happen during persecution. Some examples: When Jesus was crucified, for
instance, the centurion gave his attention to the dying Savior and said,
"Certainly this was a righteous man!" (Lu 23:47). Upon careful examination,
pagans get the idea that Christians are really genuine servants of God. They
recognize them as righteous men and women and, because of their example,
glorify God. Some soldiers beholding the calm death of Christian martyrs,
themselves turned and confessed their faith in Jesus Christ.
Some have suggested that the "day of visitation" is a day when God interferes
with the affairs of men with a special blessing or punishment. He "visited"
when Christ came to earth. He again "visited" when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Regardless of the view one takes, the outcome is the same. The Gentiles will
glorify God.[ 81 ]
2:13, 14 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the
Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those
who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of
those who do good.
Therefore submit yourselves [be subject, in subjection, submit yourselves,
therefore, submit].[ 82 ] Christians are to obey civil laws except when they
require an action contrary to the will of God (see Ac 4:19; 5:29).
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Ro 13:1; compare Tit 3:1, 2).
To every ordinance of man [to every human institution].[ 83 ] Christians are
to obey civil government regardless of whether democratic or totalitarian. At
the time Peter wrote, the Roman government was tyrannical and corrupt.
For the Lord's sake [for the Lord, for the sake of the Lord].[ 84 ] Christians
submit to civil government for the Lord's sake. There are two aspects of this.
First, the Lord commanded civil obedience (see Mt 17:26, 27). Secondly, when
Christians fail to submit to the laws of the land, they hold up the Savior and
His church in a bad light.
Whether to the king as supreme [whether it be to the emperor, to a king, as in authority].[ 85 ] When Peter wrote, Nero, who would soon have Paul executed, was the Roman emperor. Nevertheless, he was to be obeyed. This is not to say that "The king can do no wrong." The OT is replete with accounts of wicked rulers. John the baptizer implicated Herod in adultery (Mt 14:4). Jesus implied that Pilate was guilty of sin (Joh 19:11).
[2:14] Or to governors [or unto rulers].[ 86 ] "Governors" is a general term
that includes various rulers.
As to those who are sent by him [as sent, as unto them that are sent, by
him].[ 87 ] The phrase "sent by him" limits the word "governors" (above). That
is, the governors are officially delegated rulers or deputies who serve under
heads of state.
For the punishment of evildoers [to punish, for vengeance on, those who
do wrong].[ 88 ] Evildoers are punished by the civil government. God may
punish criminals and evil-doers through the agency of civil government. Some
lawbreakers are never caught by the authorities. Civil government itself may
be deal out the persecution to Christians. God may use civil government to
avenge them or He may not. Nevertheless, rest assured that evildoers will be
punished. Persecuted Christians will be avenged!
And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Lu 18:7, 8).
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord (Ro 12:19).
And for the praise of those who do good [and praise, and to, and for
praises, to them that do well, right, doing that which is good].[ 89 ] In addition
to punishing wrong-doers, civil government has an obligation to lend approval
to, commend and praise citizens who do right.
2:15, 16 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence
the ignorance of foolish men-- 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for
vice, but as bondservants of God.
For this is the will of God [for it is, for so it is, because so is, God's
will].[ 90 ] By the good behavior specified, the will of God is carried out. One
objective of doing good, how minor it may seem, is to silence certain negative
That by doing good [that with doing right, well-doing, doing that which is good].[ 91 ] Doing good in general is the same as obeying God's will. However, in the present verse, specifically it is submission to civil authorities. In other words, it is God's will that Christians practice good conduct toward the government and toward people general (see chart DOING RIGHT).
You may put to silence [ye should, may, silence].[ 92 ] Evil men are to be
"muzzled." They are to be "gagged" but not physically. They are to be
restrained by the muzzle of the good conduct of Christians.
The ignorance.[ 93 ] In the present context, "ignorance" represents what is
said or done because of ignorance. Thus "ignorance" is ignorant talk and
Of foolish men [of senseless people].[ 94 ] When foolish people talk against
Christians it is a disgrace. The Greek article indicates that these were not
foolish men in general but a special class who spoke out ignorantly against
Christians. Today, it is considered politically correct to bash the religious right.
Recently, I heard a talk show host[ 95 ] speaking of those who oppose abortion.
He shouted into the microphone, "I hate 'em! I hate 'em! I hate em!"
[2:16] As free [live, act like, free men, people].[ 96 ] Christians are free in
Christ. They are free from the OT law, free from sin and free from fear but
they are not free to disobey God. They are not free to disregard civil law.
They are not free to engage in the works of the flesh. In Galatians 5, there is
a well-known verse that declares our freedom in Christ (Ga 5:1). Yet, in verse
7 of that same chapter Paul speaks of obeying the truth. Freedom, yes, but not
freedom to disobey God.
Yet not using [yet without, and not, and not as, using, and not as
having].[ 97 ]
Liberty [your freedom].[ 98 ] It has ever been the case that some misuse
their freedom in Christ. Paul was falsely accused of doing evil that good may
come (Ro 3:8). He asked the Romans Christians:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Ro 6:1, 2).
Again he asked:
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! (Ro 6:15).
As a cloak for vice [like, for, a cloak, a pretext, of, evil, maliciousness,
wickedness, malice].[ 99 ]
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another (Ga 5:13).
Some have put forward an undue emphasis on grace, implying that it allows
and condones indolence, denominational error and even moral sin. Others use
false doctrines as a cover-up for wickedness. The doctrine of "once in grace
always in grace" has become an excuse for sin. The same is true of teachings
about purgatory, no hell and the AD 70 theory.
But as bondservants of God [but as the, but live as, servants of God, God's
bondmen].[ 100 ] Being free while enslaved is a paradox. Christians are told to
use the freedom God gives. However, they are to use their freedom as His
bondslaves! True freedom is a privilege given to all who are dedicated to
Christ (Ga 5:1). But, those so dedicated are His bondservants. Christians
understand this. Probably they are the only ones who do. They voluntarily
take Christ's yoke but, from experience, they know His burden is light (Mt
2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Honor all people [shew honor to all, honor everyone].[ 101 ] To "honor all people" implies a basic dignity of man. Every person is of value (Mt 16:26). All people should be shown respect because God made them in His image and He loves them. In the first century, certain punishments were considered to be beneath the dignity of Roman citizens. Not just Romans, but all people, Jews and all others, because they are human beings, should be afforded a degree of respect, even honor (see chart HONOR ALL PEOPLE).
Love the brotherhood [love the brotherhood of believers].[ 102 ] Peter reinforces what he taught about love of the brethren in chapter 1. "AGAPESATE love one another fervently with a pure heart" (1Pe 1:22). Again, he uses a form of AGAPEE, the higher kind of love the Lord taught when He questioned Peter (see notes on Joh 21:15, 16).
In the great brotherhood of Christians, there are certain universal commonalities. Each one has been born again, has been washed in the same blood, serves the same risen Savior and has the same hope of heaven. All these things makes it easier to love the brotherhood.
Fear God.[ 103 ] Sinners fear God with a dread that Christians to not
experience. Before being invaded by Israel, the nations in the land of Canaan
experienced "fear and dread" (Ex 15:16; De 2:25; 11:25). Egypt was afraid and
feared because of "the waving of the hand" of the LORD (Isa 19:16).
Christians have a deep reverence for God but they work out their own
salvation with "fear and trembling" (see charts FEAR GOD A and B; FEAR
The fear[ 104 ] of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Pr 1:7).
Honor the king [honor the emperor].[ 105 ] "King" is a broad enough term
to include the supreme ruler of any country regardless of whether he is a literal
king, president, dictator, prime minister or sovereign in general. Respect and
honor are due these rulers. Both respect and honor imply submission (1Pe
2:13). Recall the argument about taxes. Not only are taxes due the
government, but fear.
My son, fear the LORD and the king; do not associate with those given to change (Pr 24:21).
And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mt 22:21).
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor (Ro 13:7).
2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the
good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
Servants.[ 106 ] Many NT Christians were bondslaves or household servants
(see Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22; 1Ti 6:1, 2).[ 107 ] Others were businessmen, rulers and
doctors (but see 1Co 1:26, 27). In Christ there was neither slave nor free man
(Ga 3:28). Nevertheless, Christian servants were not exempt from submission
to their masters.
"Servants" in the present verse were "household servants." They may or may
not have been slaves. Servants in a house were often within their master's
sight and earshot. A master may have been picky, overbearing or pushy. He
or she may have tried the patience of one or more of the servants. Even so,
as Christians, servants had to be submissive. Most Christians today are not
slaves, but many are servants in the sense that they are employed by another.
The lesson applies to them as well.
Be submissive to your masters [be subject, in subjection, to your
masters].[ 108 ] Except for not being obligated to do sinful things, employees
are to accept the authority of their supervisors or administrators. They serve
under them. If unwilling to do so, they should quit and seek another job.
With all fear [in all respect].[ 109 ] Servants are told to obey their masters
"with all fear." They are also to fear God and serve their masters "as unto
Him," that is, as if they were slaves of Christ. They are to serve "as to the
Lord" (Eph 6:6, 7).
Not only to the good [not only to the kind, those who are good].[ 110 ] A
good master is kind in heart and of benefit to his employees. A employer may
have an acceptable attitude and at the same time be strict and demanding.
Nevertheless, because of his efforts to be good, he is fair and honest in his
evaluation of, and dealings with, his workers. He pays the wage agreed upon
and pays on time. If the wage is less than appropriate, he raises the pay
without being pressured to do so.
And gentle [and fair].[ 111 ] A gentle employer is more than fair. He is
considerate of the needs and dispositions of the workers. Some employees
may please the boss more than others. If this is due to personality differences,
he treats all the same. He may pay his workmen more generously than is
required. He makes it possible for them to take off in emergencies without
undue loss of income. When a workman is recovering from an injury, he gives
him lighter work for a while.
But also to the harsh [but also to the overbearing, froward, ill-tempered, unfair].[ 112 ] Sometimes a Christian takes a job with an unreasonable, harsh or perverse employer. Because the worker is a Christian, he shows respect for the surly taskmaster. If he sincerely prays for his employer, it helps him endure a lot of unfair treatment.
2:19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one
endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
For this is commendable [for one is approved, for it is thankworthy,
acceptable, praiseworthy].[ 113 ] It is a fine thing when one serves patiently
under an employer when he causes him grief or suffering. Such behavior is
worthy of commendation. By serving well, he may or may not receive more
pay or better treatment but he finds favor in the eyes of God who rewards (see
Eph 6:8; Col 3:24). There comfort in knowing God sees and approves.
If because [if].[ 114 ] One important consideration when rendering good
service as well as maintaining the right attitude during unjust suffering is one's
Of conscience toward God [mindful of God, for conscience, for conscience
sake, towards God].[ 115 ] A Christian may suffer because of his relation to
God. In fact, because he is a joint-heir with Christ, he can expect to do so (Ro
8:17). Conscience toward God is a complex idea. First, there is an inner
awareness that God is observing one's outward actions. He is also looking
upon the heart (1Sa 16:7). Again, it entails doing good service in His name
(see Mk 9:41; Col 3:23).
One endures grief [you, he, a man, endure, endureth, bear up under, pain,
griefs].[ 116 ] Unpleasant things must often just be endured. A faithful
Christian receives strength from the Lord to bear up under suffering, sorrow
and pain (see 1Pe 4:14).
Suffering wrongfully [while suffering unjustly].[ 117 ] Many situations and
circumstances are difficult and unfair. Suffering may be undeserved and
unjustly handed out. For example, in order to keep a job, one may have to
endure ill-treatment. A marriage may cause heartache (Pr 21:9, 19; 25:24). A
parent or teacher may treat children with partiality. The courts may falsely
condemn the innocent.
2:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it
patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is
commendable before God.
For what credit is it? [for what praise is there, what glory is it?].[ 118 ] The
credit or glory Peter speaks of is in the sight of God. Jesus asked the disciples:
But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them (Lu 6:32).
He taught His disciples to do good to those who would do them harm.
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil (Lu 6:35).
Those who suffer unjustly deserve credit, recognition and commendation.
Those who suffer ill-treatment for their own wrongs do not merit anything
If, when you are beaten [and, when ye be, and being, buffeted].[ 119 ] When
Jesus was on trial, His Jewish tormentors beat Him. The Romans scourged
Him.Although the present context speaks of servants being beaten again and
again, any Christian persecuted because of righteousness joins his Lord in the
matter of suffering.
Then they spat in His face and beat[ 120 ] Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands (Mt 26:67).
There is no doubt that Matthew 26:67 is translated correctly. However, in
the present verse, there is some question whether the translators of the NASB
and NAU were justified in rendering a general term "harshly treated" for the
specific term for beating (see the NIV, NKJV, RSV, TEV) or buffeting (see
the KJV). In my opinion, cruel beating was what the Holy Spirit had in mind.
For your faults [for it, if when you do wrong, if sinning, if you sin?].when
you sin].[ 121 ] Christians are to put away all evil from within and without.
Nevertheless, they do have faults (Ga 6:1) and they do commit sin (1Jo 1:8-10).
An employee, even one who is a Christian, may deserve harsh treatment. In
some cultures, a beating is recognized punishment for unsatisfactory service.
You take it patiently [ye shall bear it, and endure patiently the punishment
for it].[ 122 ] Patience and fortitude in suffering are not particularly virtuous in
themselves. They are commendable only when endured for a righteous cause.
But when you do good [but if when ye do, for doing what is, right,
well].[ 123 ] Doing good is always commendable but "good" in the present context
is probably good behavior under persecution (see verse 15; 2Pe 3:6, 17;
compare the noun "well-doing" or "doing what is right" in 1 Pe 4:19; see chart
DOING RIGHT at verse 15).
And suffer [and suffering, you suffer for it].[ 124 ] The apostle refers to suffering for doing right such as the flogging he and John received in Jerusalem for preaching the gospel (Ac 5:40).
If you take it patiently [ye, ye shall, bear it, and patiently endure it].[ 125 ]
It is commendable to calmly bear suffering with a sincere prayer for God's
blessing to abide with the tormentor.
This is commendable before God [you have God's approval, this is
acceptable, praiseworthy, with God].[ 126 ] There is divine favor or kindness
shown to God's sufferers on earth. He recognizes, understands and appreciates
Christians who suffer unfairly. He sees in them the likeness of His own Son
who suffered unjustly on Calvary. He notices and bestows a blessing.
2:21-24 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed
no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 23 who, when He was reviled, did
not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed
Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His
own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-- by whose stripes you were healed.
For to this you were called [for even hereunto, unto this, you have been,
have ye been, were ye, called].[ 127 ] Everyone is "called" who has heard God's
voice in the precious gospel of Christ and has become His child by faith and
obedience (see Joh 6:44, 45; Ro 10:16; 2Th 2:14). Although he may have
listened to the gospel, one who has slighted the invitation is not recognized as
one of "the called."
The immediate context relates to servants who suffer at the hands of abusive masters. Their calling is not just out of the world but is "to this" or "hereunto." There is a objective in being called. Peter makes clear what that objective is: "that you should follow His steps."
Because Christ also suffered for us [for Christ also has suffered for you,
in your behalf].[ 128 ] Some translators, in order to make clear that the Greek
pronoun is plural, have rendered it "us". Christ suffered HUPER for you
(plural). Yes, He also suffered for us. There is not a doubt in my mind that
Christ died in our stead, but this verse emphasizes another reason for His
death. He suffered in order to give a pattern for all (see chart REASONS
FOR CHRIST'S DEATH).
Leaving us [leaving you].[ 129 ] One of the attendant blessings from Christ's
patient suffering in connection with His death on Calvary is the great example
He left for Christians for all time.
An example [a model].[ 130 ] Christ is the master. Christians are His
pupils. He is the model. Christians copy or imitate Him. Their copies are
somewhat rough and indistinct. Beginning Christians may not copy very
accurately at all but, with continued practice and effort, they become more and
more like the Savior they love.
That you should follow [that ye might, for you to, follow].[ 131 ] The Greek
word suggests a close following of Christ. Christians are to give sharp attention
to the example He set in all things, especially in the matter and manner of
His steps [in his footsteps].[ 132 ] Can you imagine, dear reader, that you, like John, are following the tracks Christ left in the sand one cool morning on the shore of Galilee. We may infer from John 21:20 that Jesus and Peter were walking along the beach when they had that famous conversation about love that ended with a statement about Peter's prospective, violent death. Let us "walk just as He walked." Let us "follow His steps" (see 1Jo 2:6). Let us follow His devotion, patience, righteousness, non-retaliation, trust, suffering and obedience.
[2:22] Who committed no sin [He committed, who did, no sin].[ 133 ] The
ruling Jews made a concerted effort to find something amiss in Jesus' life and
Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward (Mt 26:59, 60).
The only "fault" the Jews found against Jesus was a misapplication of what He had said about rebuilding the temple in three days. This, of course, was in reference to His own bodily resurrection. Three times Pilate pronounced Him innocent (see charts PILATE FOUND NO FAULT; SINLESS JESUS A and B).
Nor was deceit found in His mouth [no guile was, neither was guile, found
on his lips].[ 134 ] The Greek indicates that the Jews made a diligent search to
find falsehood, guile or deceit in Christ's words. They found none.
[2:23] Who, when He was reviled [who, when, though].[ 135 ] Not just once, but constantly was Jesus reviled. They scoffed, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Mt 13:55). They mocked Him, yelling out, "Come down from the cross!" (see Mt 27:40, 42; Mk 15:30, 32). They were constantly annoying Him with their obnoxious insinuations that He was a Sabbath-breaker (see chart INSULTS HURLED AT JESUS).
Did not revile in return [he did not revile back, in return, reviled not again].[ 136 ] When Jesus was tried and crucified, the onlookers abused Him. Both the Jews and the Romans hurled insult after insult. An ordinary man would have been expected to mutter curses in response to what they continued to say. He did not retaliate nor answer in kind.
When He suffered [when suffering].[ 137 ] Being Deity did not neutralize
or even minimize the suffering of Jesus. Under such great stress, it is difficult
to hold one's peace and be polite. Our Lord never folded under pressure. He
did not succumb to the temptation to speak evil of his tormentors (see charts
SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST A and B).
He did not threaten [threatened, he threatened, not].[ 138 ] Jesus could
have threatened His tormentors with torture, death or hell but instead He
prayed for them (see Lu 23:34).
But committed Himself [but he trusted, but gave, he gave, himself, himself
over].[ 139 ] Instead of retaliating or cursing, Jesus continually kept on
committing Himself (Greek imperfect tense) to God who judges righteously.
He knew God would judge Him correctly and not according to the insults of
To Him who judges righteously [into the hands of him that judgeth
justly].[ 140 ] The Judge of all the earth does right [deals justly] (see Ge 18:25).
Not only is He just but He is merciful and kind (see note on 1Pe 1:17). David
wrote about both His mercy and justice in the same passage:
Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the great mountains; your judgments are a great deep; O LORD, You preserve man and beast (Ps 36:5, 6).
[2:24] Who Himself [He himself, who his own self].[ 141 ] Though
surrounded by hundreds of soldiers and spectators, Jesus, though crucified
between two thieves, was the central figure on Calvary.
Bore our sins [bare, carried, our sins].[ 142 ] Jesus was both sacrifice and
the one who bore the offering to the cross. He gave Himself (Mt 20:28; Ga
1:4; 2:20). It is as though Christ carried our sins with Him as he ascended the
"altar," the cross on Calvary's hill.[ 143 ] After He ascended He offered Himself
in the great heavenly temple.
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb 9:24-26).
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation (Heb 9:28).
In His own body [in his body].[ 144 ] Jesus offered Himself (Heb 9:26; see note above on Who Himself).
On the tree [upon the cross].[ 145 ] The Greek word for "tree" in the
present verse means wood. It can be anything made of wood such as a tree,
cross or gallows. In modern paraphrased versions, one may expect anything.
It seems rather odd, however, and quite unnecessary, for a translation such as
the NEB to render the word as "the gallows"[ 146 ] (see Ac 5:30; 10:39; chart
TREE OF THE CROSS).
That we, having died to sins [in order that, we might die, being dead to
sin, unto sins, we might be separated from our sins].[ 147 ] Worldly people may
live in order to sin but Christians do not. They have died to it.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Ro 6:1, 2).
To die to sin is to be freed from it, to cease committing it and live righteously
(compare Ro 6:7, 18; 1Pe 4:1).
Might live for righteousness [and, should, we may, live to, unto,
righteousness].[ 148 ] Of first importance is to live righteously.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Mt 6:33).
One of the antitheses of lawlessness is righteousness (Heb 1:9). A person
begins to live "for righteousness" when he obeys the gospel and receives
remission of sins (Ac 2:38). From baptism, he rises to live a new life.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Ro 6:4).
To walk in newness of life is to live "for righteousness." One who does that
always seeks to obey God's righteous commands (Ps 119:172).
By whose stripes you were healed [by his wounds, ye were, have been,
healed].[ 149 ] "Stripes" or "wounds" refer to a prophecy in Isaiah. Jesus was
"smitten by God and afflicted" (Isa 53:4).
But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isa 53:5).
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; he has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, he shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand (Isa 53:10).
The Greek word for "wounds" or "stripes" in 1 Peter 2:24 is in the singular
number. This has caused some to speculate that the beating and scourging left
Christ's entire body as one great wound! Others think it may refer to the
piercing of His side.
Scourging, among the Romans, was administered by rods (Ac 16:22; 2Co 11:25) or whips, the thongs of which were weighted with jagged pieces of bone or metal to make the blows more effective (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Joh 19:1). Law forbade scourging Roman citizens (Ac 22:25) but slaves were not exempt from it.[ 150 ] Perhaps some of Peter's readers who were bondservants or aliens had been scourged.
"Healed" refers to spiritual healing, the forgiveness of sins (compare Mt 13:15). The deep, painful, bleeding wounds in the body of Christ match the deep, terrible wounds of sin in our souls. By His wounds, we are healed of sin. If one explains this as literal, bodily healing then all Christians would surely experience miraculous recovery from every injury and disease. Especially, during the days of miracles that would have been the case but it was not. Various NT Christians had physical ailments (see chart AFFLICTED SAINTS). If physical healing were a part of the atonement that would suggest that these fine people who were not miraculously healed were lost.
2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the
Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
For you were like sheep going astray [for ye were like straying sheep, straying, going astray, as sheep][ 151 ] (see charts GOD'S FLOCK A, B and C). Jesus accused the Sadducees of straying when He asked them:
Are you not therefore mistaken,[ 152 ] because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? (Mk 12:24).
But have now returned [but are now, but now you have, returned].[ 153 ] In the past, Peter's readers, whether Gentiles or Jews, were continually straying. However, at some point in time they returned. They heard the Shepherd's call through the preaching of the gospel. They returned as they obeyed the truth (1Pe 1:22). This was at their conversion or, possibly, their restoration.
To the Shepherd [unto the Shepherd].[ 154 ] Like a shepherd, Christ came "to seek and save that which was lost" (Lu 19:10). Like a shepherd, He knows His sheep and calls them by name (Joh 10:3, 14). As the Good Shepherd, He laid down His life for the sheep (Joh 10:11, 17, 18; see charts THE LORD'S SHEEP A, B and C).
And Overseer [and Guardian, Bishop].[ 155 ] Jesus is Bishop and head of the entire church. He is Universal Bishop, a title usurped by the pope of Rome.
Of your souls.[ 156 ] Every Christian is precious to the great Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. He gave His life to purchase them. As Guardian and Shepherd, Jesus suffered untold pain. He endured all kinds of insults. When sinners became Christians, they came to Him. He led the way for them to follow (see verse 21). Some of Peter's readers were, no doubt, in literal bondage. Others were suffering persecution. Yet, their souls were free under Christ (see verse 16). His yoke is easy, but the enemies of Christ make the survival of Christians difficult. The Lord underwent more suffering than most Christians ever shall experience. He was patient, virtuous and honorable through it all. He has invited every Christian to pick up the cross and follow Him (Lu 14:27; see chart CHRIST'S SOUL MINISTRY).