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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - 1PETER 1

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    CHAPTER I

    1. Peter (Petrov). See on Matt. xvi. 18. As Paul in his letters does not call himself by his original name of Saul, so Peter calls himself, not Simon, but Peter, the name most significant and precious both to himself and to his readers, because bestowed by his Lord. In the opening of the second epistle he uses both names.

    An apostle. Of all the catholic epistles, Peter's alone puts forward his apostleship in the introduction. He is addressing churches with which he had no immediate connection, and which were distinctively Pauline. Hence he appeals to his apostleship in explanation of his writing to them, and as his warrant for taking Paul's place.

    To the strangers - elect (ver. 2, ejklektoiv parepidhmoiv). The Rev., properly, joins the two words, elect who are sojourners, instead of continuing elect with according to the foreknowledge, etc., as A.V.

    Elect. Regarding all whom he addressed as subjects of saving grace. The term corresponds to the Old-Testament title of Jehovah's people: Isaiah lxv. 9, 15, 22; Ps. cv. 43. Compare Matt. xx. 16; xxii. 14; Romans viii. 33.

    Sojourners (parepidhmoiv). Persons sojourning for a brief season in a foreign country. Though applied primarily to Hebrews scattered throughout the world (Gen. xxiii. 4; Ps. xxxix. 12), it has here a wider, spiritual sense, contemplating Christians as having their citizenship in heaven. Compare Heb. xi. 13. The preposition para, in composition, implies a sense of transitoriness, as of one who passes by to something beyond.

    Scattered (diasporav). Lit., of the dispersion; from diaspeirw, to scatter or spread abroad; speirw meaning, originally, to sow. The term was a familiar one for the whole body of Jews outside the Holy Land, scattered among the heathen.

    2. According to (kata). In virtue of; in accordance with.

    Foreknowledge (prognwsin). Only here and Acts ii. 23, in Peter's sermon at Pentecost. He is distinguishing there between foreknowledge and determinate counsel.

    The Father. Implying that the relation contemplated by the divine foreknowledge is a new relation of sonship.

    In sanctification (en agiasmw). Compare 2 Thess. ii. 13. The spiritual state in which the being elected to salvation is realized. The word is peculiarly Pauline, occurring eight times in Paul's epistles, and besides only here and Heb. xii. 14.

    Unto obedience (eiv). Note the three prepositions: according to (kata) the foreknowledge; in (en) sanctification; unto (eiv) obedience. The ground, sphere, and end of spiritual sanctification.

    Sprinkling (rantismon). Here in a passive sense - the being sprinkled. Properly, the ritualistic act of sprinkling blood or water. See Numbers xix. 19, 21. Compare Heb. ix. 13; xii. 24; Num. xix. 9, 13, where the water in which were the ashes of the red heifer is called udwr rJantismou, water of sprinkling (Septuagint), which the A.V. and Rev. Old Testament render water of separation. The word and its kindred verb occur only in Hebrews and Peter.

    Jesus Christ. The foreknowledge of the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ the Son. The Father foreknowing, the Son atoning, the Spirit applying the Son's work in sanctifying. "The mystery of the Trinity and the economy of our salvation are intimated in this verse" (Bengel).

    Grace and peace (cariv - eirhnh). Pauline terms. See Rom. i. 7. The salutation is peculiar by the addition of be multiplied, which occurs 2 Peter i. 2; Jude 2, and nowhere else in the salutations of the epistles. It is found, however, in the Septuagint, Dan. iv. 1 (Sept. iii. 31), and vi. 25. Professor Salmond observes: "If the Babylon from which Peter writes can be taken to be the literal Babylon (see on v. 13), it might be interesting to recall the epistles introduced by salutations so similar to Peter's, which were written from the same capital by two kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, of two great dynasties, and addressed to all their provinces."

    3. Blessed (euloghtov). eu, well, logov, a word. Well-spoken-of; praised; honored. Used in the New Testament of God only. The kindred verb is applied to human beings, as to Mary (Luke i. 28): "Blessed (euloghmenh) art thou." Compare the different word for blessed in Matt. v. 3, etc. (makarioi), and see notes there. The style of this doxological phrase is Pauline. Compare 2 Cor. i. 3; Eph. i. 3. Hath begotten us again (anagennhsav hmav). The verb is used by Peter only, and by him only here and ver. 23. It is in the aorist tense, and should be rendered, as Rev., begat; because regeneration is regarded as a definite historical act accomplished once for all, or possibly because Peter regards the historical act of Christ's resurrection as virtually effecting the regeneration. The latter sentiment would be Pauline, since Paul is wont to speak of Christians as dying and rising with Christ. Rom. vii. 4; vi. 8-11. Lively (zwsan). Better, as Rev., literally rendering the participle, living: a favorite word with Peter. See i. 23; ii. 4, 5, 24; iv. 5, 6; and compare Acts ix. 41, where Peter is the prominent actor; and x. 42, where he is the speaker.

    Hope (elpida). Peter is fond of this word also (see i. 13, 21; iii. 5, 15), which, in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope ("Republic," i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good.

    4. An inheritance (klhronomian). A Pauline word, from klhrov, a lot, and nemomai, to distribute among themselves. Hence an inheritance is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general distribution. In the New Testament the idea of chance attaching to the lot is eliminated. It is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by special gift. So of the vineyard seized by the wicked husbandmen: "Let us seize on his inheritance" (Matt. xxi. 38); of Abraham in Canaan: "God gave him none inheritance" (Acts vii. 5); "an eternal inheritance" (Hebrews ix. 15).

    Incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Note Peter's characteristic multiplication of epithets. Incorruptible (afqarton). From aj, not, and fqeirw, to destroy or corrupt. Undefiled (amianton). From aj, not, and miainw to defile, though the verb means especially to defile by staining, as with color; while molunw, also translated defile (1 Corinthians viii. 7), is to besmirch, as with mire. We might render unstained, though the word is not used with any conscious reference to its etymology. That fadeth not away (amaranton). Used by Peter only, and but once. From aj, not, and marainomai, to wither. The loveliness of the heavenly inheritance is described as exempt from the blight which attaches to earthly bloom. As between afqarton, incorruptible, and ajmaranton, unwithering, the former emphasizes the indestructibility of substance, and the latter of grace and beauty. The latter adjective appears in the familiar botanical name amaranth. It will be observed that all of these three epithets are compounded with the negative particle aj, not. Archbishop Trench aptly remarks that "it is a remarkable testimony to the reign of sin, and therefore of imperfection, of decay, of death throughout this whole fallen world, that as often as we desire to set forth the glory, purity, and perfection of that other, higher world toward which we strive, we are almost inevitably compelled to do this by the aid of negatives; by the denying to that higher order of things the leading features and characteristics of this." Compare Apoc. xxi. 1, 4, 22, 23, 27; xxii. 3, 5. Reserved (tethrhmenhn). Lit., which has been reserved, a perfect participle, indicating the inheritance as one reserved through God's care for his own from the beginning down to the present. Laid up and kept is the idea. The verb signifies keeping as the result of guarding. Thus in John xvii. 11, Christ says, "keep (thrson) those whom thou hast given me;" in ver. 12, "I kept them" (ethroun); i.e., preserved by guarding them. "Those whom thou gavest me I guarded (efulaxa)." So Rev., which preserves the distinction. Similarly, John xiv. 15, "keep (thrhsate) my commandments;" preserve them unbroken by careful watching. So Peter was delivered to the soldiers to guard him (fulassein), but he was kept (ethreito) in prison (Acts xii. 4, 51). Compare Col. i. 5, where a different word is used: ajpokeimenhn, lit., laid away.

    For you (eiv). The use of this preposition, instead of the simpler dative, is graphic: with reference to you; with you as its direct object.

    5. Kept (frouroumenouv). A military term. Lit., garrisoned. Rev., guarded. Compare 2 Cor. xi. 32, and the beautiful metaphorical use of the word at Philip. iv. 7, "shall guard your hearts." The present participle indicates something in progress, a continuous process of protection. Hence, lit., who are being guarded. "The inheritance is kept; the heirs are guarded" (Bengel).

    By (en) the power; through (dia) faith; unto (eiv) salvation. By, indicating the efficient cause; through, the secondary agency; unto, the result.

    Salvation. Note the frequent occurrence of this word, vv. 9, 10. Ready (etoimhn). Stronger than about to be, or destined to be, implying a state of waiting or preparedness, and thus harmonizing with reserved.

    6. Ye greatly rejoice (agalliasqe). The word is always employed in the New Testament for great or lively joy. See Matt. v. 12; Luke i. 47; x. 21.

    For a season (oligon). More literally and correctly, as Rev., for a little while. Compare ch. v. 10. The word is used nowhere else in the New Testament in this sense.

    In heaviness (luphqentev). Lit., having been grieved. Rev., ye have been put to grief.

    Through (en). But Rev., better, in; the preposition not being instrumental, but indicating the sphere or environment in which the grief operates.

    Manifold (poikiloiv). Literally the word means variegated. It is used to describe the skin of a leopard, the different-colored veinings of marble, or an embroidered robe; and thence passes into the meaning of changeful, diversified, applied to the changing months or the variations of a strain of music. Peter employs it again, ch. iv. 10, of the grace of God, and James of temptations, as here (i. 2). Compare polupoikilov, manifold, in Eph. iii. 10, applied to the wisdom of God. The word gives a vivid picture of the diversity of the trials, emphasizing this idea rather than that of their number, which is left to be inferred.

    Temptations (peirasmoiv). Better, trials, as in margin of Rev., since the word includes more than direct solicitation to evil. It embraces all that goes to furnish a test of character. Compare Jas. i. 2.

    7. Trial (dokimion). Only here and Jas. i. 3. Rev., proof. The word means a test. As the means of proof, however, is not only the touchstone itself, but the trace of the metal left upon it, the sense here is the result of the contact of faith with trial, and hence the verification of faith. The expression is equivalent to your approved faith. Compare Rom. ii. 7, 10. Than of gold. Omit the of, and read than gold. The comparison is between the approved faith and the gold; not between the faith and the proof of the gold.

    Though it be tried (dokimazomenou). Kindred with dokimion, proof, and better rendered by Rev., proved. The verb is used in classical Greek of assaying or testing metals, and means, generally, to approve or sanction upon test. It is radically akin to decesqai, to receive, and hence implies a proof with a view to determine whether a thing be worthy to be received. Compare 1 Cor. iii. 13; Gal. vi. 4; 1 John iv. 1. It thus differs from peirazein, to try or tempt (see on peirasmoiv, ver. 6), in that that verb indicates simply a putting to proof to discover what good or evil is in a person; and from the fact that such scrutiny so often develops the existence any energy of evil, the word acquired a predominant sense of putting to the proof with the design or hope of breaking down the subject under the proof - in other words, of temptation in the ordinary sense. Hence Satan is called oJ peirazwn, the tempter, Matt. iv. 3; 1 Thessalonians iii. 5. See on Matt. vi. 13. Archbishop Trench observes that "dokimazein could not be used of Satan, since he never proves that he may approve, nor tests that he may accept."

    Might be found (eureqh). In accord with the preceding expressions, and indicating discovery as the result of scrutiny.

    Praise and glory and honor. Such is the order of the best texts, and so. Rev. Glory and honor often occur together in the New Testament, as Rom. ii. 7, 10; 1 Tim. i. 17. Only here with praise. Compare spirit of glory, ch. iv. 14.

    8. Full of glory (dedoxasmenh). Lit., glorified, as Rev., in margin. Receiving (komizomenoi). The verb originally means to take care of or provide for; thence to receive hospitably or entertain; to bring home with a view to entertaining or taking care of. Hence, to carry away so as to preserve, to save, rescue, and so to carry away as a prize or booty. Generally, to receive or acquire. Paul uses it of receiving the awards of judgment (2 Cor. v. 10; Eph. vi. 8; Col. iii. 25). In Heb. it is used of receiving the promise (x. 36; xi. 39), and of Abraham receiving back Isaac (xi. 19). Peter uses it thrice, and in each case of receiving the rewards of righteousness or of iniquity. See ch. v. 4; 2 Peter ii. 13.

    10. Have inquired and searched diligently (exezhthsan - exhreunhsan). Rev., properly, renders the aorists sought and searched diligently. The ejx in composition has the force of out, searched out, and is rendered by diligently.

    Sought. Used of Esau's seeking carefully for a place of repentance, in Heb. xii. 17.

    Searched. Used nowhere else in the New Testament. Compare Septuagint, 1 Sam. xxiii. 23, of Saul's searching out David.

    11. Did signify (edhlou). Imperfect tense: better, was declaring, all along through the prophetic age, in successive prophets. See the same verb in 1 Corinthians iii. 13; 2 Pet. i. 14.

    When it testified beforehand (promarturomenon). Only here in New Testament.

    Of Christ (eiv Criston). Lit., unto Christ. So Rev., in margin. The sufferings destined for Christ, as in ver. 10 he speaks of the grace, eijv uJmav, unto you; i.e., destined to come unto you. Peter was especially concerned to show that the sufferings of Christ were in fulfilment of prophecy, because it was a subject of dispute with the Jews whether the Christ was to suffer (Acts iii. 18; xxvi. 22, 23).

    The glory (tav doxav). Rev., correctly, the glories. The plural is used to indicate the successive steps of his glorification; the glory of his resurrection and ascension, of the last judgment, and of the kingdom of heaven.

    12. Did minister (dihkonoun). Imperfect tense, were ministering. See on Mark ix. 35. The term is applicable to any kind of service, official or not. Compare 2 Cor. iii. 3.

    Desire (ejpiqumousin). The word commonly denotes intense desire. It is used by Christ in expressing his wish to eat the passover (Luke xxii. 15); of the prodigal's desire to satisfy his hunger with the husks (Luke xv. 16); and of the flesh lusting against the spirit (Gal. v. 17). To look into (parakuyai). A very graphic word, meaning to stoop sideways (para). Used by Aristophanes to picture the attitude of a bad harp-player. Here it portrays one stooping and stretching the neck to gaze on some wonderful sight. It occurs in Jas. i. 25, describing him who looks into the perfect law of liberty as into a mirror; and in Luke xxiv. 12; John xx. 5, 11, of Peter and John and Mary stooping and looking into the empty tomb. Possibly the memory of this incident unconsciously suggested the word to Peter. The phrase illustrates Peter's habitual emphasis upon the testimony of sight (see Introduction). Bengel acutely notes the hint in para, beside, that the angels contemplate the work of salvation from without, as spectators and not as participants. Compare Heb. ii. 16; Eph. iii. 10.

    13. Gird up (anazwsamenoi). Lit., having girded up. Used here only. The metaphor is suggested by the girding up of the loose eastern robes preparatory to running or other exertion. Perhaps recalling the words of Christ, Luke xii. 35. Christ's call is a call to active service. There is a fitness in the figure as addressed to sojourners and pilgrims (ch. i. 1; ii. 11), who must be always ready to move.

    Mind (dianoiav). See on Mark xii. 30.

    Be sober (nhfontev). Lit., being sober. Primarily, in a physical sense, as opposed to excess in drink, but passing into the general sense of self-control and equanimity.

    Hope to the end (teleiwv elpisate). Better, as Rev., set your hope perfectly: wholly and unchangeably; without doubt or despondency. That is to be brought (thn feromenhn). Lit., which is being brought, as Rev., in margin. The object of hope is already on the way.

    14. Obedient children (tekna upakohv). Literally, and more correctly, as Rev., children of obedience. See on Mark iii. 17. The Christian is represented as related to the motive principle of his life as a child to a parent.

    Fashioning yourselves (suschmatizomenoi). See on Matt. xvii. 2; and compare Rom. xii. 2, the only other passage where the word occurs. As schma is the outward, changeable fashion, as contrasted with what is intrinsic, the word really carries a warning against conformity to something changeful, and therefore illusory.

    15. As he which hath called you is holy (kata ton kalesanta umav agion). As of the A.V. is according to, or after the pattern of; and holy is to be taken as a personal name; the which hath called being added for definition, and in order to strengthen the exhortation. Render, therefore, after the pattern of the Holy One who called you. So, nearly, Rev., in margin. A similar construction occurs 2 Pet. ii. 1: the Lord that bought them.

    Conversation (anastrofh). A favorite word with Peter; used eight times in the two epistles. From ajna, up, and strefw, to turn. The process of development in the meaning of the word is interesting.

    1. A turning upside down.

    2. A turning about or wheeling.

    3. Turning about in a place, going back and forth there about one's business; and so,

    4. one's mode of life or conduct.

    This is precisely the idea in the word conversation (Lat., conversare, to turn around) which was used when the A.V. was made, as the common term for general deportment or behavior, and was, therefore, a correct rendering of ajnastrofh. So Latimer ("Sermons"): "We are not bound to follow the conversations or doings of the saints." And Shakspeare, 2 Hen. IV., v., v.

    "But all are banished till their conversation Appear more wise and modest to the world."

    Our later limitation of the meaning to the interchange of talk makes it expedient to change the rendering, as Rev., to manner of living.

    17. If ye call on the Father - judgeth. More correctly, Rev., If ye call on him as Father; the point being that God is to be invoked, not only as Father, but as Judge.

    Without respect of persons (aproswpolhmptwv). Here only. Peter, however, uses proswpolhmpthv, a respecter of persons, Acts x. 34, which whole passage should be compared with this. Paul and James also use the kindred word swpolhmyia, respect of persons. See Rom. ii. 11; Jas. ii. 1. James has the verb proswpolhmptew, to have respect of persons. The constituents of the compound word, proswpon, the countenance, and lambanw, to receive, are found in Gal. ii. 6; and the word is the Old-Testament formula to accept or to raise the face of another; opposed to making the countenance fall (Job xxix. 24; Gen. iv. 5). Hence, to receive kindly, or look favorably upon one (Gen. xix. 21; xxxii. 20, etc.). In the Old Testament it is, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, "a neutral expression involving no subsidiary notion of partiality, and is much oftener found in a good than in a bad sense. When it becomes an independent Greek phrase, however, the bad sense attaches to it, owing to the secondary meaning of proswpon, a mask; so that proswpon lambanein signifies to regard the external circumstances of a man, his rank, wealth, etc., as opposed to his real, intrinsic character." Sojourning (paroikiav). Compare sojourners, ver. 1.

    18. Ye were redeemed (elutrwqhte). The verb occurs only in two other passages, Luke xxiv. 21; Tit. ii. 14. It carries the idea of a ransom-price (lutron, from luw, to loose).

    With silver or gold (arguriw h crusiw). Lit., with silver or gold money; the words meaning, respectively, a small coin of silver or of gold. Conversation. Rev., manner of life. See on ver. 15.

    Received by tradition from your fathers (patroparadotou). A clumsy translation; improved by Rev., handed down from your fathers. The word is peculiar to Peter.

    19. But with the precious blood of Christ. The word Cristou, of Christ, stands at the end of the sentence, and is emphatic. Render, as Rev., with precious blood as of a lamb, etc., even the blood of Christ. Lamb. Peculiarly appropriate from Peter. See John i. 35-42. The reference is to a sacrificial lamb.

    Without blemish (amwmou). Representing the Old-Testament phrase for absence of physical defect (Exod. xii. 5; Lev. xxii. 20. Compare Heb. ix. 14).

    Without spot (aspilou). Compare 1 Tim. vi. 14; Jas. i. 27; 2 Peter iii. 14. In each case in a moral sense.

    20. Foreordained (proegnwsmenou). Lit., and better, foreknown, as Rev. Manifested (fanerwqentov). Observe the difference in tense.

    Foreknown is the perfect participle, has been known from all eternity down to the present: "in reference to the place held and continuing to be held by Christ in the divine mind" (Salmond). Manifested is the aorist participle, pointing to a definite act at a given time.

    In these last times (ep escatou twn cronwn). Lit., as Rev., at the end of the times.

    21. Which raised. Compare Rom. iv. 24.

    That your faith and hope might be in God. Some render, that your faith should also be toward God.

    22. Purified (hgnikotev). The Septuagint translation of the Old-Testament technical term for the purification of the people and priests (Josh. iii. 5, 1 Chron. xv. 12; 1 Sam. xvi. 5). Also, of the separation from wine and strong drink by the Nazarite (Num. vi. 2-6). In this ceremonial sense, John xi. 55; Acts xxi. 24, 26; xxiv. 18. In the moral sense, as here, Jas. iv. 8; 1 John iii. 3. Compare kaqarisav, purifying, Acts xv. 9.

    Obeying (upakoh). Rev., obedience. A peculiarly New Testament term unknown in classical Greek. In the Septuagint only 2 Sam. xxii. 36; rendered in A.V. gentleness. Rev., condescension, in margin.

    Unfeigned (anupokriton). 'A, not, uJpokrithv, actor. The latter word is from uJpokrinesqai, to answer on the stage, and hence to play a part or to act. A hypocrite is, therefore, an actor.

    With a pure heart (ek kaqarav kardiav). The best texts reject kaqarav, pure. Render, therefore, as Rev., from the heart.

    Fervently (ektenwv). Used by Peter only, and only in this passage. He uses the kindred adjective ejktenhv, without ceasing, in Acts xii. 5, where the narrative probably came from him, and also at ch. iv. 8; "fervent charity." The words are compounded with the verb teinw, to stretch, and signify intense strain; feeling on the rack.

    23. Being born again (anagegennhmenoi). Rev., having been begotten again. Compare Jas. i. 18.

    Of (ek) seed - by (dia) the word. Note the difference in the prepositions; the former denoting the origin or source of life, the latter the medium through which it imparts itself to the nature.

    Word of God (logou Qeou). The gospel of Christ. Compare ver. 25, and Peter's words, Acts x. 36. Also, Eph. i. 13; Col. i. 5; James i. 18. Not the personal Word, as the term is employed by John. Nevertheless, the connection and relation of the personal with the revealed word is distinctly recognized. "In the New Testament we trace a gradual ascent from (a) the concrete message as conveyed to man by personal agency through (b) the Word, the revelation of God to man which the message embodies, forming, as it were, its life and soul, to (c) THE WORD, who, being God, not only reveals but imparts himself to us, and is formed in us thereby" (Scott, on Jas. i. 18, "Speaker's Commentary").

    Seed (sporav). Nowhere else in the New Testament. Primarily, the sowing of seed.

    24. Of man. Following the reading ajnqrwpou, in the Septuagint, Isaiah xl. 6, which Peter quotes here. But the best texts read aujthv, of it, or, as Rev., thereof.

    Withereth (exhranqh). Literally, the writer puts it as in a narrative of some quick and startling event, by the use of the aorist tense: withered was the grass. Similarly, the flower fell (exepesen). Lit., fell off, the force of ejk.

    25. Word of the Lord (rhma kuriou). Compare ver. 23, and note that rJhma is used for word, instead of logov; and Kuriov, Lord, instead of Qeov, God, which is the reading of the Hebrew, and of most copies of the Septuagint. The substitution indicates that Peter identifies Jesus with God. No very satisfactory reason can be given for the change from logov to rJhma. It may be due to the Greek translation, which Peter follows.

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