|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:13-17 A Christian conversation must be honest; which it cannot be, if there is not a just and careful discharge of all relative duties: the apostle here treats of these distinctly. Regard to those duties is the will of God, consequently, the Christian's duty, and the way to silence the base slanders of ignorant and foolish men. Christians must endeavour, in all relations, to behave aright, that they do not make their liberty a cloak or covering for any wickedness, or for the neglect of duty; but they must remember that they are servants of God.
Verse 15. - For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. The Gentiles speak against the Christians as evil-doers; they are to put their accusers to silence by well-doing; this is to be their answer rather than indignant self-vindication. The Greek word rendered "put to silence" (φιμοῦν) means literally "to muzzle" (comp. Matthew 22:12; Mark 4:39; 1 Corinthians 9:10). The word for "ignorance" (ἀγνωσία) occurs, besides this passage, only in 1 Corinthians 15:34, where it evidently means "culpable, self-caused ignorance." The word for "foolish" (ἄφρων) is a strong one - it means "senseless" (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:36). Here it has the article, "the foolish men," i.e. those "who speak against you as evil-doers."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For so is the will of God,.... Which refers not so much to what goes before; though it is a truth, that it is the will of God that men should be subject to magistrates, and that magistrates should encourage virtue, and discourage vice, reward the obedient, and punish delinquents; but to what follows:
that with well doing; by doing good works, and those well; by living soberly, righteously, and godly; by having the conversation honest among the Gentiles, agreeably to the law of God, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ; particularly, by living according to the laws of civil society, so far as is consistent with, and not contrary to the commands of God; and by being subject to every civil magistrate, and ordinance of man:
ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: or, as the Syriac version renders it, "that ye may stop the mouths of those foolish men who know not God"; or, as the Ethiopic version has it, "who know not these things"; who are ignorant of God, of his righteousness, of his law, his Gospel, and ordinances. The Gentiles were very ignorant of these things, and very foolish in their imaginations about religious affairs; and from this their ignorance and folly arose calumnies, reflections, and censures upon the people of God; they neither knew God, nor them, nor true religion, and reproached what they understood not, and for want of knowing it: now the apostle signified, that it was the declared will of God that his people should so behave in civil life, that their enemies should be entirely confounded, and silenced, and have nothing to say against them; the word signifies to be muzzled, to have the mouth shut up, as with a bit or bridle; it is used in Matthew 22:12.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
2:15 The ignorance - Of them who blame you, because they do not know you: a strong motive to pity them.
1 Peter 2:15 Parallel Commentaries
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