1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
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(1) Peter, an apostle.—The authoritative tone of this Epistle is shown at the outset. The writer assumes his full titles; not (as in the Second Epistle) his merely human name of Simeon, nor his humble capacity of “servant,” but the Rock-name which Christ had given him, and the official dignity of an “Apostle of Jesus Christ”—i.e., one charged with full legatine authority from Christ (John 17:18; John 20:21)—a vicar of Christ to the Church, and not only a representative of the Church to Godwards. Observe also that while St. Paul constantly adds “by the will of God,” or some similar phrase, by way of justifying his assumption of the title, St. Peter has no need to do more than mention it; his claim was never questioned. Again, though St. Silas and St. Mark are with him, they are not associated in the initial greeting, as they would probably have been by St. Paul (e.g., 1Thessalonians 1:1 and 2Thessalonians 1:1). “Apostle” though Silas was (see 1Thessalonians 2:6), and “faithful brother” to the recipients of the Letter (1Peter 5:12), his support would have added but little weight to the utterances of the Rock-Apostle. And yet, with all this quiet assumption of dignity, St. Peter knows no higher title to bestow on himself than that which he held in common with the other eleven—“an Apostle;” not “the Apostle,” nor “bishop of bishops,” nor (which means the same thing) “servant of servants.”

To the strangers scattered throughout . . .—Literally, to the elect, sojourners of the dispersion of Pontus. The persons for whom the Letter is destined are very clearly specified. In John 7:35 we have “the dispersion of the Greeks,” where it clearly means “those of the dispersed Jews who live among the Greeks,” so here “the dispersion of Pontus,” or “the Pontine dispersion,” will mean “those of, the dispersed Jews who live in Pontus.” In James 1:1 the same word is used, and, in fact, it seems to have been the recognised name for all Jews who did not live in Palestine. The word rendered by “sojourners” means people who are resident for a time among strangers: it might, for instance, describe English people who have taken houses in Paris without becoming naturalised; and, as it is here in so close a connection with geographical words, it seems forced to interpret it metaphorically (as in 1Peter 2:11). Palestine, not Heaven, is the home tacitly contrasted; Pontus, not earth, is the place of sojourn. This, then, is clear, that the Apostle of the Circumcision is writing to those of the Circumcision. The addition of the words “the blood of Jesus Christ” is the only thing which shows that they are Christian Jews.

Pontus, Galatia . . .—The provinces which between them make up the whole, or nearly so, of what we call Asia Minor, are named in no order that can be assigned a meaning, or that indicates the quarter whence the Letter was written. Possibly the circumstances which called for the writing of the Epistle may have been most striking in Pontus. Notice that at any rate the churches of Galatia and Asia owed their origin to St. Paul. Of the founding of the rest we know nothing; perhaps they were founded by St. Silas: but Jewish settlers from Cappadocia and Pontus had heard St. Peter’s first sermon on the Church’s birthday (Acts 2:9). A few years later and Pliny finds the whole upper shore of Asia Minor overrun and swallowed up by Christians.

1 Peter


1 Peter 1:1The words rendered ‘strangers scattered’ are literally ‘sojourners of the Dispersion,’ and are so rendered in the Revised Version. The Dispersion was the recognised name for the Jews dwelling in Gentile countries; as, for instance, it is employed in John’s Gospel, when the people in Jerusalem say, ‘Whither will this man go that we shall not find Him? Will he go to the Dispersion amongst the Greeks?’ Obviously, therefore the word here may refer to the scattered Jewish people, but the question arises whether the letter corresponds to its apparent address, or whether the language which is employed in it does not almost oblige us to see here a reference, not to the Jew, but to the whole body of Christian people, who, whatever may be their outward circumstances, are, in the deepest sense, in the foundations of their life, if they be Christ’s, ‘strangers of the Dispersion.’

Now if we look at the letter we find such words as these--’The times of your ignorance’--’your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers’--’in time past were not a people’--’the time past may suffice to have wrought the will of the Gentiles’--all of which, as you see, can only be accommodated to Jewish believers by a little gentle violence, but all of which find a proper significance if we suppose them addressed to Gentiles, to whom they are only applicable in the higher sense of the words to which I have referred. If we understand them so, we have here an instance of what runs all through the letter; the taking hold of Jewish ideas for the purpose of lifting them into a loftier region, and transfiguring them into the expression of Christian truth. For example, we read in it: ‘Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation’; and again: ‘Ye are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.’ These and other similar passages are instances of precisely the same transference of Jewish ideas as I find, in accordance with many good commentators, in the words of my text.

So, then, here is Peter’s notion of--

I. What the Christian Life is.

All those who really have faith in Jesus Christ are ‘strangers of the Dispersion’; scattered throughout the world, and dwelling dispersedly in an order of things to which they do not belong, ‘seeking a city which hath foundations.’ The word ‘strangers’ means, originally, persons for a time living in an alien city. And that is the idea that the Apostle would impress upon us as true for each of us, in the measure in which our Christianity is real. For, remember, although all men may be truly spoken of as being ‘pilgrims and sojourners upon the earth’ by reason of both the shortness of the duration of their earthly course and the disproportion between their immortal part and the material things amongst which they dwell, Peter is thinking of something very different from either the brevity of earthly life or the infinite necessities of an immortal spirit when he calls his Christian brethren strangers. Not because we are men, not because we are to die soon, and the world is to outlast us; not because other people will one day live in our houses and read our books and sit upon our chairs, and we shall be forgotten, but because we are Christ’s people are we here sojourners, and must regard this as not our rest. Not because our immortal soul cannot satisfy itself, however it tries, upon the trivialities of earth any more than a human appetite can on the husks that the swine do eat, but because new desires, tastes, aspirations, affinities, have been kindled in us by the new life that has flowed into us; therefore the connection that other men have with the world, which makes some of them altogether ‘men of the world, whose portion is in this life,’ is for us broken, and we are strangers, scattered abroad, solitary, not by reason of the inevitable loneliness in which, after all love and companionship, every soul lives; not by reason of losses or deaths, but by reason of the contrariety between the foundation of our lives, and the foundation of the lives of the men round us; therefore we stand lonely in the midst of crowds; strangers in the ordered communities of the world.

Ah, there is no solitude so utter as the solitude of being the only man in a crowd that has a faith in his heart, and there is no isolating power like the power of rending all ties that true attachment with Jesus Christ has. ‘Think not that I am come to bring peace on earth, but a sword’--to set a man against his own household, if they be not of the household of faith. These things are the inevitable issues of religion--to make us strangers, isolated in the midst of this world.

And now let us think of--

II. Some of the plain consequent duties that arise from this characteristic of the Christian Life.

Let me put them in the shape of one or two practical counsels. First let us try to keep up, vivid and sharp, a sense of separation. I do not mean that we should withdraw ourselves from sympathies, nor from services, nor from the large area of common ground which we have with our fellows, whether they be Christians or no--with our fellow-citizens; with those who are related to us by various bonds, by community of purpose, of aim, of opinion, or of affection. But just as Abraham was willing to go down into the plain and fight for Lot, though he would not go down and live in Sodom, and just as he would enter into relations of amity with the men of the land, and yet would not abandon his black camels’-hair tent, pitched beneath the terebinth tree, in order to go into their city and abide with them, so one great part of the wisdom of a Christian man is to draw the line of separation decisively, and yet to keep true to the bond of union. Unless Christian people do make a distinct effort to keep themselves apart from the world and its ways, they will get confounded with these, and when the end comes they will be destroyed with them.

Sometimes voyagers find upon some lonely island an English castaway, who has forgotten home, and duty, and everything else, to luxuriate in an easy life beneath tropical skies, and has degraded himself to the level of the savage islanders round him. There are professing Christians--perhaps in my audience--who, like that poor castaway, have ‘forgotten the imperial palace whence they came,’ and have gone down and down and down, to live the fat, contented, low lives of the men who find their good upon earth and not in heaven. Do you, dear brethren, try to keep vivid the sense that you belong to another community. As Paul puts it, with a metaphor drawn from Gentile instead of from Jewish life, as in our text, ‘Our citizenship is in heaven.’ Philippi, to the Christian Church of which that was said, was a Roman colony; and the characteristics of a Roman colony were that the inhabitants were enrolled as members of the Roman tribes, and had their names on the register of Rome, and were governed by its laws. So we, living here in an outlying province, have our names written in the ‘Golden Book’ of the citizens of the new Jerusalem. Do not forget, if I might use a very homely illustration, what parish your settlement is in; remember what kingdom you belong to.

Again, if we are strangers of the Dispersion, let us live by our own country’s laws, and not by the codes that are current in this foreign land where we are settled for a time. You remember what was the complaint of the people in Persia to Esther’s king? ‘There is a people whose laws are different from all the peoples that be upon the earth.’ That was an offence that could not be tolerated in a despotism that ground everything down to the one level of a slavish uniformity. It will be well for us Christian people if men look at us, and say, ‘Ah, that man has another rule of conduct from the one that prevails generally. I wonder what is the underlying principle of his life; it evidently is not the same as mine.’

Live by our King’s law. People in our colonies, at least the officials, set wonderful store by the approbation of the Colonial Office at home. It does not matter what the colonial newspapers say, it is ‘what will they say in Downing Street?’ And if a despatch goes out approving of their conduct, neighbours may censure and sneer as they list. So we Christians have to report to Home, and have so to live ‘that whether present or absent’--in a colony or in the mother country--’we may be well pleasing unto Him.’

Keep up the honour and advance the interests of your own country. You are here, among other reasons, to represent your King, and people take their notions of Him very considerably from their experience of you. So see to it that you live like the Master whom you say you serve.

The Russian Government sends out what are called military colonies, studded along the frontier, with the one mission of extending the empire. We are set along the frontier with the same mission. The strangers are scattered. Congested, they would be less useful; dispersed, they may push forward the frontiers. Seed in a seed-basket is not in its right place; but sown broadcast over the field, it will be waving wheat in a month or two. ‘Ye are the salt of the earth’--salt is sprinkled over what it is intended to preserve. You are the strangers of the Dispersion, that you may be the messengers of the Evangelisation.

Lastly, let us be glad when we think, and let us often think, of--

III. The Home in Glory.

That is a beautiful phrase which pairs off with the one in my text, in which another Apostle speaks of the ultimate end as ‘our gathering together in Christ.’ All the scattered ones, like chips of wood in a whirlpool, drift gradually closer and closer, until they unite in a solid mass in the centre. So at the last the ‘strangers’ are to be brought and settled in their own land, and their lonely lives are to be filled with happy companionship, and they to be in a more blessed unity than now. ‘Fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God.’ If we, dwelling in this far-off land, were habitually to talk, as Australians do of coming to England of ‘going home,’ though born in the colony, it would be a glad day for us when we set out on the journey. If Christian people lived more by faith, as they profess to do, and less by sight, they would oftener think of the home-coming and the union; and would be happy when they thought that they were here but for awhile, and when they realised these two blessed elements of permanence and of companionship, which another Apostle packs into one sentence, along with that which is greater than them both, ‘so shall we ever be with the Lord.’

1 Peter 1:1. Peter, &c., to the strangers — Or sojourners, as παρεπιδημοις more properly signifies; that is, to the Jewish or Gentile Christians sojourning on earth: see on 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalm 39:12; Hebrews 11:13. Scattered Διασπορας, of the dispersion, or dispersed, partly, probably, by the persecution mentioned Acts 8:1; or the expression may merely signify, that they lived at a distance from each other, being scattered through the widely-extended regions here mentioned; through Pontus, &c. — He names these five provinces in the order wherein they occurred to him, writing from the east. All these countries lie in the Lesser Asia. The Asia here distinguished from other provinces, is that which was usually called the Proconsular Asia, being a Roman province.

1:1-9 This epistle is addressed to believers in general, who are strangers in every city or country where they live, and are scattered through the nations. These are to ascribe their salvation to the electing love of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; and so to give glory to one God in three Persons, into whose name they had been baptized. Hope, in the world's phrase, refers only to an uncertain good, for all worldly hopes are tottering, built upon sand, and the worldling's hopes of heaven are blind and groundless conjectures. But the hope of the sons of the living God is a living hope; not only as to its object, but as to its effect also. It enlivens and comforts in all distresses, enables to meet and get over all difficulties. Mercy is the spring of all this; yea, great mercy and manifold mercy. And this well-grounded hope of salvation, is an active and living principle of obedience in the soul of the believer. The matter of a Christian's joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this signifies its purity and perfection. And it fadeth not; is not sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like itself. All possessions here are stained with defects and failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs. All possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using them. How ready we are to turn the things we possess into occasions and instruments of sin, and to think there is no liberty or delight in their use, without abusing them! Worldly possessions are uncertain and soon pass away, like the flowers and plants of the field. That must be of the greatest worth, which is laid up in the highest and best place, in heaven. Happy are those whose hearts the Holy Spirit sets on this inheritance. God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto glory. Every believer has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and conduct. The Lord does not willingly afflict, yet his wise love often appoints sharp trials, to show his people their hearts, and to do them good at the latter end. Gold does not increase by trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Let this reconcile us to present afflictions. Seek then to believe Christ's excellence in himself, and his love to us; this will kindle such a fire in the heart as will make it rise up in a sacrifice of love to him. And the glory of God and our own happiness are so united, that if we sincerely seek the one now, we shall attain the other when the soul shall no more be subject to evil. The certainty of this hope is as if believers had already received it.Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ - On the word apostle, see the Romans 1:1 note; 1 Corinthians 9:1 ff notes.

To the strangers - In the Greek, the word "elect" (see 1 Peter 1:2) occurs here: ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις eklektois parepidēmois, "to the elect strangers." He here addresses them as elect; in the following verse he shows them in what way they were elected. See the notes there: The word rendered "strangers" occurs only in three places in the New Testament; Hebrews 11:13, and 1 Peter 2:11, where it is rendered pilgrims, and in the place before us. See the notes at Hebrews 11:13. The word means, literally, a by-resident, a sojourner among a people not one's own - Robinson. There has been much diversity of opinion as to the persons here referred to: some supposing that the Epistle was written to those who had been Jews, who were now converted, and who were known by the common appellation among their countrymen as "the scattered abroad," or the "dispersion;" that is, those who were strangers or sojourners away from their native land; others, that the reference is to those who were called, among the Jews, "proselytes of the gate," or those who were admitted to certain external privileges among the Jews, (see the notes at Matthew 23:15) and others, that the allusion is to Christians as such, without reference to their origin, and who are spoken of as strangers and pilgrims.

That the apostle did not write merely to those who had been Jews, is clear from 1 Peter 4:3-4 (compare the introduction), and it seems probable that he means here Christians as such, without reference to their origin, who were scattered through the various provinces of Asia Minor. Yet it seems also probable that he did not use the term as denoting that they were "strangers and pilgrims on the earth," or with reference to the fact that the earth was not their home, as the word is used in Hebrews 11:13; but that he used the term as a Jew would naturally use it, accustomed, as he was, to employ it as denoting his own countrymen dwelling in distant lands. He would regard them still as the people of God, though dispersed abroad; as those who were away from what was properly the home of their fathers. So Peter addresses these Christians as the people of God, now scattered abroad; as similar in their condition to the Jews who had been dispersed among the Gentiles. Compare the introduction, section 1. It is not necessarily implied that these persons were strangers to Peter, or that he had never seen them; though this was not improbably the fact in regard to most of them.

Scattered - Greek, "of the dispersion," (διασπορᾶς diasporas) a term which a Jew would be likely to use who spoke of his countrymen dwelling among the pagan. See the John 7:35 note, and James 1:1 note, where the same Greek word is found. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. Here, however, it is applied to Christians as dispersed or scattered abroad.

Throughout Pontus ... - These were provinces of Asia Minor. Their position may be seen in the map prefixed to the Acts of the Apostles. On the situation of Pontus, see the notes at Acts 2:9.

Galatia - On the situation of this province, and its history, see the introduction to the notes at Galatians, section 1.

Cappadocia - See the notes at Acts 2:9.

Asia - Meaning a province of Asia Minor, of which Ephesus was the capital. See the notes at Acts 2:9.

And Bithynia - See the notes at Acts 16:7.



Its genuineness is attested by 2Pe 3:1. On the authority of Second Peter, see the [2610]Introduction. Also by Polycarp (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 4.14]), who, in writing to the Philippians, quotes many passages: in the second chapter he quotes 1Pe 1:13, 21; 3:9; in the fifth chapter, 1Pe 2:11. Eusebius says of Papias [Ecclesiastical History, 3.39] that he, too, quotes Peter's First Epistle. Irenæus [Against Heresies, 4.9.2] expressly mentions it; and in [4.16.5], 1Pe 2:16. Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 1.3, p. 544], quotes 1Pe 2:11, 12, 15, 16; and [p. 562], 1Pe 1:21, 22; and [4, p. 584], 1Pe 3:14-17; and [p. 585], 1Pe 4:12-14. Origen (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.25]) mentions this Epistle; in [Homily 7, on Joshua, vol. 2, p. 63], he mentions both Epistles; and [Commentary on Psalm 3 and on John], he mentions 1Pe 3:18-21. Tertullian [Antidote to the Scorpion's Sting, 12], quotes expressly 1Pe 2:20, 21; and [Antidote to the Scorpion's Sting, 14], 1Pe 2:13, 17. Eusebius states it as the opinion of those before him that this was among the universally acknowledged Epistles. The Peschito Syriac Version contains it. The fragment of the canon called Muratori's omits it. Excepting this, and the Paulician heretics, who rejected it, all ancient testimony is on its side. The internal evidence is equally strong. The author calls himself the apostle Peter, 1Pe 1:1, and "a witness of Christ's sufferings," and an "elder," 1Pe 5:1. The energy of the style harmonizes with the warmth of Peter's character; and, as Erasmus says, this Epistle is full of apostolic dignity and authority and is worthy of the leader among the apostles.

Peter's personal history.—Simon, Or Simeon, was a native of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, son of Jonas or John. With his father and his brother Andrew he carried on trade as a fisherman at Capernaum, his subsequent place of abode. He was a married man, and tradition represents his wife's name as Concordia or Perpetua. Clement of Alexandria says that she suffered martyrdom, her husband encouraging her to be faithful unto death, "Remember, dear, our Lord." His wife's mother was restored from a fever by Christ. He was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist, but was pointed to the Saviour as "the Lamb of God" by his master (Joh 1:29). Jesus, on first beholding him, gave him the name by which chiefly he is known, indicative of his subsequent character and work in the Church, "Peter" (Greek) or "Cephas" (Aramaic), a stone (Mt 4:18). He did not join our Lord finally until a subsequent period. The leading incidents in his apostolic life are well known: his walking on the troubled waters to meet Jesus, but sinking through doubting (Mt 14:30); his bold and clear acknowledgment of the divine person and office of Jesus (Mt 16:16; Mr 8:29; Joh 11:27), notwithstanding the difficulties in the way of such belief, whence he was then also designated as the stone, or rock (Mt 16:18); but his rebuke of his Lord when announcing what was so unpalatable to carnal prejudices, Christ's coming passion and death (Mt 16:22); his passing from one extreme to the opposite, in reference to Christ's offer to wash his feet (Joh 13:8, 9); his self-confident assertion that he would never forsake his Lord, whatever others might do (Mt 26:33), followed by his base denial of Christ thrice with curses (Mt 26:75); his deep penitence; Christ's full forgiveness and prophecy of his faithfulness unto death, after he had received from him a profession of "love" as often repeated as his previous denial (Joh 21:15-17). These incidents illustrate his character as zealous, pious, and ardently attached to the Lord, but at the same time impulsive in feeling, rather than calmly and continuously steadfast. Prompt in action and ready to avow his convictions boldly, he was hasty in judgment, precipitate, and too self-confident in the assertion of his own steadfastness; the result was that, though he abounded in animal courage, his moral courage was too easily overcome by fear of man's opinion. A wonderful change was wrought in him by his restoration after his fall, through the grace of his risen Lord. His zeal and ardor became sanctified, being chastened by a spirit of unaffected humility. His love to the Lord was, if possible, increased, while his mode of manifesting it now was in doing and suffering for His name, rather than in loud protestations. Thus, when imprisoned and tried before the Sanhedrim for preaching Christ, he boldly avowed his determination to continue to do so. He is well called "the mouth of the apostles." His faithfulness led to his apprehension by Herod Agrippa, with a view to his execution, from which, however, he was delivered by the angel of the Lord.

After the ascension he took the lead in the Church; and on the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he exercised the designed power of "the keys" of Christ's kingdom, by opening the door of the Church, in preaching, for the admission of thousands of Israelites; and still more so in opening (in obedience to a special revelation) an entrance to the "devout" (that is, Jewish proselyte from heathendom) Gentile, Cornelius: the forerunner of the harvest gathered in from idolatrous Gentiles at Antioch. This explains in what sense Christ used as to him the words, "Upon this rock I will build my Church" (Mt 16:18), namely, on the preaching of Christ, the true "Rock," by connection with whom only he was given the designation: a title shared in common on the same grounds by the rest of the apostles, as the first founders of the Church on Christ, "the chief corner-stone" (Eph 2:20). A name is often given in Hebrew, not that the person is actually the thing itself, but has some special relation to it; as Elijah means Mighty Jehovah, so Simon is called Peter "the rock," not that he is so, save by connection with Jesus, the only true Rock (Isa 28:16; 1Co 3:11). As subsequently he identified himself with "Satan," and is therefore called so (Mt 16:23), in the same way, by his clear confession of Christ, the Rock, he became identified with Him, and is accordingly so called (Mt 16:18). It is certain that there is no instance on record of Peter's having ever claimed or exercised supremacy; on the contrary, he is represented as sent by the apostles at Jerusalem to confirm the Samaritans baptized by Philip the deacon; again at the council of Jerusalem, not he, but James the president, or leading bishop in the Church of that city, pronounced the authoritative decision: Ac 15:19, "My sentence is," &c. A kind of primacy, doubtless (though certainly not supremacy), was given him on the ground of his age, and prominent earnestness, and boldness in taking the lead on many important occasions. Hence he is called "first" in enumerating the apostles. Hence, too, arise the phrases, "Peter and the Eleven," "Peter and the rest of the apostles"; and Paul, in going up to Jerusalem after his conversion, went to see Peter in particular.

Once only he again betrayed the same spirit of vacillation through fear of man's reproach which had caused his denial of his Lord. Though at the Jerusalem council he advocated the exemption of Gentile converts from the ceremonial observances of the law, yet he, after having associated in closest intercourse with the Gentiles at Antioch, withdrew from them, through dread of the prejudices of his Jewish brethren who came from James, and timidly dissembled his conviction of the religious equality of Jew and Gentile; for this Paul openly withstood and rebuked him: a plain refutation of his alleged supremacy and infallibility (except where specially inspired, as in writing his Epistles). In all other cases he showed himself to be, indeed, as Paul calls him, "a pillar" (Ga 2:9). Subsequently we find him in "Babylon," whence he wrote this First Epistle to the Israelite believers of the dispersion, and the Gentile Christians united in Christ, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

Jerome [On Illustrious Men, 1] states that "Peter, after having been bishop of Antioch, and after having preached to the believers of the circumcision in Pontus, &c. [plainly inferred from 1Pe 1:1], in the second year of Claudius went to Rome to refute Simon Magus, and for twenty-five years there held the episcopal chair, down to the last year of Nero, that is, the fourteenth, by whom he was crucified with his head downwards, declaring himself unworthy to be crucified as his Lord, and was buried in the Vatican, near the triumphal way." Eusebius [Chronicles, Anno 3], also asserts his episcopate at Antioch; his assertion that Peter founded that Church contradicts Ac 11:19-22. His journey to Rome to oppose Simon Magus arose from Justin's story of the statue found at Rome (really the statue of the Sabine god, Semo Sanctus, or Hercules, mistaken as if Simon Magus were worshipped by that name, "Simoni Deo Sancto"; found in the Tiber in 1574, or on an island in the Tiber in 1662), combined with the account in Ac 8:9-24. The twenty-five years' bishopric is chronologically impossible, as it would make Peter, at the interview with Paul at Antioch, to have been then for some years bishop of Rome! His crucifixion is certain from Christ's prophecy, Joh 21:18, 19. Dionysius of Corinth (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25]) asserted in an epistle to the Romans, that Paul and Peter planted both the Roman and Corinthian churches, and endured martyrdom in Italy at the same time. So Tertullian [Against Marcion, 4.5, and The Prescription Against Heretics, 36, 38]. Also Caius, the presbyter of Rome, in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25] asserts that some memorials of their martyrdom were to be seen at Rome on the road to Ostia. So Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25, and Demonstration of the Gospel, 3.116]. So Lactantius [Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, 2]. Many of the details are palpably false; whether the whole be so or not is dubious, considering the tendency to concentrate at Rome events of interest [Alford]. What is certain is, that Peter was not there before the writing of the Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58), otherwise he would have been mentioned in it; nor during Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, otherwise he would have been mentioned in some one of Paul's many other Epistles written from Rome; nor during Paul's second imprisonment, at least when he was writing the Second Epistle to Timothy, just before his martyrdom. He may have gone to Rome after Paul's death, and, as common tradition represents, been imprisoned in the Mamertine dungeon, and crucified on the Janiculum, on the eminence of St. Pietro in Montorio, and his remains deposited under the great altar in the center of the famous basilica of St. Peter. Ambrose [Epistles, 33 (Edition Paris, 1586), p. 1022] relates that St. Peter, not long before his death, being overcome by the solicitations of his fellow Christians to save himself, was fleeing from Rome when he was met by our Lord, and on asking, "Lord, whither goest Thou?" received the answer, "I go to be crucified afresh." On this he returned and joyfully went to martyrdom. The church called "Domine quo vadis" on the Appian Way, commemorates the legend. It is not unlikely that the whole tradition is built on the connection which existed between Paul and Peter. As Paul, "the apostle of the uncircumcision," wrote Epistles to Galatia, Ephesus, and Colosse, and to Philemon at Colosse, making the Gentile Christians the persons prominently addressed, and the Jewish Christians subordinately so; so, vice versa, Peter, "the apostle of the circumcision," addressed the same churches, the Jewish Christians in them primarily, and the Gentile Christians also, secondarily.

To whom he addresses this epistle.—The heading, 1Pe 1:1, "to the elect strangers (spiritually pilgrims) of the dispersion" (Greek), clearly marks the Christians of the Jewish dispersion as prominently addressed, but still including also Gentile Christians as grafted into the Christian Jewish stock by adoption and faith, and so being part of the true Israel. 1Pe 1:14; 2:9, 10; 3:6; 4:3 clearly prove this. Thus he, the apostle of the circumcision, sought to unite in one Christ Jew and Gentile, promoting thereby the same work and doctrine as Paul the apostle of the uncircumcision. The provinces are named by Peter in the heading in the order proceeding from northeast to south and west. Pontus was the country of the Christian Jew Aquila. To Galatia Paul paid two visits, founding and confirming churches. Crescens, his companion, went there about the time of Paul's last imprisonment, just before his martyrdom. Ancyra was subsequently its ecclesiastical metropolis. Men of Cappadocia, as well as of "Pontus" and "Asia," were among the hearers of Peter's effective sermon on the Pentecost whereon the Spirit decended on the Church; these probably brought home to their native land the first tidings of the Gospel. Proconsular "Asia" included Mysia, Lydia, Caria, Phrygia, Pisidia, and Lyaconia. In Lycaonia were the churches of Iconium, founded by Paul and Barnabas; of Lystra, Timothy's birthplace, where Paul was stoned at the instigation of the Jews; and of Derbe, the birthplace of Gaius, or Caius. In Pisidia was Antioch, where Paul was the instrument of converting many, but was driven out by the Jews. In Caria was Miletus, containing doubtless a Christian Church. In Phrygia, Paul preached both times when visiting Galatia in its neighborhood, and in it were the churches of Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colosse, of which last Church Philemon and Onesimus were members, and Archippus and Epaphras leaders. In Lydia was the Philadelphian Church, favorably noticed in Re 3:7, &c.; that of Sardis, the capital, and of Thyatira, and of Ephesus, founded by Paul, and a scene of the labors of Aquila and Priscilla and Apollos, and subsequently of more than two whole years' labor of Paul again, and subsequently censured for falling from its first love in Re 2:4. Smyrna of Ionia was in the same quarter, and as one of the seven churches receives unqualified praise. In Mysia was Pergamos. Troas, too, is known as the scene of Paul's preaching and raising Eutychus to life (Ac 20:6-10), and of his subsequently staying for a time with Carpus (2Ti 4:13). Of "Bithynia," no Church is expressly named in Scripture elsewhere. When Paul at an earlier period "assayed to go into Bithynia" (Ac 16:7), the Spirit suffered him not. But afterwards, we infer from 1Pe 1:1, the Spirit did impart the Gospel to that country, possibly by Peter's ministry, In government, these several churches, it appears from this Epistle (1Pe 5:1, 2, "Feed," &c.), were much in the same states as when Paul addressed the Ephesian "elders" at Miletus (Ac 20:17, 28, "feed") in very similar language; elders or presbyter-bishops ruled, while the apostles exercised the general superintendence. They were exposed to persecutions, though apparently not systematic, but rather annoyances and reproach arising from their not joining their heathen neighbors in riotous living, into which, however, some of them were in danger of falling. The evils which existed among themselves, and which are therefore reproved, were ambition and lucre-seeking on the part of the presbyters (1Pe 5:2, 3), evil thoughts and words among the members in general, and a want of sympathy and generosity towards one another.

His object seems to be, by the prospect of their heavenly portion and by Christ's example, to afford consolation to the persecuted, and prepare them for a greater approaching ordeal, and to exhort all, husbands, wives, servants, presbyters, and people, to a due discharge of relative duties, so as to give no handle to the enemy to reproach Christianity, but rather to win them to it, and so to establish them in "the true grace of God wherein they stand" (1Pe 5:12). However, see on [2611]1Pe 5:12, on the oldest reading. Alford rightly argues that "exhorting and testifying" there, refer to Peter's exhortations throughout the Epistle grounded on testimony which he bears to the Gospel truth, already well known to his readers by the teaching of Paul in those churches. They were already introduced "into" (so the Greek, 1Pe 5:12) this grace of God as their safe standing-ground. Compare 1Co 15:1, "I declare unto you the Gospel wherein ye stand." Therefore he does not, in this Epistle, set forth a complete statement of this Gospel doctrine of grace, but falls back on it as already known. Compare 1Pe 1:8, 18, "ye know"; 1Pe 3:15; 2Pe 3:1. Not that Peter servilely copies the style and mode of teaching of Paul, but as an independent witness in his own style attests the same truths. We may divide the Epistle into: (I) The inscription (1Pe 1:1, 2). (II) The stirring-up of a pure feeling in believers as born again of God. By the motive of hope to which God has regenerated us (1Pe 1:3-12); bringing forth the fruit of faith, considering the costly price paid for our redemption from sin (1Pe 1:14-21). Being purified by the Spirit unto love of the brethren as begotten of God's eternal word, as spiritual priest-kings, to whom alone Christ is precious (1Pe 1:22; 2:10); after Christ's example in suffering, maintaining a good conversation in every relation (1Pe 2:10; 3:14), and a good profession of faith as having in view Christ's once-offered sacrifice, and His future coming to judgment (1Pe 3:15; 4:11); and exhibiting patience in adversity, as looking for future glorification with Christ, (1) in general as Christians, 1Pe 4:12-19; (2) each in his own sphere, 1Pe 5:1-11. "The title "Beloved" marks the separation of the second part from the first, 1Pe 2:11; and of the third part from the second, 1Pe 4:12" [Bengel]. (III). The conclusion.

Time and place of writing.—It was plainly before the open and systematic persecution of the later years of Nero had begun. That this Epistle was written after Paul's Epistles, even those written during his imprisonment at Rome, ending in A.D. 63, appears from the acquaintance which Peter in this Epistle shows he has with them. Compare 1Pe 2:13 with 1Ti 2:2-4; 1Pe 2:18 with Eph 6:5; 1Pe 1:2 with Eph 1:4-7; 1Pe 1:3 with Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:14 with Ro 12:2; 1Pe 2:6-10 with Ro 9:32, 33; 1Pe 2:13 with Ro 13:1-4; 1Pe 2:16 with Ga 5:13; 1Pe 2:18 with Eph 6:5; 1Pe 3:1 with Eph 5:22; 1Pe 3:9 with Ro 12:17; 1Pe 4:9 with Php 2:14; Ro 12:13 and Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:10 with Ro 12:6-8; 1Pe 5:1 with Ro 8:18; 1Pe 5:5 with Eph 5:21; Php 2:3, 5-8; 1Pe 5:8 with 1Th 5:6; 1Pe 5:14 with 1Co 16:20. Moreover, in 1Pe 5:13, Mark is mentioned as with Peter in Babylon. This must have been after Col 4:10 (A.D. 61-63), when Mark was with Paul at Rome, but intending to go to Asia Minor. Again, in 2Ti 4:11 (A.D. 67 or 68), Mark was in or near Ephesus, in Asia Minor, and Timothy is told to bring him to Rome. So that it is likely it was after this, namely, after Paul's martyrdom, that Mark joined Peter, and consequently that this Epistle was written. It is not likely that Peter would have entrenched on Paul's field of labor, the churches of Asia Minor, during Paul's lifetime. The death of the apostle of the uncircumcision, and the consequent need of someone to follow up his teachings, probably gave occasion to the testimony given by Peter to the same churches, collectively addressed, in behalf of the same truth. The relation in which the Pauline Gentile churches stood towards the apostles at Jerusalem favors this view. Even the Gentile Christians would naturally look to the spiritual fathers of the Church at Jerusalem, the center whence the Gospel had emanated to them, for counsel wherewith to meet the pretensions of Judaizing Christians and heretics; and Peter, always prominent among the apostles in Jerusalem, would even when elsewhere feel a deep interest in them, especially when they were by death bereft of Paul's guidance. Birks [Horæ Evangelicæ] suggests that false teachers may have appealed from Paul's doctrine to that of James and Peter. Peter then would naturally write to confirm the doctrines of grace and tacitly show there was no difference between his teaching and Paul's. Birks prefers dating the Epistle A.D. 58, after Paul's second visit to Galatia, when Silvanus was with him, and so could not have been with Peter (A.D. 54), and before his imprisonment at Rome, when Mark was with him, and so could not have been with Peter (A.D. 62); perhaps when Paul was detained at Cæsarea, and so debarred from personal intercourse with those churches. I prefer the view previously stated. This sets aside the tradition that Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom together at Rome. Origen's and Eusebius' statement that Peter visited the churches of Asia in person seems very probable.

The PLACE OF WRITING was doubtless Babylon on the Euphrates (1Pe 5:13). It is most improbable that in the midst of writing matter-of-fact communications and salutations in a remarkably plain Epistle, the symbolical language of prophecy (namely, "Babylon" for Rome) should be used. Josephus [Antiquities, 15.2.2; 3.1] states that there was a great multitude of Jews in the Chaldean Babylon; it is therefore likely that "the apostle of the circumcision" (Ga 2:7, 8) would at some time or other visit them. Some have maintained that the Babylon meant was in Egypt because Mark preached in and around Alexandria after Peter's death, and therefore it is likely he did so along with that apostle in the same region previously. But no mention elsewhere in Scripture is made of this Egyptian Babylon, but only of the Chaldean one. And though towards the close of Caligula's reign a persecution drove the Jews thence to Seleucia, and a plague five years after still further thinned their numbers, yet this does not preclude their return and multiplication during the twenty years that elapsed between the plague and the writing of the Epistle. Moreover, the order in which the countries are enumerated, from northeast to south and west, is such as would be adopted by one writing from the Oriental Babylon on the Euphrates, not from Egypt or Rome. Indeed, Cosmas Indicopleustes, in the sixth century, understood the Babylon meant to be outside the Roman empire. Silvanus, Paul's companion, became subsequently Peter's, and was the carrier of this Epistle.

Style.—Fervor and practical truth, rather than logical reasoning, are the characteristics, of this Epistle, as they were of its energetic, warm-hearted writer. His familiarity with Paul's Epistles shown in the language accords with what we should expect from the fact of Paul's having "communicated the Gospel which he preached among the Gentiles" (as revealed specially to him) to Peter among others "of reputation" (Ga 2:2). Individualities occur, such as baptism, "the answer of a good conscience toward God" (1Pe 3:21); "consciousness of God" (Greek), 1Pe 2:19, as a motive for enduring sufferings; "living hope" (1Pe 1:3); "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away" (1Pe 1:4); "kiss of charity" (1Pe 5:14). Christ is viewed less in relation to His past sufferings than as at present exalted and hereafter to be manifested in all His majesty. Glory and hope are prominent features in this Epistle (1Pe 1:8), so much so that Weiss entitles him "the apostle of hope." The realization of future bliss as near causes him to regard believers as but "strangers" and "sojourners" here. Chastened fervor, deep humility, and ardent love appear, just as we should expect from one who had been so graciously restored after his grievous fall. "Being converted," he truly does "strengthen his brethren." His fervor shows itself in often repeating the same thought in similar words.

In some passages he shows familiarity with the Epistle of James, the apostle of special weight with the Jewish legalizing party, whose inspiration he thus confirms (compare 1Pe 1:6, 7 with Jas 1:2, 3; 1Pe 1:24 with Jas 1:10; 1Pe 2:1 with Jas 1:21; 1Pe 4:8 with Jas 5:20, both quoting Pr 10:12; 5:5 with Jas 4:6, both quoting Pr 3:34). In most of these cases Old Testament quotations are the common ground of both. "Strong susceptibility to outward impressions, liveliness of feeling, dexterity in handling subjects, dispose natures like that of Peter to repeat afresh the thoughts of others" [Steiger].

The diction of this Epistle and of his speeches in Acts is very similar: an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of genuineness (compare 1Pe 2:7 with Ac 4:11; 1Pe 1:12 with Ac 5:32; 1Pe 2:24 with Ac 5:30; 10:39; 1Pe 5:1 with Ac 2:32; 3:15; 1Pe 1:10 with Ac 3:18; 10:43; 1Pe 1:21 with Ac 3:15; 10:40; 1Pe 4:5 with Ac 10:42; 1Pe 2:24 with Ac 3:19, 26).

There is, too, a recurrence to the language of the Lord at the last interview after His resurrection, recorded in Joh 21:15-23. Compare "the Shepherd … of … souls," 1Pe 2:25; "Feed the flock of God," "the chief Shepherd," 1Pe 5:2, 4, with Joh 21:15-17; "Feed My lambs … sheep"; also "Whom … ye love," 1Pe 1:8; 2:7, with Joh 21:15-17; "lovest thou Me?" and 2Pe 1:14, with Joh 21:18, 19. Wiesinger well says, "He who in loving impatience cast himself into the sea to meet the Lord, is also the man who most earnestly testifies to the hope of His return; he who dated his own faith from the sufferings of his Master, is never weary in holding up the suffering form of the Lord before his readers to comfort and stimulate them; he before whom the death of a martyr is in assured expectation, is the man who, in the greatest variety of aspects, sets forth the duty, as well as the consolation, of suffering for Christ; as a rock of the Church he grounds his readers against the storm of present tribulation on the true Rock of ages."


1Pe 1:1-25. Address to the Elected of the Godhead: Thanksgiving for the Living Hope to Which We Are Begotten, Producing Joy Amidst Sufferings: This Salvation an Object of Deepest Interest to Prophets and to Angels: Its Costly Price a Motive to Holiness and Love, as We Are Born Again of the Ever-abiding Word of God.

1. Peter—Greek form of Cephas, man of rock.

an apostle of Jesus Christ—"He who preaches otherwise than as a messenger of Christ, is not to be heard; if he preach as such, then it is all one as if thou didst hear Christ speaking in thy presence" [Luther].1Pe 1:1,2 The apostle's address to the strangers elect in Christ,

dispersed throughout the Lesser Asia.

1Pe 1:3-9 He blesseth God for having raised them to the hope of a

blessed immortality.

1Pe 1:10-12 He showeth that their salvation in Christ had

been foretold by the prophets of old,

1Pe 1:13-21 and exhorteth them to a vigilant and holy conversation,

suitable to their calling and redemption by the blood of


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

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

Scattered; so Jam 1:1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,.... The writer of this epistle describes himself first by his name, Peter, the same with Cephas, which signifies a rock, or stone; a name given him by Christ at his first conversion, and which respected his after firmness, solidity, resolution, and constancy; for his former name was Simeon, or Simon, as sometimes called; see Matthew 4:18 and he further describes himself by his office, an apostle of Jesus Christ; being one of the twelve apostles, and the first of that number; who saw Christ in the flesh, was conversant with him, had his call and commission immediately from him, and was qualified by him to preach the Gospel; and was sent out first into Judea, and then into all the world to publish it, with a power of working miracles to confirm it; and this his character he makes mention of, in order to give the greater weight and authority to his epistle; and it is to be observed, that he does not style himself, as his pretended successor does, the head of the church, and Christ's vicar on earth; nor does he call himself the prince of the apostles, but only an apostle, as he was upon an equal foot with the rest. The persons he writes to are

the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia: these Jews here intended are called strangers; not in a metaphorical sense, either because they were, as the wicked are, estranged from the womb, and alienated from the life of God, as all unconverted men are, and as they were before conversion; for now they were no more strangers in this sense: or because of their unsettled state and condition in this life; having no continuing city, and seeking one to come, an heavenly country; and living as pilgrims and strangers, in which respect they are indeed so styled, 1 Peter 2:11 but in a civil sense, and not as the Gentiles were, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, for these were Jews; but on account of their not being in their own land, and in a foreign country, and therefore said to be "scattered", or "the strangers of the dispersion"; either on account of the persecution at the death of Stephen, when multitudes of the converted Jews were scattered abroad, not only throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, but as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch; see Acts 8:1 and so it may be afterwards throughout the places here mentioned; or else these were some remains of the ten tribes carried captive by Shalmaneser, and of the two tribes by Nebuchadnezzar; or rather the dispersion of the Greeks, mentioned in John 7:35 under the Macedonians, by Ptolemy Lagus: however, there were Jews of Pontus, who inhabited that place, and of such we read in Acts 2:9 who came to worship at the feast of Pentecost, some of which were converted to the Christian faith, and being mentioned first, has occasioned this epistle to be called, both by Tertullian (a), and Cyprian (b), "the epistle to the Pontians". Perhaps these Jews converted on the day of Pentecost, on their return hither, laid the first foundation of a Gospel church state in this country: it is a tradition of the ancients, mentioned by Eusebius (c), that Peter himself preached here, and so, very likely, formed the Christians he found, and those that were converted by him, into Gospel churches; and it appears by a letter of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth (d), that there were churches in Poutus in the "second" century, particularly at Amastris, the bishop of which was one Palma, whom he commends, and Focas is said to be bishop of Syncope, in the same age; and in the "third" century, Gregory and Athenodorus, disciples of Origen, were bishops in this country (e); the former was a very famous man, called Gregory Thaumaturgus, the wonder worker, and was bishop of Neocaesarea: in the "fourth" century there was a church in the same place, of which Longinus was bishop, as appears from the Nicene council, at which he and other bishops in Pontus were present; and in this age, in the times of Dioclesian, many in this country endured most shocking sufferings, related by Eusebius (f); and in the same century Helladius is said to govern the churches of Pontus; and in the "fifth" century we read of churches in Pontus, reformed by Chrysostom; in this age Theodorus was bishop of Heraclea, and Themistius of Amastris, both in this province, and both these bishops were in the Chalcedon council; and in the "sixth" century there were churches in Pontus, whose bishops were in the fifth synod held at Rome and Constantinople; and so there were in the "seventh" and "eighth" centuries (g).

Galatia, next mentioned, is that part of the lesser Asia, called Gallo Graecia, in which were several churches, to whom the Apostle Paul wrote his epistle, called the epistle to the Galatians; See Gill on Acts 16:6, Galatians 1:2.

Cappadocia, according to Ptolomy (h), was bounded on the west by Galatia, on the south by Cilicia, on the east by Armenia the great, on the north by part of the Euxine Pontus; it had many famous cities in it, as Solinus (i) says; as Archelais, Neocaesarea, Melita, and Mazaca. The Jews oftentimes talk (k) of going from Cappadocia to Lud, or Lydda; so that, according to them, it seems to be near to that place, or, at least, that there was a place near Lydda so called; of this see Gill on Acts 2:9. From this country also there were Jews at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, some of whom were converted; and here likewise the Apostle Peter is said to preach, as before observed of Pontus, and who probably founded a church or churches here in the "first" century; and in the "second" century, according to Tertullian (l), there were believers in Christ dwelling in this country; and in the "third" century, Eusebius (m) makes mention of Neon, bishop of Larandis, and Celsus, bishop of Iconium, both in Cappadocia; there was also Phedimus of Amasea, in the same country, in this age, and at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, several martyrs suffered under Decius; and in this century, Stephen, bishop of Rome, threatened to excommunicate some bishops in Cappadocia, because they had rebaptized some that had been heretics: in the "fourth" century there were churches in Cappadocia, of one of which, namely, at Sasimi, the famous Gregory Nazianzen was first bishop, and afterwards of Nazianzum, as was also the famous Basil of Caesarea, in the same country; hither the persecution under Dioclesian reached, and many had their thighs broken, as Eusebius relates (n); from hence were sent several bishops, who assisted at the council of Nice, under Constantine, and at another held at Jerusalem: in the "fifth" century there were churches in Cappadocia, in several places, the names of whose bishops are on record; as Firmus, Thalassius, Theodosins, Daniel, Aristomachus, Patricius, and others: in the "sixth" century there were many famous churches in this country, whose bishops were in the fifth synod held at Rome and Constantinople; and in the "seventh" century there were several of them in the sixth synod of Constantinople; and in the "eighth" century mention is made of bishops of several churches in Cappadocia, in the second Nicene synod; and even in the "ninth" century there were Christians in these parts (o),

Asia here intends neither the lesser nor the greater Asia, but Asia, properly so called; and which, according to Solinus (p), Lycia and Phrygia bounded on the east, the Aegean shores on the west, the Egyptian sea on the south, and Paphlagonia on the north; the chief city in it was Ephesus, and so it is distinguished from Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, and Bithynia, in Acts 16:6 as here from Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia, and from Pontus and Cappadocia, in Acts 2:9 though they were all in lesser Asia. Here also were Jews converted on the day of Pentecost; and here likewise Peter is said to preach; and by him, and by the Apostle John, who also lived and died in this country, churches were planted; and churches there were here, even in the "seventh" century, as distinct from the other Asia, greater or less; for out of it bishops were sent to, and were present at, the sixth council at Constantinople, whose names are recorded; yea, in the "eighth" century there were churches and bishops, one of which persuaded Leo to remove images from places of worship; and another was in the Nicene synod (q). The last place mentioned is

Bithynia, of which See Gill on Acts 16:7. And though the Apostle Paul, and his compassions, were not suffered at a certain time to go into Bithynia, and preach the Gospel there, yet it is certain that it was afterwards carried thither; and as Peter is said to preach in Pontus, Asia, and Capadocia, so likewise in Bithynia; here, according to the Roman martyrology, Luke, the evangelist, died; and, according to tradition, Prochorus, one of the seven deacons in Acts 6:5 was bishop of Nicomedia, in this country; and Tychicus, of whom the Apostle Paul makes frequent mention, was bishop of Chalcedon, another city in it; and who are both said to be of the seventy disciples; see Gill on Luke 10:1, and it is certain, from the testimony of Pliny (r), an Heathen writer, in a letter of his to Trajan the emperor, written about the year 104, that there were then great numbers of Christians in Bithynia; not only the cities, but the towns and villages were full of them; and in the "third" century, the persecution under Dioclesian raged, particularly at Nicomedia, where Anthimus, the pastor of the church in that place, had his head cut off as Eusebius (s) relates: in the beginning of the "fourth" century, Nice, in Bithynia, became famous for the council held there under Constantine, against Arius; and in this century, bishops from Bithynia assisted at a synod held at Tyre, in Phoenicia; and in the "fifth" century was held a synod at Chalcedon, a city in this country, against the Nestorinn heresy; and the names of several bishops of Chalcedon, Nicomedia, and Nice, who lived, in this age, are on record; and in the "sixth" century there were bishops from these several places, and others, who were present in the fifth synod at Constantinople; as there were also in the "seventh" century, at the sixth synod held at the same place, whose names are particularly mentioned; and in the "eighth" century bishops from hence were in the Nicene synod; and even in the ninth century there were some that bore the Christian name in Bithynia (t). In these places however, it seems, dwelt many Jews, who were converted to Christ, to whom the apostle inscribes this epistle, and whom he further describes in the following verse,

(a) Scorpiace, c. 12. (b) Testimon. ad Quirin. l. 3. c. 36, 37, 39. (c) Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 1.((d) Apud Euseb. ib. l. 4. c. 23. (e) Ib. l. 7. c. 14. Hieron. Script. Eccles. Catalog. sect. 75. (f) Ib. l. 8. c. 12. (g) Hist. Eccl. Magdeburg. cent. 2. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. c. 7. p. 289. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 4. c. 1O. p. 602. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. (h) Geograph. l. 5. c. 6. (i) Polyhist. c. 57. (k) Zohar in Gen. fol. 51. 3. & in Exod. fol. 33. 2. & 35. 4. (l) Adv. Judaeos, c. 7. ad Scapulam, c. 3.((m) Eccl. Hist. l. 6. c. 19. (n) lb. l. 8. 12. (o) Eccl. Hist. Magdeburg. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 2. c. 3. p. 11. c. 7. p. 117. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 4. c. 9. p. 350, 390. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 605, 859. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 3.((p) C. 53. (q) Ib. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. (r) Epist. l. 10. Ephesians 97. (s) Eccl. Hist. l. 8. c. 5, 6. (t) Hist. Eccl. Magdeburg. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. c. 9. p. 390. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 601, 602. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 3.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
1 Peter 1:1-2. The superscription, while corresponding in fundamental plan with those of the Pauline Epistles, has nevertheless a peculiar character of its own.

Πέτρος] As Paul in his epistles calls himself not by his original name Σαῦλος, so Peter designates himself not by his original name Σίμων, but by that given him by Christ, which “may be regarded as his apostolic, his official name” (Schott); otherwise in 2 Pet.: Συμεὼν Πέτρος.

An addition such as διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ, or the like, of which Paul oftentimes, though not always, makes use in the superscriptions of his epistles, was unnecessary for Peter.

Peter designates his readers by the words: ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπίδημοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου κ.τ.λ.] he calls the Christians to whom he writes—for that his epistle is addressed to Christians cannot be doubted—“elect strangers;” and withal, those who belong to the διασπορά throughout Pontus, etc. ἐκλεκτοί the Christians are named, inasmuch as God had chosen them to be His own, in order that they might be made partakers of the κληρονομία (1 Peter 1:4) reserved for them in heaven; cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:9 : ὑμεῖς γένος ἐκλεκτόν.

παρεπίδημος is he who dwells in a land of which he is not a native (where his home is not); in the LXX. it is given as the rendering of תּוֹשָׁב, Genesis 23:4; Psalm 39:12 (in other passages תּוֹשָׁב is translated by πάροικος; cf. Exodus 12:45; Leviticus 22:10; Leviticus 25:23; Leviticus 25:47, etc.); in the Apocrypha παρεπίδημος does not occur; in the N. T., besides in this passage, it is to be found in chap. 1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 9:13.

If account be taken of 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 1:17 (ὁ τῆς παροικίας ὑμῶν χρόνος), and particularly of chap. 1 Peter 2:11, it cannot be doubted that Peter styled his readers παρεπίδημοι, because during their present life upon earth they, as Christians, were not in their true home, which is the κληρονομίατετηρημένη ἐν οὐρανοῖς. The expression is understood in this sense by the more modern writers, in particular by Steiger, Brückner, Wiesinger, Weiss, Luthardt (Reuter’s Repertor. 1855, Nov.), Schott, Hofmann, etc.[32] It is incorrect to refer the word here to an earthly home, that is, Palestine, as is done by de Wette, and in like manner by Weizsäcker (in Reuter’s Repert. 1858, No. 3).[33]

[32] It is inexact to interpret παρεπίδημοι simply by “pilgrims of earth;” Steinmeyer, on the other hand (Disquisitio in ep. Petr. I. prooemium), rightly observes: “quum mansio in terra sempiterna permittatur nemini, in universos omnes vox quadaret, nee in eos solos, qui per evangelium vocati sunt;” but when Steinmeyer adds: “quare censemur, παρεπίδ.… significare … in mundo viventes, cujus esse desierint, cui ipsi sint perosi,” he thus gives an improper application to the word, the more so that the conception κόσμος, in an ethical sense, is foreign to the Epistle of Peter.—Weiss weakens the idea by saying: “The Christian is in so far a stranger on the earth, as he is aware of the inheritance reserved for him in heaven; this knowledge the unbeliever cannot have, and accordingly he cannot feel himself a stranger on earth.” It is not the knowing and feeling, but the really being, which is of consequence.

[33] It is still more erroneous to suppose, as Reuss does (Gesch. der h. Schriften N. T. § 147, note), that the readers are here termed παρεπίδ., “because they are looked upon as גֵּרִים proselytes, i. e. Israelites according to faith, not according to the form of worship.” This view, however, is opposed to the usus loquendi, since παρεπίδημοι nowhere denotes proselytes.


In the O. T. תּוֹשָׁב occurs in its strict signification in Genesis 23:4; Exodus 12:45; Leviticus 22:10; Leviticus 25:47 (LXX. πάροικος). In Leviticus 25:23, the Israelites are called נֵּדִים וְתוֹשָׁבִים, in a peculiar connection; God says that such they are with Him (עִמָּדִי, cf. Genesis 23:4), in that the land wherein they should dwell belongs to Him . The same idea is to be found in Psalm 39:12, where the Psalmist bases his request for hearing on this, that he is נֵּד and תּוֹשָׁב with God (עִמָּךְ), as were his fathers; for although in 1 Peter 1:5-7 the shortness of human life is made specially prominent, yet there is nothing to show that in 1 Peter 1:12 there is any reference to this. On the other hand, in 1 Chronicles 29:15 (1Chr. 30:15.), David in prayer to God speaks of himself and his people as נֵּרִים and תּוֹשָׁבִים, because they have no abiding rest on earth (בַּצֵּל יָמֵינוּ עַל־חָאָרֶץ וְאֵין מִקִוֶה); here it is not the preposition עִמָּד, but לִפְנֵי which is used. In the passage Psalm 119:19, the relation in which the Psalmist speaks of himself as a stranger is not expressed בָּאָרֶץ, Psa 1:54; he calls his earthly life מְגוּרָי, as Jacob in Genesis 47:9, which points evidently enough to the circumstance that the Israelites were not without the consciousness that their real home lay beyond this earthly life; cf. on this, Hebrews 9:13-14, and Delitzsch in loc .

Whilst the expression ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις—wherein not ἐκλεκτοῖς (Hofmann) but παρεπιδήμοις is the substantival idea—is applicable to all Christians, the following words: διασπορᾶς Πόντου κ.τ.λ., specify those Christians to whom the epistle is addressed (cf. the superscriptions of the Pauline Epistles).

διασπορά] strictly an abstract idea, denotes, according to Jewish usage: “Israel living scattered among the heathen,”—that is, it is a complex of concrete ideas, 2Ma 1:27; John 7:35; cf. Meyer in loc.; Winer, bibl. Realwörterb., see under “Zerstreuung.”[34] The question is now: Is the word to be taken as applying only to the Jewish nation? From of old the question has, by many interpreters, been answered in the affirmative (Didymus, Oecumenius, Eusebius, Calvin, Beza, de Wette, Weiss, etc.), and therefrom the conclusion has been drawn that the readers of the epistle were Jewish-Christians.[35] But the character of the epistle is opposed to this view (cf. Introd. § 3). Since the Apostle Peter regarded Christians as the true Israel, of which the Israel of the O. T. was only the type (1 Peter 2:9), there is nothing to prevent the expression being applied, as many interpreters hold (Brückner, Wiesinger, Wieseler too; Rettberg in Ersch-Gruber, see under “Petrus,” and others), to the Christians, and withal to those who dwelt outside of Canaan. No doubt this land had not for the N. T. church the same significance which it possessed for that of the O. T., still it was the scene of Christ’s labours, and in Jerusalem was the mother-church of all Christendom.[36] Some interpreters, like Aretius, Schott, Hofmann, leave entirely out of view the local reference of the word, and take it as applying to the whole of Christendom ecclesia dispersa in toto orbe, in so far as the latter represents “a concrete corporeal centre around which the members of the church were locally united,” and “has its point of union in that Christ who is seated at the right hand of God” (Schott[37]). Against this, however, it must be urged that Peter, if he had wished the word ΔΙΑΣΠΟΡΆ to have been understood in a sense so entirely different from the established usage, would in some way or other have indicated this.

It is entirely erroneous to suppose, with Augustine (contra Faustum, xxii. 89), Procopius (in Jes. 15:20), Cassiodorus (de instit. div. litt. ii. p. 516), Luther, Gualther, and others, and among more recent authors Steiger, that in the expression used by Peter the readers are designated as heathen Christians, or even with Credner (Einl. p. 638), Neudecker (Einl. p. 677), as aforetime proselytes. The one correct interpretation is, that in the superscription those readers only are described as “Christians who constituted the people of God living, scattered throughout the regions mentioned, who, in consequence of their election, had become strangers in the world, but who had their inheritance and home in heaven, whither they were journeying” (Wiesinger). The reason why Peter employed this term with reference to his readers lies in the design of the epistle; he speaks of them as ἐκλεκτοί, in order that in their present condition of suffering he might assure them of their state of grace as ΠΑΡΕΠΊΔΗΜΟΙ, that they might know that they belonged to the home of believers in heaven. But it is at least open to doubt whether in ΔΙΑΣΠΟΡᾶς there is any reference to the present want of direct union around Christ (Schott).

ΠΌΝΤΟΥ, ΓΑΛΑΤΊΑς Κ.Τ.Λ.] The provinces of Asia Minor are named chiefly in a westerly direction, Galatia westward from Pontus, then the enumeration continues with Cappadocia lying south from Galatia, that is to say, in the east, and goes from thence westward towards Asia, after which Bithynia is mentioned, the eastern boundary of the northern part of Asia Minor. So that Bengel is not so far wrong (as opposed to Wiesinger) when he says: Quinque provincias nominat eo ordine, quo occurrebant scribenti ex oriente. If in Asia, besides Caria, Lydia, and Mysia, Phrygia also (Ptolem. v. 2) be included, and in Galatia the lands of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and a part of Lycaonia,—which, however, is improbable,—the provinces mentioned by Peter will embrace almost the whole of Asia Minor.

In the N. T. there is no mention of the founding of the Christian churches in Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia.—1 Peter 1:2. ΚΑΤᾺ ΠΡΌΓΝΩΣΙΝ Κ.Τ.Λ.] The three adjuncts, beginning with different prepositions, are not to be taken with ἈΠΌΣΤΟΛΟς, as Cyrillus (de recta fide), Oecumen., Kahnis (Lehre v. Abendm. p. 65), and others think, but with ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις, pointing out as they do the origin, the means, and the end of the condition in which the readers as ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῚ ΠΑΡΕΠΊΔΗΜΟΙ were. It is further incorrect to limit, as is prevalently done, their reference simply to the term ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῖς,[38] and to find in them a more particular definition of the method of the divine election. Steinmeyer, in violation of the grammatical construction, gives a different reference to each of the three adjuncts joining ΚΑΤᾺ ΠΡΌΓΝ. with ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῖς, ἘΝ ἉΓΙΑΣΜῷ with ΠΑΡΕΠΙΔΉΜΟΙς, and ΕἸς ὙΠΑΚ. with ἉΓΙΑΣΜῷ. But inasmuch as the ideas ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῖς ΠΑΡΕΠΙΔΉΜΟΙς stand in closest connection, the two prepositions ΚΑΤΆ and ἘΝ must apply equally to them. ΚΑΤΆ states that the ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῚ ΠΑΡΕΠΊΔΗΜΟΙ are such in virtue of the πρόγνωσις Θεοῦ; κατά denotes “the origin, and gives the pattern according to which” (so, too, Wiesinger). ΠΡΌΓΝΩΣΙς is translated generally by the commentators as: predestination;[39] this is no doubt inexact, still it must be observed that in the N. T. πρόγνωσις stands always in such a connection as to show that it expresses an idea akin to that of predestination, but without the idea of knowing or of taking cognizance being lost. It is the perceiving of God by means of which the object is determined, as that which He perceives it to be. Cf. Meyer on Romans 8:29 : “It is God’s being aware in His plan, in virtue of which, before the subjects are destined by Him to salvation, He knows who are to be so destined by Him.” It is incorrect, therefore, to understand the word as denoting simply foreknowledge;[40] this leads to a Pelagianizing interpretation, and is met by Augustine’s phrase: eligendos facit Deus, non invenit. Estius translates ΠΡΌΓΝΩΣΙς at once by. praedilectio; other interpreters, as Bengel, Wiesinger, Schott, would include the idea of love, at least, in that of foreknowledge; but although it must be granted that the ΠΡΌΓΝΩΣΙς of God here spoken of cannot be conceived of without His love, it must not be overlooked that the idea of love is not made prominent.[41] Hofmann says: “πρόγνωσις is—precognition; here, therefore, a work of God the Father, which consists in this, that He makes beforehand those whom He has chosen, objects of a knowledge, as the akin and homogeneous are known, that is, of an approving knowledge.”

ΠΑΤΡΌς is added to ΘΕΟῦ; the apostle has already in his mind the following ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς and ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ, in order thereby to emphasize more definitely the threefold basis of election. Bengel: Mysterium Trinitatis et oeconomia salutis nostrae innuitur hoc versu.

ἘΝ ἉΓΙΑΣΜῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς] It seems simplest and most natural to interpret, with Luther and most others, “through the sanctifying of the Spirit”—that is, taking ἁγιασμός actively, and ἘΝ as denoting the instrumentality. The only difficulty in the way is, that ἉΓΙΑΣΜΌς, a word foreign to classical Greek, and occurring but seldom in the Apocrypha, has constantly the neutral signification: “sanctification;”[42] cf. Meyer on Romans 6:19. Now, since the word, as far as the form is concerned, admits of both meanings (cf. Buttmann, ausführl. griech. Sprachl. § 119, 20), it is certainly permissible to assume that here—deviating from the general usus loquendi—it may have an active signification, as perhaps also in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. If the preposition ἐν be taken as equal to “through,” there results an appropriate progression of thought from origin (ΚΑΤΆ) to means (ἘΝ), and further to end (ΕἸς). If, however, the usage establish a hard and fast rule, the interpretation must be: “the holiness wrought by the, (Holy) Spirit,” so that the genitive as gen. auct. has a signification similar to that in the expression δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ;[43] in this interpretation ἐν may equally have an instrumental force. No doubt, many interpreters deny that ἘΝ can here be equal to ΔΙΆ, since the election is not accomplished by means of the Holy Spirit. But this ground gives way if the three nearer definitions refer not to the election,—as a divine activity,—and so not to the ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῖς alone, but to the state into which the readers had been introduced by the choice of God, that is, to the ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῖς ΠΑΡΕΠΙΔΉΜΟΙς. It is incorrect to attribute to ἘΝ here a final signification; Beza: ad sanctificationem; de Wette: ΕἸς ΤῸ ΕἾΝΑΙ ἘΝ ἉΓΙΑΣΜῷ; the conception of purpose begins only with the subsequent ΕἸς.

The explanation, that ἘΝ ἉΓ. ΠΝ. points out the sphere (or the limitations) within which the readers are ἘΚΛ. ΠΑΡΕΠ. (formerly supported in this commentary), is wanting in the necessary clearness of thought.

ΕἸς ὙΠΑΚΟῊΝ ΚΑῚ ῬΑΝΤΙΣΜῸΝ ΑἽΜΑΤΟς ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡ.] The third adjunct to ἘΚΛ. ΠΑΡΕΠΊΔ., giving the end towards which this condition is directed. The preposition ΕἸς is not to be connected with ἉΓΙΑΣΜΌς (de Wette, Steinmeyer); for although such a construction be grammatically possible, the reference to the Trinity goes to show that these words must be taken as a third adjunct, co-ordinate with the two preceding clauses. Besides, if there were two parts only, the conjunction ΚΑΊ would hardly be awanting. ὙΠΑΚΟΉ is to be construed neither with ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ, whether taken as a subjective genitive (Beza: designator nostrae sanctificationis subjectum, nempe Christus Jesus qui patri fuit obediens ad mortem, where ΕἸς is arbitrarily rendered by ΔΙΆ), nor, with Hofmann and Schott, as an objective genitive: “obedience towards Christ” (for then this genitive would stand in a relation other than to ΑἽΜΑΤΟς[44]), nor with ΑἽΜΑΤΟς. ὙΠΑΚΟΉ must be taken here absolutely, as in 1 Peter 1:14; cf. Romans 6:16. With regard to the meaning of ὙΠΑΚΟΉ, many interpreters understand by it faith in Christ; so Luther, Gerhard, Vorstius, Heidegger, Bengel, Wiesinger, Hofmann, etc.; others, on the contrary, take it to signify “moral obedience;” so Pott, de Wette, Schott, etc. Many of the former, however, insist that by it a faith is meant “which of itself includes a conduct corresponding to it” (Hofmann), whilst by the latter it is emphasized that that moral obedience is meant which springs from faith, so that both interpretations are substantially in accord. It may then be said that ὙΠΑΚΟΉ is the life of man conformed in faith and walk to the will of the Lord, which the ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟῚ ΠΑΡΕΠΊΔΗΜΟΙ as such must realize; so that there is no reason why the idea should be limited towards the one side or the other; cf. 1 John 3:23. The second particular: ΚΑῚ ῬΑΝΤΙΣΜῸΝ ΑἽΜΑΤΟς ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ, is closely linked on to ὙΠΑΚΟΉ. Some commentators have held that the O. T. type on which this expression is based was the paschal lamb (thus Beda: “aspersi sanguine Christi potestatem Satanae vitant, sicut Israel per agni sanguinem Aegypti dominatum declinavit;” Aretius, etc.). Others think that the ceremonial of the great day of atonement is meant (thus Pott, Augusti, Steiger, Usteri, etc.). Wrongly, however; for although in both cases blood was employed, neither the blood of the paschal lamb nor that of the offering of atonement was used to sprinkle the people. With the former the posts were tinged; with the latter the sacred vessels were sprinkled. Steinmeyer is wrong in tracing the expression to the sprinkling with water (Leviticus 19.) of him who had been defiled through contact with a corpse, from the fact that the LXX. have ῬΑΝΤΙΣΜΌς only in this passage. For apart from the artificialness of the explanation which Steinmeyer[45] thus feels himself compelled to adopt, the reference to the water of sprinkling is inapt, since mention is made here of a sprinkling of blood, and not of water. A sprinkling of the people with blood took place only on the occasion of the sacrifice of the covenant.[46] The O. T. type on which the expression is founded is no other than the making of the covenant related in Exodus 24:81 Peter 1:1-2. Peter the High Commissioner of Jesus, who is Messiah of Greeks as of Jews, sends greeting after the Christian fashion, in which the Greek and Jewish formulas have been combined and transformed, to the Churches of Northern Asia Minor. They are the dispersion of the New Israel, chosen out of the whole world in accordance with God’s foreknowledge of their fitness, to undergo the hallowing of His Spirit, and with a view to their reception into His Church. For the result, and therefore the purpose, of their election is that they may profess obedience and receive the outward sign of sprinkling, being baptised into the death of Jesus Christ. For them may grace (and not mere greeting) and peace (God’s peace not man’s) be multiplied! For discussion of writer and readers see Introduction.

1. Peter] We note that the new name which his Lord had given him has replaced, in his own mind as in that of others, that of Simon Bar-jona (Matthew 16:17), by which he had once been known. So, in like manner, Paul takes the name of Saul, in the letters of that Apostle. Like him also, he describes himself as the “Apostle,” the envoy or representative, of Christ.

to the strangers scattered …] Literally, taking the words in their Greek order, to the elect sojourners of the dispersion. The last word occurs in the New Testament in John 7:35 and James 1:1, and in the Apocrypha in 2Ma 1:27. It was used as a collective term for the whole aggregate of Jews who, since the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, had been scattered in Asia and elsewhere. It follows from this that the Apostle, true to his character, as sent to the circumcision (Galatians 2:7), addresses himself mainly, if not exclusively, to the Jewish Christians of the regions which he names, but the term would naturally include also the proselytes to Judaism, and so accounts for some of the phrases in the Epistle which seem to imply that some of its readers had had a Gentile origin. The term “sojourners” is translated “pilgrims” in chap. 1 Peter 2:11 and Hebrews 11:13. Its exact meaning is that of “dwellers in a strange land.”

Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia] The order of the names is, on the whole, that which would present itself to the mind of a man writing, as St Peter does, from the East (chap. 1 Peter 5:13). The existence of Christian communities in the five provinces witnesses to the extent of unrecorded mission-work in the Apostolic age. The foundation of the Churches in Galatia and Asia is, of course, traceable to St Paul (Acts 16:6; Acts 19:10); those in Pontus may possibly have been due to the labours of Aquila, who was a native of that region (Acts 18:2). Bithynia had once been contemplated by St Paul as a field for his labours (Acts 16:7), but we do not read of his actually working either there or in Cappadocia. See Introduction as to the history of the Churches thus named.

1 Peter 1:1. Πέτρος, Peter) There is a wonderful weightiness and liveliness in the style of Peter, which most agreeably arrests the attention of the reader. The design of each Epistle is, to stir up by way of remembrance the pure mind of the faithful, 2 Peter 3:1, and to guard them not only against error, but even against doubt, ch. 1 Peter 5:12. This he does by reminding them of that Gospel grace, by which believers, being anointed, are inflamed to bring forth the fruits of faith, hope, love, and patience, in every duty and affliction. The first Epistle contains three parts.

  I.  The Inscription, 1 Peter 1:1-2.

  II.  The stirring up of a pure feeling. He excites the elect—

a) As those Born again of God. Here he mentions as well the benefits of GOD towards believers, as also the duties of believers towards God; and he interweaves these things one with another, by three powerful motives, to which weight is added from the mystery of CHRIST.

A)  God has regenerated us to a lively HOPE, to an inheritance of glory and salvation, 1 Peter 1:3-12.

Therefore HOPE “to the end” (perfectly), 1 Peter 1:13.

B)  As obedient sons, bring forth to your heavenly Father the fruit of FAITH, 1 Peter 1:14-21.

C)  Being PURIFIED by the Spirit, LOVE with a PURE heart, without fault, 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 2:10.

b) As strangers in the world, he calls upon them to ABSTAIN from fleshly lusts, 1 Peter 2:11, and to maintain—

A)  A good CONVERSATION, 1 Peter 2:12.

1)  In particular,

1.  Subjects, 1 Peter 2:13-17.

2.  Servants, after the example of Christ, 1 Peter 2:18-25.

3.  Wives, 1 Peter 3:1-6,

4.  Husbands, 1 Peter 3:7.

2)  In general, all, 1 Peter 3:8-15.


1.  By their readiness to defend their faith, and by shunning evil company, 1 Peter 3:15-22; 1 Peter 4:1-6.

(The whole course of Christ, from His passion to His coming to judgment, gives weight to this part.)

2.  By their virtues, and a good administration of their gifts, 1 Peter 4:7-11.

c) As fellow-partakers of future glory, he calls upon them to SUSTAIN adversity. Let every one do this—

1. In general, as a Christian, 1 Peter 4:12-19.

2. In his own particular condition, 1 Peter 5:1-11.

(The title ἀγαπητοὶ, beloved, twice made use of, separates the second part from the first, 1 Peter 2:11, and the third part from the second, 1 Peter 4:12. The state even of the elders is looked upon as a state full of troubles in this life, and there ought to be a wholesome looking forward from it to glory, 1 Peter 5:1-4; and the word, submit yourselves, 1 Peter 5:5, also introduces suffering and endurance notwithstanding; and this seems to be the particular reason why the apostle separates these two conditions, 1 Peter 5:1-11, from those which he mentions 1 Peter 2:12 and following verses.)

  III.  The Conclusion

Ἐκλεκτοῖς, elect) in heaven; elect out of the whole people, out of mankind. Comp. this and 1 Peter 1:5, with Matthew 24:24.—παρεπιδήμοις, strangers) on the earth, [with reference to their heavenly country.—V. g.]—διασπορᾶς Πόντου, of the dispersion of Pontus) He addresses the dispersed Jews, Jam 1:1; although he afterwards addresses believers of the Gentiles, who are mixed with them, ch. 1 Peter 2:10, note, 1 Peter 4:3. He mentions five provinces in the order in which they presented themselves to him, writing from the East: ch. 1 Peter 5:13. Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, is the order in which they are mentioned, Acts 2:9. The Epistles of Peter were formerly placed before those of John, James, and Jude: and from this circumstance all of them appear to have been called “Catholic” (General) Epistles, because that title is especially applicable to the first. It is not agreed upon whether Peter first sent this Epistle into Pontus, or to Jerusalem, where the Jews flocked together.

Verse 1. - Peter. It is the Greek form of the name, which the Lord Jesus himself had given to the great apostle; first, by anticipation, in the spirit of prophecy (John 1:42); and again when the prophecy was already in a measure fulfilled, and Simon was proving himself to be indeed a stone, built upon the Rock of Ages, which is Christ (Matthew 16:18). It was his Christian name; he must have prized that name as the gift of Christ, reminding him always, of his confession and of the Savior's promise, urging him to maintain throughout life that rock-like steadfastness which was indeed characteristic of him, but in which he had more than once very sadly failed. The use of the Greek form seems to indicate that the Epistle was originally written in Greek, and gives some slight support to the view that it was addressed to Gentile converts as well as to Hebrew Christians. An apostle of Jesus Christ. He does not add any assertion of the truth of his apostleship, as St. Paul often does; his apostolic dignity had not been questioned; the false brethren, who so often disputed the authority of St. Paul, had never assailed St. Peter. He does not join other names with his own in the address, though he mentions at the close of his Epistle Marcus - probably the John Mark who accompanied St. Paul in his first missionary journey - and Silvanus - probably the Silas of the Acts of the Apostles, and the Silvanus whom St. Paul associates with himself in addressing the Church of the Thessalonians. He describes himself as "an apostle of Jesus Christ." All Christians who knew the gospel history knew that St. Peter was one of the first-called apostles, one of the three who were nearest to the Lord, one who had received the apostolic commission in a marked and special manner direct from Christ. But he calls himself simply an apostle, not the prince of the apostles; he claims no superiority over the rest of the apostolic college. The impulsive forwardness which had once been the prominent defect in his noble character had passed away; he had learned that difficult lesson which the Lord had impressed upon the apostles when he set the little child among them as their example; he was now, in his own words, "clothed with humility." To the strangers scattered; literally, to the elect sojourners of the dispersion of Pontus, etc. "The dispersion" (διασπορά) was the recognized term (comp. James 1:1; John 7:35; 2 Macc. 1:27) for the Jews who were scattered over Gentile countries. The gospel of the circumcision was committed unto Peter (Galatians 2:7); Paul and Barnabas were to go unto the heathen; James, Cephas, and John unto the circumcision (Galatians 2:9). But St. Peter had been taught to call no man common or unclean; he did not forget that God had made choice that the Gentiles by his mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe (Acts 15:7); he can scarcely have intended to maintain in this Epistle that exclusiveness into which he once relapsed, and for which he was rebuked by St. Paul (Galatians 2:11-14). He certainly uses the word here rendered "strangers" (παρεπιδήμοις) metaphorically in 1 Peter 2:11 (comp. Hebrews 11:13);'and we cannot but think that, by "the sojourners of the dispersion," he means, not merely the Jewish Christians of Asia Minor, but all Christian people dispersed among the heathen. We shall see, as we proceed in the study of the Epistle, that the writer contemplates Gentile as well as Jewish readers. Those readers were sojourners for a brief time on earth (perhaps the preposition παρά marks the passing character of their sojourn). "Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come;" they were dispersed here and there among the unbelievers, but they were one body in Christ. Compare Bengel's brief comment, "Advents in terra, in coelo, electis." Throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Bengel says," He mentions the five provinces in the order in which the names naturally occurred to one writing from the East." This is not precisely accurate, for Cappadocia lies to the south-east of Galatia, and Bithynia to the north-east of Proconsular Asia; but yet the general arrangement of the names seems to furnish a slight argument 'in favor of the view that the Babylon from which St. Peter wrote was the famous city on the Euphrates. The Churches of Galatia and Asia (by "Asia" St. Peter means Proconsular Asia, that is Mysia, Lycia, and Carla; Phrygia also was commonly reckoned as belonging to it, but not always, see Acts 2:9, 10) were founded by St. Paul and his companions; those of Pontus possibly by Aquila, who, like the other Aquila who translated the Old Testament into Greek, was a Jew of Pontus (Acts 18:2). Of Cappadocia all that we know from the New Testament is that dwellers in Cappadocia, as well as in Pontus and Asia, were in Jerusalem at the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and heard the great sermon of St. Peter, by which three thousand souls were added to the Church. The Cappadocian Churches may have owed their origin to some of these men, or to some of St. Paul's converts from Galatia or Lycaonia. St. Paul himself had once "assayed to go into Bithy-nia, but the Spirit suffered them not" (Acts 16:7); that province may have received the word of God from Troas; the famous letter of Pliny, written about the year 110, shows how widely the faith of Christ had spread throughout the district. We notice that the missions of the Church in Asia Minor had now covered a field considerably larger than that reached at the date of the Acts of the Apostles. We notice also that many of the Churches addressed by St. Peter were founded by St. Paul or his converts. There was no rivalry between the two great apostles. There had been jealousies among the twelve (Matthew 18:1; Matthew 20:24, etc.); there had been differences between St. Peter and St. Paul (Galatians 2:11); but they were children no longer - they were full-grown Christians now. 1 Peter 1:1Peter (Πέτρος)

See on Matthew 16:18. 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 (1 Peter 1:2, ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις)

The Rev., properly, joins the two words, elect who are sojourners, instead of continuing elect with according to the foreknowledge, etc., as A. V.


Regarding all whom he addressed as subjects of saving grace. The term corresponds to the Old-Testament title of Jehovah's people: Isaiah 65:9, Isaiah 65:15, Isaiah 65:22; Psalm 105:43. Compare Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Romans 8:33.

Sojourners (παρεπιδήμοις)

Persons sojourning for a brief season in a foreign country. Though applied primarily to Hebrews scattered throughout the world (Genesis 23:4; Psalm 39:12), it has here a wider, spiritual sense, contemplating Christians as having their citizenship in heaven. Compare Hebrews 11:13. The preposition παρά, in composition, implies a sense of transitoriness, as of one who passes by to something beyond.

Scattered (διασπορᾶς)

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

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