1 Peter 1:13
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13-25) GENERAL APPLICATION OF THE FOREGOING.—This salvation being so magnificent, the Asiatic Hebrews must cling to it tenaciously, in holiness, in reverence caused by consideration of the cost of it, and in charity: the gospel they have received cannot be improved upon.

(13) Gird up the loins of your mind.—A metaphor from persons gathering up the flowing Oriental dress (which had been let down for repose), so as to be ready for energetic action (e.g., 1Kings 18:46, for running; Job 38:3, for arguing). What exact kind of action St. Peter meant them here to prepare for we need not inquire. A “mind,” rather than “soul” or “heart,” seems to bespeak practical intelligence. Thus when the Galatians, too, began to fall from evangelical to Judaic religion St. Paul calls them “senseless” (Galatians 3:1).

Be sober.—Not in the literal sense, but with the same notion of alertness as in “gird up”; sobriety and wakefulness are often combined (e.g., 1Peter 5:8; 1Thessalonians 5:6).

Hope to the end.—Literally, hope perfectly, or, thoroughly, or, with completeness. “Indeed this hope,” says Leighton, “is perfect in continuance, it is a hope unto the end, because it is perfect in its nature.” The chief thought, however, is that the hope should not be half-hearted, dispirited. St. Peter brings us back to what he began with, that ours is a living hope. The exhortation is exactly of the same nature as that which pervades the Epistle to the Hebrews (see, for instance, Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 6:11), and for the same reason—i.e., that spiritual sloth, combined with fear of man, was beginning to turn these Jewish Christians back to dead works. “Hope on,” in these passages, is tantamount to “remain Christians.”

For the grace.—Not exactly” hope for the grace,” i.e., expect confidently that it will come: rather, “hope upon the grace,” as in 1Timothy 5:5, the only other place where the same construction is used, and where it is rendered “trusteth in God.” Here, therefore, it is, “confidently hope (for salvation, glory, &c.) on the strength of the grace.” The grace is the same as in 1Peter 1:10.

That is to be brought.—“If we will render it strictly, it is, That is a-bringing to you. That blessedness, that consummation of grace, the saints are hastening forward to, walking on in their way, wheresoever it lies indifferently, through honour and dishonour, through evil report and good report. And as they are hastening to it, it is hastening to them in the course of time; every day brings it nearer to them than before; and notwithstanding all difficulties and dangers in the way, they that have their eye and their hopes upon it shall arrive at it, and it shall be brought safe to their hand; all the malice of men and devils shall not be able to cut them short of this grace that is a-bringing to them against the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Leighton). On the tense, see also Note on 1Thessalonians 1:10. Notice also that it is now the personal Name, not the official title. St. Peter is enforcing the gospel as we know it; we no longer “search unto whom” the title of the Messiah belongs.

(13-4: 6) EXHORTATION TO KEEP A PURE CONSCIENCE.—It is the only charm against persecution. It is like Christ to suffer with a good conscience; and He had His reward for it, in bringing us, and even the spirits of men who had died impenitent, to God thereby. It is the very meaning of the baptism by which He saves us. To feel its beauty and safety, we have but to consider the ugliness and danger of our former life.

1 Peter

HOPE PERFECTLY

1 Peter 1:13.

Christianity has transformed hope, and given it a new importance, by opening to it a new world to move in, and supplying to it new guarantees to rest on. There is something very remarkable in the prominence given to hope in the New Testament, and in the power ascribed to it to order a noble life. Paul goes so far as to say that we are saved by it. To a Christian it is no longer a pleasant dream, which may be all an illusion, indulgence in which is pretty sure to sap a man’s force, but it is a certain anticipation of certainties, the effect of which will be increased energy and purity. So our Apostle, having in the preceding context in effect summed up the whole Gospel, bases upon that summary a series of exhortations, the transition to which is marked by the ‘wherefore’ at the beginning of my text. The application of that word is to be extended, so as to include all that has preceded in the letter, and there follows a series of practical advices, the first of which, the grace or virtue which he puts in the forefront of everything, is not what you might have expected, but it is ‘hope perfectly.’

I may just remark, before going further, in reference to the language of my text, that, accurately translated, the two exhortations which precede that to hope are subsidiary to it, for we ought to read, ‘Wherefore, girding up the loins of your mind, and being sober, hope.’ That is to say, these two are preliminaries, or conditions, or means by which the desired perfecting of the Christian hope is to be sought and attained.

Another preliminary remark which I must make is that what is enjoined here has not reference to the duration but to the quality of the Christian hope. It is not ‘to the end,’ but, as the Margin of the Authorised and the Revised Version concurs in saying, it is ‘hope perfectly.’

So, then, there are three things here--the object, the duty, and the cultivation of Christian hope. Let us take these three things in order.

I. The object of the Christian hope.

Now, that is stated, in somewhat remarkable language, as ‘the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ We generally use that word ‘grace’ with a restricted signification to the gifts of God to men here on earth. It is the earnest of the inheritance, rather than its fulness. But here it is quite obvious that by the expression the Apostle means the very same thing as he has previously designated in the preceding context by three different phrases--’an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled,’ ‘praise and honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,’ and ‘the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ The ‘grace’ is not contrasted with the ‘glory,’ but is another name for the glory. It is not the earnest of the inheritance, but it is the inheritance itself. It is not the means towards attaining the progressive and finally complete ‘salvation of your souls,’ but it is that complete salvation in all its fulness.

Now, that is an unusual use of the word, but that it should be employed here, as describing the future great object of the Christian hope, suggests two or three thoughts. One is that that ultimate blessedness, with all its dim, nebulous glories, which can only be resolved into their separate stars, when we are millions of leagues nearer to its lustre, is like the faintest glimmer of a new and better life in a soul here on earth, purely and solely the result of the undeserved, condescending love of God that stoops to sinful men, and instead of retribution bestows upon them a heaven. The grace that saved us at first, the grace that comes to us, filtered in drops during our earthly experience, is poured upon us in a flood at last. And the brightest glory of heaven is as much a manifestation of the Divine grace as the first rudimentary germs of a better life now and here. The foundation, the courses of the building, the glittering pinnacle on the summit, with its golden spire reaching still higher into the blue, is all the work of the same unmerited, stooping, pardoning love. Glory is grace, and Heaven is the result of God’s pardoning mercy.

There is another suggestion here to be made, springing from this eloquent use of this term, and that is not merely the identity of the source of the Christian experience upon earth and in the future, but the identity of that Christian experience itself in regard of its essential character. If I may so say, it is all of a piece, homogeneous, and of one web. The robe is without seam, woven throughout of the same thread. The life of the humblest Christian, the most imperfect Christian, the most infantile Christian, the most ignorant Christian here on earth, has for its essential characteristics the very same things as the lives of the strong spirits that move in light around the Throne, and receive into their expanding nature the ever-increasing fulness of the glory of the Lord. Grace here is glory in the bud; glory yonder is grace in the fruit.

But there is still further to be noticed another great thought that comes out of this remarkable language. The words of my text, literally rendered, are ‘the grace that is being brought unto you.’ Now, there have been many explanations of that remarkable phrase, which I think is not altogether exhausted by, nor quite equivalent to, that which represents it in our version--viz. ‘to be brought unto you.’ That relegates it all into the future; but in Peter’s conception it is, in some sense, in the present. It is ‘being brought.’ What does that mean? There are far-off stars in the sky, the beams from which have set out from their home of light millenniums since, and have been rushing through the waste places of the universe since long before men were, and they have not reached our eyes yet. But they are on the road. And so in Peter’s conception, the apocalypse of glory, which is the crowning manifestation of grace, is rushing towards us through the ages, through the spheres, and it will be here some day, and the beams will strike upon our faces, and make them glow with its light. So certain is the arrival of the grace that the Apostle deals with it as already on its way. The great thing on which the Christian hope fastens is no ‘peradventure,’ but a good which has already begun to journey towards us.

Again, there is another thought still to be suggested, and that is, the revelation of Jesus Christ is the coming to His children of this grace which is glory, of this glory which is grace. For mark how the Apostle says, ‘the grace which is being brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ And that revelation to which he here refers is not the past one, in His incarnate life upon earth, but it is the future one, to which the hope of the faithful Church ought ever to be steadfastly turned, the correlated truth to that other one on which its faith rests. On these two great pillars, rising like columns on either side of the gulf of Time, ‘He has come,’ ‘He will come,’ the bridge is suspended by which we may safely pass over the foaming torrent that else would swallow us up. The revelation in the past cries out for the revelation in the future. The Cross demands the Throne. That He has come once, a sacrifice for sin, stands incomplete, like some building left unfinished with rugged stones protruding which prophesy an addition at a future day; unless you can add ‘unto them that look for Him will He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.’ In that revelation of Jesus Christ His children shall find the glory-grace which is the object of their hope.

So say all the New Testament writers. ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory’ says Paul. ‘The grace that is to be brought unto you in the revelation of Jesus Christ,’ chimes in Peter. And John completes the trio with his ‘We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him.’ These three things, brethren--with Christ, glory with Him, likeness to Him--are all that we know, and blessed be God! all that we need to know, of that dim future. And the more we confine ourselves to these triple great certainties, and sweep aside all subordinate matters, which are concealed partly because they could not be revealed, and partly because they would not help us if we knew them, the better for the simplicity and the power and the certainty of our hope. The object of Christian hope is Christ, in His revelation, in His presence, in His communication to us for glory, in His assimilating of us to Himself.

‘It is enough that Christ knows all,

And we shall be with Him.’


‘The grace that is being brought unto you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

II. And now notice the duty of the Christian hope.

Hope a duty? That strikes one as somewhat strange. I very much doubt whether the ordinary run of good people do recognise it as being as imperative a duty for them to cultivate hope as to cultivate any other Christian excellence or virtue. For one man that sets himself deliberately and consciously to brighten up, and to make more operative in his daily life, the hope of future blessedness, you will find a hundred that set themselves to other kinds of perfecting of their Christian character. And yet, surely, there do not need any words to enforce the fact that this hope full of immortality is no mere luxury which a Christian man may add to the plain fare of daily duty or leave untasted according as he likes, but that it is an indispensable element in all vigorous and life-dominating Christian experience.

I do not need to dwell upon that, except just to suggest that such a vividness and continuity of calm anticipation of a certain good beyond the grave is one of the strongest of all motives to the general robustness and efficacy of a Christian life. People used to say a few years ago, a great deal more than they do now, that the Christian expectation of Heaven was apt to weaken energy upon earth, and they used to sneer at us, and talk about our ‘other worldliness’ as if it were a kind of weakness and defect attached to the Christian experience. They have pretty well given that up now. Anti-Christian sarcasm, like everything else, has its fashions, and other words of reproach and contumely have now taken the place of that. The plain fact is that no man sees the greatness of the present, unless he regards it as being the vestibule of the future, and that this present life is unintelligible and insignificant unless beyond it, and led up to by it, and shaped through it, there lies the eternal life beyond. The low flat plain is dreary and desolate, featureless and melancholy, when the sky above it is filled with clouds. But sweep away the cloud-rack, and let the blue arch itself above the brown moorland, and all glows into lustre, and every undulation is brought out, and tiny shy forms of beauty are found in every corner. And so, if you drape Heaven with the clouds and mists born of indifference and worldliness, the world becomes mean, but if you dissipate the cloud and unveil heaven, earth is greatened. If the hope of the grave that is to be brought onto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ shines out above all the flatness of earth, then life becomes solemn, noble, worthy of, demanding and rewarding, our most strenuous efforts. No man can, and no man will, strike such effectual blows on things present as the man, the strength of whose arm is derived from the conviction that every stroke of the hammer on things present is shaping that which will abide with him for ever.

My text not only enjoins this hope as a duty, but also enjoins the perfection of it as being a thing to be aimed at by all Christian people. What is the perfection of hope? Two qualities, certainty and continuity. Certainty; the definition of earthly hope is an anticipation of good less than certain, and so, in all the operations of this great faculty, which are limited within the range of earth, you get blended as an indistinguishable throng, ‘hopes and fears that kindle hope,’ and that too often kill it. But the Christian has a certain anticipation of certain good, and to him memory may be no more fixed than hope, and the past no more unalterable and uncertain than the future. The motto of our hope is not the ‘perhaps,’ which is the most that it can say when it speaks the tongue of earth, but the ‘verily! verily!’ which comes to its enfranchised lips when it speaks the tongue of Heaven. Your hope, Christian man, should not be the tremulous thing that it often is, which expresses itself in phrases like ‘Well! I do not know, but I tremblingly hope,’ but it should say, ‘I know and am sure of the rest that remaineth, not because of what I am, but because of what He is.’

Another element in the perfection of hope is its continuity. That hits home to us all, does it not? Sometimes in calm weather we catch a sight of the gleaming battlements of ‘the City which hath foundations,’ away across the sea, and then mists and driving storms come up and hide it. There is a great mountain in Central Africa which if a man wishes to see he must seize a fortunate hour in the early morning, and for all the rest of the day it is swathed in clouds, invisible. Is that like your hope, Christian man and woman, gleaming out now and then, and then again swallowed up in the darkness? Brethren! these two things, certainty and continuity, are possible for us. Alas! that they are so seldom enjoyed by us.

III. And now one last word. My text speaks about the discipline or cultivation of this Christian hope.

It prescribes two things as auxiliary thereto. The way to cultivate the perfect hope which alone corresponds to the gift of God is ‘girding up the loins of your mind, and being sober.’ Of course, there is here one of the very few reminiscences that we have in the Epistles of the ipsissima verba of our Lord. Peter is evidently referring to our Lord’s commandment to have ‘the loins girt and the lamps burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.’ I do not need to remind you of the Eastern dress that makes the metaphor remarkably significant, the loose robes that tangle a man’s feet when he runs, that need to be girded up and belted tight around his waist, as preliminary to all travel or toil of any kind. The metaphor is the same as that in our colloquial speech when we talk about a man ‘pulling himself together.’ Just as an English workman will draw his belt a hole tighter when he has some special task to do, so Peter says to us, make a definite effort, with resolute bracing up and concentration of all your powers, or you will never see the grace that is hurrying towards you through the centuries. There are abundance of loose, slack-braced people up and down the world, in all departments, and they never come to any good. It is a shame that any man should have his thoughts so loosely girt and vagrant as that any briar by the roadside can catch them and hinder his advance. But it is a tenfold shame for Christian people, with such an object to gaze upon, that they should let their minds be dissipated all over the trivialities of Time, and not gather them together and project them, as I may say, with all their force towards the sovereign realities of Eternity. A sixpence held close to your eye will blot out the sun, and the trifles of earth close to us will prevent us from realising the things which neither sight, nor experience, nor testimony reveal to us, unless with clenched teeth, so to speak, we make a dogged effort to keep them in mind.

The other preliminary and condition is ‘being sober,’ which of course you have to extend to its widest possible signification, implying not merely abstinence from, or moderate use of, intoxicants, or material good for the appetites, but also the withdrawing of one’s self sometimes wholly from, and always restraining one’s self in the use of, the present and the material. A man has only a given definite quantity of emotion and interest to expend, and if he flings it all away on the world he has none left for Heaven. He will be like the miller that spoils some fair river, by diverting its waters into his own sluice, in order that he may grind some corn. If you have the faintest film of dust on the glass of the telescope, or on its mirror, if it is a reflecting one, you will not see the constellations in the heavens; and if we have drawn over our spirits the film of earthly absorption, all these bright glories above will, so far as we are concerned, cease to be.

So, brethren, there is a solemn responsibility laid upon us by the gift of that great faculty of looking before and after. What did God make you and me capable of anticipating the future for? That we might let our hopes run along the low levels, or that we might elevate them and twine them round the very pillars of God’s Throne; which? I do not find fault with you because you hope, but because you hope so meanly, and about such trivial and transitory things. I remember I once saw a sea-bird kept in a garden, confined within high walls, and with clipped wings, set to pick up grubs and insects. It ought to have been away out, hovering over the free ocean, or soaring with sunlit wing to a height where earth became a speck, and all its noises were hushed. That is what some of you are doing with your hope, degrading it to earth instead of letting it rise to God; enter within the veil, and gaze upon the glory of the ‘inheritance incorruptible and undefiled.’1 Peter 1:13-16. Wherefore — Since your lot is fallen into these glorious times, wherein you enjoy such high privileges above what the people of God formerly enjoyed; since the blessings which are set before you are so invaluable, and are so freely offered you, and you have such great encouragement to believe you may attain them; gird up the loins of your mind — Prepare to pursue them with vigour, constancy, and perseverance, and to perform the various duties which they lay you under an indispensable obligation steadily to practise. The apostle alludes to the manners of the eastern countries, in which the men’s garments being long and flowing, they prepared themselves for travelling, and other active employments, by girding them up with a girdle put round their loins, to prevent their being encumbered by them. The loins of the mind, therefore, is a figurative expression for the faculties of the soul, the understanding, memory, will, and affections, which the apostle signifies must be gathered in and girded, as it were, about the soul by the girdle of truth, so as to be in a state fit for continual and unwearied exertion in running the Christian race, fighting the good fight of faith, and working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our mind must not be overcharged at any time with surfeiting and drunkenness, or the cares of this life: our affections must be placed on proper objects, and in a just degree; and especially must be set on the things that are above, which are to be our portion and felicity for ever: our various passions must be under the government of reason and religion, of the truth and grace of God. Be sober — Or rather, watchful, as νηφοντες properly signifies, as servants that wait for their Lord; and hope to the end Τελειως ελπισατε, hope perfectly, namely, with the full assurance of hope; for the grace — The blessings flowing from the free favour of God; to be brought unto you at the final and glorious revelation of Jesus Christ — At the end of the world. As obedient children — As children of God, obedient to him in all things; not fashioning — Or conforming; yourselves — In spirit and conduct; according to — Or, as if you were influenced by; your former desires in your ignorance — When you were unacquainted with those better things which now claim the utmost vigour of your affections. But as he which hath called you — To be his children and his heirs; is holy — A being perfectly pure and spiritual; be ye holy — In imitation of him, your heavenly Father; in all manner of conversation Εν παση αναστροφη, in your whole behaviour, in all your tempers, words, and works, from day to day.1:13-16 As the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gathered in their long and loose garments, that they might be ready in their business, so let Christians do by their minds and affections. Be sober, be watchful against all spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate in all behaviour. Be sober-minded in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves. A strong and perfect trust in the grace of God, is agreeable with best endeavours in our duty. Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all people. We must especially watch and pray against the sins to which we are inclined. The written word of God is the surest rule of a Christian's life, and by this rule we are commanded to be holy every way. God makes those holy whom he saves.Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind - The allusion here is to the manner in which the Orientals were accustomed to dress. They wear loose, flowing robes, so that, when they wish to run, or to fight, or to apply themselves to any business, they are obliged to bind their garments close around them. See the notes at Matthew 5:38-41. The meaning here is, that they were to have their minds in constant preparation to discharge the duties, or to endure the trials of life - like those who were prepared for labor, for a race, or for a conflict.

Be sober - See the 1 Timothy 3:2 note; Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2 notes.

And hope to the end - Margin, "perfectly." The translation in the text is the most correct. It means that they were not to become faint or weary in their trials. They were not to abandon the hopes of the gospel, but were to cherish those hopes to the end of life, whatever opposition they might meet with, and however much might be done by others to induce them to apostatize. Compare the notes at Hebrews 10:35-36.

For the grace that is to be brought unto you - For the favor that shall then be bestowed upon you; to wit, salvation. The word brought here means, that this great favor which they hoped for would be borne to them by the Saviour on his return from heaven.

At the revelation of Jesus Christ - When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in his glory; that is, when he comes to judge the world. See the notes at 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

13. Wherefore—Seeing that the prophets ministered unto you in these high Gospel privileges which they did not themselves fully share in, though "searching" into them, and seeing that even angels "desire to look into" them, how earnest you ought to be and watchful in respect to them!

gird up … loins—referring to Christ's own words, Lu 12:35; an image taken from the way in which the Israelites ate the passover with the loose outer robe girded up about the waist with a girdle, as ready for a journey. Workmen, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, and warriors (all of whom are types of the Christians), so gird themselves up, both to shorten the garment so as not to impede motion, and to gird up the body itself so as to be braced for action. The believer is to have his mind (mental powers) collected and always ready for Christ's coming. "Gather in the strength of your spirit" [Hensler]. Sobriety, that is, spiritual self-restraint, lest one be overcome by the allurements of the world and of sense, and patient hopeful waiting for Christ's revelation, are the true ways of "girding up the loins of the mind."

to the end—rather, "perfectly," so that there may be nothing deficient in your hope, no casting away of your confidence. Still, there may be an allusion to the "end" mentioned in 1Pe 1:9. Hope so perfectly (Greek, "teleios") as to reach unto the end (telos) of your faith and hope, namely, "the grace that is being brought unto you in (so the Greek) the revelation of Christ." As grace shall then be perfected, so you ought to hope perfectly. "Hope" is repeated from 1Pe 1:3. The two appearances are but different stages of the ONE great revelation of Christ, comprising the New Testament from the beginning to the end.

Wherefore; the following exhortation may be connected, either with 1 Peter 1:4, Being so glorious an inheritance is reserved in heaven for you,

gird up, & c.; or with 1 Peter 1:12: Seeing ye know those things, which the prophets that foretold them did not fully see, and the angels themselves desire to look into; the grace of God vouchsafed to you is so excellent and admirable, gird up, & c.

Gird up the loins of your mind; i.e. let your minds be attent, prompt, ready, prepared for your spiritual work, restrained from all those thoughts, cares, affections, and lusts, which may entangle, detain, hinder them, or make them unfit for it. It is a metaphor taken from the custom of the Oriental nations, who wearing long loose garments, were wont to gird them up about their loins, that they might not hinder them in their travelling or working, 1 Kings 18:46 2 Kings 4:29 Luke 17:8: See Poole on "Luke 12:35", See Poole on "Luke 12:37". Perhaps it may have a special respect to the like rite used at the Passover, Exodus 12:11, when the Israelites were just ready to enter upon their journey, aud go out of Egypt.

Be sober: this may relate, either:

1. To the body; and then the sense agrees with Luke 21:34, where the cares of this life seem to be opposed to the girding up the loins of the mind, and surfeiting and drunkenness, to sobriety here. Or rather:

2. To the soul; and then girding up the loins of the mind, may refer to the understanding, and thoughts, and sobriety, to the will and affections, and may signify that moderation which belongs to them, in opposition to their inordinateness, which is a sort of drunkenness. Or, it may be rendered, be watchful, as it is translated, 2 Timothy 4:5, and with which it is joined, 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8; and so it agrees well with the former clause; they that have the loins of their mind girt up, being of a vigilant, present mind, and ready for any work they are to undertake.

And hope to the end; Greek, perfectly, as in the margin, i.e. sincerely, entirely, with a firm confidence; but the following words favour our translation, which signfies perseverance in hope. See Hebrews 3:6.

For the grace that is to be brought unto you; final salvation, which is the gift of grace, Romans 6:23, and is called the grace of life, 1 Peter 3:7.

At the revelation of Jesus Christ; called the appearing of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:7. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,.... With the girdle of truth; see Ephesians 6:14 since angels desire to look into the mysteries of grace, do you apply your minds, and diligently attend unto them, in opposition to all loose and vagrant thoughts of the mind, about other things: give yourselves up wholly to them, meditate upon them, employ yourselves in them, and about them; seeing they are the study and inquiry of angels, and what the prophets have prophesied of, and searched into and ministered, and the apostles of Christ have preached; and besides, are things which relate to the person, office, sufferings, and glory of Christ, and the salvation of immortal souls. Though the phrase is sometimes used to denote preparation and readiness, and to be in a fit position to do anything, as the Israelites were at the eating of the first passover, to march at the least notice out of Egypt; and so to go a journey, to run a race, to serve another, to wait on him, and for him, and also be prepared for battle; and is a metaphor taken from the custom of the eastern nations, who used to wear long garments, which they gathered up close to them, and girt about them, when they were about any of the above things, that they might be no hinderance to them, and that they might perform them with more expedition and dispatch; and so may be expressive of the readiness of believers, as pilgrims and travellers, for their journey towards the heavenly country, and to run the race set before them, and also to do every good work, according to the station they are placed in, to serve their Lord and master Jesus Christ in whatsoever he calls them to, and to wait for his coming; see Luke 12:35 and also to fight his battles, to quit themselves like men, and be strong in defence of his Gospel, and against every enemy of his and theirs,

Be sober; which is not only opposed to intemperance in eating and drinking, which greatly disqualifies for the above readiness and attention, but also to a being inebriated with the cares of this life, which choke the word, and make it unfruitful, and lead men into temptation, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, and from the faith of Christ; and likewise to a being intoxicated with errors, and false doctrine, which lull men asleep, and render them incapable of serving Christ, and his church; and turn their heads from faith to fables, and are contrary to the words of truth and soberness; so that to be sober, is not only to be moderate in eating and drinking; but to be disengaged from the anxious cares of the world, and to be disentangled, recovered, or awaked from the error of the wicked:

and hope to the end; or "perfectly", as the Greek word may be rendered, and as it is in the Syriac version, which joins it with the other phrase, and renders it, "be ye perfectly awaked". The Arabic version renders it, "trusting with a perfect confidence"; so that it designs either the nature of that lively hope, to which they were begotten again, and are here exhorted to exercise, it being perfect, sincere, and without hypocrisy; not like the hope of the hypocrite, which shall perish, and stand him in no stead, but an undissembled one; for as there is faith unfeigned, and love without dissimulation, so hope without hypocrisy; and also the full assurance of it, for as there is a plerophory of faith and love, and of understanding, so of hope; see Hebrews 6:11 or it intends the duration of this grace, and the exercise of it: it is a grace that does, and will remain, and it ought to be continually exercised, and the rejoicing of it to be kept firm, to the end; to the end of life, and until the saints come to the enjoyment of what they are hoping for; even

for the grace that is to be brought unto you as the revelation of Jesus Christ; and which may be rendered for the grace that is brought unto you, in or by the revelation of Jesus Christ: and the sense may be, that there is grace that is now brought to light by the Gospel, and that is brought home to the souls of God's people through it; as electing grace, redeeming grace, justifying grace, pardoning grace, adopting grace; and, in short, salvation, as all of grace; which Gospel is the revelation of Jesus Christ: it is a revelation that is made by him; and it is a revelation that is made of him; it is a revelation of the glory of his person and offices; herein is his righteousness revealed from faith to faith; and here the riches of his grace are made manifest, and laid to open view; life and immortality are brought to light by Christ in it; and the way to eternal life, glory, and salvation, as being by Christ, is pointed out by it; and all this grace that is brought, and set before the saints in the Gospel, they ought to hope for, and comfortably believe their interest in; and continue thus hoping, believing, and trusting to the end of their days: or if our version, and which is that of others also, be retained, the meaning is, that eternal glory and happiness, which is called "grace", because it is the free gift of God through Christ, to his children and flock, and is the finishing of the grace that is bestowed on them, and wrought in them, and is future, "is to be brought"; is a glory that shall be revealed in them, and a salvation ready to be revealed to them; and which will be done when Christ shall be revealed from heaven, when he shall appear a second time, and in glory; and is, and ought to be, the object of their hope, for it is laid up, and reserved for them; and they have the earnest of it in them, as well as the promise of it to them. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions, instead of "grace", read "joy"; and is the same with eternal glory, the joy of the Lord prepared for them, and which they shall enter into.

{4} Wherefore {g} gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and {5} hope {h} to the end for the grace {6} that is to be brought unto you {7} at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

(4) He goes from faith to hope, which is indeed a companion that cannot be separated from faith. He uses an argument taken by comparison: We should not be wearied in looking for so excellent a thing, which the very angels wait for with great desire.

(g) This is a borrowed speech, taken from common use among them: for since they wore long garments, they could not travel unless they girded up themselves: and hence it is that Christ said, Let your loins be girded up.

(5) He sets forth very briefly, what manner of hope ours ought to be, that is, continual, until we enjoy the thing we hope for: then, what we have to hope for, that is, grace (that is, free salvation) revealed to us in the gospel, and not that, that men do rather and fondly promise to themselves.

(h) Soundly and sincerely.

(6) An argument to stir up our minds, seeing that God does not wait until we seek him, but causes so great a benefit to be brought even unto us.

(7) He sets out the end of faith, lest any man should promise himself, either sooner or latter, that full salvation, that is, the latter coming of Christ. In addition warns that that which we are now, is not yet revealed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 1:13. The first group of exhortations extends from this verse to the end of the chapter.—1 Peter 1:13. First exhortation, which forms the basis of those which follow. The τελείως ἐλπίζειν is the foundation upon which the whole moral-religious life of the Christian must be raised.

διὸ ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν] διό does not refer back to any single thought in what precedes, certainly not to the glory of the σωτηρία touched upon in 1 Peter 1:10 ff. (Calvin: ex magnitudine et excellentia gratiae deducit exhortationem), still less to the thought expressed 1 Peter 1:5-9 : “that the Christian goes through trial towards a glorious destiny” (de Wette), but to the whole of the foregoing lines of thought (Schott), which, however, have their point of convergence in this, that unto the Christian begotten again εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν, the σωτηρία is appointed as the τέλος τῆς πίστεως (similarly Brückner).

ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας] a figurative expression taken from the runners (and others) who tucked up their dress, so as to prosecute their work with less hindrance. ἀναζώννυμι, ἅπ. λεγ. (Proverbs 31:17; LXX., ed. van Ess 29:17), means to tuck up; Luther incorrectly: “therefore so gird yourselves” (thus Wiesinger also translates, although he justly says: “The figure taken from the tucking up of a long under garment denotes preparedness for something,” etc.); cf. the passages, Luke 12:35 and Ephesians 6:14 (in both passages, however, περιζώννυμι). The figure is the more appropriate, that the Christian is a παρεπίδημος, on his way to the future κληρονομία. The figurative τὰς ὀσφύας finds its own explanation in the epexegetical genitive τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν. Aretius interprets incorrectly: lumbi mentis i. e. ipsa recta ratio renati hominis recte judicans de negotio pietatis; διάνοια means here, as in Colossians 1:21 : the “disposition of mind.” The meaning of the phrase applies not only to deliverance from evil desires (Gerhard: quarumvis passionum et cupiditatum carnalium refrenatio praescribitur), but to all and every needful preparation of spirit for the fulfilling of the exhortations following; “it is the figure of spiritual preparedness and activity” (de Wette). The aorist participle points to this spiritual preparedness as the preliminary condition of ἐλπίζειν (Schott).

νήφοντες] cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8 (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 2 Timothy 4:5). Calvin correctly: non temperantiam solum in cibo et potu commendat, sed spiritualem potius sobrietatem, quum sensus omnes nostros continemus, ne se hujus mundi illecebris inebrient; similarly most interpreters. Otherwise, however, Weiss (p. 95 f.), who supposes an antithesis between ἀναζωσάμενοι and νήφοντες, inasmuch as the former is opposed “to want of courage and apathy,” the latter to “unnatural overstraining and excitement,” and “unhealthy exaltation.” But no such antithetical relation is (as little as there is in chap. 1 Peter 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8, between γρηγορεῖν and νήφειν) here anywhere hinted at, nor is there anything in the whole epistle to lead us to suppose that Peter considered it necessary “to warn his hearers against the extravagant enthusiasm of a Messianic glory.” Rather in νήφοντες is prominence given to an important element in the ἀναζώσασθαι, without which a τελείως ἐλπίζειν cannot exist, namely, the clearness and soberness of mind with which the goal of hope and the way leading thither is kept in view.

τελείως ἐλπίσατε ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην κ.τ.λ.] τελείως, ἅπ. λεγ., belongs not to νήφοντες (Oecumenius, Benson, Semler, Mayerhoff, Hofmann), but to ἐλπίσατε;[79] it shows emphatically that the hope should be perfect, undivided, unchangeable (“without doubt or faint-heartedness, with full surrender of soul,” de Wette; Wiesinger adds further: “excluding all ungodly substance and worldly desire, and including the μὴ συσχηματ., 1 Peter 1:14;” and Schott: “with reference also to the moral conduct of earnest sanctification”). Weiss (p. 93) finds the τελειότης of hope in this, that it does not allow itself to be overcome by suffering—but of suffering there is here no mention. Erasmus, Grotius, Bengel take it unsatisfactorily, only ratione temporis, i.e. “ad finem usque.”

ἐλπίζειν, frequently with εἰς, ἐν, ἐπί c. dat., is construed with ἐπί cum. accus. only here and in 1 Timothy 5:5; it means “to place his hope on something.” The object connected with it by means of ἐπί is not the proper object of hope; the latter stands in the accusative, or is expressed by a verb, either in the infin. or with ὅτι; but it is that from which the fulfilment of hope is expected.[80] If, as here, ἐπί be construed with the accusative, the disposition of mind with respect to the object is expressed; whilst if it be taken with the dative, the object is presented to us as the basis of hope, that on which it is founded.

ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησ. Χριστοῦ] Several commentators interpret so that the sense runs: “place your hope on the grace which has been shown you by the revelation of Jesus Christ;” thus Erasmus, Luther, Calov, Bengel, Gerhard, Steiger, etc.; according to this, φερομένην is the ἀντίστροφον of κομίζεσθαι (i.e. “which has been already offered or communicated to you”), χάρις, “the forgiveness of sins effected by Christ,” and ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, “the revelation of Christ which has already taken place.” In the more exact definition of the term ἀποκάλυψις, these interpreters again diverge from one another; whilst Luther, Calov, Steiger, and others hold it to be “the revelation which has taken place in the gospel;” Bengel, etc., on the other hand, understand it of “the incarnation of Christ.” Erasmus gives both: sentit de mysterio evangelii divulgato per quod Christus innotuit, seu de adventu Christi. Steiger, in support of the first view, appeals to Luke 2:32; Romans 16:25; Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Corinthians 12:1; Ephesians 3:3; but all these passages do not furnish the proof desired. In no passage is the revelation of the gospel called the ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. But the other view is opposed by the N. T. usus loquendi, according to which ἀποκ. always denotes the future coming of Christ only. It must also be held to be unwarrantable to interpret ἐν ἀποκ. Ἰησ. Χρ. here in a different sense from that given shortly before in 1 Peter 1:7 (and chap. 1 Peter 4:13).

Not less opposed to the former interpretation is the present participle φερομένην, since the present may not arbitrarily be taken in the sense of the preterite, but must be looked upon as a realization of the future. Steiger is no doubt right in holding that ἡ φερ. ὑμ. χάρις “does not speak of the object of hoping, but the ground on which hope is built.” But from this it does not follow that by the phrase “something already accomplished” must be understood, for why should the Christian not be able to set his hopes of salvation on the grace which in the future will be offered to him at and with the return of Christ? Piscator incorrectly explains χάρις: coelestis felicitas et gloria, quam Deus nobis ex gratia daturus est. Aretius, again, is right: benevolentia Dei, qua nos amplectitur in filio: the grace of God from which the Christian has to expect the coelestis felicitas.

With φερομένην, cf. Hebrews 9:16. φέρειν: “to bring, to present” (not “to bring nearer,” Schott), points here to the free grace of God. That is, then: “place your hope on the grace which will be brought to you at (in and with) the revelation (the second coming) of Christ.” It is rightly interpreted by Oecumenius, Calvin (who errs in this only, that he takes ἐν for εἰς, i.e. usque ad adventum Christi), Beza, Grotius, Estius, Semler, Pott, de Wette, etc.

[79] The reasons which Hofmann brings forward for the combination of τελείως with νήφοντες are not by any means conclusive; for as the chief accent lies on ἐλπίσατε, a strengthening of this expression by τελείως is entirely appropriate, whilst νήφοντες requires no such support. The position of the word, too, is in favour of the connection with ἐλπίσατε.

[80] The expression “to hope for something,” confidently to expect it, may lead to the supposition that this meaning is expressed by ἐλπίζειν ἐπί τι. In the N. T. this is usually rendered by ἀπεκδέχεσθαι. Even in the construction with εἰς the thing accompanying it is not the object of hope, cf. John 5:45; 2 Corinthians 1:10; only in Sir 2:9 is the object of ἐλπίζειν construed with εἰς (ἐλπίσατε εἰς ἀγαθὰ καὶ εἰς εὐφροσύνην). Hofmann wrongly attaches importance to whether εἰς is followed by a person or a thing, asserting that in the latter case the thing is the object; for it is quite as possible to set one’s hope on a thing as on a person. Cremer rightly quotes this passage as one of those in which ἐλπίζειν has the meaning of “setting one’s hope on something.”

REMARK.

The more recent interpreters take up different positions with respect to the view here presented. Wiesinger, Brückner, Schott, Fronmüller, Hofmann, agree with the interpretation of ἀποκάλυψις, but are opposed to that of ἐλπίζειν ἐπί. Weiss and Zöckler (De vi ac notione voc. ἐλπίς in N. T. 1856, p. 15 ff.), on the other hand, are against the latter, but in favour of the former.

As regards ἐλπίζ. Zöckler: Ea est vis praepositionis ἐπί c. acc. constructae, ut finem designet s. localem s. temporalem s. causalem, in quem tendat actus verbi. Qui tamen finis s. terminus sperandi ita discernendus est a simplici objecto sperandi, ut hoc significet rem, quam sibi obtingere speret subjectum, finis vero ille simul auctor sit, e quo pendeat vel satisfacere votis sperantis, vel deesse;[81] in support of which he justly quotes, in addition to this verse, 1 Timothy 5:5 (to which Wiesinger appeals without any justification), and a not inconsiderable number of passages from the LXX.; cf. Weiss also (p. 36 f.). De Wette interprets ἐλπίζειν correctly, but thinks that inasmuch as the σωτηρία is conceived as a χάρις, it is at once the ground and the object of the hope. With this Brückner agrees, finding “in this intermingling a part of the peculiarity of the thought;” whilst, on the other hand, Weiss sees in it only a makeshift, conveying no clear idea at all.

With regard to the term ἀποκάλυψις, Weiss explains it as: manifestatio Christi, quae fit in verbo evangelii in hac vita (Gerhard). But this interpretation is decidedly opposed to the N. T. usage; in no passage is the revelation, of which by the gospel we become partakers, described as an ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, although ἀποκαλύπτειν is used of the different kinds of revealing. The reference to the gospel is an evident importation. Weiss raises two objections to the correct view—(1) “It is, as a matter of fact, impossible that the Christian should set his hope on the grace that is to be brought at the revelation of Christ;”—but why should this be impossible? How often does it happen that the individual bases his hope for the fulfilment of his wish on an event as yet future, but which he is assured will happen! (2) “That the second coming of Christ is not a revelation of grace at all, but of just judgment;”—but the latter in no way excludes the former; and how could the Christian contemplate the second coming of Christ with calm, yes, even with joy, if there were no grace?

[81] This interpretation is correct. The only point under dispute is “simul.”1 Peter 1:13-21. Practical admonitions. In this section St. Peter is engrossed with the conception of the Church as the new Israel which has been delivered from idolatry—the spiritual Egypt—by a far more excellent sacrifice. Jesus Himself endorsed such adaptation of the directions given for the typical deliverance (Luke 12:35) and the principle that the worshippers of Jehovah must be like Him (John 4:23 f.; Matthew 5:48, etc.).13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind] The words were in any case a natural figure for prompt readiness for activity, but, coming from one who had been a personal disciple of the Lord Jesus, we cannot fail to trace in them an echo of His words as recorded in Luke 12:35, possibly also, looking to the many instances of parallelism with St Paul’s Epistles, of those which we find in Ephesians 6:14. The sequence of thought is that the prospect of the coming glories should be a motive to unflagging activity during men’s sojourn upon earth.

be sober, and hope to the end] The verb for “be sober” expresses a sobriety of the Nazarite type. It meets us in 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8, and in this Epistle, chaps. 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8. The marginal reading perfectly, as though he said “hope with a hope that lacks nothing of completeness,” answers better to the meaning of the adverb than the phrase in the English Version.

the grace that is to be brought unto you] Literally, as the Greek participle is in the present tense and has no gerundial force, the grace which is being brought unto you. The communication is thought of as continuous, and finding its sphere of action in every successive revelation of Jesus Christ from that of the soul’s first consciousness of His presence, as in Galatians 1:16, through those which accompany the stages of spiritual growth, as in 2 Corinthians 12:1, to that of the final Advent. The use of the phrase in 1 Peter 1:7 gives, perhaps, a somewhat emphatic prominence to the last thought.1 Peter 1:13. Διὸ, wherefore) An exhortation is now derived from those things which have been said.—ἀναζωσάμενοι, girding up) to collect the strength. Comp. the expression, to stir up, 2 Peter 1:13.—τὰς ὀσφύας, the loins) A similar phrase occurs, Job 38:3.—νήφοντες) sober: ch. 1 Peter 5:8.—τελείως ἐλπίσατε, hope [Engl. Vers. “to the end”], hope perfectly) have that hope which may grasp the end (τέλος) placed before it, 1 Peter 1:9. Hope is repeated from 1 Peter 1:3.—φερομένην) which is afforded and held forth. The same word is used, Hebrews 9:16. Grace is given to us in perfect measure, and with that our hope ought perfectly to correspond. They are correlatives.—ἐν ἀποκαλύψει, at the revelation) There is but one revelation, which takes place through the whole time of the New Testament, by the two appearances of Christ: Titus 2:11; Titus 2:13.Verse 13. - Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind. St. Peter sums up in the word "wherefore" all the blessings, privileges, and hopes which he has enumerated; on these he founds his exhortations. Gird up. The word ἀναζωσάμενοι (literally, "girding up, tucking up long garments by the help of a girdle") occurs in no other place of the New Testament. But the same metaphor, expressed in similar words, is common. St. Peter alludes, doubtless, to the Lord's exhortation, "Let your loins be girded about;" perhaps also the solemn words of John 21:18, "signifying by what death he should glorify God," were present to his thoughts. The loins of your mind. St. Peter often explains a metaphor by adding a genitive or. adjective; so "milk of the Word; .... hidden man of the heart;" amaranthine wreath of glory." Διάνοια, translated "mind," is the reflective faculty. The Christian must reflect, and that with intense exertion of thought, on the glory of his hopes, on the greatness of his responsibilities; he must seek to love God with all his mind (ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ), as well as with all his heart and soul. Be sober. The Christian must be sober in his use of the gifts of God; he must be sober also in his habits of thought; he should preserve a calm, collected temper. Christian enthusiasm should be thoughtful, not excited and disorderly (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:11, 12). And hope to the end; rather, perfectly, with a full, unwavering, constant hope. It is better to take the adverb τελείως with the verb "hope" than with νήφοντες, "be perfectly sober." For the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Christian's hope must be directed to, set towards (ἐπί with accusative), the continual growth in grace ("He giveth more grace," James 4:6). That grace is being brought now, being borne in upon the soul in the present revelation of Jesus Christ. "It pleased God," says St. Paul (Galatians 1:16), "to reveal his Son in me." So now the Lord manifests himself to those who walk in the path of loving obedience. Each gift of grace kindles the hope of a nearer manifestation, a fuller revelation; grace is continually brought, till at length the full unspeakable gift of grace is realized at the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ at his second advent. This seems better than to give the present participle φερομένην a future sense, and to understand the revelation of Jesus Christ only of his final coming in glory. Gird up (ἀναζωσάμενοι)

Lit., having girded up. Used here only. The metaphor is suggested by the girding up of the loose eastern robes preparatory to running or other exertion. Perhaps recalling the words of Christ, Luke 12:35. Christ's call is a call to active service. There is a fitness in the figure as addressed to sojourners and pilgrims (1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 2:11), who must be always ready to move.

Mind (διανοίας)

See on Mark 12:30.

Be sober (νήφοντες)

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

Hope to the end (τελείως ἐλπίσατε)

Better, as Rev., set your hope perfectly: wholly and unchangeably; without doubt or despondency.

That is to be brought (τὴν φερομένην)

Lit., which is being brought, as Rev., in margin. The object of hope is already on the way.

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