1 Peter 1:14
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
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(14) As obedient children.—Literally, as children of obedience—children, i.e., in the sense of relationship, not of age. It is characteristic of the writer to keep one thought underlying many digressions, and so here, the appeal to them as “children” is based on the “begotten again” of 1Peter 1:3, and “inheritance” of 1Peter 1:4; it comes up again in 1Peter 1:17, “the Father”; in 1Peter 1:22, “the brethren”; and again in 1Peter 1:23, “begotten again.” The usual characteristic of Jews in the New Testament is disobedience. (See Note on 2Thessalonians 1:8.) The “as” means “in keeping with your character of,” just as we say in common English, “Do so like obedient children.”

Not fashioning yourselves according to.—This rare verb is the same as is translated “be not conformed,” in Romans 12:2, from which some think it is borrowed. The expression is a little confused, the lusts themselves being spoken of as a model not to be copied, where we should rather have expected “not being conformed to your former selves.”

The former lusts in your ignorancei.e., which you indulged before you came to know the gospel truth—of course implying also that the ignorance was the mother of the lusts. The same assumption is made here which we shall find again below in 1Peter 2:9, and still more in 1Peter 4:3, that the recipients of this Letter had lived in ignorance and in vice up to a certain point of their lives. And it is contended, with much plausibility, that both accusations show the recipients of the letter to be of Gentile and not of Jewish origin. It is true that lusts of the flesh are not usually laid to the charge of the Jews, as they are of the Gentiles. (See, for instance, 1Thessalonians 4:5; Ephesians 4:17.) It is also true that the ignorance with which the Jews are charged (for instance, Acts 3:17; Romans 10:3; 1Timothy 1:13) has quite a different tendency from this. But it may be answered that such details are of little weight in comparison with the direct evidence of the first verse, and the indirect evidence of the whole tone of the Letter; also that, putting out of sight expressions of St. Paul’s which have nothing to do with St. Peter, “ignorance” is surely not an unnatural word to represent the contrast between the state of unregenerate Jews and the same persons when they have attained to knowledge higher than that of prophets or of angels; that even Jews were men of flesh and blood, and therefore not exempt from the temptations of the flesh, from which mere legalism was quite insufficient to protect them (see Romans 7:8, “sin through the commandment wrought in me every lust); that in Hebrews 5:2; Hebrews 9:7, Jewish people are supposed to have need of a high priest to bear with and atone for their “ignorance” and “ignorances;” that the same writer contemplates the possibility of “many” of his Hebrews being “defiled” through fleshly sin (Hebrews 12:15-16), and deems it necessary to urge strongly the sanctions of marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

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.As obedient children - That is, conduct yourselves as becomes the children of God, by obeying his commands; by submitting to His will; and by manifesting unwavering confidence in him as your Father at all times.

Not fashioning yourselves - Not forming or modeling your life. Compare the notes at Romans 12:2. The idea is, that they were to have some model or example, in accordance with which they were to frame their lives, but that they were not to make their own former principles and conduct the model. The Christian is to be as different from what he was himself before conversion as he is from his fellow-men. He is to be governed by new laws, to aim at new objects, and to mould his life in accordance with new principles. Before conversion, he was:

(a) supremely selfish;

(b) he lived for personal gratification;

(c) he gave free indulgence to his appetites and passions, restrained only by a respect for the decencies of life, and by a reference to his own health, property, or reputation, without regard to the will of God;

(d) he conformed himself to the customs and opinions around him, rather than to the requirements of his Maker;

(e) he lived for worldly aggrandizements, his supreme object being wealth or fame; or,

(f) in many cases, those who are now Christians, gave indulgence to every passion which they wished to gratify, regardless of reputation, health, property, or salvation.

Now they are to be governed by a different rule, and their own former standard of morals and of opinions is no longer their guide, but the will of God.

According to the former lusts in your ignorance - When you were ignorant of the requirements of the gospel, and gave yourselves up to the unrestrained indulgence of your passions.

14. From sobriety of spirit and endurance of hope Peter passes to obedience, holiness, and reverential fear.

As—marking their present actual character as "born again" (1Pe 1:3, 22).

obedient children—Greek, "children of obedience": children to whom obedience is their characteristic and ruling nature, as a child is of the same nature as the mother and father. Contrast Eph 5:6, "the children of disobedience." Compare 1Pe 1:17, "obeying the Father" whose "children" ye are. Having the obedience of faith (compare 1Pe 1:22) and so of practice (compare 1Pe 1:16, 18). "Faith is the highest obedience, because discharged to the highest command" [Luther].

fashioning—The outward fashion (Greek, "schema") is fleeting, and merely on the surface. The "form," or conformation in the New Testament, is something deeper and more perfect and essential.

the former lusts in—which were characteristic of your state of ignorance of God: true of both Jews and Gentiles. The sanctification is first described negatively (1Pe 1:14, "not fashioning yourselves," &c.; the putting off the old man, even in the outward fashion, as well as in the inward conformation), then positively (1Pe 1:15, putting on the new man, compare Eph 4:22, 24). "Lusts" flow from the original birth-sin (inherited from our first parents, who by self-willed desire brought sin into the world), the lust which, ever since man has been alienated from God, seeks to fill up with earthly things the emptiness of his being; the manifold forms which the mother-lust assumes are called in the plural lusts. In the regenerate, as far as the new man is concerned, which constitutes his truest self, "sin" no longer exists; but in the flesh or old man it does. Hence arises the conflict, uninterruptedly maintained through life, wherein the new man in the main prevails, and at last completely. But the natural man knows only the combat of his lusts with one another, or with the law, without power to conquer them.

As obedient children; Greek, children of obedience, by a usual Hebraism, for obedient children. So children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2 Colossians 3:6. And this we may understand either absolutely, children of obedience for obedient persons; or with relation to God, obedient children of God; and then the apostle persuades them to their duty by an argument taken from their adoption; being the children of God, he would have them behave themselves obediently, as becomes them in that relation.

Not fashioning yourselves; not accommodating, not conforming yourselves, not shaping or ordering your conversation. See the same word, Romans 12:2.

According to the former lusts; the lusts you formerly indulged yourselves in: see Ephesians 4:22.

In your ignorance; your ignorance of Christ and the gospel: q.d. Not fashioning yourselves according to those lusts you lived in when you were ignorant of Christ. He distinguisheth between the time of their ignorance, and of their illumination. Another age requires other manners. They formerly lived according to the dictates of their lusts, but now ought to live according to the will of Christ: see 1 Peter 1:18 Acts 17:30 Ephesians 4:17,18.

As obedient children,.... Or "children of obedience". This may be connected either with what goes before, that seeing they were children of God, by adopting grace, and in regeneration brought to the obedience of faith, to whom the inheritance belonged, therefore they ought to continue hoping for it; or with what follows, that since they were manifestly the children of God by faith in. Christ Jesus, being begotten again to a lively hope, they ought to be followers of him, and imitate him in holiness and righteousness, and show themselves to be obedient ones to his Gospel and ordinances, as children ought to honour, and obey, and imitate their parents:

not fashioning yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance. The phrase is much the same with that in Romans 12:2 "be not conformed to this world"; for to be conformed, or fashioned to the world, is to be fashioned to the lusts of it; and to be fashioned to the lusts of it is to indulge them, to make provision for them, to obey them, to live and walk in them; which should not be done by the children of God, and who profess themselves to be obedient ones to the Gospel, which teaches otherwise; and that because they are lusts, foolish, hurtful, and deceitful ones, ungodly ones; the lusts of the devil, as well as of the world, and of the flesh, and which war against the soul; and because they are "former" ones, which they served in a time of unregeneracy, and were now convinced and ashamed of, and therefore should no longer live to them; the time past of life being sufficient to have walked in them: and because they were lusts in ignorance, which they had indulged in a state of ignorance; not of Gentilism, though this might be the case of some, but of Judaism; when they knew not God, especially in Christ, and were ignorant of his righteousness, and of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, as committed against a law that was holy and spiritual; nor did they know Christ, and the way of salvation by him, but thought they ought to do many things contrary to his name; nor the work of the Spirit in regeneration, saying with Nicodemus, how can these things be? nor the true sense of the Scriptures, the sacred oracles, that were committed to them; much less the Gospel, which was hidden from them, and they were enemies to: but now it was otherwise with them; they were made light in the Lord, and had knowledge of all these things; and therefore, as their light increased, and the grace of God, bringing salvation, appeared unto them, and shone out on then, it became them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and not to walk as they had done before, since they had not so learned Christ.

{8} As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

(8) He passes from faith and hope, to the fruits of them both, which are understood in the name of obedience. It consists in two things, in renouncing our lusts, and living godly: which lusts have their beginning in that blindness in which all men are born: but holiness proceeds that the father and the children may be of one disposition.

1 Peter 1:14. Second exhortation (extending to 1 Peter 1:21).

ὡς τέκνα ὑπακοῆς] does not belong to what precedes (Hofmann), but serves to introduce the new exhortation.[82]

ὡς does not here introduce a comparison (as 1 Peter 2:2; 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 3:7), but marks the essential quality of the subject. Lorinus correctly remarks on 1 Peter 2:14 : constat hujusmodi particulas saepe nihil minuere, sed rei veritatem magis exprimere; it corresponds to our “as,” i.e. as becomes you who should be τέκνα ὑπακοῆς.

ὑπακοή is used here as absolutely as in 1 Peter 1:2, and has the same signification as there. The spirit which pervades the life of believers is the spirit of obedience, and therefore they should be τέκνα ὑπακοῆς. According to the analogy of similar compounds in the N. T., as τέκνα φωτός, Ephesians 5:8; its opposite: τέκνα κατάρας, 2 Peter 2:14; τέκνα τῆς ὀργῆς, Ephesians 2:3; particularly υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας, Ephesians 2:2,—the expression τέκνα ὑπακοῆς may be explained so as that τέκνα shall denote only the relation in which the persons in question stand to the idea of the accompanying genitive; cf. Winer, p. 223 f. [E. T. 298]; Buttmann, p. 141; Meyer on Ephesians 2:2 (thus Grotius, Jachmann, etc.; Fronmüller too). De Wette, Brückner, Schott, Weiss too most probably, p. 172, take τέκνα as the “children of God,” and ὑπακοῆς as the genitive of character (as Luke 16:8 : ὁ οἰκόνομος τῆς ἀδικίας; Luke 18:6 : ὁ κρίτης τῆς ἀδικίας). But as it is in 1 Peter 1:17 that mention is first made of the sonship relation of the Christian, it remains at least doubtful whether the apostle had in this expression that relation in view; at any rate the emphasis here lies not on τέκνα, but on ὑπακοῆς.

μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι] μή occurs here on account of the imperative cast of the whole sentence. Neither γενήθητε (Bengel) nor any other similar word is to be supplied to the part., inasmuch as it does not correspond to the ἅγιοι γενήθητε but to the κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον (Wiesinger); there is here no “departure from the construction” (de Wette). The word συσχηματίζεσθαι, occurring in the N. T. only here and in Romans 12:2, and nowhere but in later Greek, means: “to form his σχῆμα like that of another;”[83] it has reference not to the outward conduct merely, but to the whole outward and inward conformation of life, as the connection with the following words shows: ΤΑῖς ΠΡΌΤΕΡΟΝ ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΓΝΟΊᾼ ὙΜῶΝ ἘΠΙΘΥΜΊΑΙς. The ἘΠΙΘΥΜΊΑΙ, i.e. the sinful desires (not “the satisfied lusts, or a life of pleasure,” as de Wette understands), which formerly held sway in them, are the σχῆμα, according to which they are not to fashion themselves in their new life.[84] Luther’s translation is inexact: “take not up your former position, when ye in your ignorance lived according to your lusts.” The ἐπιθυμίαι are more precisely characterized as formerly belonging to them ἐν ἀγνοίᾳ; ἐν specifies not merely the time (Calvin: tempus ignorantiae vocat, antequam in fidem Christi vocati essent), but likewise the origin (Wiesinger). ἄγνοια is used here as in Acts 17:30, Ephesians 4:18, ignorance in divine things, and is to be understood, if not exactly of idolatry, at least of heathenism, which is far from the knowledge of the living God and of His will. Paul, in Romans 1:18 ff., shows how the obscuring of the consciousness of God is the source of moral corruption.

[82] Hofmann connects not only these words, but the subsequent participial clause also: μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι κ.τ.λ., with what precedes. This, however, is opposed, on the one hand, by the correspondence which exists between τέκνα ὑπακοῆς and the subsequent exhortations; and, on the other hand, by ἀλλά, ver. 15, which is in antithesis to μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι, and therefore not to be separated from it, as though it commenced a new paragraph.

[83] When, in objection to this, Hofmann urges that συσχηματίζεσθαι should here be interpreted not according to Romans 12:2, but on the principle of the expression: συσχ. τοῖς λεγομένοις; “so to conduct oneself as to give adequate expression to the words used,”—he does not consider that in this verse the verb has the same force as in Romans 12:2, for it means: “to conform your σχῆμα to that which your words express.”

[84] Schott terms this interpretation “inexact;” for “it is not the lusts themselves, but the mode of life which is essentially characterized by these lusts, according to which they are not to fashion themselves;” but does then ἐπιθυμίαι mean “the mode of life”? Besides, Schott himself says that the thought is not altogether correctly expressed.


In answer to Weiss, who can see in this passage no proof that the readers were Gentile-Christians, Wiesinger justly remarks, Schott and Brückner agreeing with him: “the ἄγνοια of which the Jews (Acts 3:17; Romans 10:3) are accused, or which Paul attributes to himself, 1 Timothy 1:13 (the same applies to Luke 23:34; John 8:19), is of quite a different kind; not an ἄγνοια of the moral demands of the law, but the misapprehension of the purpose of salvation manifesting itself also through the law.” If Weiss, on the other hand, insists (Die Petr. Frage, p. 624) that the invectives of Christ most plainly teach how, in the Jewish conception of the law, at that time its deeper moral demands were misapprehended; it must, as opposed to him, be observed that Christ’s attack was specially directed against the Pharisaic conception of it, and can in no way be applied to the people of Israel as such. Paul, in describing them, expressly allows to the Jews, Romans 2:17 ff., the γινώσκειν τὸ θέλημα; and an ἄγνοια, in the absolute sense here implied, is nowhere cast up to them.

The O. T. distinction between “sins of weakness (בִּשְׁגָגָה, LXX.: κατʼ ἄγνοιαν, ἐν ἀγνοίᾳ) and insolent sins of disobedience” (בְּיַד רָמָה) (Weiss, p. 175) does not apply here.

1 Peter 1:14. ὡς, inasmuch as you are, cf. 1 Peter 2:2; 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 3:7, etc.—τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, obedient corresponds to St. Paul’s υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας (Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:6). Both phrases reflect the Hebrew use of בן, “followed by word of quality characteristic, etc.” (B.D.B., s.v., 8). For τέκνα in place of usual υἱοί in this idiom, cf. Hosea 9, τέκνα ἀδικίας and Ephesians 2:3, τέκνα ὀργῆς. Here it suits better with βρέφη (1 Peter 2:1).—συσχηματιζόμεναι, from Romans 12:2, μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ. The feminine is peculiar to [146] whose scribe was perhaps influenced by the Alexandrian identification of woman with the flesh (John 1:13) or regarded such conformity as womanish. The participle has the force of an imperative. The Christians needed to be warned against conformity to the manners and morals of their countrymen, which were incompatible with their new faith (see 1 Peter 5:2-4). The use of σχῆμα in Isaiah 3:17, perhaps assists the use of συσχ. in connection with lusts.—ἐντῇ ἀγνοίᾳ ὑμῶν. It was a Jewish axiom that the Gentiles were ignorant (Acts 17:30; Ephesians 4:17 f.). Christian teachers demonstrated the equal ignorance of the Jews (Peter, Acts 3:17; Paul, in Rom.). So Jesus had pronounced even the teachers of Israel to be blind and promised them knowledge of the truth (John 8:32 ff., cf. interview with Nicodemus); whereas speaking to the Samaritan woman He adopted the Jewish standpoint (John 4:22)—cf. 2 Kings 17:29-41 with Isaiah 2:3; Bar 4:4, μακάριοί ἐσμεν Ἰσραὴλ ὅτι τὰ ἀρεστὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῖν γνωστά ἐστιν.

[146] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

14. as obedient children] Literally, children of obedience. The phrase is more or less a Hebraism, like “children of wrath,” Ephesians 2:3, or the more closely parallel “children of disobedience” in Ephesians 5:6. The “cursed children,” literally, children of a curse, of 2 Peter 2:14, furnishes another example of the Hebrew feeling which looks on the relation of sonship as a parable symbolizing the inheritance of character or status.

not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts] The word is the same as that used by St Paul in Romans 12:2, where the English Version gives “conformed.” The words “in your ignorance” are in the Greek more closely connected with “lusts,” the former lusts that were in your ignorance. We trace an echo of the feeling expressed by St Peter in Acts 3:17, and again by St Paul in Acts 17:30, that the whole life of men, whether Jews or Gentiles, before the revelation of Christ, was a time of ignorance, to be judged as such. The former was at least likely to remember, as he wrote, his Master’s words as to “the servant who knew not his lord’s will” (Luke 12:48), and who was therefore to be “beaten with few stripes.” It does not follow, as some have thought, that he is thinking here, chiefly or exclusively, of those who had been heathens. The words were in their breadth and fulness as true of Jew and Gentile alike as were St Paul’s in Romans 11:32.

1 Peter 1:14. Τέκνα, children) See 1 Peter 1:17, at the beginning.—ὑπακοῆς, of obedience) Obedience is paid either to the Divine truth, 1 Peter 1:22, or to the Divine command. The latter is the fruit of faith; the former is faith itself. Therefore Peter expressly stirs them up to hope in 3d and following verses (making mention of hope itself, 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:13); to faith in the 14th and following verses (using the word faith twice in 1 Peter 1:21); to love, 1 Peter 1:22, but in such a manner that he attempers faith with hope, in 7th and following verses; and again hope with faith, 1 Peter 1:21, and faith with love, 1 Peter 1:22, and ch. 1 Peter 2:6 and following verse.—μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι[10]) Supply γενήθητε, 1 Peter 1:15, be ye not conformed.—ἀγνοίᾳ, in your ignorance) Their former state, even as Jews, before their calling.

[10] σχῆμα and its compounds are used to denote that which is fleeting and changeable, as 1 Corinthians 7:13, τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, “the fashion of this world;” Romans 12:2, μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, “be not conformed to this world.” The word μορφὴ appears to be contrasted with σχῆμα, as that which is essential, as opposed to that which is outward and accidental.

See an excellent article by Mr Lightfoot in the “Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology,” vol. 3, p. 114.—T.

See note on Romans 12:2. Μορφὴ, the form, denotes something deeper and more perfect than σχῆμα, the outward fashion.—E.

Verse 14. - As obedient children; rather, children of obedience (comp. Ephesians 2:2, 3; Ephesians 5:8; also 2 Peter 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Luke 16:8). Winer says ('Grammar,' 3. 34; 'Romans,' 2), "This mode of expression is to be traced to the more lively imagination of the Orientals, by which the most intimate connection (derivation from and dependence on) - even when the reference is to what is not material - is viewed under the image of the relation of son or child to parent. Hence ' children of disobedience' are those who belong to disobedience as a child to his mother - disobedience having become their nature, their predominant disposition." Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. The remarkable word συσχηματιζόμενοι seems to be an echo of Born. 12:2, the only other place where it occurs. It implies that men who live in sensual lusts take up the likeness of those lusts into themselves, and are made, not as man was at first, after the likeness of God, but after the likeness of those lusts of the flesh which are not of the Father, but are of the world. The word "ignorance" is to be taken closely with "lusts" - "the former lusts which were in the time of your ignorance." It seems to imply that St. Peter is addressing Gentiles as well as Jews; top, though ignorance is attributed to the Jews (Acts 3:17; Romans 10:3; 1 Timothy 1:13), it was ignorance, not of the moral law, as here, but of the Person and office of Christ. The Jews had the oracles of God; they knew his will (Romans 2:17; Romans 3:2; comp. also Ephesians 4:18 and Acts 17:30). 1 Peter 1:14Obedient children (τέκνα ὑπακοῆς)

Literally, and more correctly, as Rev., children of obedience. See on Mark 3:17. The Christian is represented as related to the motive principle of his life as a child to a parent.

Fashioning yourselves (συσχηματιζόμενοι)

See on Matthew 17:2; and compare Romans 12:2, the only other passage where the word occurs. As σχῆμα is the outward, changeable fashion, as contrasted with what is intrinsic, the word really carries a warning against conformity to something changeful, and therefore illusory.

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