1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
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(3-12) PANEGYRIC OF THE GOSPEL FROM A HEBREW POINT OF VIEW.—The Apostle thanks God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That fact is a regeneration of us, and a pledge of future glory, in view of which such afflictions as beset the Asiatic Hebrews were seen to serve a purpose, and that purpose the very “salvation” which had formed the theme of the Old Testament.

(3) Blessed.—A form consecrated to God alone (e.g., Mark 14:61; Romans 9:5; 2Corinthians 11:31), a completely different word from the “blessed,” or happy, of the Beatitudes; and differing from the “blessed” of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:28; Luke 1:42) in that this form implies that blessing is always due on account of something inherent in the person, while that only implies that a blessing has been received. The idea of blessing God (literally, speaking Him well, Psalm 100:3) is, of course, wholly Hebrew.

Of our Lord Jesus Christ.—No longer only “the Lord God of Israel,” as, e.g., 1Chronicles 29:10; 2Chronicles 6:4; Luke 1:68; He is now in a nearer, tenderer relation to these members of the new covenant. He is the Father of the Messiah, and yet the God whom Jesus adores (John 20:17).

Which according to his abundant mercy.—This is the reason for which God deserves blessing from us. The word “according” never means exactly the same as “in” or “by”; here it rather shows that the particular instance was in keeping with what might have been expected, had we but known, from the “much pity” which God must have felt for creatures so forlorn. Our regeneration was no sudden capricious favour.

Hath begotten us again.—Rather, begat us again—the historical moment being here given as that of the resurrection of Christ. This great word, which is St. Peter’s own, being only found again in 1Peter 1:20, evidently contains the whole meaning of the being “born from above” or “begotten all over again” of John 3:3, of the “fresh creation” of 2Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, of the “regeneration” of Titus 3:5, of the “begotten of God” in St. John’s Epistle, and (to a certain extent) of the “brought He us forth” of James 1:18. It seems to indicate that, if it takes effect, it makes a complete change not only in the condition and prospects of the man, but in the man himself: such a change, for example, as would pass over an animal if it were suddenly to receive the powers of a human being. It is no metaphor when the change from the natural man to a man united with the Incarnate God is described as an act of creation parallel only to those of the creation of matter and force (Genesis 1:1-2), the creation of life (Genesis 1:21), and the creation of humanity (Genesis 1:27), for, according to St. Peter’s teaching, we are thus actually made “partakers of the divine nature” (2Peter 1:4).

Unto a lively hope.—Or, into a living hope. Before this regeneration there was nothing to look forward to—at best a kind of dead-alive surmise that there might be something beyond the weary world. But as the animal we have imagined would find himself suddenly new-begotten into a state in which he was conscious of himself and of God, so we found ourselves new-begotten into a state of definite and most energetic expectation of whole sæcula sæculorum—worlds beyond worlds—of bliss before us.

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ.—Mystically speaking, the moment of our emergence into this new glow of expectation was that when the Messiah Jesus, who had been cut off, emerged from among the dead. Then we saw it all! St. Peter, indeed, is speaking, so far as himself was concerned, not mystically, but literally, as his history before and after the Resurrection shows. To him, and to the other Apostles, the Resurrection was a regeneration, and they became new beings. To subsequent Christians precisely the same effect takes place when (suddenly or gradually) the fact of the Resurrection is acknowledged and its significance realised. (See what St. Paul says, Philippians 3:10.) Yet we must not confine the meaning of the words to the effects of this conscious realisation. St. Peter is viewing the transaction theologically, i.e., from God’s point of view, not phenomenally, from man’s. He speaks of the begetting, not of the being born—of the Resurrection itself, not of the preaching of the Resurrection. To God, with whom, according to St. Peter, time does not exist (2Peter 3:8), there is no interval between His begetting of Christ again from the dead (Acts 13:33; Revelation 1:5), and His begetting of us again thereby. In the mystery of our union with the Incarnate Word, His historical resurrection did, through baptism, in some ineffable manner, infuse into us the grace which makes new creatures of us. Archbishop Leighton says well, “Not only is it (the Resurrection) the exemplar, but the efficient cause of our new birth.” (See below, 1Peter 3:21, and Romans 6:4.)

1 Peter 1:3-4. Blessed be the God and Father, or, God even the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ — His only-begotten and beloved Son; who, according to his abundant mercy — His compassion for us in our state of ignorance and guilt, depravity and weakness; his undeserved love and goodness, the source of all our blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal: hath begotten us again — Regenerated us; to a lively Ζωσαν, living, hope — A hope which implies true spiritual life, is the consequence of repentance unto life, living faith, justification by faith, and a birth from above, by which we pass from death unto life; a hope which revives the heart, and makes the soul lively and vigorous: by the resurrection of Christ — Which not only proved him to be the Son of God, (Romans 1:4,) and demonstrated the truth and importance of his doctrine, which brought life and immortality to light, but manifested the acceptableness and efficacy of the sacrifice he offered for sin, opened an intercourse between God and man, made way for our receiving the Holy Ghost, and is a pledge and earnest of our resurrection, he having risen the first-fruits of them that sleep in him. To an inheritance — For if we are children, then are we heirs; incorruptible — Not like earthly inheritances or possessions, of whatever kind, which are both corruptible in themselves, tending in their own nature to dissolution and decay; and are possessed by that which is corruptible, even through the medium of the body, with its senses and members, all tending to decay and dissolution. But the inheritance we expect is neither corruptible in itself, nor shall we that enjoy it be corruptible, either in soul or body. Undefiled — Every thing here is therefore corruptible, because it has been defiled with the sin of man, and laid under a curse, so that vanity and misery are attached to the enjoyment of every thing; and we ourselves, having been defiled in soul and body, have all the seeds of vanity and misery sown in our frame. But the inheritance reserved for us has not been defiled by any sin, and therefore has no curse, vanity, or misery attached to it: Revelation 22:3. And we ourselves, when admitted into that world, shall be perfectly pure, and shall have in our frame no hinderance to the most perfect enjoyment. And fadeth not away — As every thing in this world does, decaying in lustre and glory, in sweetness, or the pleasure it yields in the enjoyment, and in value to us, who can only have a life estate in any thing; whence, whatever we possess is continually decreasing in value to us, as the time approaches when we are to be dispossessed of it. But the inheritance above, on the contrary, will not decay in any of these respects: its value, its glory and sweetness, or the pleasure it yields in the enjoyment, will continue the same to all eternity; or rather, will continually increase; new glories opening upon us, new pleasures offering themselves to our enjoyment, and new riches not ceasing to be conferred upon us from the inexhaustible stores of divine and infinite beneficence. Reserved in heaven — And therefore not subject to such changes as are continually taking place here on earth; for you — Who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, honour, and immortality.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.Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - See the notes at 2 Corinthians 1:3.

Which according to His abundant mercy - Margin, as in the Greek, "much." The idea is, that there was great mercy shown them in the fact that they were renewed. They had no claim to the favor, and the favor was great. People are not begotten to the hope of heaven because they have any claim on God, or because it would not be right for him to withhold the favor. See the notes at Ephesians 2:4.

Hath begotten us again - The meaning is, that as God is the Author of our life in a natural sense, so he is the Author of our second life by regeneration. The Saviour said, John 3:3 that "except a man be born again," or "begotten again," (γεννηθῆ ἄνωθεν gennēthē anōthen,) "he cannot see the kingdom of God." Peter here affirms that that change had occurred in regard to himself and those whom he was addressing. The word used here as a compound (ἀναγεννάω anagennaō) does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament, though it corresponds entirely with the words used by the Saviour in John 3:3, John 3:5,John 3:7. Perhaps the phrase "begotten again" would be better in each instance where the word occurs, the sense being rather that of being begotten again, than of being born again.

Unto a lively hope - The word lively we now use commonly in the sense of active, animated, quick; the word used here, however, means living, in contradistinction from that which is dead. The hope which they had, had living power. It was not cold, inoperative, dead. It was not a mere form - or a mere speculation - or a mere sentiment; it was that which was vital to their welfare, and which was active and powerful. On the nature of hope, see the notes at Romans 8:24. Compare Ephesians 2:12.

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead - The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the foundation of our hope. It was a confirmation of what he declared as truth when he lived; it was a proof of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul; it was a pledge that all who are united to him will be raised up. See the 1Co. 15:1-20; 2 Timothy 1:10 note; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 note. On this verse we may remark, that the fact that Christians are chosen to salvation should be a subject of gratitude and praise. Every man should rejoice that any of the race may be saved, and the world should be thankful for every new instance of divine favor in granting to anyone a hope of eternal life. Especially should this be a source of joy to true Christians. Well do they know that if God had not chosen them to salvation, they would have remained as thoughtless as others; if he had had no purpose of mercy toward them, they would never have been saved. Assuredly, if there is anything for which a man should be grateful, it is that God has so loved him as to give him the hope of eternal life; and if he has had an eternal purpose to do this, our gratitude should be proportionably increased.

3. He begins, like Paul, in opening his Epistles with giving thanks to God for the greatness of the salvation; herein he looks forward (1) into the future (1Pe 1:3-9); (2) backward into the past (1Pe 1:10-12) [Alford].

Blessed—A distinct Greek word (eulogetos, "Blessed BE") is used of God, from that used of man (eulogemenos, "Blessed IS").

Father—This whole Epistle accords with the Lord's prayer; "Father," 1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, 23; 2:2; "Our," 1Pe 1:4, end; "In heaven," 1Pe 1:4; "Hallowed be Thy name," 1Pe 1:15, 16; 3:15; "Thy kingdom come," 1Pe 2:9; "Thy will be done," 1Pe 2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19; "daily bread," 1Pe 5:7; "forgiveness of sins," 1Pe 4:8, 1; "temptation," 1Pe 4:12; "deliverance," 1Pe 4:18 [Bengel]; Compare 1Pe 3:7; 4:7, for allusions to prayer. "Barak," Hebrew "bless," is literally "kneel." God, as the original source of blessing, must be blessed through all His works.

abundant—Greek, "much," "full." That God's "mercy" should reach us, guilty and enemies, proves its fulness. "Mercy" met our misery; "grace," our guilt.

begotten us again—of the Spirit by the word (1Pe 1:23); whereas we were children of wrath naturally, and dead in sins.

unto—so that we have.

lively—Greek, "living." It has life in itself, gives life, and looks for life as its object [De Wette]. Living is a favorite expression of Peter (1Pe 1:23; 1Pe 2:4, 5). He delights in contemplating life overcoming death in the believer. Faith and love follow hope (1Pe 1:8, 21, 22). "(Unto) a lively hope" is further explained by "(To) an inheritance incorruptible … fadeth not away," and "(unto) salvation … ready to be revealed in the last time." I prefer with Bengel and Steiger to join as in Greek, "Unto a hope living (possessing life and vitality) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Faith, the subjective means of the spiritual resurrection of the soul, is wrought by the same power whereby Christ was raised from the dead. Baptism is an objective means (1Pe 3:21). Its moral fruit is a new life. The connection of our sonship with the resurrection appears also in Lu 20:36; Ac 13:33. Christ's resurrection is the cause of ours, (1) as an efficient cause (1Co 15:22); (2) as an exemplary cause, all the saints being about to rise after the similitude of His resurrection. Our "hope" is, Christ rising from the dead hath ordained the power, and is become the pattern of the believer's resurrection. The soul, born again from its natural state into the life of grace, is after that born again unto the life of glory. Mt 19:28, "regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory"; the resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth and entering upon immortality, a nativity into another life [Bishop Pearson]. The four causes of our salvation are; (1) the primary cause, God's mercy; (2) the proximate cause, Christ's death and resurrection; (3) the formal cause, our regeneration; (4) the final cause, our eternal bliss. As John is the disciple of love, so Paul of faith, and Peter of hope. Hence, Peter, most of all the apostles, urges the resurrection of Christ; an undesigned coincidence between the history and the Epistle, and so a proof of genuineness. Christ's resurrection was the occasion of his own restoration by Christ after his fall.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; either the conjunction and is here but an explicative particle, and so we render it, 2 Corinthians 1:3, God, even the Father, & c.; or if we take it for a copulative, as Ephesians 1:3: God is called the God of Jesus Christ, according to Christ’s human nature, and his Father according to his Divine.

Which according to his abundant mercy; this shows the fountain from whence regeneration and all other spiritual blessings flow, and excludes all merit and dignity in us, as the cause of so great benefits.

Abundant mercy is the same with riches of mercy, Ephesians 2:4.

Hath begotten us again; translated us out of a state of sin and misery into a state of grace and life; and so begotten again here, is the same as sanctifying in the former verse.

Unto a lively hope; either a lively hope, for hope of life; or rather, a lively hope is a true and effectual hope, such as proceeds from a lively faith, and is itself productive of peace and purity, Romans 5:2 1Jo 3:3, in opposition to the vain hope of worldly men, which neither comes from faith nor tends to holiness.

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: this may be referred either:

1. To God’s begetting us again, and then it implies the resurrection of Christ to be the cause of our regeneration, we being raised to a spiritual life by the power of Christ’s resurrection, and our vivification being often ascribed to it, 1 Peter 3:21 Romans 4:25 6:4,5: see Ephesians 2:5. Or:

2. To the lively hope to which he begets us, which depends upon, and ariseth from, the faith of Christ’s resurrection, Romans 8:11 1 Corinthians 15:17,19 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14. Christ’s resurrection being the cause and pledge of ours, as the certainty of ours depends upon his, so the liveliness of our hope follows upon the faith of it. Possibly the apostle may have in these words some respect to the languishing condition of the hope of him, and the other disciples, Luke 24:21, which was then ready to expire, but was again revived by their being well assured of his resurrection, Luke 24:33,34. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,.... The epistle begins here with thanksgiving to God, or an ascription of blessing, praise, and glory to him; for this does not mean an invoking or conferring a blessing on him; neither of which can be, for there is not a greater than he to be invoked, nor can anything be added to his blessedness: but God may be blessed by his creatures when they speak well of him, and his wonderful works of creation, providence, and grace; when they ascribe all their mercies, spiritual and temporal, to him; give him the glory of them, and express their thanks for them in heart, lip, and life; and such a blessing of God for a special and spiritual favour, the grace of regeneration, is intended here: by "God" is meant, not God essentially, but personally considered, even God the Father, as is clearly expressed: the words are rendered in the Arabic and Ethiopic versions without the copulative "and", thus, "blessed be God the Father"; and if that is retained, they, may be rendered thus, "blessed be God, even the Father"; as in 2 Corinthians 1:3 and so the latter be exegetical of the former; though both are true of Christ, in different senses; God is the God of Christ, as Christ is man; and he is the Father of Christ, as Christ is God; for, as man, he had no father, nor is he a son by office, but by nature; see Gill on Ephesians 1:3.

which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again: regeneration is the blessing thanks are given for; and if we are to be thankful to God, and bless his name, because he hath made us creatures, and hath given us a natural being; much more should we praise him for making us new creatures, and giving us a spiritual being. To be "begotten again", and so to be born again, is opposed unto, and distinguished from our first birth, when we were conceived, and shapen in sin; and designs a birth, spiritual, holy, and heavenly; it is signified by a being quickened, or made alive; so as in a spiritual sense, to see, and hear, and breathe after divine things, and to live a life of faith and holiness; by Christ being formed in the heart; by a partaking of the divine nature, and by being made new men, or new creatures: God, and not man, is the efficient cause of this, which is sometimes ascribed to the Spirit, and sometimes to the Son, and here to the Father; and it is not men's works, but his own good will and pleasure, his great love and free favour, his rich grace and abundant mercy, are the impulsive, or moving cause of it; and abundance of grace and mercy indeed is displayed in the regeneration and conversion of sinners: what they are regenerated to is,

unto a lively hope; meaning either the grace of hope, which is implanted in regeneration, and not before; for then, and then only, is a good hope through grace given; and it may be said to be "lively", or "living", inasmuch as it is fixed, not on dead works, but on a living Christ, on his person, blood, and righteousness; and is not the hope of a dead sinner, of a lifeless hypocrite, and formal professor, that has a name to live, and is dead, but of a living believer, one made truly alive by the spirit of life, from Christ; and is what is sometimes, at least, in lively exercise, and makes the heart of a believer cheerful, brisk, and lively; and is what is lasting and durable, and will never be lost, but will be held fast unto the end: or else the thing hoped for is intended, the hope laid up in heaven; the blessed hope regenerate ones are born unto, and are looking for, even eternal life and happiness; and the Syriac version renders it, "unto hope of life": that is, or eternal life; and so reads one of Stephens's copies. Saints are both begotten again to the grace of hope, and to the glory which that grace is waiting for: the means is,

by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; which may be connected either with the act of begetting again; for Christ's resurrection is the virtual cause of regeneration, or regeneration is in virtue of Christ's resurrection; had he not risen from the dead, none would have been quickened, or made to live, or have been raised to newness of life: his resurrection is the exemplar of regeneration; there is a likeness between them; as his resurrection was a declaration of his sonship, so regeneration is a manifestation of adoption; and as Christ's resurrection was his first step to glory, so is regeneration to eternal life; and both are wrought by the same almighty power: or the clause may be connected with the foregoing, "unto a lively hope"; for the resurrection of Christ is what is the means of, and lays a solid foundation of hope, both of the saints' resurrection from the dead, of which Christ is the meritorious cause, pledge, and pattern, and of eternal glory and happiness, since he rose for our justification, with which glorification is inseparably connected.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a {c} lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

(c) Everlasting hope.

1 Peter 1:3. εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρ. ἡμ. . Χριστοῦ] The same formula occurs in 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3.

εὐλογητός, not: “worthy of praise,” but: “praised;” in the LXX. the translation of בָּרוּךּ; in the N. T. the word εὐλογητός used only with reference to God. εἴη and not ἐστίν is probably to be supplied, as is done by most commentators, cf. Meyer on Ephesians 1:1; Winer, p. 545 [E. T. 732] (Schott; Buttm. p. 120); at least from the fact that in the doxologies introduced by means of relatives, ἐστίν is to be found (cf. Romans 1:25; also 1 Peter 4:11), it cannot be concluded that the indicative is to be supplied in an ascription of praise quite differently constructed, cf. LXX. Job 1:21. The adjunct καὶ πατὴρ κ.τ.λ. to ὁ Θεός is explainable as a natural expression of the Christian consciousness. It is possible “that the whole formula of doxology has its origin in the liturgical usage, so to speak, in the primitive Christian church” (Weiss, p. 401).

ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς] The participial clause states the reason why God is to be praised. πολύ gives prominence to the riches of the divine mercy, Ephesians 2:4 : πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει. κατά is used here in the same sense as in 1 Peter 1:2. ἀναγεννήσας has its nearer definition in the subsequent εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν. De Wette joins these intimately connected ideas in a somewhat too loose way, when he thus interprets: “who hath awakened us to repentance and faith, and thereby at the same time to a hope.” Similarly Wiesinger, who takes ἀναγεννήσας as a self-contained idea, and connects εἰς ἐλπίδα with it, in this sense, “that in the idea of regeneration this particular determination of it is brought into prominence, that it is a new birth to living hope, i.e. as born again we have attained unto a lively hope;” thus Schott. This view, however, refutes itself, because it necessitates unjustifiable supplements. More in harmony with the expression is Brückner’s interpretation, according to which εἰς denotes the aim of the new birth (“the hope is conceived of as the aim of him by whom the readers have been begotten again;” thus Morus already: Deus nos in melius mutavit, cur? ut sperare possimus). But if the attainment of σωτηρία be conceived as the aim and end of the new birth, the hopes directed to it cannot be so, all the less that this hope forms an essential element of the new life itself. The verb ἀναγεννᾷν is here taken not as an absolute, but as a relative idea, its supplement lying in εις ἐλπ. ζ. (so also Steinmeyer, Weiss, Hofmann). The ἐλπὶς ζῶσα is then to be thought of as the life into which the mercy of God has raised or begotten the believer from the death of hopelessness (Ephesians 2:12 : ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ χωρὶς Χριστοῦἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες); the connection is the same as in Galatians 4:24, where the simple γεννᾷν, is also construed with εἰς.[49] This view is justified, not only by the close connection of εἰς with the idea ἀναγεννᾷν, but also by the corresponding adj. ζῶσαν. In this there is no weakening of the idea ἀναγεννᾷν (in opposition to Wiesinger), for ἐλπίς need not be conceived as representing one single side of the Christian life, but under it may he understood the whole Christian life in its relation to the future σωτηρία. It is incorrect to take ἐλπίς here in the objective sense, as: object of hope; Aretius: res, quae spei subjectae sunt, h. e. vita aeterna; Bengel: haereditas coelestis; so also Hottinger, Hensler, etc. It is used rather in the subjective sense to denote the inward condition of life.

The expression ζῶσα has been variously translated by the commentators; thus Beza explains it as: perennis; Aretius: solida; Piscator: vivifica; Gualther: spes viva certitudinem salutis significat; Heidegger: ζῶσα: quia et fructus vitae edit, et spes vitae est et permanet; quia non languida, infirma est, sed παῤῥησίαν et πεποίθησιν habet et perpetua simul semperque exhilarans est, neque unquam intermoritur, sed semper renovatur et refocillatur; in the first edition of this commentary; “the hope of the Christian is pervaded by life, carrying with it in undying power the certainty of fulfilment (Romans 5:5), and making the heart joyful and happy;” it “has life in itself, and gives life, and at the same time has life as its object” (de Wette). Taken strictly, ζῶσα characterizes the hope as one which has life in itself, and is therefore operative. All else may as a matter of fact be connected with it, but is not contained in the word itself (Weiss, p. 92); more especially, too, the idea that it has the certainty of its own realization (Hofmann); cf. 1 Peter 1:23 : λόγος ζῶν; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 5 : λίθος ζῶν. Gerhard incorrectly interprets ἐλπίς by fides, sive fiducialis meriti Christi apprehensio quae est regenerationis nostrae causa formalis. For apart from the fact that Peter is not here speaking of regeneration at all, ἐλπίς and πίστις are in themselves separate ideas, which cannot be arbitrarily substituted for one another. It is erroneous also, with Luther, Calvin, and others, to resolve ἐλπὶς ζῶσα into ἐλπὶς ζωῆς; ζῶσα denotes not the end, but the nature of the hope.

διʼ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησ. Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν] is not to be joined with ζῶσαν (Oecum., Luth., Bengel, Lorinus, Steiger, de Wette, Hofmann), but with ἀναγεννήσας, more nearly defined by εἰςζῶσαν (Calvin, Gerhard, Knapp, Weiss, p. 299; Schott, Brückner[50]); for ΖῶΣΑΝ does not define a particular kind of hope, but only gives special prominence to an element already contained in the idea ἘΛΠΊς. The resurrection of Christ is the means by which God has begotten us again to the living hope. It is the fact which forms the living ground of Christian hope. Wiesinger joins ΔΙʼ ἈΝΑΣΤ. somewhat too loosely with ἈΝΑΓ., explaining as he does: “He hath begotten us again, and thus in virtue of the resurrection of Jesus Christ hath aided us to living hope.”

As ζᾶσαν corresponds to the term ἈΝΑΓΕΝΝΉΣΑς, so does ἈΝΆΣΤΑΣΙς in the most exact manner to both of these ideas. By the resurrection of Christ the believer also is risen to life. It must be remarked the prepositions κατά, ἐν, εἰς, 1 Peter 1:2, are used to correspond with ΚΑΤΆ, ΕἸς, ΔΙΆ; cf. 1 Peter 1:5, the use of the prepositions: ἘΝ, ΔΙΆ, ΕἸς.

[49] Against this interpretation Schott urges: that ἀναγεννᾷν does not mean “to awaken,” that “a death of despair” is not alluded to, that neither ἐλπίς nor ἐλπὶς ζῶσα denotes “a life of hope.” These reasons are insignificant, for (1) the expression “awakened” is not employed in order to give the full meaning of ἀναγεννᾷν; (2) even on the opposite interpretation their former condition may be considered as a hopeless one, and can undoubtedly be regarded as a death; and (3) it cannot be denied that hope is life. In opposition to Schott’s assertion, that ἀναγεννᾷν is everywhere, a self-contained idea, it is to be noted that the word occurs in the N. T. only here and in ver. 23.

[50] Schott and Brückner, while accepting the construction above indicated, apply it, in accordance with their interpretation of ἀναγ. εἰς ἐλπίδα, διʼ ἀναστάσεως, both to regeneration and the hope therewith connected, which, however, they term “a single homogeneous fact.”

1 Peter 1:3-12. Praise to God for the grace of which the Christians had been made the partakers. The prominence which the apostle gives to ἀναγεννᾷν εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν, as also his designation of them as ἐκλεκτοὶ παρεπίδημοι, is occasioned by the present state of suffering in which his readers were, and above which he is desirous of raising them.1 Peter 1:3-12. Benediction of the Name. The mention of God is followed by the Benediction of the Name as Jewish piety prescribed; the formula the Holy One, blessed be He, being amplified by the Christian appreciation of their fuller knowledge. The Apostle surpasses the fervour of the Psalmist, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel inasmuch as the last mighty work surpasses all previous deliverances. It falls naturally into three divisions. 1 Peter 1:3-5 have as their central figure the Father, 1 Peter 1:6-9 the Son, and 1 Peter 1:10-12 the Spirit who is at last given, who inspired the prophets of old and now inspires the Christian missionaries. From the past which preceded their acceptance of God’s choice of them and its outward sign St. Peter turns to consider their present condition and to illuminate it with the light of the future glory.3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] Here again we note the close correspondence with the opening words of two of St Paul’s Epistles (2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3). It is, of course, possible that both have adopted what was a common inheritance from Jewish devout feeling, modified by the new faith in Christ; but looking to the reproduction of Pauline phrases in other instances, the idea of derivation seems on the whole the most probable.

which according to his abundant mercy] Literally, as in the margin, “his much or great mercy.” The thought, though here not the phraseology, is identical with St Paul’s “being rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). In the prominence thus given to the “mercy” of God, as shewn in His redeeming and sanctifying work, we recognise the conviction that those who were the objects of His favour were at once wretched, and unworthy of it through their guilt, and that His pity for that wretchedness was the source of the “grace” or “favour” which He had thus shewn to them.

hath begotten us again unto a lively hope] Better perhaps “a living hope,” a hope not destined, as human hopes proverbially were, to be frail and perishable, but having in it the elements of a perennial life. And this was brought about by God’s regenerating work on and in the soul. The word which St Peter uses is peculiar to him among the writers of the New Testament, and meets us again in 1 Peter 1:23. The thought, however, is common to him with St James (“of His own will begat He us,” James 1:18), with St Paul (“the washing of regeneration,” Titus 3:5), and with our Lord’s teaching (“except a man be born again”) as recorded by St John (John 3:5). It is noticeable that St Peter, who elsewhere (chap. 1 Peter 3:21) lays so much stress on baptism, does not here refer to it as the instrument of the new birth, but goes further back to the Resurrection of Christ as that without which baptism and faith would have been alike ineffectual. In this also his teaching is substantially at one with St Paul’s, who sees in baptism that in which we are at once “buried with Christ,” and raised by and with Him to “newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).1 Peter 1:3. Εὐλογητὸς, blessed) The sentiment is, God has regenerated us. The Mode[2] (expression of feeling) is added, that is to say, an expression of thanks.—Πατὴρ, the Father) The whole of this Epistle closely agrees with the Lord’s prayer, and especially with its earlier clauses. Let the sentiments be compared with one another, in their proper order.

[2] See Append. of Techn. Terms on SERMO MODALIS.


1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:14; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2.


1 Peter 1:4, at the end.

In heaven;

The same.

Hallowed be thy name.

1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Peter 3:15.

Thy kingdom come.

1 Peter 2:9.

Thy will be done.

1 Peter 2:15; 1 Peter 3:17; 1 Peter 4:2; 1 Peter 4:19.

Daily bread.

1 Peter 5:7.

Forgiveness of sins.

1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 4:1.


1 Peter 4:12.


1 Peter 4:18.

And Peter expressly makes many references to prayer itself, ch. 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Peter 4:7.—κατὰ ἔλεος, according to His mercy) We had been in a wretched state: Ephesians 2:1-2.—ἀναγεννήσας, who has regenerated us) 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2. [From this place to 1 Peter 2:10, St Peter recounts the things which GOD has done for our benefit; and from that provision for our salvation he derives most efficacious admonitions to hope, 1 Peter 1:3-13; to sanctification and fear in believing, 14–21; to love, 22–2:10; introducing now and then most sweetly doctrine concerning Christ.—V. g.]—εἰς, to) A remarkable Anaphora [repetition in beginnings. Append.]: to hope, to an inheritance, to salvation.—εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν, to a living hope) This hope is a heavenly inheritance, 1 Peter 1:4 : and it is termed living, because it springs forth and flourishes from the resurrection of Christ. Peter frequently uses the epithet living, 1 Peter 1:2-8; 1 Peter 2:4-5; and he makes mention of hope, 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 3:5; 1 Peter 3:15. Comp. the epithets in the following verse. To hope, moreover, he joins faith and love, 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 1:21-22.—διʼ ἀναστάσεως, by the resurrection) This depends upon the word living. Comp. 1 Peter 1:21.Verse 3. - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word rendered "blessed" (εὐλογητός) is used by the New Testament writers only of God; the participle εὐλογημένος is said of men. St. Peter adopts the doxology used by St. Paul in writing to the Churches at Corinth and Ephesus (2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3), the last being one of those to which this Epistle is addressed. It is a question whether the genitive, "of our Lord Jesus Christ," depends on both substantives or only on the last. The Greek will admit either view, and there are high authorities on both sides. On the whole, the first seems the most natural interpretation. The Lord himself had said, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17). He could not say, "our God," for the relations are widely different; he could say, "my God," as he had said upon the cross; for, in the well-known words of Theophylact, "he is both the God and the Father of one and the same Christ; his God, as of Christ manifest in the flesh; his Father, as of God the Word." So St. Paul, after using this same form of salutation in Ephesians 1:3, speaks of God in the seventeenth verse as "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory" (comp. also Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Colossians 1:3). Which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; rather, begat, as in the Revised Version. St. Peter refers our regeneration back to the great fact of the resurrection of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is "the First-begotten of the dead" (Revelation 1:5); we are "buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12). The Church, "which is his body" (Ephesians 1:23), died with him in his death, rose with him in his resurrection. Christians individually are baptized into his death, "that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). The resurrection of Christ was in a real sense the birth of the Church. Therefore St. Peter, who in 1 Peter 3:21 speaks so strongly of the effect of holy baptism, here refers oar regeneration to that without which baptism would be an empty ceremony, the resurrection of our Lord. God's great mercy (comp. Ephesians 2:4, 5, "God, who is rich in mercy.... hath quickened us together with Christ") is the first cause of our new birth, Christ's resurrection is the means through which it was accomplished. St. Peter alone of the New Testament writers uses the word here rendered "hath begotten again" (ἀναγεννήσας); it occurs also in ver. 23. But our Lord himself, and his apostles St. James and St. Paul, teach the same truth to similar words (see John 3:5; James 1:18; Titus 3:5). Some commentators, as Luther, Bengel, etc., connect the words, "by the resurrection," etc., not with "hath begotten us again," but with the word "lively" or "living" - a hope that liveth through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This connection is grammatically possible, and gives a good and true meaning; it is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ which makes the Christian's hope living and strong; but the other explanation seems more natural, and is supported by such passages as Romans 4:25, and 1 Peter 3:21 of this Epistle. The heavenly inheritance is the ultimate end of our regeneration; the hope of that inheritance is the present joy of the Christian life. St. Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that when they were without Christ they had no hope (Ephesians 2:12); but God according to his great mercy begat us again into a new life, and one important aspect of that new life is hope, the hope of ever-deepening fellowship with God now, of everlasting life with God in heaven. That hope is living; it is "pervaded with life, carrying with it in undying power the certainty of fulfillment (Romans 5:5), and making the heart joyful and happy." (Huther); "it has life in itself, and gives life, and has life as its object" (De Wette). And it liveth, it doth not perish like the hopes of this world, but it lives on in ever fuller joy till it reaches its consummation in heaven; even there "hope abideth," forever in heaven there will be, it seems, a continual progress from glory to glory, nearer and nearer to the throne. St. Peter is the apostle of hope. "He loves," says Bengel, "the epithet living, and the mention of hope." Blessed (εὐλογητὸς)

εὖ, well, λόγος, a word. Well-spoken-of; praised; honored. Used in the New Testament of God only. The kindred verb is applied to human beings, as to Mary (Luke 1:28): "Blessed (εὐλογημένη) art thou." Compare the different word for blessed in Matthew 5:3, etc. (μακάριοι), and see notes there. The style of this doxological phrase is Pauline. Compare 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3.

Hath begotten us again (ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς)

The verb is used by Peter only, and by him only here and 1 Peter 1:23. It is in the aorist tense, and should be rendered, as Rev., begat; because regeneration is regarded as a definite historical act accomplished once for all, or possibly because Peter regards the historical act of Christ's resurrection as virtually effecting the regeneration. The latter sentiment would be Pauline, since Paul is wont to speak of Christians as dying and rising with Christ. Romans 7:4; Romans 6:8-11.

Lively (ζῶσαν)

Better, as Rev., literally rendering the participle, living: a favorite word with Peter. See 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 4:5, 1 Peter 4:6; and compare Acts 9:41, where Peter is the prominent actor; and Acts 10:42, where he is the speaker.

Hope (ἐλπίδα)

Peter is fond of this word also (see 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 3:5, 1 Peter 3:15), which, in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope ("Republic," i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good.

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