1 Peter 2:12
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Conversation.—A favourite word with St. Peter, occurring (substantive and verb) seven times in this Epistle, and thrice in the second—i.e., as often as in all the other New Testament writings put together. It means the visible conduct of the daily walk in life. This, as among Gentiles—i.e., heathen (the words are synonymous, though St. Paul generally says “those without” when he means heathen as opposed to Christian)—is to be “honest.” We have no word adequate to represent this charming adjective. It is rendered “good” immediately below and in John 10:11 (“the Good Shepherd”), “worthy” in James 2:7, “goodly” in Luke 21:5. But it is the ordinary Greek word for “beautiful,” and implies the attractiveness of the sight, the satisfaction afforded by an approach to ideal excellence.

That whereas.—The marginal version is more literal, and in sense perhaps preferable, “wherein.” It means that the very fact of the heathen having slandered them will make their testimony “in the day of visitation” all the more striking, as (by way of illustration) the doubts of St. Thomas tend to “the more confirmation of the faith.” So in Romans 2:1, “wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself;” or Hebrews 2:18 (lit.), “wherein He Himself hath suffered, being tempted.”

They speak against you as evildoers.—A significant phrase. St. Peter asserts distinctly that calumnies were really rife, about some particulars of the Christian morality, at the time that this letter was written. It is a mark of a late date, for at first the Christians had not attracted sufficient notice, as a body, to be talked of either in praise or blame. The heathen at first regarded them as merely a Jewish sect (Acts 18:15; Acts 25:18-20), and as such they received from the Roman Government a contemptuous toleration. The first state recognition of Christianity as a separate religion, with characteristics of its own, was the Persecution of Nero in the year 64. Now, it so happens that we have almost contemporary heathen documents which bring out the force of this passage. Suetonius, in his life of Nero (chap. 16), calls the Christians by the very name St. Peter uses, “the Christians, a kind of men of a new and malefic superstition.” Only about forty years later, we have Pliny’s famous letter to Trajan, written actually from the country in which St. Peter’s correspondents lived, and referring to some of the very persons (probably) who received the Epistle as having apostatised at the time of the persecution under Nero; in which letter Pliny asks whether it is the profession of being a Christian which is itself to be punished, or “the crimes which attach to that profession!” The Apologists of the second century are full of refutations of the lies current about the immorality of the Christian assemblies. The Christians were a secret society, and held their meetings before daylight; and the heathen, partly from natural suspicion, partly from consciousness of what passed in their own secret religious festivals, imagined all kinds of horrors in connection with our mysteries. From what transpired about the Lord’s Supper, they believed that the Christians used to kill children and drink their blood and eat their flesh. Here, however, the context points to a different scandal. They are warned against the fleshly lusts, in order that the heathen may find that the Christians’ great glory lies in the very point wherein they are slandered. “Evildoers,” therefore, must mean chiefly offences on that score. It is historically certain that such charges against Christian purity were extremely common. Even as late as the persecution under Maximin II., in the year 312, it was reported that these meetings before light were a school for the vilest of arts.

By your good works which they shall behold.—More literally, they may, in consequence of your beautiful works, being eye-witnesses thereof—The “good works” are not what are commonly so called—i.e., acts of benevolence, &c. Rather, their “works” are contrasted with the current report, and mean scarcely more than the “conversation” mentioned already. The present passage is, no doubt, a reminiscence of Matthew 5:16, where the word has the same force.

Glorify God in the day of visitation.—This “glorification” of God will be like that of Achan in the book of Joshua (Joshua 7:19), an acknowledgment how far they had been from the glorious truth. Some commentators understand the day of visitation to mean the day when the heathen themselves come really to look into the matter. This is possible; and it came true when Pliny tortured the Christian deaconesses and acquitted the poor fanatics, as he thought them, of all immoral practices. But from the ordinary use of the words, it would more naturally mean the day when God visits. And this will not mean only the great last day, but on whatever occasion God brings matters to a crisis. The visitation is a visitation of the Christians and the heathen alike, and it brings both grace and vengeance, according as men choose to receive it. (See Luke 19:44, and comp. Luke 1:78.)

2:11,12 Even the best of men, the chosen generation, the people of God, need to be exhorted to keep from the worst sins. And fleshly lusts are most destructive to man's soul. It is a sore judgment to be given up to them. There is a day of visitation coming, wherein God may call to repentance by his word and his grace; then many will glorify God, and the holy lives of his people will have promoted the happy change.Having your conversation honest - Your conduct. See the notes at Philippians 1:27. That is, lead upright and consistent lives. Compare the notes at Philippians 4:8.

Among the Gentiles - The pagans by whom you are surrounded, and who will certainly observe your conduct. See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 4:12, "That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without." Compare Romans 13:13.

That, whereas they speak against you as evil doers - Margin, "wherein." Greek ἐν ᾥ en hō - "in what;" either referring "to time," and meaning that at the very time when they speak against you in this manner they may be silenced by seeing your upright lives; or meaning "in respect to which" - that is, that in respect to the very matters for which they reproach you they may see by your meek and upright conduct that there is really no ground for reproach. Wetstein adopts the former, but the question which is meant is not very important. Bloomfield supposes it to mean inasmuch, whereas. The sentiment is a correct one, whichever interpretation is adopted. It should be true that at the very time when the enemies of religion reproach us, they should see that we are actuated by Christian principles, and that in the very matter for which we are reproached we are conscientious and honest.

They may, by your good works, which they shall behold - Greek, "which they shall closely or narrowly inspect." The meaning is, that upon a close and narrow examination, they may see that you are actuated by upright principles, and ultimately be disposed to do you justice. It is to be remembered that the pagan were very little acquainted with the nature of Christianity; and it is known that in the early ages they charged on Christians the most abominable vices, and even accused them of practices at which human nature revolts. The meaning of Peter is, that while they charged these things on Christians, whether from ignorance or malice, they ought so to live as that a more full acquaintance with them, and a closer inspection of their conduct, would disarm their prejudices, and show that their charges were entirely unfounded. The truth taught here is, "that our conduct as Christians should be such as to bear the strictest scrutiny; such that the closest examination will lead our enemies to the conviction that we are upright and honest." This may be done by every Christian this his religion solemnly requires him to do.

Glorify God - Honor God; that is, that they may be convinced by your conduct of the pure and holy nature of that religion which he has revealed, and be led also to love and worship him. See the notes at Matthew 5:16.

In the day of visitation - Many different opinions have been entertained of the meaning of this phrase, some referring it to the day of judgment; some to times of persecution; some to the destruction of Jerusalem; and some to the time when the gospel was preached among the Gentiles, as a period when God visited them with mercy. The word "visitation" (ἐπισκοπή episkopē,) means the act of visiting or being visited for any purpose, usually with the notion of inspecting conduct, of inflicting punishment, or of conferring favors. Compare Matthew 25:36, Matthew 25:43; Luke 1:68, Luke 1:78; Luke 7:16; Luke 19:44, in the sense of visiting for the purpose of punishing, the word is often used in the Septuagint for the Hebrew פּקד paaqad, though there is no instance in which the word is so used in the New Testament, unless it be in the verse before us. The "visitation" here referred to is undoubtedly that of God; and the reference is to some time when he would make a "visitation" to people for some purpose, and when the fact that the Gentiles had narrowly inspected the conduct of Christians would lead them to honor him.

The only question is, to what visitation of that kind the apostle referred. The prevailing use of the word in the New Testament would seem to lead us to suppose that the "visitation" referred to was designed to confer favors rather than to inflict punishment, and indeed the word seems to have somewhat of a technical character, and to have been familiarly used by Christians to denote God's coming to people to bless them; to pour out his Spirit upon them; to revive religion. This seems to me to be its meaning here; and, if so, the sense is, that when God appeared among people to accompany the preaching of the gospel with saving power, the result of the observed conduct of Christians would be to lead those around them to honor him by giving up their hearts to Him; that is, their consistent lives would be the means of the revival and extension of true religion. And is it not always so? Is not the pure and holy walk of Christians an occasion of His bending His footsteps down to earth to bless dying sinners, and to scatter spiritual blessings with a liberal hand? Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 14:24-25.

12. conversation—"behavior"; "conduct." There are two things in which "strangers and pilgrims" ought to bear themselves well: (1) the conversation or conduct, as subjects (1Pe 2:13), servants (1Pe 2:18), wives (1Pe 3:1), husbands (1Pe 3:7), all persons under all circumstances (1Pe 2:8); (2) confession of the faith (1Pe 3:15, 16). Each of the two is derived from the will of God. Our conversation should correspond to our Saviour's condition; this is in heaven, so ought that to be.

honest—honorable, becoming, proper (1Pe 3:16). Contrast "vain conversation," 1Pe 1:18. A good walk does not make us pious, but we must first be pious and believe before we attempt to lead a good course. Faith first receives from God, then love gives to our neighbor [Luther].

whereas they speak against you—now (1Pe 2:15), that they may, nevertheless, at some time or other hereafter glorify God. The Greek may be rendered, "Wherein they speak against you … that (herein) they may, by your good works, which on a closer inspection they shall behold, glorify God." The very works "which on more careful consideration, must move the heathen to praise God, are at first the object of hatred and raillery" [Steiger].

evildoers—Because as Christians they could not conform to heathenish customs, they were accused of disobedience to all legal authority; in order to rebut this charge, they are told to submit to every ordinance of man (not sinful in itself).

by—owing to.

they shall behold—Greek, "they shall be eye-witnesses of"; "shall behold on close inspection"; as opposed to their "ignorance" (1Pe 2:15) of the true character of Christians and Christianity, by judging on mere hearsay. The same Greek verb occurs in a similar sense in 1Pe 3:2. "Other men narrowly look at (so the Greek implies) the actions of the righteous" [Bengel]. Tertullian contrasts the early Christians and the heathen: these delighted in the bloody gladiatorial spectacles of the amphitheater, whereas a Christian was excommunicated if he went to it at all. No Christian was found in prison for crime, but only for the faith. The heathen excluded slaves from some of their religious services, whereas Christians had some of their presbyters of the class of slaves. Slavery silently and gradually disappeared by the power of the Christian law of love, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." When the pagans deserted their nearest relatives in a plague, Christians ministered to the sick and dying. When the Gentiles left their dead unburied after a battle and cast their wounded into the streets, the disciples hastened to relieve the suffering.

glorify—forming a high estimate of the God whom Christians worship, from the exemplary conduct of Christians themselves. We must do good, not with a view to our own glory, but to the glory of God.

the day of visitation—of God's grace; when God shall visit them in mercy.

Having your conversation honest; irreprehensible, fruitful, such as may gain men’s love, and commend the religion you profess.

Among the Gentiles; who, by reason of their differing from your religion, are the more likely to observe you. This proves this Epistle to be written to the Jews.

They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God; not only think more favourably of you, but of your religion; acknowledge the grace of God in you, and more readily subject themselves to him, (the best way of glorifying him), it being usual with God to make way for the conversion of sinners by the holy conversation of saints.

In the day of visitation; viz. a gracious visitation, when God calls them by the gospel to the knowledge of Christ, Luke 1:68,78 7:16 Luke 19:44. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles,.... To have the conversation honest, is to provide things honest in the sight of men; to live and walk honestly before all; to do those things which are right and honest in the sight of God, and among men; to order the conversation aright, according to the law of God, which is a rule of walk and conversation, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ; and which was the more, and rather to be attended to, because these converted Jews were "among the Gentiles", that knew not God; idolaters, and unbelievers, profane sinners, who were watching for their halting, and that they might take an advantage against them, and the Gospel, and the religion they professed, from their conversations:

that whereas they speak against you as evildoers: charging them with the grossest immoralities, as the Heathens did the Christians in the first ages; which appears evidently from the apologies of Tertullian, Jnstin Martyr, and others; though it seems that the Jewish converts are here intended, who were accused by the Gentiles of seditious principles and practices, and of acting contrary to the laws of civil government, refusing to yield subjection to Gentile magistrates, and obedience to Heathen masters; and hence the apostle, in some following verses, enlarges on those duties, and which he exhorts them to attend unto, that they might put to silence the ignorance of such foolish accusers: and

that they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation; or "trial", or "examination", as the Syriac version renders it; which may be understood either of human or divine visitation; if of the former, then the sense is, let the saints attend to all the duties of civil life, that when Heathen magistrates come to visit their several districts, and inquire and examine into the conduct of men, and seeing and finding that the Christians behave well and orderly, instead of persecuting them, they will bless God that they are such good subjects; if of divine visitation, which seems most likely, this must either design a visitation by way of judgment, or of mercy; for as the Jews say (d), there is "a visitation", for good, and a visitation for evil: God sometimes visits in a way of punishment for sin, and sometimes in away of grace, for the good and welfare of men; and then the sense is, that when wicked men take notice of and observe the good works of the saints, their civil, honest, and orderly conversation, they shall glorify God on that account, who has enabled them to perform them; and acknowledge the goodness of them, and the wrong judgment they have passed upon them, and the ill measure they have measured out to them; and this will be, either when God visits them in a way of wrath, as at the day of judgment, or at the time of some temporal calamity before, or when he visits them in a way of mercy, calls them by his grace, and effectually works upon them by his Spirit: the same argument for the performance of good works is used by Christ, in Matthew 5:16.

(d) Zohar in Gen. fol. 93. 3.

{13} Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they {14} may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of {b} visitation.

(13) The fourth argument, taken from the profit of so doing: for by this means also we provide for our good name and estimation, while we compel them at length to change their minds, who speak evil of us.

(14) The fifth argument, which is also of great force: because the glory of God is greatly set forth by that means, by example of our honest life, then the most corrupt men are brought to God, and submit themselves to him.

(b) When God shall have mercy on them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 2:12. Adaptation of the saying, ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα καὶ δοξάσωσιν τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Matthew 5:16). The good behaviour on which the resolved ἀναστρέφεσθαι permits stress to be laid is the fruit of the abstinence of 1 Peter 2:2; cf. Hebrews 13:8; Jam 3:13. This second admonition is disjointed formally—against formal grammar—from the first; cf. Ephesians 4:1 f., παρακαλῶὑμᾶςἀνεχόμενοι.—ἐντοῖς ἔθνεσιν, the people of God (1 Peter 2:9) is a correlative term and implies the existence of the nations, who are ignorant and disobedient. The situation of the Churches addressed justifies the use of Dispersion in 1 Peter 1:1. But the point of the words here is this: you—the new Israel must succeed where the old failed, as it is written my name is blasphemed ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν on your account (Isaiah 52:5; LXX, cited Romans 2:24).—ἵναἐπισκοπῆς, in order that as a result of your good works they may be initiated into your secrets and come to glorify God in respect to your conduct when He at last visits the world, though now they calumniate you as evildoers in this matter.—ἐν ᾧ in the case of the thing in which, i.e., your behaviour generally; cf. 1 Peter 3:16, 1 Peter 4:4, and for δοξ. τὸν θεὸν ἐν, 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Peter 4:16.—καταλαλοῦσιν ὡς κ. Particular accusations are given in 1 Peter 4:15. This popular estimate of Christians is reflected in Suetonius’ statement: Adflicti suppliciis Christiani, genus hominium superstitionis novae et maleficae (Ner. 16).—ἐποπτεύοντες takes Acc. in iii. 2 (overlook, behold, as in Symmachus’ version of Psalm 10:14; Psalm 33:13); but here the available objects are either appropriated (θεόν with δοξ). or far off (ἀναστροφήν). It will therefore have its ordinary sense of become ἐπόπτης, be initiated. The Christians were from the point of view of their former friends members of a secret association, initiates of a new mystery, the secrecy of which gave rise to slanders such as later Christians brought against the older mysteries and the Jews. St. Peter hopes that, if the behaviour of Christians corresponds to their profession, their neighbours will become initiated into their open secrets (for as St. Paul insists this hidden mystery has now been revealed and published).—δοξάσωσιν τὸν θεόν, come to glorify God—like the centurion, who said of the crucified Jesus, Truly this was the Son of God (Mark 15:39)—i.e., recognise the finger of God either in the behaviour of the Christians or in the whole economy (see Romans 11.).—ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ἐπισκοπῆς, from Isaiah 10:3, What will ye do—ye the oppressors of the poor of my people—in day of visitation (יּום פקדה) i.e. (Targum), when your sins are visited upon you. But St. Peter looks for the repentance of the heathen at the last visitation (cf. 1 Peter 4:6), though the prophet found no escape for his own contemporaries. Compare Luke 19:44.12. having your conversation honest among the Gentiles] On “conversation,” see note on chap. 1 Peter 1:15. There is perhaps no better equivalent for the Greek word than “honest;” but it carries with it the thought of a nobler, more honourable, form of goodness than the English adjective. The special stress laid on the conduct of the disciples “among the Gentiles” confirms the view taken throughout these notes that the Epistle is addressed mainly to those of the Asiatic Churches who were by birth or adoption of “the Circumcision.”

that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers] It is not without significance that St Peter uses the same word as had been used by the chief priests of our Lord (John 18:30). This Epistle (here, and 1 Peter 2:14, 1 Peter 3:16, 1 Peter 4:15) is the only book in the New Testament, with the exception of the passage just referred to, in which the word occurs. The words indicate the growth of a widespread feeling of dislike shewing itself in calumny. So in Acts 28:22 the disciples of Christ are described as “a sect everywhere spoken against.” The chief charge at this time was probably that of “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6), i.e. of revolutionary tendencies, and this view is confirmed by the stress laid on obedience to all constituted authority in the next verse. With this were probably connected, as the sequel shews (1 Peter 2:18, chap. 1 Peter 3:1), the accusations of introducing discord into families, setting slaves against their masters, wives against their husbands. The more monstrous calumnies of worshipping an ass’s head, of Thyesteian banquets of human flesh, and orgies of foulest license, were probably of later date.

they may by your good works, which they shall behold] The verb which St Peter uses is an unusual one, occurring in the New Testament only here and in chap. 1 Peter 3:2. The use of the cognate noun in the “eye-witnesses” of 2 Peter 1:16 may be noted as a coincidence pointing to identity of authorship. The history of the word as applied originally to those who were initiated in the third or highest order of the Eleusinian mysteries is not without interest. If we can suppose the Apostle to have become acquainted with that use of it, or even with the meaning derived from the use, we can imagine him choosing the word rather than the simple verb for “seeing” to express the thought that the disciples were as a “spectacle” (1 Corinthians 4:9; Hebrews 10:33) to the world around them, and that those who belonged to that world were looking on with a searching and unfriendly gaze.

glorify God in the day of visitation] The usage of the Old Testament leaves it open whether the day in which God visits men is one of outward blessings as in Job 10:12, Luke 1:43, or of chastisement as in Isaiah 10:3. The sense in which the term is used by St Peter was probably determined by our Lord’s use of “the time of thy visitation” in Luke 19:44. There it is manifestly applied to the “accepted time,” the season in which God was visiting His people, it might be by chastisements, as well as by the call to repentance and the offer of forgiveness. And this, we can scarcely doubt, is its meaning here also. There is a singular width of charity in St Peter’s language. He anticipates “a day of visitation,” a time of calamities, earthquakes, pestilences, famines, wars and rumours of wars, such as his Lord had foretold (Matthew 24:6-7), but his hope is not that the slanderers may then be put to shame and perish, but that they may then “glorify God” by seeing how in the midst of all chaos and disorder, the disciples of Christ were distinguished by works that were nobly good, by calmness, obedience, charity.1 Peter 2:12. Τὴν ἀναστροφὴν, your conversation) There are two things in which strangers and foreigners ought to conduct themselves well: The conversation, which is prescribed in excellent terms for subjects, 1 Peter 2:13; for servants, 1 Peter 2:18; for wives, ch. 1 Peter 3:1; for husbands, ch. 1 Peter 3:7; for all, 1 Peter 2:8 : and confession, ch. 1 Peter 3:15-16, which passage has a manifest reference to this. Each passage is derived from the will of God: ch. 1 Peter 2:15, 1 Peter 3:17.—καταλαλοῦσιν, speak against you) That was common even then, 1 Peter 2:15, ch. 1 Peter 3:16, 1 Peter 4:4; 1 Peter 4:14.—ὡς κακοποιῶν, as evil-doers) As though ye were not obedient to authorities and magistrates and good laws: 1 Peter 2:13-14.—ἐκ, from) Constructed with they may glorify.—καλῶν ἔργων, good works) Hence well-doing, 1 Peter 2:14-15. This is true submission.—ἐποπτεύσαντες, closely inspecting) The same word occurs, ch. 1 Peter 3:2. Other men narrowly look into the actions of the righteous.—δοξάσωσι τὸν Θεὸν, they may glorify God) God, who has children like unto Himself.—ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ἐπισκοπῆς, in the day of visitation) ἡμέρᾳ, in the day, used indefinitely. [The note in the Germ. Vers. interprets it of the last day.—E. B.] There is an allusion to the divine visitation, when God brings to light the innocence of the righteous, which has long been hidden: and He often brings about this result by means of even hostile magistrates, during the process of inquiry, and he often converts adversaries themselves. Thus Septuagint, ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς, in the day of visitation, Isaiah 10:3; ἐν καιρῷ ἐπισκοπῆς, at the season of visitation, Jeremiah 6:15. Until such a day arrives, there is need of patience.Verse 12. - Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles. If we read ἀπέχεσθαι, in ver. 11 (some ancient manuscripts have ἀπέχεσθε), there is a slight irregularity in the construction, as the participle ἔνοντες is nominative; it gives more force and vividness to the sentence (comp. in the Greek, Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:16). The conversation (ἀναστροφή, mode of life or behavior) of the unconverted is described as "vain" in 1 Peter 1:18; the conversation of Christians must be seemly (καλή), exhibiting the beauty of holiness. The Churches to which St. Peter wrote were in Gentile countries; they must be careful, for the honor of their religion, to set a good example among the heathen - a warning, alas! too often neglected in modern as well as in ancient times. That, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers; literally, wherein, in the matter in which they speak, i.e. in reference to manner of life. Christians were commonly accused of "turning the world upside down;" of doing "contrary to the decrees of Caesar," as at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6, 7); of being atheists and blasphemers of the popular idolatry, as at Ephesus (Acts 19:37). Suetonius calls them a "genus hominum superstitionis novae et maleficse" ('Vit. Neron.,' 1 Peter 16.). Probably the grosser accusations of Thyestean banquets, etc., came later. They may by your good works, which they shall be hold, glorify God in the day of visitation. The word rendered, "which they shall be bold" (ἐποπτεύσαντες, or, according to some of the older manuscripts, ἐποπτεύοντες, beholding), occurs only here and in 1 Peter 3:2. It implies close attention; the Gentiles watched the conduct of the Christians, narrowly scrutinizing it to discover faults and inconsistencies. The use of the corresponding substantive, ἐπόπτης, in 2 Peter 1:16 is a coincidence to be noticed. It is not probable that there is any reference to the heathen use of the word in connection with the Eleusinian Mysteries. St. Peter hopes that this close observation of the lives of Christian people would lead the Gentiles to glorify God; he was thinking, perhaps, of our Lord's words in the sermon on the mount: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' Perhaps in the following clause also we may trace an echo of the Savior's words in Luke 19:44, "Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (ἐπισκοπῆς, as here). St. Peter hopes that the holy lives of Christians may be made the means of saving many Gentile souls in the time of visitation; that is, when God should visit the heathen with his converting grace, seeking to draw them to himself, whether by gracious chastisement or by the preaching of his servants. This seems more natural than to understand the words of God's visitation of the Christians in the persecutions which were impending; though it is true that many Gentiles were won to Christ by the calm and holy bearing of suffering Christians. Conversation

Rev., behavior. See on 1 Peter 1:15.

Whereas (ἐν ᾧ)

Rev., correctly, wherein; in the matter in which.

They speak against (καταλαλοὔσιν)

Compare evil-speakings, 1 Peter 2:1, and Acts 28:22.

Which they shall behold (ἐποπτεύοντες)

Rev., beholding. Used by Peter only, here and 1 Peter 3:2. The kindred noun ἐπόπτης, an eye-witness, occurs only at 2 Peter 1:16. It is a technical word, meaning one who was admitted to the highest degree of initiation in the Eleusinian mysteries. Here it conveys the idea of personal witness; behold with their own eyes.

Evil-doers (κακοποιῶν)

The word occurs four times in Peter, and nowhere else in the New Testament except John 18:30, where it is applied by the priests to Christ himself.

Visitation (ἐπισκοπῆς)

The radical idea of the word is that of observing or inspecting. Hence ἐπίσκοπος, an overseer or bishop. Visiting grows naturally out of this, as visitare from visere, to look at attentively. See Introduction, on Peter's emphasis upon sight; and compare behold, in this verse. The "day of visitation" is the day of looking upon: "When God shall look upon these wanderers, as a pastor over his flock, and shall become the overlooker or bishop of their souls" (1 Peter 2:25, Lumby).

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