1 Peter 2:15
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) For so is the will of God.—This refers to the command contained in the last two verses, which then is further explained by the clause which follows, “that with well-doing.” See a very similar construction in 1Thessalonians 4:3. The “well-doing” of this and the last verse bears the most general sense of good conduct, not the special sense noticed on the “fair works” and “fair life” of 1Peter 2:12.

Put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.—A very contemptuous expression, the word for “put to silence” being the same as in 1Corinthians 9:9; 1Timothy 5:18, to “muzzle” or “gag,” implying that there is something of the animal about these “foolish men.” The same contempt appears in each word of the clause, even down to “men,” which might be rendered “people” or “creatures.” The word for “ignorance” implies a stolid and wilful ignorance, and is so used by heathen authors, as well as very markedly in the only other place in the New Testament, 1Corinthians 15:34. “Foolish,” too, contains moral reprobation, Luke 11:40; Luke 12:20; 1Corinthians 15:36. suggesting thoughtlessness rather than senselessness. The definite article is also used in the Greek (as in 2Thessalonians 3:2), and again seems to indicate that St. Peter had some particular enemies in view who had brought the charges. This accusation was evidently one of a political nature; and, indeed, history shows us that the hostility of the empire to the faith was entirely based on the corporate nature of the Christian religion. They would not have minded the cultus, but they could not tolerate the Church. Pliny distinctly says in his letter to Trajan, that it was in consequence of Trajan’s issuing an order against hetœriœ or societies, that he was led to contend with the Christians in Bithynia.

2:13-17 A Christian conversation must be honest; which it cannot be, if there is not a just and careful discharge of all relative duties: the apostle here treats of these distinctly. Regard to those duties is the will of God, consequently, the Christian's duty, and the way to silence the base slanders of ignorant and foolish men. Christians must endeavour, in all relations, to behave aright, that they do not make their liberty a cloak or covering for any wickedness, or for the neglect of duty; but they must remember that they are servants of God.For so is the will of God - That is, it is in accordance with the divine will that in this way you should put them to silence.

That with well doing - By a life of uprightness and benevolence.

Ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - See the notes at Titus 2:8. The reference here is to men who brought charges against Christians, by accusing them of being inimical to the government, or insubordinate, or guilty of crimes. Such charges, it is well known, were often brought against them by their enemies in the early ages of Christianity. Peter says they were brought by foolish men, perhaps using the word foolish in the sense of evil-disposed, or wicked, as it is often used in the Bible. Yet, though there might be malice at the bottom, the charges were really based on ignorance. They were not thoroughly acquainted with the principles of the Christian religion; and the way to meet those charges was to act in every way as became good citizens, and so as "to live them down." One of the best ways of meeting the accusations of our enemies is to lead a life of strict integrity. It is not easy for the wicked to reply to this argument.

15. Ground of his directing them to submit themselves (1Pe 2:13).

put to silence—literally, "to muzzle," "to stop the mouth."

ignorance—spiritual not having "the knowledge of God," and therefore ignorant of the children of God, and misconstruing their acts; influenced by mere appearances, and ever ready to open their mouths, rather than their eyes and ears. Their ignorance should move the believer's pity, not his anger. They judge of things which they are incapable of judging through unbelief (compare 1Pe 2:12). Maintain such a walk that they shall have no charge against you, except touching your faith; and so their minds shall be favorably disposed towards Christianity.

For so is the will of God; his command.

That with well-doing; all manner of offices of humanity, whereof obedience to magistrates is a principal one.

Ye may put to silence; Greek, muzzle, stop the mouths, Titus 1:11; viz. by taking away all occasion of evil-speaking.

The ignorance; either their ignorance of the state and conversation of believers, which may be the occasion of their speaking evil of them; or their ignorance of God and his ways, to which Christ imputes the fury of persecutors, John 16:3. They that know not God themselves, are most ready to reproach and slander those that do.

Of foolish men; true wisdom consisting in the knowledge of God, they that are destitute of that knowledge, as unbelievers are, are called foolish.

For so is the will of God,.... Which refers not so much to what goes before; though it is a truth, that it is the will of God that men should be subject to magistrates, and that magistrates should encourage virtue, and discourage vice, reward the obedient, and punish delinquents; but to what follows:

that with well doing; by doing good works, and those well; by living soberly, righteously, and godly; by having the conversation honest among the Gentiles, agreeably to the law of God, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ; particularly, by living according to the laws of civil society, so far as is consistent with, and not contrary to the commands of God; and by being subject to every civil magistrate, and ordinance of man:

ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: or, as the Syriac version renders it, "that ye may stop the mouths of those foolish men who know not God"; or, as the Ethiopic version has it, "who know not these things"; who are ignorant of God, of his righteousness, of his law, his Gospel, and ordinances. The Gentiles were very ignorant of these things, and very foolish in their imaginations about religious affairs; and from this their ignorance and folly arose calumnies, reflections, and censures upon the people of God; they neither knew God, nor them, nor true religion, and reproached what they understood not, and for want of knowing it: now the apostle signified, that it was the declared will of God that his people should so behave in civil life, that their enemies should be entirely confounded, and silenced, and have nothing to say against them; the word signifies to be muzzled, to have the mouth shut up, as with a bit or bridle; it is used in Matthew 22:12.

{19} For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

(19) He declares the first argument more amply, showing that Christian liberty does among all things least or not at all consist in this, that is, to cast off the bridle of laws (as at that time some altogether unskilful in the kingdom of God reported) but rather in this, that living holy lives according to the will of God, we should reveal to all men, that the gospel is not a cloak for sin and wickedness, seeing we are free of this sort, that yet we are still the servants of God, and not of sin.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 2:15. ὅτι] gives the ground of the exhortation: ὑποτάγητε κ.τ.λ.

οὕτως ἐστὶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ] with οὕτως; cf. Winer, p. 434 [E. T. 584]; Buttm. p. 115: “of such a nature is the will of God.” Schott gives the sense correctly: “In this wise is it with the will of God.” The position of the words is opposed to a connection of οὕτως with ἀγαθοποιοῦντας (Wiesinger, Hofmann).

ἀγαθοποιοῦντας] sc. ὑμᾶς; ἀγαθοποιεῖν, in Mark 3:4; Acts 14:17 the word has reference to deeds of benevolence. Here, on the other hand, it is used in a general sense: to do good, with special reference to the fulfilment of the duties towards those in authority.

φιμοῦν τὴν τῶν ἀφρόνων ἀνθρώπων ἀγνωσίαν] φιμοῦν (cf. 1 Timothy 5:18) here in the cognate sense of: “to put to silence,” Wiesinger; “the ἀγνωσία is here conceived of as speaking; cf. v. 12: καταλαλοῦσι ὑμ. ὡς κακοποιῶν.”

ἀγνωσία (except here, only in 1 Corinthians 15:34) is the self-caused lack of any comprehension of the Christian life. Because they are without this, they in their foolishness (hence ἀφρόνων ἀνθρώπων) imagine that its characteristic is not ἀγαθοποιεῖν, but κακοποιεῖν. Beda incorrectly limits οἱ ἄφρονες ἄνθρωποι to those persons in authority; but the reference is rather quite general to the καταλαλοῦντες, 1 Peter 2:12.

15. For so is the will of God] Better, for thus it is the will of God. This was to be the chief, if not the only, apologia of Christians to the charges brought against them. They were accused of being evil-doers. They were to be conspicuous for well-doing. In the Greek for “put to silence” we have the word used in Matthew 22:12; Matthew 22:34, Mark 1:25; Mark 4:39, the primary meaning of which was “to enforce silence by a gag or muzzle.” The word “ignorance,” used elsewhere in the New Testament only in 1 Corinthians 15:34, implies something more than a mere ignorance of facts. One might almost describe it as a settled incapacity for knowing and judging rightly. The “foolish men” are the accusers and slanderers of 1 Peter 2:12 rather than the official authorities of 1 Peter 2:13-14.

1 Peter 2:15. Φιμοῦν, to stop) to put to silence.—ἀγνωσίαν, the ignorance) for instance, respecting the integrity of Christians. This word contains the reason why Christians ought to pity the heathen.

Verse 15. - For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. The Gentiles speak against the Christians as evil-doers; they are to put their accusers to silence by well-doing; this is to be their answer rather than indignant self-vindication. The Greek word rendered "put to silence" (φιμοῦν) means literally "to muzzle" (comp. Matthew 22:12; Mark 4:39; 1 Corinthians 9:10). The word for "ignorance" (ἀγνωσία) occurs, besides this passage, only in 1 Corinthians 15:34, where it evidently means "culpable, self-caused ignorance." The word for "foolish" (ἄφρων) is a strong one - it means "senseless" (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:36). Here it has the article, "the foolish men," i.e. those "who speak against you as evil-doers." 1 Peter 2:15Put to silence (φιμοῦν)

A very graphic word, meaning to muzzle or gag. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18. See on Matthew 22:12.

Ignorance (ἀγνωσίαν)

In classical Greek it is an ignorance arising from not coming into contact with the person or thing to be known. It occurs only once again in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15:34. Here it signifies not want of acquaintance, but of understanding; a state of ignorance.

Of foolish men (τῶν ἀφρόνων ἀνθρώπων)

Of the foolish men; the article referring to those just mentioned, who speak against them as evil-doers.

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