1 Peter 2:19
For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) For this is thankworthy.—“This,” viz., what goes before, which is further explained in what follows. Quite literally it is, for this is grace, or else (for, like grâce in French, ‘the word has the double signification) this is thanks. The passage has some little importance in controversy, as some of the older Roman Catholic divines pressed it into the service of the supererogation theory. “This is grace,” they said, means “this deserves grace as its reward.” It is needless to point out how shallow a view of duty is implied in the thought that it was more than duty to be thus submissive. Still taking the first translation, others would interpret, “this is a mark of grace”—i.e., shows that you are Christians indeed; or, “this is a gift of grace”—i.e., a supernatural and heroic virtue, such as must have come from God, and not from you.” These two interpretations make good sense in themselves, but they seem not to suit the context (“what glory is it”) quite so well as our authorised rendering, and they ignore the sayings of our Lord, which must certainly have been in St. Peter’s mind, recorded in Luke 6:27-35, especially Luke 6:32-34, and again in Luke 17:9. The thought is that where duty is both obvious and easy (as is the case with good masters), people do not lavish gratitude for the performance of it. The best of masters hardly feels grateful to the best of servants for doing his duty, though he will be grateful for the spirit and manner in which it is done. Here the “thanks” are put quite generally, as in the first passage in St. Luke: “this is a matter for thanks.” It does not say as yet who is to pay the thanks, and we may naturally conclude that the master so served, and all who are cognisant of the service, are the persons meant.

For conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.—This does not mean “if a man is afflicted for his religion’s sake.” Rather, the conscience towards God, or, perhaps, rather, consciousness of God, is thrown in to guard against any false theory that patience by itself is a thankworthy thing. However unjust the man’s treatment may be, and however little he may resent it in act, it is not thankworthy unless his resignation be grounded on consciousness of God’s presence. A resignation which comes from stolid want of feeling, or stoical fatalism, or from the sense that it is no good to seek redress—such resignation is sinfully defective. The two necessary qualifications, before patience can become in any sense meritorious, are (1) that the suffering should be undeserved, (2) that the man should recognise in it the hand of God.

2:18-25 Servants in those days generally were slaves, and had heathen masters, who often used them cruelly; yet the apostle directs them to be subject to the masters placed over them by Providence, with a fear to dishonour or offend God. And not only to those pleased with reasonable service, but to the severe, and those angry without cause. The sinful misconduct of one relation, does not justify sinful behaviour in the other; the servant is bound to do his duty, though the master may be sinfully froward and perverse. But masters should be meek and gentle to their servants and inferiors. What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ's death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us. The fruits of Christ's sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man's sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.For this is thank-worthy - Margin, "thank." Greek, "This is grace," (χάρις charis). Doddridge renders the expression, "This is graceful indeed." Various interpretations of this expression have been proposed; but the meaning evidently is, that it is acceptable to God, (see 1 Peter 2:20, "this is acceptable to God" - χάρις παρὰ Θεῷ charis para Theō;) that is, this will be regarded by him with favor. It does not mean that it was worthy of thanks, or that God would thank them for doing it, (compare Luke 17:9-10;) but that such conduct would meet with his approbation.

If a man for conscience toward God - If, in the conscientious discharge of his duty, or if, in the endurance of this wrong, he regards himself as serving God. That is, if he feels that God, by his providence, has placed him in the circumstances in which he is, and that it is a duty which he owes to him to bear every trial incident to that condition with a submissive spirit. If he does this, he will evince the true nature of religion, and will be graciously accepted of God.

Endure grief - That is, endure that which is suited to produce grief, or that which is wrong.

Suffering wrongfully - Suffering injury, or where there is "injustice," (πάσχων ἀδίκως paschōn adikō̄s.) This, though a general remark, has particular reference to servants, and to their duty in the relation which they sustain to their masters. In view of what is here said, we may remark:

(1) that if this has reference to slaves, as has been usually supposed, it proves that they are very liable to be abused; that they have little or no security against being wronged; and that it was a special and very desirable characteristic of those who were in that condition, to be able to bear wrong with a proper spirit. It is impossible so to modify slavery that this shall not be the case; for the whole system is one of oppression, and there can be nothing that shall effectually secure the slave from being ill-treated.

(2) It would follow from this passage, if this refers to slavery, that that is a very hard and undesirable condition of life; for that is a very undesirable condition where the principal virtue. which they who are in it are required to exercise, is "patience under wrongs." Such a condition cannot be in accordance with the gospel, and cannot be designed by God to be permanent. The relation of parent and child is never thus represented. It is never said or implied in the Scriptures that the principal virtue to which children are exhorted is patience under wrongs; nor, in addressing them, is it ever supposed that the most prominent thing in their condition is, that they would need the exercise of such patience.

(3) it is acceptable to God, if we bear wrong with a proper spirit, from whatever quarter it may come. Our proper business in life is, to do the will of God; to evince the right spirit, however others may treat us; and to show, even under excessive wrong, the sustaining power and the excellence of true religion. Each one who is oppressed and wronged, therefore, has an eminent opportunity to show a spirit which will honor the gospel; and the slave and the martyr may do more to honor the gospel than if they were both permitted to enjoy liberty and life undisturbed.

19. Reason for subjection even to froward masters.

thankworthy—(Lu 6:33). A course out of the common, and especially praiseworthy in the eyes of God: not as Rome interprets, earning merit, and so a work of supererogation (compare 1Pe 2:20).

for conscience toward God—literally, "consciousness of God": from a conscientious regard to God, more than to men.

endure—Greek, "patiently bear up under": as a superimposed burden [Alford].

grief—Greek, "griefs."

For this is thank-worthy; in the Greek the substantive is put for the adjective: the sense is either, this is acceptable to God, and will be graciously rewarded by him; or, this is praise-worthy, and will be your glory, as 1 Peter 2:20.

For conscience toward God; out of respect to God, and a desire of pleasing him. For this is thankworthy,.... Or "grace"; this is a fruit and effect of grace, an instance of it, in which it shows itself: the Syriac version adds, "with God"; and so it is read in one of Beza's copies, and in the Alexandrian copy, and some others; that is, this is grateful to God, and acceptable with him; as in 1 Peter 2:20,

if a man for conscience towards God; or, "for a good conscience", as the Syriac version reads it; for acting according to his conscience, in matters of religion, in the things of God; "for the knowledge of God", as the Arabic version renders it; for the knowledge of God in Christ; for the Gospel of Christ, and a profession of it: or, "for God", as the Ethiopic version; for the cause of God and truth, and for the sake of things appertaining to God, and that make for his glory:

endure grief; what occasions grief, as severe words, bitter reproaches, hard censures, and heavy blows; and that with patience, and without murmuring, and with resignation to the will of God:

suffering wrongfully; there being no just cause for an ill look, word, or blow, to be given.

{22} For this is thankworthy, if a man for {f} conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

(22) The taking away of an objection: indeed the condition of servants is hard, especially if they have perverse masters, but thus their subjection shall be so much more acceptable to God, if his will prevails more with servants, than the masters wrong treatment.

(f) Because he makes a conscience of it, to offend God, by whose good will and appointment he knows this burden is laid upon him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 2:19. τοῦτο γὰρ χάρις, εἰ] The ground of the exhortation. τοῦτο refers to the clause beginning with εἰ.

χάρις has not the special meaning “grace” here, as if it were to be explained, either with the older commentators: gratiam concilians; or as if by it were to be understood “the gift of grace” (Steiger: “it is to be regarded as grace, if one can suffer for the sake of God;” so, too, Schott), or “the condition of grace” (Wiesinger: “in the ὑπομένειν is manifested the actual condition of grace”); for this expression is not parallel with κλέος, 1 Peter 2:12 : and how can a summons be issued in a manner so direct, to the performance of a duty, by representing it either as a gift of grace or a proof of a state of grace? Besides, Wiesinger alters the term “grace” into “sign of grace.”

Some commentators, on account of 1 Peter 2:20, explain χάρις as synonymous with κλέος, but without any linguistic justification; thus already Oecumenius (Calvin: idem valet nomen gratiae quod laudis; qui patienter ferunt injurias, ii laude digni sunt). In profane Greek χάρις denotes either the charm or the loveliness, or also the favour which one person has for another (to which are linked on the meanings, expressions of goodwill and thanks). Both senses are to be found in the Scriptures.[149] If the first signification be adopted, the enduring of the adversity of which Peter here speaks is characterized as something lovely; and so Cremer (see under ΧΆΡΙς, p. 576) seems to take it. But it is more natural to hold by the second sense, and to explain “this is favour,” as equal to “this causes favour.” Several interpreters explain χάρις as equal directly to “delight,” substituting for the substantive the adjective “well-pleasing,” and supplying ΠΑΡᾺ Τῷ ΘΕῷ from 1 Peter 2:20. Thus Gerhard: hoc est Deo gratum et acceptum; de Wette: “Favour with God, i.e. well-pleasing before God;” so, too, Hofmann. But both of these are open to objection. Hofmann no doubt gives as the ground of his supplement: “that the slave who lived up to the apostle’s injunction has to look for the approval of none.” This is, however, surely an unjustifiable assertion. It is not clear why Peter did not add the words supplied if he had them in his mind; χάρις and ΚΛΈΟς in 1 Peter 2:20 are therefore—in consideration of 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:15—to be taken quite generally. The following clause indicates a good behaviour, by which the ΚΑΤΑΛΑΛΊΑ of the heathen is to be put to silence.

ΕἸ ΔΙᾺ ΣΥΝΕΊΔΗΣΙΝ ΘΕΟῦ ὙΠΟΦΈΡΕΙ Κ.Τ.Λ.] ΕἸ refers back to ΤΟῦΤΟ; ΔΙᾺ ΣΥΝΕΊΔΗΣΙΝ ΘΕΟῦ is placed first by way of emphasis. ΣΥΝΕΊΔΗΣΙς ΘΕΟῦ is neither “God’s knowledge of us” (Morus: quia Deus conscius est tuarum miseriarum; similarly Fronmüller: “on account of the knowledge shared by God, since God knows all”), nor is it “conscientiousness before God” (Stolz); but ΘΕΟῦ is the object. genit. (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:7; Hebrews 10:2), therefore the meaning is: the (duty-compelling) consciousness of God. Calov: quia conscius est, id Deum velle et Deo gratum esse; so, too, de Wette, Schott, etc. A metonymy does not require to be assumed (Grotius: per metonymiam objecti dicitur conscientia ejus, quod quis Deo debet). Steiger introduces what is foreign to it when he extends the idea so as to include the conscious knowledge of the divine recompense. In ΔΙᾺ ΣΥΝΕΙΔ. ΘΕΟῦ is expressed substantially the same thought as in Ὡς ΘΕΟῦ ΔΟῦΛΟΙ, 1 Peter 2:16, and ΔΙᾺ Τ. ΚΎΡΙΟΝ, 1 Peter 2:13; ΔΙᾺ ΤῊΝ ΣΥΝΕΊΔΗΣΙΝ without ΘΕΟῦ is to be found in Romans 13:5.

ὙΠΟΦΈΡΕΙ ΤΙς ΛΎΠΑς] ὙΠΟΦΈΡΕΙΝ: “to bear the burden put on one;” the opposite of succumbing under a burden, cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Timothy 3:11; nevertheless, the apostle seems here to have in mind more the antithesis to being provoked to anger and stubbornness (Hofmann).

λύπαι here: outward afflictions.

ΠΆΣΧΩΝ ἈΔΊΚΩς] “whilst (not although) he suffers wrong (from the master, i.e. undeserved on the part of the slave).”

It is not suffering itself, but patient endurance in the midst of undeserved suffering, and that διὰ συνείδησιν Θεοῦ, which Peter calls a ΧΆΡΙς.

This thought, general in itself, is here applied to the relation of servant to master.

[149] Χάρις has the first meaning, Psalm 45:3; Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 10:32, etc.; also Sir 7:19, etc.; in the N. T. Luke 4:22; Colossians 4:6, etc. The second signification, Proverbs 22:1, etc.; in the N. T. Luke 1:30; Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47, etc. Cf. besides Cremer and Wahl: Clavis libr. V. T. apocryphi.1 Peter 2:19 f. Summary application of the teaching of Jesus recorded in Luke 6:27-36 = Matthew 5:39-48.—χάρις seems to be an abbreviation of the O.T. idiom to find favour (תן) with God—cf. χάρις παρὰ θεῷ (20)—taken from St. Luke’s version of the saying, εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἔστιν (Luke 6:32).—Compare χάριτας = רצון that which is acceptable in Proverbs 10:32.—διὰ συνείδησιν θεοῦ (i.) because God is conscious of your condition (θεοῦ subjective genitive), a reproduction of thy Father which seeth that which is hidden … (Matthew 6:4, etc.); so συνείδ. in definite philosophical sense of conscience is usually followed by possessive genitive OR (2.) because you are conscious of God (θ. objective genitive), cf. σ. ἁμαρτίας, Hebrews 10:2. The latter construction is preferable: the phrase interprets διὰ τὸν κύριον with the help of the Pauline expression διὰ τὴν ς. (Romans 13:5; 1 Corinthians 10:25) employed in the same context.—πάσχων ἀδίκως, emphatic. Peter has to take account of the possibility which Jesus ignored, that Christians might deserve persecution; cf. 1 Peter 2:20; 1 Peter 2:25.—ποῖον κλέος, what praise rather than what kind of reputation (κλ. neutral as in Thuc. 2:45) cf. ποία χάρις τίνα μισθόν, (only twice in Job in LXX) corresponds to ἔπαινος above: χάρις παρὰ θεῷ shows that the praise of the Master who reads the heart is intended.—κολαφιζόμενοι, from description of the Passion, Mark 14:65, ἤρξαντό τινεςκολαφίζειν αὐτόν, cf. Matthew 5:39, ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει. So also St. Paul recalls the parallel between Christ’s and the Chrstians’ sufferings (1 Corinthians 4:11) κολαφιζόμεθα.—ἀγαθοποιοῦντες, opposed to ἁμαρτάνοντες, explains ἀδίκως (19).—χάρις, see on 10. 1 Peter 2:19.19. For this is thankworthy] The word charis, commonly translated “grace,” is here used in the sense, which attaches also to the Latin gratia, as in ago tibi gratias, and the French mille graces, of thanks or cause for thanks. So in Luke 6:32 the same word is used in “what thank have ye,” where the context shews that it is equivalent to a “reward,” and in that case, as in this, a reward from God. It is not unreasonable to suppose that St Peter’s choice of the term was determined by the use of it which St Luke records in his report of the Sermon on the Plain.

for conscience toward God] Literally, consciousness of God, i.e. of His presence as seeing, judging, helping, rewarding, His suffering servants. The phrase is analogous to the “conscience of the idol” in 1 Corinthians 8:7.

suffering wrongfully] Natural impulse, one might almost say natural ethics, sanctions the burning indignation and desire to retaliate which is caused by the sense of wrong. Here, as in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:39), which this teaching distinctly reproduces, that is made the crucial instance in which the Christian is to shew that the law of Christ is his rule of life. It is obvious that in this case the allowance of any exception to the rule would make it altogether inoperative. Each party in a dispute or quarrel thinks himself at the moment in the right, and it is only by acting on the principle that the more he believes himself to be in the right the more it is his duty to submit patiently, that a man can free himself from an endless entanglement of recriminations and retaliations.1 Peter 2:19. Χάρις [“thank-worthy”], favour) with God: 1 Peter 2:20.—διὰ συνείδησιν Θεοῦ, for conscience toward God) On account of the consciousness of a mind which does things good and pleasing to God, even though they please no man (let the force of κλέος, which presently follows, be considered).[18]—ἀδίκως, unjustly) that is, suffering those things, which are unjustly inflicted. חנם, ἀδίκως, Septuagint, Proverbs 1:11; Proverbs 1:17.

[18] When a just man is not approved of by men, though doing what is good, and when he does not acquire, either before or afterwards, either their assent, support, or the intimation of a grateful mind, nay, rather experiences everything of an opposite kind, he may possibly be affected with no small chagrin and sorrow. But, if his conscience can only have God propitious, nothing but an unmixed feeling of delight remains.—V. g.Verse 19. - For this is thankworthy; literally, this is grace (comp. Luke 6:32, Ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστί; "What thank have ye?" where the parallel passage in St. Matthew is Τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε; "What reward have ye?"). A comparison of these passages seems to show that χάρις and μισθός are used in a similar sense as expressive of God's condescending love. In his gracious tenderness he speaks of reward, though we deserve only punishment; he even speaks of thanks, though we deserve only condemnation. Other possible explanations are, "This is the work of God's grace;" or, "This is lovely;" or, "This is favor;" or "This implies" or "This causes favor with God." If a man for conscience toward God; literally, for conscience of God; that is, consciousness of God's presence, of his will, of our duties to him. This is better than to take the genitive as subjective, and to interpret, "because of the consciousness of God," because he sees and knows all that we do and say and think (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:7, where "conscience of the idol" seems to mean a belief or half-belief in the real existence of the god supposed to be represented by the idol). Endure grief, suffering wrongfully; literally, griefs, λύπας (comp. λυπηθέντες, 1 Peter 1:6). St. Peter echoes our Lord's teaching in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:39). Conscience toward God (συνείδησιν Θεοῦ)

Rev., in margin, conscience of God. The idea is not conscientiousness in the ordinary sense, but the conscious sense of one's relation to God; his consciousness of God. Thus one suffers patiently, not from a conscientious sense of duty, but from an inner consciousness of his relation to God as a son, and to Christ as a joint-heir, which involves his suffering with him no less than his being glorified with him.

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