1 Peter 2:20
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
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(20) For what glory is it.—A poetical and pagan-sounding word, not elsewhere found in the New Testament; in the Old Testament it corresponds to the word “fame,” in Job 28:22. The sense may be said to be slightly humorous. “If you make a blunder” (such is the meaning of “fault” here—it might include such things as the breaking of dishes), “and receive a buffet for it” (or a box on the ear—a common punishment of slaves for trifling faults), “and bear it with fortitude” (the meekness of patience has no place in the word), “do you expect to be made the subject of an heroic or dithyrambic poem, to have your name resounded through the world and immortalised among posterity?” The “for” at the beginning of the clause explains why the writer added “suffering wrongfully” at the end of the last.

When ye do well, and suffer for it.—It is a pity that the translators have limited St. Peter’s meaning by the insertion of the last two words. It is unnecessary to understand the suffering to be directly provoked by the well-doing. It would have done just as well to say, “when ye do well, and yet are ill-treated.” The “froward” master makes his servants suffer without thinking what he makes them suffer for.

This is acceptable with God.—Timidity about St. Peter’s theology has caused a difference between the rendering of the same word in two consecutive verses. It should be translated “thankworthy” here as well as above, and must be taken in precisely the same sense. Observe that the Apostle does not continue, “this is glory,” as we might have expected; a Christian is not supposed to care for such trash as fame. But a Christian may well care to win the thanks of God! And such endurance of griefs for God’s sake is now distinctly said to be “thankworthy with God”—i.e., from God’s point of view. See 2Thessalonians 1:6, where, as here, it is assumed that the moral law is identical for God and for us, and that His principles and impulses of action are the same as those which He has implanted in us. “He will thank a man for it,” says Archbishop Leighton, not a divine to favour the doctrine of human merit, but too honest a scholar to shrink from the meaning of words. Many things are strictly duty, and yet we do not expect to find them done, and are proportionably grateful when we see that they are done. And shall we, for the sake of a doctrinal thesis like that, “that man can deserve nothing at the hand of God,” deny to God the possibility of enjoying one of the happiest exercises of love, the sense of gratitude?

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 what glory is it - What honor or credit would it be.

If, when ye be buffeted for your faults - That is, if you are punished when you deserve it. The word "buffet" (κολαφίζω kolaphizō) - means, to strike with the fist; and then to strike in any way; to maltreat, Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7. Perhaps there may be a reference here to the manner in which servants were commonly treated, or the kind of pun ishment to which they were exposed. They would be likely to be struck in sudden anger, either by the hand, or by anything that was accessible. The word rendered "for your faults," is sinning, (ἁμαρτάνοντες hamartanontes.) That is, "if being guilty of an offence, or having done wrong." The idea is, that if they were justly punished, and should take it patiently, there would be no credit or honor in it.

Ye shall take it patiently - "If, even then, you evince an uncomplaining spirit, and bear it with the utmost calmness and patience, it would be regarded as comparatively no virtue, and as entitling you to no honor. The feeling of all who saw it would be that you deserved it, and there would be nothing to excite their sympathy or compassion. The patience evinced might indeed be as great as in the other case, but there would be the feeling that you deserved all that you received, and the spirit evinced in that case could not be regarded as entitled to any particular praise. If your masters are inflicting on you only what you deserve, it would be in the highest degree shameful for you to rise up against them, and resist them, for it would be only adding to the wrong which you had already done." The expression here is, doubtless, to be understood comparatively. The meaning is not that absolutely there would be no more credit due to one who should bear his punishment patiently when he had done wrong, than if he had met it with resistance and complaining; but that there is very little credit in that compared with the patience which an innocent person evinces, who, from regard to the will of God, and by control over all the natural feelings of resentment, meekly endures wrong.

This expresses the common feeling of our nature. We attribute no particular credit to one who submits to a just punishment even with a calm temper. We feel that it would be wrong in the highest degree for him to do otherwise. So it is when calamities are brought on a man on account of his sins. If it is seen to be the fruit of intemperance or crime, we do not feel that there is any great virtue exhibited if he bears it with a calm temper. But if he is overwhelmed with calamity when it seems to have no particular connection with his sins, or to be a punishment for any particular fault; if he suffers at the hand of man, where there is manifest injustice done him, and yet evinces a calm, submissive, and meek temper, we feel that in such cases there is eminent virtue.

This is acceptable with God - Margin, as in 1 Peter 2:19, "thank." It is that which is agreeable to him, or with which he is pleased.

20. what—Greek, "what kind of."

glory—what peculiar merit.

buffeted—the punishment of slaves, and suddenly inflicted [Bengel].

this is—Some oldest manuscripts read, "for." Then the translation is, "But if when … ye take it patiently (it is a glory), for this is acceptable."

acceptable—Greek, "thankworthy," as in 1Pe 2:19.

For what glory is it? What praise or glory do you get by it? Or, what great matter do you do? This interrogation hath the force of negation, but is to be understood comparatively; it is worthy of praise to suffer patiently, even when men suffer justly, but worthy of little in comparison of suffering patiently when unjustly.

This is acceptable with God: this shows what is meant by thank-worthy, 1 Peter 2:19; and the apostle adds what kind of thanks or praise he intends, viz. not that which is of man, (which many times may fail, even when men patiently suffer injuries), but that which is of God, to which believers should especially have respect.

For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults,.... Which ye have committed, and are guilty of, and are truly such:

ye shall take it patiently? to be silent, and not murmur when beaten, within measure, for real faults, is no great honour, nor does it deserve any praise; it is the least that can be done:

but if, when ye do well; either in their master's service, or rather in the business of religion, and the things of God; as when what they do is according to the will of God, and from love to him, and in faith, and in the name and strength of Christ, and to the glory of God; without all which there is no well doing:

and suffer for it; reproach and persecution, by words or blows, in person or property:

ye take it patiently; without grieving and repining, or answering again, and making any returns:

this is acceptable with God; is agreeably to his will, and grateful in his sight, what he is well pleased with, is reckoned grace with him; and though it is his own grace, and of his own bestowing, he will reward it with glory.

For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
1 Peter 2:20. ποῖον γὰρ κλέος] Gerhard: interrogatio respondet h. 1. negationi; this interrogation brings out the nothingness, or at least the little value of the object in question; cf. Jam 4:14; Luke 6:32.

κλέος, not sc. ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ (Pott), but quite generally, for the thought “refers back to the point of view, stated in 1 Peter 2:12-15, from which this exhortation is given” (Wiesinger).

εἰ ἁμαρτάνοντες καὶ κολαφιζόμενοι ὑπομενεῖτε] The two participles stand in the closest connection with each other, so that ἁμαρτάνειν is to be conceived as the cause of the κολαφίζεσθαι. Luther’s translation is accordingly correct: “if ye suffer punishment on account of your evil deeds;” the only fault to be found with this is, that it weakens the force of the idea ὑπομένειν.

ὑπομένειν is synonymous with ὑποφέρειν; the sense is: “it is no glory to show patience in the suffering of deserved punishment.” The view of de Wette, that Peter referred only “to the reluctant, dull endurance of a criminal who cannot escape his punishment,” misses the apostle’s meaning, and is correctly rejected by Brückner and Wiesinger. Steiger remarks justly: “that when any one endures patiently deserved punishment, he is only performing a duty binding on him by every law of right and authority.” “ὑπομενεῖτε is in the future with reference to the standpoint of the exhortation” (Wiesinger).

κολαφίζειν: apud LXX. non occurrit, in N. T. generaliter pro plagis ac percussionibus. Matthew 26:67; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7 (Gerh.); the strict signification is “to give blows with the fist, or slaps on the ear.” Bengel: poena servorum eaque subita.

ἀλλʼ εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντες καὶ πάσχοντες ὑπομενεῖτε] The interpretation of Erasmus: si quum beneficiatis et tamen affligamini, suffertis, is incorrect, for between ἀγαθοπ. and πάσχ. there exists the same relationship as between ἁμαρτάνοντες and κολαφιζόμενοι;[150] Luther correctly: “if ye suffer on account of good-doing;” cf. 1 Peter 3:17.

τοῦτο γὰρ χάρις παρὰ Θεῷ] before these words

γάρ is the correct reading—the apodosis taken out of ποῖον κλέος: “this is true praise,” must be added to what precedes, and these words form the basis of an argument in which τοῦτο refers to εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντεςὑπομενεῖτε. The meaning is: because this in God’s sight is a χάρις (not equal to: in the judgment of God, cf. Luke 2:52), therefore it is a κλέος.

[150] Nor is this relation sufficiently perceived by Schott in his explanation: “if they show patience under ill-treatment which accompanies good conduct.” In urging against the interpretation given, that “if ἀγαθοποιεῖν apply to the labour of servants, then, that which the slave suffers is not caused by his actions,” Hofmann has failed to observe (1) that the context does not render the idea of servants’ work only necessary; (2) that the well-doing of the Christian was not always in harmony with heathen views; cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:4.

20. if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently] Literally, if when ye are buffeted, being in fault, ye shall endure it. The common practice of Roman life, as of all countries in which slavery has prevailed, made the blow with the hand, the strict meaning of “buffeting” (Mark 14:65), or the stroke of the scourge, a thing of almost daily usage.

this is acceptable with God] The Greek word is the same as that rendered “thankworthy” in the previous verse. It would obviously have been better, though “acceptable” expresses the sense fairly enough, to have retained that word here also.

1 Peter 2:20. Κλέος, glory) Κλέος denotes praise, not so much from many, as from the good; and here proceeding from God Himself, in return for insults.—κολαφιζόμενοι, beaten with blows) The punishment of slaves, and that instantaneous.—πάσχοντες, suffering) afflicted with deliberate evils.—χάρις [“acceptable,” thank-worthy], favour) Peter imitates the phrase which he himself, when a recent disciple, had heard from the Lord. Luke 6:32, and following verses.

Verse 20. - For what glory is it? The word translated "glory" (κλέος), common in Greek poetry, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, first, "rumor, report;" then "fame, renown." If, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently; literally, if sinning and being buffeted. The word translated "buffeted" (κολαφιζόμενοι), used by St. Matthew and St. Mark in describing our Savior's sufferings, has a figurative meaning in 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7. It is probably used literally here; blows were a common occurrence in the life of slaves. To be patient when suffering deserved punishment is often difficult, but it is no more than a simple duty; it would not be for the glory of religion. Christian slaves ought to do their duty to their masters, and not deserve punishment. But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; literally, but if doing well, and suffering. The words "for it" are not in the Greek. This is acceptable with God. If we read "for" (τοῦτο γὰρ), with some of the best manuscripts, we must supply "there is glory" after the last clause. "It, doing well and suffering, ye take it patiently, there is glory (κλέος), for this is thank-worthy (χάρις) with God." Such conduct will bring honor to Christianity, for it is thankworthy even in the sight of God. When Christian men and women took cruel sufferings patiently and joyfully, as the apostles did (Acts 5:41; Acts 16:25), that was more than a mere recognized duty - that showed the power of Christian motives, that brought glory to Christianity, and was held to be thankworthy (such is God's gracious condescension) even in the sight of God. The word for "acceptable" here is that translated "thankworthy" in ver. 19, where see note. 1 Peter 2:20What glory (ποῖον κλέος)

Lit., what kind of glory. This word for glory occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.

Buffeted (κολαφιζόμενοι)

See Matthew 26:67 : struck with the fist. This whole passage, 1 Peter 2:19-24, bears the mark of Peter's memories of the scene of Christ's last sufferings (see Introduction) - the blows of the servants, the scorn of the high-priest, the silent submission of Jesus, the cross, the stripes.

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