1 Peter 2:21
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(21) For even hereunto were ye called.—Namely, to the combination of suffering and well-doing. To this they “were called” by the Gospel which St. Paul had preached to them; it ought not to be a surprise to them when it comes. (See 1Peter 4:12.) It was a special point in St. Paul’s preaching to forewarn fairly of the tribulations attending all who wished to enter the kingdom of God. Comp. 1Thessalonians 3:3-4, and Acts 14:22, which latter passage refers to preaching in the very homes of some of the recipients of this Epistle.

Because.—This justifies the last assertion. It appeared on the very face of the gospel message that we should all (slave and freeman alike) have to do well, and at the same time suffer, because the gospel told us that it was so with Him, the subject of the gospel. Notice what a fine assumption lies in this “because”—viz., that Christ’s experience must needs be that of every Christian.

Christ also suffered.—It is to be carefully observed again that he does not say “Jesus suffered;” the whole point is that these Hebrew Christians have given in their adhesion to a suffering Messiah. (See Note on 1Peter 1:11.) And the true reading immediately after is “for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow His steps;” not, of course, that St. Peter exempts himself from the need of the atonement or the obligation of following Christ’s steps, but because it is his accustomed style to give a charge (as it were) rather than to throw himself in with those whom he addresses. (See Note on 1Peter 1:12.) There is one important point to be observed. Christ is said to have suffered “for you,” but this does not mean “in your stead” but “on your behalf, for your good.” Christ’s atonement for us is not represented in this passage as vicarious. He did not, according to St. Peter’s teaching, die as a substitute for us, any more than He rose again as our substitute. So far as the words themselves go, the death of the Messiah “for us” might have been such a death as that of the hero who, in the battle of Murgarten, gathered the Austrian spears like a sheaf into his own bosom, “for” his fellow-patriots, clearing the way for them to follow. The addition “for you” conveys the thought that in gratitude we ought to suffer with, or even for, Him.

Leaving us (you) an example.—This clause seems added as a kind of explanation of the abrupt “because” just before. “You were called to suffering, I said, because Christ, too, suffered; for in so suffering He left (“as something to survive Him” is implied in the word) an example to you.” (This last “you” stands very emphatically in the Greek). The curious word for “example,” nowhere else used in the New Testament, means primarily the “copy” given to a child to write from, or a “plan” suggested for carrying out in detail, a sketch to be filled in. It is used in this literal sense in 2 Maccabees 2:28-29, and in the metaphorical sense it occurs repeatedly in the Epistle of St. Clement; in one passage (chap. 16) apparently with a reminiscence of this place, for the author has been quoting the passage of Isaiah to which we shall come presently, and then adds, “See then, beloved sirs, what is the copy which has been set us; for if the Lord was so lowly-minded. what shall we do who through Him have come under the yoke of His grace?” The leaving us of this copy was one of the benefits of His passion implied in “suffered for you.”

Follow his steps.—In all probability St. Peter used the word rendered “example” without any sense of its containing a metaphor, or else it would accord badly with the metaphor here. The word for “follow” is a strengthened form, and in 1Timothy 5:10 is rendered “diligently follow;” in 1Peter 2:24 of the same chapter it is “follow after”—i.e., “dog;” the only other place being Mark 16:20. It means (as in 1Timothy 5:24) rather “to follow up,” made still more vivid by the addition of “His steps” (Romans 4:12; 2Corinthians 12:18). St. Peter could remember the day when he was called to follow, and he did so literally (Matthew 4:19; John 21:19); but the Pontine Christians, who had believed without having seen (1Peter 1:8), could only “follow Him up” by the footprints which He had left.

1 Peter


1 Peter 2:21.

These words are a very striking illustration of the way in which the Gospel brings Christ’s principles to bear upon morals and duty. The Apostle is doing nothing more than exhorting a handful of slaves to the full and complete and patient acceptance of their hard lot, and in order to teach a very homely and lowly lesson to the squalid minds of a few captives, he brings in the mightiest of all lessons by pointing to the most beautiful, most blessed, and most mysterious fact in the world’s history--the cross of Christ. It is the very spirit of Christianity that the biggest thing is to regulate the smallest duties of life. Men’s lives are made up of two or three big things and a multitude of little ones, and the greater rule the lesser; and, my friends, unless we have got a religion and a morality that can and will keep the trifles of our lives right there will be nothing right; unless we can take those deepest truths, make them the ruling principles, and lay them down side by side with the most trivial things of our lives, we are something short. Is there nothing in your life or mine so small that we cannot bring it into captivity and lift it into beauty by bringing it into connection with saving grace? Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example. This is the first thing that strikes me, and I intend it also by way of introduction. Look how the Apostle has put the points together, as though there are two aspects which go together and cannot be rendered apart, like the under side and the upper side of a coin. ‘Christ also suffered for us,’ and so for us says all the orthodox. ‘Leaving us an example’--there protests all the heretics. Yes, but we know that there is a power in both of them, and the last one is only true when we begin with the first. He suffered for us. There, there, my friends, is the deepest meaning of the cross, and if you want to get Christ for an example, begin with taking Him as the sacrifice, for He gave His life for you. Don’t part the two things. If you believe Him to be Christ, then you take Him at the cross: if you want to see the meaning of Christ as an example, begin with Him as your Saviour. ‘Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps.’ These are the words, and what God hath joined together let no man put asunder. With these few remarks I shall deal with the words a little more exhaustively, and I see in them three things--the sufferings of Christ our gain, the sufferings of Christ our pattern, and the suffering of Christ our power to imitate.

And first of all that great proclamation which underlies the whole matter--Christ also suffered for us. The sufferings of Christ are thereby our gain. I shall not dwell on the larger questions which these words naturally open for us, and I shall content myself with some of the angles and side views of thought, and one to begin with is this: It is very interesting to notice how, as his life went on, and his inspiration became more full, this Apostle got to understand, as being the very living and heart centre of his religion, the thing which at first was a stumbling-block and mystery to him. You remember when Christ was here on earth, and was surrounded by all His disciples, the man who actually led antagonism to the thought of a saving Messiah, was this very Apostle Peter. How he displayed his ignorance in the words, ‘This shall not be unto Thee, O Lord’; and you remember also how his audacity rose to the height of saying, ‘Why cannot I follow Thee now, Lord? I will lay down my life for Thy sake,’ so little did he understand the purposes of Christ’s suffering and Christ’s death. And even after His resurrection we don’t find that Peter in his early preaching had got as far as he seems to have got in this letter from which my text is taken. You will notice that in this letter he speaks a great deal about the sufferings of Christ, which he puts side by side and in contrast with God’s glorifying of His Son. Christ’s cross, which at first had come to him as a rejection, has now come to him in all its reality, and to him there was the one grand thing, ‘He suffered for us,’ as though he realises Christ in all His beauty and purity, and not only as a beautiful teacher and dear friend. That which at first seemed to him as an astounding mystery and perfect impossibility, he now comes to understand. With those two little words, ‘for us,’ where there was before impossibility, disappointment, and anomaly, the anomaly vanishes, although the mystery becomes deeper. In one sense it was incomprehensible; in another sense it was the only explanation of the fact. And, my friends, I want you to build one thought on this. Unless you and I lay hold of the grand truth that Jesus Christ died for us, it seems to me that the story of the Gospel and the story of the cross is the saddest and most depressing page of human history. That there should have been a man possessed of such a soul, such purity, such goodness, such tenderness, such compassion, and such infinite mercy--if there were all this to do nothing but touch men’s hearts and prick and irritate them into bitter enmity--if the cross were the world’s wages to the world’s best Teacher, and nothing more could be said, then, my friends, it seems to me that the hopes of humanity have, in the providence of God, suffered great disaster, and a terrible indictment stands against both God and man. Oh, yes, the death of Jesus Christ, and the whole history of the world’s treatment of Him, is an altogether incomprehensible and miserable thing--a thing to be forgotten, and a thing to be wept over in tears of blood, and no use for us unless we do as Peter did, apply all the warmth of the heart to this one master key, ‘for us,’ and then the mystery is only an infinitude of love and mercy. What before we could not understand we now begin to see, and to understand the love of God which passeth all understanding. Oh, my friends, I beseech you never think of the cross of Christ without taking those two words. It is a necessary explanation to make the picture beautiful: ‘for us,’ ‘for us’; ‘for me, for me.’ And then notice still further that throughout the whole of this Epistle the comparative vagueness of the words ‘for me’ is interpreted definitely. So far as the language of my text is concerned there can be nothing more expressive, more outspoken, or more intelligible, ‘Christ also suffered for us,’ for our realm. But that is not all that Peter would have us learn. If you want to know the nature of the work, and what the Saviour suffered on the cross for our behalf, advantage, and benefit, here is the definition in the following verse, ‘Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness.’ ‘For us,’ not merely as an example; ‘for us,’ not merely for His purity, His beautiful life and calm death; no, better than all that, though a glorious example it is. He has taken away our sins, we are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ; ‘for us’ in the sense of the words in another part of the Epistle, ‘Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,’ and if so, we are living examples of what Christ our Saviour has done for the whole world.

There is another point I want to speak about in dwelling on the first part of the text. If you will read this Epistle of Peter at your leisure, you will see that while with Paul both make the cross of Christ the centre of their teaching, Paul speaks more about His death, and Peter more about His sufferings. Throughout the letters of Peter the phrase runs, and the phrase has come almost entirely into modern Christian usage from this Apostle. Paul speaks about the death, Peter speaks of the sufferings. The eye-witness of a Loving Friend, the man who had stood by His side through much of His sufferings {though he fled at last}, a vivid imagination of His Master’s trials, and a warm heart, led Peter to dwell not only on the one fact of the death, but also on the accompaniments of that awful death, of the mental and physical pain, and especially the temper of the Saviour. I shall not dwell on this, except to make one passing remark on it, viz., that there is a kind of preaching which prevails among the Roman Catholic Church, and is not uncommon to many of the Protestant churches, which dwells unduly on the physical fact of Christ’s death and sufferings. I think, for my part, we are going to the other extreme, and a great many of us are losing a very great source of blessing to ourselves and to those whom we influence, because we don’t realise and don’t dwell sufficiently on the physical and mental sorrows and agony He went through with the death on the cross; and one bad effect of all this is that Christ’s atonement has become to be a kind of theological jungle, and I don’t know that the popular mind can have in the ordinary way any better means of the deliverance of Christ’s cross from this theological maze than a little more frankness and honesty in dwelling on the sorrows and pain of our dear Lord.

Now a word about the second part. The sufferings of Christ as represented here in the text are not only for our gain but our pattern, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps. We are not concerned here about the general principles of Christian ethics, and I don’t think I need dwell on them at all as being great blessings to us; and passing from that I would rather dwell on the one specific thought before us--on the beautiful life, the gracious words, the gentle deeds, the wisdom, the rectitude, the tenderness, the submission to the Father and the oblivion to Himself, which characterises the whole life of Jesus Christ, from the very first up to the agony on the cross. We have looked to Him as our gain, and as the head and beginning of our salvation, and now we have to turn from that mysterious and solemn thought and look to Him as an ideal pattern by which our life should be moulded and shaped. ‘Leaving us an example.’ Just as Elijah’s mantle dropped from him as he rose, so Christ in going up to the Father fluttered down on the world a pattern which He had in His sufferings. He goes away, but the pattern abides with us. ‘Leaving us an example.’ The word used here is translated quite correctly. The word example is a very remarkable and unusual one; it means literally a thing to be retained. You put a copyhead before a child, and tell him to copy it, and trace it over till he retains it; or, to come to modern English, you put the copyhead on the top of a page. What blots, pothooks, and angles you and I make as we are trying to write on the top of the page of life. See, there is the pattern. Lo, another man hath written above, and you are asked to make your life exactly the same, the same angles and the same corners--to make your life in all respects coincide with that. My friends, we shall all have to take our copybooks to the Master’s desk some day. There will be a headline there which Christ hath written, and one which we have written, and how do you think we shall like to put the two side by side? My friends, we had better do it to-day than have to do it then. There is the pattern life; the copy is plain. I don’t think I need say any more about the other metaphor contained here. The Divine Exemplar has left us the headline that we should follow His footsteps, and it is a blessed thought to know that we are to follow in His own steps. ‘What, cannot I follow Thee now?’ said Peter once, and you remember when the Apostle had been restored to his office, the words of the Saviour were--’Feed My lambs; feed My sheep; feed My lambs, follow thou Me.’ This is also our privilege. As a guide going across a wet moor with a traveller calls out, ‘Step where I step, or else you will be bogged,’ so we must tread in the steps of the Saviour, and then we shall come safe on the other side. Tread in His steps, aye, in the steps which are marked with bleeding feet, for ‘He suffered and left us an example.’ I will just add one word, dear friends, to deepen the thought in its impressiveness, that the cross of Christ it to be the pattern of our lives. It stands alone, thank God, for mighty power in its relation to the salvation of the world, and it stands alone in awful terror. You and I are, at the very worst, but at the edge of the storm which broke in all its dreadful fury over His head; we love to go but a little way down the hillside, while He descended to the very bottom; we love to drink but very little of the cup which He drained the last drop of and held it up empty and reversed, showing that nothing trickled from it, and exclaimed, ‘The cup which My Father hath given Me have I drunk.’ But although alone in all its mighty power, and though alone in all its awful terror, it may be copied by us in two things--perfect submission to our Maker, and non-resistance and meekness with regard to man. There is only one way of carrying the cross of Christ, which God lays on us all, and that is bowing our back. If we resist, it will crush us, and if we yield we have something to endure; and there is but one thing which enables a man to patiently bear the sorrows and griefs which come to us all, and that is the simple secret, ‘Father, not as I will, but Thy will be done.’ Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His footsteps, and when we patiently do this the rod becomes a guiding staff, and the crown of thorns a crown of glory.

But my text reminds me that the sufferings of Christ are not only our gain and our pattern, but they are also our power to imitate--the power to fight the battle for Christ. Example is not all. The world wants more than that. The reason for men’s badness is not because they have not plenty of patterns of good. If a copyhead could save the world it would have been saved long ago. Patterns of good are plenty; the mischief is we don’t copy them. There are footsteps in abundance, but then our legs are lame, and we cannot tread in them, and what is the use of copies if we have a broken pen, muddy ink, and soiled paper? So we want a great deal more than that. No, my friends, the world is not to be saved by example. You and I know that the weakness and the foolishness of men know a great deal better than the wisest of men ever did, so we want something more. Examples don’t give the power nor the wish to get it. Is not that true about you? Don’t you feel that if this is all which religion has given you it stops short? The gospel comes and says, ‘If you love Christ Jesus because you know that He died for you,’ then there will be something else than the copybook. That copy and pattern will be laid to your heart and transferred there. You will not have to go on trying to make a bungling imitation; you will get it photographed on your spirit, and on your character more distinctly and more clearly down to the very minutest shade of resemblance to the Master, and with simple loving trust you will go on from strength to strength glorifying God in your life. They that begin with the cross of Christ, and make the sacrifice their all in all, will advance heavenward joyously; the cross and the sacrifice will be the pattern of your pilgrimage here, and the perfectness of your characters unto the likeness of the Son. The cross is the agency of sanctification as well as the means of forgiveness--saving grace to save us from the world, saving grace to help us everywhere and in everything for our salvation, and saving grace to help us to conquer our self-will, and saving grace to bind us to Him, whose abundant goodness and gratitude no man can tell. If we love Him we shall keep His commandments; if we love them we shall grow in grace, and not else. None else, my brother, my sister, but the Eternal Exemplar stands there as our refuge; and if you want to be filled with this all-saving grace, deep down to the bottom of His tender heart, if you want to be good, and of pure mind, then you have to begin with that Saviour who died for you, and trust to the cross for your forgiveness. Then listen to Him saying, ‘Any man who comes after Me, let him take up My cross’--take it up, mark--’and follow Me.’

1 Peter 2:21-23. For even hereunto — Namely, to suffer wrongfully, and to bear such treatment with patience and meekness; are ye Christians called; because Christ — Whose followers you profess to be, pure and spotless as he was; suffered for us — Not only hard speeches, buffetings, and stripes, but deep and mortal wounds, even the ignominious and painful death of crucifixion; leaving us — When he returned to heaven; an example of suffering patiently for well-doing; that ye should follow his steps — Of innocence and patience. Who did no sin — And therefore did not deserve to suffer any thing; neither was guile — Any insincerity, or dissimulation, or the least mis-spoken word, found to drop from his mouth — This is an allusion to the words of Isaiah, concerning the Messiah, Isaiah 53:9; neither was any deceit in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled — As he frequently was, being called a Samaritan, a glutton, a wine-bibber, a blasphemer, a demoniac, one in league with Beelzebub, a perverter of the nation, and a deceiver of the people; he reviled not again — In any one instance: he did indeed once say to the Jews, Ye are of your father the devil, and the works of your father ye will do. This, however, was not a reviling speech, but a true description of their character, and a prediction that they would murder him; and when he suffered — All kinds of insults and tortures, till they ended in his death on the cross; he threatened not the vengeance which he had it in his own power to have executed; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously — The only solid ground of patience in affliction. In all these instances, the example of Christ was peculiarly adapted for the instruction of servants, who easily slide into sin or guile, reviling their fellow-servants, or threatening them, the natural result of anger without power.

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 even hereunto were ye called - Such a spirit is required by the very nature of your Christian vocation; you were called into the church in order that you might evince it. See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 3:3.

Because Christ also suffered for us - Margin, "some read, for you." The latest editions of the Greek Testament adopt the reading "for you." The sense, however, is not essentially varied. The object is, to hold up the example of Christ to those who were called to suffer, and to say to them that they should bear their trials in the same spirit that he evinced in his. See the notes at Philippians 3:10.

Leaving us an example - The apostle does not say that this was the only object for which Christ suffered, but that it was an object, and an important one. The word rendered "example" (ὑπογραμμὸν hupogrammon) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly "a writing copy," such as is set for children; or an outline or sketch for a painter to fill up; and then, in general, an example, a pattern for imitation.

That ye should follow his steps - That we should follow him, as if we trod exactly along behind him, and should place our feet precisely where his were. The meaning is, that there should be the closest imitation or resemblance. The things in which we are to imitate him are specified in the following verses.

21. Christ's example a proof that patient endurance under undeserved sufferings is acceptable with God.

hereunto—to the patient endurance of unmerited suffering (1Pe 3:9). Christ is an example to servants, even as He was once in "the form of a servant."

called—with a heavenly calling, though slaves.

for us—His dying for us is the highest exemplification of "doing well" (1Pe 2:20). Ye must patiently suffer, being innocent, as Christ also innocently suffered (not for Himself, but for us). The oldest manuscripts for "us … us," read, "you … for you." Christ's sufferings, while they are for an example, were also primarily sufferings "for us," a consideration which imposes an everlasting obligation on us to please Him.

leaving—behind: so the Greek: on His departure to the Father, to His glory.

an example—Greek, "a copy," literally, "a writing copy" set by masters for their pupils. Christ's precepts and sermons were the transcript of His life. Peter graphically sets before servants those features especially suited to their case.

follow—close upon: so the Greek.

his steps—footsteps, namely, of His patience combined with innocence.

For even hereunto; viz. to patient bearing of sufferings even for well-doing.

Were ye called; viz. to Christ and the fellowship of his kingdom; q.d. Your very calling and profession, as Christians, requires this of you.

Also; there is an emphasis in this particle, it is as much as if he had said: Even Christ our Lord and Head hath suffered for us, and therefore we that are but his servants and members must not think to escape sufferings.

For us; or, as in the margin, for you, which agrees with the beginning and end of the verse, where the second person is used; but most read it as we do, in the first person, and the sense is still the same; only the apostle from a general proposition draws a particular exhortation: Christ suffered for us, (therein he comprehends the saints to whom he writes), and left an example for us all; do ye therefore to whom, as well as to others, he left this example, follow his steps, John 13:15 1Jo 2:6.

Leaving us an example, as of other graces, so especially of patience.

For even hereunto were ye called,.... Both to well doing, of which none but those who are called with an holy and effectual calling are capable; and which they are fitted for, and are under obligation to perform, and to suffer for so doing, which they must always expect, and to patience in suffering for it, which highly becomes them. This being then one end of the saints' effectual calling, is made use of as an argument to engage them to the exercise of the grace of patience in suffering for well doing; and another follows:

because Christ also suffered for us; in our room and stead, to fulfil the law, satisfy the justice of God, and make reconciliation for sin; and not only for our good, or merely as a martyr, to confirm the truth of his doctrine, or barely as an example to us, though this also is true: the Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "for you"; for you servants, as well as others, and therefore should cheerfully and patiently suffer for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; and the rather, because he suffered,

leaving us, or "you", as the same copies, and the Vulgate Latin version read,

an example that ye should follow his steps: Christ is an example to his people in the exercise of grace, as of faith, love, zeal, meekness, and humility; and in the discharge of duty, in his regard to the commands of the moral law, and positive institutions of religion; in his constancy in prayer; in frequent attendance on public worship; in his submission to the ordinance of baptism, and his celebration of the supper; and likewise in his sufferings; and in his meekness, patience, courage, and resignation to the will of God, which is what is here intended, and in which his people are to fellow and imitate him.

{23} For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an {g} example, that ye should follow his steps:

(23) He alleviates the grievousness of servanthood, while he shows plainly that Christ died also for servants, that they should bear so much more patiently this inequality between men who are of the same nature: moreover setting before them Christ the Lord of lords for an example, he signifies that they cannot but seem too subdued, who show themselves more grieved in the bearing of injuries, than Christ himself who was most just, and most severely of all afflicted, and yet was most patient.

(g) A metaphor of speech taken from painters and schoolmasters.

1 Peter 2:21 gives the ground of the exhortation to bear undeserved suffering patiently, by a reference to the sufferings of Christ.

εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ἐκλήθητε] εἰς τοῦτο refers to εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντεςὑπομενεῖτε. Many interpreters incorrectly make it apply only to suffering as such; but, as Hemming rightly remarks: omnes pii vocati sunt, ut patienter injuriam ferant.

The construction with εἰς occurs frequently; cf. Colossians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:14.

In harmony with the connection, οἱ οἰκέται is to be thought of as the subject to ἐκλήθητε; accordingly it is the slaves in the first instance, not the Christians in general, who are addressed (as in chap. 1 Peter 3:9; 1 Peter 3:14; 1 Peter 3:17); but as this κληθῆναι applies to them not as slaves but as believers, it holds true at the same time of all Christians.

ὅτι καὶ Χριστὸς ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν] ὅτι: such suffering is part of a Christian’s calling, for Christ also suffered: ἔπαθεν is here the emphatic word; and with it καί also must be joined (which Fronmüller erroneously interprets by “even”). Wiesinger incorrectly takes καί with ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν in this sense, that, as Christ suffered for us, “so we should endure affliction for Him, for His sake, and for His honour and glory in the world,” thus introducing a thought foreign to the context. The obligation to suffer under which we who are Christ’s people are laid, from the very fact that Christ also suffered, is for us all the greater that the sufferings of Christ were ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (not: ἀνθʼ ἡμῶν, but “for our advantage”), and therefore such as enable us to follow the example which He has left us in His sufferings. Inasmuch as ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν implies that Christ suffered not for His own sins, but for ours, we are no doubt justified in recognising these sufferings as undeserved, but not in concluding, with Hofmann, that ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν is meant to mark only the undeservedness of Christ’s sufferings.

ὑμῖν ὑπολιμπάνων ὑπογραμμόν] ὑπολιμπάνω, ἅπ. λεγ. Another form of ὑπολείπω (used of the leaving behind at death, Jdt 8:7). Bengel: in abitu ad patrem. ὑπογραμμός (ἅπ. λεγ.): specimen, quod imitentur, ut pictores novitiis exemplaria dant, ad quae inter pingendum respiciant: equivalent in sense to ὑπόδειγμα, John 13:15 (τύπος; 2 Thessalonians 3:9). It is not Christ’s life in general that is here presented by way of example, but the patience which He showed in the midst of undeserved sufferings.[151] The participle is connected with ἔπαθεν ὑπ. ὑμ. as giving the nearer definition of the latter: He thus suffered, as in doing so to leave you an example, withal to the end that, etc.[152]

ἵνα ἐπακολουθήσητε τοῖς ἴχνεσιν αὐτοῦ] Sicut prior metaphora a pictoribus et scriptoribus, ita haec posterior petita est a viae duce (Gerhard); with ἐπακολ. cf. 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24.

ἴχνος, besides here, in Romans 4:12 (στοιχεῖν τοῖς ἴχνεσι) and 2 Corinthians 12:18 (περιπατεῖν τοῖς ἴχνεσι).

[151] Wherever Scripture presents Christ as an example, it does so almost always with reference to His self-abasement in suffering and death; Php 2:5; John 13:15; John 15:12; 1 John 3:16; Hebrews 12:2. Only in 1 John 2:6 is Christ presented as an example in the more general sense.

[152] Hofmann wrongly asserts that “ἵνα stands only in place of an infinitive clause, as after ἐντολή (John 13:34), βουλή (Acts 27:42),” inasmuch as “ὑπογραμμός is no more than a direction to do likewise.” But this interpretation of ὑπογραμμός is erroneous, and therefore ἵνα ἐπακολουθήσητε cannot be resolved into an infinitive clause.

1 Peter 2:21. εἰς τοῦτο, sc. to do well and to suffer, if need be, without flinching, as Christ did.—ἐκλήθητε, sc. by God; cf. διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν θεοῦ.—ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, 1 Peter 2:22 supplies the essential point, which would be readily supplied, but Christ’s suffering was undeserved (δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων, 1 Peter 3:18).—καί also with reference to the similar experience of Christians; so Php 2:5, τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ.—ὑπογραμμόν (1) outline, 2Ma 2:28, to enlarge upon the outlines of our abridgment; (2) copy-head, pattern, to be traced over by writing-pupils (Plato, Protag., 227 D; Clement ot Alexandria, Strom., ver 8, 49, gives three examples of which βεδιζαμψχθωπληκτρον σφιγξ is one).—ἐπακολουθήσητε, reminiscence of jesus’ word to Peter, ἀκολουθήσεις ὕστερον, John 13:36.

21. For even hereunto were ye called] The thoughts of the Apostle travel from the teaching of Christ which he had heard to the life which he had witnessed. The very calling to be a disciple involved the taking up the cross and following Him (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24; Luke 14:27). It was the very law of the Christian life that men “must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). And if this was true of all believers it was true in a yet higher sense of those who, when they were called to know Christ, were called as slaves, and as such were to abide in that calling and find in it a discipline of sanctification (comp. 1 Corinthians 7:22). And the Apostle had seen what that taking up the cross involved. It is not without significance that in almost every instance in which the example of Christ is referred to, it is in special connexion with His patience under sufferings. Stress is laid on his suffering for us, as making the analogy of the pattern sufferer more complete. He, too, was “buffeted” for no fault of His (Matthew 26:67).

leaving us an example] The Greek noun, not found elsewhere in the New Testament, seems to have been a technical word for the drawing which was set before young students of art for them to copy. Such a picture of patience under suffering St Peter now paints, as with a few vivid touches, and sets it before those who were novices in the school of the Christ-like life that they may become artists worthy of their Master.

1 Peter 2:21. Εἰς τοῦτο, to this) to the imitation of Christ; who condescends to propose His own example to servants, as He Himself was formerly esteemed as a servant.—ἐκλήθητε, ye were called) with a heavenly calling, whereas it found you in a state of slavery.—ὑπολιμπάνων, leaving) on His departure to the Father.[19]—ὑπογραμμαὸν, an example) Ὑπογραμμὸς, a copy, a lesson for imitation, is adapted to the capacity of a tiro, learning to paint. Thus Peter in this passage plainly paints before the eyes of servants the example of Christ, expressing those features which are especially adapted to the case of servants.—ἴχνεσιν, footsteps) of innocence and patience. The same word occurs, Romans 4:12; see note.

[19] Into glory, V. g.; in contrast to the previous “shame.”

Verse 21. - For even hereunto were ye called; that is, to do good and to suffer patiently (comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:3). Omit "even," for which there is no authority. St. Peter is speaking of slaves, but what he says of slaves is true in some sense of all Christians (comp. Acts 14:22). Because Christ also suffered for us; rather, for you, with the oldest manuscripts. You do not suffer alone; Christ also suffered, and that for you slaves, on your behalf. "Christ himself," says Bengel, "was treated as a slave; he deigns to exhibit his own conduct as an example to slaves." Leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. The oldest manuscripts have the second person here in both places. Leaving (ὑολιμπάνων), leaving behind; Bengel says, "in abitu ad pattern." The Greek for "example" is ὑπογραμμός ( α word which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means a copy set by a writing or drawing master, which was to be exactly reproduced by his pupils (see 2 Macc. 2:28, in the Greek). The life of Christ is our model. In particular St. Peter urges us to imitate the Lord's patience in suffering undeserved afflictions. In the last clause the figure is changed to that of a guide along a difficult route, so difficult that those who follow must put their feet in his footprints. We should follow his steps, one by one, closely following him, as the word ἐπακολουθήσητε means (comp. Mark 16:20; 1 Timothy 5:10, 24). 1 Peter 2:21Leaving (ὑπολιμπάνων)

Only here in the New Testament.

An example (ὑπογραμμὸν)

Only here in the New Testament. A graphic word, meaning a copy set by writing-masters for their pupils. Some explain it as a copy of characters over which the student is to trace the lines.

Follow (ἐπακολουθήσητε)

Lit., follow upon. The compound verb implies close following. From writers and painters, the metaphor changes now to a guide.

1 Peter 2:21 Interlinear
1 Peter 2:21 Parallel Texts

1 Peter 2:21 NIV
1 Peter 2:21 NLT
1 Peter 2:21 ESV
1 Peter 2:21 NASB
1 Peter 2:21 KJV

1 Peter 2:21 Bible Apps
1 Peter 2:21 Parallel
1 Peter 2:21 Biblia Paralela
1 Peter 2:21 Chinese Bible
1 Peter 2:21 French Bible
1 Peter 2:21 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Peter 2:20
Top of Page
Top of Page