1 Peter 3:10
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
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(10) For.—St. Peter will show that he is not going beyond his book when he says that the blessing is only to be obtained by those who bless.

He that will love life.—The “will” here is not merely the future tense, but “he that hath a mind to love life.” St. Peter’s quotation, from Psalm 34:12-16, is not exact, according to either Septuagint or Hebrew, but the divergence is probably not due to a confusion of memory, but (as often) designed to bring out an additional significance. The Psalmist had asked merely, “What man is he that lusteth to live?” and he promises merely long life to self-restraint. The Apostle asks, Who cares to have a life worth having, a life which makes a man glad to live? This is the “blessing” spoken of in 1Peter 3:9—not simply everlasting life, but a life of unruffled happiness. (Comp. Psalm 133:3.) This healthy enjoyment of life, the opposite of a morbid craving for death (see Ecclesiastes 2:17), is implied to be competent for any person to attain who “wills.”

“Serene will be our days, and bright,

And happy will our nature be,

When love is an unerring light,

And joy its own security.”

See good days.—“See” in the same sense as—e.g., Psalm 27:13; John 3:3; Hebrews 11:5—for to “experience”—consciously to enjoy or to suffer, as the case may be.

Let him refrain.—Literally, let him stop. The evil word is on the very tip of his tongue.

No guile.—“Guile” is often used, in a very wide sense, of almost anything wrong (see 1Peter 2:22); but here, probably, the distinction is that “evil” means open railing and bitter speech, while “guile” may mean the words which are “softer than butter, having war in his heart” (Psalm 55:21).

1 Peter 3:10-13. He that will love life — That would make life amiable and desirable; and see good days — Namely, such as are prosperous and happy; let him refrain his tongue from evil — From railing, back-biting, tale-bearing, from all rash and provoking expressions; and his lips that they speak no guile — No deceit; nothing contrary to sincerity and simplicity. See on Psalm 32:2. In this and the following verses the apostle offers three arguments, of great importance, to induce men to the practice of piety and virtue: 1st, It secures the happiness both of the present and of the future life: 2d, It ensures the favour and protection of God, 1 Peter 3:12 : 3d, It disarms the malice of men, 1 Peter 3:13. Let him eschew evil Εκκλινατω απο κακου, let him turn away from evil, of every kind, and from evil dispositions, as well as evil words and actions; and do good — To the utmost extent of his power. Let him seek peace — Endeavour, as much as in him lieth, to live peaceably with all men: and pursue it — When it appears to flee from him. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous — Are continually set upon them, to watch over and protect them; and his ears are open to their prayers — Especially when they are in distress. But the face of the Lord — His countenance, full of wrath and resentment; is against them that do evil — Against all that live in known sin, whether high or low, rich or poor. And who is he that shall harm you — That shall have the ability to do you any real harm; if ye be followers of that which is good — Or imitators of the good One, as the original expression, του αγαθου μιμηται, may be rendered: that is, if you copy after the benevolence of your heavenly Father, and of his beloved Son, your great Master, whose whole life was so illustrious an example of the most diffusive generosity and goodness to his followers?

3:8-13 Though Christians cannot always be exactly of the same mind, yet they should have compassion one of another, and love as brethren. If any man desires to live comfortably on earth, or to possess eternal life in heaven, he must bridle his tongue from wicked, abusive, or deceitful words. He must forsake and keep far from evil actions, do all the good he can, and seek peace with all men. For God, all-wise and every where present, watches over the righteous, and takes care of them. None could or should harm those who copied the example of Christ, who is perfect goodness, and did good to others as his followers.For he that will love life - Greek, "He willing, (θέλων thelōn,) or that wills to love life." It implies that there is some positive desire to live; some active wish that life should be prolonged. This whole passage 1 Peter 3:10-12 is taken, with some slight variations, from Psalm 34:12-16. In the Psalm this expression is, "What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?" The sense is substantially the same. It is implied here that it is right to love life, and to desire many days. The desire of this is referred to by the psalmist and by the apostle, without any expression of disapprobation, and the way is shown by which length of days may be secured. Life is a blessing; a precious gift of God. We are taught so to regard it by the instinctive feelings of our nature; for we are so made as to love it, and to dread its extinction. Though we should be prepared to resign it when God commands, yet there are important reasons why we should desire to live. Among them are the following:

(1) Because, as already intimated, life, as such, is to be regarded as a blessing. We instinctively shrink back from death, as one of the greatest evils; we shudder at the thought of annihilation. It is not wrong to love that, in proper degree, which, by our very nature, we are prompted to love; and we are but acting out one of the universal laws which our Creator has impressed on us, when, with proper submission to his will, we seek "to lengthen out our days as far as possible.

(2) that we may see the works of God, and survey the wonders of his hand on earth. The world is full of wonders, evincing the wisdom and goodness of the Deity; and the longest life, nay, many such lives as are allotted to us here, could be well employed in studying his works and ways.

(3) that we may make preparation for eternity. Man may, indeed, make preparation in a very brief period; but the longest life is not too much to examine and settle the question whether we have a well-founded hope of heaven. If man had nothing else to do, the longest life could be well employed in inquiries that grow out of the question whether we are suited for the world to come. In the possibility, too, of being deceived, and in view of the awful consequences that will result from deception, it is desirable that length of days should be given us that we may bring the subject to the severest test, and so determine it, that we may go sure to the changeless world.

(4) that we may do good to others. We may, indeed, do good in another world; but there are ways of doing good which are probably confined to this. What good we may do hereafter to the inhabitants of distant worlds, or what ministrations, in company with angels, or without them, we may exercise toward the friends of God on earth after we leave it, we do not know; but there are certain things which we are morally certain we shall not be permitted to do in the future world. We shall not:

(a) personally labor for the salvation of sinners, by conversation and other direct efforts;

(b) we shall not illustrate the influence of religion by example in sustaining us in trials, subduing and controlling our passions, and making us dead to the world;

(c) we shall not be permitted to pray for our impenitent friends and kindred, as we may now;

(d) we shall not have the opportunity of contributing of our substance for the spread of the gospel, or of going personally to preach the gospel to the perishing;

(e) we shall not be employed in instructing the ignorant, in advocating the cause of the oppressed and the wronged, in seeking to remove the fetters from the slave, in dispensing mercy to the insane, or in visiting the prisoner in his lonely cell;

(f) we shall not have it in our power to address a kind word to an impenitent child, or seek to guide him in paths of truth, purity, and salvation.

What we can do personally and directly for the salvation of others is to be done in this world; and, considering how much there is to be done, and how useful life may be on the earth, it is an object which we should desire, that our days may be lengthened out, and should use all proper means that it may be done. While we should ever be ready and willing to depart when God calls us to go; while we should not wish to linger on these mortal shores beyond the time when we may be useful to others, yet, as long as he permits us to live, we should regard life as a blessing, and should pray that, if it be his will, we may not be cut down in the midst of our way.

"Love not thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest.

Live well; how long, or short, permit to heaven."


10. will love—Greek, "wishes to love." He who loves life (present and eternal), and desires to continue to do so, not involving himself in troubles which will make this life a burden, and cause him to forfeit eternal life. Peter confirms his exhortation, 1Pe 3:9, by Ps 34:12-16.

refrain—curb, literally, "cause to cease"; implying that our natural inclination and custom is to speak evil. "Men commonly think that they would be exposed to the wantonness of their enemies if they did not strenuously vindicate their rights. But the Spirit promises a life of blessedness to none but those who are gentle and patient of evils" [Calvin].

evil … guile—First he warns against sins of the tongue, evil-speaking, and deceitful, double-tongued speaking; next, against acts of injury to one's neighbor.

He that will love life; he that earnestly desires to lead a quiet and comfortable life here, and to enjoy eternal life hereafter.

And see good days; peaceable and prosperous; as evil days are such as are grievous and calamitous, Genesis 47:9.

Let him refrain his tongue from evil: from evil-speaking, railing, reviling, open detraction.

And his lips that they speak no guile; tell no lies of his neighbour: or, this may imply whispering, backbiting, or any way secretly and closely speaking evil of him. Under these two, all the vices of the tongue, whereby our neighbour may be wronged, are contained, and the contrary virtues commanded, under the name of blessing.

For he that will love life,.... This, with what follows here and in the two next verses, are taken out of Psalm 34:12 and are produced as a proof of what is before said; that it is a good man's duty not to do or speak evil in return for what is done or said to him; but on the contrary, it becomes him to avoid evil, do good, and seek peace as much as possible, and leave it with a righteous God to vindicate him and his cause, who will not fail to do it; and that such shall inherit the blessing both here and hereafter: in the psalm, these words are put by way of question, "what man is he that desireth life?" that wills it with pleasure, that loves it with a love of complacency and delight? and which is to be understood, not of natural life; for what man is there that do not love that? love of a natural life is natural to men; it is a first principle in nature to desire life, and a preservation of it, and to a great length; a man will give all that he has for it, as Satan said, Job 2:4, but both of a spiritual life, a life of faith on Christ, communion with him, and holiness from him; the life of God, or to live soberly, righteously, and godly, which carnal men are alienated from, and enemies to, and cannot desire, only spiritual men; and of an eternal one; and so some of the Jewish interpreters (u) understand by life and good days, in the psalm, such as are both in this world, and in that which is to come:

and see good days; not the days of this life, which are evil, even the days of a good man, Genesis 47:9 and the more so, the longer he lives; for the days of old age are evil days, in which there is no pleasure, Ecclesiastes 12:1, unless such days are meant, in which much good is done to the honour and glory of God, and in which gracious souls enjoy much of God, and see and taste of his grace and goodness in the land of the living; though, rather, the good days of eternity, even length of days for ever and ever, which holy men of God shall see, and enjoy in the other world, when they shall be possessed of fulness of joy, and of pleasure for evermore: in the psalm it is, "and loveth many days, that he may see good"; desires a blessed eternity of good things:

let him refrain his tongue from evil; bridle that unruly member, which has a world of iniquity in it; let him keep it as with a bit, from the vices incident to it; from all obscene words, filthy and corrupt communication, whatever is unsavoury and unedifying; from lying, cursing, swearing, and particularly from railing and evil speaking, in return for such language, which is chiefly meant; as well as from belching out blasphemies against God, and damnable heresies among men; for whoever would be thought a religious man, and lays no restraint on his tongue, his religion is a vain thing, James 1:26 and his lips that they speak no guile; as flatterers do, who speak that with their mouth which does not agree with their heart, and so beguile and deceive persons; and as false teachers, who use dishonest arts, walk in craftiness, handle the word of God deceitfully, use ambiguous phrases, and words of double meaning, and with their good words, and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple but such things do not become persons that seek for glory, honour, and immortality; that profess to be Israelites indeed; in these guile should not be found in their lips, nor in their lives,

(u) Kimchi in Psal. xxxiv. 17.

{13} For he that will love life, and {h} see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

(13) A secret objection: But this our patience shall be nothing else but an inciting and hardening of the wicked in their wickedness, to make them set upon us more boldly and destroy us. Indeed (faith the apostle by the words of David) to live without doing harm, and to follow after peace when it flies away, is the way to that happy and quiet peace. If so be any man be afflicted for doing justly, the Lord marks all things, and will in his time deliver the godly, who cry to him, and will destroy the wicked.

(h) Lead a blessed and happy life.

1 Peter 3:10-12. Quoted from Psalm 34:13-17, LXX., and strengthening the foregoing exhortations by a reference to the divine judgment. In the original the first clause forms an interrogation, to which the following clauses, in the second person imperative, give the answer.

ὁ γὰρ θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾷν, καὶ ἰδεῖν ἡμέρας ἀγαθάς] The translation of the LXX., an inexact reproduction of the Hebrew,[185] runs: τίς ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος ὁ θέλων ζωὴν, ἀγαπῶν ἡμέρας ἀγαθάς; Peter’s deviation from it by the conjunction of θέλων ἀγαπᾷν is striking.

θέλων is not used adverbially here, equivalent to “fain;” but neither must another conception be substituted for ἀγαπᾷν; de Wette: “he who will show[186] love for life” (i.e. a yearning desire after it). The idea “show,” besides being an arbitrary introduction, is inappropriate, inasmuch as it is love of life itself, and not the showing of it, that is here in question. Wiesinger is more happy: “He who is really in earnest as to the love of life.” θέλων is then to be explained on the principle that love of ΖΩΉ, no less than the possession of it, is conditioned by a certain course of conduct on the part of man. Bengel, appealing to Ecclesiastes 2:17, interprets still better: qui vult ita vivere, ut ipsum non taedeat vitae; i.e. who will have life so that he can love it; so, too, Schott; similarly Hofmann, only that the latter unnecessarily understands ἀγαπᾷν to mean simply “to enjoy a thing.”

ΚΑῚ ἸΔΕῖΝ ἩΜΈΡΑς ἈΓΑΘΆς] with ἸΔΕῖΝ in this connection, comp. Luke 2:26; Hebrews 11:5; John 3:3.

The passage in the Psalms has evidently reference to earthly happiness; according to de Wette, on the other hand, the apostle had the future and eternal life in view here; this, however, is not the case, for in the passage before us the reference is likewise to the present life (Wiesinger, Schott, and Brückner), only it must be observed that for the believer happiness in this life consists in something different from that of the man of the world; to the former, days of suffering also may be ἡμέραι ἀγαθαί. If this be correct, ΓΆΡ cannot refer to the thought immediately preceding, but only “to the whole exhortation, 1 Peter 3:8-9” (Wiesinger, Schott).

ΠΑΥΣΆΤΩ Κ.Τ.Λ.] The LXX., keeping to the Hebrew original, here and in what follows preserve the second person.

ΠΑΎΕΙΝ, “to cause to cease, to hold back;” in classical Greek never joined with ἀπό; the subsequent genitive ΤΟῦ ΜῊ ΛΑΛῆΣΑΙ stands in conformity with the use of the verb among the Greeks; comp. Winer, p. 305 [E. T. 409].

ΚΑΚΌΝ has a wider range than ΔΌΛΟς; there is no ground for limiting the application of the term here simply to words of reprimand (de Wette). With δόλος, comp. chap. 1 Peter 2:1; 1 Peter 2:22.—1 Peter 3:11. ἘΚΚΛΙΝΆΤΩ ΔῈ Κ.Τ.Λ.] ἘΚΚΛΊΝΕΙΝ ἈΠΌ; comp. Romans 16:17. The same thought in the same words, Psalm 37:27; comp. further, Isaiah 1:16-17; Romans 12:9.

ΔΈ, if it be genuine, serves to bring into prominence the new idea, distinct from the preceding.

ΖΗΤΗΣΆΤΩ Κ.Τ.Λ.] ΔΙΏΚΕΙΝ (comp. 1 Timothy 6:11, etc.), stronger than ΖΗΤΕῖΝ (comp. Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1).

The first half contains the general thought, the second emphasizes one more special. Although the exhortations of the apostle refer more particularly to the conduct of Christians towards their persecutors, yet they are not confined to this, but go beyond it (in opposition to Schott).—1 Peter 3:12. ὍΤΙ ὈΦΘΑΛΜΟῚ ΚΥΡΊΟΥ Κ.Τ.Λ.] ὍΤΙ is inserted by the apostle in order to mark more precisely the connection of thought. The exhortations are founded on a reference to the manner of God’s dealings. On the first hemistich Bengel remarks: inde vitam habent et dies bonos. The apostle omits the words ΤΟῦ ἘΞΟΛΟΘΡΕῦΣΑΙ ἘΚ Γῆς ΤῸ ΜΝΗΜΌΣΥΝΟΝ ΑὐΤῶΝ in the Psalm, added to ΠΡΌΣΩΠΟΝΚΑΚΆ (not because, as de Wette thinks, he considered them too strong), and thus deprives the last member of the verse of a nearer definition. Calvin, Grotius, Beza, de Wette, accordingly take the ἘΠΊ of this member in a sense different from that which it has in the first, namely, as conveying the idea of “punishment,” equivalent to “against;” this, however, is arbitrary. Hensler, Augusti, and Steiger find in all three members the expression of “attentive observation” only; but this view—itself, according to the thought, inadequate—is opposed by the particle ΔΈ, which indicates rather a contrast, and is not to be translated, with Hensler, by “but also.” If, now, the antithesis be not contained in ἘΠΊ, it can be sought for only in ΠΡΌΣΩΠΟΝ, which, though in itself doubtless a vox media (comp. Numbers 6:25-26; Psalm 4:7), is nevertheless in this passage of the Psalms to be thought of as one full of wrath, and, as such, was present to the mind of the apostle. Strictly speaking, indeed, this should have been expressed; but not necessarily so, since the antithesis between this and the preceding member of the verse makes it sufficiently apparent. A similar interpretation is given by Wiesinger, Brückner, and Schott.

[185] In the original Hebrew the passage is:

[186] Similarly already the Glossa interl.: qui vult ostendere, se dilectionem habere.—Lorinus thinks that the combination of the two words serves to intensify the idea: si recte dicitur quis concupiseere, desiderare (Psalm 118:20), quidni velle, quod est verbum generale, amare? Innuit duplicatio non solum vehementiam desiderii amorisve, sed infirmitatem quoque carnis revocantis subinde voluntatem, ne ita velit acriter et assiduo. But in Psalm 118:20 (Vulg.: concupivit anima mea desiderare justificationes tuas) the connection is different from here.

מִי־הָאִישׁ הֶחָפֵץ חַיִּים

אֹהֵב יָמִים לִרְאוֹת טוֹב.

1 Peter 3:10-12 = Psalm 34:12-17 a. introduced by mere γάρ as familiar. The lips of Christians who wish to love life must be free from cursing and from guile as were Christ’s (cf. Isa. apud ii. 23). If Jehovah is to hear their petition as He heard Christ’s they also must turn from evil and do good (cf. ἀγαθοποιεῖν above) seeking peace within and without the Church.

10–12. For he that will love life] The three verses are from the LXX. version of Psalm 34:12-16. It is characteristic of St Peter that he thus quotes from the Old Testament without any formula of citation. (See 2 Peter 2:22.) In this case, however, the quotation does not agree with the extant text of the LXX. which gives “What man is he that would fain have life, loving good days?” The English version of the first clause hardly expresses the force of the Greek, which gives literally, he that willeth to love life. The combination may have been chosen to express the strength of the yearning for life in its lower or higher forms which the words imply, or more probably that the object wished for is not mere life, as such, but a life that a man can love, instead of hating with the hatred that is engendered, on the one hand, by the satiety of the pleasure seeker, and on the other, by bitterness and wrath. It need hardly be said that the Apostle uses the words of the Psalmist in a higher meaning. “Life” with him is “life eternal,” and the “good days” are not those of outward prosperity, but of the peace that passeth understanding.

let him refrain his tongue from evil] The last words were probably those which determined the choice of the quotation. In itself it is, of course, inclusive of the “guile,” which follows in the second clause, but here it follows the laws of antithetical parallelism which prevail in Hebrew Poetry, and must be understood of open evil, such as the “railing” which the Apostle had just condemned.

1 Peter 3:10. Ὁ γὰρ θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾷν καὶ ἰθεῖν ἡμέρας ἀγαθὰς, he who wishes to love life and to see good days) If you wish, says Peter, to taste of that inheritance, you must abstain from evil in speaking and in practice. Psalm 34:12-16, Septuagint: Τίς ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος ὁ θέλων ζωὴν, ἀγκπῶν ἡμέρας ἰδεῖν ἀγαθάς; What man is there who wishes life, loving to see good days? And thus the Hebrew has it in that passage, and the Syriac Version in this. Peter, without altering the sense, imparts to it fresh vivacity: θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾷν, who wishes so to live, that he may not be wearied of life. Opposed to this is ἐμίσησα τὴν ζωὴν, Ecclesiastes 2:17; that is, I became weary of life. And so Genesis 27:46; Numbers 11:15.—παυσάτω τὴν γλῶσσαν αὐτοῦ, let him refrain his tongue) The Septuagint has παῦσον τὴν γλῶσσάνσου, refrain thy tongue, and the remainder of the passage in the second person, as far as the words διʼωξον αὐτήν, ensue it.

Verse 10. - For he that will love life; literally, he that willeth to love life. St. Peter deviates somewhat from the Septuagint Version of Psalm 34:12-16, which he is quoting. The literal rendering of it is, "What man is he that desireth life, loving good days?" His connection of the participle θέλων with ἀγαπᾶν is remarkable. Perhaps the meaning is best given by Bengel, "Qui vult ita vivere, nt ipsum non taedeat vitro" - " Who wishes to live so that he will not weary of life;" so that he may love it, so that he may have a life really worth living. There is a love of life which can only lead to the loss of the true life (John 12:25). St. Peter is teaching us to love life wisely, not with that selfish love which Christ condemns. And see good days. Not necessarily in outward prosperity, but in the favor of God; days of suffering may be good days in the truest souse. Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. We have here the usual parallelism of Hebrew poetry. The word "refrain" (παυσάτω, literally, "let him make it cease") implies a natural tendency to sins against charity. 1 Peter 3:10Will love (θέλων ἀγαπᾶν)

Not the future tense of love, but the verb to will, with the infinitive: he that desires or means to love. Rev., would love.

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