1 Peter 4:12
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
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(12-19) EXHORTATION TO COURAGE AND STEADFASTNESS IN PERSECUTION.—All ought to be prepared for persecution. It is a blessed and glorious thing to have to bear it. A criminal’s death and a Christian martyrdom are the exact opposites of each other. Vengeance is speedily coming.

(12) Beloved.—See Note on 1Peter 2:11.

Think it not strange.—The same word as in 1Peter 4:4. It means, literally, to feel like people in a strange country, lost and bewildered. It is. further explained by the clause “as though some strange thing were (by bad luck) happening unto you.” These Hebrew Christians felt at first it was not what was to be expected, that those who attached themselves to the Messiah should have a life of sorrow and persecution in the world.

The fiery trial which is to try you.—This rendering is not only slovenly, but conveys a false impression, for the fiery trial was not future, but actually present. Literally it runs, Be not bewildered at the conflagration among you taking place for a trial to you. Already, then, the Asiatic Christians are enduring a fierce persecution. The word which describes it is only found besides in Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18, “burning.” (Comp. 1Peter 1:7.)

1 Peter 4:12-13. Think it not strange, &c. — Wonder not at the fiery trial — The dreadful series of furious and bitter persecutions. The original expression, εν υμιν πυρωσει, is literally, the burning which is among you; denoting the grievous persecution which the Christians in Pontus, &c., were suffering for their faith; including both martyrdom itself, which frequently was by fire, and all the other sufferings joined with or previous to it. The metaphor is bold, but noble: it expresses in a lively manner the painful and dangerous nature of their trials. Which is to try you — Is permitted by the wisdom of God for the trial of your faith in Christ, and in the truths and promises of his gospel; of your hope of eternal life, your love to God, his people, and his ways, of your resignation to his will, your patience and meekness; as though some strange thing happened unto you — Different from, or beyond, all which you were taught to expect. But rejoice in these trials, inasmuch as ye are therein partakers of Christ’s sufferings — Sufferings endured for his sake, in defence of his truth, and in proof of your faith in him; that when his glory shall be revealed — At the great and glorious day of his second appearance; ye — In the participation of it; may be glad with exceeding joy Χαρητε αγαλλιωμενοι, may rejoice transported with gladness.

4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Saviour, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavour to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.Beloved, think it not strange - Do not consider it as anything which you had no reason to expect; as anything which may not happen to others also.

Concerning the fiery trial which is to try you - Referring, doubtless, to some severe persecution which was then impending. We have not the means of determining precisely what this was. The word rendered "fiery trial" (πυρώσει purōsei) occurs only here and in Revelation 18:9, Revelation 18:18; in both of which latter places it is rendered burning. It means, properly, a being on fire, burning, conflagration; and then any severe trial. It cannot be demonstrated from this word that they were literally to suffer by fire, but it is clear that some heavy calamity was before them.

As though some strange thing happened unto you - Something unusual; something which did not occur to others.

12. strange—they might think it strange that God should allow His chosen children to be sore tried.

fiery trial—like the fire by which metals are tested and their dross removed. The Greek adds, "in your case."

which is to try you—Greek, "which is taking place for a trial to you." Instead of its "happening to you" as some strange and untoward chance, it "is taking place" with the gracious design of trying you; God has a wise design in it—a consolatory reflection.

Think it not strange; be not offended or troubled at persecution, as at a thing unusual or never heard of; it implies that they should reckon upon it beforehand, that they might not be surprised with it when it comes. The same word is used, 1 Peter 4:4.

Concerning the fiery trial; the heat or burning, whereby he means great afflictions, especially those that are for rightesusness’ sake, as appears, 1 Peter 4:14, which are often compared to fire, as being alike painful and grievous to them as fire is to men’s bodies; and because men are tried by them as metals are by fire, Psalm 66:10 Isaiah 48:10.

Which is to try you: this he adds as the reason why they should not think strange of persecutions, viz. because they were sent by God, not for their destruction, but for the trial and exercise of their graces.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial,.... By which may be meant either the destruction of Jerusalem, which was at hand, and of which the apostle may be thought to give the Jews he writes to notice of before hand; that they might be prepared for it, and not be overwhelmed with consternation and amazement when they should hear of it; who, though in other countries, must be affected with it, and would be a trying dispensation to them: or else the afflictions and persecutions which daily come upon them, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; signified by "fire" or "burning", because grievous to the flesh, and gave great uneasiness, distress, and pain to it; and because of the fury of men, and the violence and fierceness of their rage, expressed thereby; as also because the people of God under them are sometimes ready to conceive that the wrath of God is poured out, like fire, upon them. But the apostle would not have these saints entertain any such thoughts, and therefore he calls them "beloved"; that is, of God, as they were notwithstanding all the fiery trials and afflictions which were brought upon them; or he means, that they were beloved by him, and dear unto him, and other saints, though they were ill treated and reproached by the world: the Syriac and Arabic versions read, "my beloved"; and the Ethiopic version, "our brethren": and the apostle exhorts them not to look upon their afflictions that either did or should attend them as strange and uncommon things; since afflictions, of whatsoever kind, are not things of chance, and do not rise up out of the dust, but are by the appointment, and according to the will of God; and are also the common lot of the people of God in all ages, from the beginning of the world, the same afflictions are accomplished in others; yea, Christ himself endured the same hatred, reproach, and contradiction of sinners, against himself; and they are what he has given his people reason to expect, having told them of them before hand, that they might not be offended at them; and as they lay in his way to glory, it need not seem strange that the saints also should, through many tribulations, enter the kingdom. Moreover, this fiery dispensation, be it what it will, was not to destroy them, but to try them, and that for their good, profit, and advantage; just as gold and silver are tried in the fire, and lose their dross, and become purer and brighter:

which is to try you; afflictions try the graces of the saints; as their faith in Christ, which becomes thereby much more precious than of gold that perisheth; and their love to him, by which it appears that no tribulation can separate them from it, nor many waters and floods of afflictions drown it; and their hope of eternal life, which grows more lively and strong, and is as an anchor, sure and steadfast, amidst the greatest storms. These try a man's profession of religion, whether it is took up on good principles, and without sinister views; since, if it is not, when persecution, because of the word, comes, he is offended and gone; and likewise what a man's principles are, whether worth suffering for or not; and whether they will bear him up, and he abide by them, when called to suffer for them; and therefore, since such ends are answered by fiery trials, they should not be looked upon as strange and unusual things: as though some strange thing happened unto you; which was never known and heard of before; and as if useless, and of no service, and as foreign to the characters, cases, and circumstances of the saints in this world. The apostle in this verse returns to his former argument, to animate and encourage the saints in suffering afflictions patiently for righteousness sake.

{11} Beloved, think it not {d} strange {12} concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

(11) Because that cross is joined with the sincere profession of religion, the apostle fitly repeats what he touched on before, warning us not to be troubled at persecutions and afflictions, as at a new and strange thing.

(d) As though some new thing had befallen you, which you never thought of before.

(12) The first reason: because the Lord does not mean to confuse us with his fire (as it were) but to purge us of our impurities and make us perfect.

1 Peter 4:12. Exhortation with reference to the sufferings under persecution. ἀγαπητοί] see chap. 1 Peter 2:11.

μὴ ξενίζεσθε] cf. 1 Peter 4:4; Nicol. de Lyra translates incorrectly: nolite a fide alienari; Luther correctly: “let it not astonish you.”

τῇ ἐν ὑμῖν πυρώσει] The construction cum dat. occurs also in classical Greek; πύρωσις, besides in this passage, to be found only in Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18, where it is equal to, incendium. The LXX. translate צָרַף and even בָּהַר by πυρόω; the substantive, Proverbs 27:21, is an inexact translation of בּוּר in the sense of “refining furnace;” Oec. correctly: πύρωσιν τὰς θλίψεις εἰπὼν, ἐνέφῃνεν ὡς διὰ δοκιμασίαν ἐπάγονται αὐτοῖς αὐταί. The word, however, does not in itself contain the reference to purification, this is introduced only in what follows; Gualther: confert crucem igni, nos auro.

ἐν ὑμῖν] “among, with you;” not equal to “affecting some in your midst” (de Wette), but “the readers are regarded as a totality, and the πύρ. as present in the midst of them” (Wiesinger).

The definite purpose of the πύρωσις is brought out in the subsequent words: πρὸς πειρασμὸν ὑμῖν γινομένῃ. πειρασμός here means the trial with intent to purify (elsewhere it has also the secondary signification of designed temptation to sin); cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:7.

ὡς ξένου ὑμῖν συμβαίνοντος] ξένου points back to μὴ ξενίζεσθε. Luther: “as though some strange thing happened unto you;” i.e. something strange to your destination, unsuited to it.[252]

[252] Schott here again supposes that in consequence of persecutions the leaders had become perplexed as to the moral truth of their state of salvation. This the context in no way justifies. What causes astonishment is rather the fact that the church belonging to the glorified Christ is exposed to the obloquy of the world.

1 Peter 4:12. ἀγαπητοί marks the beginning of the third division of the Epistle in which Peter having cleared the ground faces at last the pressing problem.—ξενίζεσθε, be surprised, as in 1 Peter 4:4.—τῇ ἐν ὑμῖν πυρώσει, the ordeal which is in your midst or rather in your hearts.—ἐν ὑμῖν, cf. τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον (1 Peter 5:1) but the test is internal—in what frame of mind will they meet it? Will they regard it as a strange thing or as a share in Christ’s sufferings, part of the pattern?—πυρώσει This conception of suffering as a trial not vindictive is stated in Jdg 8:25; Jdg 8:27, ἐκείνους ἐπύρωσεν εἰς ἐτασμὸν καρδίας αὐτῶν; compare Zechariah 13:9, πυρώσω αὐτοὺς ὡς πυροῦται ἀργύριον, Proverbs 27:21, χρυσῷ πύρωσις parallels but a man is triedπ. also occurs in the sense of blasting, Amos 4:9; Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18.

12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you] More literally, be not amazed (see, for the word, notes on 1 Peter 4:4) at the burning fire among you that comes to you as a test. The “burning fire” (the word is used literally in Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18) is, of course, the symbol, as in chap. 1 Peter 1:7, of afflictions and persecutions. The mind of the Apostle once more goes back to these afflictions, as before in chap. 1 Peter 1:6-7, 1 Peter 2:19-21, 1 Peter 3:15-17. He meets the terror which they were likely to cause by the thought that all this was to be expected. Men were to enter into the kingdom of God “through much tribulation” (Acts 14:22). All “they that would live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). The strange thing would be if it were otherwise. And so the Apostle repeats his “think it not strange,” be not amazed, as the secret of calm endurance. It was for him and those to whom he wrote what the Nil admirari was for the Epicurean poet (Hor. Epp. i. 6). As before, he dwells on the leading character of suffering. It tries faith, and the faith which endures is stronger and purer for the process.

1 Peter 4:12. Ἀγαπητοὶ, μὴ ξενίζεσθε, beloved, do not think it strange) He exhorts them with love. A taste of the Divine power, which the preceding verses relate, forbids us to be offended as by a strange thing. For adversities to befall the saints is, in one point of view, something strange; for they are sons of God: in another, it is not strange; for it is adapted to them, for their purification [lit. seasoning].—πυρώσει, the burning) ch. 1 Peter 1:7.—πρὸς πειρασμὸν) which is not except for trial.—ὑμῖν, to you) The dativus commodi.—γινομένῃ, when it takes place) by Divine counsel.—συμβαίνοντος, happening) accidentally.

Verse 12. - Beloved, thank it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; literally, be not astonished at the burning among you, which is coming to you for a trial, as though a strange thing were happening to you. St. Peter returns to the sufferings of his readers. The address, "beloved," as in 1 Peter 2:11, shows the depth of his sympathy with them. He resumes the thought of 1 Peter 1:7; the persecution is a burning, a fiery furnace, which is being kindled among them for a trial, to try the strength of their faith. The present participles imply that the persecution was already beginning; the word πύρωσις, a burning (see Revelation 18:9, 18), shows the severity. St. Peter tells them its meaning: it was to prove them; it would turn to their good. Persecution was not to be regarded as a strange thing. The Lord had foretold its coming. St. Paul, in his first visit to Asia Minor, had warned them that "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (On the word ξένιζεσθαι, see note on ver. 4.) The thing was not strange; they were not to count it as strange; they must learn, so to speak, to acclimatize themselves to it; it would brace their energies and strengthen their faith. 1 Peter 4:12Think it not strange (μὴ ξενίζεσθε)

I.e., alien from you and your condition as Christians. Compare 1 Peter 5:4.

Fiery trial (πυρώσει)

The word means burning. In Proverbs 27:21 (Sept.), it is rendered furnace. In Psalm 65 (Sept.), 66 (A. V.), we read, "Thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast smelted us, as silver is smelted." Compare Zechariah 13:9.

Which is to try you (ὑμῖν γινομένῃ)

The A. V. thus makes the trial a thing of the future; mistranslating the Greek present participle, which is taking place. This participle, therefore, represents the trial as actually in progress. The Rev. does not give this force by its which cometh upon you.

To try you (πρὸς πειρασμὸν)

Lit., for trial or probation.

Strange thing (ξένον)

Compare think it not strange, above.

Happened (συμβαίνοντος)

Again the present participle. Better, perhaps, were happening; by chance, instead of with the definite purpose indicated by "taking place with a view to probation." See above.

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