1 Peter 5:12
By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein you stand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12-14) CONCLUDING GREETING.—You will trust the bearer of this Letter, and abide steadfastly in the faith which he has taught you. The exiled Israel in this wicked capital feels for you. Love and peace be among you.

(12) By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose.—There is not any reason for doubting that this is the same as the Silas of the Acts and the Silvanus of 2Corinthians 1:19; 1Thessalonians 1:1; 2Thessalonians 1:1. It is not a common name, and nothing would suggest the doubt, except the acceptance à priori of the Tübingen theory, that the feud between St. Peter and St. Paul was so deadly as to preclude the possibility of the first giving his patronage to a friend of the second. We have already seen repeatedly how false that theory is. That the bearer of this Letter was a personage of great consideration, may be seen from the fact that St. Peter speaks of him as well known throughout the whole Hebrew population of Asia Minor. In the original the testimony is still more marked than in our version, as it has the definite article, “the, or that, faithful brother unto you.” Silas being of the circumcision himself (Acts 15:22), St. Peter can without any risk, writing to the Jews, call him “brother.” And since there was probably some disaffection towards him among the Jewish Christians, for the way in which he had sided with St. Paul, St. Peter, the Apostle of the circumcision, adds it as his own personal conviction that Silas was no false brother to the Hebrew Christians, by saying, “as I reckon.” The words “as I suppose” (or, rather, as I reckon) do not imply any uncertainty on St. Peter’s part, nor even that St. Peter’s knowledge of Silas was less intimate than that of the persons to whom he writes. It means, rather, the most complete confidence in Silas, which the writer is not at all ashamed to declare—“that faithful brother unto you, in my estimation, if my conviction is worth anything.” This only shows that St. Peter had not altered his opinion either of Silas or of the relative positions of Jew and Gentile in the Church, since that great council in which he took so prominent a part, when Silas was selected, no doubt because of his uniting liberal views with steadfast allegiance to the Law, to bear the apostolic mandates to the Gentile metropolis of Antioch. The same qualifications which fitted him for that work, would now again serve him in good stead to bear to the Jews of Asia Minor St. Peter’s countersignature to the doctrine of St. Paul. At the same time the expression, “that faithful brother unto you,” indicates that St. Silas had been himself working in Asia Minor. Of his history nothing is recorded subsequent to his labours with St. Paul at Corinth (Acts 18:5; 2Corinthians 1:19); but putting together the fact that he is not included in the list of St. Paul’s companions in Acts 20:4, with what is implied by this present passage, we might naturally infer that he was left at Ephesus, and devoted himself to the evangelisation of the Asiatic provinces.

Briefly.—So Hebrews 13:22. The writer hints that if this present Letter is not enough to effect its purpose, it is not because there is any lack of matter or weakness of conviction. (See also John 20:25.)

Exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.—These words give St. Peter’s own account of the object and contents of the Epistle. The “exhortation” involves all that was mentioned in the Note on 1Peter 5:1. The word for “testifying” has a little further force than appears in our version; it is “bearing witness thereto.” The fact had been alleged by others; St. Peter comes in as evidence to its truth. Literally it would run: “that this is true grace (or, a true grace) of God”; i.e., that the position which they now occupy, through the preaching of the gospel, is indeed one which the favour of God had brought them into: it was no fictitious grace, no robbing of them under pretence of bringing them glad tidings. When he says “this,” he seems to mean “this of which I have spoken,” “this which has formed the subject of my Letter.” And the best text pursues; “wherein stand ye,” or “whereupon take up your stand.” Thus the very sentence itself would contain the two elements of the Letter—“exhorting” as well as “testifying.” Nothing is to drive them or entice them from the ground which the Pauline preachers have marked out for them.

1 Peter

SYLVANUS


1 Peter 5:12 {R.V}.

I adopt the Revised Version because, in one or two small points, it brings out more clearly the Apostle’s meaning. This Sylvanus is, beyond all reasonable doubt, the same man who is known to us in the Acts of the Apostles by the name of Silas. A double name was very common amongst Jews, whose avocations brought them into close connection with Gentiles. You will find other instances of it amongst the Apostles: in Paul himself, whose Hebrew name was Saul; Simon and Peter; and probably in Bartholomew and Nathanael. And there is no reasonable doubt that a careful examination of the various places in which Silas and Sylvanus are mentioned shows that they were borne by one person.

Now let me put together the little that we know about this man, because it will help us to some lessons. He was one of the chief men in the church at Jerusalem when the dispute arose about the necessity for circumcision for the Gentile Christians. He was despatched to Antioch with the message of peace and good feeling which the church at Jerusalem wisely sent forth to heal the strife. He remained in Antioch, although his co-deputy went back to Jerusalem; and the attraction of Paul--the great mass of that star--drew this lesser light into becoming a satellite, moving round the greater orb. So, when the unfortunate quarrel broke out between Paul and Barnabas, and the latter went sulkily away by himself with his dear John Mark, without his brethren’s blessing, Paul chose Silas and set out upon his first missionary tour. He was Paul’s companion in the prison and stripes at Philippi, and in the troubles at Thessalonica; and, though they were parted for a little while, he rejoined the Apostle in the city of Corinth. From thence Paul wrote the two letters to the Thessalonians, both of which are sent in the name of himself and Silas or Sylvanus. There is one more reference to Sylvanus in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, which mentions him as having been associated with Paul in the evangelisation of the church there.

Then he drops out of the book altogether, and we never hear anything more about him, except this one passing reference, which shows us to him in an altogether new relation. He is no longer attached to Paul, but to Peter. Paul was probably either in prison, or, possibly, martyred. At all events, Sylvanus now stood to Peter in a relationship similar to that in which he formerly stood to Paul. He was evidently acquainted with and known to the churches to whom this letter was addressed, and, therefore, is chosen to carry Peter’s message to them.

Now I would suggest, in passing, how Sylvanus’ relations to the two Apostles throws light upon the perfectly cordial alliance between them, and how it shatters into fragments the theory which was thought to be such a wonderful discovery some years ago, as to the ‘great schism’ in the early church between one section, led by Peter, and the more liberal party, headed by Paul. Instead of that, we find the two men working together, and the only division between them was not as to the sort of gospel they preached, but as to the people to whom they preached. This little incident helps us to realise how natural it was for a man steeped in Paul’s teaching to attach himself, if circumstances suggested it, to the person who has been said to have been antagonistic in the whole drift of his conceptions of Christianity to that Apostle.

But I do not wish to speak about that now. I take this figure of a man who so contentedly and continually took such a subordinate place--played second fiddle quite willingly all his days, and who toiled on without any notice or record, and ask whether it does not teach one or two things.

I. First, then, I think we may see here a hint as to the worth and importance of subordinate work.

Not a syllable that Silas ever said is recorded in Scripture. He had been a chief man among the brethren when he was in Jerusalem, but, like some other chief men in little spheres, he came to be anything but a chief man when he got alongside of Paul, and found his proper work. He did not say: ‘I have always pulled the stroke oar, and I am not going to be second. I do not intend to be absorbed in this man’s brilliant lustre. I would rather have a smaller sphere where my light may not suffer by comparison than be overshone by him.’ By no means! He could not do Paul’s work, but he could endure stripes along with him in the prison at Philippi, and he took them. He could not write as Peter could; it was not his work to do that. But he could carry one of Peter’s letters. And so, ‘by Sylvanus, a faithful brother, I have written to you.’ Perhaps Sylvanus was amanuensis as well as letter-carrier, for I daresay Peter was no great hand with a pen; he was better accustomed to haul nets. At all events, subordinate work was what God had set him to do, and so he found joy in it.

Well, then, is not that a pattern for us? People in the world or in the Church who can do prominent work are counted by units; and those who can do valuable subordinate work are counted by thousands--by millions. ‘Those members which seem to be more feeble are the more necessary,’ says Paul. It is a great truth, which it would do us all good to lay more to heart.

It is hard to tell what is superior and what is subordinate work. I suppose that in a steam engine the smallest rivet is quite as essential as the huge piston, and that if the rivet drops out the piston-rod is very likely to stop rising and falling. So it is a very vulgar way of talking to speak about A.’s work being large and B.’s work being small, or to assume that we have eyes to settle which work is principal and which subordinate.

The Athenians, who deemed themselves wisest in the world, thought there were few people of less importance than the fanatical Jew who was preaching a strange story about what they knew so little of that they took Jesus and Resurrection to be the names of a pair of gods, one male and one female. But in the eyes that see truly--the eyes of God--the relative importance of Apostle and Stoic was otherwise appraised.

We cannot tell, as the book of Ecclesiastes has it, ‘which shall prosper--this or that.’ And if we begin to settle which is important work, we shall be sure to make mistakes, both in our judgment about other people, and in our sense of the obligations laid upon ourselves. Let us remember that when a thing is to be done by the co-operation of a great many parts, each part is as important as the other, and each is indispensable. Although more glory may come to the soldiers who go to the front and do the fighting, the troops miles in the rear, that are quietly in camp looking after the stores and keeping open the lines of communication, are quite as essential to the success of the campaign. Their names will not get into the gazette; there will probably not be any honours at the conclusion of the war showered upon them; but, if they had not been doing their subordinate work, the men at the front would never have been able to do theirs. Therefore, the old wise law in Israel was: ‘As his part is that goeth down into the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike.’

And so it is good for people that have only one talent, and cannot do much, and must be contented to help somebody else that can do more, to remember this pretty little picture of Sylvanus, ‘the faithful brother,’ contented all his life to be a satellite of somebody; first of all helping Paul, and then helping Paul’s brother Peter. Let us not be too lazy, or too proud with the pride that apes humility, to do the little that we can do because it is little.

II. Another lesson which is own sister to that first one, but which may be taken for a moment separately, is, the importance and obligation of persistently doing our task, though nobody notices it.

As I remarked, there is not one word of anything that Sylvanus said, or of anything that he did apart from Paul or Peter, recorded. And for all the long stretch of years--we do not know how many, but a very large number--that lie between this text of mine, where we find him in conjunction with Peter, and that day at Corinth, where we left him with Paul, the Acts of the Apostles does not think it worth while to mention his name. Was he sitting with his hands in his pockets all the while, do you think, doing no Christian work? Did he say, as some good people are apt to say now, ‘Well, I went to teach in Sunday School for a while, and I took an interest in this, that, or the other thing for a bit, but nobody took any notice of me; and I supposed I was not wanted, and so I came away!’

Not he. That is what a great many of us do. Though we sometimes are not honest enough to say it to ourselves, yet we do let the absence of ‘recognition’ {save the mark} influence us in the earnestness of our Christian work to far too great an extent. And I dare say there are good friends among us who, if they would be quite honest with themselves, would take the hint, and, if I may use such a word, the rebuke, to themselves.

Dear brethren, all the work that any of us do has to become unnoticed after a little while. It will not last. Nobody will know about you or me thirty years after we are dead. What does it matter whether they know anything about us, or say anything about us, or pat us on the back for anything that we do, or recognise our service whilst we live? Surely, if we are Christian men and women, we have a better reason for working than that. ‘I will never forget any of their works.’ That ought to be enough for us, ought it not? Whoever forgets, He remembers; and if He remembers, He will not remain in our debt for anything that we have done.

So let us keep on, noticed or unnoticed; it matters very little which it is. There is a fillip, no doubt--and we should not be men and women if we did not feel it--in the recognition of what we have tried to do. And sometimes it comes to us; but the absence of it is no reason for slackening our work. And this man, so patiently and persistently ‘pegging away’ at his obscure task during all these years which have been swallowed up in oblivion, may preach a sermon to us all.

Only let us remember that he also shows us that unnoticed work is noticed, and that unrecorded services are recorded. Here are you and I, nineteen centuries after he is dead, talking about him, and his name will live and last as long as the world, because, though written in no other history, it has been recorded here. Jesus Christ’s record, the Book of Life, contains the names of ‘fellow-labourers’ whose names have dropped out of every other record; and that should be enough for us. Sylvanus did no work that Christ did not see, and no work that Christ did not remember, and no work of which he did not, eighteen hundred years since, enter into the enjoyment of the fruit, and which he enjoys up there, whilst we are thinking about him down here.

III. The last thing that I would suggest is--here is an example to us of a character which we can all earn, and which will be the best that any man can get.

A great genius, a wise philosopher, an eloquent preacher, a statesman, a warrior, poet, painter? No! ‘A faithful brother.’ He may have been a commonplace one. We do not know anything about his intellectual capacity. He may have had very narrow limitations and very few powers, or he may have been a man of large faculty and acquirements. But these things drop out of sight; and this remains--that he was faithful. I suppose the eulogium is meant in both senses of the word. The one of these is the root of the other; for a man that is full of faith is a man who may be trusted, is reliable, and will be sure to fulfil all the obligations of his position, and to do all the duties that are laid upon him.

You and I, whether we are wise or not, whether we are learned or not, whether we have large faculties or not, whether we have great opportunities or very small ones, can all equally earn that name if we like. If the perfect judgment, the clear eye, of Jesus Christ beholds in us qualities which will permit Him to call us by that name, what can we want better? ‘A faithful brother.’ Trust in Christ; let that be the animating principle of all that we do, the controlling power that restrains and limits and stimulates and impels. And then men will know where to have us, and will be sure, and rightly sure, that we shall not shirk our obligations, nor scamp our work, nor neglect our duties. And being thus full of faith, and counted faithful by Him, we need care little what men’s judgments of us may be, and need desire no better epitaph than this--a faithful brother.

1 Peter

AN APOSTOLIC TESTIMONY AND EXHORTATION


1 Peter 5:12.

‘I have written briefly,’ says Peter. But his letter, in comparison with the other epistles of the New Testament, is not remarkably short; in fact, is longer than many of them. He regards it as short when measured by the greatness of its theme. For all words which are devoted to witnessing to the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, must be narrow and insufficient as compared with that, and after every utterance the speaker must feel how inadequate his utterance has been. So in that word ‘briefly’ we get a glimpse of the Apostle’s conception of the transcendent greatness of the Gospel which he had to proclaim. This verse seems to be a summary of the contents of the Epistle. And if we observe the altered translation of the latter portion of my text which is given in the Revised Version, we shall see that the verse is itself an example of both ‘testifying’ and exhorting. For the last clause is not, as our Authorised Version renders it, ‘Wherein ye stand’--a statement of a fact, however true that may be--but a commandment, ‘In which stand fast.’ And so we have here the Apostle’s all-sufficient teaching, and this all-comprehensive exhortation. He ‘witnesses’ that this is the true grace of God, and because it is, he exhorts, ‘stand fast therein.’ Let us look at these two points.

I. Peter’s testimony.

Now there is a very beautiful, though not, to superficial readers, obvious, significance in this testimony. ‘This is the true grace of God.’ What is meant by ‘this’? Not merely the teaching which he has been giving in the preceding part of the letter, but that which somebody else had been giving. Now these churches in Asia Minor, to whom this letter was sent, were in all probability founded by the Apostle Paul, or by men working under his direction: and the type of doctrine preached in them was what people nowadays call Pauline. And here Peter puts his seal on the teaching that had come from his brother Apostle, and says: ‘The thing that you have learned, and that I have had no part in communicating to you, this is the true grace of God.’ If such be the primary application of the words {and I think there can be little doubt that it is}, then we have an interesting evidence, all the stronger because unobtrusive, of the cordial understanding between the two great leaders of the Church in apostolic times; and the figments that have been set forth, with great learning and little common sense, about the differences that divided these great teachers of Christianity, melt away into thin air. Their division was only a division of the field of labour. ‘They would that I should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision.’ All the evidence confirms what Paul says, ‘Whether it were they or I, so we preach, and so’ all the converts ‘believed.’ Thus it is not without significance and beauty that we here see dimly through the ages Peter stretching out his hands to Paul’s convert, and saying, ‘This--which my beloved brother Paul taught you--this is the true grace of God.’

But, apart altogether from that thought, note two things; the one, the substance of this witness-bearing; and the other, Peter’s right to bear it. As to the substance of the testimony; ‘grace’ which has become a threadbare word in the minds of many people, used with very little conception of its true depth and beauty of meaning, is properly love in exercise towards inferior and sinful creatures who deserve something else. Condescending, pardoning, and active love, is its proper meaning. And, says Peter, the inmost significance of the gospel is that it is the revelation of such a love as being in God’s heart.

Another meaning springs out of this. That same message is not only a revelation of love, but it is a communication of the gifts of love. And the ‘true grace of God’ is shorthand for all the rich abundance and variety and exuberant manifoldness and all-sufficiency of the sevenfold perfect gifts for spirit and heart which come from faith in Jesus Christ. The truths that lie here in the Gospel, the truths which glow and throb in this letter of Peter’s, are the revelation and the communication to men of the rich gifts of the Divine heart, which will all flow into that soul which opens itself for the entrance of God’s word. And what are these truths? The main theme of this letter is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, that was slain. ‘Ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.’ He dwells upon Christ’s innocence, upon Christ’s meekness; but most of all upon the Christ that died, ‘whom, having not seen, we love, and in whom, though unseen, we, believing, receive the end of our faith’--and the end of the gospel--’even the salvation of our souls.’

Thus, dear brethren, this gospel, the gospel of the Divine Christ that died for our sins, and lives to give His Spirit to all waiting hearts; this is the true grace of God. It is very needful for us to keep in view always that lofty conception of what this gospel is, that we may not bring it down to the level of a mere theory of religion; nor think of it as a mere publication of dry doctrines; that we may not lose sight of what is the heart of it all, but may recognise this fact, that a gospel out of which are struck, or in which are diminished, the truths of the sacrifice of Christ and His ever-living intercession for us, is not the true grace of God, and is neither a revelation of His love to inferior and sinful men, nor a communication of His gifts to our weakness. Let us remember Peter’s witness. This--the full gospel of incarnation, sacrifice, resurrection, ascension, and reign in glory, and return as Judge--this, and nothing else, ‘is the true grace of God.’ And this gospel is not exalted to its highest place unless it is regarded as such by our waiting and recipient hearts.

Further, what right had this man to take this position and say, ‘I testify that this is the true grace of God’? He was no great genius; he did not know anything about comparative religion, which is nowadays supposed to be absolutely essential to understanding any one religion. He was not a scholar or a philosopher. What business had he to bring in his personality thus, as if he were an authority, and say, ‘I testify that this is the true grace of God’?

Well there are two or three answers: one peculiar to him and others common to all Christian people. The one peculiar to him is, as I believe, that he was conscious, and rightly conscious, that Jesus Christ had bestowed upon him the power to witness, and the authority to impose his testimony upon men as a word from God. In the most inartificial and matter-of-course way Peter here lets us see the apostolic conception of apostolic authority. He had a right--not because of what he was himself, but because of the authority which Christ had conferred on him--to say to men, ‘I do not ask you to give heed to me, Peter. I myself also am a man {as he said to Cornelius}, but I call on you to accept Christ’s word, spoken through me, His commissioned messenger, when I testify, and through me Christ testifies, that this is the true grace of God.’

Now no one but an apostle has the right to say that; but we Christian people have a right to say something like it, and if we have not apostolic authority, we may have what is very nearly as good, and sometimes as powerful in its effect upon other people, and that is authority based on personal experience. If we have plunged deep into the secrets of God, and lived closely and faithfully in communion with Him, and for ourselves have found the grace of God, His love and the gifts of His love, coming into our lives, and ennobling, calming, elevating each of us; then we, too, have a right to go to men and say, ‘Never mind about me; never mind about whether I am wise or foolish, I do not argue, but I tell you I have tasted the manna, and it is sweet. I have drunk of the water, and it comes cool and fresh from the rock. One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. I believed, and therefore have I spoken, and on the strength of my own tasting of it, I testify that this, which has done so much for me, is the true grace of God.’ If we testify thus, and back up our witness with lives corresponding, some who are wholly untouched by a preacher’s eloquence and controversialists’ arguments, will probably be led by our attestation to make the experiment for themselves. ‘Ye are My witnesses,’ says God. He did not say, ‘Ye are my advocates.’ He did not bid us argue for Him, but He bid us witness for Him.

II. Further, notice Peter’s exhortation.

According to the right rendering the last clause is, as I have already said, ‘in which stand fast.’ The translation in the Authorised Version, ‘in which ye stand,’ gives a true thought, though not the Apostle’s intention here. For, as a matter of fact, men cannot stand upright and firm unless their feet are planted on the rock of that true grace of God. If our heels are well fixed on it, then our goings will be established. It is no use talking to men about steadfastness of purpose, stability of life, erect independence, resistance to antagonistic forces, and all the rest, unless you give them something to stand upon. If you talk so to a man who has his foot upon shifting sands or slippery clay; the more he tries the deeper will he sink into the one, or slide the further upon the other. The best way to help men to stand fast is to give them something to stand upon. And the only standing ground that will never yield, nor collapse, nor, like the quicksand with the tide round it, melt away, we do not know how, from beneath our feet, is ‘the grace of God.’ Or, as Dr. Watts says, in one of his now old-fashioned hymns:--

‘Lo! on the solid Rock I stand,

And all beside is shifting sand.’

However, that is not what the Apostle Peter meant. He says, ‘See that you keep firmly your position in reference to this true grace of God.’ Now I am not going to talk to you about intellectual difficulties in the way of hearty and whole-souled acceptance of the gospel revelation--difficulties which are very real and very widespread in these days, but which possibly very slightly affect us; at least I hope so.

But whilst these slay their thousands, the difficulties that affect us all in the way of keeping a firm hold on, or firm standing in {for the two metaphors coalesce} the gospel, which is the true grace of God, are those that arise from two causes working in combination. One is our own poor weak hearts, wavering wills, strong passions, unbridled desires, forgetful minds; and the other is all that army and babel of seductions and inducements, in occupations legitimate and necessary, in enjoyments which are in themselves pure and innocent, in family delights, in home engagements, in pursuits of commerce or of daily business--all that crowd of things that tempt us to forget the true grace and to wander away in a foolish and vain search after vain and foolish substitutes.

Dear brethren, it is not so much because there are many adversaries in the intellectual world as because we are such weak creatures ourselves, and the world around us is so strong against us, that we need to say to one another and to ourselves, over and over again, ‘Stand ye fast therein.’ You cannot keep hold of a rope even, without the act of grasping tending to relax, and there must be a conscious and repeated tightening up of the muscles, or the very cord on which we hang for safety will slip through our relaxed palms. And however we may be convinced that there are no hope and no true blessedness for us except in keeping hold of God, we need that grasp to be tightened up by daily renewed efforts, or else it will certainly become slack, and we shall lose the thing that we should hold fast. So my text exhorts us against ourselves, and against the temptations of the world, which are always present with us, and are far more operative in bringing down the temperature of the Christian Church, and of its individual members, than any chilling that arises from intellectual doubts.

And how are we to obey the exhortation? Well, plainly, if ‘this’ is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, ‘the true grace of God’ which alone will give stability to our feet, then we ‘shall not stand fast’ in it unless we make conscious efforts to apprehend, and comprehend, and keep hold of it in our minds as well as in our hearts. May I say one very plain word? I am very much afraid that people do not read their Bibles very much now {or if they do read them, they do not study them}, and that anything like an intelligent familiarity with the whole sweep of the great system {for it is a system} of Divine truth, evolved ‘at sundry times and in divers manners’ in this Word, is a very rare thing amongst even good people. They listen to sermons, with more or less attention; they read newspapers, no doubt; they read good little books, and magazines, and the like; and volumes that profess to be drawn from Scripture. These are all right and good in their place. But sure I am that a robust and firm grasp of the gospel, ‘which is the grace of God,’ is not possible with a starvation diet of Scripture. And so I would say, try to get hold of the depth and width of meaning in the Word.

Again, try to keep heart and mind in contact with it amidst distractions and daily duties. Try to bring the principles of the New Testament consciously to bear on the small details of everyday life. Do you look at your day’s work through these spectacles? Does it ever occur to you, as you are going about your business, or your profession, or your domestic work, to ask yourselves what bearing the gospel and its truths have upon these? If my ordinary, so-called secular, avocations are evacuated of reference to, and government by, the Word of God, I want to know what of my life is left as the sphere in which it is to work. There is no need that religion and daily life should be kept apart as they are. There is no reason why the experience of to-day, in shop, and counting-house, and kitchen, and study, should not cast light upon, and make more real to me, ‘the true grace of God.’ Be sure that you desire, and ask for, and put yourself in the attitude of receiving, the gifts of that love, which are the graces of the Christian life. And when you have got them, apply them, ‘that you may be able to withstand in the evil day; and, having done all, to stand.’1 Peter 5:12. By Silvanus — The person probably of that name, whom St. Paul united with himself in writing the epistles to the Thessalonians, namely, Silas, who (Acts 15:22) is called a chief man among the brethren, and a prophet, Acts 15:32. Being Paul’s constant companion in travel after the defection of John Mark, he, no doubt, assisted in planting churches in Galatia, and the other countries of the Lesser Asia, mentioned chap. 1 Peter 1:1. So being well known to the brethren in those parts, he was a fit person to carry this letter to them from St. Peter; to whom, probably, after Paul’s death, he had attached himself as an assistant. A faithful brother, as I suppose — As I judge upon good grounds, though not by immediate inspiration; I have written briefly Δι ολιγων, in few words; exhorting and testifying — Or adding my testimony, as επιμαρτυρων signifies; namely, to that which they had before heard from Paul; that this is the true grace of God — The true and only doctrine proceeding from the grace of God, and wherein the grace of God is offered and bestowed upon all penitent believers; and therefore earnestly exhorting you to attend to and seriously consider it.5:10-14 In conclusion, the apostle prays to God for them, as the God of all grace. Perfect implies their progress towards perfection. Stablish imports the curing of our natural lightness and inconstancy. Strengthen has respect to the growth of graces, especially where weakest and lowest. Settle signifies to fix upon a sure foundation, and may refer to Him who is the Foundation and Strength of believers. These expressions show that perseverance and progress in grace are first to be sought after by every Christian. The power of these doctrines on the hearts, and the fruits in the lives, showed who are partakers of the grace of God. The cherishing and increase of Christian love, and of affection one to another, is no matter of empty compliment, but the stamp and badge of Jesus Christ on his followers. Others may have a false peace for a time, and wicked men may wish for it to themselves and to one another; but theirs is a vain hope, and will come to nought. All solid peace is founded on Christ, and flows from him.By Silvanus - Or Silas. See the 2 Corinthians 1:19 note; 1 Thessalonians 1:1, note. He was the intimate friend and companion of Paul, and had labored much with him in the regions where the churches were situated to which this Epistle was addressed. In what manner he became acquainted with Peter, or why he was now with him in Babylon is unknown.

A faithful brother unto you, as I suppose - The expression "as I suppose" - ὡς λογίζομαι hōs logizomai - does not imply that there was any doubt on the mind of the apostle, but indicates rather a firm persuasion that what he said was true. Thus, Romans 8:18, "For I reckon (λογίζομαι logizomai) that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared," etc. That is, I am fully persuaded of it; I have no doubt of it. Peter evidently had no doubt on this point, but he probably could not speak from any personal knowledge. He had not been with them when Silas was, and perhaps not at all; for they may have been" strangers "to him personally - for the word "strangers," in 1 Peter 1:1, may imply that he had no personal acquaintance with them. Silas, however, had been much with them, (compare Acts 15:17-31,) and Peter had no doubt that he had shown himself to be "a faithful brother" to them. An epistle conveyed by his hands could not but be welcome. It should be observed, however, that the expression "I suppose" has been differently interpreted by some. Wetstein understands it as meaning, "Not that he supposed Silvanus to be a faithful brother, for who, says he, could doubt that? but that he had written as he understood matters, having carefully considered the subject, and as he regarded things to be true;" and refers for illustration to Romans 8:18; Philippians 4:8; Hebrews 11:9. Grotius understands it as meaning, "If I remember right;" and supposes that the idea is, that he shows his affection for them by saying that this was not the first time that he had written to them, but that he had written before briefly, and sent the letter, as well as he could remember, by Silvanus. But there is no evidence that he had written to them before, and the common interpretation is undoubtedly to be preferred.

Exhorting - No small part of the Epistle is taken up with exhortations.

And testifying - Bearing witness. The main design of the office of the apostles was to bear witness to the truth, (See the notes at 1 Corinthians 9:1;) and Peter in this Epistle discharged that part of the functions of his office toward the scattered Christians of Asia Minor.

That this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand - That the religion in which you stand, or which you now hold, is that which is identified with the grace or favor of God. Christianity, not Judaism, or Paganism, was the true religion. To show this, and bear continual witness to it, was the leading design of the apostolic office.

12. Silvanus—Silas, the companion of Paul and Timothy: a suitable messenger by whom to confirm, as Peter here does, Paul's doctrine of "the true grace of God" in the same churches (compare 2Pe 3:16). We never meet with Silvanus as Paul's companion after Paul's last journey to Jerusalem. His connection with Peter was plainly subsequent to that journey.

as I suppose—Join "faithful unto you [Steiger], as I suppose." Silvanus may have stood in a close relation to the churches in Asia, perhaps having taken the oversight of them after Paul's departure, and had afterwards gone to Peter, by whom he is now sent back to them with this Epistle. He did not know, by positive observation, Silvanus' faithfulness to them; he therefore says, "faithful to you, as I suppose," from the accounts I hear; not expressing doubt. Alford joins "I have written unto you," which the Greek order favors. The seeming uncertainty, thus, is not as to Silvanus' faithfulness, which strongly marked by the Greek article, but as to whether he or some other would prove to be the bearer of the letter, addressed as it was to five provinces, all of which Silvanus might not reach: "By Silvanus, that faithful brother, as expect, I have Written to you" [Birks].

briefly—Greek, "in few (words)," as compared with the importance of the subject (Heb 13:22).

exhorting—not so much formally teaching doctrines, which could not be done in so "few words."

testifying—bearing my testimony in confirmation (so the Greek compound verb implies) of that truth which ye have already heard from Paul and Silas (1Jo 2:27).

that this—of which I have just written, and of which Paul before testified to you (whose testimony, now that he was no longer in those regions, was called in question probably by some; compare 2Pe 3:15, 16). 2Pe 1:12, "the present truth," namely, the grace formerly promised by the prophets, and now manifested to you. "Grace" is the keynote of Paul's doctrine which Peter now confirms (Eph 2:5, 8). Their sufferings for the Gospel made them to need some attestation and confirmation of the truth, that they should not fall back from it.

wherein ye stand—The oldest manuscripts read imperatively, "Stand ye." Literally, "into which (having been already admitted, 1Pe 1:8, 21; 2:7, 8, 9) stand (therein)." Peter seems to have in mind Paul's words (Ro 5:2; 1Co 15:1). "The grace wherein we stand must be true, and our standing in it true also" [Bengel]. Compare in "He began his Epistle with grace (1Pe 1:2), he finishes it with grace, he has besprinkled the middle with grace, that in every part he might teach that the Church is not saved but by grace."

By Silvanus; either Silas, Acts 15:1-41 16:1-40, whom Peter therefore here calls

a faithful brother to them, that they might the more readily receive him, though a minister of the uncircumcision; or else this Silvanus was some other that had preached to them, and is therefore said to be a faithful brother to them: the former is more probable.

As I suppose; this doth not signify any doubt, but rather a firm persuasion, of Silvanus’s faithfulness; q.d. I reckon him faithful, having hitherto found him so: or, it may relate to the briefness of the Epistle; q.d. I suppose it will seem brief to you, as being from one that loves you, and about matters that so much concern you.

Exhorting; viz. to constancy in the faith, and diligence in duty.

And testifying; bearing my testimony to the truth ye have received; this the apostle witnesseth, that being more fully convinced of it, they might more constantly adhere to it. See the like phrase, Nehemiah 9:29,30 13:15.

That this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand; the true doctrine of God, wherein he sets forth the grace of Christ: q.d. Ye are in the right way; the doctrine ye have embraced is indeed the truth of God. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you,.... Silvanus is the same with Silas, so often mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, as a companion of the Apostle Paul; whom Peter met with in his travels, and sent this letter by him, or used him as his amanuensis, or both: his character is, that he was "a faithful brother" to those persons to whom this epistle is written; that is, he was a faithful minister of the Gospel to them, who with great sincerity and integrity preached the word unto them, as the apostle was well informed, and had reason to believe; for what follows,

as I suppose, does not suggest any doubt of it, but, on the contrary, a firm belief; for the word used signifies to repute, to reckon, to conclude a thing upon the best and strongest reasons; though some connect this phrase, as that "also unto you", with the following clause,

I have written briefly; as does the Syriac version, which renders the whole thus, "these few things, as I think, I have written unto you, by Silvanus, a faithful brother"; and then the sense is, this short epistle, as in my opinion it is, I have wrote and sent to you by Silvanus, who is faithful and upright, as a brother, a minister, and a messenger. The Arabic version seems to refer the above clause, "as I suppose", neither to the character of Silvanus, nor to the brevity of the epistle, but to the matter of it, rendering it thus, "these things, in a few words, I have written unto you, according to my sense"; according to my judgment and reason, as I think, by which you will see and know my real sentiments and thoughts of things; for what I have written is according to the best of my understanding and knowledge:

exhorting, and testifying, that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand; or "have stood", and still continue to do so: the Syriac version renders it, "I am persuaded and testify"; expressing his great confidence and assurance, that the Gospel of the grace of God, which springs from the grace of God, is full of it, and declares it, and which he had delivered in this epistle, and they had formerly received, and had stood fast in, and abode by, was the true Gospel. The Arabic version gives another sense, rendering the words thus, "entreating and beseeching, that this grace of God, in which ye stand, may be true and firm"; that is, that ye may still continue truly to embrace and profess it, and firmly abide by it; though the meaning rather is, that the apostle bears a testimony to the truth of the Gospel, and of the Christian religion, as held and professed by them with constancy hitherto; and exhorts them unto the consideration of the truth of it, which might be depended upon, to cleave unto it with full purpose of heart.

{14} By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

(14) Continuance and perseverance in the doctrine of the apostles is the only ground and foundation of Christian strength: Now the sum of the apostles doctrine, is salvation freely given by God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 5:12-14. Concluding remarks; first, 1 Peter 5:12, as to the letter itself.

διὰ Σιλουανοῦἔγραψα] There is no reason to doubt that this Silvanus is the well-known companion of the Apostle Paul. Whilst in the Acts he is named “Silas,” Paul, like Peter, calls him “Silvanus.” He was sent from the convention of apostles, along with Paul, Barnabas, and Judas Barsabas, as bearers of the epistle to Antioch. After this he accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. He is not mentioned afterwards, nor is it known at what time he came to Peter. διὰἔγραψα does not designate Silvanus either as the translator or the writer of the epistle, but simply as the bearer of it. διά has here the same sense as in the subscriptions of the Epistles to the Romans, the Corinthians, etc.; it is synonymous with διὰ χειρός, Acts 15:23.—“It is evident that the choice of Silas for this (mediatory) mission was a particularly happy one, as he had been Paul’s companion in former times, and had assisted him in founding the greater part of the churches here addressed” (Wieseler).

ὑμῖν τοῦ πιστοῦ ἀδελφοῦ] ὑμῖν can be joined either with the following ἔγραψα, or with πιστοῦ ἀδ. If the latter combination be adopted (it is more simple if τοῦ be erased as spurious, but is also possible if τοῦ be retained; equivalent to: “who is the faithful brother unto you”), the apposition indicates that an intimate relation subsisted between Silvanus and the churches to which Peter writes. The connection with ἔγραψα, however, is the more natural one, ὑμῖν being inserted between, as in Galatians 6:11.

ὁ πιστὸς ἀδελφός is the name given to Silvanus, because generally he had proved faithful in the performance of every service for the church of Christ. There is no reason why the expression should be referred specially to his relation to the churches of Asia Minor only (as formerly in this commentary), or particularly to that in which he stood to Peter (Hofmann). Still, it is not improbable that Peter, by this designation, alludes to the confidence he has, that he will also prove faithful in the service which is now required of him.

The following words: ὡς λογίζομαι, may be applied either to the opinion just expressed on Silvanus (Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, Wichelhaus), or to the subsequent διʼ ὀλίγων ἔγραψα (Steiger, Hofmann). It is hardly possible to come to a definite conclusion. At any rate, λογίζομαι does not express an uncertain conjecture; cf. Romans 3:28; Romans 8:18; Hebrews 11:19. In the first case, by the confirmation which it contains of the opinion just uttered, it serves to strengthen the confidence of the churches in Silvanus; in the second, the apostle indicates that, considering the importance of his subject and the yearning of his heart, he looks on his letter as a short one.[283] This last appears the more probable.

ΔΙʼ ὈΛΊΓΩΝ] equal to ΔΙᾺ ΒΡΑΧΈΩΝ, Hebrews 13:22 : “in few words;” cf. Thucyd. iv. 95.

ἜΓΡΑΨΑ] refers to this epistle, which the apostle is on the point of closing, and not, as Erasmus, Grotius, etc., altogether unwarrantably assume, to a former one which has been lost;[284] cf. Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21.

παρακαλῶν καὶ ἐπιμαρτυρῶν] Although by these two words the apostle indicates two distinct subjects, still these are not to be separated in such a way as to be applicable to different parts of the epistle (de Wette, Brückner);[285] but the παράκλησις and the ἐπιμαρτύρησις are throughout the whole letter closely bound up together. As the contents of the ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν are stated, but not those of the παρακαλεῖν, the chief stress is laid on the former, the latter (παρακαλῶν) being placed first, in order thereby to give prominence to the character of the ἐπιμαρτύρησις. Contrary to its common usage, de Wette interprets ἐπιμαρτυρῶν: in addition to, i.e. testifying in addition to the exhortation. ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν simply means: to bear witness to anything (opp. ἀντιμαρτυρεῖν, see Pape and Cremer, s.v.; in the N. T. ἅπ. λεγ.; ἐπιμαρτύρεσθαι occurs in the LXX. and in the Apocr., but not ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν); Bengel is therefore wrong in interpreting: testimonium jam per Paulum et Silam audierant pridem: Petrus insuper testatur; so, too, is Hofmann in saying that in ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν it is presupposed that the readers themselves already know and believe what Peter testifies.

ταύτην εἶναι ἀληθῆ χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ] Contents of the ἐπιμαρτύρησις: “that this is the true grace of God;”[286] ΤΑΎΤΗΝ does not refer to that of which the apostle has written, but its more precise definition follows in the subsequent relative clause. Peter accordingly sets forth, in conclusion, that his epistle testifies to the readers that that grace in which they already stood is the true grace, from which, therefore, they should not depart (cf. with this, chap. 1 Peter 1:12; 1 Peter 1:25, 1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 2:25). No doubt this was the χάρις which had been brought to them by means of the preaching of Paul, but it does not follow that the purpose of Peter’s ἘΠΙΜΑΡΤΎΡΗΣΙς was to set, for the readers, the seal on that preaching. It is not the preaching which is here in question, but the ΧΆΡΙς in which the readers stood, quite apart from the person through whose instrumentality it was brought to them. Had Peter intended to bear a testimony to Paul, he would surely have done so in clear terms; nor does anything in the epistle allude to an uncertainty on the part of the readers as to whether Paul had preached the true gospel to them. ΧΆΡΙς is not: doctrina evangelii (Gerhard); but neither is it: “the state of grace” (de Wette), for with this the adjunct τοῦ Θεοῦ would not harmonize. But it denotes the objective divine grace, into the sphere of which the readers have entered by means of faith; cf. Romans 5:2.

ἈΛΗΘῆ] stands here as the leading conception, not with any polemical reference to an erroneous doctrine (for there is no trace of any such polemic in the epistle), but is intended by the apostle to mark in itself the truth and reality of this ΧΆΡΙς, in order that the readers may not be induced by the persecutions to abandon it.

ΕἸς ἫΝ ἙΣΤΉΚΑΤΕ] for this construction, cf. Winer, p. 386 f. [E. T. 516 ff.]. If the reading ΣΤῆΤΕ be adopted, this adjunct expresses the exhortation to continue in that grace. Here, however, the nearer definition necessary to ταύτην is wanting; for as the ἘΠΙΜΑΡΤΎΡΗΣΙς is not something added on to the epistle (ἜΓΡΑΨΑ), ΤΑΎΤΗΝ ΧΆΡΙΝ cannot be the grace of which I have written to you.

[283] Hofmann’s opinion is purely arbitrary, “that since the individual churches received the epistle, intended as it was for so wide a circle, only in a transcription of a transcription, and had again to send it on, a modest remark, that he had not made his letter too long in order to venture to ask them to take this trouble, was not inappropriate.” Nothing alludes to the taking of any such trouble.—Fronmüller’s view is also incorrect. He thinks that ὡς λογίζ. should be taken with διὰ Σιλου. ἐγρ., in the sense of: “I count upon your receiving this epistle by Silvanus,”—for there is no question here of the receiving of it.

[284] In this interpretation ὡς λογίζομαι is applied to the writing of the former epistle. Erasmus: per Silvanum … qui non dubito, quin epistolam bona fide reddiderit. Similarly Pott: antehac et, si recte memini (“if I remember aright!”) per Silv. epistolam vobis scripsi. Differently Wetstein: scripsi, ut ipse sentio et apud me, omnibus rite perpensis, statuo, ita etiam alios hortor, ut idem mecum profiteantur: doetrinam Christi esse veram.

[285] “The first statement of the contents of the epistle applies to chap. 1 Peter 1:13 to 1 Peter 5:9; the second, to 1 Peter 1:3-12; and one or two passages in the hortatory portion, as 1 Peter 1:18-20; 1 Peter 1:25, 1 Peter 2:9 f., 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Peter 4:12 f.”

[286] Hofmann lays stress on the want of the article before χάριν, and therefore interprets: “that it is real grace of God, that that is in truth grace from God, wherein they have come to stand;” but if Peter had meant this, he would not have written ἀληθῆ, but ἀληθῶς. In this interpretation also the rule of assimilation is wrongly applied.1 Peter 5:12-14. Postscript in St. Peter’s own handwriting, like Galatians 6:11-18 (ἴδετε πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμεῇ χειρί); 2 Thessalonians 3:17 f. (ὁ ἀσπασμὸς τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ Παύλου).—διὰ Σιλουανοῦ, by the hand of my scribe S.; so Ignatius writes διὰ Βύρρου to the Philadelphians (11:2) and the Smyrnaeans (12:1), but wishes to keep him with himself (Ephesians 2:1). That S. was also the bearer of the Epistle is indicated by the recommendation which follows. There does not seem to be any good reason for refusing to identify this S. with the companion of St. Paul and Timothy who wrote with them to the Church of Thessalonica and preached with them at Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:19).—τοῦ πιστοῦ ἀδελφοῦ ὡς λογίζομαι. One main object of the postscript is to supply S. with a brief commendation. He is presumably the appointed messenger who will supplement the letter with detailed application of its general teaching and information about the affairs of the writer. So St. Paul’s Encyclical ends with that ye may know my circumstances how I fare Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord shall make known all things to you (Ephesians 6:21 f.). S. was known probably to some of the Churches as St. Paul’s companion: in case he was unknown to any, St. Peter adds his own certificate. For this use of λογίζομαι compare 1 Corinthians 4:1, οὕτως ἡμᾶς λογιζέσθω ἄνθρωπος; 2 Corinthians 11:5, λογίζομαι γὰρ μηδὲν ὑστερηκέναι τῶν ὑπερλίαν ἀποστόλων.—παρακαλῶνθεοῦ, motive and subject of the Epistle. St. Peter Wrote exhorting as he said I exhort you (1 Peter 2:11, 1 Peter 5:1) and the general content of his exhortation may be given by the subordinate clause which follows: “That you stand in the grace, which I bear witness is truly God’s grace”. The acquired sense of the verb comfort (LXX for נחם) is not directly contemplated. The Epistle is a λόγος παρακλήσεως in the sense of ὁ παρακαλῶν ἐν τῇ παρακλήσει, Romans 12:8.—ἐπιμαρτυρῶν, testifying to … not … in addition. The verb does not occur elsewhere in O.T. (LXX has ἐπιμαρτύρομαι) or N.T.; but Hebrews 2:4 has the compound συνεπιμαρτυροῦντος τοῦ θεοῦ.—ταύτηνθεοῦ, that this is true grace of God, i.e., the grace—in the widest sense of the word which is theirs (1 Peter 1:10) which God gives to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). St. Peter was witness of the sufferings of Christ which they now share; he witnesses from his experience that the grace which they possess is truly God’s grace, though sufferings are a passing incident of their sojourn nere.—εἰς ἣν στῆτε, paraenetic summary of τὴν προσαγωγὴν ἐσχήκαμεν εἰς τὴν χάριν ταύτην ἐν ᾗ ἑστήκαμεν (Romans 5:2), from which the easier reading ἐστήκατε is derived.—συνεκλεκτή. As the co-elder exhorts the elders so the co-elect (woman) greets the elect sojourners (1 Peter 1:1). The early addition of Church represents the natural interpretation of the word, which indeed expresses the latent significance of ἐκ-κλησία, the called out, compare St. Paul’s use of ἡ ἐκλογή in Romans 11:7. In 1 Peter 5:1 ff. Peter addresses bodies rather than individuals and in 1 Peter 5:9 he uses a collective term embracing the whole of Christendom. Accordingly the woman in question is naturally taken to mean the Church—and not any individual (see on Μᾶρκος). Compare the woman of Revelation 12:1 f. who is Israel—a fragment which presupposes the mystical interpretation of Canticles (see Song of Solomon 6:10) and generally the conception of Israel as the bride of Jehovah, which St. Paul appropriated, as complement of the Parables of the Marriage Feast, etc., and applied to the Church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:2). So in Hermas’ Visions the Church appears as a woman, ἐν Βαβυλῶνι, in Rome, according to the Apocalyptic Code, the use of which was not merely a safeguard but also a password. Compare Revelation 17:5, on the forehead of the woman was written a mystery, “Babylon the great”, Revelation 14:8, Revelation 16:19, Revelation 18:2; Apoc. Baruch, xi. 1 So Papias reports a tradition (“they say”) that Peter composed his first Epistle in Rome itself and signifies this by calling the city allegorically Babylon. The point of the allegory is that Rome was becoming the oppressor of the new (andold) Israel, not that it was the centre of the world (Oec.). Literal interpretations (i.) Babylon, (ii.) Babylon in Egypt are modern.—Μᾶρκος ὁ υἱός μου. Oecumenius interprets son of spiritual relationship and adds noting that some have dared to say that M. was the fleshly son of St. Peter on the strength of the narrative of Acts 12 where 2 Peter is represented as rushing to the house of the mother of John M. as if he were returning to his own house and lawful spouse. So Bengel, “Cöelecta sic coniugem suam appellare videtur; cf. 1 Peter 3:7, Erat enim soror; 1 Corinthians 9:5, Et congruit mentio filii Marci”. But granting that Petronilla (?) was missionary and martyr and that Peter may well have had a son—though Christian tradition is silent with regard to him—what have they to do sending greetings to the Churches of Asia Minor in this Encyclical?

[155]. 2 Peter12. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose] The Greek order of the words leaves it open whether “to you” is to be construed with “faithful” as in the English version, or with “I have written,” the former being, on the whole, preferable. If with the Received Text we admit the article before “faithful,” we might translate the brother who is faithful to you, but in some of the better MSS. the article is wanting. In any case the way in which Silvanus is mentioned implies that he was already known to the readers of the Epistle. There is no ground for questioning his identity with the “Silas” of Acts 15:22; Acts 15:32; Acts 15:40, the “Silvanus” of 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:19, the second name having probably been taken, after the manner common among Jews (comp. the change from Saul to Paulus, Joshua to Jason, John surnamed Marcus, and other like instances), when he went as a missionary into Gentile countries. It is obvious that the circumstances of his life gave him special qualifications for maintaining or restoring unity of teaching and feeling between the Jewish and Gentile sections of the Church. Trained in the Church of Jerusalem and known as possessing prophetic gifts (Acts 15:32), he had been chosen, with Barsabas, to be the bearer of the encyclical letter from the Council of Apostles and Elders, and to enforce its purport orally. Throwing himself so heartily into the work of preaching to the Gentiles that he was chosen by St Paul as his companion on his second missionary journey, travelling with him and Timotheus through Galatia, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth, he was conspicuously fitted to carry on the work which St Paul had begun. The scattered notices above referred to do not carry us further than his work at Corinth, and we are left to conjecture how he had filled up the interval that had elapsed since that date. What we now read suggests (1) that he had been working among the Churches of the provinces of Asia Minor named in chap. 1 Peter 1:1, and had gained their confidence; (2) that after St Paul’s final departure from those regions he had turned to St Peter as still within reach, and had brought under his notice the sufferings of the Christians there; and (3) that he was sent back with the Epistie that was to guide and comfort them. It is a probable conjecture that St Peter may have received from him copies of the Epistles of St Paul to which he refers in 2 Peter 3:15-16. The Greek verb for “I have written,” as being in the epistolary aorist, is rightly taken as referring to this Epistle, and not, as some commentators have thought, to a lost earlier one. The words “by Silvanus” may imply that he was either the amanuensis, or the bearer of the letter, or possibly, that he united the two characters.

as I suppose] The Greek verb (the same as in 1 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:5) does not carry with it the slight touch of uncertainty which attaches to the common use of the English word.

briefly] We may perhaps think of the Apostle as comparing the brevity of what he had written with the longer Epistles of St Paul, such as Romans , 1 and 2 Corinthians.

testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand] The words have a special significance as connected with the mission of Silvanus. The great Apostle of the Circumcision, writing to the Churches that had been mainly planted and taught by the Apostle of the Gentiles, bears his full testimony that the “grace” by which they “stand” is no counterfeit, but in very deed a reality. Now, as when he and John and James the brother of the Lord gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (Galatians 2:9), he recognises “the grace of God” that had been given to them and through them. The attestation thus given of unbroken harmony stands, it need hardly be said, in singular contrast with the position of antagonism to St Paul and his teaching ascribed to St Peter in the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, which represent the later workings of the Judaizing party. See notes on 2 Peter 3:15.1 Peter 5:12. Σιλουανοῦ, Silvanus) Silvanus, or Silas, a companion of Paul, appears to have been sent by Paul to Peter. On this opportunity, Peter expresses his approval of the doctrine and acts of Paul. Comp. 2 Peter 3:16.—ὡς λογίζομαι, as I think) That Silvanus was a faithful brother was not known to Peter by revelation, but he formed this opinion in the judgment of prudent charity, not having had heretofore much intercourse with him; and therefore he entrusted him with the letter.—διʼ ὀλίγων ἔγραψα, I have written shortly) that is, in this very letter. An abbreviated expression: I have written (I have written and sent) by Silvanus. Comp. Acts 15:23.—παρακαλῶν, exhorting) for the sake of brevity. Instruction (doctrine) requires more copious treatment than exhortation.—καὶ ἐπιμαρτυρῶν, and moreover [or additionally] testifying) A compound word. They had long since heard the testimony by Paul and Silas: Peter gives additional testimony: 1 John 2:27.—ταύτην εἶναι ἀληθῆ χάριν) That this grace, now present, 2 Peter 1:12, is that true grace formerly promised by the Prophets, and that no other is to be expected.—εἰς ἣν ἑστήκατε, in which ye stand) Romans 5:2, note. The grace in which we stand must be true, and our standing in it true also.Verse 12. - By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly; rather, as in the Revised Version, by Silvanus, our faithful brother, as I account him, I have written unto you briefly. The preposition "by" διά has the same sense as διὰ χειρός in Acts 15:23. Silvanus was the bearer of the Epistle; he may have been the amanuensis also. In all probability he is the Silas of the Acts of the Apostles, and the Silvanus whose name St. Paul associates with his own in the address of both Epistles to the Thessalonians; he is mentioned also in 2 Corinthians 1:19. As the companion of St. Paul, he must have been known to the Churches of Asia Minor. The word rendered in the Authorized Version "I suppose" λογίζομαι does not imply any doubt (comp. Romans 3:28; Romans 8:18; Hebrews 11:19). The Christians of Asia Minor knew Silvanus as a faithful brother; St. Peter adds his testimony. Some connect it with the clause, "I have written unto you briefly," as if St. Peter meant to say that he regarded his letter as a short one, the subjects being so important; but this does not seem natural. It is better to take the pronoun ὑμῖν, unto you, with the verb "I have written," than with the words, "a faithful brother," as in the Authorized Version. The verb ἔγραψα is the epistolary aorist, and may therefore be rendered "I write." Exhorting, and testifying. The general tone of this Epistle is hortatory: St. Peter comforts his readers in the sufferings which were coming on them, and exhorts them to patient endurance. The word rendered "testifying" ἐπιμαρτυρῶν occurs only here in the New Testament. Bengel and others take the preposition ἐπί in the sense of insuper, in "addition:" "Petrus insuper testatur;" he adds his testimony to that of Paul and others who have gone before; or, he not only exhorts, he also testifies - the testimony is in addition to the exhortation. But more probably the ἐπί is intensive, or expresses simply the direction of the testifying (comp. Acts 1:40, where the same words nearly; the Greek for "testified" is διεμαρτύρατο are used in describing St. Peter's exhortations). That this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand; rather, as in the Revised Version, that this is the true grace of God: stand ye fast therein. The reading εἰς η}ν στῆτε is supported by the oldest manuscripts. The construction involves a common ellipse, "Into which (having entered) stand fast." Some think that it was St. Peter's intention in these words to set the seal of his apostolic authority upon the truth of the teaching which the Christians of Asia Minor had received from St. Paul. It may be so. The whole Epistle corroborates the teaching of St. Paul, and shows St. Peter's exact agreement with it. But it seems probable that, if St. Peter had thought it necessary to give a formal sanction to St. Paul's preaching, he would have done so plainly, as he does at the end of the Second Epistle. Again, there are no traces in the Epistle of any doubts now existing in the minds of the Asiatic Christians, or of any opposition to St. Paul, such as there once had been in the Churches of Corinth and Galatia. And St. Peter does not say, "These are the true doctrines," but "This is the true grace of God." He seems rather to be giving the testimony o£ his knowledge and spiritual experience to the fact that the grace which they had received came indeed from God, that it was his true grace, that it was he who was working within them both to will and to do. They must stand fast in that grace, and by its help work out their own salvation. Silvanus

Probably the companion of Paul known in the Acts as Silas (Acts 15:22, Acts 15:27, Acts 15:32, Acts 15:34, Acts 15:40, etc.), and called Silvanus by Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1.

A faithful brother

Brother has the definite article, the faithful brother, designating him as one well known for his fidelity. Rev. renders our, with the in margin.

Unto you

Construe, not as A. V., a brother unto you, but I have written unto you. So Rev.

As I suppose (ὡς λογίζομαι)

Too feeble, since the verb denotes a settled persuasion or assurance. See Romans 3:28, "we conclude" or reckon, as the result of our reasoning. Compare Romans 8:18; Hebrews 11:19. Rev., as I account him.

I have written (ἔγραψα)

Lit., I wrote. An example of what is known as the epistolary aorist. The writer regards the time of writing as his correspondent will do when he shall have received the letter. We say in a letter, I write. Paul, writing to Philemon, says ἀνέπεμψα, I sent; since to Philemon the act of sending would be already past. Therefore in using this form of expression Peter does not refer to the second epistle, nor to another now lost, but to the present epistle.

Briefly (δι' ὀλίγων)

Lit., through few (words). Compare Hebrews 13:22, where the expression is διὰ βραχέων, through brief words.

Testifying (ἐπιμαρτυρῶν)

Only here in New Testament. See on 1 Peter 5:1.

continued...

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