1 Peter 5:13
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you; and so does Marcus my son.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) The church. . . . elected together with you.—In the original it simply stands “the co-elect one [fern. sing.] in Babylon.” Some, therefore, seeing immediately after, “Marcus, my son,” and knowing that St. Peter was a married man (Matthew 8:14, 1Corinthians 9:5), have thought that this “co-elect one” was St. Peter’s wife. But (1) it is highly improbable that St. Mark was in that sense “son” to St. Peter; (2) quite as improbable that she would have been put so prominently forward in such an Epistle; (3) the word “co-elect” evidently refers back to 1Peter 1:2, and means “co-elect with you,” not “with me.” It was becoming a not infrequent mode of designating a church, to personify it under a female title (see 2John 1:1; 1Peter 1:4-5; 1Peter 1:13); and it seems therefore much more natural to suppose that the salutation is from this church of “Babylon” to her sister churches in the provinces of Asia Minor. The modesty with which this church at “Babylon” is spoken of, as being only one of many “co-elect” ones is noteworthy. She does not claim such a position among churches as (e.g.) in Song of Solomon 6:8-9.

That is at Babylon.—Three places have claimed to be understood under this name: (1) A little place called Babylon in Egypt, which has nothing to plead for itself except the unlikelihood of St. Peter ever being at the Oriental Babylon, coupled with the difficulty of supposing that the name is used quite figuratively. Perhaps, also, we should mention the traditional connection of St. Mark with Egypt. No one now, however, maintains this view. (2) The literal Babylon in the East. This has for itself the simple way in which St. Peter uses the word without any circumlocution. But it has ‘nothing else for it, to set against all the overwhelming arguments in favour of the third claimant; besides which we learn from Josephus of a great expulsion of Jews from the Oriental Babylon a few years before this date: these Jews might of course, however, have gathered there again, as they did at Rome, in spite of frequent expulsions. (3) It may be called the established interpretation that the place meant is Rome. We never hear of St. Peter being in the East, and the thing in itself is improbable, whereas nothing but Protestant prejudice can stand against the historical evidence that St. Peter sojourned and died at Rome. Whatever theological consequences may flow from it, it is as certain that St. Peter was at Rome as that St. John was at Ephesus. Everything in the Letter also points to such a state of things as was to be found at Rome about the date when we believe the Letter to have been written. It is objected that St. Peter would not gravely speak of Rome under a fanciful name when dating a letter; but the symbolism in the name is quite in keeping with the context. St. Peter has just personified the church of the place from which he writes, which seems quite as unprosaic a use of language as to call Rome “Babylon.” And it seems pretty clear that the name was quite intelligible to Jewish readers, for whom it was intended. The Apocalypse (Revelation 17:18) is not the only place where Rome is found spoken of under this title. One of the first of living Hebraists (who will not allow his name to be mentioned) told the present writer that no Hebrew of St. Peter’s day would have had need to think twice what city was meant when “Babylon” was mentioned. And on the mention of the name, all the prophecies of the vengeance to be taken on the city which had desolated the Holy Land would rush with consolation into the mind of the readers, and they would feel that St. Peter, though supporting St. Paul, was still in full sympathy with themselves. Finally, as M. Renan suggests, there were reasons of prudence for not speaking too plainly about the presence of a large Christian society in Rome. The police were still more vigilant now than when St. Paul wrote in guarded language about the Roman empire to the Thessalonians. (See Excursus on the Man of Sin, after 2 Thess.) It might provoke hostilities if the Epistle fell into the hands of a delator, with names and places too clearly given.

Marcus, my son.—The particular word here used does not occur elsewhere of spiritual relationship, but the other thought is very improbable. We should have heard of it in other places had St. Mark been his son in the flesh. (See Acts 12:12.) St. Mark was. of course, well known in Asia Minor (Acts 12:25; Colossians 4:10; 2Timothy 4:11).

1 Peter

THE CHURCH IN BABYLON


1 Peter 5:13.

We have drawn lessons in previous addresses from the former parts of the closing salutations of this letter. And now I turn to this one to see what it may yield us. The Revised Version omits ‘the church,’ and substitutes ‘she’; explaining in a marginal note that there is a difference of opinion as to whether the sender of the letter is a community or an individual. All the old MSS., with one weighty exception, follow the reading ‘she that is in Babylon.’ But it seems so extremely unlikely that a single individual, with no special function, should be bracketed along with the communities to whom the letter was addressed, as ‘elected together with’ them, that the conclusion that the sender of the letter is a church, symbolically designated as a ‘lady,’ seems the natural one.

Then there is another question--where was Babylon? An equal diversity of opinion has arisen about that. I do not venture to trouble you with the arguments pro and con, but only express my own opinion that ‘Babylon’ means Rome.

We have here the same symbolical name as in the Book of Revelation, where, whatever further meanings are attached to the designation, it is intended primarily as an appellation for the imperial city, which has taken the place filled in the Old Testament by Babylon, as the concentration of antagonism to the Kingdom of God.

If these views of the significance of the expression are adopted we have here the Church in Rome, the proud stronghold of worldly power and hostility, sending its greetings to the scattered Christian communities in the provinces of what is now called Asia Minor. The fact of such cordial communications between communities separated by so many contrarieties as well as by race and distance, familiar though it is, may suggest several profitable considerations, to which I ask your attention.

I. We have here an object lesson as to the uniting power of the gospel.

Just think of the relations which, in the civil world, subsisted between Rome and its subject provinces; the latter, with bitter hatred in their hearts to everything belonging to the oppressing city, having had their freedom crushed down and their aspirations ruthlessly trampled upon; the former, with the contempt natural to metropolitans in dealing with far-off provincials. The same kind of relationship subsisted between Rome and the outlying provinces of its unwieldly empire as between England, for instance, and its Indian possessions. And the same uniting bond came in which binds the Christian converts of these Eastern lands of ours to England by a far firmer bond than any other. There was springing up amidst all the alienation and hatred and smothered rebellion a still incipient, but increasing, and even then strong bond that held together Roman Christians and Cappadocian believers. They were both ‘one in Christ Jesus.’ The separating walls were high, but, according to the old saying, you cannot build walls high enough to keep out the birds; and spirits, winged by the common faith, soared above all earthly-made distinctions and met in the higher regions of Christian communion. When the tide rises it fills and unifies the scattered pools on the beach. So the uniting power of Christian faith was manifest in these early days, when it bound such discordant elements together, and made ‘the church that was in Babylon’ forget that they were to a large extent Romans by birth, and stretch out their hands, with their hearts in them, to the churches to whom this letter was sent.

Now, brethren, our temptation is not so much to let barriers of race and language and distance weaken our sense of Christian community, as it is to let even smaller things than these do the same tragical office for us. And we, as Christian people, are bound to try and look over the fences of our ‘denominations’ and churches, and recognise the wider fellowship and larger company in which all these are merged. God be thanked! there are manifest tokens all round us to-day that the age of separation and division is about coming to an end. Yearnings for unity, which must not be forced into acts too soon, but which will fulfil themselves in ways not yet clear to any of us, are beginning to rise in Christian hearts. Let us see to it, dear friends, that we do our parts to cherish and to increase these, and to yield ourselves to the uniting power of the common faith.

II. We note, further, the clear recognition here of what is the strong bond uniting all Christians.

Peter would probably have been very much astonished if he had been told of the theological controversies that were to be waged round that word ‘elect.’ The emphasis here lies, not on ‘elect,’ but on ‘together.’ It is not the thing so much as the common possession of the thing which bulks largely before the Apostle. In effect he says, ‘The reason why these Roman Christians that have never looked you Bithynians in the face do yet feel their hearts going out to you, and send you their loving messages, is because they, in common with you, have been recipients of precisely the same Divine act of grace.’ We do not now need to discuss the respective parts of man and God in it, nor any of the interminable controversies that have sprung up around the word. God had, as the fact of their possession of salvation showed, chosen Romans and Asiatics together to be heirs of eternal life. By the side of these transcendent blessings which they possessed in common, how pitiably small and insignificant all the causes which kept them apart looked and were!

And so here we have a partial parallel to the present state of Christendom, in which are seen at work, on one hand, superficial separation; on the other, underlying unity. The splintered peaks may stand, or seem to stand, apart from their sister summits, or may frown at each other across impassable gorges, but they all belong to one geological formation, and in their depths their bases blend indistinguishably into a continuous whole. Their tops are miles apart, but beneath the surface they are one. And so the things that bind Christian men together are the great things and the deepest things; and the things that part them are the small and superficial ones. Therefore it is our wisdom--not only for the sake of the fact of our unity and for the sake of our consciousness of unity, but because the truths which unite are the most important ones--that they shall bulk largest in our hearts and minds. And if they do, we shall know our brother in every man that is like-minded with us towards them, whatever shibboleth may separate us. I spoke a moment ago about the separate pools on the beach, and the tide rising. When the tide goes down, and the spiritual life ebbs, the pools are parted again. And so ages of feeble spiritual vitality have been ages of theological controversy about secondary matters; and ages of profound realisation by the Church of the great fundamentals of gospel truth have been those when its members were drawn together, they knew not how. Hence they can say of and to each other, ‘Elect together with you.’

Brethren, for the sake of the strength of our own religious life, do not let us fix our attention on the peculiarities of our sects, but upon the catholic truths believed everywhere, always, by all. Then we shall ‘walk in a large place,’ and feel how many there are that are possessors of ‘like precious faith’ with ourselves.

III. Then, lastly, we may find here a hint as to the pressing need for such a realisation of unity.

‘The church that is in Babylon’ was in a very uncongenial place. Thank God, no Babylon is so Babylonish but that a Church of God may be found planted in it. No circumstances are so unfavourable to the creation and development of the religious life but that the religious life may grow there. An orchid will find footing upon a bit of stick, because it draws nourishment from the atmosphere; and they who are fed by influx of the Divine Spirit may be planted anywhere, and yet flourish in the courts of our God. So ‘the church that is in Babylon’ gives encouragement as to the possibility of Christian faith being triumphant over adverse conditions.

But it also gives a hint as to the obligation springing from the circumstances in which Christian people are set, to cultivate the sense of belonging to a great brotherhood. Howsoever solitary and surrounded by uncongenial associations any Christian man may be, he may feel that he is not alone, not only because his Master is with him, but because there are many others whose hearts throb with the same love, whose lives are surrounded by the same difficulties. It is by no means a mere piece of selfish consolation which this same Apostle gives in another part of his letter, when he bids the troubled so be of good cheer, as remembering that the ‘same afflictions were accomplished in the brotherhood which is in the world.’ He did not mean to say, ‘Take comfort, for other people are as badly off as you are,’ but he meant to call to the remembrance of the solitary sufferer the thousands of his brethren who were ‘dreeing the same weird’ in the same uncongenial world.

If thus you and I, Christian men, are pressed upon on all sides by such worldly associations, the more need that we should let our hearts go out to the innumerable multitude of our fellows, companions in the tribulation, and patience, and kingdom of Jesus Christ. Precisely because the Roman believers were in Babylon, they were glad to think of their brethren in Asia. Isolated amidst Rome’s splendours and sins, it was like a breath of cool air stealing into some banqueting house heavy with the fumes of wine, or some slaughter-house reeking with the smell of blood, to remember these far-off partakers of a purer life.

But if I might for a moment diverge, I would venture to say that in the conditions of thought, and the tendencies of things in our own and other lands, it is more than ever needful that Christian people should close their ranks, and stand shoulder to shoulder. For men who believe in a supernatural revelation, in the Divine Christ, in an atoning Sacrifice, in an indwelling Spirit, are guilty of suicidal folly if they let the comparative trivialities that part them, separate God’s army into isolated groups, in the face of the ordered battalions that are assaulting these great truths.

Because persecution was beginning to threaten and rumble on the horizon, like a rising thundercloud, it was the more needful, in Peter’s time, that Christians parted by seas, by race, language, and customs, should draw together. And for us, fidelity to our testimony and loyalty to our Master, to say nothing of common sense and the instinct of self-preservation, command Christian men in this day to think more, and to speak more, and to make more, of the great verities which they all possess in common.

Thus, brethren, living in Babylon, we should open our windows to Jerusalem; and though we dwell here as aliens, we may say, ‘We are come unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; to an innumerable company of angels; to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to the Church of the first-born whose names are written in Heaven.’

1 Peter

MARCUS, MY SON


1 Peter 5:13.

The outlines of Mark’s life, so far as recorded in Scripture, are familiar. He was the son of Mary, a woman of some wealth and position, as is implied by the fact that her house was large enough to accommodate the ‘many’ who were gathered together to pray for Peter’s release. He was a relative, probably a cousin {Colossians 4:10, Revised Version}, of Barnabas, and possibly, like him, a native of Cyprus. The designation of him by Peter as ‘my son’ naturally implies that the Apostle had been the instrument of his conversion. An old tradition tells us that he was the ‘young man’ mentioned in his Gospel who saw Christ arrested, and fled, leaving his only covering in the captor’s hands. However that may be, he and his relatives were early and prominent disciples, and closely connected with Peter, as is evident from the fact that it was to Mary’s house that he went after his deliverance. Mark’s relationship to Barnabas made it natural that he should be chosen to accompany him and Paul on their first missionary journey, and his connection with Cyprus helps to account for his willingness to go thither, and his unwillingness to go further into less known ground. We know how he left the Apostles, when they crossed from Cyprus to the mainland, and retreated to his mother’s house at Jerusalem. We have no details of the inglorious inactivity in which he spent the time until the proposal of a second journey by Paul and Barnabas. In the preparations for it, the foolish indulgence of his cousin, far less kind than Paul’s wholesome severity, led to a rupture between the Apostles, and to Barnabas setting off on an evangelistic tour on his own account, which received no sympathy from the church at Antioch, and has been deemed unworthy of record in the Acts.

Then followed some twelve years or more, during which Mark seems to have remained quiescent; or, at all events, he does not appear to have had any work in connection with the great Apostle. Then we find him reappearing amongst Paul’s company when he was in prison for the first time in Rome; and in the letters to Colossæ he is mentioned as being a comfort to the Apostle then. He sends salutations to the Colossians, and is named also in the nearly contemporaneous letter to Philemon. According to the reference in Colossians, he was contemplating a journey amongst the Asiatic churches, for that in Colossæ is bidden to welcome him. Then comes this mention of him in the text. The fact that Mark was beside Peter when he wrote seems to confirm the view that Babylon here is a mystical name for Rome; and that this letter falls somewhere about the same date as the letters to Colossæ and Philemon. Here again he is sending salutations to Asiatic churches. We know nothing more about him, except that some considerable time after, in Paul’s last letter, he asks Timothy, who was then at Ephesus, the headquarters of the Asiatic churches, to ‘take Mark,’ who, therefore, was apparently also in Asia, ‘and bring him’ with him to Rome; ‘for,’ says the Apostle, beautifully referring to the man’s former failure, ‘he is profitable to me for’--the very office that he had formerly flung up--’the ministry.’

So, possibly, he was with Paul in his last days. And then, after that, tradition tells us that he attached himself more closely to the Apostle Peter; and, finally, at his direction and dictation, became the evangelist who wrote the ‘Gospel according to Mark.’

Now that is his story; and from the figure of this ‘Marcus, my son,’ and from his appearance here in this letter, I wish to gather two or three very plain and familiar lessons.

I. The first of them is the working of Christian sympathy.

Mark was a full-blooded Jew when he began his career. ‘John, whose surname was Mark,’ like a great many other Jews at that time, bore a double name--one Jewish, ‘John,’ and one Gentile, ‘Marcus.’ But as time goes on we do not hear anything more about ‘John,’ nor even about ‘John Mark,’ which are the two forms of his name when he is first introduced to us in the Acts of the Apostles, but he finally appears to have cast aside his Hebrew and to have been only known by his Roman name. And that change of appellation coincides with the fact that so many of the allusions which we have to him represent him as sending messages of Christian greeting across the sea to his Gentile brethren. And it further coincides with the fact that his gospel is obviously intended for the use of Gentile Christians, and, according to an old and reliable tradition, was written in Rome for Roman Christians. All of which facts just indicate two things, that the more a man has real operative love to Jesus Christ in his heart, the more he will rise above all limitations of his interests, his sympathy, and his efforts, and the more surely will he let himself out, as far as he can, in affection towards and toils for all men.

This change of name, though it is a mere trifle, and may have been adopted as a matter of convenience, may also be taken as reminding us of a very important truth, and that is, that if we wish to help people, the first condition is that we go down and stand on their level, and make ourselves one with them, as far as we can. And so Mark may have said, ‘I have put away the name that parts me from these Gentiles, for whom I desire to work, and whom I love; and I take the name that binds me to them.’ Why, it is the very same principle, in a small instance--just as a raindrop that hangs on the thorn of a rose-bush is moulded by the same laws that shape the great sphere of the central sun--it is a small instance of the great principle which brought Jesus Christ down into the world to die for us. You must become like the people that you want to help. ‘Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that He might deliver them.’ And so, not only the duty of widening our sympathies, but one of the supreme conditions of being of use to anybody, are set forth in the comparatively trifling incident, which we pass by without noticing it, that this man, a Jew to his finger-tips, finally found himself--or, rather, finally was carried, for it was no case of unconscious drifting--into the position of a messenger of the Cross to the Gentiles; and for the sake of efficiency in his work, and of getting close by the side of people whom he wanted to influence, flung away deliberately that which parted him from them. It is a small matter, but a little window may show a very wide prospect.

II. The history of Mark suggests the possibility of overcoming early faults.

We do not know why he refused to bear the burden of the work that he had so cheerily begun. Probably the reason that I have suggested may have had something to do with it. When he started he did not bargain for going into unknown lands, in which there were many toils to be encountered. He was willing to go where he knew the ground, and where there were people that would make things easy for him; but when Paul went further afield, Mark’s courage ebbed out at his finger ends, and he slunk back to the comfort of his mother’s house in Jerusalem. At all events, whatever his reason, his return was a fault; or Paul would not have been so hard upon him as he was. The writer of the Acts puts Paul’s view of the case strongly by the arrangement of clauses in the sentence in which he tells us that the Apostle ‘thought not good to take him with them who withdrew from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.’ If he thus threw down his tools whenever he came to a little difficulty, and said, ‘As long as it is easy work, and close to the base of operations, I am your man, but if there is any sacrifice wanted you must look out for somebody else,’ he was not precisely a worker after Paul’s own heart. And the best way to treat him was as the Apostle did; and to say to Barnabas’ indulgent proposal, ‘No! he would not do the work before, and now he shall not do it.’ That is often God’s way with us. It brings us to our senses, as it brought Mark to his.

We do not know how long it took to cure Mark of his early fault, but he was thoroughly cured. The man that was afraid of dangers and difficulties and hypothetical risks in Asia Minor became brave enough to stand by the Apostle when he was a prisoner, and was not ashamed of his chain. And afterwards, so much had he won his way into the Apostle’s confidence, and made himself needful for him by his services and his sweetness, that the lonely prisoner, with the gibbet or headsman’s sword in prospect, feels that he would like to have Mark with him once more, and bids Timothy bring him with himself, for ‘he is profitable to me for the ministry.’ ‘He can do a thousand things that a man like me cannot do for himself, and he does them all for love and nothing for reward.’ So he wants Mark once more. And thus not only Paul’s generosity, but Mark’s own patient effort had pasted a clean sheet over the one that was inscribed with the black story of his desertion, and he became ‘profitable for’ the task that he had once in so petulant and cowardly a way, flung up.

Well, translate that from the particular into the general and it comes to this. Let no man set limits to the possibilities of his own restoration, and of his curing faults which are most deeply rooted within himself. Hope and effort should be boundless. There is nothing that a Christian man may not reach, in the way of victory over his worse self, and ejection of his most deeply-rooted faults, if only he will be true to Jesus, and use the gifts that are given to him. There are many of us whose daily life is pitched in a minor key; whose whole landscape is grey and monotonous and sunless; who feel as if yesterday must set the tune for to-day, and as if, because we have been beaten and baffled so often, it is useless to try again. But remember that the field on which the Stone of Help was erected, to commemorate the great and decisive victory that Israel won, was the very field on which the same foes had before contended, and then Israel had been defeated.

So, brethren, we may win victories on the very soil where formerly we were shamefully put to the rout; and our Christ with us will make anything possible for us, in the way of restoration, of cure of old faults, of ceasing to repeat former sins. I suppose that when a spar is snapped on board a vessel, and lashed together with spun yarn and lanyards, as a sailor knows how to do, it is stronger at the point of fracture than it was before. I suppose that it is possible for a man to be most impregnable at the point where he is naturally weakest, if he chooses to use the defences that Jesus Christ has given.

III. Take another lesson--the greatness of little service.

We do not hear that this John Mark ever tried to do any work in the way of preaching the gospel. His business was a very much humbler one. He had to attend to Paul’s comfort. He had to be his factotum, man of all work; looking after material things, the commissariat, the thousand and one trifles that some one had to see to if the Apostle’s great work was to get done. And he did it all his life long. It was enough for him to do thoroughly the entirely ‘secular’ work, as some people would think it, which it was in his power to do. That needed some self-suppression. It would have been so natural for Mark to have said, ‘Paul sends Timothy to be bishop in Crete; and Titus to look after other churches; Epaphroditus is an official here; and Apollos is a great preacher there. And here am I, grinding away at the secularities yet. I think I’ll "strike," and try and get more conspicuous work.’ Or he might perhaps deceive himself, and say, ‘more directly religious work,’ like a great many of us that often mask a very carnal desire for prominence under a very saintly guise of desire to do spiritual service. Let us take care of that. This ‘minister,’ who was not a minister at all, in our sense of the word, but only in the sense of being a servant, a private attendant and valet of the Apostle, was glad to do that work all his days.

That was self-suppression. But it was something more. It was a plain recognition of what we all ought to have very clearly before us, and that is, that all sorts of work which contribute to one end are one sort of work; and that at bottom the man who carried Paul’s books and parchments, and saw that he was not left without clothes, though he was so negligent of cloaks and other necessaries, was just as much helping on the cause of Christ as the Apostle when he preached.

I wonder if any of you remember the old story about an organist and his blower. The blower was asked who it was that played that great sonata of Beethoven’s, or somebody’s. And he answered, ‘I do not know who played, but I blew it.’ There is a great truth there. If it had not been for the unknown man at the bellows, the artist at the keys would not have done much. So Mark helped Paul. And as Jesus Christ said, ‘He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet’s reward.’

IV. Take as the last lesson the enlarged sphere that follows faithfulness in small matters.

What a singular change! The man who began with being a servant of Paul and of Barnabas ends by being the evangelist, and it is to him, under Peter’s direction, that we owe what is possibly the oldest, and, at all events, in some aspects, an entirely unique, narrative of our Lord’s life. Do you think that Peter would ever have said to him: ‘Mark! come here and sit down and write what I tell you,’ if there had not been beforehand these long years of faithful service? So is it always, dear friends, ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’ That is not only a declaration that faithfulness is one in kind, whatever be the diameter of the circle in which it is exercised, but it may also be taken as a promise, though that was not the original intention of the saying.

For quite certainly, in God’s providence, the tools do come to the hand that can wield them, and the best reward that we can get for doing well our little work is to have larger work to do. The little tapers are tempted, if I may use so incongruous a figure, to wish themselves set up on loftier stands. Shine your brightest in your corner, and you will be ‘exalted’ in due time. It is so, as a rule, in this world; sometimes too much so, for, as they say is the case at the English bar, so it is sometimes in God’s Church, ‘There is no medium between having nothing to do and being killed with work.’ Still the reward for work is more work. And the law will be exemplified most blessedly when Christ shall say, ‘Well done! good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.’

So this far-away figure of the minister-evangelist salutes us too, and bids us be of good cheer, notwithstanding all faults and failures, because it is possible for us, as he has proved, to recover ourselves after them all. God will not be less generous in forgiveness than Paul was; and even you and I may hear from Christ’s lips, ‘Thou art profitable to Me for the ministry.’1 Peter 5:13-14. The church that is at Babylon saluteth you — See the preface. The word church is not in the original, but it is supplied in the Syriac, Vulgate, and other ancient versions, and by Œcumenius. Probably, as Beza observes, Peter omitted it as being a word of common use, which, in such a connection, would be easily supplied in the reader’s mind. There being many Jews remaining in Babylon, and in the country adjacent, ever since the captivity, and Peter being the apostle of the Jews, it is likely he went thither to preach the gospel to them, and so planted a church among them. Elected together with you Συνεκλεκτη, co-elect, that is, a branch of God’s chosen people, as all true believers are. See on 1 Peter 1:2. And Marcus my son — So he calls him, because he had been converted by his ministry. With the family, of which he was a member, Peter was well acquainted, as may be gathered from his going immediately to the house of Mary, Mark’s mother, after he was miraculously brought out of prison by the angel, Acts 12:12. See more concerning him, Acts 13:5; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11. It is believed by many that he was the author of the gospel called by his name; this, however, is not certain. See the preface to that gospel. 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.The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you - It will be seen at once that much of this is supplied by our translators; the words "church that is" not being in the original. The Greek is, ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτὴ hē en Babulōni suneklektē; and might refer to a church, or to a female. Wall, Mill, and some others, suppose that the reference is to a Christian woman, perhaps the wife of Peter himself. Compare 2 John 1:1. But the Arabic, Syriac, and Vulgate, as well as the English versions, supply the word "church." This interpretation seems to be confirmed by the word rendered "elected together with" - συνεκλεκτὴ suneklektē. This word would be properly used in reference to one individual if writing to another individual, but would hardly be appropriate as applied to an individual addressing a church. It could not readily be supposed, moreover, that any one female in Babylon could have such a prominence, or be so well known, that nothing more would be necessary to designate her than merely to say, "the elect female." On the word Babylon here, and the place denoted by it, see the introduction, section 2.

And so doth Marcus my son - Probably John Mark. See the notes at Acts 12:12; Acts 15:37. Why he was now with Peter is unknown. If this was the Mark referred to, then the word son is a title of affection, and is used by Peter with reference to his own superior age. It is possible, however, that some other Mark may be referred to, in whose conversion Peter had been instrumental.

13. The … at Babylon—Alford, Bengel, and others translate, "She that is elected together with you in Babylon," namely, Peter's wife, whom he led about with him in his missionary journeys. Compare 1Pe 3:7, "heirs together of the grace of life." But why she should be called "elected together with you in Babylon," as if there had been no Christian woman in Babylon besides, is inexplicable on this view. In English Version the sense is clear: "That portion of the whole dispersion (1Pe 1:1, Greek), or Church of Christianized Jews, with Gentile converts, which resides in Babylon." As Peter and John were closely associated, Peter addresses the Church in John's peculiar province, Asia, and closes with "your co-elect sister Church at Babylon saluteth you"; and John similarly addresses the "elect lady," that is, the Church in Babylon, and closes with "the children of thine elect sister (the Asiatic Church) greet thee"; (compare [2626]Introduction to Second John). Erasmus explains, "Mark who is in the place of a son to me": compare Ac 12:12, implying Peter's connection with Mark; whence the mention of him in connection with the Church at Babylon, in which he labored under Peter before he went to Alexandria is not unnatural. Papias reports from the presbyter John [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.39], that Mark was interpreter of Peter, recording in his Gospel the facts related to him by Peter. Silvanus or Silas had been substituted for John Mark, as Paul's companion, because of Mark's temporary unfaithfulness. But now Mark restored is associated with Silvanus, Paul's companion, in Peter's esteem, as Mark was already reinstated in Paul's esteem. That Mark had a spiritual connection with the Asiatic' churches which Peter addresses, and so naturally salutes them, appears from 2Ti 4:11; Col 4:10.

Babylon—The Chaldean Babylon on the Euphrates. See [2627]Introduction, ON THE PLACE OF WRITING this Epistle, in proof that Rome is not meant as Papists assert; compare Lightfoot sermon. How unlikely that in a friendly salutation the enigmatical title of Rome given in prophecy (John, Re 17:5), should be used! Babylon was the center from which the Asiatic dispersion whom Peter addresses was derived. Philo [The Embassy to Gaius, 36] and Josephus [Antiquities, 15.2.2; 23.12] inform us that Babylon contained a great many Jews in the apostolic age (whereas those at Rome were comparatively few, about eight thousand [Josephus, Antiquities, 17.11]); so it would naturally be visited by the apostle of the circumcision. It was the headquarters of those whom he had so successfully addressed on Pentecost, Ac 2:9, Jewish "Parthians … dwellers in Mesopotamia" (the Parthians were then masters of Mesopotamian Babylon); these he ministered to in person. His other hearers, the Jewish "dwellers in Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia," he now ministers to by letter. The earliest distinct authority for Peter's martyrdom at Rome is Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in the latter half of the second century. The desirableness of representing Peter and Paul, the two leading apostles, as together founding the Church of the metropolis, seems to have originated the tradition. Clement of Rome [First Epistle to the Corinthians, 4.5], often quoted for, is really against it. He mentions Paul and Peter together, but makes it as a distinguishing circumstance of Paul, that he preached both in the East and West, implying that Peter never was in the West. In 2Pe 1:14, he says, "I must shortly put off this tabernacle," implying his martyrdom was near, yet he makes no allusion to Rome, or any intention of his visiting it.

The church that is at Babylon; Babylon in Chaldea, where it is most probable the apostle was at the writing of this Epistle; the Jews being very numerous in those parts, as having settled themselves there ever since the captivity, and Peter being an apostle of the circumcision, his work lay much thereabout. The papists would have Babylon here to be Rome, as Revelation 17:1-18, and that

Peter gives it that name rather than its own, because, being escaped out of prison at Jerusalem, Acts 12:12,25, he would not have it known where he was. But how comes he, that had been so bold before, to be so timorous now? Did this become the head of the church, the vicar of Christ, and prince of the apostles? And is it probable he should live twenty-five years at Rome, (as they pretend he did), and yet not be known to be there? Wherever he was, he had Mark now with him, who is said to have died at Alexandria the eighth year of Nero, and Peter not till six years after. If Mark then did first constitute the church of Alexandria, and govern it (as they say he did) for many years, it will be hard to find him and Peter at Rome together. But if they will needs have Rome be meant by Babylon, let them enjoy their zeal, who rather than not find Peter’s chair, would go to hell to seek it; and are more concerned to have Rome be the seat of Peter than the church of Christ. The church that is at Babylon,.... The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, supply the word "church", as we do. Some, by "Babylon", understand Rome, which is so called, in a figurative sense, in the book of the Revelations: this is an ancient opinion; so Papias understood it, as (e) Eusebius relates; but that Peter was at Rome, when he wrote this epistle, cannot be proved, nor any reason be given why the proper name of the place should be concealed, and a figurative one expressed. It is best therefore to understand it literally, of Babylon in Assyria, the metropolis of the dispersion of the Jews, and the centre of it, to whom the apostle wrote; and where, as the minister of the circumcision, he may be thought to reside, here being a number of persons converted and formed into a Gospel church state, whereby was fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 87:4 perhaps this church might consist chiefly of Jews, which might be the reason of the apostle's being here, since there were great numbers which continued here, from the time of the captivity, who returned not with Ezra; and these are said by the Jews (f) to be of the purest blood: many of the Jewish doctors lived here; they had three famous universities in this country, and here their Talmud was written, called from hence (g) Babylonian. The church in this place is said to be

elected together with you; that is, were chosen together with them in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to grace here, and glory hereafter; or were equally the elect of God as they were, for as such he writes to them, 1 Peter 1:2 and this the apostle said in a judgment of charity of the whole church, and all the members of it, being under a profession of faith in Christ; and nothing appearing to the contrary, but that their faith was unfeigned, and their profession right and sincere. This Church, he says,

saluteth you; wishes all peace, happiness, and prosperity of every kind,

and so doth Marcus, my son; either, in a natural sense, his son according to the flesh; since it is certain Peter had a wife, and might have a son, and one of this name: or rather in a spiritual sense, being one that he was either an instrument of converting him, or of instructing him, or was one that was as dear to him as a son; in like manner as the Apostle Paul calls Timothy, and also Titus, his own son. This seems to be Mark the evangelist, who was called John Mark, was Barnabas's sister's son, and his mother's name was Mary; see Colossians 4:10. He is said (h) to be the interpreter of Peter, and to have wrote his Gospel from what he heard from him; and who approved of it, and confirmed it, and indeed it is said to be his.

(e) Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 15. (f) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 69. 2. & 71. 2. & Gloss. in ib. (g) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 24. 1.((h) Papias apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 39. Tertullian. adv. Marcion, l. 4. c. 5. Hieron. Catalog. Script. Eccl. sect. 2. 18.

{15} The church that is at {d} Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

(15) Familiar salutations.

(d) In that famous city of Assyria, where Peter the apostle of circumcision then was.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 5:13. Salutation.

The notion that συνεκλεκτή denotes the apostle’s wife (Bengel, Mayerhoff, Jachmann, etc.) finds no support from 1 Corinthians 9:5; it is contradicted by the ἐν βαβυλῶνι[287] inserted between. By far the greater number of commentators rightly consider it to mean: “the church in Babylon” (א has the word ἐκκλησίᾳ after Βαβυλῶνι; Oec. u. Vulg. ecclesia). According to Hofmann, ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑ is not to be supplied to ΣΥΝΕΚΛΕΚΤΉ, “but the churches to which the apostle writes are, as such, ἘΚΛΕΚΤΑΊ, and the church from which he sends greetings is, as such, a ΣΥΝΕΚΛΕΚΤΉ, as she from whom the Apostle John sends salutations is an ἈΔΕΛΦῊ ἘΚΛΕΚΤΉ” (2 John 1:13). But in John’s Epistle, 1 Peter 5:1, ΚΥΡΊΑ, and 1 Peter 5:13, ἈΔΕΛΦΉ, are put along with ἘΚΛΕΚΤΉ; accordingly, it does not follow that ΣΥΝΕΚΛΕΚΤΉ, without the additional idea ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑ, would of itself mean a church. The ΣΥΝ refers to the churches to which Peter sends the salutation of the former, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:1.[288] According to Eusebius (H. E. c. 15), Papias already was of opinion that the name Babylon is here used figuratively, and that by it Rome is to be understood. The same view is adopted by Clemens Alex., Hieronymus, Oecumenius, Beda, Luther, and by most of the Catholic interpreters;[289] in more recent times by Thiersch, Ewald, Hofmann, Wiesinger, Schott, etc. The principal reasons brought forward in support of this view are—(1) The tradition of the primitive church, which speaks of the apostle’s stay in Rome, but makes no mention of his having lived in Babylon; (2) The designation of Rome as Babylon in Revelation, chap. Revelation 14:8, Revelation 18:2; Revelation 18:10; (3) The banishment of the Jews from Babylon in the time of the Emperor Claudius, according to Joseph. Ant. i. 18, c. 12. But these reasons are not conclusive, for—(1) The tradition has preserved altogether very imperfect and uncertain notices of the apostles; (2) In Revelation this designation is very naturally explained from the reference to O. T. prophecy; (3) The account of Josephus does not lead us to understand that all the Jews were banished from Babylon and its vicinity (see Mayerhoff, p. 128 ff., and Wieseler, p. 557 f.).[290] Although de Wette’s rejoinder, that “the allegorical designation is unnatural in a letter, especially in the salutation,” may be going too far, still it is improbable that Peter, in simply conveying a greeting, would have made use of an allegorical name of a place, without ever hinting that the designation was not to be taken literally. This could admit of explanation only if, at the time the epistle was written, it had been customary among the Christians to speak of Rome as Babylon; and that it was so, we have no evidence. Accordingly, Erasmus, Calvin, Gerhard, Neander, de Wette-Brückner, Wieseler, Weiss, Bleek, Reuss, Fronmüller, etc., have justly declared themselves opposed to the allegorical interpretation. The view that by Babylon is meant the Babylon in Egypt mentioned by Strabo, i. 17 (Pearson, Calov, Vitringa, Wolf), has nothing to commend it, the less so that this Babylon was simply a military garrison.[291]

καὶ Μάρκος ὁ υἱὸς μου] The correct interpretation of υἱός μου is given already by Oecumenius: Μάρκον υἱόν, κατὰ πνεῦμα καλεῖ, ἀλλʼ οὐ κατὰ σάρκα. It is undoubtedly the well-known companion of Paul who is meant. Since, according to Acts, Peter was acquainted with his mother, it is probable that Mark was converted to Christianity by Peter. The idea that Peter here speaks of a son of his own after the flesh, named Mark (Bengel, Hottinger, Jachmann, etc.), could receive support only if συνεκλεκτή were used to designate the apostle’s wife.

[287] According to several commentators, συνεκλ., though not meaning definitely Peter’s wife, yet refers to some other excellent woman of the church. Wolf even thinks it may be understood as a proper name.

[288] It is far-fetched when Schott says that ἡ συνεκλ. ἡ ἐν Βαβ. is not written here, but ἡ ἐν Βαβ. συνεκλ., because the very fact of her being in Babylon (i.e. Rome) makes the church a συνεκλεκτή, i.e. the real associate of the churches who read the epistle; namely, in as far as thus reference is made to a like condition of suffering.

[289] Lorinus remarks: Omnes quotquot legerim interpretes catholici romanam intelligunt ecclesiam. Calvin says of this interpretation: hoc commentum Papistae libenter arripiunt, ut videatur Petrus romanae ecclesiae praefuisse.

[290] Hofmann maintains that it is “indiscoverable how Peter had come to know the two Pauline Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians,” if he wrote his epistle in Babylon. But the composition of the epistle in Rome is not by any means proved by so uncertain an assertion.

[291] It is clearly quite arbitrary when some scholars, like Capellus, Spanheim, and Semler, understand Babylon here as a name for Jerusalem, or even for the house where the apostles were assembled on the day of Pentecost.13. The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you] The Greek MSS. (with the notable exception, however, of the Sinaitic), as the italics shew, have no noun corresponding to “church,” and it is, at least, a question whether it ought to be inserted, and the same holds good of the pronoun “you.” On the one hand there is the consent of many of the early Fathers in favour of the insertion (see next note) and, perhaps, the improbability that a salutation would be sent to the Asiatic Churches from any individual convert in the Church of Babylon. On the other there is the fact (1) that there is no parallel use of the adjective without the noun in this sense in any other passage of the New Testament; (2) that in 2 John 1:1, which presents the nearest parallel, it is almost certain that the “elect lady,” or the “elect Kyria,” or the “lady Eclecta” is a person and not a Church; and (3) that if a salutation was sent from “Marcus my son” to the Churches of Asia, there is nothing surprising in a like salutation being sent from another individual disciple. If we adopt, as on the whole, in spite of the weight due to the Sinaitic MS., seems preferable, the latter view, the question who the person was remains open to conjecture. It may have been St Peter’s wife who was, as we learn from 1 Corinthians 9:5, the companion of his labours, and in this case there would be a special appropriateness in her sending her greeting in an Epistle which had dwelt so fully on the duties of the female members of the Church (chap. 1 Peter 3:1-6). It may have been some conspicuous member of the Church of Babylon otherwise unknown to us. The former view seems to have most in its favour.

The further question, what place is meant by Babylon, remains for discussion, and here also we have to note a wide diversity of opinion. On the one hand, Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, and Clement of Alexandria, as reported by Eusebius (Hist. ii. 15), take the words figuratively, as interpreted by the symbolism of the Apocalypse (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2; Revelation 18:10), for Rome, and this view has naturally been taken by most Romish commentators, who find in this passage a proof, otherwise wanting, as far as the New Testament is concerned, of St Peter’s connexion with that Church. Against this it has been urged chiefly, as might be expected, by Protestant interpreters, that there would be something unnatural in the use of a symbolic term belonging to an apocalyptic vision in the simple words of a salutation, and that it was not likely to be intelligible to those who read the Epistle unless they had previously become acquainted with the book in which the symbolism occurs. The order in which the names of the Asiatic provinces are given in chap. 1 Peter 1:1, from East to West, is, though not decisive, yet as far as it goes in favour of the Epistle having been written from the Euphrates rather than the Tiber. There was from the days of the Captivity a large Jewish population residing in the new Babylon which had risen on or near the ruins of the old (Joseph. Ant. xv. 2, § 2), and although there had been a massacre of many of these (Josephus, Ant. xviii. 9, gives the number as 50,000) in the reign of Claudius, and others had taken refuge first in Ctesiphon and afterwards in Neerda and Nisibis, there may well have been a remnant sufficiently numerous to call for St Peter’s attention as the Apostle of the Circumcision. Another Babylon, it should be added, is named by Strabo (B. xvii.) as a military fortress in Egypt, which has been identified by some writers with the modern Cairo, but there are no adequate grounds for assuming that this is the city which St Peter refers to. There is, indeed, no evidence, such as there is in regard to the Euphrates Babylon, that there was either a Jewish population or a Christian Church there.

and so doth Marcus my son] It is natural, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, to assume that the Marcus so named is identical with the “John whose surname was Mark,” the son of the Mary to whose house St Peter went on his release from imprisonment (Acts 12:12), the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), the companion of St Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). On this assumption the term “son” might be used of him either as implying the spiritual parentage of conversion, or as the expression of an affection like that which St Paul cherished for Timotheus (1 Timothy 1:2) and Titus (Titus 1:4). His presence with St Peter at Babylon when this letter was written, as compared with Colossians 4:10 and 2 Timothy 4:11, indicates that having gone to Rome during St Paul’s first imprisonment, he had then returned to Asia, and had made his way, probably with messages and copies of the later Pauline Epistles, to the Apostle of the Circumcision. When St Paul wrote shortly before his execution, he believed the disciple to be again in Asia. In the traditions of Ecclesiastical history he appears as the “interpreter” of St Peter, writing his Gospel to perpetuate the Apostle’s oral teaching, and as the founder of the Church of Alexandria (Euseb. Hist. iii. 39, Jerome De Vir. Illust. c. 8). The view taken by some commentators that the Mark here mentioned was a “son” of the Apostle by natural parentage cannot, of course, be disproved, but it has absolutely nothing in its favour.1 Peter 5:13. Ἐν Βαβυλῶνι, in Babylon) This was Babylon of the Chaldeans, which abounded with Jews. See Lightfoot, Hor. on 1 Cor., p. 269. From the prospect (point of view) afforded by this Babylon there follows the series of countries:[43] ch. 1 Peter 1:1, note.—ΣΥΝΕΚΛΕΚΤῊ, elect together with) Thus he appears to speak of his wife; comp. ch. 1 Peter 3:7; for she was a sister, 1 Corinthians 9:5; and the mention of his son Mark agrees with this.

[43] The particular order in which the five provinces are enumerated by Peter, proves that it was from this Babylon he looked at them.—E.Verse 13. - The Church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; literally, the co-elect in Babylon ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτή. The word "Church" is given in no manuscripts with the remarkable exception of the Sinaitic; the rest have simply "the co-elect." We ask - What word is to be supplied, "Church" or "sister"? Some think that St, Peter's wife (comp. Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5) is intended, or some other well-known Christian woman (comp. 2 John 1). In favor of this view is the following salutation from Marcus. It is more natural to join together the names of two persons than to couple a Church with an individual. Also it scorns exceedingly improbable that such a word as "Church" should be omitted (a word, we may remark, which occurs nowhere in St. Peter's Epistles), and the ellipse left to be filled up by the readers. On the other hand, it is said to be unlikely that a humble Galilaean woman should be described as "the co-elect in Babylon." This argument would have considerable weight if the apostle were writing from large and well-known Church, like that at Rome; but it is quite possible that "the co-elect" might be the only Christian woman, or the one best known among a very small number in Babylon. On the whole, it seems most probable to us that by "the co-elect" (whether we supply "together with you" or "with me") is meant a Christian woman known at least by name to the Churches of Asia Miner, and therefore very possibly St. Peter's wife, who, St. Paul tells us, was his companion in travel. The question now meets us - Is "Babylon" to be taken in a mystic sense, as a cryptograph for Rome, or literally? Eusebius, and ancient writers generally, understand it of Rome. Eusebius is commonly understood to claim for this view the authority of Papias and Clement of Alexandria (as has been stated in the Introduction, p. 9.). But the historian's words ('Hist. Eccl.,' 1. 15. 2) seem to claim that authority only for the connection of St. Peter with St. Mark's Gospel; the identification of Babylon with Rome seems to be mentioned only as a common opinion in the time of Eusebius. It is said that there is n o trace o f the existence of a Christian Church at the Chaldean Babylon, and no proof, apart from this passage, that St. Peter was ever there. There had been a great Jewish colony at Babylon, but it had been destroyed in the time of Caligula. In answer to these arguments, it may be urged that the cryptograph of Babylon for Rome would probably not be understood; even if we assume the earliest date assigned to the Apocalypse, that book could scarcely be known very generally in Asia Minor when this Epistle was written. St. Peter at Babylon, like St. Paul at Athens, may have met with little success; the infant Church may have been quickly crushed. There may have been a second settlement of Jews at Babylon between A.D. and the date of this Epistle. But it is quite possible that St. Peter may have been working as a missionary among the Babylonian Gentiles, for we cannot believe that he confined his ministrations to the Jews. On the whole, it seems much more probable that St. Peter was writing at the famous city on the Euphrates, though no traces of his work there remain, than that he should have used this one word in a mystical sense at the end of an Epistle where all else is plain and simple (see this question discussed in the Introduction, p. 9.). And so doth Marcus my son. Τέκνον is the word used by St. Paul of spiritual relationship (see 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). St. Peter has υἱός here. Still, it seems most probable that Marcus, mentioned as he is without any further description, is not a son of the apostle after the flesh, but the well-known John Mark of the Acts (see Introduction, p. 8.). The church

The word is not in the Greek, but is supplied with the feminine definite article ἡ. There is, however, a difference of opinion as to the meaning of this feminine article. Some suppose a reference to Peter's own wife; others, to some prominent Christian woman in the church. Compare 2 John 1:1. The majority of interpreters, however, refer it to the church.

Babylon

Some understand in a figurative sense, as meaning Rome; others, literally, of Babylon on the Euphrates. In favor of the former view are the drift of ancient opinion and the Roman Catholic interpreters, with Luther and several noted modern expositors, as Ewald and Hoffmann. This, too, is the view of Canon Cook in the "Speaker's Commentary." In favor of the literal interpretation are the weighty names of Alford, Huther, Calvin, Neander, Weiss, and Reuss. Professor Salmond, in his admirable commentary on this epistle, has so forcibly summed up the testimony that we cannot do better than to give his comment entire: "In favor of this allegorical interpretation it is urged that there are other occurrences of Babylon in the New Testament as a mystical name for Rome (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:10); that it is in the highest degree unlikely that Peter should have made the Assyrian Babylon his residence or missionary centre, especially in view of a statement by Josephus indicating that the Emperor Claudius had expelled the Jews from that city and neighborhood; and that tradition connects Peter with Rome, but not with Babylon. The fact, however, that the word is mystically used in a mystical book like the Apocalypse - a book, too, which is steeped in the spirit and terminology of the Old Testament - is no argument for the mystical use of the word in writings of a different type. The allegorical interpretation becomes still less likely when it is observed that other geographical designations in this epistle (1 Peter 1:1) have undoubtedly the literal meaning. The tradition itself, too, is uncertain. The statement in Josephus does not bear all that it is made to bear. There is no reason to suppose that, at the time when this epistle was written, the city of Rome was currently known among Christians as Babylon. On the contrary, wherever it is mentioned in the New Testament, with the single exception of the Apocalypse (and even there it is distinguished as 'Babylon, the great'), it gets its usual name, Rome. So far, too, from the Assyrian Babylon being practically in a deserted state at this date, there is very good ground for believing that the Jewish population (not to speak of the heathen) of the city and vicinity was very considerable. For these and other reasons a succession of distinguished interpreters and historians, from Erasmus and Calvin, on to Neander, Weiss, Reuss, Huther, etc., have rightly held by the literal sense."

Marcus

Rev., Mark. John Mark, the author of the gospel. See Introduction to Mark, on his relations to Peter.

My son

Probably in a spiritual sense, though some, as Bengel, think that Peter's own son is referred to.

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