1 Peter 1
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,


Chap. 1:1, 2.] Address and greeting: corresponding generally with those of St. Paul’s Epistles, designating however himself more briefly, and his readers more at length.

1.] Peter (the Greek form of the name Cephas, a stone, given him by our Lord, see John 1:43: in 2Peter 1:1 it is “Symeon Peter”) an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect strangers (see on παρεπιδήμοις, Hebrews 11:13 note. ἐκλεκτοῖς, chosen of God to His adopted family in Christ. The construction is irregularly carried on from ἐκλ. by κατὰ πρόγνωσιν κ.τ.λ. below, where see) of the dispersion (i. e. belonging to the Jewish dispersion, as in reff. This leading character of the readers of 1 Peter has been acknowledged generally: see testimonies in Prolegg. At the same time, as there argued (§ iii. 3 ff.), there is no reason to exclude Gentile Christians from among them, as forming part of the Israel of God. Indeed, such readers are presupposed in the Epistle itself: cf. ver. 14; ch. 2:10; 4:3) of Pontus (see Acts 2:9, note), Galatia (see Prolegg. to Gal. § ii.), Cappadocia (Acts, ut supra), Asia (not quite as in Acts 2:9; Acts 16:6, where Phrygia is distinguished from it: here it must be included) and Bithynia (Acts 16:7, note: and on the whole geographical extent embraced by the terms, and inferences to be gathered from their order of sequence, see Prolegg. § iii. 6 ff., iv. 17).

2.] according to (i. e. in pursuance of. The local meaning of κατά with an accus., ‘along (down) the direction of,’ gives at once the derived meaning here. κατὰ πρόγ. κ.τ.λ. follows ἐκλεκτοῖς, the emphatic position of the predicative epithet having as it were left its sound yet ringing in the ear, so that this epexegesis of it, though unusual, does not occasion any difficulty. Œc., as also Cyr.-alex. de Recta Fide (Huther), joins κατὰ πρόλν. with ἀπόστολος: which can hardly be) foreknowledge (not merely “prævisio fidei,” as Calov., but nearly synonymous with βουλή or προορισμός. It may be, and often is, this “prævisio” merely: see the word πρόγνωσις in Suicer, and Origen in Cramer’s Catena: but can hardly be this here, where it is made distinctly to be the moving cause of election. See again on ver. 20, where the signification “fore-decreed” is necessary to the context. “The difference between προγιγνώσκειν and προορίζειν is this, that in the former idea, the fact of knowledge is especially put forward, seeing that all God’s decrees rest on the ground of His omniscience.” Huther. “Eligendos facit Deus, non invenit,” is an important remark of Augustine. Cf. Hofmann’s Schriftbeweis, i. 228 ff.) of God the Father (thus indicated, as leading on to the great mystery of the Holy Trinity in the work of our salvation) in (not “through,” as E. V.: the κατά betokens the origin, and enduring pattern after which,—ἐν, the conditional and abiding element in which, and εἰς, the result for which. So that ἐν is not = εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἐν as De Wette) sanctification (reff.) of the Spirit (gen. subjective, or rather efficient, the Spirit being the worker of the sanctification: πνεύματος, not, as Beza, “vel spiritus sanctus, vel anima, quæ sanctificatur”) unto (result as regards us—the fruit which we are to bring forth, and the state into which we are to be brought) obedience (absolutely, Christian obedience, the obedience of faith, as in ver. 14: see reff.: not to be taken with Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, which belongs closely to αἵματος) and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (i. e. admission into and standing in that covenant, whose atoning medium is Christ’s blood,—and mode of application, the sprinkling of that blood on the heart by faith. The allusion is to Exodus 24:8, where the covenant was inaugurated by sprinkling the blood on the people. This, as Huther remarks, was the only occasion on which the blood was thus sprinkled on persons: for on the great day of atonement, only the sacred vessels were thus sprinkled. So also in Hebrews 9:13. But we need not confine the virtue of the sprinkling to admission into the covenant. Doubtless its purifying power, especially as connected with ὑπακοή, is also in the mind of the Apostle. And thus Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 305: maintaining that the Death of Christ is not only, as looking back on the past, a propitiation for sin, thereby removing the obstacle which stood in the way of God’s gracious purpose towards man,—but also, looking forward to the future, a capacitating of us for the participation in God’s salvation: just as Israel, sin having been atoned for by the sacrifice itself, was admitted into the actual state of reconciliation by the sprinkling on them of the sacrificial blood.

The gen. αἵματος is that of the object, or material with which: cf. Hebrews 9:21, αἵματι ἐράντισεν.

“By this description of the readers, an anticipation is given of the whole train of thought in the Epistle: the aim of which is to impress the blessed certainty of salvation, and with that, the obligations incurred by receiving God’s gift.” Harless): grace and peace be multiplied onto you (so, but more fully, in reff. 2 Pet. and Jude. “Pax a gratia distinguitur, tanquam fructus et effectus a sua causa.” Gerhard. “Pax vestra multiplicetur” is quoted as a Rabbinical salutation by Wetstein and Schöttgen).

3-12.] The Apostle begins, much after the manner of St. Paul in the opening of his Epistles, with giving thanks to God for the greatness of the blessings of salvation; thus paving the way for the exhortations which are to follow. And herein, he directs his readers’ look, first, forward into the future (vv. 3-9); then backward into the past (vv. 10-12).

3-5.] Thanksgiving for the living hope into which the Christian has been begotten.

3.] Blessed be (εὐλογητός is used in the N. T. of God only: and so almost always in the O. T.: while εὐλογημένος is applied to men. The shade of distinction is perhaps this: that εὐλογητός carries with it rather the imperative, ‘Blessed be’ &c.,—εὐλογημένος the indicative, ‘Blessed is’ &c. This is better than Van Hengel’s distinction (on Rom. p. 140), that the verbal adjective gives “quod sibi constat,”—the participle, “quod aliunde pendet:” for thus we should not get the idea of praise in εὐλογητός) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (so verbatim ref. Eph., where see note), who according to (see on ver. 2, κατὰ πρόγνωσιν κ.τ.λ.) his much mercy (cf. πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει, ref. Eph.) begat us again (as in ref. and elsewhere in the N. T., where the idea, though not the word, occurs,—of the new birth from the state of nature to the state of grace, the work of God the Spirit (ver. 2), by means of the word (ver. 23), in virtue of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice and of union with Him (vv. 2, 18; ch. 2:24; 3:18)) unto (εἰς, either telic, unto as aim and end, = ‘that we might have,’ or local, unto = into; = ‘so that we have.’ The latter is here preferable, seeing that hope is not the aim but the condition of the Christian life) a living hope (ζῶσαν, as connected with ἀναγεννήσας; it is a life of hope, a life in which hope is the energizing principle. This is better than to understand it as contrasting our hope with that of the hypocrite, which shall perish: as Leighton, in some of his most beautiful language. ἐλπίς is not to be understood of the object of hope, but of hope properly so called, subjectively. This hope of the Christian “has life in itself, gives life, and looks for life as its object,” De Wette) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (to what does διʼ refer? Œc. says, καὶ πόθεν τὸ ζωὴν ἔχουσα; ἀπὸ τοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστάντος Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. And similarly, referring διὰ to ζῶσαν, Luth., Bengel, De W., al. But, while we retain distinctly the connexion of our living hope with the life of Him on whom it depends, it is much more natural to join this instrumental clause with the verb ἀναγεννήσας, as bringing in with it the whole clause, ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν, by which it is defined. The resurrection of Christ, bringing in life and the gift or the life-giving Spirit, is that which potentiates the new birth unto a living hope),

4.] unto (this εἰς, as the former one, depends on ἀναγεννήσας, and is coordinate to the other. It introduces the objective end to which our hope is directed. “Quamdiu peregrinamur, habemus spem vivam: finita peregrinatione, ζῶσα ἐλπίς fit κληρονομία τῆς ἐπαγγελίας.” Steinmeyer, in Wies.) an inheritance (“By κληρονομία (cf. ch. 3:7, 9) is imported the whole fulness of blessings not seen, of which the Christian as a child of God (ἀναγενν. ver. 3) has expectation, cf. Galatians 4:7. This inheritance is more closely defined, as σωτηρία (vv. 5, 9), as χάρις, χάρις ζωῆς (ver. 13; ch. 3:7), as δόξα (ch. 5:1), as ἀμαράντινος τῆς δόξης στέφανος (ch. 5:4), or ἡ αἰώνιος τοῦ θεοῦ δόξα (ch. 5:10). The simplest expression for that, which the Apostle calls κληρονομία, is on the one side the χάρις ζωῆς with its δόξα, on the other the σωτηρία ψυχῶν. This κληρονομία is the full possession of that, which was promised to Abraham and all believers (Genesis 12:3, see Galatians 3:6 ff.), an inheritance, as much higher than that which fell to the children of Israel in the possession of Canaan, as the sonship of the regenerate, who have already received the ἐπαγγελία τοῦ πνεύματος διὰ τῆς πίστεως as a pledge of their κληρονομία, is higher than the sonship of Israel: cf. Galatians 3:18, Galatians 3:29: 1Corinthians 6:9: Ephesians 5:5: Hebrews 9:15: and De Wette, h. l.” Wiesinger) incorruptible (not liable to φθορά, decay. “We are here inter peritura perituri: the things are passing which we enjoy, and we are passing who enjoy them.… When death comes, that removes a man out of all his possessions to give place to another: therefore are these inheritances decaying and dying in relation to us, because we decay and die: and when a man dies, his inheritances, and honours, and all things here, are at an end in respect of him: yea we may say the world ends to him.” Leighton), undefiled (Leighton quotes from Jerome, “Dives aut iniquus est, aut iniqui hæres.” “All possessions here are defiled and stained with many defects and failings: still somewhat wanting, some damp on them, or crack in them: fair houses, but sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs: stately and soft beds and a full table, but a sickly body and queasy stomach.… All possessions are stained with sin, either in acquiring or using them, and therefore they are called mammon of unrighteousness, Luke 16:9”) and unfading (in its beauty; which in all earthly things is passing and soon withered: see ver. 24. So that our inheritance is glorious in these three respects: it is in substance, incorruptible: in purity, undefiled: in beauty, unfading. “Amat Petrus synonyma cumulata: vv. 7, 8, 19; cap. 5:10.” Bengel), reserved (= ἀποκειμένην, laid up, Colossians 1:5) in the heavens (“ut sciamus eam esse extra periculum,” Calv.: also reflecting back on the epithets above, because all that is there is incorruptible and undefiled and unfading. The Greek interpreters make these words an argument against the millenarians: so Œc., εἰ ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἡ κληρονομία, μυθώδης ἡ χιλιοέτης ἀποκατάστασις. See also in Cramer’s Catena) for (with a view to, see Romans 8:18) you (turning again to his readers from the general statement of ver. 3),

5.] who are being guarded (“Quid juvat, salutem nobis in cœlo esse repositam, quum nos in mundo tanquam in turbulento mari jactemur? quid juvat, salutem nostram statui in tranquillo portu, quum inter mille naufragia fluctuemur? Prævenit apostolus ejusmodi objectiones,” &c. Calvin. “Hæreditas servata est: hæredes custodiuntur: neque illa his, neque hi deerunt illi. Corroboratio insignis.” Bengel. “Militare est vocabulum φρουρά: præsidium. Pii igitur dum sunt in periculis, sciant totidem eis divinitus parata esse præsidia: millia millium custodiunt eos.” Aretius, in Huther) in (ἐν, of the power in which, and by virtue of which, the φρουρά is effectual: not, as Steinmeyer, al., “in,” as in a φρουρά or fortress) the power of God by (the δύναμις θεοῦ was the efficient cause: now we come to the effective means) faith (“The causes of our preservation are two: 1. Supreme, the power of God; 2. Subordinate, faith.… Our faith lays hold upon this power, and this power strengthens faith, and so we are preserved.” Leighton) unto (the end and limit of the φρουρεῖσθαι: cf. the very similar expression, in ref. Gal., ἐφρουρούμεθα συγκλειόμενοι εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. Calvin, Steiger, al. take this εἰς as co-ordinate with εἰς κληρ. above, and this clause as a second (third) pendant on ἀναγεννήσας: “Rem unam duobus modis exprimit,” Calv. But it seems better, as in Gal. l. c., to attach εἰς to φρουουρμένους) salvation (σωτηρία, though in itself a merely negative idea, involves in itself, and came to mean in the N. T., the positive setting in bliss of the people of God: cf. ver. 9: James 1:21 al. fr.) ready (stronger than μέλλουσαν, Galatians 3:23: Romans 8:18: ch. 5:1) to be revealed (see the two last cited places. The stress of the ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι is, as Wiesinger well remarks, not the nearness of the ἀποκάλυψις, but the fact of the salvation being ready to be revealed: not yet to be brought in and accomplished, but already complete, and only waiting God’s time to be manifested. On the inf. aor. after ἑτοίμην, here giving the rapid completion of the act of ἀποκάλυψις as contrasted with the enduring φρουρεῖσθαι, see Winer, § 44. 7, b, c) in the last time (not, as Bengel, “in comparatione ad tempora V. T.,” but absolutely, as in τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ. It is otherwise in Jude 1:18, where see):

6-9.] Joy of the Christian at the realization of this end of his faith.

6.] It has been much disputed whether this verse (as also ver. 8, see there) is to be taken of present joy, or of future. In the latter case the present ἀγαλλιᾶσθε in both places must be a categorical present, used of a future time: as Thl., Œc. τὸ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε ἀντὶ μέλλοντος εἴληπται. And this sense seems to be sanctioned by ver. 8, in which he could hardly predicate of his readers, that they at the present time rejoiced χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ. To avoid this, those who suppose the whole to allude to the time present, and the realization of future bliss by faith, imagine the present ἀγαλλιᾶσθε (not to be an imperative, as , al., but) to have a slight hortatory force, reminding them of their duty in the matter. This however again will hardly suit the very strong qualifying terms above quoted from ver. 8. On the whole, after consideration, I prefer the former interpretation, and the quasi-future sense of ἀγαλλιᾶσθε in both places, with Syr., Œc. (alt.), Thl., Erasm., Luther, Huther, Wiesinger, against Calv., Estius, Grot., Calov., Steiger, De Wette, al. And this interpretation will be found confirmed, as we proceed, by many lesser accuracies and proprieties of rendering.

In which (i. e. ἐν ἐσχάτῳ καιρῷ: the ἐν ᾧ is temporal, ἐν bearing the same sense in the resumption as it did at the end of ver. 5, from which it is resumed. Such is our Apostle’s manner, to resume, in proceeding further, the thing or person just mentioned, in the same sense as before: cf. vv. 5, 8, 10. Or, ἐν ᾧ may mean, ‘at which,’ ‘wherein,’ as ch. 4:4: the καιρὸς ἔσχατος being not the time, but the object of your joy. Those who regard ἀγαλλιᾶσθε as strictly present, understand ἐν ᾧ as in ch. 4:4, but refer it to the whole preceding: so Calv., “Articulus, ‘in quo,’ refert totum illud complexum de spe salutis in cœlo repositæ”) ye rejoice (ἀγαλλ. is a stronger word than χαίρειν, implying the external expression and exuberant triumph of joy. It is sometimes joined with χαίρειν, as in reff. Matt. and Rev.), for a little time (as in ch. 5:10 and other reff.) at present (ἄρτι would, on the hypothesis of ἀγαλλιᾶσθε being a proper present, be superfluous) if it must be so (= ‘si res ita ferat,’—if it be God’s will that it should be so: ‘si’ is hypothetical, not affirmative as Bengel. Cf. Œc. (alt.), τουτέστιν, εἰ καὶ τοῦτο δεῖ· οὐ γὰρ πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι θλίβονται) having been afflicted (this past part., more than any thing, favours the quasi-future acceptation of ἀγαλλιᾶσθε: looking back from the time of which exultation, the grief is regarded as passed away and gone. It carries with it a slightly adversative sense—‘though ye were troubled,’ ‘troubled as ye were,’ or the like) in (not = διὰ, but the element and material of the λύπη) manifold temptations (πειρασμοῖς, as in ref. James, trials, arising from whatever cause; here, mainly from persecution, see ch. 4:12 ff., on the πύρωσις πρὸς πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν γινομένη.

ποικίλοις: cf. James 1:2: “non unam tentationem ponit, sed plures; neque unum tantum genus, sed diversa.” Calv.),

7.] that (end and aim of these temptations) the proof (see on ref. James) of your faith (= the fact of your faith being proved, and so, by an easy transition, the result of that proof, the purified and proved faith itself), more precious than gold which perisheth (πολυτιμότερον is in apposition with δοκίμιον above, forming part of the subject of εὑρεθῇ, not a predicate after it. No supply before ‘gold,’ such as “of,” E. V., or ‘that of,’ is legitimate. It is not ‘the proof’ which is precious, though the literal construction at first sight seems to be this, but the faith itself: see above), yet is (usually, habitually) proved by fire (the δέ in this clause brings out this, that gold though perishable yet needs fire to try it—the inference lying in the background, how much more does your faith, which is being proved for eternity, not for mere temporary use, need a fiery trial?), may be found (finally and once for all, aor., as the result of the judicial trial at that day = ‘evadat.’ εὑρ. εἰς, see ref. Rom.) unto (having as its result: εἰς belongs to εὑρεθῇ, not (De W.) to the whole sentence) praise and glory and honour (whose? “Hic agitur de ipsorum electorum laude,” Beza, rightly: and so most of the Commentators. Some have pressed the meanings of the separate words: ἔπαινος being the praise from the Judge, His εὖγε δοῦλε ἀγαθέ: δόξα, admission into His glory, ch. 5:1, 10: τιμή, the dignity and personal honour thence accruing, ch. 3:7. But perhaps, as in Romans 2:7, we should rather regard them here as cumulative) in (i. e. ‘at the day of:’ the element, in time, in which it shall be manifested) the revelation of Jesus Christ (i. e. His return, who is now withdrawn from our sight, but shall then appear again: and with His ἀποκάλυψις shall come also the ἀποκάλυψις τῶν υἱῶν τοῦ θεοῦ, Romans 8:19: 1John 3:2):

8.] whom (it is in the manner of our Apostle to take up anew and with a fresh line of thought, a person or thing just mentioned: see above on ver. 6) having not seen (so the E. V. with more than usual accuracy: the οὐκ, as distinguished from μή, adhering closely to the verb. If οὐκ εἰδότες be read, the meaning will be the same: the lack of knowledge there predicated being that which arises from absence of personal eye to eye acquaintance) ye love (now, at this present time): in whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing (so E. V. again accurately. With this word the ἄρτι condition of believers ends, and with the next, ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, the then state again begins) ye (then) rejoice (pres. categoric, as before. Some would join εἰς ὅν with ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, taking ὁρῶντες and πιστεύοντες absolutely. So Huther (alt.), and probably E. V. which may be taken either way. The objection to this is, that ἀγαλλιάω is not found with εἰς, as neither are verbs of cognate meaning. Others again, as De Wette, would take εἰς ὅν with πιστεύοντες δὲ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, leaving an object (αὐτόν) to be supplied after ὑρῶντες. This would confine ἀγαλλιᾶσθε to a strictly present meaning, as (see above) De W. maintains it has) with joy unspeakable (ineffable, which cannot be spoken out = ἀλάλητος, Romans 8:26) and glorified (this word δεδοξασμένῃ is the strongest testimony for the quasi-future sense which we have adopted and maintained for ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, both times. It fixes the reference of the verb to that time when hope shall have passed into enjoyment, and joy shall be crowned with glory. The meaning on the other interpretation is obliged to be weakened down to “joy bearing in itself glory, i. e. the high consciousness of glory:” so De Wette (herrlichkeit, das hochgefuhl derselben in sich tragender Freude), and Steinmeyer, “quia δόξαν futuram præsentem habet et sentit” [the E. V. “full of glory” is quite beside the meaning. It is no quality of the joy which is asserted, but a fact which has happened to it]),

9.] receiving (the word κομιζόμενοι quite forbids the sense of ‘present realizing:’ in every one of the reff. it betokens the ultimate reception of glory or condemnation from the Lord. Here it is, ‘receiving (pres.) as you then, in a blessed eternity, will be receiving’) the end of your faith (that, to which your faith ultimately looked forward: see, besides reff. Romans 6:21, Romans 6:22. Cf. Æschyl. Choeph. 874, μάχης γὰρ δὴ κεκύρωται τέλος), salvation of (your) souls (the great inclusive description of future blessedness: the ψυχή being the central personality of the man. See reff.).

10-12.] The weightiness of this salvation, as having been the object of earnest enquiry of Prophets, by whom it was announced, and even of angels.

10.] Concerning which salvation (its time especially, as explained below, but its manner and issue also) sought earnestly and examined earnestly (the prep. ἐξ both times strengthens the verb) prophets (προφῆται—ἄγγελοι, both times generic, to exalt the greatness of the σωτηρία. The οἱ περὶ … limits the assertion and defines the Prophets intended. Some take προφῆται as = οἱ προφ., as in ch. 5:1 (rec.), πρεσβυτέρους τοὺς ἐν ὑμῖν: but placed as the word is here parallel with ἄγγελοι, the other way seems better. So Bengel, “Articulus hic prætermissus grandem facit orationem, nam auditorem a determinata individuorum consideratione ad ipsum genus spectandum traducit: sic, ver. 12, angeli”), they who prophesied concerning the grace that was (destined) for you (we cannot fill up τῆς εἰς in English without defining the tense of the verb substantive, which here may be twofold: as above, or ‘that hath come unto you.’ The specification of ὑμᾶς makes this latter more probable: the whole cast of the sentence, the former. For we are considering what the Prophets felt, and looking forward with them: and the ὑμᾶς is not inconsistent with this. In matter of fact, in God’s purposes it was you, for whom the salvation was destined, though you as individuals were not in their view),

11.] searching (the part. takes up again the two verbs, with a view to mark more definitely the object of their search, now about to be described) at (towards, with reference to) what or what sort of (τίνα as identifying, ποῖον as describing. “Quod innuit tempus per se, quasi dicas æram suis numeris notatam: quale dicit tempus ex eventibus variis noscendum.” Bengel. And Justiniani: “Non modo quod … sed etiam quale … pacisne an belli tempore, servitutis an libertatis, quo denique reipublicæ statu.… Et quidem David, ‘Orietur,’ ait, ‘in diebus ejus justitia, et abundantia pacis:’ et in eandem sententiam Esaias, ‘Conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres,’ &c. &c.”) season was declaring (signifying, revealing) the Spirit of Christ which was in them (the Spirit of Christ, i. e. Christ’s Spirit, gen. subj.: the Spirit which Christ has and gives, being He who reveals all things relating to Christ and the purposes of the Father: see Matthew 11:27: John 16:14, John 16:15, which passages, though in their normal sense they apply to N. T. revelations, yet in their declarative and abstract truth regard the Spirit’s office in all ages. Cf. also Acts 16:7. “Prophetæ ab ipso habentes donum in illum prophetarunt,” Ep. Barnab. c. 5, p. 735), testifying beforehand the sufferings regarding (spoken of with reference to; or, as before, ‘destined for’) Christ (it is disputed, whether χριστόν be meant of Christ individually, or of Christ mystically, including His Church. The former view is taken by Œc., Thl., Erasm., Grot., Aret., Piscator, Vorst, Bengel, Steiger, De Wette, al.: the latter by Luther, Calvin, Huther, Wiesinger. Our answer may be thus given. The expression is not indeed strictly parallel with that in Colossians 1:24, ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ χριστοῦ: see note there: but still the two are so far analogous that they may throw light one on the other. In both, as in ch. 2:21; 3:18; 4:1, 13; 5:1, and in many other places where Christ’s sufferings are spoken of, χριστός is used without Ἰησοῦς, not thereby precluding the personal designation of our Lord, but still carrying into prominence the official and mediatorial: and on this latter account, if the context seem to require it, including also the wider mystical sense in which Christ’s sufferings are those of the whole aggregate of His spiritual body. The question for us then is, Does the context here require this latter extended meaning? And to this we must answer decidedly in the negative. The ἃ νῦν ἀνηγγέλη ὑμῖν διὰ τῶν εὐαγγελισαμένων ὑμᾶς, are the contents of the gospel history, the sufferings and triumphs of Christ. And it was of these as appointed for (εἰς) Him as means of bringing in the grace which was appointed for (εἰς) you, that the prophets testified beforehand), and the glories after these (sufferings) (on these δόξαι, see ch. 3:18, 22; 5:1. “Gloriam resurrectionis: gloriam adscensionis: gloriam judicii novissimi et regni cœlestis.” Bengel.

If it be asked, what prophets are meant, we may reply, the prophets generally. Of one of them, who did prophesy of the sufferings of Christ, and the glories after them, viz. Daniel, we have it related, that he “understood by books the number of the years” destined for the desolations of Jerusalem: and our Lord declared that many Prophets and kings desired to see the things which his disciples saw, and saw them not):

12.] to whom (taking up again προφῆται οἱ …) it was revealed (how are these words to be taken? Does ἀπεκαλύφθη, 1. correspond to ἐραυνῶντες κ.τ.λ., so as to signify that the revelation was the result of their search, or the answer to it? The difficulty in such a rendering would be, that in one instance only would this be true, viz. that of Daniel, and even in that, not strictly correspondent: whereas it is here predicated of the Prophets generally. Most certainly it cannot be in any sense said of them, that the exact time of the fulfilment of their prophecies was revealed to them. Or does it, 2. signify that just so much was revealed to them, as that their prophecies were not to be fulfilled in their own time, but in ours? This again would be objectionable, seeing, α. that there would be nothing corresponding to it in prophetic history, with the sole exception of Daniel, as before: β. that it would rather indicate a stop and discouragement of their search, than its legitimate result. Add to this, that the cases in which St. Peter himself, in the Acts, cites the prophecies, shew how he intended this ἀπεκαλύφθη to be taken: e. g. he quotes Joel, Acts 2:17, speaking of the things prophesied by him as to take place ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις: he says of David, ib. ver. 31, προϊδὼν ἐλάλησεν περὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως: and ib. 3:24, he says, καὶ πάντες δὲ οἱ προφῆται ἀπὸ Σαμουὴλ καὶ τῶν καθεξῆς ὅσοι ἐλάλησαν καὶ κατήγγειλαν τὰς ἡμέρας ταύτας. From these examples it would appear, that the ἀπεκαλύφθη here is not said of any result or consequence of their ἐραυνῆσαι, but of the general revelation made to them: that it is co-ordinate with, not subordinate to ἐραυνῶντες. So in substance Wiesinger: the great stream of interpreters being the other way, or not touching the difficulty at all), that (not, ‘because,’ as on interpretation (1) above it must be, and as Luther, al. take it: this clause does not contain the reason for the ἀπεκαλύφθη, but the content and purport of the ἀποκάλυψις) not to themselves (dat. commodi) but to you they were ministering (i. e. by announcing, foretelling: see reff.: on Psa_48, vol. ii. p. 718, διακονεῖν τὸν λόγον: Jos. Antt. vi. 13. 6, of David’s message to Nabal, ταῦτα τῶν πεμφθέντων διακονησάντων πρὸς τὸν Νάβαλον κ.τ.λ.) the things (in their previous announcement and foreshadowing) which now have been declared (aor., ‘were declared:’ νῦν embracing the N. T. period: but we in English cannot join ‘were’ with ‘now’) unto you by means of those who preached the gospel to you by (dat. instrumental) the Holy Spirit sent (historic tense again, referring distinctly to the day of Pentecost) from heaven (herein consists the great difference between Prophet and Evangelist: the former was the organ of τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ πνεῦμα χριστοῦ, the latter preached by the πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἀποσταλὲν ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ. Still, both are one in design, and in the contents of their testimony: cf. the τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος, and τὰ εἰς χριστὸν παθήματα. And both are here mentioned, to set before the readers their exceeding happiness in being the favoured objects of the ministration of salvation by Prophets and Apostles alike. “Ideo præcesserunt eorum vaticinia, quo certior esset fides nobis, qui nunc eadem vobis nuntiamus facta quæ prædixerant illi futura.” Erasm. (paraph.)), which things (viz. the things announced to you: the αὐτὰ … ἅ: not, as many, the future glories promised to us: see below) angels (generic, as προφῆται above: see there) desire to look into (παρακύψαι, see reff., to stoop down and peer into. It enhances further still the excellence of the salvation revealed to us, that angels, for whom it is not designed as for us (Hebrews 2:16), long to pry into its mysteries. To the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God, Ephesians 3:10. Hofmann remarks, Schriftb. i. 313, “Angels have only the contrast between good and evil, without the power of conversion from sin to righteousness. Being then witnesses of such conversion to God, they long to penetrate the knowledge of the means by which it is brought about.… They themselves are placed outside the scheme of salvation: therefore it is said that they desire to look into the facts of the apostolic preaching”).

13-2:10.] General exhortations founded on the blessedness of the Christian state.

13.] First exhortation—to watchfulness and endurance of hope. Wherefore (αἰτιολογικῶς ἀπὸ τῶν προτιμημένων ἡ παράκλησις· εἰπὼν γὰρ ὅτι οἱ προφῆται διηκόνησαν ἡμῖν τὰ τῆς σωτηρίας ἡμῶν, ταῦτα δὲ οὕτως ἦν θαυμαστά, ὡς, καὶ ἀγγέλοις ἐράσμια καταστῆναι, … ἐπάγει τὸ αἴτιον τούτων καί φησιν, ἐπεὶ οὖν τοιαῦτα τὰ δεδιηκονημένα ὑμῖν πᾶσι καὶ ἐράσμια καὶ τριπόθητα οὐ μόνον ἀνθρώποις ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀγγέλοις, διὰ τοῦτο μηδὲ ὑμεῖς ἀμελῶς πρὸς αὐτὰ διατεθῆτε, ἀλλὰ συντείναντες ἑαυτοὺς κ. ἀνδρικῶς διατεθέντες. Œc. This connexion is better than that imagined by some Commentators, with vv. 5-9 generally; nor is the reason underlying διό, “because the Christian must through trial and proof reach glory” (De Wette), which rather lies in vv. 5-7, and is not again mentioned in the course of these exhortations) gird up (dynamic middle: the aor. conveying the sense of completeness and once-for-all-nature of the action) the loins of your mind (the figure is one throughout,—not your loins, viz. those of your mind, τὰς ὀσφύας ὑμῶν τῆς διανοίας. On διάνοια, see note on ref. 2 Pet. The exhortation seems to be taken from our Lord’s command, Luke 12:35, where, as here, the girding up is a preparation for the coming of the Lord. On the figure see Ephesians 6:14 ff., and Œc, above), being sober (“Mentis sobrietas et vigilantia requiritur, sicque metaphora in lumborum cinctura prius reposita ἐξηγητικῶς explicatur.” Gerhard in Wiesinger. Calvin explains it well, “Non temperantiam solum in cibo et potu commendat, sed spiritualem potius sobrietatem, quum sensus omnes nostros continemus, ne se hujus mundi illecebris inebrient.” Observe νήφοντες, pres. part., indicating the continuing state in which the ἀναζώσασθαι and the ἐλπίσαι take place), hope perfectly (i. e. “without doubt or dejection, with full devotion of soul,” De W.: even better Wahl, Lex., “ita, ut nihil desideretur.” Erasm., Grot., Bengel take τελείως as merely temporal, “in finem usque;” and so E. V., “hope to the end:” but this clearly does not reach the full meaning. Syr., Œc., , Benson, Semler, al. join τελείως with νήφοντες, which is of course possible, and better satisfies the rhythm of the sentence, in which on the other view νήφοντες stands rather feebly alone. But all things considered, I feel persuaded the majority of Commentators are right in making it an emphatic adjunct to the great word of exhortation, ἐλπίσατε) for (in the direction of: so ref. 1 Tim.) the grace (i. e. the great gift of grace, the crowning example of grace. Syr., Œc., al. read χαράν) which is being brought (E. V., “is to be brought;” not amiss, but not giving, what φερομένην expresses, the near impending of the event spoken of: q. d. ‘which is even now bearing down on you’) to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ (the meaning of St. Peter’s own ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, as applied to the revelation of the Lord at His second advent, ver. 7, seems to fix the meaning of the above words as here given, and to preclude the rendering of Erasm. (“dum vobis patefit, seu manifestatur, Jesus Christus:” but doubtfully), Luther, Calov., Bengel, Steiger, al., who take the whole as referring to the present revelation of grace made by the gospel, in which Jesus Christ is revealed. The right meaning is given by Œc., Calv. (but taking ἐν for εἰς “usque ad”), Beza, Grot., Est., Semler, Pott, De W., Huther, Wiesinger).

14-21.] Second Exhortation—to obedience, and holiness, and reverence. This exhortation is intimately connected with the former; but not therefore, as Wiesinger, to be regarded as one and the same. Each of these is evolved regularly out of the last (cf. again ver. 22), but each is an advance onward through the cycle of Christian graces and dispositions.

14.] As (“ὡς here, as in ch. 2:2, 5; 3:7, does not serve for comparison, but marks the essential quality of the subject: Lorinus says on ch. 2:14 rightly, ‘Constat hujusmodi particulas sæpe nihil minuere, sed rei veritatem magis exprimere.’ ” Huther) children of obedience (cf. τέκνα ὀργῆς, Ephesians 2:3; τέκνα φωτός, ib 5:8; and esp. τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας, ib. 5:6; τεκνα κατάρας, 2Peter 2:14. “This mode of expression,” says Winer, Gram. § 34. 3. b, Remark 2, “must be referred to the more vivid way of regarding things prevalent among the Orientals, which treats intimate connexion, derivation and dependence, even in spiritual matters, as the relation of a child or a son. ‘Children of disobedience’ are accordingly those, who belong to ἀπείθεια as a child to its mother, to whom disobedience is become a nature, a ruling disposition.” Hence the student may learn to rise above all such silly and shallow interpretations as that τέκνα ὑπακοῆς is a Hebraism for τέκνα ὑπήκοα. The depths of the sacred tongue were given us to descend into, not to bridge over) not conforming yourselves (thus only, by expressing a middle sense, can we bring out the present participle as combined with the subjective prohibitory particle: and so E. V., well: “not fashioning yourselves according to.” [But it would have been better to keep the same English for the word as is given in] ref., where the expression, and tense, are similar. The word συνσχηματίζεσθαι belongs to later Greek. The participial construction is variously explained: Wiesinger refers it back to ἀναζωσάμενοι and νήφοντες above; Bengel supplies γενήθητε; De Wette connects it with γενήθητε following, ἀλλά being inserted in negligence of the strict construction; Huther regards it as belonging not to γενήθητε, but to κατὰ τὸν καλές. ὑμ. ἅγιον below (?). De Wette’s view is in the closest analogy with the construction in ver. 22, ἡγνικότες.… ἀγαπήσατε: and perhaps therefore to be preferred: but Wiesinger’s is very obvious and natural) to your lusts (which were) formerly in your ignorance (ἄγνοια, as in reff., ignorance of things divine, even to the extent of heathenish alienation from God, which latter is most probably here pointed at. Cf. Romans 1:18 ff. This ignorance marks not only the period, but also the ground and element of these lusts prevailing in fashioning the life. As to the construction in ταῖς " πρότερον ἐν τῇ ἀγνοίᾳ ὑμῶν " ἐπιθυμίαις,—πρότερον-ἐν-τῇ-ἀγν.-ὑμῶν, which would more naturally stand as predicate (ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις ταῖς πρότ.-ἐν-τῇ-ἀγν-ὑμ.), forms an adjectival epithet),

15.] nay rather (owing to the broken construction, ἀλλά is not, strictly speaking, the negation of μὴ συνσχημ., but of whatever we supply to complete it; and thus is stronger than merely ‘but.’ So Œc., ἀλλὰ νῦν γοῦν, λέγει, τῷ καλέσαντι συσχηματιζόμενοι, ἁγίῳ ὄντι κ.τ.λ.) after the pattern of (the prep. still carries on the idea of conformity of σχῆμα) that Holy One (ἄγιον is a substantive, not an adjectival predicate, as Œc. above, E. V., and De Wette) who called you, be ye yourselves also (γενήθητε, aor. imperat., setting forth the completeness with which this holiness is to be put on. But the passive sense of ἐγενήθην must not be every where pressed: see notes on 1Thessalonians 1:5: Hebrews 4:3. The attempt to assign an agent wherever ἐγενήθην is used, quite breaks down in some passages, e. g. 2Corinthians 3:7; 2Corinthians 7:14) holy in all (manner of, every instance of: not πάσῃ τῇ nor τῇ πάσῃ: nor need we suppose, as De W., an irregular construction such as it is almost impossible to avoid recognizing in Ephesians 2:21) behaviour (conversation, in the old sense of turning and walking about in life: “Nulla sit pars vitæ quæ non hunc bonum sanctitatis odorem redoleat.” Calv.):

16.] because it is written (διότι gives the reason not only for the designation of God as the Holy One, but for the whole exhortation which precedes—for the duty of assimilation to Him in His Holiness), Ye shall be holy because I am holy (see Matthew 5:48: Ephesians 5:1: 1John 3:3).

17.] Further exhortation, in consideration of our close relation of children to God our Judge, to reverence and godly fear. And if (“Si non dubitantis est, sed supponentis rem notam. Est enim omnium renatorum communis oratio, Pater noster qui es in cœlis.” Estius. The εἰ introduces an hypothesis with an understood background of fact: If, (as is the case) &c.) ye call upon as father (πατέρα, not, as E. V. “the Father,” but used predicatively and prefixed for emphasis) Him who judgeth impartially (see Acts 10:34: James 2:1 reff. The pres. part. gives the attribute or office: “Him, who is the Judge,” see ref. So that there is not even an apparent inconsistency with the declaration that the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, John 5:22: for this last fact of itself implies that the Father is the Judge, the ‘fons judicii:’ as Didymus says here, “judicante Filio Pater est qui jndicat”) according to the work of each man (ἔργον: “Unius hominis unum est opus, bonum malumve.” Bengel. Cf. James 1:4: Galatians 6:4. ἑκάστου, be he Jew or Gentile, high or low, rich or poor: thus by setting God’s just judgment above all alike, His Majesty, as inculcating godly fear, is enhanced), behave (see on ἀναστροφή above) during the time of your sojourning (on παροικέω, see note, Hebrews 11:9. The Christian, who calls God his Father, is in exile, tarrying in a strange country, while here on earth) in fear (ἐνφόβῳ stands first as emphatic. How, it is asked, is this, seeing that “there is no fear in love: for perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment” (1John 4:18)? Œc. answers, that the fear here recommended is not the φόβος καταρκτικός, leading to repentance, but the φόβος τελειωτικός, which accompanies the Christian through his whole course. And Leighton beautifully says, “This fear is not cowardice: it doth not debase, but elevates the mind: for it drowns all lower fears, and begets true fortitude and courage to encounter all dangers for the sake of a good conscience and the obeying of God. The righteous is as bold as a lion, Proverbs 28:1. He dares do any thing, but offend God: and to dare to do that, is the greatest folly, and weakness, and baseness, in the world. From this fear have sprung all the generous resolutions, and patient sufferings of the saints and martyrs of God: because they durst not sin against Him, therefore they durst be imprisoned, and impoverished and tortured and die for Him. Thus the prophet sets carnal and godly fear as opposite, and the one expelling the other, Isaiah 8:12, Isaiah 8:13. And our Saviour, Luke 12:4, ‘Fear not them which kill the body, but fear Him’ &c. Fear not, but fear: and therefore fear, that you may not fear”),

18.] knowing (being aware: this argument enhances the duty of godly fear by the consideration of the inestimable price at which they were redeemed. This consideration is urged through vv. 18-21) that not (emphatic) with corruptible things (φθαρτοῖς subst.; not, as Luther, agreeing with ἀργυρ. ἢ χρυσίῳ), silver or gold (notice ἀργυρίῳ ἢ χρυσίῳ, not ἀργύρῳ ἢ χρυτῷ. The diminutive forms stand generally (not always, cf. Palm and Rost in χρυσίον) for the coined or wrought metal: and such a sense would be applicable here), were ye redeemed (bought out of, by the payment of a λύτρον, presently to be specified: see reff., and cf. ἀγοράζεσθαι, 1Corinthians 6:20; 1Corinthians 7:23; ἐξαγοράζεσθαι, Galatians 3:13) out of your vain conversation (ματαίας ἀναστρ., “vana vivendi ratio, quæ, ubi tempus præteriit, nil reliqui fructus habet.” Beng.) delivered to you from your fathers (“unus Pater imitandus ver. 17: idem antitheton, Matthew 23:9.” Bengel. This again makes it probable that the persons here more especially addressed are Gentile Christians. The Apostle, himself a Jew, would hardly speak of the vain ungodly lives of Jews as πατροπαράδοτα, without more explanation.

Benson, in loc., imagines that there is an allusion to the Jewish practice of paying down money as a ransom for life, Exodus 21:30; Exodus 30:11-16: Numbers 3:44-51; Numbers 18:15: but there does not seem any ground for this view here: the words following on ἐλυτρώθητε do not give countenance to it, but rather favour the view that it is the buying out of captivity which is in the Apostle’s mind: see below),—

19.] but with precious (τιμίῳ is not, as Huther, In opposition to φθαρτοῖς; nor does it signify “imperishable,” but simply and generally ‘precious,’ ‘of worth’) blood, as of a lamb blameless and spotless (see Exodus 12:5: Leviticus 22:20), (even the blood) of Christ (this I believe to be the more natural construction. The other, adopted by E. V., De Wette, Huther, Wiesinger, and many Commentators, “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb” &c., is of course legitimate; and in that case τιμίῳ being prefixed for emphasis, is explained by the ὡς ἀμνοῦ clause inserted between it and χριστοῦ. We have a somewhat similar arrangement in Hebrews 12:27, δηλοῖ τῶν σαλευομένων τὴν μετάθεσιν, ὡς πεποιημένων. But I prefer the other, as bringing forward the τιμίῳ αἵματι in contrast to the φθαρτοῖς, ἀργ. ἢ χρυς. and then explaining the τιμίῳ by a climax finding its highest point in χριστοῦ.

The question, with what particular lamb Christ is here compared, will be found discussed in the main on John 1:29. Our reply here however will be somewhat modified by the consideration, that the figure of buying out of the ματαία ἀναστροφή seems to contain an allusion to the bringing up out of Egypt, and the προεγνωσμένου following, to the taking up of the paschal lamb beforehand, cf. Exodus 12:3, Exodus 12:6. And thus I believe Wiesinger and Hofmann are right in maintaining here the reference to the paschal lamb. “As Israel’s redemption from Egypt required the blood of the paschal lamb, so the redemption of those brought out of heathendom required the blood of Christ, the predestination of whom from eternity is compared with the taking up of the lamb on the tenth day of the month.” Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 326. See, for a further discussion of this point, Wiesinger’s note here: and Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. 1. 194 ff.):

20.] The preciousness and completeness of this redemption is further enhanced by God’s foreordination of it, and His bringing it to glorious completion in His due time. Who (viz. χριστός, as shewn by the αὐτόν and αὐτῷ below) hath been foreordained indeed (see on ver. 2) before the foundation of the world (see reff. The same thought is foremost in the Apostle’s speech in Acts 2:23, Acts 3:18), but manifested (brought out of the κρυπτόν of God’s purposes into the φανερόν of Incarnation and historical world-fact. The same word occurs in ch. 5:4 of the yet future manifestation of Christ at His second coming) at the end of the times (cf. ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων, Hebrews 1:1, and note there: and for this substantive sense of ἐσχάτου, Acts 1:8; Acts 13:47. This φανέρωσις of Christ, as Wiesinger remarks, marks this as the end of the times, and this last time shall only endure so long, as this φανέρωσις requires) for your sakes (an additional and weighty intensification of their obligation)

21.] who are through Him (surely not only, as Wies., through His manifestation; but through Him personally, made to you all that He is made as the medium of your faith in God: the resurrection and glory being included. In fact τὸν ἐγείραντα κ.τ.λ. is an epexegesis of διʼ αὐτοῦ) believers on God (a similar specification is found at ver. 4, εἰς ὑμᾶς τοὺς κ.τ.λ.) who raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory (“That we are redeemed from our vain conversation, is owing to the blood of Christ: but that we have faith and hope in God, is brought about by God having raised Christ from the dead, and given Him glory.” Hofm. Schriftb. ii. 1, p. 383. Wies. remarks that the δόξαι of ver. 11 are here separately specified), so that your faith and hope are (not, as Syr., Vulg., Œc., Luth., Calv., Beza, Est., al., and E. V., “that your faith and hope might be;” nor, as Aretius (in Huth.), “so that your faith and hope ought to be:” but simply announcing a matter of fact. Your faith rests on Christ’s resurrection—it was God who raised Him: your hope, on Christ’s glorification: it is God who has given Him that glory. Closely accordant with this is St. Peter’s first public speech in the Acts 2:22 ff., where all that has happened to Christ is referred to God as the doer of it) on (resting on and in) God.

22-25.] Third exhortation, to love of one another, from the consideration of their new birth by the word of God.

22.] Having purified (i. e. ‘seeing that ye have purified:’ the part. carries with it an inferential force as to the exhortation, and besides, assumes that as a fact to which it covertly exhorts. “Luther has rendered it, not exactly, but according to the sense: machet keusch … und …” Huther. ἁγνίζειν, of moral purification, as in ref.) your souls (the ψυχαί, as the centres of personality, though here described as purified by the persons themselves, yet are not so except by a process in which the whole person is employed: the habit of obedience) in (the course of: the region, in which the purification takes place) your obedience of (‘to,’ so that τῆς ἀλ. is gen. objective. It might be, obedience brought about by the truth, gen. subjective: but not so simply. ‘The truth’ is that of the Gospel of Christ in its largest sense, not merely as Calv., “regula, quam nobis Dominus in evangelio præscribit:” and ὑπακοὴ τῆς ἀληθείας nearly = ὑπ. (τῆς) πίστεως, Romans 1:5 and elsewhere. Compare St. Peter’s own saying, Acts 15:9, τῇ πίστει καθαρίσας τὰς καρδίας αὐτῶν) the truth (see above), unto (‘with a view to,’ ‘in the direction of,’ it might be with or without intention: the legitimate tendency of that purification, which ought to have been going on in your souls, was toward) unfeigned (reff.) brotherly love (love of Christians towards one another: see reff.), love one another from the heart earnestly (καρδία is the seat of the affections: let the love come straight and pure from thence, not short of it, from any secondary purpose as its origin. ἐκτενῶς is proscribed by Phrynichus, p. 311, where see Lobeck’s note. But the adj. is not, as sometimes stated, a word of later Greek: we have ἐκτενὴς φίλος in Æsch. Suppl. 990. ‘Intente’ exactly gives the sense: with the energies on the stretch):

23.] Ground of the exhortation, carried up further than the act of ἡγνικέναι above, to the state of the new life of which that was an act; even to the beginning of that new life in their regeneration by the divine word. And the begetting cause of this new birth being God’s living and imperishable word, from that fact come in new considerations, enforcing that pure love which belongs not to a transitory and shifting but to an eternal and abiding state. Being born again, not of (out of, as origin) corruptible seed (σπορά, not in its strict and proper sense, ‘sowing’ (ref. 4 Kings), but in its looser one of seed. And the seed spoken of is not, as Huther, that of plants; but the semen humanum, as the sequel shews), but incorruptible, by means of (not ἐκ this time. The word of God is not the begetting principle itself, but only that by which the principle works: as it were the coccus or grain which is the involucrum and vehicle of the mysterious germinating power. We are not regenerated ἐκ but διὰ λόγου. But on the other hand, the word itself is no mere perishing vehicle; no mere sacramental symbol, lost in the using: but it lives by and with the divine principle of life which it conveys and expands, and abides for ever. The ἐκ of origination rests in God Himself, the Father, who begat us of his own will: the διὰ of instrumentality moves on and abides for ever) the (the definite art. is necessary in English, for the very reason for which it is omitted in Greek: viz. to prevent the λόγου from becoming concrete, and keep it to its widest general and abstract reference) word of God, living and abiding (ζῶντος is thrown forward, as an emphatic predicate, before θεοῦ. That the two participles belong to λόγου, not to θεοῦ, is decisively shewn by the sequel, where the abiding nature, not of God, but of the word of God, is set forth. Many, however, have taken them with θεοῦ; so vulg. (“per verbum Dei vivi”), (not Œc. as commonly cited, for he says, on this verse, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα δὲ μένειν αὐτὸ διαβεβαιοῦται), Beza (who however prints “per verbum Dei vivum et permanentis,” sic), Calv. (altern., preferring this), Aretius, Grot. (expressly, alleging for it Daniel 6:26, Theod., ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν θεὸς ζῶν καὶ μένων εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας), al.).

24.] Because (Scripture proof that the word of God lives and abides. “Locum Jes. xl. 6 f. citat ad probationem utriusque membri, hoc est ut constet, quam fluxa et misera sit prima hominis nativitas, et quanta regenerationis gratia.” Calv.) all flesh (= man in his life of σῶμα and ψυχή only: “homo ex vetere generatione,” as Bengel) is as (ὡς is neither in Heb. nor in LXX) grass, and all glory of it (“quicquid ex carne veluti flos ex gramine suo efflorescit,” Wies.) as flower of grass. The grass was dried up (the aor.; the fact being related as in a tale; so in James 1:11. In more idiomatic English, we should say “hath dried up”), and the flower (thereof) fell (is fallen, see above) away:

25.] but the word (the change from λόγος to ῥῆμα may be on account of the citation. Yet it is not easy to see why it would have been more difficult to change ῥῆμα to λόγος than τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν to κυρίου. ῥῆμα is rather the word uttered, the ‘dictum:’ λόγος, the word, uttered or unuttered, single or manifold, concrete or abstract) of the Lord (LXX, τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν: changed here probably on account of the application which follows, as De W.) remaineth for ever. And (the δέ applies what has gone before: the contrast being between the general truth and the particular identification) this (predicate, logically considered, not subject, as Wies., al.: “The word which was &c. is this very ῥῆμα here spoken of”) is the word which was (Angl. has been) preached to you (in the declaration of the gospel. εἰς ὑμᾶς, not merely the dative commodi ὑμῖν, but as addressed to you and diffused among you: see reff. The logical inference to be drawn is, ‘and consequently the word preached to you is imperishable and eternal, and demands of you that you earnestly and intently follow up that new life which by it has been implanted in you.’ Hence the connexion of ch. 2:1-3).

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
James 5
Top of Page
Top of Page