Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 2 April 2019
Chapter 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Scripture Text: The Scripture text of First Peter used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Other Scripture quotations may be taken from published versions. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud Abbreviations.
Grammar: Unless otherwise indicated the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), given as "BDB." The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament). The abbreviation LXX stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. The LXX with English translation may be found here.
Blessing for a Living Hope, 1:3-5
Joy in the Midst of Trials, 1:6-9
Prophecy of Messianic Salvation, 1:10-12
Exhortation to Piety, 1:13-16
The Impartial Judge, 1:17-21
Exhortation to Love, 1:22-25
1 Peter, apostle of Messiah Yeshua, to the chosen ones, exiles of the dispersion of Pontus, of Galatia, of Cappadocia, of Asia, and of Bithynia
Peter: Grk. Petros, personal name meaning 'a stone' (BAG, Mounce), although Thayer says the name signifies a stone, a rock, a ledge or a cliff, and Danker defines the name as "rockman." Petros translates the Aramaic name Kêpha ("rock"), a loanword in Hebrew (SH-3710; BDB 495). Delitzsch transliterates the Greek name into Hebrew as Peterôs. The name was given to him by Yeshua (John 1:42). The name of Petros occurs frequently in the apostolic narratives (150 times), but only four times in the apostolic letters. Paul refers to Peter by his Aramaic name (spelled "Cephas") 8 times in his letters (1Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal 1:18; 2:9, 11, 14), but only twice by his Greek name (Gal 2:7, 8). Peter's birth name in Hebrew was Shimôn ("he has heard") or Simon, and this fact is stressed several times (Matt 4:18; 10:2; Acts 10:5, 18, 32; 11:13).
The combination name "Simon Peter" occurs twenty times, all but three in the book of John. Peter was married (Mark 1:30; 1Cor 9:5) and maintained a residence in Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29). The name of Peter's father is given in John 1:42 and 21:15-17 as John (Grk. Iōannēs; Heb. Yochanan). Little considered by commentators is Simon's family ancestry. Yeshua addressed him as "Simon Barjona" (Heb. bar Yona) (Matt 16:17), which means that Simon's family descended from the prophet Jonah.
apostle: Grk. apostolos, a delegate, ambassador, envoy, messenger, emissary or official representative. In the LXX apostolos translated shalach (1Kgs 14:6), "one being sent." First century Judaism institutionalized the office of shaliach, who acted as an official messenger or a proxy for and with the full authority of the sender. Thus, the OJB and TLV render the plural noun as shlichim. The shaliach's mission was "limited in scope and duration by definite commission and terminating on its completion" (DNTT 1:128). When Paul persecuted the disciples of Yeshua he was acting as a shaliach of the Sanhedrin, but when he was transformed by his Damascus road experience he became the shaliach of Yeshua (1Tim 1:1, 12-15).
In the apostolic writings the term "apostle" is specifically applied to the original Twelve (Matt 10:2), then Mattathias (Acts 1:25-26), Paul (Acts 14:14), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), and Jacob (the half-brother of Yeshua, Gal 1:19). The apostles of Yeshua were so named because they had "seen the Lord," either during his earthly ministry or after his resurrection (John 20:25; Acts 9:27; 1Cor 9:1; 15:5-9; 1Jn 1:1) and were approved to speak on His behalf. All true apostles had the authority to proclaim the good news, exercise authority, shepherd the congregations they founded (cf. 1Cor 14:37) and equip the disciples for service (Eph 4:11).
of Messiah: Grk. Christos, the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. The English "Christ" transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it. In Greek culture christos comes from chriein, to rub lightly, and in its secular use had no religious connotation at all (DNTT 2:334). Christos was chosen deliberately by the Jewish translators of the LXX to render Mashiach and in so doing infused new meaning into the Greek word. The Heb. title Mashiach means ‘anointed one’ or ‘poured on.’ Mashiach was used in the Tanakh for (1) the patriarchs (1Chr 16:16-22; Ps 105:15); (2) the High Priest, Lev 4:5; (3) the King, 1Sam 12:3; 2Sam 22:51; Isa 45:1; and (4) the Messiah, Ps 2:2 and Dan 9:25-26. This last usage defined the term in the first century A.D. The Christos of the apostles was both high priest and king of the Jews who fulfilled all the promises made to the patriarchs and the nation of Israel. Among Christians the translation of "Christ" tends to obscure Yeshua's Jewish identity. (For discussion on Messianic identity and expectation in the first century see my commentary on Mark 1:1).
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). In the LXX Iēsous renders both Heb. Yeshua and Heb. Y’hoshua, which were common names. Six men bear the name Yeshua, translated as "Jeshua" in English versions (1Chr 24:11; 2Chr 31:15; Ezra 2:6; 3:2; Neh 3:19; 8:7). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, the history of translation of the name and his titles see my web article Who is Yeshua?
After presenting his credentials Peter identifies the recipients of his letter with a triad of labels, all pointing to their being Messianic Jews.
to the chosen ones: pl. of Grk. eklektos, adj., to be favored with select status, (derived from the verb eklegō, to pick out for oneself, choose or select); chosen, elect. Most versions put "chosen" at the end of the verse or into the beginning of the second verse, but Peter actually begins his greeting by identifying the covenantal heritage of his readers. The noun appears 23 times in the Besekh, divided about equally between the apostolic narratives and letters, and mostly identify followers of Yeshua (Matt 20:16; 22:14; 24:22; Rom 8:33; Col 3:12; 2Tim 2:10; Titus 1:1; Rev 17:14). In the LXX eklektos primarily renders two words: Heb. mibchar (SH-4005), choice, best (Gen 23:6) and especially Heb. bachir (SH-972), chosen (2Sam 21:6).
The Hebrew noun bachir indicates that the purpose of the choice is some commission or service, and can only meaningfully retain its validity in its fulfillment (DNTT 1:538). This election began with the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and extended to their blood descendants, the nation of Israel (Deut 4:37; 10:15). When applied to Israel (Ps 105:6, 43; Isa 43:20; 45:4; 65:9) the concept of being chosen reflects God's intention to create among the nations a new and different type of community, a holy nation of priests (Ex 19:6; Deut 7:6; 14:2). It is within this historical context that Peter uses the term, connecting it with the covenantal choosing of Israel to be a holy nation (1Pet 2:9).
Marshall imposes replacement theology on the definition of eklektos, saying,
"It is difficult to resist the impression that Peter saw the church as the spiritual heir of Israel. The early church was confronted with the problem that the nation of Israel was the object of God's promises to its physical ancestors, and yet by and large it had rejected the Messiah, Jesus. It seems clear that for the church those who rejected the Messiah ceased to be God's people, although his promises were still offered to them." (30)
Marshall should have resisted, because he couldn't be more wrong. Yeshua was only rejected by the Judean rulers. As noted later by Jacob (Yeshua's half-brother and leader of the Jerusalem congregation), tens of thousands of Jews were counted among Yeshua's devoted followers (Acts 21:20). Moreover, Paul makes it very clear that God did not reject Israel (Rom 11:1-2). In the apostolic writings eklektos would correspond to the four designations for Israel — the Sheep Flock (John 10:14-16), the Commonwealth (Eph 2:11-13), the Olive Tree (Rom 11:17-24) and the Temple (Eph 2:14) — to which Gentile disciples of Yeshua have been joined. The concept of the elect in Scripture is not equivalent to Christianity (the invention of the church fathers), which historically denied God's covenantal relationship to Israel.
exiles: Grk. parepidēmos, adj., at home, visiting in a place; staying as a resident foreigner. Mounce adds 'staying in a country not one's own.' The term occurs only three times in the Besekh (also 1Pet 2:11 and Heb 11:13). In the LXX parepidēmos occurs two times and renders Heb. toshab (SH-8453), sojourner, first used of Abraham (Gen 23:4), and second used by David in reference to himself and all his forefathers (Ps 39:12). While toshab is used of non-Israelite people (e.g., Ex 12:45), the limited use of parepidēmos in the LXX indicates that Peter's use of this noun is in reference to blood descendants of Abraham.
of the dispersion: Grk. diaspora, dispersion or scattering experienced by a group. The term occurs in passages of the LXX that speak of the removal of Israelite peoples from the Land and scattering them into other lands (Deut 28:25; 30:4; Neh 1:9; Ps 147:2; Isa 49:6; Jer 15:7; 34:17; 2Macc 1:27). Blum says the noun points to the fact that Christians are "pilgrims" who do not reside permanently on earth, but instead belong to the heavenly realm (cf. Eph 2:19; Php 3:20; Heb 11:13-16). However, diaspora is not used figuratively to mean being a pilgrim as Paul spoke of Abraham looking for the heavenly city. The term occurs only three times in the Besekh (also John 7:35 and Jas 1:1), all as a technical term for lands outside Israel where Jews resided. The term does not refer to dispersion of Gentiles.
By the first century A.D. there were numerous Jewish settlements in Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, Italy and the islands of the Aegean, which had resulted from emigration (sometimes voluntary and sometimes forced) from Babylon (Tarn & Griffith 219). Josephus reported that "the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers" (Ant. XI, 5:2). All of these settlements became the starting point for the apostles to proclaim the fulfillment of prophetic promises, since the good news was for the Jew first. The Besekh provides several clues to the strength of the Messianic Jewish population. See my article The Apostolic Community for a complete explanation.
The early church historian Eusebius (c. 260-341 AD) said that Peter wrote to "the Hebrews of the dispersion" (Church History, Book III, 4:2). Some modern commentators characterize the recipients as "Jewish Christians," a label that can be misleading. To many modern people "Jew" and "Christian" represent different religions and when they read "Christian" in Peter's letter (1Pet 4:16), they typically insert their own definition of "Christian" into the text. Thus, a "Jewish Christian" is a Jew who has converted to Christianity and left his Judaism behind. Nothing could be further from the truth about Jewish followers of Yeshua in the apostolic era. Actually, Christianos is a Jewish term meaning "Messianic" and coined by a Jew (Paul; Acts 11:26) to describe Jewish believers in Yeshua. Indeed the constituency of congregations in the apostolic era was predominately Jewish, i.e., "Messianic Jews," but they also included proselytes and God-fearing Gentiles who had formerly worshipped at synagogues.
Peter then mentions five specific locations in the Diaspora, all in Asia Minor (see the map here). No doubt Peter's intention was that his letter be circulated among the congregations in those regions. of Pontus: Grk. Pontos, a province just south of the Black Sea in Asia Minor. The terrain varies from fertile plains along the shore to rugged mountains farther inland. The Greeks colonized the plains shortly after 700 B.C., but the mountains remained free of their influence. Mithradates founded the kingdom of Pontus in about 302 B.C. and it remained in his dynasty until 63 B.C. when Rome took over. The good news of the Messiah spread to Pontus early, probably through those who witnessed the Spirit's anointing on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:9). Aquila, a fellow-worker of Paul was a native of Pontus (Acts 18:2).
of Galatia: Grk. Galatia, a large Roman province in central Asia Minor. It is this region to which Paul wrote his epistle titled "Galatians." Principal communities included Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. Paul visited the region during his first, second and third missionary journeys. of Cappadocia: Grk. Kappadokia, a Roman province in Asia Minor, bounded on the north by Pontus, on the east by Armenia Minor, on the south by Cilicia and Commagene, on the west by Lycaonia and Galatia. Jews from Cappadocia were in Jerusalem on Pentecost and heard Peter proclaim the good news of the Messiah (Acts 2:9). of Asia: Grk. Asia refers to the Roman district bordering on the Aegean Sea in western Anatolia, the geographical name for the peninsula of Asia Minor, now known as Turkey. Jews from this province were in Jerusalem on Pentecost and heard Peter proclaim the good news of the Messiah (Acts 2:9).
and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). Conjunctions connect data or statements within verses, but in Hebraic fashion begin many verses also, as in verses 7, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 24, and 25 below. The excessive use of conjunctions is evidence of the Hebraic influence on the Greek language and grammar employed by apostolic writers. In contrast to most Bible versions I translate all the instances of kai (and all the other conjunctions) as a reminder of the Hebraic influence.
of Bithynia: Grk. Bithunia, a province of Asia Minor on the coastline of the Black Sea to the west of Pontus. Paul attempted to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit would not allow him to do so (Acts 16:7). The neighboring provinces of Pontus and Bithynia were administered together under Roman rule so the mention of pilgrims from Pontus at Pentecost (Acts 2:9) implies some of them could have been from Bithynia. According to church tradition Peter traveled throughout Asia Minor to follow-up on the new disciples and as well as organize congregations.
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, into the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Messiah Yeshua: Grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Blum and Fruchtenbaum say that Peter's salutation presents salvation as the work of the Trinity. We should note that Peter does not use the term "Trinity," considered the central doctrine of Christianity. In Scripture there is no single term by which the three divine personalities of the one God are denoted together, although Elohim in Genesis 1:1 could serve such a function. The word for Trinity, trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation), is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom (To Autolycus II.15). Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian (On Modesty 1:21). The word came into general use in the next century. Stern comments that even though non-Messianic Jews find the concept of the triunity of God a stumblingblock, Scripture from the beginning presents the absolute unity of God expressed through the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Yeshua the Messiah.
according to: Grk. kata, prep., the root meaning is "down," but with the accusative case of the noun following it is translated as "according to" denoting relation (DM 107). the foreknowledge: Grk. prognōsis, state of having in mind; plan or purpose. Mounce adds 'foreknowledge; previous determination.' The noun occurs only twice in the Besekh, also in Peter's sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:23). of God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and infallible ruler of the universe. In the LXX theos renders primarily Elohim, but also YHVH. As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos (DNTT 2:67-70).
Christian creeds omit the fact that God is the God of Israel and only present Him as the omnipotent power who created the universe. However, Scripture quickly identifies theos as the God who entered covenant with the patriarchs and Israel, thus becoming known as the "God of Israel," an expression that occurs frequently in the Tanakh and twice in the Besekh (Matt 15:31; Luke 1:68). Parallel to this formula is "God of Jacob,” which appears 21 times in Scripture, 13 of which include the longer formula, "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." Every nation had their deity, but only to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and then Moses did the true God reveal His name, His election and His commandments. This God may be the God of the Gentiles (Rom 3:29), but only if they accept the revelation that He is the God of Israel and join themselves to Israel. Only the God of Israel saves (Jer 16:19-20).
the Father: normally of a male biological parent or ancestor, but frequently in reference to God, which emphasizes His activity as creator, ruler and sustainer (BAG). In the LXX patēr renders ab ("av"), which occurs about 1180 times, generally in the human sense, but also of God as father (DNTT 1:616f). In the Hebrew vernacular Yeshua and the apostles would have used the word abba, as occurs in (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). In the Tanakh God's identity as a parent is first mentioned in reference to His covenantal relationship with Israel (Deut 1:31; 8:5; 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 43:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:19; 31:9; Hos 1:10: Mal 1:6). Israel is specifically identified as God's son (Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1). The God of Israel is also father of the king as the embodiment of Israel (2Sam 7:14; Ps 89:27). Only in late Jewish apocryphal writings is God called the Father of the pious Jew as an individual (Sir 23:1, 4; Tob 13:4; Wsd 2:16; 14:3; 3Macc 5:7).
While Jews recognized the God of Israel as the "father" of mankind in the sense of creator (Acts 17:28; Josephus, Ant. IV, 8:24), the capitalized "Father" in the Besekh continues the meaning found in the Tanakh. Unfortunately the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed removed the association with Israel and presented the Father as only the "Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Yeshua acknowledged this covenantal relationship when he taught his Jewish disciples to pray "our Father" (Matt 6:9). Yeshua also spoke to his Jewish disciples of "your Father" (Matt 5:45, 48; 6:14, 26, 32; Mark 7:11; Luke 6:36). Thus, for the Body of Messiah the God of Israel becomes "our Father" (Rom 1:7; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2).
in: Grk. en, prep., generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within," used here to denote agency. the sanctification: Grk. hagiasmos, dedication to the interests of deity; holiness, consecration, sanctification. The term may refer to a process or its result (the state of being made holy). In the LXX hagiasmos has no clear Hebrew equivalent (DNTT 2:224), although cognates of hagiasmos (hagiazō, hagiasma and hagios) do translate the qodesh word-group. Christian theologians tend to distinguish "the process" and "the result" with the term "sanctification" for the process and "holiness" for the result. However the qodesh word-group really describes the state or condition, whether of God, angels, people, the sanctuary or vessels devoted to worship. Qodesh, based on its usage in the Torah of things and people, can be defined simply as "wholly His," i.e., ownership by the God of Israel. It is being set apart for God's service, a servant devoted to performing His will.
of the Spirit: Grk. pneuma (for Heb. ruach), wind, breath or spirit as the animating force for bodily movement (Luke 8:55). Pneuma is used frequently for transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Holy Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). The first reference to the Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim) occurs in Genesis 1:2 where He was moving over the Deep, assisting the Word (Logos) in creation. Ruach Elohim occurs a total of 12 times in the Tanakh. A parallel name, Ruach Adonai-YHVH (Spirit of the Lord God) occurs one time (Isa 61:1). One other name is used: Ruach YHVH (Spirit of ADONAI) occurs 23 times. Then, Ruach occurs by itself 23 times in passages where it's clear that Ruach is the Spirit of God (e.g. Num 11:17; Isa 48:16; Zech 4:6). All of these passages in the Tanakh indicate that the Spirit is divine, not less or other than God.
The Bible reveals much about the work of the Spirit. The Spirit inspired the Scriptures (Acts 28:25; 1Cor 2:10; 2Peter 1:21). He convicts of sin (John 16:8; Heb 3:7). He enables understanding of Scripture (John 14:26; 16:13). He intercedes in our prayers (Rom 8:26f). He helps disciples to testify for Yeshua (Matt 10:20). He inspires prophesying (John 16:13; Acts 2:18). He gives direction for evangelism (Acts 8:29; 10:19; 11:12). He speaks to the congregation about its ministry and character (Acts 13:2; 15:28; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). He regenerates and sanctifies believers to produce godly character that conforms to the Torah of God (John 6:63; Acts 1:8; Rom 7:6; 8:13f; 1Cor 6:11; Gal 5:22; 2Th 2:13).
into: Grk. eis, prep., focus on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; and in composition may be translated "in, into, to, toward, for, or among." the obedience: Grk. hupakoē, the state of being in compliance; obedience, submission. and sprinkling: Grk. rhantismos, a technical term related to purification rites in the Temple. The noun occurs only twice in the Besekh, also used by Paul (Heb 12:24). of the blood: Grk. haima may refer to human or animal blood. Haima also has figurative uses in the apostolic writings as the seat of life, as an expiatory sacrifice and as a prophetic color portending disaster. of Messiah Yeshua: See the previous verse.
Peter describes the sanctification of the Spirit as creating a union with the obedience of Yeshua to the Father's will. The "sprinkling of the blood of Yeshua" does not describe the manner of Yeshua's death, but is a word picture of how the atoning efficacy of his blood is applied to people. There were only two times in the Torah that blood was actually sprinkled on people: first, with the blood of a bull at the commitment of Israelites to obey covenantal expectations (Ex 24:5-8) and second, with the blood of a ram at the ordination of Aaron to the priesthood (Ex 29:21). The Torah also contained a provision that the cleansing of a person with a skin disorder included sprinkling bird's blood on the person for restoration to the community (Lev 14:1-7).
The first two instances of sprinkling in the Torah have a direct bearing to disciples. Paul comments that the sprinkling of Yeshua's blood is related to the inauguration of the New Covenant (Heb 12:24), just as the sprinkling of Israel inaugurated the Sinaitic covenant. Then the sprinkling of Aaron for his ordination typifies the priestly office that all disciples are given (1Pet 2:5, 9). Even the cleansing ceremony for unclean persons by sprinkling blood pertains to salvation, because we were once unclean but now clean by the blood of the Lamb (cf. Heb 9:22; 10:22; 1Jn 1:7).
Stern notes that sprinkling is mentioned six times in the Besekh, the other five instances being in Hebrews 9–12. Under the Sinai Covenant, blood represents both death and life, because "the life is in the blood" (Lev 17:11). The shed blood brings forgiveness, the sprinkled blood purifies. Under the New Covenant, the significance of shedding and sprinkling blood is the same as in the Tanakh; but instead of being literal, the sprinkling is accomplished inwardly through trust (Rom 3:25).
Grace: Grk. charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient; thus, grace, gracefulness, graciousness, favor, thanks or gratitude. In the LXX charis occurs about 190 times of which only about 75 have a Hebrew equivalent, of which 61 are for Heb. hēn (favor) (DNTT 2:116). Charis also twice renders Heb. hesed (loyal love or loving-kindness) and rachamim ("mercy"). Wishing God's favor upon someone was a typical Jewish greeting. and peace: Grk. eirēnē (for Heb. shalom), peace, which may be in reference to (1) a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships; or (2) a state of well-being, used Hebraically as a greeting or as characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor.
be multiplied: Grk. plēthunō, aor. pass. opt., cause to become more in number; increase, multiply. The optative mood depicts strong contingency or possibility. There is no definite anticipation of realization, but sees what is conceivable. So the verb represents a wish. The verb also illustrates that "grace" and "peace" are not simple greetings, but two of the greatest blessings that God gives to people. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The plural pronoun is used collectively of all the recipients of this letter.
Blessing for a Living Hope, 1:3-5
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Messiah Yeshua, who according to his great mercy having begotten us into a living hope through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua from the dead,
Blessed be: Grk. eulogētos, adj., for Heb. barukh, worthy of praise or blessing; blessed. the God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. In typical Jewish fashion Peter begins his letter with a blessing of God. As a Jew Peter learned very early to bless God on many occasions for every enjoyable thing in life. (These may be found in the Talmud tractate Berakoth.) The formula for blessings set forth in the Mishnah consisted of two parts, first the standard invocation, Barukh attah Adonai, ("Blessed are You, O LORD," quoting Psalm 119:12) (Ber. 1:4), followed by the reason for the invocation, "who [action verb]." In this case "blessed be" is a contraction of the standard invocation and the action verb "having begotten" follows.
For a Jew blessing God is not simply an expression of gratitude, although that is included in the concept. Blessing God recognizes His omnipotent power to accomplish all things for His glory and our good. Since the root meaning of barakh is to kneel, it's not hard to see how we can bless God. We can kneel before Him and acknowledge our utter dependence on Him. (For more on this subject see Irene Lipson, Blessing the King of the Universe: Transforming Your Life Through the Practice of Biblical Praise, Lederer Books, 2004.)
and Father: Grk. patēr. See the previous verse. of our: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun binds the readers to Peter as sharing the same thing. Lord: Grk. kurios generally means the owner of possessions. In the vernacular kurios was used to refer to persons of high or respected position, addressed as "sir," "lord" or "master," but especially as a designation for God. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times. In the great majority of instances (over 6,000 times), kurios replaces the Heb. YHVH. In contrast to its use for deity the LXX uses kurios 207 times to render Hebrew words used in reference to men in recognition of rank or authority.
Kurios is the principal title used for Yeshua throughout the apostolic writings. However, Peter probably uses kurios as equivalent to the Heb. adôn ("Lord" in the sense of "ruler"), rather than deity. The frequent use of kurios to address Yeshua in the flesh likely did not consider deity. Expectant Jews would call Yeshua adôn because the Messiah would rule over Israel. Lordship implies all kinds of divine expectations that should be considered (Matt 7:21-23). Moreover, such a declaration in Rome, the center of Caesar worship, would be especially significant. Caesar believed he was kurios of the world and the Caesar cult, with faithful devotees scattered throughout the empire, provided a serious obstacle to discipleship. Eventually, this simple confession that Yeshua is Lord would create many Christian martyrs.
Messiah Yeshua: See verse 1 above. who: Grk. ho, definite article used here as a demonstrative pronoun. according to: Grk. kata, prep. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. great: Grk. polus, extensive in scope, here as an adj. indicating a high degree. mercy: Grk. eleos, kindness expressed for one in need, compassion, mercy or pity. In the LXX eleos normally represents Heb. chesed, which means proper covenant behavior, the solidarity which the partners in the covenant owe one another. So the connotation of eleos meaning chesed may stretch from loyalty to a covenant to kindliness, mercy, and pity (DNTT 2:594). BDB defines chesed as essentially goodness or kindness and often occurs in passages with the sense of kindness of men towards men and of God toward Israel (338).
The provision of mercy is an evidence of God's love toward those who love Him and keep His commandments (Ex 20:6; Ps 25:10). Motivated by chesed God not only loves but forgives (Ex 34:6-7; Num 14:18-19; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 145:8). This view of the nature of God is an important corrective to the heretical doctrine that the God of the Old Testament is only a God of hatred and judgment. God's nature did not change with the arrival of the Messiah. The God of Israel has always been loving, compassionate and merciful. To express His mercy God sent the agent of His mercy.
having begotten: Grk. anagennaō (from ana, "again, up," and gennaō, "to father, beget"), aor. part., cause to be born anew. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh, here and verse 23 below. The prefix ana is a preposition that denotes upward movement. The verb gennaō may refer to the female role in bearing and giving birth (Luke 1:13, 57; 23:29; Heb 11:23), but most often the verb emphasizes the male role as occurs in the genealogical lists of Yeshua. So here it is purposeful that Peter says that the Father has "fathered," meaning in a spiritual sense "begotten from above."
us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Peter identifies the object of the spiritual fathering, not as himself, but "us," Messianic Jews. He treats "begotten" in a corporate sense, perhaps alluding to their common experience at Pentecost. Peter is not simply contrasting physical birth with spiritual birth of an individual as Yeshua does in his instruction of Nicodemus (see my comment on John 3:3-8), but a renewal of the fatherly relationship with Israel that began in ancient times.
into: Grk. eis, prep. a living: Grk. zaō, pres. part., be in the state of being alive, used here in a fig. sense. hope: Grk. elpis may refer to (1) a state of looking forward to something that is desirable, or (2) the basis of firm expectation. The first usage applies here. The Jewish concept of hope is far different than the pagan Greek, which was little more than a possible outcome of circumstances. Jews anchored their hope in the person and promises of the covenant-keeping God.
through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. the resurrection: Grk. anastasis may mean either (1) rise, which may be bringing to a higher position in a physical sense or a higher status in a relational sense; or (2) resurrection from the condition of being dead (BAG). Anastasis is the principal Greek word in the Besekh for resurrection, with references divided between the resurrection of Yeshua and the resurrection at the end of the age.
In the LXX anastasis occurs only three times: (1) in Psalm 66:1, the psalm title, "a psalm of rising up," without Heb. equivalent; (2) in Lamentations 3:63, for Heb. qimah, rising up (derived from qum), where it contrasts with sitting; and (3) in Zephaniah 3:8 for Heb. qum, to arise, stand up, stand (BDB 877), which could be a Messianic prophecy of Yeshua's resurrection. of Messiah Yeshua: See verse 1 above. from: Grk. ek, prep. used for introducing various aspects of separation or origin, lit. "out of, from within." death: Grk. nekros, may be used as (1) a noun, corpse or (2) adj., without life in the physical sense, being dead. The term, of course, applies to Yeshua's body not his spirit. Although nekros lacks the definite article most versions render the term as a noun "the dead," which may be misleading.
Peter does not mean "from a place," implying that Yeshua was raised from Hell (or Hades) as declared in the Apostles' Creed. (For this unbiblical claim see my article Is the Apostles' Creed Apostolic?) Peter means "death" as a condition or state. Several versions render nekros here as "death" (CEV, ERV, GNB, ICB, NMB, VOICE, WE). Unlike previously resurrected people who had to die again, Yeshua was given victory over death so that he could never die again. Peter makes the point, which is uniformly and consistently declared in the Besekh, that God resurrected Yeshua from death. Yeshua did not resurrect himself. Yeshua understood that he would be resurrected (Matt 26:32) and Peter echoed the accomplishment in his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:24).
4 into an inheritance, imperishable and undefiled and unfading, having been reserved in the heavens for you,
into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 2 above. an inheritance: Grk. klēronomia, a share in what is passed on by a testator, inheritance. The noun is used here of a guaranteed inheritance of unsurpassed value. For the Israelite inheritance was associated with the Land God gave to the nation. For the disciple of Yeshua the inheritance is a share in the Kingdom of God (Eph 5:5). Peter then lists three characteristics of the anticipated inheritance. imperishable: Grk. aphthartos, adj., imperishable, immortal. Material things can perish, but the inheritance that God has provided for His children is everlasting. and: Grk. kai, conj. undefiled: Grk. amiantos, adj., free from contamination, undefiled, pure. In ordinary life defilement resulted from uncleanness, but God's inheritance has never been touched by death or evil.
and: Grk. kai, conj. unfading: Grk. amarantos, adj., unfading, and therefore enduring (Mounce). The word amarantos (derived from amarantinos, the unfading characteristic of the amaranth plant) occurs only here in the Besekh, but it is found elsewhere in Jewish literature: Wisdom 6:13 and Sibylline Oracles 8, 411 (Thayer). In ancient culture the amaranth plant did not soon fade and so became symbolic of immortality. having been reserved: Grk. tēreō, perf. pass. part., may mean (1) to maintain in a secure state with a focus on personal interest or obligation; keep; or (2) to be in compliance in regard to instruction; keep, observe.
in: Grk. en, prep. the heavens: pl. of Grk. ouranos, the area above the earth that encompasses the sky, planets and associated phenomena, lit. "the heavens." The plural form of the noun accurately represents the Hebrew word (Heb. hashamayim), which is plural in its base form but normally translated as singular (DNTT 2:191). The Hebrew and Greek words for "heaven" are used in Scripture to refer to at least three different places (Ps 148:1–4). The first heaven is the atmosphere in which birds fly (Gen 1:20) and from which comes rain, snow, dew, lightning and thunder (Gen 8:2; Job 38:29; Matt 6:26). The second heaven is interstellar space populated with planets and stars (Gen 1:14–19; Ps 19:1–6). The third heaven is the abode of God the Father and the home of angels (Job 16:19; Ps 2:4; 11:4; Matt 6:9; 2Cor 12:2–4).
for: Grk. eis, prep. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person; i.e., disciples of Yeshua. Peter does not use the phrase "reserved in the heavens" to mean mansions in heaven awaiting occupation, as Yeshua's promise during the last supper is commonly interpreted. (See my commentary on John 14:1-6.) Jews often used "heaven" as a euphemism for God, and the phrase is an idiomatic expression asserting the certainty of God's permanent preservation of the inheritance promised to His people. The inheritance will be gained when Yeshua returns to the earth in a very public fashion and establishes His Kingdom on the earth and headquartered in Jerusalem (Matt 25:31-34; cf. Isa 65:9; Matt 5:5; 24:29-31; 25:1-13; Rom 4:13; Rev 20:1-9). Indeed, the New Jerusalem (the future residence of God's people) that John was shown in his Patmos visions comes down out of heaven so that God may dwell among His people on the earth (Rev 3:12; 21:1-3, 10, 27; cf. Ezek 45:6; 47:13-23; 48:1-8).
5 who are being protected by the power of God through faithfulness for the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
who: Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pronoun. are being protected: Grk. phroureō, pres. pass. part., may mean (1) maintain official watch; guard; (2) provide security for; protect; or (3) hold in custody; detain, confine. The second meaning applies here. by: Grk. en, prep. the power: Grk. dunamis (from dunamai, be capable for doing or achieving), having ability to perform something. Dunamis may be used to mean (1) the ability to function effectively and rendered "power" or "might;" (2) an exhibition of singular capability; powerful, wondrous deed, or miracle; or (3) a personification of a powerful entity or structure, "power." The first two meanings can have application here. of God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 2 above. through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 3 above.
faithfulness: Grk. pistis incorporates two primary facets of meaning, first that which causes trust and faith, i.e., faithfulness or reliability, and second, trust or confidence in an active sense (BAG). Pistis is used in the LXX to twice render Heb. emun (SH-529; Deut 32:20; Prov 13:17; 'faithfulness,' BDB 53), but it also renders Heb. emunah (SH-530; 'firmness, steadfastness, fidelity,' BDB 53) over 20 times, mainly of men's faithfulness (1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; 22:7; Prov 3:3; 12:17, 22; Jer 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; Hos 2:20; but also of God's faithfulness (Ps 33:4; Lam 3:23; Hab 2:4). Pistis also translates Heb. aman (SH-539, to confirm, to support, Jer 15:18), amanah (SH-548, 'fixed support,' Neh 9:38; 11:23; SS 4:8) and emet (SH-571, firmness, faithfulness, truth, Prov 14:22; Jer 28:9; 33:6).
The occurrence of pistis in the LXX emphasizes that the Hebrew meaning of faithfulness is the intended usage of pistis. The apostles build on this meaning and represent pistis as composed of two elements. The first element of faithfulness is confidence or trust: "And without faith[fulness] it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb 11:6; cf. Heb 4:2). True faith leads one to seek God and then trust Him to respond with His good gifts. The second element of faithfulness involves commitment, constancy and obedience, which includes following God’s direction for life and producing works of righteousness (cf. Eph 2:8-10).
Most versions translate the noun here as "faith," although the CJB, TLB and TLV render the noun with the verb "trusting." Commentators attribute the activity of pistis here to believers. However, Peter may be employing pistis in reference to God. Indeed, Paul presents justification and salvation as accomplished by the faithfulness of Yeshua (cf. Rom 3:22, 26; 5:1; Gal 2:16, 20; 3:22, 26; Eph 2:8; 3:12; Php 3:9). See my commentary on Romans 3:22. The genitive case of pistis in the present text conforms to the genitive case of "God," so there is a grammatical connection. The God of Israel is the "faithful God" (Deut 7:9). Yeshua is the faithful witness (Rev 1:5; 3:14). Indeed, one of Yeshua's names is "Faithful and True" (Rev 19:11).
into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 2 above. the salvation: Grk. sōtēria, a freeing from real or threatening harm or loss; rescue, deliverance or salvation. In the Tanakh deliverance is normally accomplished by God (e.g., Ex 15:2), and the deliverance is from physical harm or from oppression within a human context, but often with a spiritual component. In the LXX sōtēria occurs over 100 times and translates six different Hebrew words, four of which are formations derived from the root verb yasha (SH-3467, save, deliver), especially yeshu'ah (SH-3444, salvation), the meaning of our Lord's name, and teshu'ah (SH-8668, salvation, victory, help).
In the Besekh sōtēria is used in two important ways: (1) safety of the soul in the present resulting from the receipt of God's mercy (Luke 1:77; Acts 4:12; Rom 1:16; 10:10) and (2) final redemption over all earthly ills and victory over the Adversary accomplished in the Second Coming, as well as deliverance from God's judgment on the wicked (Rom 13:11; 1Th 5:9; Heb 9:28; Rev 12:10). The second usage applies in this passage. Ultimately, we are saved, not by anything we do, including trusting in God, but by God's choice to be faithful to His promises. As Paul said, "But because of Him you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and holiness and redemption" (1Cor 1:30 TLV).
ready: Grk. hetoimos, adj., ready, prepared. to be revealed: Grk. apokaluptō, aor. inf., to cause to be fully known, to reveal, disclose or make known. In the LXX of Isaiah 53:1 apokaluptō translates Heb. galah (SH-1540), to uncover or remove. The verb often occurs to denote truth or facts divinely hidden for a time and then revealed to those whom God chose to receive the truth, such as the apostles (Gal 1:6; Eph 3:5). Some things remain hidden and await to be revealed at the appointed time (Rom 8:18; 1Cor 2:10; 3:13; 2Th 2:3, 6, 8; 1Pet 5:1). in: Grk. en, prep. the last: Grk. eschatos, adj., coming at the end or after all others, here of time; last. time: Grk. kairos may refer to (1) an appropriate or set temporal segment of time; or (2) a period, definite or approximate, in which an event takes place; time, period. Kairos is used here of a God-appointed or predestined time in fulfillment of prophecy, such as given in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24−25).
Joy in the Midst of Trials, 1:6-9
6 In which you rejoice, though now for a while, if it must be, you have been distressed by various trials,
In: Grk. en, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. you rejoice: Grk. agalliaō, pres. mid., to be exuberantly joyful; rejoice, exult. Mounce adds 'to celebrate, to praise and to desire ardently.' Rejoicing was likely expressed in two ways. First, Messianic believers would have followed the Jewish practice of offering b'rakhah (a blessing or benediction) every day for every good thing that comes from God. (These may be found in the Talmud tractate Berakoth.) Simply put, a blessing is an expression of gladness for God's goodness. Blessings are even offered in times of mourning. Second, Messianic believers would sing songs of praise, even during difficult times (Acts 16:25; Eph 5:19; Col 2:16; Jas 5:13).
now: Grk. arti, adv. expressing concurrence of event with time viewed as present, (just) now. for a while: Grk. oligos, adj., in reference to extent of time, a while or a little while. if: Grk. ei, conj., a contingency marker used here to introduce a circumstance assumed to be taken for granted and in practical terms equals "since." it must be: Grk. dei, pres. part., impersonal verb from deō ('lack, stand in need of') and thus conveys the idea of something that's necessary, something that must or needs to happen; 'it is necessary,' 'one must,' 'it must be.' Danker gives the meaning of the contingency phrase as "if conditions are such."
you have been distressed: Grk. lupeō, aor. pass. part., to experience distress, sorrow or grief. by: Grk. en, prep. The preposition here denotes instrumentality. various: Grk. poikilos, adj., with many features, of various kinds. trials: pl. of Grk. peirasmos, may mean either (1) a means to determine quality or performance or (2) exposure to possibility of wrongdoing. Peter does not identify the cause of the trials, although they were likely instigated by Satan (cf. 1Pet 5:8). Trials can be occasions of temptation because the disciple is faced with the choice of glorifying and obeying God regardless of the circumstances or listening to the deceptive voice of the adversary to disobey God and become bitter over the experience. The Talmud expresses a similar attitude. "R. Joshua b. Levi said: He who joyfully bears the chastisements that befall him brings salvation to the world" (Taan. 8a).
In the LXX peirasmos translates the place name Massah (Ex 17:7; Deut 6:16; 9:22; 29:3) where Israel tested God, and renders Heb. maccah (SH-4531), test, trial, proving, both in the sense of the trials that God brought upon Egypt (Deut 4:34; 7:19; 29:3) and in the sense of Israel testing God in the wilderness (Ps 95:8). The history of Israel in Egyptian bondage no doubt provides the background to Peter's use of peirasmos here. In Egypt the Israelites were afflicted with hard labor (Ex 1:11-14; 5:9) and then with the decree of death for all newborn males (Ex 1:16). So, in a similar manner the Messianic believers were suffering trials.
Commentators who date Peter's first letter during the reign of Nero assume the term peirasmois refers to state-sponsored persecution. However, the persecution instigated by Nero did not extend beyond Rome, and Peter says nothing about Nero. A more likely date for this letter is Peter's visit to Rome in A.D. 42-46. The reality is that Jewish followers of Yeshua suffered at the hands of non-believing Jews in every city where they ministered. Jacob in his early letter speaks of these trials:
brothers and sisters, when you might encounter various trials, consider every
joy, knowing that the testing of your faithfulness produces patience" (Jas 1:2-3
When Paul wrote to the Messianic Jews in the Diaspora he, too, commented on what happened to Jews who embraced Yeshua as Messiah:
"But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one." (Heb 10:32-34 NASB)
The book of Acts records numerous incidents of open hostility by unbelieving Jews to the apostolic message: in Damascus (Acts 9:23), in Jerusalem (Acts 4:1-3; 5:17-18, 40; 6:9-12 7:54-59; 8:1-3; 12:2-3; 21:27; 22:22; 23:1-22), in Antioch (Acts 13:45), in Iconium (Acts 14:2,5), in Lystra (Acts 14:19), in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5), in Berea (Acts 17:13), in Corinth (Acts 18:5-6), in Macedonia (Acts 20:3, 19), and in Caesarea (Acts 24:9; 25:2, 7). Paul says he received 39 lashes five times from unbelieving Jews (2Cor 11:24).
Important to consider is that Peter does not say that he was suffering along with his readers as John does in his Revelation introduction. No contemporary events are mentioned, and if this was in the time of Nero's persecution with Peter being in Rome, we would expect some mention of it. The fact of general suffering of Messianic Jews at the hands of their kindred explains the cause of their grief.
Noteworthy is that Jacob, Yeshua's half-brother, also uses the phrase "various trials" (Jas 1:2). While Peter does not identify the specific trials the believers had experienced, other passages provide clues: (1) being expelled from the synagogue (John 9:22; 12:42; 16:2); (2) being publicly beaten, scourged or stoned on orders of unbelieving Jewish authorities (Matt 23:34, 37; John 8:59; 10:31; Acts 9:2; 22:19; 26:11; 2Cor 11:25); (3) being imprisoned and/or killed on orders of unbelieving Jewish authorities (Mark 13:12; Acts 8:1; 12:2; 22:4, 19; 26:10; Jas 5:6); (4) being denied family inheritance (Mark 12:7, 40; Php 3:7-8); (5) being publicly criticized and defamed (Heb 10:33); and (6) having property seized by unbelieving family members (Heb 10:34).
7 so that the proof of your faithfulness, more precious than gold that perishes, also tested by fire, may be found into praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua;
so that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed, in order that, so that, that. the proof: Grk. dokimion may refer to either the process or the outcome of testing, here the latter. Mounce defines the meaning of the word in this context as "proved genuineness." The word occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Jas 1:3). The word does not occur in Classical Greek literature or Jewish literature of the time, but only in much later literature. A related word dokimos (approved by testing) does occur in early Greek and Jewish sources (BAG). It's very possible that Jacob coined this spelling, since his letter was much earlier than Peter's letter.
of your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. faithfulness: Grk. pistis. See verse 5 above. more precious: Grk. polutimos, adj., highly valued. Danker gives the meaning in this context as "more important." Thayer defines the word as very valuable, of great price. Mounce adds 'costly,' 'precious.' The word occurs only three times in the Besekh, once of a pearl (Matt 13:46) and also of the ointment used to anoint Yeshua (John 12:3). The word is not found in early Greek literature, but it is found in Josephus (Ant. VII, 7:5). than gold: Grk. chrusion, the precious metal known as gold. The word is also used of coined gold, money. that perishes: Grk. apollumi, pres. mid. part., may mean (1) cause severe damage; destroy, kill; or (2) experience disconnection or separation; lose, perish. The second meaning applies here in a literal sense.
also: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also" (BAG). tested: Grk. dokimazō, pres. pass. part., evaluate significance or worth, which may focus either on the process or the outcome; evaluate, discern, appraise, inspect, examine. The verb originally meant to assay metals (Mounce). by: Grk. dia, prep. fire: Grk. pur, fire, as a physical state of burning, used here in a parabolic comparison. The expression "tested by fire" is likely a word picture of persecution (cf. Matt 3:11; Mark 9:49) or judgment (Matt 5:22; 1Cor 3:13), in this case the judgment of men. Such opposition tests the mettle of disciples to remain loyal to Yeshua.
may be found: Grk. heuriskō, aor. pass. subj., to come upon by seeking; find, locate, discover, acquire, obtain. into: Grk. eis, prep. praise: Grk. epainos, expression of high approval, praise, commendation. and: Grk. kai, conj. glory: Grk. doxa has four categories of meaning: (1) splendor in the sense of brightness, (2) magnificence of what catches the eye, (3) fame, honor or approval, or (4) glorious as in the angelic beings and majesties. The third meaning applies here. In the LXX doxa translates Heb. kavôd (SH-3519), which refers to the luminous and glorious manifestation of God’s person. Characteristically, kavôd is linked with verbs of seeing and appearing and stresses the impact that the manifestation of God makes on others. In the apostolic writings doxa is a continuation of the underlying Hebrew concept (DNTT 2:45).
and: Grk. kai, conj. honor: Grk. timē, high level of respect for special merit or quality; honor, esteem, regard, worth. at: Grk. en, prep. the revelation: Grk. apokalupsis, making fully known, uncovering, disclosure or revelation. In the LXX the noun is only found in 1Samuel 20:30 for erva, nakedness and a further three times without Hebrew equivalent in Sirach 11:27; 22:22; 42:1 (DNTT 3:310). Apokalupsis occurs 18 times in the Besekh and is used of a special revelation received from God (1Cor 14:6, 26; 2Cor 12:1, 7; Gal 1:12; 2:2), as well as the disclosure of God's plan of redemption through Yeshua that included the Gentile nations (Luke 2:32; Rom 16:25; Eph 3:3). Just as important is that apokalupsis refers specifically to the glorious Second Coming in which Yeshua gather the nations for judgment (Rom 8:19; 1Cor 1:7; 2Th 1:7; 1Pet 4:13).
of Messiah Yeshua: See verse 1 above. Dispensationalists distinguish the "revelation" of Yeshua from the "rapture" of Yeshua, with the "rapture" (= resurrection of believers) preceding the "revelation" by seven years, but the apostles provide no support to this theory. Indeed, the rapture and revelation are presented as coincidental events. See my web article The Rapture.
8 whom not having seen, you love, into whom now though not seeing but trusting, you rejoice and glorify with inexpressible joy,
whom: Grk. hos, relative pron., the antecedent of which is "Messiah Yeshua" in the previous verse. not: Grk. ou, adv., a negative particle that makes an emphatic denial of fact. having seen: Grk. horaō, aor. part., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience extraordinary mental or inward perception. you love: Grk. agapaō, pres., to have such an interest in another that one wishes to contribute to the other's well-being, even if it means making a personal sacrifice to do so. To "love" Yeshua means to be totally devoted to him. In the LXX agapaō translates aheb (SH-157), but aheb is a far more comprehensive word than agapaō. The Hebrew word is comparable to the English verb "love," which may be used with a variety of applications. into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 2 above. whom: Grk. hos. now: Grk. arti. See verse 6 above. not: Grk. mē, adv., a particle of qualified negation, subjective in nature, involving will and thought; not.
seeing: Grk. horaō, pres. part. but: Grk. de, conj. trusting: Grk. pisteuō, pres. part., in general Greek usage means to have confidence in the reliability or trustworthiness of some thing or someone; believe, trust, entrust. In the LXX pisteuō renders the Heb. 'aman, (SH-4100; BDB 52), to confirm or support, but is also used to mean 'to be true, reliable or faithful' and be applied to men (e.g., Moses, Num 12:7), but especially to God who keeps his covenantal promises to those who love him (Deut 7:9). The Heb. verb 'aman is also used to mean stand firm, trust or believe. The verb speaks of a behavioral action, not merely a mental process. The action begins with the conviction of God's existence, generosity and faithfulness to His promises (Heb 11:6). If one is truly convinced, then one trusts; if one believes and trusts, then one is faithful and produces works of faithfulness (cf. Matt 7:21; Acts 21:20; Jas 2:18-19; 1Jn 3:23-24).
you rejoice: Grk. agalliaō, pres. part. See verse 5 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. glorify: Grk. doxazō, perf. pass. part., (from doxa, "glory"), may mean either (1) to praise or honor or (2) in reference to the next life to clothe in splendor (BAG). The first meaning applies here. In the LXX doxazō renders Heb. navah (SH–5115), to beautify, adorn with praises (Ex 15:2), but principally kabad (SH–3513), to be weighty, to be honored or praised (Lev 10:3; Ps 15:4). with inexpressible: Grk. aneklalētos, adj., not of a nature to be adequately expressed; inexpressible, too intense for words. The word occurs only here in the Besekh.
joy: Grk. chara may mean (1) joy, as an emotional response or (2) bringer of joy. The noun is derived from the verb chairō, to be in a state marked by good feeling about an event or circumstance, be glad, rejoice. In the LXX chara appears only in the later writings (principally Wis. and 1—4 Macc.) and is chiefly a translation of the Hebrew words simchah, joy, gladness, and sason, joy, rejoicing (DNTT 2:356). In the Hebraic perspective chara is properly the awareness of God's grace and favor. Peter no doubt describes their joy as "inexpressible" because these disciples had experienced the grace of forgiveness of sins and filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after he proclaimed the good news to them (Acts 2:38). They also knew as the prophet Jeremiah did in the midst of national tragedy that God's mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23).
These disciples had learned the value of the biblical counsel to rejoice. There are many exhortations in the Psalms to rejoice, including during trials (e.g., Ps 13:4-5; 31:7; 35:9-10; 40:16-17). In addition, Yeshua and the apostles encouraged disciples to rejoice in the midst of trials:
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great." (Matt 5:11-12 NASB)
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks." (1Th 5:16-18 NASB)
"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." (Heb 13:15 NASB)
"when you might encounter various trials, consider every joy." (Jas 1:2 mine)
"because you are partakers of Messiah’s sufferings, rejoice, that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy." (1Pet 4:13 HNV)
These disciples may have been able to rejoice when they considered causes of joy in contrast to the trials. This is greater than the "power of positive thinking." It's seeing life from the point of view of God's sovereign care as represented in the song, Count Your Blessings (#771, Sing to the Lord, Lillenas Pub. Co., 1993). Difficult circumstances should not be allowed to determine a person's attitude and response. Rather, the rejoicing disciple views his circumstances through a different lens than a non-believer would. In addition, joyful rejoicing, unlike merely engaging in "positive thinking," can produce spiritual fruit (Jas 1:3-4, 12). These disciples exhibited the attitude of Habakkuk:
"Though the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no yield on the vines, Though the olive crop fail, and the fields produce no food, the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no cattle in the stalls. 18 Yet will I triumph in ADONAI, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!" (Hab 3:17-18 TLV)
Paul testified to rejoicing during his sufferings (2Cor 13:9; Php 2:17; Col 1:24). Even Job found a cause of rejoicing in the midst of his suffering (Job 6:10).
9 receiving the goal of your faithfulness, the salvation of your souls.
receiving: Grk. komizō, pres. mid. part., be in receipt of, with the perspective of having received something and then bringing it away. the goal: Grk. telos, a point in time that marks culmination. BAG defines this point of time in the sense of either (1) termination or cessation of something; (2) the last part or conclusion of something; or (3) the goal toward which a movement is directed. The third meaning applies here. Telos occurs 150 times in the LXX, chiefly in adverbial combinations and often to translate the Heb. qēts, "end," most often used of time (DNTT 2:60).
of your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. faithfulness: Grk. pistis. See verse 5 above. Here the faithfulness is that of disciples in contrast to that of God in verse 5 above. In another sense Peter might intend the "end of faithfulness," in the sense that the need for faithfulness will no longer be a concern in the resurrected life. the salvation: Grk. sōtēria. See verse 5 above. The disciple remains faithful to Yeshua in order to gain ultimate salvation. of your: the pronoun is not in the Greek text, but seems appropriate given the use of "your" in relation to "faithfulness." souls: pl. of Grk. psuchē may mean (1) a quality without which a body is physically dead; life; (2) that which possesses vital being; person; or (3) that which is integral to being a person beyond mere physical function; life (inner) self, soul.
In the LXX psuchē corresponds to Heb. nephesh (SH-5315). Nephesh is that which breathes air (Gen 1:20), is in the blood (Lev 17:11; Deut 12:23), and along with the ability to move (Gen 1:21), comprise the three characteristics that make man or animal into a living creature. (By biblical definition plants are not living.) Nephesh also represents the inner self and the seat of desires, passions, appetites, and emotion. In Hebrew thought a person is a soul-body. Thus, "soul" does not refer to a non-physical part of a human being, but rather to the whole person. Human beings live as "souls;" they do not have souls (e.g., Acts 2:41; 7:14; 27:37; 1Pet 3:20). The salvation of the soul requires the resurrection in which the soul will be clothed with an immortal body.
Prophecy of Messianic Salvation, 1:10-12
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets having prophesied to you about the grace sought out and searched out,
Concerning: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; about, concerning. this: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. salvation: Grk. sōtēria. See verse 5 above. the prophets: pl. of Grk. prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet. In ancient Greek culture the word-group always had a religious meaning and referred to one who predicts or tells beforehand (DNTT 3:76). In Scripture the term refers to one who spoke on God's behalf, whether in foretelling or forth-telling. The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of Hebrew prophets. The Hebrew prophets were a diverse group with different personalities, vocations and manner of ministry, but they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21).
having prophesied: Grk. prophēteuō, aor. part., may mean (1) to proclaim a divine revelation; (2) prophetically reveal what is hidden; or (3) foretell the future, prophesy (BAG). In the LXX prophēteuō generally translates Heb. nava, which means to show, present or express oneself, to speak as a prophet (DNTT 3:77). The Hebrew verb primarily means to speak prophetically, that is "forth-telling," with occasional predictions (foretelling). Forth-telling predominates in the Tanakh and messages might consist of warning against sinning, announcing divine judgments, encouraging repentance and giving hope of restoration. True prophesying is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21).
to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The pronoun is a subtle reminder of the Jewishness of the recipients of the letter. The Hebrew prophets prophesied to Israel, not to Gentile nations. about: Grk. peri. the grace: Grk. charis. See verse 2 above. Grace, of course, refers to the favor shown to the covenant people. sought out: Grk. ekzēteō, aor., engage in a thorough search; seek out. and searched out: Grk. exeraunaō, aor., search out, try to find out. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. Stern comments that there are scholars who hold that the prophets of the Tanakh spoke only to their own times, that they always understood the significance of what they said, and that their utterances contained only moral content and were never of predictive value or intent. Peter clearly contradicts that opinion (cf. Dan 12:4, 8–9).
11 probing into who or what kind of time the Spirit of Messiah in them was indicating, predicting the sufferings for Messiah and after these things the glories.
probing: Grk. ereunaō, pres. part., to search diligently for, examine, probe. into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 2 above. who: Grk. tís, interrogative pron., who, which, what. or: Grk. ē, conj., particle involving options, here as a marker of an alternative. what kind: Grk. poios, interrogative pron., used in reference to a class or kind; of what kind, what sort. of time: Grk. kairos. See verse 5 above. the Spirit: Grk. pneuma. See verse 2 above. of Messiah: Grk. Christos. See verse 1 above. in: Grk. en, prep. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. was indicating: Grk. dēloō, impf., disclose, make plain, explain or indicate.
predicting: Grk. promarturomai, pres. mid. part., bear prior witness to; attest, predict. This verb is found only here in the Besekh. It is not found in the LXX or any other contemporary Greek or Jewish literature, so it was likely coined by Silvanus. A related Greek word prolegō, to foretell, announce beforehand (LSJ) is used in the LXX of Isaiah 41:26, to interpret God's question, "Who has declared this from the beginning?" the sufferings: pl. of Grk. pathēma, may mean (1) experience pain or distress; suffering; or (2) strong feeling or interest; passion. The first meaning applies here. for: Grk. eis, prep. Messiah: Grk. Christos. Peter perhaps has Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 in mind, but there are other relevant passages that predicted the sufferings of the Messiah. See my comment on Peter's reference to the sufferings of the Messiah in his second sermon (Acts 3:18).
and: Grk. kai. after: Grk. meta, prep., used here as a sequential or positional marker; after, behind. these things: pl. of Grk. touto, neut. demonstrative pronoun. The sufferings of Messiah incorporated multiple elements. the glories: pl. of Grk. doxa. See verse 7 above. The plural noun likely summarizes the resurrection and ascension of Yeshua. The prophets also predicted the glories of the Messiah.
● He will be raised from the dead (Ps 2:7-8; 16:10; Isa 53:9-10; Acts 2:32).
● He will be exalted to the right hand of God (Ps 16:11; 68:18; 110:1; Acts 1:9-11; 2:33-35).
● He will exercise his priestly office in heaven (Zech 6:13; Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25–8:2).
12 To whom was revealed that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those having proclaimed the good news to you in the Holy Spirit having been sent from heaven; things into which angels long to look.
to whom: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pronoun. was revealed: Grk. apokaluptō, aor. pass. See verse 5 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, whether (1) defining a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introducing a direct quotation and functioning as quotation marks; or (4) indicating causality with an inferential aspect; for, because, inasmuch as, since. The second usage applies here. they were not: Grk. ou, adv. serving: Grk. diakoneō, impf., to serve, especially in meeting of personal needs or attending to in some practical manner. The verb does not occur in the LXX at all, but it is found in Philo and Josephus (BAG). themselves: pl. of heautou, reflexive pronoun. but: Grk. de, conj. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person.
in these things: pl. of Grk. autos. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. now: Grk. nun, adv. of time in the present, 'now' or more emphatically 'right now.' have been announced: Grk. anangellō, aor. pass., may mean (1) report or relay, of persons returning from a place; or (2) provide information; disclose, announce, proclaim, teach (BAG). The second meaning applies here. to you: Grk. humeis. through: Grk. dia, prep. those: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. having proclaimed the good news: Grk. euangelizō, aor. pass. part., to bring or announce good news. The verb is used to mean (1) pass on information that spells good tidings to the recipient, and (2) spread good tidings of God's beneficial concern. In the LXX euangelizō stands for Heb. basar, to publish or bear tidings, whether good or bad (DNTT 2:108-109).
Initially basar referred to news of armed conflict delivered by a messenger (1Sam 31:9; 2Sam 1:20; 4:10; 18:19-20). The concept of the messenger fresh from the field of battle is at the heart of the more theological usages in Isaiah and the Psalms. Here it is ADONAI who is victorious over his enemies and He comes to deliver the captives (Ps 68:11; Isa 61:1). The watchman waits eagerly for the messenger (Isa 52:7) who will bring this good news. At first, only Zion knows the truth (Isa 40:9; 41:27), but eventually all nations will tell the story (Isa 60:6). The reality of basar is only finally met in the Messiah (Luke 4:16-21; 1Cor 15:54-56; Col 1:5-6; 2:13-15) (TWOT 1:135-136). The clause "those who having proclaimed the good news" is likely an allusion to Peter's sermon on Pentecost.
to you: Grk. humeis. in: Grk. en, prep. the Holy: Grk. hagios, adj., set apart for dedication to the interests or expectations of God. The adjective is used in Scripture to designate: (1) things considered the property of God and therefore sacred (e.g., the temple, Jerusalem); (2) persons consecrated to God (e.g., priests and prophets), (3) an attribute of God, Yeshua and the Holy Spirit as worthy of ultimate reverence; (4) as a pure substantive used of the name of God (Luke 1:44). In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy. Qadosh is first used of God in Lev 11:44.
Spirit: Grk. pneuma. See verse 2 above. In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit, a name or face of God. The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11) given as Ruach Qodesh. The Holy Spirit is identified by three other forms in the Tanakh (Ruach Elohim, Gen 1:2; Ruach YHVH, Judg 3:10; and Ruach Adonai YHVH, Isa 61:1). The full name of "Holy Spirit" occurs about 100 times in the Besekh. having been sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. pass. part., to cause to move from one position to another, but often to send as an authoritative personal representative. In the LXX apostellō translated Heb. shalach ("to stretch out or to send"), often in contexts of commissioning and empowering a messenger (DNTT 1:128).
from: Grk. apo, prep. with the root meaning of "off, away from" (DM 101), generally used to denote separation, and here indicates a point of origin; from. heaven: Grk. ouranos. See verse 4 above. "Heaven" is being used as a euphemism of "God." things into: Grk. eis, prep. which: Grk. hos. angels: pl. of Grk. angelos means one sent, a messenger, whether human or heavenly (BAG). In the LXX angelos renders Heb. malak, which means messenger, representative, courier or angel (DNTT 1:101f). The decision to translate malak or angelos as "angel" or "messenger" (of a human) relies primarily on the context. About half of the occurrences in the Tanakh refer to humans, such as to denote a prophet (Eccl 5:6; Isa 42:19; Mal 2:7) and a priest (Hag 1:13; Mal 3:1). In the Besekh angelos occurs 175 times, and is used of men only 13 times (Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52; Jas 2:25; Rev 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12; 3:1, 7, 14).
long: Grk. epithumeō, pres., may mean (1) to have a strong desire for something; desire, long for; or (2) have inordinate desire, imply intent to acquire; covet. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX epithumeō is used to translate Heb. chamad (SH-2530), to desire or take pleasure in,' which is also used of both normal and covetous desires (BDB 326). to look: Grk. parakuptō, aor. inf., to bend over, to stoop down and to look into in order to see something exactly and to recognize (Rienecker). Peter implies that God kept his sovereign plan for the Messiah a secret and did not disclose it even to His angels.
Exhortation to Piety, 1:13-16
13 Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, keeping sober, set hope completely on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua.
Therefore: Grk. dio, inferential conj., wherefore, on which account, for this reason, therefore. having girded up: Grk. anazōnnumi, aor. mid. part., bind up, gird up, used to describe a tunic girt up for easy action. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh, but is found in the LXX (Jdg 18:16; Prov 29:35) (Thayer). the loins: pl. of Grk. osphus, the pubic area of the body, waist, loins; used here in a fig. sense. The phrase "gird up one's loins" is a Hebrew idiomatic expression meaning literally to tuck the loose ends of one's outer garment into one's belt. Loins were girded in preparation for running (1Kgs 18:46), for battle (Isa 5:27), or for service to a master (2Kgs 4:29; 9:1). of your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. mind: Grk. dianoia, mental process relating to options for behavior, with focus on intention or purpose; mind-set, mind, disposition, understanding.
In the LXX dianoia occurs 75 times, 38 of which translate Heb. lebab (SH-3824, inner man, mind, will, heart), making dianoia somewhat interchangeable with kardia, heart (DNTT 3:124). However, dianoia also renders other Hebrew words, such as machashabah (SH-4284), thought or plan, (Dan 11:25) and binah (SH-998), understanding (Dan 9:22). While in Greek culture dianoia refers to the act or faculty of thinking, in the LXX translating Hebraic thought the term cannot be separated from the person's disposition, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is" (Prov 23:7). The call to "gird up the loins of your mind" alludes to a resolve or spiritual readiness to do the Lord's will. Stern interprets the instruction as being mentally prepared for opposition, distractions, temptations and unexpected setbacks. Peter follows with two characteristics of the "girded-up mind."
keeping sober: Grk. nēphō, pres. part., take little or no wine, then metaphorically "be self-controlled." BAG has "be free from every of mental and spiritual 'drunkenness,' from excess; be well-balanced." While the verb could have a fig. use, Peter was very likely concerned about the drunkenness that was pervasive in ancient society. Paul described a similar problem in the Corinthian congregation (1Cor 11:21) and listed drunkenness as a "work of the flesh" (Gal 5:21). Wine was an important part of Jewish culture and featured in festival meals. Scripture records the regular use and the documented health benefits of wine (Gen 14:18; 27:28; Ex 29:40; Deut 7:13; 14:26; 16:13; Ps 104:15; Prov 3:10; Matt 9:17; Luke 7:33-34; John 2:3-11; 1Tim 5:23). However, biblical injunctions directed Israelites to avoid drinking to such a degree as to inhibit reasoning (Lev 10:9-10). Intoxication was absolutely to be avoided (Gen 9:21; Prov 20:1; 23:20; Luke 21:34; 1Cor 15:34; 1Th 5:6, 8; 2Tim 4:5).
set hope: Grk. elpizō, aor. imp., to look for; hope, expect. The verb is not used to express mere wishful thinking, but confidence in God's promises of future reward. completely: Grk. teleiōs, adv. reflecting total absorption; completely, perfectly, unreservedly, without wavering. The adverb, which occurs only here in the Besekh, defines the degree to which one is to set his hope. on: Grk. epi, prep. used primarily as a marker of position or location; 'at, in, on, upon, over.' the grace: Grk. charis. See verse 2 above. The word is used here in a concrete sense of eschatological consummation. Setting one's hope on the fleeting things of this world, whether prosperity, success, or social acceptance, will lead only to disappointment.
being brought: Grk. pherō, pres. pass. part., may mean (1) to move an entity from one position to another; (2) direct something that is of a cognitive nature; (3) support what is burdensome; or (4) bring about a crop yield. The first meaning applies here. Rienecker notes that although the present participle can have a future force, it is used here in keeping with Peter's conviction that the object of their hope is already virtually within his readers' grasp. to you: Grk. humeis. at: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within," and with the dative case of the noun following has the meaning of "at" (the time of, or the occasion of). the revelation: Grk. apokalupsis. See verse 7 above. of Messiah Yeshua: See verse 1 above. In short, the best is yet to come.
14 As children of obedience, do not be conforming to the former desires in your ignorance,
As: Grk. hōs, adv. with the primary function of connecting narrative components, here with focus on the idea of a pattern or model; (just) as, (just) like, similar to, in the manner of. children: pl. of Grk. teknon, child of undetermined age, used here in a fig. sense. of obedience: Grk. hupakoē, state of being in compliance, here of being in submission to divine will or standard. The phrase "children of obedience" is an idiomatic expression equivalent to "children of God" (John 1:12; 11:52; Acts 17:29; Rom 8:16, 21; 9:8; Php 2:15; 1Jn 3:1-2, 10; 5:2). do not: Grk. ou, adv. be conforming: Grk. suschēmatizō, pres. mid. part., to conform, to fashion in accordance with, to assimilate oneself (Mounce), here in the negative sense of being influenced by values of the world.
to the former: Grk. proteron, adj., a temporal signifier indicating that something occurred or existed prior to the current time, here of that period before becoming a disciple of Yeshua. desires: pl. of Grk. epithumia may mean either (1) a strong feeling or interest, 'desire' or (2) an inordinate or improper desire, 'craving.' The second meaning is in view here. In the LXX epithumia occurs about 50 times and normally translates the Heb. avvah to express (a) a morally neutral desire (e.g. Deut 12:15, 20); (b) a praiseworthy desire (e.g. Gen 31:30; Prov 10:24; 13:12); or (c) an evil desire opposed to God's will (e.g. Num 11:4, 34, Deut 5:21; 9:22). A few versions render epithumia here with "lusts" (KJV, NASB, NKJV), but this translation may give the impression that Peter is speaking specifically of sexual desire. There are many desires that are contrary to God's will.
in: Grk. en, prep. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. ignorance: Grk. agnoia (from agnoeō, not to know), the state of being uninformed, which may be manifested as a lack of awareness and therefore excusable as Peter used it to address Israelites in Jerusalem (Acts 3:17). On the other hand agnoia may be manifested as disregard of what is morally appropriate, which is the intended use here. In the LXX agnoia is used mostly for Heb. asham (SH-817), guilt, offence, or error arising unintentionally and which required a guilt offering (Gen 26:10; 2Chr 28:13; Ezek 40:39; 42:13; 44:29; 46:20), but also Heb. shegagah (SH-7684), sin of error or inadvertence (Lev 5:18; 22:14; Eccl 5:6) (DNTT 2:406). In Psalm 25:7 the LXX inserts agnoia to clarify David's phrase "sins of my youth."
In Greek culture ignorance was considered the root of all evil. In the Torah offenses against God's commandments might be intentional or unintentional but only unintentional violations could be atoned. There were 36 capital crimes that required the death penalty and no one committing these offenses could claim ignorance as an excuse. Many of the Jewish recipients of Peter's letter probably had a Hellenistic background and thus they would understand the use of agnoia.
15 but as the One having called you is holy, become also holy yourselves in all conduct;
but: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. as: Grk. kata, prep., the root meaning is "down," but with the accusative case of the word following the meaning would be "according to." Since the preposition introduces a likeness as a model, then it would mean "as, like" (Thayer). the One: Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pronoun. having called: Grk. kaleō, aor. part., may mean (1) to express something aloud; say, call; (2) to solicit participation; call, invite; or (3) to identify by name or give a term to; call. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX kaleō renders Heb. qara (SH-7121), to call, proclaim or read (BDB 894), especially in contexts of summons to divine service. The call mentioned here is not merely to salvation, but to service as a disciple, just as Yeshua called Peter.
you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. is holy: Grk. hagios. See verse 12 above. Only God is intrinsically holy (Rev 15:4), which means that He is free from the moral, physical, and emotional imperfections and limitations of humanity. become: Grk. ginomai, aor. pass. imp., to transfer from one state or condition to another, which may be expressed in one of three ways: (1) come into being by birth or natural process; be born or produced; (2) exist through application of will or effort by a person; be made, be performed; or (3) undergo a state of existence, change or development; come to be, become, take place, happen, occur, arise, be, appear, come, arrive. The third meaning applies here.
also: Grk. kai, conj. holy: pl. of Grk. hagios, lit. "holy ones." The plural form of hagios is used frequently in the apostolic letters of godly members of congregations, rendered as "saints" in Christian versions. yourselves: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. in: Grk. en, prep. all: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. conduct: Grk anastrophē, of behavior based on certain principles or perspectives; conduct, mode or way of life. The apostolic instruction allows no separation of life into sacred and secular. The disciple's behavior, whether at home, at work, in the community or in the congregation should emulate Yeshua (1Pet 2:21) and satisfy his standard.
16 in view of the fact that it is written, "You will be holy, because I am holy."
in view of the fact that: Grk. dioti, conj. (derived from dia, 'through' and hoti, 'that') which introduces a rationale or motive for the affirmation that precedes it; in view of the fact that, on the account that, for the reason that, because, therefore, inasmuch as. it is written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass., to write or inscribe as a physical act, generally in reference to a document. The phrase "it is written" is the standard formula in the apostolic narratives and letters for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, normally followed by a quote from the Tanakh. Christian theologies have different theories of biblical inspiration but for Yeshua and the apostles it was a simple matter that God spoke and man wrote (e.g., Ex 17:14; 20:1; 24:4; 34:27-28; Num 33:2; 36:5; Deut 30:10; Jer 36:4; Matt 4:4; Mark 12:26; 2Pet 1:20-21).
Peter then quotes from Leviticus 11:44-45 as the basis for his instruction in the previous verse. The instruction is also found in other passages (Ex 22:31; Lev 19:2; 20:7. In doing so Peter acknowledges that the Torah was not canceled as some Christians allege (cf. Matt 5:17-19) and it has continuing authority for disciples of Yeshua. You will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). The future tense normally is used to predict an event, but in this case the future tense has the force of a command. The "imperative future" conveys both confidence that something will happen as well as the expectation of accomplishment (DM 192). The verb eimi hints at the fact that "doing" the conduct of the previous verse must derive from "being."
holy: Grk. hagios. See verse 12 above and the previous verse. The command to be holy was a requirement for all the "sons of Israel" (Ex 22:31; Lev 19:2; 20:2, 7; Num 15:40), but particularly priests (Ex 30:29; Lev 21:6). For the Israelites to be holy meant separation from all that is profane. God expects there to be a marked difference between His people and the world. Paul also echoes the Torah requirement (Eph 1:4; 5:27). because: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 12 above. The conj. is used here to indicate causality with an inferential aspect; because, inasmuch as, since. I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. In the quoted text the "I" is YHVH whom we know is Yeshua (John 8:58). am holy: Grk. hagios. Scripture affirms the importance of personal holiness as a prerequisite for seeing God (Heb 12:14).
Since the emergence of John Wesley’s emphasis on entire sanctification in the 18th century there has been much discussion, and not a little debate, regarding the nature of holiness and just how and when a person becomes holy. Holy conduct ("clean hands") presumes a pure or "single" heart (cf. Ps 24:4), which is accomplished by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 15:9; 2Th 2:13; Heb 10:22). It is reasonable to assume that the God of grace will complete whatever may be lacking in the faithful believer on the great day of the Messiah's appearing and the resurrection. The completion of sanctification at the resurrection may be inferred from some passages (1Th 3:12-13; 1Pet 4:1; 1Jn 3:2; Rev 22:11). No disciple is or ever can be as pure as God, as perfect as the angels or as innocent as Adam and Eve before they sinned.
The apostles taught, consistent with the Torah, that holiness is both a state of belonging wholly to God and a goal of being transformed into the image of God’s Son (Rom 8:29), as Yeshua prayed for all His disciples (John 17:17). Being designated holy also indicates the special status and separateness of those admitted into God’s eternal fellowship from those who are excluded. It is important to remember that the essence of both the Hebrew and Greek words for "holy" when applied to people mean being dedicated, set apart or belonging to God (Lev 20:26). For God being holy is primarily a property rights issue. Holiness in this life is not a matter of developing a personal list of rules or building a resume of good works, but of consecrating oneself or transferring the title to one’s life to God and allowing God through the Holy Spirit to claim His rightful ownership (John 17:17-19; Acts 1:8; Rom 12:1; 15:16; Titus 3:5).
Such a spiritual transaction does not mean that the disciple will never commit another sin, but that by becoming the property of God (i.e., "wholly His"), possessed by His Spirit, and single-mindedly devoted to pleasing God, the disciple's life will demonstrate a moral character that conforms to God's commandments. We should note, however, that none of the apostles had the temerity of Job to assert unequivocal blamelessness before God (Job 13:3; 27:5f; cf. Paul’s humility in 1Cor 4:4). Personal testimonies of early disciples are appropriately modest in the face of God's holiness, a lesson all disciples should take to heart (cf. Matt 8:8; John 1:27; Acts 10:25-26; Php 3:8-15; 1Tim 1:12-16). While none of the apostles declared themselves to be holy, all of God's people from the time of Abraham have been commanded to consecrate themselves wholly to God (Gen 17:1; Lev 11:44f; 19:ff; Deut 14:21; Ps 24:3f; Eph 1:4; Heb 12:14).
The Impartial Judge, 1:17-21
17 And if you call upon as Father the One impartially judging according to the work of each, live out the time of your sojourn in reverence;
And: Grk. kai, conj. if: Grk. ei, conj. See verse 6 above. you call upon: Grk. epikaleō, pres. mid., may mean (1) give a name or nickname to, call, name; or (2) call upon for help, aid or intercession, invoke, appeal, call on. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX epikaleō translates the Heb. qara, to call, to proclaim or to read, first in Genesis 4:26 (DNTT 1:272). The Hebrew word occurs frequently in contexts of someone crying out for help, especially in appeals to God and often with a loud voice. as Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 2 above. the One: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun.
impartially: Grk. aprosōpolēmptōs, adv., without respect of persons. The word is found only here in the Besekh. It is also found in Epistle of Barnabas 4, 12; 1 Clement 1, 3 (Thayer), both written toward the end of the first century. Clement of Rome personally knew Peter. judging: Grk. krinō, pres. part., to subject to scrutiny and evaluation of behavior, to judge, whether in a personal, congregational or legal context. A continuum of judgment may be defined: observe, distinguish, evaluate, analyze, and decide, with the result being positive or negative. In the LXX krinō is used mainly to translate three different Heb. words: din, rib and shaphat, all of which have application in the legal sense (DNTT 2:363).
according to: Grk. kata, prep. the work: Grk. ergon generally means a tangible deed, action or accomplishment that may be observed. The word is used here in reference to the deeds of men, exhibiting a consistent moral character, whether good or bad (BAG). of each: Grk. hekastos, adj., in reference to an individual person or thing; each, every, every one. Peters affirms consistent with the rest of Scripture that God's judgment of people is based each person's actions and not "faith alone" (1Cor 3:11-15; Jas 2:24; Jude 1:14-15). The descriptions of the judgment of the Messiah on the last day (Matt 25; 2Cor 5:10) and the white throne judgment after the millennium (Rev 20:11-15) make this principle abundantly clear.
live out: Grk. anastrephō, aor. pass. imp. (derived from ana, among, between, and strephō, to turn), to conduct or behave oneself, either in an appropriate or inappropriate manner. the time: Grk. chronos, may mean (1) a span or period of time, or (2) a point or definite moment in time. In the LXX chronos occurs about 100 times and most often renders yōm, "day, days" (DNTT 3:841). The Hebrews did not conceive of time in the abstract, but used yom overwhelmingly in the sense of ordinary measurable time. The duration of the time is defined by the following description. of your: Grk. humeis, plural pronoun of the second person. sojourn: Grk. paroikia, a stay in a place with alien status; sojourn, alien residence.
Peter is not speaking strictly of the temporary quality of human life (Ps 90:10; 103:14-16). The noun "sojourn" points back to the identification of the recipients of the letter in verse 1 above. Circumstances had prevented Messianic Jews in the Diaspora from fulfilling their covenant with the Land of Israel, but their residence in a foreign country should not be allowed to hinder living in obedience to covenantal expectations. in: Grk. en, prep. reverence: Grk. phobos may mean (1) feeling of need to escape from or avoid a threat; fear; (2) feeling of respect; reverence, awe; or (3) the process of causing in someone a feeling of need to escape from a situation; intimidation. The second meaning is intended here. The "fear of the Lord" is seen in Scripture as a positive motivation for life (Ps 34:11-14; 103:17-18; 111:10; 2Cor 5:11; Col 3:22).
18 knowing that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, not by perishable things, silver or gold,
knowing: Grk. oida, perf. part. (the perf. tense of Grk. eidon, to see), to have seen or perceived, hence to know. The verb is used for various kinds of knowledge: (1) to know someone or about someone; (2) to be intimately acquainted with or stand in a close relation to someone; (3) to know or understand how to do something, be able; (4) understand, recognize, or come to know by experience; and (5) to remember (BAG). The fourth meaning applies here. In the LXX oida occurs frequently to render Heb. yada (SH-3045; e.g., Num 11:16; Deut 1:39; Josh 2:4; 2Sam 19:6), which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning (DNTT 2:395). To the Hebrew mind "knowing" is not philosophical or theoretical, but based in reality and experience.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 12 above. you were redeemed: Grk. lutroō, aor. pass., to redeem or ransom in a commercial sense, used here in a fig. sense of deliverance from an oppressive or destruction condition. from: Grk. ek, prep. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. futile: Grk. mataios, without purpose; futile. way of life: Grk. anastrophē. See verse 15 above. inherited from your forefathers: Grk. patroparadotos, adj., handed down from one's ancestors. The term is found only here in the Besekh. It is a very Jewish term, but not found in the LXX or other Jewish literature. It was probably coined by Silvanus. In parallel language in Mark 7:8-9 Yeshua rebukes some Pharisees and teachers of the law for holding to vain traditions instead of to the commandments of God. Paul says that he had been extremely zealous for these traditions (Gal 1:14).
Stern comments that Peter is not referring to pagan idolatry nor the laws as set forth in the Tanakh, but the perversion of the Torah into an oppressive, legalistic way of life which the Jewish establishment, those guiding the direction of the Jewish lifestyle, passed on to those to whom Peter is writing and who have come to believe in Yeshua as Messiah. Peter is repeating what he said to the Circumcision Party at the Jerusalem Conference, "Why then do you put God to the test by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples—which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" (Acts 15:10 TLV).
not: Grk. ou, adv. by perishable things: pl. of Grk. phthartos, subject to a condition headed for ruin; corruptible, perishable. silver: Grk. argurion, the precious metal known as silver. or: Grk. ē, conj. used to denote an alternative. gold: Grk. chrusion, the precious metal of gold. See verse 7 above. Peter's imagery is likely drawn from Isaiah 52:3, "So you will be redeemed without silver" (TLV).
19 but by precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless.
but: Grk. alla, conj. by precious: Grk. timios, adj., highly valued or esteemed, used of persons and things; valuable, precious. blood: Grk. haima, used here in a substitutionary and atoning sense. See verse 2 above. of Messiah: Grk. Christos. See verse 1 above. The phrase "blood of Messiah" alludes to the blood loss experienced by Yeshua in Gethsemane agony (Luke 22:44), then his sufferings from scourging of his back (John 19:1) and being beaten on the head (Matt 27:29-30), and finally concluding with his crucifixion. The blood was symbolized by the cup shared in the Last Supper (Matt 26:28). Only John of the apostles witnessed the actual pouring of blood out of Yeshua's body on the cross (John 19:34). Yeshua's blood was "precious" from the standpoint of his innocence (cf. Matt 27:4), but primarily because of its atoning effect.
as: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 14 above. of a lamb: Grk. amnos, lamb, a young sheep without blemish, especially a one-year old lamb used for sacrifice. (HELPS). The word occurs only four times in the Besekh and used only in imagery of Yeshua (John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32). In the LXX amnos renders Heb kebes (SH-3532; BDB 461), "lamb," used chiefly in passages concerning the sacrificial system (DNTT 2:410). The lamb featured in the voluntary atonement sacrifices by the Israelites: burnt offering (Lev 1:10), sin offering (Lev 4:32), and guilt offering (Lev 5:6). The guilt offering actually encompassed a sin offering and a burnt offering (Lev 5:7). The goat was the principal animal designated for the sin offering, especially on Yom Kippur (Lev 16:5; 23:19; Num 29:11).
However, the burnt offering, regardless of the animal, also accomplished atonement (cf. Gen 8:21; Ex 29:41; Lev 1:4, 10; Num 6:11; Ezek 20:41). The sheep, whether lamb or ram, was the principal animal for the daily (morning and evening) burnt offerings, and during the obligatory festivals. For a complete explanation of the sacrifices see Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Hendrickson Pub., 1994; Chap. 5 and Chap. 6.) All the offerings were substitutionary in nature and made it possible for God to dwell in the midst of His people. See also my article God's Appointed Times.
unblemished: Grk. amōmos, adj., may mean (1) without fault in an ethical sense; blameless; or (2) without defect in a physical sense. Both of these meanings have application here. and spotless: Grk. aspilos, adj., spotless, unblemished, used of a lamb of highest quality without defect. The meaning can also be extended in an ethical sense. All animals specified in the Torah for sacrifices had to be without defect (Lev 22:18-25; Heb 9:11-15). Yeshua was the Lamb of God offered as a sin offering to atone for our sins according to the Torah (John 1:29; cf. Rom 3:25–26; 8:3–4). Through his meritorious death people may receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Eph 1:7). Followers of Yeshua commemorate his sacrifice in the Lord's Supper (1Cor 11:23-26).
Additional Note on the Lamb (Amnos)
Some commentators associate the lamb mentioned in this verse with the lamb killed on Nisan 14 for the evening Passover Seder, citing Paul's words, "our Pesakh [Grk. pascha], Messiah, has been sacrificed in place of us" (1Cor 5:7 MW). Many versions insert "lamb" in that verse even though Paul doesn't use the word for lamb (e.g., AMP, CEB, CJB, ESV, GW, MSG, NCV, NET, NIRV, NIV, NLT, NOG, NRSV, RSV and TLV). A number of versions correctly omit "lamb" (ASV, DRA, HCSB, HNV, KJ21, KJV, LEB, NASB, NEB, NJB and NKJV). When Paul declared that Yeshua was the "Passover," he clarified what he meant by saying in 2Corinthians 5:21 that Yeshua was a sin offering. Also, the Greek word for "lamb" used here (amnos = Heb. kebes) is never used in the Torah for the lamb slaughtered on Nisan 14 for the Passover meal. (The Heb. word for the Seder lamb is seh; LXX arēn, Ex 12:5).
In John 1:29 Yochanan declared that Yeshua is the lamb of God who takes away sin. The lambs slaughtered for the Passover meal on Nisan 14 were not atonement sacrifices, although they would qualify as peace offerings. In Egypt the blood of the Passover lambs on doorposts accomplished redemption from death, but thereafter the lamb killed for the Passover Seder on Nisan 14 was a memorial of the former deliverance without meritorious effect. This detail is also evidence that Yeshua did not die on Nisan 14 as some believe, because the only offering that day that accomplished atonement was the morning and evening burnt offering. Instead Yeshua died on Nisan 15. On that day the priests sacrificed two bulls, one ram and seven lambs as burnt offerings (which did have an atoning effect) and one male goat as a sin offering in accordance with the legislation in Numbers 28:17-22.
Of course, the fact that a goat was offered as a sin offering on Nisan 15 does not conflict with Yeshua being called the Lamb of God. He is also called the Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5), and lions were not sacrificial animals. Yochanan used Lamb of God as a Messianic title and a figure of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53:7 (cf. Acts 8:32). The quotation of Isaiah 53:7 from the LXX in Acts 8:32 likens Yeshua to a sheep and a lamb, "He was led as a sheep [Grk. probaton; for Heb. seh, sheep or lamb] to slaughter; and as a lamb [Grk. amnos; for Heb. rachel, a ewe] before its shearer is silent, so he opens not His mouth" (TLV). The Hebrew word for slaughter (tebach, SH-2874) when used of animals refers to slaughter for food, not for sacrifice, and when applied to people refers to violent killing (BDB 370).
The point of the word picture in Isaiah 53 is not that the Suffering Servant died like an animal for ritual sacrifice, but rather that he suffered a violent death without resistance, and yet in the process accomplished a substitutionary atonement for the "many" (Isa 53:5-6, 8). Peter echoes this message in this verse.
20 Indeed having been foreknown before the foundation of the world, but having been revealed in the last times on account of you.
Indeed: Grk. mén, a particle of affirmation; indeed, verily, truly. having been foreknown: Grk. proginōskō, perf. pass. part., may mean (1) know before about a matter of moment; or (2) have in mind as part of a long-standing plan. The second meaning applies here. Foreknowledge is personal experiential knowledge. Foreknowledge is a manifestation of God's omniscience as Scripture says, "His understanding is infinite" (Ps 147:5) and "God is greater than our heart and knows all things" (1Jn 3:20). Indeed, he knows the secrets of every heart (Ps 44:21). God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jer 1:5). The verb is found only three times in the LXX (Wisdom of Solomon 6:13; 8:8; 18:6). Wisdom knows in advance those who desire her; has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and foreknowledge of God's judgment on Egypt (DNTT 1:692).
before: Grk. pro, prep., may indicate (1) precedence, ahead; or (2) a time earlier than; before. The second meaning applies here. the foundation: Grk. katabolē, primarily foundation or establishment of the universe, but one time as conception in the womb (Heb 11:11). The noun occurs 11 times in the Besekh, ten of which denote something that took place before creation (Eph 1:4; 1Pet 1:26; Rev 13:8) or after creation (Matt 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Heb 4:3; 9:26; Rev 17:8). The noun denotes a foundation, cast according to a blueprint; the substructure which determines the entire direction of all that follows. In this context the term relates to the incarnation of Yeshua to be our Redeemer. The divine plan was set and guaranteed before creation (Heb 9:26; Rev 13:8), before the first ray of sunshine or drop of water touched the earth (HELPS).
of the world: Grk. kosmos, usually translated "world," has a variety of uses in the Besekh and other Jewish literature, including (1) the orderly universe; (2) the human race, mankind; (3) the earth as the place of habitation; and especially (4) everything of mankind that opposes God and is depraved of character (BAG). The first meaning applies here. In the LXX kosmos is used to render a variety of words, but only a few times with a meaning similar to the Besekh. Kosmos occurs five times for Heb. tsaba, the "hosts of heaven and earth," i.e., the stars (Gen 2:1; Deut 4:19).
The pre-existence of the Messiah is affirmed in other Besekh passages (John 1:1-2, 14; 17:5, 24; Eph 1:3–6; 3:11; Col 1:15–17; Heb 1:1–3; Rev 1:8; 5:5–6; 22:13). The belief was well established in Rabbinic expositions based on two passages:
"His name shall endure forever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun." (Ps 72:17 ASV)
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Mic 5:2 NASB)
Important for consideration of this subject is Psalm 72, written by King Solomon. The psalm is Messianic, that is, it depicts the reign of the righteous and divine King. Most Bible versions convert the psalm into a wish prayer with many verses beginning with "May He" or "Let them," as if Solomon were instructing the people how to pray for him. Instead the Hebrew text of the verses (2, 4, 6, 8, 12-15, 17-19) declares forthrightly the nature and actions of the Messiah, the truly Righteous King, which Solomon was not. The closing doxology drew the attention of the Jewish Sages:
"17 His name shall endure forever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun; and His name shall be blessed and all nations shall call Him blessed. 18 Blessed be ADONAI Elohim, the God of Israel who only does wondrous things. 19 and blessed forever be His glorious name; and all the earth will be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen." (Ps 72:17-19 mine)
Arguing from Psalm 72:17 the Talmud declares,
"It was taught that seven things were created before the world was created; they are the Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gey-Hinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah." (Pesachim 54a; also Nedarim 39b)
Rabbinic opinion was also influenced by the book of Enoch, dated prior to the Talmud from the first century BC. Enoch says,
"48:3, Yea, before the sun and the signs were created, Before the stars of the heaven were made, His name was named before the Lord of Spirits. 48:6, And for this reason hath he been chosen and hidden before Him, before the creation of the world and for evermore."
but: Grk. de, conj. having been revealed: Grk. phaneroō, aor. pass. part., cause to be in a state or condition that makes observation possible; make known, show, disclose, manifest, reveal. in: Grk. epi, prep., with the sense of "in the time of." the last: Grk. eschatos. See verse 5 above. times: pl. of Grk. chronos. See verse 17 above. The "last times" corresponds to the Heb. acharit-hayamim ("the end of days"), the time in which God would bring to fulfillment His grand plan (Eph 1:8–10, 3:3–11) (Stern). for the sake of: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 3 above. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. Enoch 48:7 says, "And the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits hath revealed him to the holy and righteous."
21 who through him are faithful ones to God, having raised him from death and having given him glory, so that your faithfulness and hope might be in God.
who: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a relative pronoun. through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 3 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. are faithful ones: pl. of Grk. pistos (from peithō, persuaded), adj., may mean (1) characterized by constancy and therefore worthy of trust; faithful, reliable or trustworthy; or (2) believing or trusting with commitment, used in the Besekh of one who trusts in God's promises, and is convinced of the resurrection of Yeshua. Versions are generally divided between translating the adjective as a verb "believe" or a noun "believers." However, the meaning of pistos here is the same as in the Olivet Discourse where Yeshua used the adjective of the faithful servant (Matt 24:45; 25:21, 23).
to: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." See verse 2 above. Most versions translate the preposition as "in." God: See verse 2 above. The recipients of Peter's letter had been "believers" in God when they heard his sermon on Pentecost. It was through Yeshua that they became truly faithful to God. having resurrected: Grk. egeirō, aor. part., to rise or raise, is used with a variety of meanings: (1) to arouse from sleep, to awake; (2) to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life; (3) to cause to rise or raise, from a seat or bed; or (4) to raise up, produce, cause to appear, such as appear before the public or a judge. The second meaning applies here. The verb egeirō appears in Yeshua's prophecies of being raised on the third day from his arrest (Matt 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 9:22; 24:6).
The verb graphically depicts the prone corpse of Yeshua lying on a tomb shelf being reanimated and transformed by the return of his spirit so that he could rise to an erect position and leave the tomb. him: Grk. autos. from: Grk. ek, prep. death: Grk. nekros. See verse 3 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. having given: Grk. didōmi, aor. part., to give, and in construction may be rendered as bestow, deliver, entrust, furnish, give, grant, pay, or supply. As described in the context the object may be tangible, intangible or verbal. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, to give, generally used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). him: Grk. autos. glory: Grk. doxa. See verse 7 above. The noun is probably used here of Yeshua's ascension back to heaven from whence he came.
so that: Grk. hōste, conj. may be used to (1) introduce an independent clause that represents a consequence of the statement that precedes; for this reason, therefore, and so, so that; or (2) introduces a dependent clause of an actual result; for the purpose of, with a view to, in order that. The first usage is intended here. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. faithfulness: Grk. pistis. See verse 5 above. Bible versions overwhelmingly translate the noun as "faith." CJB and TLV have "trust." In my view Peter isn't talking about a mental capacity but the quality of devotion to Yeshua. and: Grk. kai. hope: Grk. elpis. See verse 3 above. The noun could also be rendered "expectation." Biblical hope is not a wish, but a confident expectation.
might be: Grk. eimi, pres. inf. See verse 16 above. in: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." God: The phrase "into God" emphasizes entering and remaining in a relationship with God.
Exhortation to Love, 1:22-25
22 Having purified your souls in obedience of the truth into sincere brotherly love, fervently love one another from the heart,
Having purified: Grk. hagnizō, aor. part., to cleanse in such a way that one is purified. The verb is used of both ceremonial washing for entry into the temple (John 11:55), ending a period of restriction, such as that of a Nazirite (Acts 21:24, 26; 24:18), and inward purification of the soul (Jas 4:8; 1Jn 3:3). your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. souls: pl. of Grk. psuchē. See verse 9 above. The inward purification of souls likely refers to changing attitudes towards single-minded devotion to Yeshua (cf. Matt 5:8; Jas 4:8). in: Grk. en, prep. obedience: Grk. ho hupakoē. See verse 14 above.
of the truth: Grk. ho alētheia, that which is really so, and may refer to (1) dependability in thought and deed, (2) truth as opposed to what is false, or (3) reality as opposed to mere appearance (BAG). In the LXX alētheia regularly translates the Heb. emet (SH-571), "firmness, faithfulness, truth" (BDB 54; DNTT 3:877). The "truth" probably alludes to the message of Yeshua as Messiah and Savior and his claim of loyalty from his disciples. into: Grk. eis, prep. sincere: Grk. anupokritos, adj., without pretending like an actor; without pretence, unfeigned, genuine, sincere. brotherly love: Grk. philadelphia, (from philos, "in a close relationship with another," and adelphos, "of the same womb," "brother"), love of brothers. The noun has the sense of treating fellow disciples with the kind of affection felt for a sibling (cf. 1Pet 3:8).
fervently: Grk. ektenōs, adv., constancy in refusal to give in; earnestly, fervently, steadfastly. love: Grk. agapaō, aor. imp. See verse 8 above. one another: Grk. allēlōn, reciprocal pronoun; each other, one another. With this entreaty Peter echoes Yeshua's instruction at the last supper, "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you should have love among one another." (John 13:34-35 BR). from: Grk. ek, prep. the heart: Grk. kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation, used fig. of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In the LXX kardia renders Heb. lebab (SH-3824), inner man, mind, heart, will (DNTT 2:181). For all practical purposes Peter uses "heart" as a synonym of "soul."
"Loving from the heart" alludes to the content of the commandment "Love ADONAI your God with all your heart" (Deut 6:5 TLV), which was repeated by Yeshua as the greatest commandment (Matt 23:27). The second commandment to love one's neighbor (Lev 19:18) devolves from the former with the same degree of devotion (Luke 10:27). Loving from the heart cannot be applied in any legalistic fashion, but rather provides the motivation for serving the needs of fellow disciples.
Late MSS insert "through the Spirit" after "purified your souls," which is preserved by the Textus Receptus and found in some versions (KJV, NKJV, NMB, WEB, YLT). Metzger notes that the phrase not found in the earliest and best MSS appears to be a theological expansion introduced by a copyist (617f). While the Spirit does purify, people also have a responsibility to engage in self-purification. For example, some Christians who would claim to have been purified by the Spirit, need to purify themselves of anti-Semitic attitudes or prejudicial attitudes towards other ethnic groups.
23 having been born from above not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God.
having been born from above: Grk. anagennaō, pres. pass. part. See verse 23 above. The prefix ana can mean "again" (of a repeated action) or "up, upward." The great majority of versions have "born again." However, Peter uses the verb in the parallel sense as Yeshua who informed Nicodemus of the need to be "born from above" (gennaō anōthen, John 3:3). A few versions attempt to convey this thought with "given new birth" (CEB, CEV, MSG, NLV, OJB). The verb as used here denotes an upward spiritual birth to establish a relationship with God, not a repeated physical birth. not: Grk. ou, adv. from: Grk. ek, prep. perishable: Grk. phthartos, adj. See verse 18 above. seed: Grk. spora (from speirō, to sow), that which is sown, seed. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. but: Grk. alla, conj. See verse 15 above. imperishable: Grk. aphthartos, adj. See verse 4 above.
through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 3 above. the living: Grk. zaō, pres. part. See verse 3 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. abiding: Grk. menō, pres. part., to be in a situation for a length of time or to remain in a state or condition; remain or stay. A number of versions have "enduring," which stresses longevity, but the verb emphasizes constant presence (DNTT 3:224). Word: Grk. logos, a vocalized expression, word, discourse, statement, message or speech. In the LXX logos stands principally for Heb. dabar, which has a range of meaning, including "speech, word, report, command, advice, counsel, thing, matter" (Gen 29:13; BDB 182) (DNTT 3:1087). of God: See verse 2 above. The "living and abiding Word of God" is the imperishable seed.
Peter engages in a play on words since the expression "word of God" is used in various ways. The expression "word of God" is first used in the Besekh of a divinely inspired verbal message, first of Yochanan the Immerser (Luke 3:2), later of Yeshua (Luke 5:1; 8:21; 11:28) and then the apostles (Acts 6:2). The expression is also used of Scripture (i.e., the Tanakh, Matt 15:6; Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12), much of which was given by verbal inspiration (Ex 20:1; 24:3-4; Deut 10:4; John 10:35; 2Tim 3:15; 2Pet 1:20-21). And, of course, Yeshua himself is called the "Word of God" (John 1:1; Rev 19:13).
In the parable of the sower Yeshua explains that the seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11), i.e., the message of the kingdom (Matt 23:19). In Acts the expression represents the message of the Messianic movement, i.e., the good news of Yeshua. The content of the "word of God" as proclaimed by Peter was essentially (1) the announcement that the age of fulfillment has arrived; (2) a repetition of the ministry, death and resurrection of Yeshua; (3) citation of relevant Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh; and (4) a call to repentance and immersion. These elements may be seen in the sermons of Peter (Acts 2:14-36; 3:12-26; 4:8-12; 10:34-43).
24 Because, "All flesh is like grass, and all glory of it like the flower of grass. The grass dries up, and the flower falls off,
Source: Job 14:2; Psalm 103:15; Isaiah 40:6-7
Because: Grk. dioti, conj. See verse 12 above. Peter then quotes a proverbial saying that is as old as Job. The particular form of the quotation is from Isaiah 40, though not word for word. Blum, as many scholars, believes that Chapter 40 introduces the "Book of Comfort" as the prophetic message of God to an exiled and oppressed people. Therefore someone other than Isaiah wrote it. Indeed, various scholars have proposed that some unknown author wrote the second half of the book of Isaiah (40─66) and a few scholars have even suggested a Third Isaiah (56─66). Against this viewpoint we should consider that:
• for 25 centuries no one doubted that Isaiah was the author of all 66 chapters;
• there is no evidence whatever that the two (or three) parts of the book ever existed separately; and
• quotations in the Besekh from parts of Isaiah labeled as "Second" and "Third Isaiah" attribute those passages to Isaiah the prophet, such as Isaiah 40:3-5 quoted in Luke 3:4-6; Isaiah 53:1 in John 12:38; Isaiah 53:7-8 in Acts 8:32-33; and Isaiah 65:1 in Romans 10:20.
All: Grk. pas (for Heb. kol, the whole all), adj. See verse 15 above. flesh: Grk. sarx, "flesh," has both literal and figurative uses in Scripture: (1) the tissue that covers the skeleton of a human or animal; (2) the whole body viewed as a substance; (3) human or mortal nature, with its limitations; (4) theologically human desire that stands in opposition to the Spirit; and (6) the genitals with or without a suggestion of sinfulness connected with it (BAG). With the following description the first meaning is intended here. The second In the LXX sarx renders Heb. basar, which has the same range of meaning (DNTT 1:672). The proverbial saying illustrates the fragility of the human body and the shortness of human life (cf. Ps 90:10; 103:15-16).
is like: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 14 above. grass: Grk. chortos (for Heb. chatsir, green growth, herbage), green growth, here associated with a field or meadow; grass. and: Grk. kai, conj. all: Grk. pas. glory: Grk. doxa (for Heb. chesed, loveliness). See verse 7 above. of it: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The LXX inserts "of man" (Grk. anthrōpos), instead of the personal pronoun. Gill notes that man has a glory, manifested in outward things esteemed by men, such as riches, honor, wisdom, strength, external righteousness, holiness, and goodness; all which are fade. like: Grk. hōs. the flower: Grk. anthos (for Heb. tsiyts, blossom, flower), flower or a wild flower. of grass: Grk. chortos.
The grass: Grk. ho chortos. dries up: Grk. xērainō (for Heb. yabesh, dried up, withered), aor. pass., to cause a dry non-functioning condition; dry up, wither. Scripture offers a very scientific observation. By biblical definition plants are not living, so they cannot die. and: Grk. kai. the flower: Grk. ho anthos. falls off: Grk. ekpiptō (for Heb. nabel, wither and fade, fall), aor., to fall off, in the sense that the petals fall off the stem after drying up. The aorist tense of the two verbs is dramatic, vividly expressing the rapid blooming and fading of plants (Rienecker). Isaiah 40:7 says that the drying and falling occurs when (or because) "the breath of ADONAI blows upon it." Peter omits the last clause of the verse, which says "the people are grass." Of interest is that Jacob, the half-brother of Yeshua, applies the proverbial saying to the rich (Jas 1:10-11).
25 but the word of ADONAI abides into the age." Now this is the word having been proclaimed as good news to you.
Source: Isaiah 40:8
but: Grk. de, conj. the word: Grk. rhēma, a communication consisting of words, often with the implication of importance or special significance. In secular Greek literature rhēma referred to a statement, discourse or explanation. In the LXX rhēma occurs predominately in the Pentateuch and prophetic writings for the Heb. dabar, which means "word" or "thing." Thus, rhēma, standing for dabar, can mean both (a) a word or utterance as well as (b) a matter, event, or case in the sense of the result of things said or done (DNTT 3:1119f). The use of rhēma contrasts with the use of logos in verse 23 above.
of ADONAI: Grk. kurios. See verse 3 above. Peter diverges from the text which actually has "of our God." Peter may well imply a double meaning by his free translation. The phrase "word of our God" occurs only in Isaiah 40:8, whereas "the word of ADONAI" occurs over 250 times in the Tanakh, but not at all in Isaiah 40. Although kurios lacks the definite article, Peter could mean "Yeshua" and rhēma would be his message of the kingdom. abides: Grk. menō, pres. See verse 23 above. into: Grk. eis, pres. the age: Grk. aiōn (for Heb. olam), an extended period of time, which may be (1) a general reference to a long period of time in the past ('ages ago') or in the future of a period with no apparent end; eternity; or (2) a segment of extended time determined by qualifiers as present or future; age.
Bible versions almost unanimously translate eis aiōn here as "forever" or "for ever," but the YLT has "to the age." In the LXX aiōn occurs over 450 times and renders Heb. olam, which means "a long duration, antiquity or futurity" (BDB 761). The noun is also used as an adverb meaning "for ever, for all time," the first being in Genesis 9:12 (DNTT 3:827). In the Tanakh olam is used for ancient time (Gen 49:26), and indefinite futurity (Deut 15:17), but more often to the everlasting nature of God (Gen 21:33), His laws (Ps 119:89), His promises (Isa 40:8) and His covenant (Gen 9:16; 17:7; Ex 31:16; 2Sam 23:5). Lastly, olam encompasses existence after death and into eternity (Ps 90:2; Isa 45:17; Dan 12:2-3).
In Hebrew thought historical time was divided into ages, perhaps coinciding with the great covenants that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and David (Eccl 1:10; Rom 16:25; 1Cor 2:7; 10:11; Eph 3:9; Col 1:26; Titus 1:2; Heb 9:26). Yeshua and the apostles speak of two specific ages – the present age (Matt 28:20; Mark 10:30; Titus 2:12) and the age to come (Matt 12:32; Mark 10:30; Heb 6:5). In the coming age when the Messiah reigns on the earth and into eternity the word of God will continue to have authority and power.
Now: Grk. de, conj. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 16 above. the word: Grk. ho rhēma. having been proclaimed as good news: Grk. euangelizō, aor. part. (from eú, "good, well" and angellō, "announce, herald"), to announce the good message, and is used to mean (1) pass on information that provides good news to the recipient, and (2) spread good news of God's beneficial concern, specifically of a proclamation with focus on God's saving action in connection with Yeshua. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX euangelizō stands for Heb. basar, to publish or bring news or a report, whether good or bad (DNTT 2:108-109). to: Grk. eis. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. Gill notes that the apostle's application of the passage in Isaiah shows that the word of God there is the same as the good news proclaimed by him. Peter very likely alludes to his Pentecost message that his readers had heard.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. London: Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 3 Vols., ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.
Fruchtenbaum: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel's Bible Commentary: The Messianic Jewish Epistles. Ariel Ministries, 2005.
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
Marshall: I. Howard Marshall, 1 Peter. InterVarsity Press, 1991. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.
Metzger: Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1994.
Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.
Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Vol. 2. Zondervan Pub. House, 1980.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Tarn & Griffith: Sir William Tarn and G.T. Griffith, Hellenistic Civilization. 3rd Edition. Edward Arnold Publishers, Ltd., 1952.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889. online.
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