From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain First Peter                             Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2018



List of All Sources Quoted At End of File






CHAPTER 2:1-12




2:1                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Rid yourselves therefore of all ill-will and all deceitfulness, of insincerity and envy, and of all evil speaking.

WEB:              Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking,

Young’s:         Having put aside, then, all evil, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings,

Conte (RC):    Therefore, set aside all malice and

all deceitfulness, as well as falseness and envy and

every detraction.


2:1                   Wherefore.  The word refers to the reasonings in the first chapter.  In view of the considerations stated there, we should renounce all evil.  [31]

            laying aside [putting aside, NASB].  These are such sins as both destroy charity and hinder the efficacy of the word, and consequently they prevent our regeneration.  [5]

            There is not here a complete enumeration of all those things which we ought to lay aside; but when the Apostles speak of the old man, they lay down as examples some of those vices which mark his whole character.  [35]  

            This “putting away” is a figure taken from clothing and is often used in Scripture (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8; James 1:21).  [50]  

                        all.  Every kind of and every instance of, and so throughout [the repetitions of the word in] the verse.  [45]

                        all malice.  The word “malice” we commonly apply now to a particular kind of evil, denoting extreme enmity of heart, ill-will, a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification, or from a spirit of revenge--Webster.  The Greek word, however, includes evil of all kinds.  [31]

                        Each succeeding one springs out of that which immediately precedes, so as to form a genealogy of the sins against love.  Out of malice springs guile; out of guile, hypocrises (pretending to be what we are not, and not showing what we really are; the opposite of “love unfeigned,” and “without dissimulation”); out of hypocrisies, envies of those to whom we think ourselves obliged to play the hypocrite; out of envies, evil-speaking, malicious, envious detraction of others.  Guile is the permanent disposition; hypocrisies the acts flowing from it.  Malice delights in another‘s hurt; envy pines at another‘s good; guile imparts duplicity to the heart; hypocrisy (flattery) imparts duplicity to the tongue; evil-speakings wound the character of another” [Augustine].  [20]

                        Or:  There had been “malice” (i.e., ill will put into action) on the part of these Hebrew Christians against their Gentile brethren, and “guile,” and “hypocrisies,” and “jealousies,” which are all instances of concealed malice . Of these three, the first plots, the second pretends not to plot, and the third rejoices to think of the plot succeeding.  [46]

                        all guile and hypocrisies and envies.  Guile wrongs; hypocrisy deceives; envy assails a neighbor: all these things are injurious to love, on which see 1 Peter 1:22.  [26] 

                        “Guile” is deceitful and insincere; “hypocrisies” counterfeit and put forth the seeming for the being; “envies” are displeased at and depreciate the ability, prosperity, performance, or reputation of others.  [39]

and all guile [deceit, NKJV].  i.e every form of the disposition to reach selfish ends artfully or by deception.  In 1 Peter 3:10 this is re-introduced in relation to speech, as that is dealt with in Psalms 33:13.  [51]

Giving up “some” of our pet “demons” is not necessarily all that hard.  We will decide to get drunk “only” on Saturday nights; we will use illegal drugs “only” if it’s been a really bad week.  What Peter is urging is that we aim to eradicate them rather than just more-or-less “minimize” them (a mentality that unfortunately leaves plenty of “fudging” room).  The challenge becomes especially difficult when we have allowed any of our faults to become habitual, our “norm.”  Changing “norms” of behavior can be hard because change, typically, is hard.  But that does not eliminate its desirability.  [rw]   

and hypocrisies.  e.g, putting the intended victim of wickedness and guile off his guard by a show of friendliness.  [45]

The word means, feigning to be what we are not; assuming a false appearance of religion; cloaking a wicked purpose under the appearance of piety.  [31]

These ‘hypocrisies’ are in strong contrast to the love “unfeigned,” literally “unhypocritical,” in 1 Peter 1:22.  The word (which is used in Galatians 2:13 with the softened sense of the dissimulation of Cephas and the Jews, which amounted to a “practical denial of their better insight”) covers here all the insincerities, the masked acts and concealments into which the heart drives one in relation to his fellows.  [51]

and envies.  The “envies” (the only vice in this list which is explicitly named in Paul’s enumeration of the “works of the flesh,” Galatians 5:20-21) embrace all exhibitions of jealousy and grudging.  [51]

We often think of envy as targeting the “big” things in life, such as fame and fortune, and it certainly operates in those spheres.  But it can also operate in the “minor” areas as well:  he has a new lawnmower, he had a car that’s a year newer than mine; he got a better room at the resort than I did.  Allowing envy to continue easily leads to hypercriticism and blinds us to the times when we were the “lucky ones.”  Should we treat others with the annoyance we would recognize as unjust if we ourselves were the targets?  [rw]     

and all evil speakings.  Evil-speakings insinuate, defame, backbite, and carry injurious tales.  [39]

                        Slander, scandal, ill-natured gossip.  These vices, it is implied, are a survival of the old bad life, “the body of this death” (Romans 7:24); their presence in the church does not reflect on Christianity, but shows that its members are only recovering slowly and partially from the disease of sin. [45]

                        The term is one of rare occurrence.  The cognate verb, indeed, is found occasionally in the Classics, and there with the twofold sense of “babbling” and “railing.”  But the noun itself is unknown to classical Greek, although it is found occasionally in the Septuagint (Wisdom 1:11 ), the Fathers (e.g. Clem. Rom. and Polycarp), and in one other passage of the N.T. (2 Corinthians 12:20).  It means literally “speakings against,” and will include all words of detraction, railing, defamation, and the like.  [51]



2:2                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Thirst, like newly-born infants, for pure milk for the soul, that by it you may grow up to salvation;

WEB:              as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby,

Young’s:         as new-born babes the word's pure milk desire ye, that in it ye may grow,

Conte (RC):    Like newborn infants, desire the milk

of reasonableness without guile, so that by this you

may increase unto salvation,


2:2                   As newborn babes.  The [Greek] word signifying peculiarly a child at birth, or of tender years.  See Luke 18:15; Acts 7:19.  Of the infant Jesus, Luke 2:12, 16.  Here marking the recentcy of Christian life in the converts addressed.  [2]

                        The suggestion of spiritual infancy is not intended here as a rebuke, but rather as an encouragement to seek for the growth which all partakers of the new life need.  [7]

                        There is a true sense in which the Christian should never grow out of infancy.  As our Lord said, Matthew 18:3, “Except ye become as little children (παιδία) ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  So here Christians, whatever may be their standing, are to retain the simple innocent cravings of a babe at his mother’s breast who desires no other food.  [37]

                        Comparison of the imagery as used by Paul and by Peter [23].  The sense in which this expression is used here differs from the use of it in 1 Corinthians 3:1:  “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”  The spiritual growth of the Corinthians had been arrested and dwarfed; they never developed, but remained babes, a spiritual monstrosity.  But the meaning here is entirely different.  Believers should be at all times like new-born babes hungering for that which the Lord has provided for spiritual growth, the milk in all its purity as found in His Word.  The mother by which we are begotten again, that is the living and abiding Word of God, has also the nourishment for the life we have received.  In this sense the child of God must always be like a healthy babe, always craving, hungering and thirsting for the pure milk as provided in His Word.  [23]

                        desire.  The word for “desire” here is a strong word—get an appetite for it.  Bengel is perhaps right when he says on “newborn babes,” “It is their only occupation, so strong is their desire for it.”  St. Peter here again seems to lend a thought to the writer to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:12-14).  In both places Jewish Christians are beginning to rebel against the Gospel instructions, and in both places they are warned that they have not yet outgrown the need of the very simplest elements of the Gospel.  [46]

the sincere [pure, NKJV].  The pure spiritual truths of the gospel.  [14]

Guileless, unadulterated, and undiluted.  Irenaeus says of heretics, “They mix chalk with their milk.”  [39]

The negative of the word translated “guile” in the first verse.  [13]  

The epithet “sincere” should have been rendered guileless, as it contains a contrast with “guile” in the verse before; perhaps the intention of the epithet may be to rebuke the attempt to deal deceitfully with the Old Testament Scriptures.  [46]

                        milk of the word.  The Gospel of Christ.  [42]  

The life which has been begotten in the regeneration must also be nourished; and as they, because they had only been recently converted, can yet be compared with little children, their food is here termed milk.  And for this food they must have a longing as a child has for its mother’s milk, so that their newly begotten life may be developed farther toward the goal of redemption, whereas the natural man only with the impure motive of selfishness seeks to harm the neighbor.  [9]

Peter here calls the Word of God “milk,” because by its indwelling divine power it nourishes the new life.  There is no antithesis here between the milk (rudiments of the faith) and the meat (deeper truths) of the Word, as in 1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 6:1.  [50]

It is simply a figurative expression for the food which they must have, seeing that they are now in a new life.  What the food is which is indicated by the “milk,” is not stated, but is left to be inferred from the context, which certainly points neither to the Eucharist, as some strangely imagine, nor even to Christ, as the Logos preached in the Word (so Weiss), but simply to the Word itself.  [51]

                        that ye may grow thereby.  To full maturity in knowledge and grace.  [39]

                         Grow in Christian knowledge and wisdom, in faith, hope, and love; in humility, resignation, patience, gentleness, long-suffering, in all holiness and righteousness, unto the full measure of Christ’s stature.  In the former chapter the apostle had represented the word of God as the incorruptible seed, by which the believers, to whom he wrote, had been born again, and by obeying which they had purified their souls; here he represents it as the milk by which the new-born babes in Christ grow up to maturity.  The word, therefore, is both the principle by which the divine life is produced in the soul, and the food by which it is nourished.  [47]

[Added at end of verse: into salvation, ESV; in respect to salvation, NASB].  The better MSS. add the words unto salvation.  Though not essential to the sense, they give a worthy completeness to it, and it is not easy to understand how they came to be omitted in the later MSS.  [38]

Comments on “unto salvation:  Growth needed continual nourishment.  “Salvation,” originally deliverance from physical danger, or a state of safety, is commonly used in the New Testament of the deliverance wrought by Christ.  It is not thought of as something [fully, rw] accomplished at the time of conversion, but as the mature state, into which the new life will ultimately grow, or as a gift to be bestowed when maturity is attained (1:5); cf. Romans 13:11, “Now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed”; Philippians 2:12, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”; and, for the general idea of growth, Ephesians 4:11-15, “ . . . unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:  that we may be no longer children . . . but . . . may grow up in all things into him.”


                        In depth:  “Newborn” and the intended audience for the epistle [45].  It has been argued from the use of the word “newborn” that they Epistle must have been addressed to recent converts, and therefore not to the Pauline churches in Asia Minor, some of which had existed fifteen or twenty years when 1 Peter was written—supposing the Epistle [was] written about A.D. 60-65—but to churches recently formed, perhaps from amongst the Jewish communities in Asia Minor.  But in his use of the terms “new birth,” “begotten again,” &c., our author is not thinking of the recent date of the conversion of his readers, but of the complete change which it should have wrought in their life and character.   

                        In churches which had only existed fifteen or twenty years, during which Christianity had been spreading rapidly, a large proportion of the members must have been recent converts.  Even to men who had been Christians a dozen years or more, their religion would still seem a novelty in comparison with their former heathen faith in which they had been born, and grown up, and perhaps come to middle life, and which their ancestors had held for centuries.



2:3                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     f you have had any experience of the goodness of the Lord.

WEB:              if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious:

Young’s:         if so be ye did taste that the Lord is gracious,

Conte (RC):    if it is true that you have tasted that

the Lord is sweet.


2:3                   If so be ye have tasted.  The word “tasted” as applied to those experiences follows naturally, as in Hebrews 6:4, on the imagery of the milk.  [38]

                        The tense (a simple historical past, not “have tasted,” as both A.V. and R.V. give it) describes the experience as one belonging definitely to the past, and points, therefore, to what they found the Lord to be when they first came to know Him.  [51]

that the Lord is gracious.  The Greek word for “gracious” itself carries on the metaphor of the tasting, being applied in Luke 5:39 to express the mellowness of wine ripened by age.  [38]

The quotation, or rather adaptation, from Psalms 34:8 is, no doubt, suggested by the metaphor of “milk.”  A curious little point about our translation here is that the word “gracious” has been adopted to suit the Prayer Book version of the Psalm.  It is scarcely suitable to the Greek word, which, originally signifying “usable,” “serviceable,” passes on to be used of anything mild and pleasant, as, for instance, in Luke 5:39, of the mellowness of old wine.  Here, therefore, the word seems to be peculiarly used with reference to the sense of taste.  A more important point, doctrinally, is that Peter is here applying to Jesus Christ (as the next verse shows) a passage which otherwise we might not have thought of applying to Him in particular.  It gives quite a new complexion to the 34th Psalm, when we see that in Peter’s view the Psalmist was speaking prophetically of our Lord. We shall find him quoting the same Psalm in the same sense again in 1 Peter 3:10.  [46]

                        the Lord.  The Lord Jesus Christ, as appears by the next verse.  [28]


In depth:  Thoughts on the source and application of the text.  From Psalms 34:8: compare Hebrews 6:5.  The Lord in the Psalm is Jehovah.  As in other places in NT, words spoken of Him are applied to Christ, through whom God is manifested to man (Hebrews 1:10).  [24]

                        It is possible that he may have been led to choose the quotation from the close resemblance in sound between the two Greek words for “Christ” (Christos) and “gracious” (Chrestos).  The acceptance of the name of Christian as carrying with it this significance, and being, as it were, nomen et omen, was common in the second century (Tertullian Apol. 100:3), and it would have been quite in accordance with Jewish habits of thought for Peter to have anticipated that application.  [38]

                        In the Psalm the term refers to what may be tasted and seen, and does not, therefore, describe a quality peculiar to food, but applies to Jehovah as the giver of blessings, whose goodness is known by tasting and seeing His gifts.  So here also, according to the “gracious” of the English Versions, a meaning it often has in the N.T.  But both in the N.T. and the LXX, chrestos is used of food, in a sense also common in classical Greek, viz., “palatable, wholesome, nourshing”—of figs in Jeremiah 24:2, &c., of wine in Luke 5:39.  Cf. also Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is chrestos,” E.V. “easy.”  Moreover, the “and see” of the Psalm may be ignored in order to continue the figure of food consistently to the end.  Hence the Vulgate translates “how sweet the Lord is,” and this view is taken by many modern scholars.  [ - ]



2:4                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Come to Him, the ever-living Stone, rejected indeed by men as worthless, but in God's esteem chosen and held in honour.

WEB:              coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious.

Young’s:         to whom coming -- a living stone -- by men, indeed, having been disapproved of, but with God choice, precious,

Conte (RC):    And approaching him as if he were

a living stone, rejected by men, certainly, but elect

and honored by God,


2:4                   To whom coming.  By faith:  q.d. In whom believing, John 6:35, 44, 45. The word is in the present tense, the apostle describing here not their first conversion to Christ, but their present state, that they, being in Christ, were daily coming to him in the continued exercise of their faith.  [28]

                        And:  The believer must continually come to the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, “drawing near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22), “with boldness” (Hebrews 4:16), that he may ever come into closer communion with Him.  [50]

                        as unto a living stone.  Living from eternity; alive from the dead.  [15]

This expression is intended to denote, not merely that it is only in a figurative sense that Christ is called a stone, but likewise that he has life in himself, and therefore does not crumble away, as the broken in contrast with the live stone.  [6]

Christ is called a “stone” or rock, “because after the manner of rocks, He remains ever the same, unchangeably powerful and invincible; because His word is firm and immovable, and because God has ordained and designed Him to be the foundation of His spiritual temple” (Fronmueller).  He is called a living stone, because He is “the Living one, “alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18), the author and giver of life (John 14:19).  There is in Him nothing of death and decay, for He is absolute Light and Life (John 14:6; 1 John 1:5).  [50]

A widespread prophetic precedent?  Observe how very frequently the rock of stone is in Holy Scripture a type or name of the Lord Jesus.  The stone which Jacob anointed (Genesis 28:18); the rock stuck by Moses (Exodus 17:6); the great rock whose shadow gives shelter in a weary land (Isaiah 32:2); the stone cut out of the mountain (Daniel 2:34-35); the stone laid before Joshua (Zechariah 3:9); the white stone (Revelation 2:17); the rock on which David prays to be set up (Psalm 61:3); the rock upon which the wise man built his house (Matthew 7:24):  all these—and there are many other such expressions—are types or prophecies of Christ our Savior. [42]    

Isaiah 28 specifically in mind?  The apostle alludes to Isaiah 28:16, where the formation of a Christian church, for the spiritual worship of God, is foretold under the image of a temple, which God was to build on the Messiah as the foundation-stone thereof.  There is a wonderful beauty and energy in these expressions, which describe Christ as a spiritual foundation, solid, firm, durable; and believers as a spiritual building erecting thereon, in preference to that temple which the Jews accounted their highest glory; and Peter, speaking of him thus, shows he did not judge himself, but Christ, to be the rock on which the church was built.  [47] 

“Stone” and the name “Peter.”  The word for stone here is an entirely different word from the term which is identical with the personal name Peter, and this prevents us from supposing (with Bengel, Canon Farrar, etc.) that the apostle was thinking here of the new name (Peter = rock or stone) which he had himself received from Christ.  He uses the term simply as a well-understood Old Testament title of Messiah, as he uses it again in his discourse after the healing of the cripple (Acts 4:11), and as Christ Himself employs it in order to point the application of the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matthew 21:42).  Peter, indeed, as some suppose, may have been that “one of His disciples” who, as Jesus “went out of the temple,” said unto him, “Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here,” and who now pointed his readers to that Master Himself as the chief corner-stone of a more glorious temple slowly rising out of more imperishable material.  [51]

                        disallowed [rejected, NKJV] indeed of men.   Rejected, not only by the unbelieving Jews and their rulers formerly, but still by the unbelieving world.  [28]

                        There is no reference here to the Jews as distinguished from others.  There is simply a broad contrast drawn between two kinds of treatment accorded to the “living stone,” one on the side of men, and another on the side of God.  [51]

but chosen of God.  i.e chosen by God as qualified for His object.  [51]

Chosen by God by meeting the standards He has prescribed for acceptance.  Governments with a military “choose” the criteria for service and those who don’t meet it are rejected.  Similarly, God has set the criteria for being part of His people and it is by the voluntary act of accepting and embracing those requirements that one becomes part of His people.  [rw]

and precious.  Peter has reference to Isaiah 28:16, “a tried stone, a precious cornerstone of sure foundation.”  This Christ is the chosen servant in whom God delighteth (Isaiah xlii. 1), precious, held in honor.  The contrast lies between the human judgment, rejected, leading to His crucifixion, and the divine, chosen, and honored, leading to His glorification.  [50]



2:5                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     And be yourselves also like living stones that are being built up into a spiritual house, to become a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

WEB:              You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Young’s:         and ye yourselves, as living stones, are built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Conte (RC):    be also yourselves like living stones,

built upon him, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood,

so as to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to

God through Jesus Christ.


2:5                   Ye also, as lively stones.  Better, “as living stones,” there being no reason for a variation in the English [from “a living stone” in verse 4], to which there is nothing corresponding in the Greek.  The repetition of the same participle gives prominence to the thought that believers are sharers in the life of Christ, and that, in the building up of the spiritual temple, each of these “living stones” takes its voluntary, though not self-originated, part.  [38]

                        All sinners are the devil’s dead rocks, while Christians are God’s living stones.  The Church of God, the divine ecclesia, not human ecclesiasticism, is here symbolized as a beautiful and majestic stone edifice, the apostles and prophets constituting the foundation, while Jesus Christ is the head of the corner.  The two pairs of parallel walls, i.e., Jew and Gentile constituting the grand quadrangular superstructure, are consolidated in the corners by the Chief cornerstone, secure against all the storms dashing against it by the caprice of men and the rage of devils.  [48]

                        are built up a spiritual house.  Being spiritual yourselves, and an habitation of God through the Spirit.  [15]

                        A spiritual temple, not made of perishable materials, like that at Jerusalem net composed of matter, as that was, but made up of redeemed souls--a temple more appropriate to be the residence of one who is a pure spirit.  [31]

                        He is not thinking of an actual house.  He is thinking of the Christians of Asia Minor:  You can [picture them] as going into this spiritual building of which Christ is a living stone, the foundation.  Did anybody ever say anything like that to Peter?  “Thou art Peter.  On this rock I will build.”  [43]

                        The figure changes to the coming together of stones to a cornerstone to form a building, a New Testament figure for the close and permanent union of Christians with their Master and with one another; such union can only exist as the result of the mutual affection on which the Apostle is insisting.  The stones of a building cannot be rightly united with and adjusted to the corner stone if they do not also fit into and support each other.  Cf. Ephesians 2:20-21, “Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord.”  The figure is similarly used in 1 Corinthians 3:17, 6:19; Hebrews 3:6.  [45]

                        house.  The church.  God's spiritual temple of which the temple was a type.  [22]

                        Though the noun means simply “house,” and not “temple,” and the adjective “spiritual” is added simply to distinguish it from a material structure, it is no doubt the temple that Peter has in view.  The phrase itself may be in apposition to the subject “ye” (Hofmann, etc.), or (as most prefer) it may express the end contemplated in the being built.  It may be that they are to be built up on the Foundation in the character of, or because they are, a spiritual house; or it may be rather that they are to be built up in order to make a spiritual house.  At this point Peter introduces the idea which was so alien to the Jewish mind (cf. Mark 14:58; John 2:21), but by this time as familiar to him as it was to Paul (Ephesians 2:20-22, etc.), that the real temple of God was not the great House in Jerusalem, and that Christ’s flock, without distinction, too, of Jew and Gentile, was the true Israel, temple, and priesthood of God.  [51]        

an holy priesthood.  This is said, not of a distinct class, as of ministers, but of the whole body of believers.  [39]

The legal sacrifices were to be offered by the priests alone, and only in the temple:  accordingly the Christian church is here represented as God’s temple; the praises they offer up to God in their assemblies are styled “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” Hebrews 13:15; the persons who offer them, “a holy priesthood” (see verse 9).  [4]

And it is called a royal priesthood, as Christians may be called metaphorically kings, by governing their passions, or because they are invited to reign with Christ in his kingdom, to sit on his throne.  See Apocalypse 3:21.  [12]

They are to be so built in order to make not only a spiritual house, but also a holy priesthood, and the spiritual house itself is to rise with a view to, or, so as also to become, the holy priesthood.  As God’s people once were, the house and the priesthood were distinct; now they are one.  [51]

Old Testament precedents possibly in mind.  [They are] not only God’s temple, but the priests that serve him in that temple; that is, persons dedicated to and employed for God.  Thus, [in] Isaiah 61:6, it is foretold that, in the days of the Messiah, the people of God should be named the priests of the Lord, and the ministers of our God; as also Isaiah 66:21.  Christians are called a priesthood, in the same sense that the Israelites were called a kingdom of priests, Exodus 19:6.  The apostle’s design, in giving these titles to real Christians, is partly to show that they are dedicated to God in heart and life, and also that in the Christian church or temple, there is no need of the mediation of priests to present our prayers to God.  Every sincere worshipper has access to the Father through Christ, as if he were really a priest himself.  [47]

holy.  The epithet “holy” simply marks off the priesthood as consecrated according to the idea of a priesthood.   [51] 

priesthood.  The noun expressing the priesthood itself is one entirely strange to profane Greek, but found in the LXX, and once again in the N.T. (1 Peter 2:9 of this chapter).  It denotes priests not in their individual capacity, but as a collective body or college.  It by no means follows, however, that it implies the existence of different degrees of priesthood among Christians (Canon Mason), or that it bears upon “the office of a vicarious priesthood, representing and acting on behalf of the body corporate” (Canon Cook).  The one thing it affirms is that all Christians as such, and without distinction, constitute a priestly fraternity corresponding to the community of priests established under the Law, and realizing the complete idea of a priesthood which the former college, with its limitation in numbers, and its sharp separation from the people, and its ritual service, imperfectly and distantly exhibited.  “The name priest,” says John Owen, “is nowhere in Scripture attributed peculiarly and distinctly to the ministers of the Gospel as such; that which puts a difference between them and the rest of the people of God’s holiness seems to be a more direct participation of Christ’s prophetical, not sacerdotal, office.  When Christ ascended on high, He gave some to be prophets, Ephesians 4:11; none, as we find, to be priests.  Priests are a sort of church-officers whom Christ never appointed” (see Dr. John Brown in loc.).  In the next few verses, Peter lingers lovingly over this great principle of grace, the priesthood of all believers, the right of every soul to go direct to God with its sins, and receive for itself His forgiveness through Christ—the principle which the early Church proclaimed (“are not we who are laics also priests?”—Tertullian, de Exhort. Castitatis, chap, 7), which was lost in the theology and ecclesiasticism of the Mediaeval Church.  [51]

                        to offer up spiritual sacrifices.  Prayer, thanksgiving, adoration, and praise.  [14]

                        It is called sacrifice, not because it makes an expiation for sin, but because it is of the nature of worship.  [31]

                        If Christians are the spiritual house and the holy priesthood which make all necessity for a separate temple and a limited priesthood vanish, they must serve in priestly fashion Him whose house they make.  Their service is to offer “sacrifices,” and these, in conformity with the service itself, must be not material but “spiritual.”  [51]

                        Offer up” is the common word for presenting upon the altar; but the “sacrifices” are bloodless and “spiritual.”  First of all, is the sacrifice of ourselves and our entire existence; then follow our thoughts, words, actions, with the specific acts of thanksgiving, praise, prayer, mercy, and beneficence, for the Lord’s sake.  It is significant that Peter omits all intimation of a sacerdotal order, with himself at its head, and all allusion to himself as of more importance in building God’s house than any of his brother apostles.  [39]

acceptable to God.  So Romans 12:1, “I beseech you . . . to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God;” Philippians 4:18, “having received . . . the things that come from you . . . a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God;” Hebrews 13:16, “to do good and to bestow alms, forget not:  for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased.”  The same idea is also found in the Old Testament, e.g., Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;” cf. also 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice;” and Hosea 6:6, “I desired kindness and not sacrifice.”  [45]

by Jesus Christ.  Cf. Hebrews 13:15, “Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”  As nourished by the life of Christ, bound up with him, and therefore with one another, like the stones of a building with its corner-stone, we are able to make acceptable offerings.  [45]

The meaning, therefore, seems to be (as Luther, Bengel, Wiesinger, Hofmann, Huther, etc., read it) = to offer up spiritual sacrifices which through Jesus Christ are acceptable to God.  To Him to whom we owe our first consecration as priests to God, we owe also the continued acceptance of all that we offer in our priestly ministry.  [51]


                        In depth:  The broadness of the priesthood concept in Peter and Paul [51].  The best interpreters are practically at one in recognizing the doctrinal bearings of this brief but important section. Peter here expresses what Bishop Lightfoot (Comm. on Philip, 1:17) holds Paul’s language also to express, “the fundamental idea of the Christian Church, in which a universal priesthood has supplanted the exclusive ministrations of a select tribe or class.”  Neander concludes that “when the apostles applied the Old Testament idea of priesthood to Christianity, this was done invariably for the simple purpose of showing that no such visible particular priesthood could find place in the new community.”  And Huther affirms the idea which is here expounded to be opposed not only to the catholic doctrine of a particular priesthood, but to all teaching with regard to the office of the administration of word and sacrament which in any way ascribes to its possessors an importance in the Church, resting on Divine mandate, and necessary for the communication of salvation (i.e priestly importance).’



2:6                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     For it is contained in Scripture, "See, I am placing on Mount Zion a Cornerstone, chosen, and held in honour, and he whose faith rests on Him shall never have reason to feel ashamed."

WEB:              Because it is contained in Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed."

Young’s:         Wherefore, also, it is contained in the Writing: 'Lo, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, choice, precious, and he who is believing on him may not be put to shame;'

Conte (RC):    Because of this, Scripture asserts:

“Behold, I am setting in Zion a chief cornerstone,

elect, precious. And whoever will have believed

in him will not be confounded.”


2:6                   Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture.  The quotation is taken from Isaiah 28:16, where the believer is encouraged to trust to the sure foundation-stone, laid by Jehovah in Zion, rather than to arms and diplomacy.  This foundation-stone is commonly explained as “Jehovah’s relation to Israel.”  This quotation is applied to Christ because the “stone” in the original is a symbol for the presence and Divine activity of Jehovah amongst His people, and Christ was the realization of that of which the stone was the symbol.  An expositor in N.T. times would probably have said simply that “the stone was the Messiah,” which is merely a popular statement of the same idea.  [45]    

                        The scripture” never means the Old Testament as a whole, which would be called “the Scriptures,” but is always the particular book or passage of the Old Testament.  [46]

Behold, I lay in Sion.  So Paul, too (Romans 9:33), gives it, instead of Isaiah’s more explicit statement, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation (literally, I am He that hath founded), or, as the LXX puts it, Behold, I lay to the foundations of Zion.  The object that is thus laid is, according to Isaiah, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation.  But instead of introducing the object simply as a stone, and then defining that by a series of compound epithets (which Ewald and Delitzsch agree in rendering rather, “a tried precious corner-stone of firmest foundation”), Peter names the object at once a chief corner-stone, and then defines it by two simple epithets, transforming Isaiah’s order, and omitting some of his terms.  Paul, again (Romans 9:33), seems to take the object not from Isaiah 18:16, but from Isaiah 8:14.  [51]

a chief corner stone.  The principal stone on which the corner of the edifice rests. A stone is selected for this which is large and solid, and, usually, one which is squared, and worked with care; and as such a stone is commonly laid with solemn ceremonies, so, perhaps, in allusion to this, it is here said by God that he would lay this stone at the foundation. The solemnities attending this were those which accompanied the great work of the Redeemer.  [31]

The corner-stone is that stone in the foundation on which the angle of the building rests, and which is all-important to the stability of the building and the coherence of its parts.  There is no reference here, however, to the union effected through Christ between Jew and Gentile (as Luther supposes), far less to Christ as “the connecting link of the Old and New Testaments” (Fronmüller).  [51]

But whether the stone immediately in Isaiah’s view is to be identified with Jehovah Himself, with the Davidic King, with the theocracy, with the Temple, or with the promise made to David and his house (2 Samuel 7:12, 16), in Peter it is Christ Himself who is that Son of David in whom the kingdom was to reach its final glory, and in whom that promise is fulfilled.  [51]

elect.  Hence, "chosen by God" (1 Peter 2:4).  [22]

precious.  “Precious” is used in the two senses of “honored” or “honorable,” and “valuable,” and would suggest both meanings to a Greek reader.  “Precious” is an unfortunate translation, because it suggests “precious stones” or “jewels,” and it is certainly not meant that the “stone” was a jewel.  [45] 

and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [put to shame, NKJV].  The meaning of the Hebrew is fairly expressed by the English version, “He that believeth shall not make haste,” i.e. shall go on his way calmly and trustfully, shall not be put to a hurried or hasty flight.  Here Peter follows the LXX which expresses substantially the same thought.  [38]

The clause which appears at once in Peter, in Paul, and in the LXX as “shall not be confounded” (or rather, put to shame), stands in the Hebrew text as “shall not make haste,” or “shall not flee in trepidation,” i.e. shall stand firm.  The clause, therefore, is not a mere parallel to the previous “grow unto salvation,” pointing to security in the final judgment (Schott), but gives a general assurance expressive of the confidence of those to whom the prophetic promise is fulfilled in Christ.  [51]


                        In depth:  Argument that Peter is citing the text as illustration of the truth rather than in the narrower sense of directly prophetic of the fact being argued [51].  [The key words discussed are translated “because it is contained in scripture” [ASV, ERV]; “therefore” in NKJV; “for this is contained in Scripture,” NASB.  rw]

                        The formula by which the passage is introduced (not “wherefore also,” but, as the best authorities read, “because”) is the same as has been found twice already in similar connections (1 Peter 1:16, 24).  It indicates that Peter is not making an express quotation in order to establish, by the authority of the Old Testament, what he has just stated, but is rather giving in familiar Old Testament terms which come naturally to his pen, a reason for the case being as he has stated it to be. 

This is confirmed by the indefinite and impersonal phrase, it is contained in Scripture, or, in a scripture (the reading “in the Scripture” is doubtful), as well as by the fact that the words are given neither exactly as they stand in the Hebrew text nor exactly as the LXX Version renders them, but (as is also the case with Paul’s use of them in Romans 9:33) with a number of significant variations.  The point of the passage, therefore, seems to be this: the reason why they are to be built up into a spiritual house with the view to being a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices, lies in its having been God’s will, as that is expressed in Scripture, to make Christ the foundation of His Church with that object (cf. Hofmann, Schott, etc.).


                        In depth:  Isaiah 28:16 in its two New Testament apostolic quotations in 1 Peter 2:6 and Romans 9:33 [45].  The quotation follows the LXX with some small changes and omissions.  The LXX and Peter differ from the Hebrew by reading “a stone elect” instead of “a tried stone,” and “shall not be put to shame” for “shall not make haste.”  Neither of these changes affect the suitability of the quotation.  It would be equally apt in its original form or as given in the Epistle.

                        Isaiah 28:16 is also quoted in Romans 9:33 thus, “Behold I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence:  and he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame;” cf. also Romans 10:11, “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame.”  The phrase “stone of stumbling and rock of offense” in Romans 9:33 is a reminiscence of Isaiah 8:14, and occurs in verse 8 of our chapter.  The passages in 1 Peter and Romans are interesting examples of the freedom with which the authors of the N.T. used the language of the Old.

                        Probably Peter had Romans 9:33 before him, or in his mind, when he was writing this passage:  because (1) this passage and Romans agree in some details of expression in which both differ from the LXX; (2) both combine with Isaiah 28:16 the phrase from Isaiah 8:14; (3) both agree in omitting certain phrases in the LXX.

                        It is true that there 1 Peter differs from Romans it agrees with the LXX; but Peter may have partially corrected his quotation from the LXX; or, being familiar with both the LXX and Romans, and writing from memory, he may have unconsciously combined the two.

                        An alternative view is that both 1 Peter and Romans are based on an edition of the LXX, differing from the one preserved in extant manuscripts.   


            Peter’s use of the text as referring to faithful believers of his own day rather than those at the time of the original prophet [46].  Our version of Isaiah translates the Hebrew original by the unintelligible “shall not make haste.”  It really means, shall not flee.  While all the Jewish rulers, who had turned faithless and trusted in their finesse with Egypt, would have to flee from the face of the Assyrians, those who preserved their faith in God would be able to stand their ground.

This, of course, did not come literally true in the first instance, where a common temporal overthrow came upon faithful and faithless alike, from Babylon, though not from Assyria.  In the Messianic fulfillment, however, the faith or unbelief of the individual makes all the difference to him:  the overthrow of the many does not affect the few.

St. Peter adds to “believe” the words “on Him” or “on it,” which are found in neither the Hebrew nor the Greek of Isaiah, such an addition being quite in keeping with the Rabbinic method of quotation, which frequently alters words (compare Matthew 2:6) to bring out the concealed intention more fully.

The general quality of “faith” of which the prophet spoke, i.e., reliance on the promises of God, becomes faith in Him in whom the promises are fulfilled.  For a like cause Peter prefers the LXX “be ashamed” to the Hebrew “flee away,” there being (except at the Fall of Jerusalem) no opportunity for actual flight.  It comes to the same thing in the end:  “shall not find his confidence misplaced.”


2:7                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     To you believers, therefore, that honour belongs; but for unbelievers-- "A Stone which the builders rejected has been made the Cornerstone,"

WEB:              For you who believe therefore is the honor, but for those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone,"

Young’s:         to you, then, who are believing is the preciousness; and to the unbelieving, a stone that the builders disapproved of, this one did become for the head of a corner,

Conte (RC):    Therefore, to you who believe, he is

honor. But to those who do not believe, the stone

which the builders have rejected, the same has been

made into the head of the corner,


2:7                   Unto you therefore which believe he is precious [So the honor is for you who believe, English Standard Version].  Christians are often called simply “believers,” because faith in the Savior is one of the prominent characteristics by which they are distinguished from their fellow-men.  It sufficiently describes any man, to say that he is a believer in the Lord Jesus.  [31]

                        Comments based upon the alternative translation:  More accurately, “Unto you therefore that believe there is the honour.”  The last words stand in direct connection with the “shall not be ashamed” of the previous verse, and are not a predicate asserting what Christ is, but declare that honor, not shame, is the portion of those who believe on Him.  [38]

Most interpreters now agree that the subject of the sentence is not Christ Himself, but what is called (in reference, that is, to the dignity expressed in the former sentence) “the honor,” i.e. the honor already spoken of, and that the predicate is the “for you.”  This was also recognized, indeed, by Wycliffe and the Rheims Version.  There is some difference, however, as to the precise reference of the noun.  Some (Gerhard, Brückner, Weiss, Schott, Huther, etc.) take it to repeat in positive form what was implied in the negative clause, “shall not be put to shame.”  Others (Wiesinger, etc.) think it goes back to the definition of the Stone as “precious” or “honorable” (1 Peter 2:6), the sense being that the value which the Stone has in God’s sight is a value which it has for them who believe.  This seems favoured by the rendering of the R.V., “for you . . . is the preciousness.”  Others (Alford, Fronmüller, Cook) combine these references, and this comes nearest the truth.  The sentence takes up the whole idea, which has just been expressed, of an honor in which the foundation stands with God, and what that fact carries with it to believers.  Mr. Humphry, therefore, rightly takes the full sense to amount to this, “For you who believe in Him, for your sakes, is this preciousness, this honor which He possesses; that so far from being ‘put to shame’ (1 Peter 2:6), ye may partake in it, be yourselves precious in the sight of God” (Comm. on Rev. Version, p. 440).  [51]

but unto them which be disobedient.  Literally, “unwilling to be persuaded,” (ἀπειθὴς  apeithēs) that is, those who refused to believe.  [31]

The Greek word, like the English, expresses something more than the mere absence of belief and implies a deliberate resistance.  [38]      

Two variants of the nature of this disobedience:  The reverse side of the prophetic assurance is now exhibited, and, as the omission of the article indicates, the persons are named now in a more general way, not as if definite individuals were in view, but so as to include all of a certain kind.  The reading varies here between two participles, both of more positive import than the simple “unbelieving,” and differing slightly from each other.  They mean “disbelieving,” or “refusing belief,” and point, therefore, either to the state of disobedience which is the effect of unbelief (Alford), or (as the form which is on the whole better supported rather implies) to the mind that withstands evidence.  [51]

the stone which the builders.  Jewish rulers.  Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11.  [14]

disallowed [rejected, NKJV].  The irony in this is that builders are supposed to be “professionals,” to know well their craft.  This is especially true of those working in stone, who can so easily ruin a structure’s quality or appearance by selecting the wrong material.  But here they had the, literally, perfect “stone”—and consciously rejected it.  What can this be but the most horrible of blunders?  [rw]

the same is made the head of the corner [chief cornerstone, NKJV].  Without which the structure could not be built.  [22]

The stone which once the builders, i.e. the leaders of the people of Israel, have rejected, will nevertheless become a corner-stone. [9]

This quotation is applied to our Lord by himself in Mark 12:10 and parallels, and by Peter in Acts 4:11.  [45]


                        The logic of the Old Testament text (Psalms 118:22) as applied to Jesus of Nazareth [46].   “The stone which the builders disallowed.”—We should perhaps have rather expected the sentence to run more like this:  “To you which believe belongs the honor, but to those who disbelieve belongs the shame from which you are secured.”  But instead, the Apostle stops short, and inserts (by a quotation) the historical fact which brought the shame, viz., the disappointment of their own design, and the glorious completion of that which they opposed.

The words which follow are quoted directly from the LXX, and properly represent the Hebrew.  Almost all the best modern critics consider the Psalm from which this verse is cited to be a late Psalm, written subsequent to the return from Babylon, in which case it is most probable that the composer was directly thinking of the prophecy of Isaiah above quoted.  The Messianic interpretation of the Psalm would be no novelty to the Hebrews who received this Epistle (see Matthew 21:9), though probably they had not perceived it in its fullness.

In its first application the passage seems to mean as follows:  The speaker is Israel, taken as a single person.  He has been a despised captive.  The great builders of the world—the Babylonian and Persian empires—had recognized no greatness in him, and had no intention of advancing him; they were engaged in aggrandizement of self alone.  Yet, after all, Israel is firmly planted once more in Sion, to be the first stone of a new structure, a new empire.

Thus this interpretation at once suggests the admission of the Gentiles, humanity at large, into the architecture.  Israel is the corner-stone, but corner-stones are not laid to be left unbuilt upon.

In the fulfillment Christ takes the place of Israel, as is the case with Isaiah 53.  The builders are the rulers of the Jews.  In Acts 4:11 our author had called the Sanhedrin to their face, “you builders.”  They, like the kings of Babylon, had been intent on building a fabric of their own, and had despised Jesus, yet, without any intention of so doing, had been the means of advancing Him (Acts 4:27-28).  He had been made the basis of a new spiritual structure, in which faith, not fleshly lineage, was the cement and bond; and the believing Israelites, united to Him in both ways, shared the honor of being corner-stone.

A further point is given to the quotation if we suppose, with Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, and others, that the remembrance of Isaiah’s prophecy of the “corner-stone” was suggested to the original Psalmist by the works of the Second Temple, then begun, advancing, or fresh completed.  It will then fit in more perfectly with the description of the “spiritual house.” 

Leighton well points out how sore a trial it was to the faith of Jewish Christians to see that their own chosen people, even the most learned of them, rejected Christ, and adds, “That they may know this makes nothing against Him, nor ought to invalidate their faith at all, but rather testifies with Christ, and so serves to confirm them in believing, the Apostle makes use of those prophetical scriptures that foretell the unbelief and contempt with which the most would entertain Christ.”


                        The historical setting of the Old Testament text (Psalms 118:22) [51].  That Psalm is generally regarded as a post-Exilian composition, and its occasion has been variously identified with the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in the year of the Return, as recorded in Ezra 3:4 (so Ewald, etc.), with the laying of the foundation-stone of the Second Temple, as described in Ezra 3:8-13 (so Hengstenberg, etc.), with the consecration of the Temple, as related in Ezra 6:5-18 (Delitzsch, etc.), or with the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles which Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:13-18) reports to have taken place on the completion of the new Temple.  In the Psalm, therefore, the Stone would be a figure of Israel itself, rejected by the powers of the world, but chosen by God for a position of unexampled honor.  But the Messianic application of the passage has its ground in the fact that Christ Himself, and only Christ, was personally and truly that “Servant of Jehovah,” that “first-born” of God that Israel was called as a nation to be, and that the destiny which was so partially fulfilled by Israel was finally realized in Him, who was of the seed of Israel.  So Christ uses the passage in direct reference to Himself (Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17), as it is again applied directly to Him by Peter (Acts 4:11).  [51]



2:8                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     and "a Stone for the foot to strike against, and a Rock to stumble over." Their foot strikes against it because they are disobedient to God's Message, and to this they were appointed.

WEB:              and, "a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, to which also they were appointed.

Young’s:         and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence -- who are stumbling at the word, being unbelieving, -- to which also they were set;

Conte (RC):    and a stone of offense, and a rock

of scandal, to those who are offended by the Word;

neither do they believe, though they also have

been built upon him.


2:8                   And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.  Literally kicking at, and a rock of lameing.  [3]

                        And a stone of stumbling.  In the original (Isaiah 8:14) the “stone” is Jehovah.  The New Testament constantly applies to Christ what is said in the Old Testament of Jehovah; this fact most strikingly illustrates the way in which its writers take for granted the deity of our Lord.  [45]

                        Another quotation, no doubt suggested by the word “a stone,” but conveying a totally different metaphor.  We shall find Peter in 1 Peter 3:14 quoting the verses which immediately precede our present citation, and again the point lies in the context.  The words are no mere phrase hastily caught up to serve the turn. They come out of the great Immanuel section of Isaiah, and immediately involve, like the quotation in 1 Peter 2:6, the sharp contrast between the Jews who trust in Immanuel (the presence of God with Israel) and the Jews who do not, but rely on “confederacies.”  To the one party, the Lord of Hosts will be “for a sanctuary;” but to the other party, who are described as “both houses of Israel,” and specially as the “inhabitants of Jerusalem,” He will be “for a stone of striking, and for a rock of stumbling over,” and also “for a snare.”  The “sanctuary” does not seem to mean a temple (though this would connect it with the preceding words of Peter), but rather such a “sanctuary” as that of Bethel (Genesis 28:18), a consecrated stone to which a man might flee as an asylum.  Once more, therefore, the Hebrews of the Dispersion, in separating themselves from “both houses of Israel” and the “inhabitants of Jerusalem,” were obeying the warnings of the Immanuel prophecy, which every Hebrew recognized as Messianic.  Though the coupling of these passages of the Old Testament together certainly seems to show traces of the influence of Paul (compare Romans 9:22-33), yet Peter must have been present and heard “the Lord of Hosts” Himself put them together (Luke 20:17-18), and probably Paul’s use of the passages is itself to be traced back to the same origin.  [46]

and a rock of offence [or: a rock to trip over, Holman; a rock that makes them fall, NIV].  In the sense of “offence:” anger, annoyance, because it causes offence by making them stumble (“a rock of stumbling”).  Otherwise the stumbling image is to be taken as reinforced by the double reference to it causing them to stagger or fall.  [rw] 

Namely, [a rock to trip over] to the unbelieving and disobedient.  Thus Simeon (Luke 2:34) This child is set for the fall as well as the rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against; a prediction awfully fulfilled.  [47]

                        even to them which stumble at the word.  Are offended at the gospel and reject it.  [14]

                        The “word,” as before, is the sum and substance of the Gospel. Men opposing themselves to that word, looking on it as an obstacle to be got rid of, were as those who rush upon a firm-fixed stone, and who falling over it are sorely bruised.  [38]

being disobedient.  The stone rejected and disallowed becomes a criterion between the obedient and disobedient.  It assumes even an active and hostile character, bringing retribution upon the disobedient and unbelieving.  [40]    

                        Instead of availing themselves of the blessings offered by the gospel, they refuse to submit to its influence, and so come into collision with the power and authority of Christ.  At “being disobedient” the language ceases to be figurative and becomes literal. [45] 

                        The stumbling (again in the objective sense) and the disobedience are related to each other as simultaneous things, or as cause and effect.  Christ is what He is declared to be to a certain class, when or because they disobey the Word.  He is made a stone of stumbling only to those who, by rejecting that Word, in point of fact turn God’s grace in Christ to their own hurt.  [51]

                        whereunto also they were appointed.  By God, who will bring upon them the punishment they deserve. [14]

                        The [image developed] has suggested that the stumbling naturally follows from unbelief; and the Apostle adds that such a consequence of unbelief and disobedience is “also” part of the Divine purpose.  Cf. Jude 4, “They who were of old set forth unto this condemnation.”  [45]


                        In depth:  “Appointed to stumble”—in what sense?  It wasn’t obligatory that they be disobedient, but it was inevitable that so long as there is freedom to choose there would be those who would make the wrong choice.  They were “appointed” to the consequences of their free will decision.  This appears to be the point Albert Barnes was driving at when he wrote the following [31].   The word “whereunto “means unto which.  But unto what?  It cannot be supposed that it means that they were “appointed” to believe on him and be saved by him; for:  (1) this would involve all the difficulty which is ever felt in the doctrine of decrees or election; for it would then mean that he had eternally designated them to be saved, which is the doctrine of predestination; and (2) if this were the true interpretation, the consequence would follow that God had been foiled in his plan--for the reference here is to those who would not be saved, that is, to those who “stumble at that stumblingstone,” and are destroyed.  

                        Calvin supposes that it means, “unto which rejection and destruction they were designated in the purpose of God.”  So Bloomfield renders it, “Unto which (disbelief) they were destined” (Critical Digest) meaning, as he supposes, that “into this stumbling and disobedience they were permitted by God to fall.”  Doddridge interprets it, “To which also they were appointed by the righteous sentence of God, long before, even as early as in his first purpose and decree he ordained his Son to be the great foundation of his church.”  Rosenmuller gives substantially the same interpretation.

Clemens Romanus says it means that “they were appointed, not that they should sin, but that, sinning, they should be punished.”  See Wetstein.  So Macknight. “To which punishment they were appointed.” Whitby gives the same interpretation of it, that because they were disobedient (referring, as he supposes, to the Jews who rejected the Messiah) “they were appointed, for the punishment of that disobedience, to fall and perish.”  Dr. Clark supposes that it means that they were prophesied of that they should thus fall; or that, long before, it was predicted that they should thus stumble and fall.

In reference to the meaning of this difficult passage, it is proper to observe that there is in the Greek verb necessarily the idea of designation, appointment, purpose.  There was some agency or intention by which they were put in that condition; some act of placing or appointing (the word τίθημι tithēmi meaning to set, put, lay, lay down, appoint, constitute) by which this result was brought about. 

The fair sense, therefore, and one from which we cannot escape, is, that this did not happen by chance or accident, but that there was a divine arrangement, appointment, or plan on the part of God in reference to this result, and that the result was in conformity with that.  So it is said in Jude [verse] 4, of a similar class of people, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.”

The facts were these:  1) That God appointed his Son to be the cornerstone of his church.  (2) That there was a portion of the world which, from some cause, would embrace him and be saved.  (3) That there was another portion who, it was certain, would not embrace him.  (4) That it was known that the appointment of the Lord Jesus as a Savior would be the occasion of their rejecting him, and of their deeper and more aggravated condemnation.

(5) That the arrangement was nevertheless made, with the understanding that all this would be so, and because it was best on the whole that it should be so, even though this consequence would follow.  That is, it was better that the arrangement should be made for the salvation of people even with this result, that a part would sink into deeper condemnation, than that no arrangement should be made to save any. The primary and originating arrangement, therefore, did not contemplate them or their destruction, but was made with reference to others, and notwithstanding they would reject him, and would fall.  The expression “whereunto” refers to this plan, as involving, under the circumstances, the result which actually followed. And,

                        (6) It might he said in this sense, and in this connection, that those who would reject him were appointed to this stumbling and falling.  It was what was foreseen; what entered into the general arrangement; what was involved in the purpose to save any.  It was not a matter that was unforeseen, that the consequence of giving a Savior would result in the condemnation of those who should crucify and reject him; but the whole thing, as it actually occurred, entered into the divine arrangement.

It may be added, that as, in the facts in the case, nothing wrong has been done by God, and no one has been deprived of any rights, or punished more than he deserves, it was not wrong in him to make the arrangement. It was better that the arrangement should be made as it is, even with this consequence, than that none at all should be made for human salvation.  They are not forced or compelled to do it; but it was seen that this consequence would follow, and the plan was laid to send the Savior notwithstanding.


                        On the same broad theme:  predestined to stumble or predestined to stumble if they decide to reject Christ [47]?  Even to them which stumble, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed — This translation of the clause seems to imply that those who are disobedient were appointed to be so; but the original does not convey that sense, but is literally rendered, Who, disobeying the word, stumble, to which also they were appointed:  that is, those who disobey the word are appointed to stumble, namely, at the stone of stumbling here spoken of, according to the prediction of Isaiah, Isaiah 8:14-15; He shall be for a sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling, &c., to both the houses of Israel; that is, to those that are unbelieving and disobedient; and many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and snared, and taken.  This is what God has appointed, that they who reject Christ shall stumble at him, and fall into misery and ruin:  or, that he who believeth not shall be damned:  the unalterable decree of the God of heaven.  Or the words may, with equal propriety, be rendered, Unto which stumbling they were disposed; those who disbelieve and disobey the gospel; being, through blindness of mind and perverseness of will, disposed to reject Christ, stumble at him, and fall into eternal ruin.  [47]

                        On the same theme:  It is to be observed, too, that the verb introduced here is not the term which bears the technical sense of foreordaining, but one which (with a single doubtful exception in 1 Thessalonians 5:9) is always used in the New Testament of things done in time (cf. John 15:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11). There is, therefore, no affirmation here of a predestination of some to unbelief.  Whatever ordination is asserted, is, as Wetstein briefly puts it, an ordination “not that they shall sin, but that, if sinning, they shall be punished.”  Just as it is said in 1 Peter 2:6, “Behold, I lay (or, set) in Zion a chief corner-stone,” so it is said here (for the verbs are the same) that they “were appointed (or, set).”  In the one case it is what God has actually done in making Christ what He is to the Church; in the other it is what He has done in so relating disobedience and stumbling that the latter is the result of the former.  The historical relation established between these two things has its ground in the eternal purpose of God.  [51]



2:9                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     But you are a chosen race, a priesthood of kingly lineage, a holy nation, a people belonging specially to God, that you may make known the perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

WEB:              But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Young’s:         and ye are a choice race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired, that the excellences ye may shew forth of Him who out of darkness did call you to His wondrous light;

Conte (RC):    But you are a chosen generation, a

royal priesthood, a holy nation, an acquired people,

so that you may announce the virtues of him who

has called you out of darkness into his marvelous



2:9                   But ye are.  In a higher sense than ever the Jews were.  [15]

a chosen.  Literally, elect, (or choice, select, excellent) generation, a kingly priesthood.  [3]  

These words were all said of the older election, the people of Israel who lived in pre-Christian times, and they are now applied to those who had embraced the Gospel, to assure them that they were as much the Israel of God as those who went before them.  [41]

generation [race, ESV, NASB].  This seems to refer to Deuteronomy 10:15:  “Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day;” and Isaiah 43:20, “I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen,” but this latter may refer more particularly to the people of God under the New Dispensation.  [41]

They are the chosen generation (cf. Is. 43:20), a priesthood serving God as their King (cf. Exodus 19:6), a holy nation, a people chosen to be the property of God (cf. Malachi 3:17), which, according to Isaiah  43:21, had the mission of proclaiming the glorious attributes of God, as the one who has called them from the darkness of misery to the wonderful light of His salvation, and glorifying Him unto all the world.  [9]

                        It is more than doubtful whether, in the use of the successive terms race, nation, people (which are simply taken from the LXX), Peter had in view any such distinctions as those between people as of like descent, people as of like customs, and people as an organized body (Steiger).  But all four terms point to the fact that believers are not a mere aggregate of individuals, but form a unity, and, indeed, the only unity worthy of the name.  So they are designated, first of all, in words suggested probably by Isaiah 43:20, a race (not merely a generation, as the A.V. here, and only here, renders the term), a body with community of life and descent.  [51]

                        a royal priesthood.  “Royal” as  appointed by their King, royal as called, to share his dignity and his glory.  [7]

                         “A kingdom of priests,” Exodus 19:6.  Every believer is both king and  priest.  [39]

                        It is hypocrisy for men to claim for the laity the honor of priesthood, whilst they do nothing to remind them of the duties of priesthood.  [41]

                        an holy nation.  Exodus 19:6.  Because called by a holy God.  [39]

A nation separated from others, consecrated unto God, and expected to manifest the moral nature and purity of God.  [7]

                        A nation holy in the sense of dedicated or consecrated to God, which they were by their passage through the Red Sea, and their subsequent circumcision.  They were not actually holy in heart and life, but they were dedicated to God in order that they might be so.  [41]

                        a peculiar people [His own special people, NKJV].  “God’s flock,” that is what the old word “peculiar” used to mean.  [43]  

This somewhat singular word calls for a special note.  The English translators appear to have used the term in its strictly etymological and almost forensic sense.  The people of Christ, like Israel of old, were thought of as the special peculium, the possession, or property, of God.  The adjective, however, has acquired in common usage so different a meaning that it would be better to translate the words, a people for a special possession.  The context shows however that Isaiah 43:21 was most prominently in the Apostle’s thoughts, “This people have I formed for myself (or, gained as a possession for myself); they shall show forth my praise.”  In Ephesians 1:14 the noun is rendered by “purchased possession,” in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 [and] 2 Thessalonians 2:14, by “obtaining,” in Hebrews 10:39 by “saving.”  The primary idea of the Greek verb is that of acquiring for oneself by purchase or otherwise, and the noun accordingly denotes either the act of acquiring or that which is so acquired.  [38]

                        Or:  This is a remarkable phrase, and seems to be an application of Deuteronomy 4:20:  “The Lord hath taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.”  The Revisers translate it, “A people for God’s own possession.”  Peculiar is right if we understand by it a peculiar or special possession.  [41]   

that ye should shew forth [proclaim, NKJV].  By your whole behavior, to all mankind.  [15]

the praises [excellencies, ESV] of him.  “The praises of him,” rather “the virtues of Him,” meaning by virtues His power and attributes, as well as His love to men. [41]

The word for “praises” is that commonly used by Greek ethical writers for “virtue,” and is so rendered in Philippians 4:8 and 2 Peter 1:3, 5.   Peter’s choice of the term was determined apparently by its use in the LXX of Isaiah 43:21.  Here, since the associations of the word in English hardly allow us to speak of the “virtues” of God, “excellences” would perhaps be a more adequate rendering.  [38]

who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.  In this and the next verse Peter surely has in mind Gentile Christians.  [22]

darkness.  The realm of ignorance, sin, and wretchedness.  [39]

Darkness is, of course, the natural symbol for man’s ignorance of God (compare John 8:12, Acts26:18, Ephesians 5:8-13, Romans 13:12), as light is for the true knowledge of Him.  [38]

                        This does not refer to converts from Gentilism only.  All unbelieving Jews were in darkness, as the Lord said:  “I am the light of the world, he that believeth in me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).  The light of the Old Testament was great compared with the denseness of heathenism, but it paled before the light of the coming of Christ.  As Paul wrote:  “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory which excelleth” (2 Corinthians 3:10).  [41]  


                        In depth:  By “a royal priesthood” does Peter mean a priesthood ruled by a king or a kingdom consisting of priests [51]?  His second title is taken from the description of Israel in Exodus 19:6, and is of somewhat uncertain import.  It is variously taken to be equivalent to “kings and priests” (Lillie, on analogy of Revelation 1:6), “a magnificent priesthood” (Aretius), “a priesthood exercising kingly rule over the world” (Wiesinger), “a priesthood serving a king” (Weiss), “a priesthood belonging to a king and in his service” (Huther), “a priesthood of kingly honor” (Hofmann), “a kingdom of priests” (Schott).

The form of the adjective used here (and probably nowhere else in the New Testament) means, however, belonging to a king, or worthy of a king, and never “consisting of kings,” or “having kingly rule.”  The phrase itself, too, represents a Hebrew phrase which is understood, indeed, by the Syriac Version, the Targums, the Septuagint, and a few commentators, such as Keil, to denote a kingship of priests, or a body of priests with kingly honor, but is held by most to mean a kingdom consisting of priests, a community ruled by a king, and dedicated to His service, and having the priestly right of access to Him (see Dillmann on Exodus 19:6).

Hence the import of the title as applied by Peter depends on the question whether he uses it in the proper sense of the Greek terms, or in the sense of the original Hebrew as inexactly rendered by the LXX.  In the latter case, it will mean “a kingdom indeed, but one of priests.”  In favor of this it is urged that it retains the analogy of the other titles, each of which names some purely natural or national community, and qualifies it by a distinctive epithet. They are named, that is to say, a race, but are distinguished from others as elect, a nation but a holy one, a people but a peculiar one, and, in the same way, a kingdom but one of priestly order and membership.  In the former case, the idea will be simply that of a priesthood “belonging to a king,” or “of kingly honor.”



2:10                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not found mercy, but now you have.

WEB:              who in time past were no people, but now are God's people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Young’s:         who were once not a people, and are now the people of God; who had not found kindness, and now have found kindness.

Conte (RC):    Though in past times you were not a

people, yet now you are the people of God. Though

you had not obtained mercy, yet now you have

obtained mercy.


2:10                 Which in time past were not a people.  Not God’s people.  [14]

                        Or:  Not even a people, much less the people of God.  [26]

but are now the people of God.  In them is fulfilled what in Hosea 2:23 is written concerning the people of God who were formerly rejected on account of this sin, but who in the age of redemption had again been taken back in grace.  For, before their conversion, they, too, had been led, by their life among the heathen, to become deeply involved in the sins of the Gentiles; but in Christ, not only has God accepted them in grace, but they, and they alone, are those in whom all the promises of their nation are to be fulfilled.  [9]

There is an allusion here to the passage in Hosea 2:23.  It is, however, a mere allusion, such as one makes who uses the language of another to express his ideas, without meaning to say that both refer to the same subject.  In Hosea, the passage refers evidently to the reception of one portion of the Israelites into favor after their rejection; in Peter, it refers mainly to those who had been Gentiles, and who had never been recognized as the people of God.  The language of the prophet would exactly express his idea, and he therefore uses it without intending to say that this was its original application.  [31]

In Hosea these words apply to Israel; Paul in Romans 9:25 applies them to the Gentiles; Peter here says that they apply to the whole Church of God, as consisting of Jews and Gentiles.  [50]

                        which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  The church began with repentant Jews who rightly saw in Jesus the long promised Messiah.  Their loyalty to Him grew out of the long emphasized demand that Jews were supposed to follow God’s will and these were determined to do so even if it led them away from the priests and rabbis who refused to embrace the Nazarene.  As the church expanded, it gained an increasing number of Gentiles who had never been part of God’s people.  Now--“now” they were such and God had generously bestowed upon them the same “mercy” as the repentant among the Jews.  [46]



2:11                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Dear friends, I entreat you as pilgrims and foreigners not to indulge the cravings of your lower natures: for all such cravings wage war upon the soul.

WEB:              Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Young’s:         Beloved, I call upon you, as strangers and sojourners, to keep from the fleshly desires, that war against the soul,

Conte (RC):    Most beloved, I beg you, as new

arrivals and sojourners, to abstain from carnal

desires, which battle against the soul.


2:11                 Dearly beloved.  “Affectionate and pressing exhortation,” says Bengel. “That which is known to come from love,” says Leighton, “cannot readily but be so received too, and it is thus expressed for that very purpose, that the request may be the more welcome.  Beloved, it is the advice of a friend, one that truly loves you, and aims at nothing but your good; it is because I love you that I entreat you, and entreat you, as you love yourselves, to abstain from fleshly lusts.” [46]

                        The injunction is given in terms of tender urgency.  The opening designation occurs no less than eight times in the Epistles of Peter, and in every case except the present the A.V. translates it simply “beloved,” not “dearly beloved.”  Paul has a peculiar fondness for it (cf. Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 10:14, 15:58; 2 Corinthians 7:1, 12:19; Philippians 2:12, 4:1).  [51]

I beseech you.  The verb embraces at least the two ideas of beseeching and exhorting and is variously rendered in different connections by the A.V. call for (Acts 28:20, etc.), entreat (Luke 15:28, etc.), beseech (Matthew 8:5, etc.), desire (Matthew 28:32, etc.), pray (Matthew 18:32, etc.), exhort (1 Peter 5:1-2), comfort (Matthew 2:18, etc.).  [51]

as strangers [sojourners, NKJV] and pilgrims.  Neither of these words emphasized the idea which we commonly associate with “pilgrims,” namely, those who are journeying to a heavenly land, yet both emphasize a closely related truth.  The first describes those who are in a foreign country, as “aliens”; the other, those who are remaining in such a country for only a short time; thus both words remind us that “our citizenship is in heaven.”  [7]

And:  The word sojourners emphasizes the idea that the home of the believer is in heaven, the second pilgrims, that on earth he is a stranger.  [50]

                        If, as is implied here, the life of the foreign country is inferior to that of the “sojourner’s” native land, he must be careful not to adopt its immoral customs ([verse] 11), but yet he must behave honorably and generously towards his hosts ([verse] 12).  [45]

                        abstain from fleshly lusts.  The “lusts” of which we are warned do not refer merely to impure, bodily appetites, but to all wrong and selfish desires and impulses which threaten to take captive and to destroy the soul.  [7]

                        Actually here the emphasis appears to be solely on the “fleshly” ones—not that they are (as pointed out above) the only kinds, but that they are the kind Peter wishes to emphasize at this point.  The reason is presumably to make the maximum contrast between the war between flesh and spirit—or, as worded here, the conflict between “fleshly lusts” and “the soul.”  Flesh/soul and flesh/spirit are natural contrasts and anything modifying “flesh” makes the contrast that much more emphatic .  [rw] 

                        Sermon outline:  A fleshly lust is either the desire for anything inherently sinful, or the inordinate and excessive appetite for anything inherently harmless or indifferent.  The attribute “fleshly” points to the origin and sphere and aim.  Being fleshly, they cannot but war against the soul.  I. Indirectly they act on body and mind.—[There is a] close connection between soul and body through the mind.   II. In their direct influence— (a) They blunt conscience and stifle its faithful warning, and demoralize.  (b) They separate the soul from God and that fellowship which is its true life.  Under shame and fear men hide from God, [knowing] that they cannot have fellowship with Him and keep their lusts.  Withdrawal from God is deadly to the soul.  (c) They whet the appetite for repetition.  They grow by what they feed on, demand fresh gratification.  (d) They inflict future and eternal injury.  Sowing to the flesh, so as to be the hopeless slave of corruption, must inevitably lead to exclusion from the holy kingdom.  Lusts indulged in lessen the capacity of the soul for God.  [49]

                        which war [that do battle, NET] against the soul.  “Which war:  Very suggestive—not only do these lusts hinder and obstruct, but they fight “against the soul,” which is to be saved and purified by obedience to the truth (1:22).  [50]

                        The “which” might be rendered “as they.”  Peter, as the particular pronoun indicates, does not signalize certain lusts, namely, those which war against the soul, but takes fleshly lusts as a whole, and describes them as being all of a quality hostile to the soul, and this quality in them he makes a reason for abstaining from them.  [51]

                        the soul.  Our sinful desires and preferences endanger the welfare not just of our “fleshly” body but of the very soul within.  By sufficient repetition an evil can become so dominant that our inner being will no longer be “programmed” to deliver its warnings against such excess.  [rw]

                        Or:  “Soul” (psuche) here may be man’s higher nature instinct with the new life bestowed by Christ; an idea expressed by Paul by “spirit” (pneuma) or “mind” (nous).  The selfish impulses fight against the inclination to serve and love God.  Cf. Romans 7:23, “I see a law . . . in my members warring against the law of my mind;” and James 4:1, “Your pleasures that war in your members.”  But “soul” may be used in its ordinary meaning of the personal life, whose interests are assailed by evil impulses. [45]



2:12                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Live honourable lives among the Gentiles, in order that, although they now speak against you as evil-doers, they may yet witness your good conduct, and may glorify God on the day of reward and retribution.

WEB:              having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Young’s:         having your behaviour among the nations right, that in that which they speak against you as evil-doers, of the good works having beheld, they may glorify God in a day of inspection.

Conte (RC):    Keep your behavior among the

Gentiles to what is good, so that, when they slander

you as if you were evildoers, they may, by the good

works that are seen in you, glorify God on the day

of visitation.


2:12                 Having your conversation [conduct, NKJV].  “Conversation” = “behavior”; “conduct.” There are two things in which “strangers and pilgrims” ought to bear themselves well:  (1) the conversation or conduct, as subjects (1 Peter 2:13), servants (2:18), wives (3:1), husbands (3:7), all persons under all circumstances (2:8); (2) confession of the faith (3:15-16).  Each of the two is derived from the will of God.  [20]

                        honest [honorable, NKJV].  We have no word adequate to represent this charming adjective.  It is rendered “good” immediately below and in John 10:11 (“the Good Shepherd”), “worthy” in James 2:7, “goodly” in Luke 21:5.  But it is the ordinary Greek word for “beautiful,” and implies the attractiveness of the sight, the satisfaction afforded by an approach to ideal excellence.  [46]

A natural adaptation of the Jewish use of the word for non-Jews.  [45]

among the Gentiles.  The pagans by whom you are surrounded, and who will certainly observe your conduct.  [31]

For the churches to which Peter wrote were in Gentile lands.  [50]

that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers.  Because as Christians they could not conform to heathenish customs, they were accused of disobedience to all legal authority; in order to rebut this charge, they are told to submit to every ordinance of man (not sinful in itself).  [20]

The words indicate the growth of a widespread feeling of dislike showing itself in calumny.  So in Acts 28:22 the disciples of Christ are described as “a sect everywhere spoken against.”  The chief charge at this time was probably that of “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6), i.e. of revolutionary tendencies, and this view is confirmed by the stress laid on obedience to all constituted authority in the next verse.  With this were probably connected, as the sequel shows (1 Peter 2:18; 3:1), the accusations of introducing discord into families, setting slaves against their masters, wives against their husbands.  The more monstrous calumnies of worshipping an ass’s head, of Thyesteian banquets of human flesh, and orgies of foulest license, were probably of later date.  [38]

they may by your good works, which they shall behold.  See with their own eyes.  [15]

God does not wish the extirpation of any element of our nature, but its consecration.  We must not allow wrong things; and we must not allow the abuse or excess of right ones.  The silent witness of a holy life or a well-ordered home is of incalculable worth.  [33]
Justin Martyr says of himself, that he was led to believe the Christians falsely accused, by the apparent impossibility of people who lived so blamelessly being guilty of the unnatural vices imputed to them.  [39]

Scholarly aside:  [“Shall behold:”]  The verb which St Peter uses is an unusual one, occurring in the New Testament only here and in 1 Peter 3:2.  The use of the cognate noun in the “eye-witnesses” of 2 Peter 1:16 may be noted as a coincidence pointing to identity of authorship.  The history of the word as applied originally to those who were initiated in the third or highest order of the Eleusinian mysteries is not without interest.  If we can suppose the Apostle to have become acquainted with that use of it, or even with the meaning derived from the use, we can imagine him choosing the word rather than the simple verb for “seeing” to express the thought that the disciples were as a “spectacle” (1 Corinthians 4:9; Hebrews 10:33) to the world around them, and that those who belonged to that world were looking on with a searching and unfriendly gaze.  [38]

glorify God in the day of visitation.  The time when God specially forces the truth upon the attention of the unconverted.  [13]

Whether in wrath or mercy, is not said; and the phrase is used in both senses.  But only the latter fits the word “glorify.”  [39]

Not only think more favorably of you, but of your religion; acknowledge the grace of God in you, and more readily subject themselves to Him, (the best way of glorifying Him), it being usual with God to make way for the conversion of sinners by the holy [behavior] of saints.  [28]


In depth:  Identifying the time and nature of “the day of visitation”—Interpretive options [31].  Many different opinions have been entertained of the meaning of this phrase, some referring it to the day of judgment; some to times of persecution; some to the destruction of Jerusalem; and some to the time when the gospel was preached among the Gentiles, as a period when God visited them with mercy.  The word “visitation” (ἐπισκοπή episkopē) means the act of visiting or being visited for any purpose, usually with the notion of inspecting conduct, of inflicting punishment, or of conferring favors. Compare Matthew 25:36, 43; Luke 1:68, 78; Luke 7:16; Luke 19:44. 

The prevailing use of the word in the New Testament would seem to lead us to suppose that the “visitation” referred to was designed to confer favors rather than to inflict punishment, and indeed the word seems to have somewhat of a technical character, and to have been familiarly used by Christians to denote God’s coming to people to bless them; to pour out his Spirit upon them; to revive religion.  This seems to me to be its meaning here; and, if so, the sense is, that when God appeared among people to accompany the preaching of the gospel with saving power, the result of the observed conduct of Christians would be to lead those around them to honor him by giving up their hearts to Him; that is, their consistent lives would be the means of the revival and extension of true religion.


In depth:  Additional thoughts on the nature of the “visitation” [37].  The following explanations have been given of the phrase [1] the day when Christians are brought to trial, [2] the day when their enemies are themselves judged, [3] the day when God’s mercy “visits” or comes home to them.

In the O.T. God is sometimes described as “visiting” people in mercy, e.g. to deliver them from Egypt or from Babylon, and so our Lord weeping over Jerusalem lamented her misuse of “the time of her visitation” evidently referring to lost opportunities of blessing, cf. Luke 1:78, “The dayspring from on high shall visit us.”  But elsewhere God is described as “visiting” sinners with judgment, so ἡμέρα ἐπισκοπῆς in Isaiah 10:3.  But frequently God’s judgments are themselves a means of bringing His mercy home to men.  So here St Peter seems to anticipate some judgment of God which will open the eyes of heathen opponents and lead them to give glory to God through the memory of His servants’ lives.  The whole passage manifestly alludes to our Lord’s words, Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”










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17        Philip Doddridge, D.D.  The Family Expositor (Paraphrase and Version of

the New Testament [American edition]).  Amherst, Ms.:  J. S. & C. Adams,

and L. Boltwood; New York:  J Leavitt, 1834.


18        Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., etc.  The New Testament of our Lord and

            Saviour Jesus Christ  Vol. VI.  New York:  Abingdon Press, [n.d.].          


19        Donald Fraser, M.A., D.D.   Synoptical Lectures of the Books of Holy    Scripture  Vol. II.  New York:  Wilbur B. Ketcham, 1885.


20        Rev. Robert Jamieson, D.D.     Rev. A. R. Fausset, A.M.     Rev. David Brown             D.D.   A Commentary, Critical and explanatory, on the Old and New          Testaments  Vol. II     The S. S. Scranton Company     Hartford:  1871.


21        Martin Luther.  The Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude Preached and

Explained (Wittenberg, 1523-1524).  Translated and with notes by E. H.

Gillett.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph, 1859.    


22        Barton W. Johnson.  People’s New Testament.  Internet Edition.  1891.


23        Arno Gaebelein.  Annotated Bible.  Internet Edition.  1920s.


24        John R. Dummelow.  Dummelow’s Commentary on the Bible.  Internet   Edition.  1909.


25        Robert Hawker.  Poor Man’s Commentary.  Internet Edition.  1828.


26        Johann A. Bengel.   Gnomon of the New Testament.  Internet Edition.  1742.


27        Alexander MacLaren.  Exposition of the Holy Scriptures.  Internet Edition.



28        Matthew Poole.  English Annotations on the Holy Bible.  Internet Edition.



29        John Trapp.  Complete Commentary.  Internet Edition.  Written 1600s;

            1865-1868 edition.


30        Joseph Sutcliffe.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  Internet

            Edition.  1835.


31        Albert Barnes.  Notes on the New Testament.  Internet Edition.  1870.


32        James Gray.  Concise Bible Commentary.  Internet Edition.  1897-1910.


33        F. B. Meyer.  Thru The Bible (Commentary).  Internet Edition.  1914 edition.


34        John and Jacob Abbott.  Abbott’s Illustrated New Testament.  Internet

            Edition.  1878. 


35        John Calvin.  Commentaries.  Internet Edition.  Written in 1500s.  Printing:



36        William R. Nicoll, editor.  Expositor’s Greek Testament.   Internet



37        Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges:  James, 1 Peter, 2         Peter, Jude.  Internet Edition.  Each individual volume:  1896.


38        Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:  1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude. 

E. M. Plumptre.  Internet Edition.  1890.    


39        D. D. Whedon.   Commentary on the New Testament; volume 5:  Titus to

Revelation.  Internet Edition.  New York:  Hunt & Eaton, 1880.


40        Ariel A. Livermore.  The Epistles to the Hebrews, the Epistles of James,

Peter, John, and Jude and the Revelation of John the Divine[:]  Commentary and Essays.    Internet Edition.  Boston:  Lockwood, Brooks and Company.



41        M[ichael] F. Sadler.  The General Epistles of SS. James, Peter, John, and

Jude.  Second Edition.  London:  George Bell and Sons.  1895.


42        Robert S. Hunt.  The Epistle to the Hebrews and the General Epistles.  In

the Cottage Commentary series.  London:  Joseph Masters, 1865.


43        A. T. Robertson.  New Testament Interpretation (Matthew to Revelation): 

            Notes on Lectures.  Taken stenographically.  Revised Edition by William M.

            Fouts and Alice M. Fouts.  Louisville, Kentucky:  1921.  Mimeographed.


44        William G. Humphry.  A Commentary on the Revised Version of the New

Testament.  London:  Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Company, 1882. 


45        W. H. Bennett.  The General Epistles:  James, Peter, John and Jude.  In the

Century Bible series.  Edinburgh:  T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1901.


46        A. J. Mason.  “First Epistle of Peter” in Ellicott’s New Testament

            Commentary for English Readers.  Internet Edition.  1884.  


47        Joseph Benson.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  Internet

            Edition.  1811-1815.


48        William B. Godbey.  Commentary on the New Testament.  Internet Edition.



49        James Nisbett, editor.  Church Pulpit Commentary.  Internet Edition.  1876.

            [Note:  this is not “The Pulpit Commentary.”]


50        Revere F. Weidner.  Annotations on the General Epistles of James, Peter,

            John, and Jude.  In the Lutheran Commentary series.  New York:  Christian

            Literature Company, 1897.


51        Schaff’s Popular Commentary on the New Testament.  Internet Edition.