Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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1 PETER - Chapter 2

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1 Peter 2

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  GENERAL COUNSELS OF CHRISTIAN HOLINESS  1, 13 -- 2, 10 (continued)

2, 1-10:  Growth in Holiness.    1.  The greatest and first commandment in the gospel is the love of God; the second is like it, the love of one's neighbor (Matt. 22, 37 ff).  Hence, all malice, and all deceit, etc., must be put aside.    2.  The positive obligations imposed upon the neophytes in order to obtain the end of their spiritual rebirth is salvation.  Pure spiritual milk: the pure and unadultered word of God announced to them in the gospel of Christ.  To salvation: omitted in some Greek manuscripts but undoubtedly genuine.    3.  If, indeed: a Greek expression equivalent to "since."    4.  Christ is the cornerstone (Isa. 28, 16), rejected indeed by the chief priests and the Pharisees (Matt. 21, 42-45), which now sustains the Mystical Body of Christ.    5.  Living stones; a spiritual house: metaphors frequently found in the Epistles of St. Paul; cf. 1 Cor. 3, 6 ff; 2 Cor. 6, 16; Eph. 2, 19-22; 1 Tim. 3, 15; Heb. 3, 6; 10, 21.    6.  A free citation of Isa. 28, 16.  The Apostle cites it as a scriptural guarantee that he who believes in it shall not be put to shame.    7 f.  Ps. 117, 22 and Isa. 8, 14 are given a Messianic interpretation; Christ and His message is a stone of stumbling and a rock of scandal to unbelievers.  For this also they are destined: the punishment preordained by God because of their unbelief (Luke 20, 17 f).    9.  On the contrary believers in Christ become: (a) a chosen race, more so than the Hebrews who were selected by God from among the nations (Isa. 43, 20-21); (b) a royal priesthood, because of the spiritual sacrifices they offer to God through Jesus Christ (2, 5); (c) a holy nation, a title bestowed on the Mosaic theocracy (Ex. 19, 6) and more fully realized in the New Testament; (d) a purchased people, i.e., a people redeemed by the blood of Christ.    10.  This reference to the prophet Osee (2, 23-25) proclaims the striking contrast between the present and former state of the readers.  The Apostle cites the prophecy in favor of the Christians---Jew and Gentile---redeemed by Christ, and who now constitute God's people.

II.  PARTICULAR COUNSELS OF CHRISTIAN CONDUCT  2, 11 -- 4, 6

2, 11-12:  Good Example.    11.  The principles of the world strive against the Christian economy; hence, the followers of Christ must conduct themselves as strangers and pilgrims toward a world through which they journey to their heavenly home (Rom. 8, 5).  Carnal desires are utterly opposed to the welfare of the soul (Rom. 8, 7 f).    12.  Whereas they slander you: the Christians had experienced the stinging scourge of slander; but truth must conquer.  Thus hope remains that the Gentiles may through observing you by reason of your good works glorify God.  Cf. Matt. 5, 16.  In this manner a Christian's present conduct will contribute additional glory to God in the day of visitation, i.e., when their present calumniators receive the light of God's grace.

2, 13-17:  For the Citizen.    13.  A Christian's civic duties.  The Apostle demands obedience to civil authority in virtue of its divine origin (Rom. 13, 1-7).  To every human creature: i.e., to every ordinance created by man.  To the king as supreme: i.e., the foremost authority in the state.    15.  Compliance with one's civic duties, furthermore, silences the ignorance of foolish men, i.e., the slanderers of Christianity.    16.  Freemen: Christian freedom liberates one from the observance of the Mosaic Law and the law of sin but not from civil ordinances; cf. Rom. 7, 4.6; 8, 2; 2 Cor. 3, 17.  A false conception of Christian freedom gave rise to the antinomian tendencies which are denounced in 2 Pet. 2, 13 f.17-19.    17.  In keeping with the command of Christ: "Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22, 21).

2, 18-25:  For the Slave.    18.  Slaves were especially liable to misunderstand the Christian concepts of freedom and equality (1 Cor. 12, 13; Gal. 3, 28); hence the opportuneness of this counsel.  The welfare of the Church and of the slave demanded it (cf. 1 Cor. 7, 20-24).  Servants: the Greek text reads "domestic slaves."    19.  An obedience which because of religious motives sees in the command of a superior the command of God; hence, an obedience dependent neither on one's feeling nor on the person of the superior.    20.  Maltreatment patiently borne is a service acceptable to God and meritorious for the servant.    21.  The truth of this statement (20) is supplemented by the example of Christ.    22.  Christ, too, suffered unjustly.    23.  But yielded to him, etc.: the Greek reads, "but committed himself (i.e., his cause) to Him that judges justly," i.e., to God, His Father.  He suffered patiently.    24.  He suffered for us.  By his stripes you were healed: the scourging, so well known to slaves.    25.  The first part of the verse was probably suggested by Isa. 53, 6 f: Christ was led as a sleep to the slaughter.


Confraternity Bible:

Growth in Holiness  1 Lay aside therefore all malice, and all deceit, and pretense, and envy, and all slander.  2 Crave, as newborn babes, pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow to salvation; 3 if, indeed, you have tasted that the Lord is sweet.  4 Draw near to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men but chosen and honored by God.  5 Be you yourselves as living stones, built thereon into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  6* Hence Scripture says,
"Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, chosen, precious;

And he who believes in it shall not be put to shame." 
7* For you, therefore, who believe is this honor; but to those who do not believe,
"A stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner,"
8* and,
"A stumbling-stone, and a rock of scandal,"
to those who stumble at the word, and who do not believe.  For this also they are destined.  9 You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nations, a purchased people; that you may proclaim the perfections of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.  10 You who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God; who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Good Example  11 Beloved, I exhort you as strangers and pilgrims to abstain from carnal desires which war against the soul.  12 Behave yourselves honorably among the pagans; that, whereas they slander you as evildoers, they may, through observing you, by reason of your good works glorify God in the day of visitation.

For the Citizen  13 Be subject to every human creature for God's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent through him for vengeance on evildoers and for the praise of the good.  15 For such is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.  16 Live as freemen, yet not using your freedom as a cloak for malice but as servants of God.  17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the king.

For the Slave  18 Servants, be subject to your masters in all fear, not only to the good and moderate, but also to the severe.  19 This is indeed a grace, if for consciousness of God anyone endure sorrows, suffering unjustly.  20 For what is the glory if, when you sin and are buffeted, you endure it?  But if, when you do right and suffer, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  21 Unto this, indeed, you have been called, because Christ also has suffered for you, leaving you an example that you may follow in his steps: 
22* "Who did no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth." 
23 Who, when he was reviled, did not revile, when he suffered, did not threaten, but yielded himself to him who judged him unjustly; 24 who himself bore our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died to sin, might live to justice; and by his stripes you were healed.  25 For you were as sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
__________

*

6: Isa. 28, 16.

7: Ps. 117, 22.

8: Isa. 8, 14.

22: Isa. 53, 9.