The first epistle of st. Peter 1: 1-2: 17



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2:13-3:12. Definite relative duties, in civic society, of servants and masters, of wives and husbands, the section concluding with the universal bond of the Christian mind, and the Divine promise respecting it
13. St Peter now passes to the Christian doctrine of social relations. The warfare which he waged against heathen principles of living was easily capable of being represented as hostile to the necessary bonds of society; and it was by no means impossible that ill-instructed Christians might similarly misinterpret the Gospel, and become conscientious apostles of social disorder. In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Himself, foreseeing how easily both opponents and disciples might misunderstand His attitude towards the sacred institutes of Jewish society and religion, had uttered the warning “Think not that I came to undo the law or the prophets; I came not to undo but to fulfil”; and then had proceeded to expound by a series of examples what He meant by fulfilment. In the same spirit His Apostle here expounds the chief social relations common to civilised mankind in the light of Christian faith and morality, and each exposition tends to shew that the Gospel was a power for their more perfect fulfilment, not for their undoing or dissolution.

JUpotavghte, be subject] The leading idea of the next few verses is here enunciated sharply without a conjunction or other verbal link to the preceding verses. The ou\n, G4036, of the Received Text is certainly spurious. In Romans (Rom. 13:1-6) subjection (uJpotavssesqai, vs. 5) is also prominent, in so far as it concerns political authorities, the subject of 1 Pet. 2:14-17 here; in Ephesians (Eph. 5:21-24; 6:1-3, 5-8) it is set forth only in so far as it concerns family and household relations, the subject of 1 Pet. 2:18-3:7 here, but apparently as founded on a general principle of subjection (uJpotassovmenoi ajllhvloi" ejn fovbw/ Cristou'), laid down at the outset in Eph. 5:21, which likewise corresponds in drift to 1 Pet. 5:5 as well as to this verse. In ancient society subjection was taken for granted as a necessary condition for the wellbeing of the community; but, as a universal principle of personal life, subjection is characteristically Christian. It consists not in the sacrifice of the individual to the community, the weakness of the ancient social life, but in the recognition that the individual attains his own true growth and freedom only through devotion to the community, and submission to the various forms of authority by which society is constituted.

pavsh/ ajnqrwpivnh/ ktivsei, to every (divine) institution among men] A difficult phrase. Put briefly, the main question is this,—does ajnqrwpivnh ktivsi" mean here a ktivsi", G3232, by men or a ktivsi", G3232, by God among men? There is no doubt that in Classical Greek ktivsi", G3232, is ascribed to men far oftener than to God, and the most obvious sense of ajnqrwpivnh is “proceeding from men.” But the former of the two interpretations, though thus prima facie natural, cannot without straining be reconciled with the context.

Wide as is the use of ktivsi", G3232, to speak of the supreme ruler or subordinate rulers, or their office or function, as a ktivsi", G3232, on the part of men is without example or analogy in Greek usage (the secondary sense of creo being unknown for ktivzw, G3231); and this strangeness of language is much increased if the other relations noticed in the next few verses are included. That they were meant to be included seems to follow naturally from the use of pavsh/: the purely political authorities could hardly be called (either as human or Divine) ktivsei" in any sense which would not be too wide of application to allow any force to pavsh/. Moreover, human authorship, put forward without qualification as here, and yet more emphasised by the addition of pavsh/, is not likely to have been laid down by an apostle as a sufficient reason for subjection: he could not but remember for how many evil customs human authorship was responsible.

If however we take ktivsi", G3232, as implying Divine authorship, as in every other place where ktivzw, G3231, or any of its derivatives occurs in the O.T. or N.T. (or in the Apocrypha, 1 Esdras 4:53 excepted), all these difficulties vanish. The effect of ajnqrwpivnh/ is accordingly to limit the ktivsei" spoken of to such elements of God’s universal ktivsi", G3232, as are characteristically human. Compare (at a lower level) Sir. 10:18, oujk e[ktistai ajnqrwvpoi" uJperhfaniva; 40:1, ajscoliva megavlh e[ktistai panti; ajnqrwvpw/; also 7:15, mh; mishvsh/s...gewrgivan uJpo; JUyivstou ejktismevnhn: indeed the general usage of ktivzw, G3231, by this writer illustrates indirectly St Peter’s use of ktivsi", G3232, both probably instinctively employing the Greek diction of Palestine. The force of the word ktivsi", G3232, itself as here used probably comes partly from Hebrew, partly from Greek associations. The Hebrew ar:B;, H1343, though the metaphysical notion of creation out of nothing is foreign to it, apparently carries with it some implication of newness (cf. Num. 16:30; and see Dillmann on Gen. 1:1), and at all events has in the O.T. no other subject than God. In Genesis always and sometimes in Isaiah it is rendered poievw, G4472, (i.e. it is not distinguished from hc;[;, H6913), but in Deut. (Deut. 4:32), the Psalms, the Prophets generally, and Ecclesiastes it becomes ktivzw, G3231. The most common Greek sense of ktivzw, G3231, (etymologically “to make habitable”) is “to found a city,” and thence generally “to found,” “institute.” This Greek force of the word is emphasised by Philo (De mundi opif. 4, i.4) who treats the Creation as the founding of a city (ejpeida;n povli" ti" ktivzhtai), and so involving a planning out of the several parts of the city. (It is in connexion with this idea that we find in Philo the first hint of ktivsi", G3232, as creation out of nothing, when in De Prov. ii.55 [Armen.] he compares it to the founding of Athens or Alexandria [de novo magnam istam urbem mundum creavit]: cf. De Somn. i.13 fin., 1. p. 632.) Here then we have an adequate explanation of St Peter’s meaning. Biblical associations defined the founding spoken of to be the founding of the commonwealth of mankind by God Himself, and the Greek usage suggested that the founding implied a plan on which mankind were to be organised. By an ajnqrwpivnh ktivsi" then St Peter means a fundamental institution of human society. Before Christ came into the world, mankind already possessed a social order of which the chief elements were the state, the household, and the family; and here St Peter declares that they were not to be slighted or rejected because they were found among heathen. On the contrary, they had a Divine origin, and they were distinctively human: without them man would sink into savagery. It was needful to say this after the previous verses, which might seem by contrast to condemn heathen society absolutely.

dia; to;n kuvrion, for the Lord’s sake] By “the Lord” St Peter almost certainly means Christ. The phrase (oJ kuvrio") occurs independently but once elsewhere in the Epistle, 1 Pet. 2:3 (an adaptation from the Psalm), where Christ is meant: and in 3:15 the true reading is kuvrion de; to;n Cristo;n aJgiavsate ejn tai'" kardivai" uJmw'n. Nor is diav, G1328, with the accusative ever followed by to;n qeovn (or an equivalent) in similar phrases elsewhere (Rom. 8:20; [1 Cor. 8:6 v.l.;] Heb. 2:10 are manifestly irrelevant); while we have dia; jIhsou'n 2 Cor. 4:5, 11; dia; Cristovn 1 Cor. 4:10; dia; to;n cristovn Phil. 3:7, followed (vs. 8) by Cristou' jIhsou' tou' kurivou mou dij o{n. In all five passages the sentence refers to some kind of voluntary humiliation or suffering, and such is evidently the case here: subjection was to be “for the Lord’s sake,” as being rendered in loving imitation of Him, and willing participation of His ministries. St Peter doubtless did not forget such sayings of the Lord as are recorded in Matt. 22:21 (and parallels); 17:27, which have a direct application to the subject of the next verse: but here he seems to have in view the farther reaching principle unfolded by act and word in John 13:12-17; cf. Matt. 20:28 (and parallel); Luke 22:26 f.; the morfh; douvlou of Phil. 2:7. The passages of Luke and John illustrate the special force of to;n kuvrion. This interpretation, which harmonises with the strain running through the Epistle, is much more probable than a merely retrospective reference of dia; to;n kuvrion, in the sense “for the sake of Him” who ordained every human institution.

St Peter now comes to the chief types of Divine institutions among mankind, and naturally speaks first of the state or civil government. Here he begins by summing up St Paul’s teaching in Rom. 13:1-6.

ei[te basilei', whether it be to the king] St Peter doubtless had in mind the chief ruler of a country or wider region, whatever the precise nature of his office, but specially the ruler of the Roman Empire. In the Greek East for a long while before the Christian Era the successors of Alexander in their several lines were the typical basilei'", and from them the title was freely applied to the Roman emperors by Greek lips, notwithstanding the Roman hatred of the title rex. It is a striking thought that the emperor under whom St Peter wrote, and who was thus the living representative of kingship at the time when kingship, or the authority of the supreme magistrate, was thus consecrated in an apostolic Epistle, was Nero. If St Peter’s language was to be accepted as true, there could be few rulers indeed whose claims on loyalty would be sustained by less personal merit.

wJ" uJperevconti, as supreme] The last word was probably suggested by ejxousivai" uJperecouvsai" in Rom. 13:1. JUperevcw means nothing more than to be higher than, or in advance of, others in any respect, but is specially used of those in the highest authority in a state (cf. 1 Tim. 2:2, basilevwn kai; pavntwn tw'n ejn uJperoch'/ o[ntwn). Here it is probably used relatively to subordinate magistrates, not to ordinary subjects. The force of it, as brought out by the more elaborate language of the next clause, seems to lie in marking the true nature of the supreme ruler’s claim. Many would recognise him on account of some supposed peculiar sanctity attached to his office, while they would have no obedience or respect for subordinate offices which the popular imagination invested with no such incommunicable sacredness. St Peter on the other hand deduces the claim of both alike from the purpose which they serve in God’s order for the good of subjects, and rests the higher claim of the supreme magistrate solely on his higher and therefore more important function in the same work.

14. ei[te hJgemovsin, or unto governors] JHgemwvn is a word of very various application, but was specially applied about this time to governors of provinces, whether legati Augusti or proconsuls, or anything else. In Jer. 45:17 (38:17); 46:3 (39:3), where it stands for rc', H8569, we have the combination hJgemovne" basilevw" Babulw'no". In Matt. 10:18 (and parallels) hJgemovne" and basilei'" are coupled together without indication of their relation, and the basileuv", G995, and hJgemwvn, G2450, of Acts 26:30 have no such relation as is expressed here.

wJ" dij aujtou' pempomevnoi", as sent through him] Diav has of course its proper meaning, expressing the instrument or agent. The king appears here not as the source of the governor’s authority, but as the channel by which Divine authority is conveyed to him. The Divine source is not mentioned here, any more than with ktivsei, but it is distinctly indicated by diav, G1328: cf. Matt. 11:2 (right reading), and (with ajpostevllw, G690) Apoc. 1:1. In Rom. 13 (13:1, 2, 4, 6) it is explicitly declared, as it was also by our Lord Himself (John 19:11).

eij" ejkdivkhsin kakopoiw'n, for vengeance on evil-doers] In both LXX. and N.T. ejkdivkhsi", G1689, stands both for “avenging” or “vindication” and, as here, for “vengeance” “requital.” This sense is specially abundant in Ecclus. On kakopoiw'n enough has been said (p. 135f.). The whole phrase condenses St Paul’s qeou' ga;r diavkonov" ejstin, e[kdiko" eij" ojrgh;n tw'/ to; kako;n pravssonti (Rom. 13:4), which in its turn seems to be an echo of jEmoi; ejkdivkhsi", ejgw; ajntapodwvsw, quoted from Deut. 32:35 Heb. (not LXX.) just above (12:19). With both apostles the retribution on crime inflicted by the magistrate is an instrument of the Divine retribution. Grammatically eij" ejkdivkhsin is dependent on pempomevnoi" only, not on uJperevconti: but the words dij aujtou' mark the king and his subordinates as sharers in a common function, so that practically both ranks of office are eij" ejkdivkhsin k.t.l.

e[painon de; ajgaqopoiw'n, and for praise of well-doers] Here again we have an echo of Romans 13 (Rom. 13:3, 4), qevlei" de; mh; fobei'sqai th;n ejxousivan… to; ajgaqo;n poivei, kai; e{xei" e[painon ejx aujth'": qeou' ga;r diavkonov" ejstin soi; eij" to; ajgaqovn. St Paul does not define the sense in which the Christian would have praise from (ejk, G1666) the political authority. Obviously the bestowal of praise is not one of the usual functions of magistrates, though public spirit, especially as shewn in munificence, was often celebrated in laudatory inscriptions which might often have originated with magistrates. But this kind of praise suits St Paul’s tone very ill, and his last cited clause (qeou' gavr k.t.l.) points rather to such a praise as would at least not be discordant with the praise bestowed by God. Hence ejx aujth'" (th'" ejxousiva") must mean, as it may quite naturally mean, that the praise spoken of was a result of the civil government, not that it was in any sense pronounced by the civil government. The human justice administered by the magistrate and the holy life of the Christian, however far apart they might seem to be, had alike to; ajgaqovn as their goal. The sense of right and wrong, which the public administration of justice kept alive, was a powerful, though often overlooked, factor among the influences which promoted individual holiness, and the life and mind which were according to God’s will and received His praise. This interpretation gains in force when it is remembered that e[paino", ejpainevw (see on 1 Pet. 1:7) in the best Greek usage include moral approbation. It is equally applicable to St Peter’s more condensed language, since e[painon de; ajgaqopoiw'n comes after, not before, eij" ejkdivkhsin kakopoiw'n. The retribution, at once human and Divine, which is an immediate purpose of God’s sending of the magistrate, is itself designed by Him to call forth on the other hand (dev, G1254), as a positive result, a human approving recognition of well-doers, which again is an utterance of the approval pronounced by the Judge above.

15. o{ti ou{tw" ejsti;n to; qevlhma tou' qeou', because after this manner is the will of God] It is not at first sight obvious to what o{ti, G4022, refers, to the primary words of the sentence (uJpotavghte pavsh/ ajnqrwpivnh/ ktivsei), or to wJ" dij aujtou' pempomevnoi" k.t.l. either with all that follows or specially with the last clause (e[painon de; ajgaqopoiw'n). The first of these interpretations is for several reasons improbable:—(1) it detracts from the appropriateness of the contents of 1 Pet. 2:15; (2) it adds a superfluous and subordinate motive to what has been already fully sustained by the comprehensive dia; to;n kuvrion; and (3) it brings harshness into the transition from the accusative ajgaqopoiou'nta" to the nom. ejleuvqeroi, by making them both to belong equally to the persons addressed. It is easier to take 1 Pet. 2:15 as a parenthetical statement, general not personal in form, intended to explain what has just been said about the praise of well-doers.

Next ou{tw", G4048, requires consideration. Is it prospective, i.e. does it refer only to ajgaqopoiou'nta" fimoi'n k.t.l., or is it retrospective, and to be interpreted by the preceding verse or verses? In favour of the former reference 1 Thess. 4:3 has naturally been quoted (tou'to gavr ejstin qevlhma tou' qeou', oJ aJgiasmo;" uJmw'n, ajpevcesqai uJma'" ajpo; th'" porneiva"): but the substitution of ou{tw", G4048, for tou'to makes a serious difference, as well as the tov with qevlhma, G2525. The only other place in the N.T. where qevlhma, G2525, is combined with ou{tw", G4048, is Matt. 18:14, where ou{tw", G4048, is certainly retrospective: but in this case likewise the parallel fails, as St Peter has nothing answering to the preceding parable, which is the subject of comparison. As regards general usage, ou{tw", G4048, is habitually retrospective. The only exceptions are where it (a) is followed immediately or almost immediately by a correlative particle, wJ", G6055, ([John 7:46 v.l.;] James 2:12; 1 Cor. 3:15; 4:1; 9:26 bis; 2 Cor. 9:5; [? Eph. 5:28, 33]), kaqwv", G2777, (Phil. 3:17), w{ste, G6063, (John 3:16; Acts 14:1), [kaqjº o}n trovpon (Acts 1:11; 27:25),—but not with i{na, G2671, 1 Cor. 9:24 (see Meyer); or (b) introduces spoken or written words (Matt. 6:9; Luke 19:31; Acts 7:6; 13:34, 47; Rom. 10:6; 1 Cor. 15:45; Heb. 4:4); or (c) lastly introduces a complete narrative headed by a single descriptive phrase (Matt. 1:18; John 21:1). There is therefore a strong presumption against the direct reference of ou{tw", G4048, to the following fimoi'n k.t.l. The only real obstacle to taking it as retrospective is a misinterpretation of to; qevlhma tou' qeou', which is commonly assumed to mean here the will of God which has to be obeyed, His will considered as a law or commandment. This use of qevlhma, G2525, is of course common enough: but St Paul

employs qevlhma, G2525, likewise for particular acts of God’s will, as parts of a providential scheme, in reference to his own selection for apostleship (1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1), his hope of reaching Rome (Rom. 1:10; 15:32), the coming of Apollos to Corinth (1 Cor. 16:12), and the special devotion of the Macedonian churches (2 Cor. 8:5). Similarly in two out of the three other places where St Peter has qevlhma, G2525, both of them places closely connected in subject with this verse, it expresses not a will to be obeyed but a will to be recognised, namely God’s permission of the sufferings of the righteous for the sake of high ends of His own; 1 Pet. 3:17, krei'tton ga;r ajgaqopoiou'nta", eij qevloi to; qevlhma tou' qeou', pavscein h] kakopoiou'nta"; and 4:19, w{ste kai; oiJ pavsconte" kata; to; qevlhma tou' qeou' pistw'/ ktivsth/ paratiqevsqwsan ta;" yuca;" ªaujtw'nº ejn ajgaqopoiiva/. In each of these places a derivative of ajgaqopoiov", G18, occurs, as here; and in the second the reference to God as a faithful Creator recalls ktivsei in 1 Pet. 2:13, the reference being in each case not merely to creation in the modern sense, but to creation with a purpose. So also here St Peter is not laying down a law of God for men to obey, but expounding one of the ways of God’s own working; “because,” he says, “after this manner is the will of God,” i.e. after the manner implied in His using civil magistrates for “the praise of welldoers.”

Then comes the clause with the infinitive, best taken as in apposition to to; qevlhma tou' qeou', and explicative of these words. It is doubtless possible, without violence to grammar or sense, to omit the comma after qeou' and translate “because by well-doing after this manner it is the will of God that men put to silence” & c.: but the order of the words and the presence of the article (to; qevlhma) render the other construction more natural.

ajgaqopoiou'nta", that men by well-doing] The word must not be narrowed down in sense so as to cover no more than subjection to civil authority: that sense goes with the wrong interpretation of the whole verse. Just as in 1 Pet. 2:20; 3:6, (vs. 11,) vs. 17; 4:19, St Peter here has in mind well-doing in the widest sense, subjection to civil authority being only that particular form of well-doing which most conspicuously exhibited the Christian life in harmony with the ordinary mechanism of human society, while the principle of Providence declared in this verse is of much wider application. The participle is quite general: the Alexandrian text supplies uJma'", which is also the interpretation of at least the Latin and Syriac versions, but by misunderstanding of to; qevlhma: the principle here declared is of universal truth.

fimoi'n th;n tw'n ajfrovnwn ajnqrwvpwn ajgnwsivan, should silence the purblindness of the senseless sort of men] Fimoi'n (so a*, doubtless rightly; compare kataskhnoi'n and ajpodekatoi'n [see Intr. § 410; App. p. 166 b]). Tindale (ed. 1525 or 1526) and the Great Bible well render fimoi'n by “stop the mouths of,” but have to paraphrase ajgnwsivan by “ignorant men.” The Bishops’ Bible tries in vain to mend this flaw by translating “stop the ignorance.” Fimovw literally, “to muzzle” or “gag,” is figuratively “to restrain” or (much more commonly) “to silence.” So Matt. 22:34, besides passages where the passive occurs.

jAgnwsiva, from the ancient adjective ajgnwv", must not be confounded with a[gnoia, G53, though they cannot always be rendered differently. Here ajgnwsiva, G57, might be rendered “purblindness.” It is related to a[gnoia, G53, as ginwvskw, G1182, to e[gnwka. It expresses not ignorantia, the absence of knowledge, but ignoratio, the failure or inability to take knowledge. Its commonest (active) use is for failure or inability to recognise persons or places, whether from darkness or for any other reason: but it is also applied to any lack of perception, causing an object to be either totally ignored or seen in a wrong light. Thus St Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:34 (the only other instance in the N.T., but cf. Wisd. 13:1), ejknhvyate dikaivw" kai; mh; aJmartavnete, ajgnwsivan ga;r qeou' tine;" e[cousin, “some have no sense of God’s presence,” “do not perceive Him to be there.” So also here St Peter means to express by it an inability to recognise the true meaning and worth of the lives of Christians.

tw'n ajfrovnwn ajnqrwvpwn. Again the article cannot be otiose. It must mean either “those senseless men,” i.e. the men spoken of in 1 Pet. 2:12; or “the senseless sort of men,” and this is the more probable meaning; i.e. “that ajgnwsiva, G57, which is characteristic of those men who may be best described as senseless.” Thus on the one hand the ajgnwsiva, G57, is marked as not confined to scattered individuals; it was a common property of an evil public opinion: and on the other hand it was not universal; there were heathens, be it few or many, who had too much sanity of mind to be thus blinded. Perhaps it was also meant to be distinguished from the darker and more hopeless ajgnwsiva, G57, due not to senselessness only but also to inveterate wickedness. [Afrwn cannot be well rendered by any single English word. It expresses (Schmidt, Syn. iii. p. 647) want of mental sanity and sobriety, a reckless and inconsiderate habit of mind. The combination of fimoi'n with ajgnwsivan, “putting purblindness to silence,” shows that St Peter had in view such an ajgnwsiva, G57, as expressed itself in words rather than deeds. That is, he is not here speaking of persecution but of calumny. The manner in which he regarded well-doing as silencing purblind calumny is not explained. Probably he meant the restraint imposed by the perpetual presence of conduct manifestly governed by the sense of right and wrong. This restraint of course falls far short of the recognition and celebration of God’s glory spoken of in 1 Pet. 2:12, though in due time it might lead to that higher result, when the slanderer should himself join the ranks of the slandered.

16. wJ" ejleuvqeroi, as free] This reappearance of a nominative after the accusative of the preceding verse has led some to place a comma only between 1 Pet. 2:16 and 17; “as free and not & c., but as servants of God, honour ye all men.” The verse belongs in sense however much more closely to vs. 13 than to vs. 17, and the return to the nominative presents no difficulty as soon as the strictly parenthetic character of vs. 15 is recognised. jEleuvqero" (with its derivatives) in most places of the N.T. has either an expressed or an implied antithesis to some definite kind of bondage. In some of the most familiar places the bondage is that of the Jewish Law; but that has probably no place here. An analogous bondage however, that of inherited heathen custom, is indicated in the only previous passage of the Epistle which throws any light on the nature of the freedom here spoken of. In 1 Pet. 1:18 St Peter has implicitly referred to a freedom by speaking of a redemption; and that redemption was from their vain manner of behaviour received from their fathers. In submitting then to the institutions of heathen society, St Peter means to say, the Christians were not bowing their heads afresh to the old yoke, but were approaching them from a different point of view altogether, regarding them as ordinances of God’s own independent law, which it was their joy and pride to fulfil. It is possible that St Peter has also in mind the remarkable language twice used by St James (James 1:25; 2:12) respecting “a law of liberty,” by which he apparently condenses the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount as to the perfectness, the righteousness exceeding the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, by which the old law is at once set aside in the letter and fulfilled in the spirit: but there is no clear indication of that sense here.

kai; mh; wJ" ejpikavlumma e[conte" th'" kakiva" th;n ejleuqerivan, and not as men that have their liberty as a cloke of their malice] jEpikavlumma is a not uncommon word, nearly answering to our “pretext.” The articles before kakiva" and ejleuqerivan suggest that we must not supply uJmei'" with e[conte", but take the clause quite generally, “and not as men that have their liberty as a cloke of their kakiva, G2798, ” (compare 1 Pet. 5:3, mhdj wJ" katakurieuvonte" tw'n klhvrwn); the wJ", G6055, after mhv, G3590, belonging to e[conte", not to ejpikavlumma, G2127; their liberty is to some men actually a cloke of their kakiva, G2798. The clause is not in opposition to wJ" ejleuvqeroi, but guards it from possible misunderstanding. The ejleuqeriva, G1800, spoken of is not a wrong liberty, but a wrongly used liberty.

th'" kakiva". In 1 Pet. 2:1 we have already had ajpoqevmenoi ou\n pa'san kakivan followed by kai; pavnta dovlon k.t.l. (see note). Here too the word seems to retain its usual N.T. limitation. There is no indication that St Peter is contemplating antinomian license in general, as St Paul does in a passage of Galatians (Gal. 5:13) which resembles this, but only such misuse of ejleuqeriva, G1800, (cf. 2 Pet. 2:19) as would interfere with subjection to the institutions of society; and the temper of mind which would lead to this might be described in general terms as kakiva, G2798, a bitter and scornful feeling towards heathen and towards everything found among them. In the same spirit in which St Peter writes here, St Paul proceeds in the place just quoted (Gal. 5:13), ajlla; dia; th'" ajgavph" douleuvete ajllhvloi".

ajllj wJ" qeou' dou'loi, but as bondservants of God] This is the constantly recurring paradox. The true definition of an ejleuvqero", G1801, in the apostolic sense is one who is Cristou' dou'lo". Compare 1 Cor. 7:22. The key to the paradox lies in the fact that the freedom of self-will is not merely an evil freedom but an illusory freedom: it is only the entrance into a new slavery.

17. pavnta" timhvsate...to;n basileva tima'te, Honour all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honour the king] The change of tense after the first imperative is very remarkable here. The true explanation seems to be this. St Peter begins with the aorist imperative as the most forcible tense for the exhortation on which it was his special present purpose to insist. The other exhortations had to be added, to prevent misunderstanding, but the first two of them were more familiar, and might be taken more as a matter of course; and a return to the aorist in the final clause would have given it a false kind of emphasis. Pavnta" timhvsate stands in contrast to th'" kakiva". It expresses the opposite of the churlish and contemptuous feeling the indulgence of which would pervert all the relations of the Christians to the heathen. St Peter had spoken already of subjection to the king and the magistrates: but here the exhortation in extending more widely goes also deeper. Every heathen soul, by the mere title of humanity, had a right to be regarded with honour, and all that that word suggested. This exhortation is in the spirit of Rom. 13:7-10, which has no limitation to Christians only: but the definite form is St Peter’s own.

St Peter doubtless had no intention of suggesting that heathen were to be objects of honour, not of love: but his present purpose is to mark that the duty to the heathen was compatible with a duty of yet closer relations to the Christian community. Here therefore he says ajgapa'te only with reference to the latter, and fobei'sqe only with reference to God, though St Paul had enlarged on the love of a neighbour as of universal obligation, and spoken of men (doubtless rulers) to whom fear was due (1 Pet. 2:7).

Both here and in 1 Pet. 5:9 ajdelfovth", G82, has the concrete sense of a band of brothers. The word does not earlier occur in this sense (indeed it is rare even in the abstract sense), but was speedily taken up into Christian literature, Latin as well as Greek. The special ajgavph, G27, of the ajdelfovth", G82, is filadelfiva, G5789, which has occurred already in 1:22.

Then comes to;n qeo;n fobei'sqe answering to the last clause of 1 Pet. 2:16, and at the same time supplying the sanction under which the previous duties had their meaning. It is quoted from Prov. 24:21, fobou' to;n qeovn, uiJev, kai; basileva: and the addition there made could not well be neglected by St Peter while he was still on the theme of civil government, and so he borrows to;n basileva from Proverbs, lest his readers should forget the ei[te basilei' wJ" uJperevconti with which he began. But as he had subordinated the honouring of all to the loving of the brotherhood, so to the fearing of God he subordinates the honouring of the king. The word, this time more directly borrowed from Rom. 13:7 fin., is the same that had been used at the beginning of the verse, but with a modified sense: cf. Plut. ii.816 A, iJero;n de; crh'ma kai; mevga pa'san ajrch;n ou\san kai; a[rconta dei' mavlista tima'/n. The honour due to all men is akin to love, the honour due to the king is akin to fear: yet both spring from a common root, even that reverence which is the spiritual basis of Christian subjection. On this word “Honour” the first part of St Peter’s social exhortations emphatically ends.




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