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

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a[rti, G785] An emphatic “now,” “at this moment,” or rather “for the moment.” So 1 Pet. 2:2 ajrtigevnnhta brevfh “just born babes.”

eij devon, if so it must be] jEstivn is a natural but erroneous insertion in most MSS., not in the best ( aB cscr) or in Clem. Str. iv. p. 622. Since devon is not an adjective but a participle, we might have rather expected eij dei' (Acts 19:36 devon ejstivn): but this omission of the substantive verb or copula with the participle is exactly in accordance with what we find in the case of the analogous participle ejxovn in two out of the three passages in the N.T. where it is found (Acts 2:29; 2 Cor. 12:4; but ejxo;n h\n Matt. 12:4). For the sense compare 1 Pet. 3:17. It is possible that devon contains a latent allusion to the dei' genevsqai of Mark 13:7 || Matt. 24:6 || Luke 21:9; derived from Dan. 2:28: such sufferings were part of the appointed order of things leading up to the great crisis. But it may be no more than a precautionary phrase due to the inequality and uncertainty of the persecutions in Asia Minor, and the possibility that some of those addressed might escape them.

luphqevnte", though ye have been put to grief] This word is not merely equivalent to paqovnte". It expresses not suffering, but the mental effect of suffering: hence ejn, G1877, follows, not a simple dative. The meaning is that the exulting joy just spoken of might and did really exist notwithstanding the simultaneous presence of a real sorrowing and depression: cf. 2 Cor. 6:10, wJ" lupouvmenoi ajei; de; caivronte".

ejn poikivloi" peirasmoi'", in manifold trials] The phrase is doubtless taken from James 1:2. The sufferings now undergone are spoken of as in the strict sense trials, i.e. as sent in God’s providential purpose for the trial of their faith, as He tried Abraham and Job. This is the proper original force of peiravzw, G4279, and peirasmov", G4280, as applied to what befals men. The notion of temptation in the modern sense, i.e. allurement to evil, is to be found in only a few places of the N.T., and there not prominently.

poikivlo", G4476, is used by seven writers of the N.T. (as also in 2, 3, 4 Macc.) in the sense found here, “various,” “varied,” i.e. in reference to a plurality of things differing from each other in character. This use is almost unknown in classical Greek [Ael. V. H., 98, oJ de;...pollai'" kai; poikivlai" crhsavmeno" bivou metabolai'"], for in the passages usually cited it means “complex,” “elaborate,” “refined” (“cunning” in the old sense) as opposed to “simple.” Nor is it found in the LXX. St Peter probably speaks of a diversity of trials partly to cheer the Asiatic Christians by assigning the one great beneficent purpose to all the various difficulties which beset them, partly to suggest that the purpose itself included variety: the education of the human spirit contemplated in the trials contained various elements and proceeded by various steps.

7. i{na to; dokivmion (v.l. dovkimon) uJmw'n th'" pivstew" polutimovteron... jIhsou' Cristou', that the test (v.l. approvedness) of your faith may be found much more precious than gold that perisheth and yet is tried (purified) by fire, unto praise and glory and honour through the revelation of Jesus Christ] The general sense of this subordinate clause is clear, but there are difficulties in detail. The usual and the only certain sense of dokivmion, G1510, is a test, an instrument or means of trial: yet it is not the test which is precious (polutimovteron), but the thing tested. The difficulty is hardly less on the very questionable supposition that dokivmion, G1510, can mean the process of trial. For the sense “result of trial” (= dokimhv, G1509) there is neither evidence nor probability. If the text is sound, we must suppose that the word is used in its usual sense “test” (which suits well enough in James 1:3), and that it is loosely called precious as tending to a result which is precious. But I confess I cannot but suspect that the true reading is dovkimon (“approved”), now found only in 23, 56, 69, 110, of which 69, 110 are among the best cursives. The neuter adjective might express either the approved part or element of the faith (in contrast to the part found worthless), or (as often in St Paul, cf. Winer-Moulton p. 294) the approved quality of the faith as a whole. The image suggests that the former is meant, that is, that to; dovkimon th'" pivstew" is the pure genuine faith that remains when the dross has been purged away by fiery trial.

The next point is the construction: EuJreqh'/ may be taken either with polutimovteron or with eij" e[painon. But the latter construction would naturally suggest the sense “be found as praise,” and yields but awkwardly the required sense, “found such as to issue in praise,” “to deserve praise.” Further this construction is still more decisively excluded by the impossibility of taking polutimovteron (a pure adjective, not an adjective used substantively) as in apposition to to; dok. without o[n or some such link. Tyndale and A.V., followed by R.V., boldly insert “being” before “more precious,” Tyndale being probably led in this direction by the “pretiosior sit auro” of the Vulgate (so the late text as well as am fu, though not the Clementine). On the other hand there is no difficulty if we take polutim. with euJr. (“be found more precious”), and eij" e[painon k.t.l. as expressing an additional point, the result of this finding the approved faith to be more precious, & c. Phrases thus added with eij", G1650, are common enough.

polutimovteron. So all the better MSS. instead of the common polu timiwvteron.

crusivou tou' ajpollumevnou, not tou' cr. t. ajp. (contrast John 6:27), i.e. not that particular gold which perisheth, but gold in general, a property of which it is to perish. The word ajpoll. is doubtless inserted with a view to what is to follow, dia; puro;" de; dokimazomevnou. It is impossible to reverse the order of these parallel participles, as though we had dia; puro;" me;n dokimazomevnou ajpollumevnou dev, so as to throw the main and final stress on ajpoll.; and after all we should thus gain nothing but the elaboration of a simple and obvious image. Nor again can it be right to slur over the adversative force of dev, G1254, as though the two participles were merely added one to another. The antithesis meant is doubtless this:—“gold, which (unlike the substance of faith) is a perishable thing (compare fqartoi'" applied to silver and gold in 1 Pet. 1:18), and yet, perishable though it be, when it passes through the fire is not thereby destroyed but proved and purified”: the dev, G1254, in a[rti mh; oJrw'nte" pisteuvonte" dev, vs. 8, is of a similar character.

diav, G1328, thus retains its local force with an inchoate instrumental force added (Winer-Moulton p. 473). For the image, compare 1 Pet. 4:12, th'/ ejn uJmi'n purwvsei pro;" peirasmo;n uJmi'n ginomevnh/, where peirasmovn answers to dokimazomevnou here. It is of course suggested by various passages of the O.T., especially Zech. 13:9: but similar language is common in classical writers (see Wetstein and others cited by Steiger, p. 99).

Perhaps some word more directly suggestive of purification than dokimazomevnou might have been expected here; but it is to be remembered that dokimavzw, G1507, and the cognate words often involve, if they do not directly express, the production of a new and purer state, not merely the ascertainment (by God or man) of a state that already exists: see katergavzetai James 1:3, and the peculiar use of dokimhv, G1509, by St Paul in Rom. 5:4; 2 Cor. 8:2. Thus the modern sharpness of distinction between probation and education is not maintained in the Bible (cf. Wisd. 11:11 touvtou" me;n ga;r wJ" path;r nouqetw'n ejdokivmasa"): every Divine probation is also in purpose an education. Thus much is indeed implied in the very use of the image of fire in its action upon gold and silver.

euJreqh'/, similarly used 2 Pet. 3:14, expresses the result of the probation in relation to the Divine Prover and Refiner. The Searcher of hearts, who has instituted the trial, seeks the pure metal of faith after the trial, and finds it (cf. Ps. 17:3).

eij" e[painon kai; dovxan kai; timhvn (the words dovxan and timhvn are inverted in the Syrian text). All three words are elsewhere separately used with reference both to God and to men. Here the context shows the praise, & c., granted to men to be mainly intended; while the praise, & c., which redound to God in all true praise, glory, and honour obtained by men, cannot be excluded. This indeed follows a fortiori from such passages as Phil. 2:9-11. The dependence of the one on the other comes out in John 12:43 compared with 5:44. For e[paino", G2047, as coming to men, see 1 Pet. 2:14; also Rom. 2:29; 13:3; 1 Cor. 4:5; and implicitly Phil. 4:8. [Epaino" occurs hardly at all in the LXX. ejpainevw, G2046, very little; and moreover the idea of man as praised by God is not distinctly recognised in the O.T. What corresponds to it there is satisfaction, well pleasing, hx;r:, H8354 eujdokevw, G2305, (cf. also eujlogevw, G2328); but these words imply no expression of the Divine satisfaction, such as e[paino", G2047, contains (yet see 4 Macc. 13:3 tw'/ ejpainoumevnw/ para; qew'/ logismw'/). On the other hand, whenever the Greeks use e[paino", G2047, carefully, they include in it moral approbation. Various interesting passages of Aristotle are collected by Cope, Intr. to Rhet. p. 212ff.: the chief points are these, that ajrethv, G746, and e[paino", G2047, correspond exactly to each other and imply each other (cf. Phil. 4:8, where they are coupled together), and that e[paino", G2047, especially as distinguished from ejgkwvmion, has reference chiefly to the proaivresi" or inward disposition to acts as actions, not as works or results. God’s praise of man sets forth the true type of praise, appreciative recognition; and at the same time hallows it as a pure and inspiring object of desire (cf. Marc. Aur. xii.11 mh; poiei'n a[llo h] o{per mevllei oJ qeo;" ejpainei'n): it is completely expressed in the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.” St Peter probably took the use from St Paul (see especially 1 Cor. 4:5); but it may also have been current in the Greek of the time.

kai; dovxan kai; timhvn. The other combinations of e[paino", G2047, with dovxa, G1518, are eij" e[painon ªth'"º dovxh" Eph. 1:6, 12, 14 and eij" dovxan kai; e[painon Phil. 1:11, always with reference to God. This last combination occurs likewise in 1 Chr. 16:27 dovxa kai; e[paino" kata; provswpon aujtou', though the Psalm itself (Ps. 95:6) in the LXX. has ejxomolovghsi" kai; wJraiovth". Dovxa and timhv, G5507, are frequently combined, and in one remarkable passage of the O.T. the reference is to man, Ps. 8:6 dovxh/ kai; timh'/ ejstefavnwsa" aujtovn: and so in the N.T., Rom. 2:7, 10. In the Psalm the glory and honour seem to be the glory and honour of God Himself which He has imparted to man as made in His image (Delitzsch, Hupfeld), and it is striking that in Job 40:10 (= vs. 5 LXX.) Job is bidden ironically to clothe himself with “glory and honour,” i.e. to invest himself with what belongs to God. Accordingly from e[paino", G2047, which is a fitter word—at least in its proper Greek sense (cf. Arist. Eth. Nic. i.12)—to be used in reference to man than God, there is an ascent to the more properly Divine attributions of glory and honour. They had been similarly spoken of together in reference to man by St Paul in Rom. 2:7, 10. The precise distinction between them is not easy to seize; still less, between the alliterative pair of Hebrew words which they chiefly, though not always, represent, d/h, H2086 and rd"h;, H2075. In adding timhvn to dovxan St Peter very possibly had in mind the phrase skeu'o" eij" timhvn Rom. 9:21, which is worked out more fully in 2 Tim. 2:20 f. (ending with “meet for the Master’s use”); for there too it is the result of probation that is spoken of. Personal honour and esteem on the part of the Lord may thus be the distinguishing characteristic of timhv, G5507.

ejn ajpokaluvyei. jEn can hardly be here exclusively temporal, “at the time of the revelation,” as though two distinct though contemporaneous events were spoken of (as e.g. ejn th'/ ejscavth/ savlpiggi 1 Cor. 15:52). It rather means “in and through,” “in virtue of”: the finding unto praise will be involved in the revelation of Jesus Christ; nay, it may in a true sense be called a part of it, since the full revelation of Him includes a revelation of His members. The phrase recurs in 1 Pet. 1:13. jIhsou' Cristou' is an objective genitive, meaning not the revelation by, but the revelation of, Jesus Christ, the phrase being equivalent to ejn tw'/ ajpokaluvptesqai jIhsou'n Cristovn (cf. dij ajnastavsew" jIhsou' Cristou' vs. 3). This meaning is illustrated by 1 Cor. 1:7, th;n ajpok. t. kurivou hJmw'n jIhsou' Cristou': 2 Thess. 1:7 ejn th'/ ajpokaluvyei t. kurivou jIhsou' ajpj oujranou' metj ajggevlwn dunavmew" aujtou' ejn puri; flogo;" k.t.l. (contrast 2:3, 6, 8 ajpokalufqh'/ oJ a[nqr. t. ajnomiva" k.t.l.); and less obviously, but I believe as certainly, by Apoc. 1:1 ajpok. jIhsou' Cristou' h}n e[dwken aujtw'/ oJ qeo;" dei'xaitoi'" douvloi" aujtou'. These apostolic phrases go back to our Lord’s words Luke 17:30, kata; ta; aujta; e[stai h|/ hJmevra/ oJ uiJo;" t. ajnq. ajpokaluvptetai, where it is to be noticed that the revelation is assigned to a Day, not a mere vague phrase for time as apparently in some neighbouring verses, but in a sense akin to that which is contained in 1 Pet. 1:22 ejleuvsontai hJmevrai o{te ejpiqumhvsete mivan t. hJmerw'n t. uiJou' t. ajnqr. ijdei'n kai; oujk o[yesqe: that is, the Day is a Divine manifestation, a Day of the Lord. Other revelations are spoken of in this Epistle; in vs. 5 the revelation of a salvation; in 4:13, 5:1 the revelation of a glory: but these partial revelations grow out of the central revelation of Jesus Christ. For the idea of the revelation of men as involved in the revelation of Christ it is worth while to compare Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2; though the word there used is not “revelation” but “manifestation” (fanerovw, G5746).

There is nothing in either this passage or others on the same subject, apart from the figurative language of Thess., to show that the revelation here spoken of is to be limited to a sudden preternatural theophany. It may be a long and varying process, though ending in a climax. Essentially it is simply the removal of the veils which hide the unseen Lord, by whatsoever means they become withdrawn. The same word ajpokaluvptw, G636, was chosen by St Paul to express the inward and spiritual process by which God brought him to recognise His own Son in the Jesus whom he was persecuting (Gal. 1:16, where the usual sense of ejn ejmoiv must certainly be retained).

8. o}n oujk ijdovnte" ajgapa'te, whom not having seen ye love] The reference of o{n must be to the immediately preceding jIhsou' Cristou', however we understand ejn w|/ at the beginning of 1 Pet. 1:6. But vs. 8 gains in vividness if ejn w|/ likewise refers to Christ (as explained above), so that the second relative emphatically repeats the first.

oujk ijdovnte" ajgapa'te. jIdovnte" is the reading of the best authorities, not eijdovte". Here A.V. does not follow Stephens’ text, but (after Tynd.) the Vulgate (cum non videritis). Oujk ijdovnte" is suggested by ajpokaluvyei: the Lord is still behind the veil, yet not thereby shut off from the Asiatic Christians. St Peter himself had seen Him in the days of His flesh; they had not. Yet he is bold to say not only that it is possible for them to love Him, but that they do as a matter of fact love him (ajgapa'te, like ajgallia'sqe, can be only indicative, not imperative), and this love recognises Him as having a present existence and a present relation to them. The contrast in tense between ijdovnte" and the following oJrw'nte" goes with the sense of ajgapa'te. Their present love was the response to Christ’s love shown in His offering up of Himself for their sakes (cf. 1 John 4:9 f., 19, in reference to the Father). Though they had no beholding of Christ by themselves to look back upon in the past, they could look back to the signal act of His self-sacrifice in the past as a manifestation of Him.

eij" o}n a[rti mh; oJrw'nte" pisteuvonte" dev, on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing] Eij" o{n stands in immediate connexion with pisteuvonte": the intervening a[rti mh; oJr. (partly like t. ajpollumevnou dia; puro;" de; dokim. in vs. 7) being interposed with a rapid antithesis, “though ye see Him not, yet believing.”

The change of negative particles, oujk ijdovnte", mh; oJrw'nte", is not capricious. The first is a direct statement of historical fact; the second is introduced as it were hypothetically, merely to bring out the full force of pisteuvonte".

a[rti, G785, as in vs. 6, is “just now,” “for the moment”: the explicit statement of 1 John 3:2 (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12) is latent here. The contrast of seeing and believing may well have come from our Lord’s saying to Thomas which for us is recorded in John 20:29; but see also 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1. Implicitly a[rti, G785, belongs to both participles, but its stress rests on mh; oJrw'nte" alone.

Pisteuvw eij" is the commonest formula of the N.T. for belief on God or on Christ. There is only one real exception, 1 John 5:10 eij" t. marturivan: the places where it is eij" to; o[noma (John 1:12; 2:23; 1 John 5:13) belong virtually to the personal sense. The fundamental sense is resting firmly in heart and mind on Him on whom we are said to believe. See Westcott on John 2:11; 5:24.

ajgallia'te cara'/ ajneklalhvtw/ kai; dedoxasmevnh/, ye exult with joy unutterable and glorified] jAgallia'te, though supported by very few MSS., is doubtless the right form, not ajgallia'sqe. The active is rare, but occurs in Luke 1:47; Apoc. 19:7.

It is conceivable that the unusual active form was used both here and in 1 Pet. 1:6, though preserved only here, the preservation of rare grammatical forms being irregular. But, accepting both forms as genuine, we may detect a possible shade of difference of meaning. In vs. 6 the subject is God’s dealings with the Christians (see luphqevnte" and vv. 3-5 throughout), and the resulting exultation may be described simply as a state: in vs. 8 the subject is the personal feeling of the Christians, and the exultation may be regarded as their act. While eij" o{n certainly belongs directly to pisteuvonte", it may be intended to have a further indirect reference to ajgallia'te, ejn being in a manner included in the sense of eij", G1650. If this be so, the Divine personal object remains in view throughout, whereas otherwise the faith in Him becomes only the instrument of an indeterminate exultation.

cara'/ expresses the simple and general idea of joy included in the livelier word ajgalliavw: ajgalliavsei would have been heavy here.

ajneklalhvtw/, a rare word, first found here, then in Ign., and in a few later writers. The unutterableness may be either in degree or in essential nature. The former sense, a mere superlative, accords ill with the apostolic temperance of language, and ranges but awkwardly with such a word as dedoxasmevnh/. It rather means incapable of expression by speech, as ajlavlhto", G227, (an almost equally rare word) in Rom. 8:26: the ejk, G1666, here interposed suggests definitely a bringing out of the depth of the heart into external utterance.

dedoxasmevnh/º doxavzw is much used in the LXX. Apocr., and N.T. but mostly in applications which throw little light on its use here. What comes nearest perhaps is the glorifying of Moses’s face Exod. 34:29, 30, 35 (repeated 2 Cor. 3:10); and the ordinary Greek usage gives still less help. But in all cases it means to bestow glory on, so that we have really only to seek the meaning of “glory.” Doubtless the glory intended is the dovxa, G1518, which we chiefly find in the LXX. the d/bK;, H3883, of Jehovah, from Exod. 16:7 onwards. It is, so to speak, the inarticulate manifestation of God (Gloria divinitas conspicua, says Bengel on Acts 7:2). St Peter sets forth the joy as endowed, enriched, heightened with this glory from above. In the order of nature joy grows in the first instance by God’s ordinance out of human, and therefore ultimately out of earthly, elements; but it may then be pervaded by a heavenly glory which shining upon it changes its very substance. The paradox of joy under persecution is solved by this fact of glorification; it is the entrance of the unearthly element into joy which makes it to be not unnatural, but opportune at such a time. It is a participation in the travail of Messiah’s soul, with the consciousness that it has ended in victory. There is a special appropriateness in the mention of glory here because in the N.T. “glory” is so often represented as the culmination of the work of Messiah (Luke 24:26, Jo. Ev. passim doxavzw, G1519, Acts 3:13; 1 Pet. 1:21, 4:13), the mysterious Divine result of His Passion. In 1 Pet. 4:14 to; th'" dovxh" kai; to; t. qeou' pneu'ma is said to rest upon them if they suffer reproach for the name of Christ, where it is to be noted (1) that “glory” and “God” are coupled together, and (2) that what is said is distinctly said of the present, not the future; and thus it affords ample justification for retaining the strictest present sense here. Although no word has a more conspicuous place in the imagery by which the future is foreshadowed to us than “glory,” yet there is an earnest of “glory” here, as of other heavenly things: and the spiritual nature of what the Bible means by glory is indicated by the associations connected with it in such passages as these.

9. komizovmenoi to; tevlo" th'" pivstew", receiving the end of the faith] komivzomai often in all Greek and always in the N.T. means not simply to receive but to receive back, to get what has belonged to oneself but has been lost, or else promised but kept back, or to get what has come to be one’s own by earning. Thus 1 Pet. 5:4 it is said to the faithful shepherds, komiei'sqe to;n ajmaravntinon th'" dovxh" stevfanon. St Paul uses it only of a future requital on God’s part of human conduct: 2 Cor. 5:10; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:25. The force of the present participle here is ambiguous. It may be taken, as many take it, in an explanatory sense with reference to what precedes, “ye exult with joy unspeakable & c. as receiving, because ye receive.” This sense, however easy grammatically, lowers the tone of the sentence, and drags it out of its close connexion with what precedes: neither in 1 Pet. 1:6 nor in vs. 8 can the exultation in Jesus Christ be a mere joy about the saving of their own souls. It is more in accordance with the spirit of the passage, and as easy grammatically, to take the participle as stating an additional concomitant fact, “receiving withal the end, &c.” Such an addition was not superfluous. It was well for them to be assured that their heavenly Father did not intend them to perish utterly; though it would not have been well for them to be taught to make this the chief matter of their joys.

to; tevlo", simply “end.” The philosophical sense “purpose” is not natural in the N.T. nor suited to the context. For the meaning “reward” there is no evidence whatever. The end meant is the result, that in which a course of things finds its conclusion and culmination; so Rom. 6:21 f., 10:4, and probably 2 Cor. 3:13.

uJmw'n after th'" pivstew" is a very early interpolation. Usually the presence or absence of the genitive of the personal pronoun affects the sense but little: here, however, it is not so. To; tevlo" th'" pivstew" followed by swthrivan yucw'n without articles would not be naturally used to mean “the end of your faith, viz. salvation of [your] souls”: the phrase must be a general description of what “the end of the faith” is, i.e. the true and Divinely ordained end of “the faith.” So also th'" pivstew" in this collocation and context is likely to mean more than “faith” in the abstract: it must be the distinctive Christian faith.

Here, however, we must be on our guard against a misunderstanding. It is not legitimate to import into every place of the N.T. where we find hJ pivsti" the later sense of pivsti", G4411, as things believed, the object of what is in one sense faith rather than faith itself. In the N.T. hJ pivsti", where the article has a defining meaning not derived solely from the context, means properly that faith in God which rests on the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, as distinguished from the immature faith which alone was possible of old time. It thus presupposes, and holds as it were in solution, a certain amount of Christian belief in the sense of doctrine, and in some passages this aspect of Christian faith is so prominent that hJ pivsti" comes almost to be equivalent to what we should call the Christian Creed. But St Peter certainly here uses the phrase in its fundamental sense, as the personal faith itself in God revealed in Christ, not any doctrines which may be implied in that faith.

swthrivan yucw'n, salvation of souls] In complete generality. Here, again, as I had occasion to say on 1 Pet. 1:5, we have to be on our guard against interpreting the language of Scripture by the sharp limitations of modern usage. Salvation is deliverance from dangers and enemies and above all from death and destruction. The soul is not a particular element or faculty of our nature, but its very life (cf. Westcott on John 12:25). The bodily life or soul is an image of the diviner life or soul which equally needs to be saved, and the salvation of which is compatible with the death and seeming destruction of the bodily life or soul. Here St Peter means to say that, when the true mature faith possible to a Christian has done its work, a salvation of soul is found to have been thereby brought to pass, the passage from death into life has been accomplished.

10. St Peter has here reached the end of what he had to say of thanks-giving and encouragement by way of preface to the exhortation which was to follow. The direct exhortation founded upon it however does not actually begin till 1 Pet. 1:13. The exordium is prolonged, but it takes a new flight. Thus far St Peter has been discoursing of faith and its imperishable fruits as the present possession of the Asiatic converts from heathenism or Judaism, through their having embraced the knowledge of Christ. Now, before deducing the results of this assurance, he looks back for a moment to dwell on the relation of God’s ancient prophets to the new revelation of salvation given in the fulness of time. This serves the double purpose of showing the continuity of the Gospel with the earlier revelations by which God had given indications of His eternal purpose, and also the nature of its own superiority.

Peri; h|" swthriva", concerning which salvation] The addition of swthriva" to peri; h|" not only removes possible ambiguity, but gives emphasis to the idea of salvation, now expressed for the third time, the word occurring in each of the three subdivisions of this introductory paragraph.

ejxezhvthsan kai; ejxhrauvnhsan profh'tai, (even) prophets sought and searched diligently] As to the form ejxhrauvnhsan, usually in the LXX. and always in the N.T. the best MSS. have ejraunavw, G2236, not ejreunavw. This is the only occurrence in N.T. of ejxeraunavw, G2001, which is in like manner coupled with ejkzhtei'n in 1 Macc. 9:26. There is obvious force in the use of the two successive verbs, each strengthened by ejx-. “Seeking out” is the more general term, “searching out” the minute and sedulous processes of thought and investigation which subserve the seeking.

profh'tai without an art. is not likely here to have a limiting power, “some prophets,” not all: such a restriction is not needed, for, though that which is said was in strictness true of some only, there would be nothing unnatural in gathering up the prophets into one whole. But a more emphatic sense is gained by giving prof. an indirectly predicative force, “men who were prophets”; or, as we should say, “even prophets”: even the receivers and vehicles of God’s revelations were in this respect themselves seekers and searchers like any other men. This interpretation agrees with the highly probable derivation of the idea from our Lord’s own words in Matt. 13:17; Luke 10:24: while the one evangelist has divkaioi and the other basilei'", both alike have profh'tai.

oiJ peri; th'" eij" uJma'" cavrito" profhteuvsante", who prophesied concerning the grace which has reached unto you] These words define what prophets were meant. Where there was prophecy concerning the grace, there there was also the seeking and searching concerning this salvation.

cavri", G5921, here is evidently grace in the simplest and most general sense, the manifestation of what we call graciousness, of favour and acceptance on the part of God, as dependent on His own free good pleasure, not on any covenant or obligation. The favour and acceptance specially meant must be the favour shown in the admission of the Gentiles into the covenant. There is a striking example of this use of the word in Acts 11:23 and perhaps some other passages (13:43; 14:3; 18:27; 20:24 (St Paul)). This limitation agrees with the use of the phrase eij" uJma'", which (as in 1 Pet. 1:5) doubtless means “reaching unto you,” “coming to include you.” But it is more clearly determined by the context. That is, the admission of the Gentiles is a marked element in the later prophecy; and on the other hand it is difficult to see in what other sense a cavri", G5921, to men of the apostolic generation could intelligibly be called the subject of O.T. prophecy. This interpretation is quite consistent with the N.T. language which emphatically refers the new state of Christian Jews, no less than of Christian Gentiles, to the “grace of God” (see e.g. Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:22-24; Titus 2:11). The grace which welcomed the Gentile bore more visibly the character of grace than the grace which raised the Jew out of a legal covenant, though both were essentially the same.

Now however we must go back to ask what St Peter had in view when he spoke of the prophets, who prophesied of the grace granted to the Gentiles, as seeking and searching concerning a salvation then as yet in some sense unrevealed. The grace was the general subject of their prophecies, the subject alike of God’s revelation and of their enquiry. The salvation, which was to proceed from “the grace,” was the special subject of their enquiry, chiefly in reference to “the season”; but it was not, in the same way and to the same extent as “the grace,” a subject of the revelation of which they were the vehicles. Or, to put it in other words, they knew that God had made known to them His mind towards the surrounding nations; but they did not feel that He had made known to them in what manner and under what circumstances He would give effect to the gracious purposes of His mind. St Peter doubtless found the evidence for this seeking and searching in the prophecies themselves: in other words he recognised in them an intermingling of Divine declaration and human enquiry: part of the prophets’ message was plain to themselves; part they saw but dimly, and longed and strove for clearer vision.

It is not quite so obvious what are the elements of their message which belong to these two heads respectively. The best explanation seems to be this. The prophets had a Messianic hope, made up of various elements, and taking various forms: they had also, rising out of this fundamental Messianic hope, what we may venture to call a catholic hope, a hope of universal range, embracing all mankind, looking forward to a day when the nations of the earth should have a place in the people of God. But the nature of the salvation thus to be bestowed on the Gentiles was dim to them; still more dim the means by which it was to be wrought out, the instrument by which that inward transformation, which is the true saving of the soul, was to be produced, even what the Apostles call “the faith,” “the end” of which is “salvation of souls.” It is a remarkable illustration of this chasm in O.T. prophecy, that, when St Paul is wishing in Rom. and Gal. to justify out of the O.T. his doctrine of salvation by faith, the one text from the prophets which he is able to adduce is Hab. 2:4; his other great proof-text being the Pentateuchal saying about Abraham. The same newness of the contents of Christian faith is vividly expressed in those words of St Paul to the Galatians (Gal. 3:23), of which we seem to catch an echo in 1 Pet. 1:5 above. “Before the faith came, we were guarded (ejfrourouvmeqa) under a law, shut up unto (or till) the faith which was to be revealed (eij" t. mevllousan pivstin ajpokalufqh'nai).” We need not then assume that the seeking and searching were concerned exclusively with the time or season at which the salvation should appear, merely because the next verse specially refers to the season (kairovn) as an object of their search.

11. A very difficult verse, as regards both the construction and the precise meaning of single words. What is the construction of ejdhvlou? Two plausible but impossible constructions may be set aside at once. First, the favourite construction in modern times, making eij" tivna h] poi'on kairovn the object of ejdhvlou, “to what season the Spirit was pointing”; in short, the sense which would be given by the absence of eij", G1650. It is a fatal objection that dhlovw, G1317, is never found with eij", G1650, (except of course in reference to persons to whom a thing is shown), and its form and meaning render it difficult to believe the usage possible, dhlovw, G1317, being simply “to make plain.” Again, the order of words renders it necessary to take promart. as governing what follows: i.e. we cannot take promarturovmenon as absolute, and ta; eij" Cristo;n paq. as governed exclusively by ejdhvlou. Three constructions remain: (1) to take ta;...paqhvmata as governed by both ejdhvlou and promart.; (2) to take ejdhvlou absolutely without an object; (3) to take ejdhvlou with promarturovmenon in the sense “signified that it proemartuvreto.” This last construction is perfectly good Greek (as e.g. Plut. Pomp. 63 ejdhvlwse de; Kai'sar e[rgw/ sfovdra fobouvmeno" to;n crovnon); but it is apparently not used with this or similar words in the N.T. (Acts 16:34 very doubtful; 1 Tim. 5:13 imperfectly analogous); and the sense yielded is a feeble one. Again, to take ejdhvlou absolutely “made manifestation” is an unnatural use of language, 1 Cor. 3:13 being no true parallel, for there the preceding words supply an object. But see Polyb. 22.11. 12 ejpei; de; ejshmeiwvsanto t. tovpon, kaqj o}n ejdhvlou tina; tw'n calkwmavtwn dia; th'" sumpaqeiva", where ejdhvlou seems to be absolute. (The reference is to brazen vessels set in a trench within the city wall, and rested against the earth, so as to transmit the vibrations of the blows of the besiegers’ mines.)

It remains to take ejdhvlou as directly transitive, but sharing its government of ta;...paqhvmata with promarturovmenon, the accus. standing at the end. This does no violence to grammar or order, and yields a fair sense. Now the details.

eij" tivna h poi'on kairovn. [On kairov", G2789, see Schmidt Syn. ii.60ff., 71f.] The N.T. writers for the most part use kairov", G2789, in its proper classical sense, not time simply as time, measured by years, months, days, or hours, but “season,” i.e. time in relation to something external to itself, the time when something regularly recurs or the time specially fit or advantageous for something: according to the old Greek definition, not quantity, but quality, of time. (Apoc. 12:14 merely repeats the LXX. and that the curious Aramaic use.) In the few places where the sense appears to be more strictly temporal, it is apparently used with a purposely vague force, much as we sometimes use “season.” Owing probably to the manner of its use in Daniel, it evidently in our Lord’s time was specially used with reference to the fulfilment of prophecies and national religious expectations (Matt. 16:3; Mark 1:15; 13:33; Luke 12:56; 21:8, 24; Acts 1:7; 3:19; 17:26; Eph. 1:10; 1 Thess. 5:1; 1 Tim. 6:15; Titus 1:3; Heb. 9:10; Apoc. 1:3; 11:18; 22:10—not all equally clear, and with gradations). There is therefore special fitness in kairovn here. On the other hand the fancied reference to Dan. 9:2 or 9:23 ff. may be safely discarded as neither really appropriate in sense nor considerable enough to justify St Peter’s high language.

tivna h] poi'on. In Matt, Luke, Acts (Acts 23:34), Apoc. poi'o", G4481, loses its classical force of “kind,” but only with reference to locality (including way) and time. The same use with the same restriction (indeed there are no cases of time) appears in the LXX. in which (with the exception of Deut. 4:7 f.; Judg. 9:2 (Cod. A); Jonah 1:8, quod vide) it always stands for the local pronominal particle hz< yae, elsewhere pou', G4544, (povqen, G4470). But St Paul certainly keeps the proper sense (Rom. 3:27; 1 Cor. 15:35), and so probably St James (James 4:14) and St Peter (here and 1 Pet. 2:20). Indeed the same is implied by the insertion of tivna h[, as St Peter was not likely to use an idle rhetorical repetition. Practically the effect of tivna h[ (not tivna kaiv) is to emphasise poi'on, h[ being thus virtually corrective; “what or at least what manner of season”; if the first impulse was to desire to know precisely the “times” of the things prophesied by their mouths, they would rest in the desire and effort to know rather their “seasons,” such as the immediate present or the future, and the general character of the attendant circumstances.

ejraunw'nte" eij" tivna h] poi'on kairovn, searching for what or what manner of season] Eij" probably expresses simply destination, “for what or what manner of season”; i.e. in what manner of season the Spirit prospectively located the sufferings.

ejdhvlou to; ejn aujtoi'" pneu'ma Cristou'...ta;...paqhvmata, the Spirit of Messiah (which was) in them was disclosing, protesting beforehand of, the sufferings] jEdhvlou is prima facie a strange word, for the whole sentence implies that the season was just that circumstance of the subject-matter of prophecy which the Spirit did not make plain, and which therefore the prophets sought to discover. But first though dhlovw, G1317, is often used of declarations through articulate language, it is still more often used of any indirect kind of communication. (Thus, for instance in grammatical writings it is used for the meaning of a word, just as the corresponding Latin significo.) The contrast is drawn in Lys. c. Theomnestum i. ch. 6, p. 116, polu; ga;r a]n e[rgon h\n tw'/ nomoqevth/ a{panta ta; ojnovmata gravfein, o{sa th;n aujth;n duvnamin e[cei: ajlla; peri; eJno;" eijpw;n peri; pavntwn ejdhvlwsen. Thus the word might naturally stand for faint half-hidden suggestions of the Spirit in the midst of its clearer notifications. And, secondly, the tense used is the imperfect, the force of which comes out the stronger in contrast to ejxezhvthsan and ejxhrauvnhsan, where the imperfect would evidently not have been out of place, but was discarded by St Peter in his preference for aorists. It was a process of disclosure which they felt to be still proceeding.

to; ejn aujtoi'" pneu'ma Cristou'. A much disputed phrase on account of its possible convenience in controversy. It must evidently be taken in correlation to ta; eij" Cristo;n paqhvmata, and this consideration excludes the supposition that Cristou' is an objective genitive, “the Spirit which spake of Christ,” a meaning which indeed it would moreover be very hard to get out of to; pneu'ma Cristou' taken by itself. But the single word Cristou', even as a subjective genitive, may be understood in different ways. First, it is often understood, in accordance with the modern usage of the word “Christ,” as strictly and exclusively a proper name belonging to Him whom we call Jesus Christ. In this sense the phrase has been understood in two ways, “the Spirit belonging to or proceeding from Christ Himself,” or “the spirit which in after days dwelt in Christ, and became His spirit.” This latter sense is not however one that the words naturally suggest. The former has found much favour: it directly implies the preexistence of Christ. It fails however to explain the peculiar phrase ta; eij" Cristo;n paqhvmata, and it does not fit the larger context, since to the prophets themselves the spirit within them certainly did not present itself in this light. The apparent argument for this view lies in the absence of the article before Cristou' and Cristovn, since many assume that the article is indispensable if Messiah

is meant. This however is an untenable assumption, though it is true (1) that in most books of the N.T. the idea of Messiahship seems to retreat more into the background when our Lord is directly referred to as Cristov", G5986, than when He is directly referred to as oJ Cristov", and (2) that of the few places where the name is used generally, i.e. as having a meaning independent of its application to our Lord, there is but one where the article appears to be wanting, Mark 1:34; and there the reading is doubtful. But in St John we find Messiva", G3549, John 4:25 as well as to;n Messivan 1:41, and there is no improbability that Cristov", G5986, would in like manner be used by Jews speaking Greek as well as oJ Cristov". In the LXX. (and Sir. 46:19) the art. is often omitted with reference to anointed kings. Indeed without this preliminary supposition the apostolic use of Cristov", G5986, without an art. would be difficult to explain. If once the sense of Old Testament Messiahship be admitted, pointed doubtless by St Peter’s strong sense that all Messiahship was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus, the whole sentence acquires a natural and intelligible meaning. The phrase to; ejn aujtoi'" pneu'ma Cristou' then at once reminds us of the words which our Lord applied to Himself in the synagogue at Nazareth, II Isa. 61:1, pneu'ma Kurivou ejpj ejmev, ou| ei{neken e[crisevn me eujaggelivsasqai ptwcoi'" k.t.l.: cf. Isa. 11:1 ff. Compare also the language of Ps. 105:15 respecting the whole people in relation to other nations, “Touch not mine anointed ones (tw'n cristw'n mou), and do my prophets no harm,” where the Divine anointing or Christhood and prophethood are set in parallelism as kindred attributes of the children of Israel. So also the LXX. rendering of 2 Sam. 23:1, o}n ajnevsthse Kuvrio" ejpi; Cristo;n Qeou' jIakwvb (taking l[', H6584, as the preposition instead of “on high”) makes Jacob to be at once the people over whom David rules and God’s anointed. It must be remembered that the sharp distinction which we are accustomed to make between the prophet on the one side and the Messiah of whom he speaks on the other does not exist in the O.T. itself. The prophet, the people to whom he belongs and to whom he speaks, and the dimly seen Head and King of the people all pass insensibly one into the other in the language of prophecy; they all are partakers of the Divine anointing, and the Messiahship which is conferred by it.


As regards pneu'ma, G4460, it is enough to observe that on the one hand the whole context shows the spirit here spoken of to have been in St Peter’s view distinct from the natural mind of the prophets: they enquired concerning its message as a message come from without, from God: and on the other that there is nothing to show conclusively whether St Peter had in view a personal inhabitation, so to speak, by Him whom we call the Holy Spirit, or simply a Divine presence and voice, such as would proceed from the Holy Spirit. On the whole the latter is the more probable, partly from the form of phrase to; ejn aujtoi'", not anything like to; ejn aujtoi'" lalou'n, partly from the analogy of vs. 12 according to its most natural interpretation.

promarturovmenon, a word unknown elsewhere (except in Theodorus Metochita, about A.D. 1300). The pro- might mean either “beforehand” or “openly, publicly, authoritatively” (so sometimes prolevgw, proei'pon, progravfw, on which see Lightfoot on Gal. 3:1); but the latter sense does not well suit the context. The simple verb martuvromai, G3458, must on no account be confounded with marturevw, G3455, (not—evomai, which, except as a passive, is not used in the N.T. or perhaps elsewhere), a much commoner word in the N.T. Marturevw is to be a mavrtu", G3459, or witness, i.e. it is to bear witness: martuvromai, G3458, is to summon another to witness, be it God or men, such summoning to witness being for various purposes, as to adjure, appeal, protest, declare solemnly. See Lightfoot (contrast Meyer, Ellicott) on Gal. 5:3. Both meanings are included in the one Hebrew word dy[ihe(Hiph. of dW[, H6386), but it is not likely that this would affect St Peter’s use of the Greek words. It is true that marturevw, G3455, is used of the Spirit John 15:26 (cf. Acts 5:32 one reading), but in a sense inappropriate to this passage. The lexicons treat the sense “bear witness” as exceptionally sanctioned by Plat. Phileb. 47 C, but wrongly: a meaning much fitter for the context is the legitimate meaning “appealed to you for the truth of the assertion.” Usually the person called to witness is expressed, of course in the accusative; but there are many exceptions. Thus Josephus (de Bello Jud. iii.8, 3) in what he calls a secret prayer to God, after justifying his submission to the Romans as a following of God’s Providence, says “martuvromai dev, and I protest in Thy sight, I call Thee to witness, that in departing I am no traitor but a minister of Thine.” Essentially similar to this is Acts 20:26, where martuvromai, G3458, means “I declare to you, calling God to witness”; also Acts 26:22 (right reading), followed by eij, G1623, not o{ti, G4022, where it is worth notice that the subject-matter is the fulfilment of prophecy concerning the sufferings of Messiah. So also in Gal. 5:3 martuvromai, G3458, (contrast ejgw; Pau'lo" levgw of vs. 2) seems to be “I appeal to the law,” “I call the law to witness,” with reference to what St Paul has quoted from Deut. in 3:10. Somewhat different is the sense of appeal in Eph. 4:17 and 1 Thess. 2:12 (right reading), which rather resemble Plut. ii.19 B (of Homer), ejn de; tw'/ prodiabavllein movnon ouj martuvretai kai; diagoreuvei mhvte crh'sqai k.t.l. “solemnly warns not to use”—a charge as in the presence of God. These usages of martuvromai, G3458, render it probable that St Peter meant by promart. “calling God as a witness in prophetic announcements”; i.e. that the Spirit did not profess to speak as it were in its own name, but appealed to Jehovah as the true authority, whether in such direct words as “Thus saith the Lord,” or in other less direct forms of speech. Perhaps II Isa. 53:1 was specially meant. The subject-matter of appeal is put in the accusative as in the passage of Plat. Phileb. cited above. There is no other instance of this construction of martuvromai, G3458, in the N.T.

ta; eij" Cristo;n paqhvmata, the sufferings destined for Messiah] This cannot possibly mean the sufferings of Christ in our sense of the words, i.e. the sufferings which as a matter of history befell the historical Christ (mavrtu" tw'n tou' Cristou' paqhmavtwn, 1 Pet. 5:1). It is intelligible only from the point of view of the prophets and their contemporaries, the sufferings destined for Messiah. It is worthy of notice that this meaning of the preposition is expressed in all the English versions before 1611 from Tyndale onwards, “the passions (sufferings) that should come (happen) unto Christ.” This use of eij", G1650, is substantially the same as in eij" uJma'", 1 Pet. 1:5, 10. The sense is thus rightly expressed by Hipp. DeAntichr. 12 oiJ...prokhruvxante" ta; eij" aujto;n sumbhsovmena pavqh, whether he had this passage in view or not. The same idea probably underlies a less obvious use of eij", G1650, for prophesying in respect of that which was to come in Ign. Philad. 5.2 kai; tou;" profhvta" de; ajgapw'men, dia; to; kai; aujtou;" eij" to; eujaggevlion kathggelkevnai kai; eij" aujto;n [Christum, lat.] ejlpivzein kai; aujto;n ajnamevnein, and again in 9.2 on the advantage of the Gospel over the prophets, oiJ ga;r ajgaphtoi; profh'tai kathvggeilan eij" aujtovn, to; de; eujaggevlion ajpavrtismav ejstin ajfqarsiva". Also an often quoted sentence of Barn. 5.6 oiJ profh'tai, ajpj aujtou' e[conte" t. cavrin, eij" aujto;n ejprofhvteusan, where, if the reference is to our passage, to; ejn aujtoi'" pneu'ma Cristou' is wrongly interpreted to mean the spirit in them derived from Christ. And again Just. Mart. Dial. 110 (336 C) oiJ didavskaloi uJmw'n...tou;" pavnta" lovgou" t. perikoph'" tauvth" eij" to;n Cristo;n oJmologou'sin eijrh'sqai. Tert. adv. Marc. iv.10 Et si nihil tale in Christum fuisset praedicatum...consequens est ut ostendas nec in Christum suum tale quid eum praedicasse...Cum enim id se appellat quod in Christum praedicebatur creatoris. ch. 18 Quae cum constent praedicata in Christum creatoris. This interpretation, “the sufferings destined for Messiah,” tallies exactly with Luke 24:26 (e[dei), 46; Acts 3:18; 17:3 (again e[dei); besides 26:23 already referred to. It is remarkable that this short Epistle uses the word suffer or suffering (pavscw, pavqhma) no less than eight times (including 1 Pet. 3:18) with respect to Christ, whereas St Paul in all his Epistles uses it but twice (2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10), and in both cases in connexion with the participation of Christians in Christ’s suffering, an idea to which St Peter also gives expression 1 Pet. 4:13.

The question has sometimes been raised whether here too it is the sufferings of Christians that are intended. This is a most unnatural interpretation as regards the principal and direct meaning, but it seems to be indirectly involved in St Peter’s language on the supposition that by Cristovn he means Messiah, and does not use it as a mere proper name. As we have seen already, the prophet and the people share the Messiahship of the King, being made partakers with Him in His sufferings and in His glory. Compare the striking phrase mevtocoi ga;r tou' cristou' gegovnamen Heb. 3:14, and consider what is involved in Rom. 15:1-3 and the similar language of Heb. 11:26; 13:13.

kai; ta;" meta; tau'ta dovxa", and the glories that should follow them] The plural dovxai (in this sense of the word) is very rare, though not as the books say unexampled: it occurs Exod. 15:11 [33:5 obscure, but like 1 Macc. 14:9]; Hos. 9:11; also 2 Macc. 4:15 in parallelism with timaiv; and so Plut. ii.103 E, tima;" kai; dovxa". But there must be some special force in the unusual plural here. It is not naturally to be understood of the successive stages of Christ’s glory, or [Hofmann in loc.] of manifold glories making up one glory. Nor will a mere reference to paqhvmata suffice, for (1) the singular dovxa, G1518, is associated with the plural paqhvmata twice in this Epistle (1 Pet. 4:13; 5:1), and (2) pavqhma, G4077, in the N.T. is always plural except in Heb. 2:9, where the singular is not collective but individual, one particular suffering being singled out by the designation tou' qanavtou. The true explanation doubtless lies in the true interpretation of the whole passage. St Peter is speaking of the prophets and their several partial Messianic foreshadowings, separate prophecies of suffering being crowned with separate prophecies of glory, both alike polumerw'" kai; polutrovpw". On the other hand in the two other places the subject is not the broken and scattered anticipations of old time, but the single supreme glory of Him who suffered under Pontius Pilate.

The antithesis of suffering and glory stands with equal clearness elsewhere; in this Epistle 1 Pet. 4:13; 5:1, 10; also in Rom. 8:17, 18; (2 Cor. 4:17 with qlivyi";) Heb. 2:13; and above all Luke 24:26 cited before. Familiar as we are with the antithesis, reflexion shows it to be far from obvious. It probably belonged to the Jewish language of the time. In substance it is doubtless derived from the O.T., though perhaps not from the wording of any definite passages of it. Those which illustrate the idea best are perhaps II Isa. 40:5, in connexion with vv. 1, 2; II Isa. 52:13 (LXX. doxasqhvsetai sfovdra), in connexion with 53; and especially II Isa. 49:5 in connexion with vs. 4 and also vs. 7.

12. oi|" ajpekaluvfqh, to whom it was revealed] i.e. of course to the prophets. It was not a matter of seeking and search, but of knowledge clearly derived from a voice of God. Under what circumstances St Peter thought of this revelation as having been received, we shall have to ask presently.

o{ti oujc eJautoi'" uJmi'n de; dihkovnoun aujtav, that not for themselves but for you they ministered these things] All the better authorities (MSS. & c.) read uJmi'n not hJmi'n. The opposition is less strong with dev, G1254, than it would be with ajllav, G247, but still there is a negative on one side and an adversative particle on the other. With hJmi'n the reference would be to Christians generally, and so the opposition would be simply between times, the times of the prophets and those of the apostles. With uJmi'n the reference is limited in the first instance to the Asiatic Christians, as further identified by ajnhggevlh uJmi'n in the next line and dia; tw'n eujaggelisamevnwn uJma'" immediately after. But doubtless St Peter meant the statement to be taken of all Gentile converts, as in the case of the last preceding uJmei'", viz. th'" eij" uJma'" cavrito". Thus the contrast between eJautoi'" and uJmi'n is not merely a contrast of times, but also of classes of men.

aujtav is ambiguous. It may be adjectival, agreeing with the following a{, “those very things which”; in which case a{ is the true object of the verb dihkovnoun, and aujtav should have no stop after it. Or aujtav may be a true pronoun, the single object of dihkovnoun, and a{ merely the subject of the following clause. In this case aujtav may have for its antecedent either ta; paqhvmata, doubtless with kai; ta;" meta; tau'ta dovxa" added, or it may have no exact verbal antecedent, but mean simply the subject-matter of what the prophets prophesied. This last loose reference of aujtav might be supported by some analogous uses, but it is too harsh to be likely to be right in a sentence which already contains actual neuter plurals. A direct reference to ta; paqhvmata and what follows on the whole involves least difficulty. Tempting as is the juxtaposition of aujtav and a{ to take them together, the natural sense of the resulting sentence would be that what was revealed to the prophets was the identity of their message with the tidings carried by the Apostles, and no such sense as this is possible. It is best therefore to treat a} nu'n ajnhggevlh & c., as making a fresh start to set forth the higher privileges of Christians, and so as grammatically standing on the same footing as eij" a} ejpiqumou'sin.

The phrase dihkovnoun with an acc. is remarkable, but not difficult. Examples are not wanting in late writers of an acc. after diakonevw, G1354, of anything supplied or furnished, e.g. Clem. Alex. 190 oJ luvcno" diakonhvsei to; fw'". (In the words commonly cited from Joseph. [Ant. vi.13, 6] diakomisavntwn should probably be read for diakonhsavntwn.) But St Peter doubtless meant more than this. Further on, in 1 Pet. 4:10 he has eij" eJautou;" aujto; diakonou'nte" wJ" kaloi; oijkonovmoi poikivlh" cavrito" qeou'. Origen on Ps. 49:3 (48:3 LXX.) is often rightly quoted, eijsi; de; stovma Cristou' oiJ to;n lovgon aujtou' diakonou'nte". St Paul in 2 Cor. 3:3 has the curious phrase ejste; ejpistolh; Cristou' diakonhqei'sa uJfj hJmw'n. In these three cases the word expresses the function of one who is a diavkono", G1356, to a primary giver or author, consisting in the conveyance to others of his gift or his words, as is definitely expressed in 1 Pet. 4:10 (2 Tim. 1:18 may be passed over, as o{sa dihkovnhsen probably means “what services he rendered,” a quite different kind of accusative, common in all Greek). The other pertinent place of the N.T., 2 Cor. 8:19, 20, is exactly analogous, the primary giver however not being God or Christ, but the congregations of Gentile Christians whose bounty St Paul conveyed to Judaea. In spite therefore of the datives oujc eJautoi'" uJmi'n dev, which prima facie appear to claim the diakoniva, G1355, as rendered to them, we are justified in accepting the more appropriate assignation of the diakoniva, G1355, as rendered to the God in whose name the prophets spoke. Compare Apoc. 10:7 and the antecedent O.T. passages, Amos 3:7 (Heb.); Zech. 1:6; Dan. 9:6, 10. Accordingly dihkovnoun here sets forth the prophets as servants of God conveying to others certain things received from Him: and “not for themselves but for you” is a better translation than “not to, &c.” At the same time those datives point out that the ministration had another side, a relation to men the receivers as well as to God the Giver. Cf. Heb. 1:14, where diakonivan means ministration to God, but is coupled with dia; tou;" mevllonta" klhronomei'n swthrivan; also Col. 1:7. It is no argument against this view that in 1 Pet. 4:10 not the dative but eij" eJautouv" is used, for there (as in Luke 22:17 [right reading]) reciprocal distribution for common benefit is best expressed by means of eij" eJautouv". Compare Clem. Exc. de Scrip. Theod. xxiv. (p. 965) levgousin oiJ Oujalentinianoi; o{ti o} kata; ei|" tw'n profhtw'n e[scen pneu'ma ejxaivreton eij" diakonivan, tou'to ejpi; pavnta" tou;" t. ejkklhsiva" ejxecuvqh.

The nature of the diakoniva, G1355, is determined by the context. The prophets were ministers of the sufferings and the glory appointed for Messiah, as being spokesmen of God’s promises on this head (cf. Acts 13:32). But it does not follow that St Peter meant to say that the utterance of the prophecy, as distinguished from the subject-matter of the prophecy, was oujc eJautoi'". Doubtless whatever the prophets spoke they spoke in the first instance for the circle to which they themselves belonged, their own countrymen, their own contemporaries, their own selves. On any other supposition the actual written prophecies in our hands are unintelligible, and so the idea of prophecy itself becomes a baseless dream. However remote a future might be included in the scope of a prophecy, it was given in the first instance for the instruction and uplifting of the present. But the vision of Messiah’s sufferings and Messiah’s glory could manifestly have its worthy and perfect fulfilment only in the distant future: and moreover the remoteness would be not of time only but also of race. These highest revelations to the prophets were inextricably bound up with the revelation of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the ultimate people of God. In this sense St Peter’s words correspond to what is said in Heb. 11:39, 40. See especially II Isa. 52:15 in connexion with 52:13 and with 53.

There is however no sufficient reason for limiting the statement to the subject-matter of prophecy as distinguished from prophecy itself. The very words spoken by the prophets were not for themselves alone, or for their own countrymen or contemporaries alone, but for the Gentiles and for the whole future. The uses of prophecy did not cease when it attained its principal fulfilment. In making known the actual appearing of the promised Messiah, the apostles found the old prophetic word endued with new power and instructiveness, as the Acts and Epistles abundantly attest: its place in their teaching is distinctly marked in Rom. 16:26. Their faith was not a new religion, but a new stage in the old religion of Israel, and it derived a large part of its claims to acceptance from this its appeal to the past in conjunction with the present. The dream of a Christianity without Judaism soon arose, and could not but arise: but, though it could make appeal to a genuine zeal for the purity of the Gospel, it was in effect an abnegation of apostolic Christianity. When robbed of His Messiahship, our Lord became an isolated portent, and the true meaning of faith in Him was lost. This was one of the most fundamental subjects of controversy in the second century, and with good reason the watchword of the champions of the apostolic teaching was the harmony of prophets with apostles.

St Peter’s words were in all probability intended to include this meaning along with the other, that is, to set forth the ancient prophecies, as well as their subject-matter, as destined for the benefit of other times and other races; though the negation which he employs is in strictness applicable in the one case only, and not in the other. It is remarkable that in II Isa. 49:6 (cf. 42:6) the prophet himself is spoken of as made a light to the Gentiles, to be God’s salvation unto the end of the earth, the raising up of the tribes of Jacob being at the same time spoken of as a light thing; and such was likewise the office assigned to the chosen people whom he represented (cf. 60:3 ff.). This office of the prophet and people must have been brought home retrospectively to St Peter’s mind by his sense of the missionary character of the apostolate as originally commissioned, and of the Christian Church itself. His formula Not for themselves but for you described the place alike of Israel in the midst of the nations, and of the Christian Church in the midst of the world. Before as after Christ’s coming the privileges of a Divine revelation were of necessity held in trust for the benefit of those who had not yet received it.

There remains the question, by no means an easy one, whether the “revelation” to the prophets here spoken of by St Peter was given them in answer to their seeking and searching, or whether their seeking and searching was preceded or, it might be, accompanied by this particular revelation. The former answer is that which the order of the sentences suggests, and on the whole it seems to fit in best with the probable steps of the process depicted by St Peter. The steps seem to be these: the Spirit of Messiah within the prophets signifies, with appeal to the word of Jehovah, the sufferings appointed for Messiah and the glories appointed to follow them: the prophets enquire and search concerning these things thus appointed for Messiah, and the salvation which they involve and promise, desiring specially to know for what or what manner of season they are destined, longing as they do to be permitted themselves to “see” them (in our Lord’s words): then in answer to these enquiries it is revealed to them that these things were to befall Messiah not in their own day or for the sake of their own people only, but in a hidden future and for the sake of all the nations (“I if I be lifted up out of the earth will draw all men unto myself”). On this view the words of 1 Pet. 1:10 oiJ peri;...prof. are used in anticipation of what is said in other words in the first of the three clauses of vs. 12, just as the preceding words of vs. 10 anticipate what is said in the main more fully in vs. 11. But to return to the substance of what St Peter calls the revelation. Implicitly, he seems to say, the prophets received a Divine intimation like that which the apostles received before the Ascension (Acts 1:7), “It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father set within His own authority”; but they were permitted to know that the manifestation of Messiah belonged to the far future and to all mankind. Accordingly a sense of the protraction of fulfilment into a more distant future is one of the signs which distinguish late from early prophecy, the distance of the horizon not having been at first perceived; and again the universality of the hope belongs especially to the later prophecy, though it was lost in the narrow and inhuman Messianic expectations of the times subsequent to the dying out of prophecy.

a} nu'n ajnhggevlh, which things have now been set forth] This is one of the instances of nu'n, G3814, with an aorist which are sometimes quoted to show that the writers of the N.T. occasionally use the aorist in the sense of the perfect. The mistake is due to an unconscious transference of English or other modern limitations to Greek usage. Nu'n is not, as is assumed, identical in range of meaning with “now,” if by “now” is meant “at the present moment of time.” Not to speak of other uses of nu'n, G3814, (see Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, iii.226ff.), there are two which might find place here, (1) “but now,” “just now,” “lately” (John 21:10; Acts 7:52), the fuller form nu'n dhv being commoner in classical Greek, and (2) “in (or “within”) the present time,” such present time being thereby contrasted with an earlier state. The second is the more probable meaning here, as also in 1 Pet. 2:10, 25: it is not uncommon in St Paul, Rom. 5:11; 7:6 (nuniv, G3815); 11:30, 31; 16:26; (Gal. 4:9;) Eph. 2:13 (nuniv, G3815); 3:5; Col. 1:21 (nuniv, G3815), 26; 2 Tim. 1:10. The aorist refers back to the original time when the Gospel was preached in each region of Asia Minor, while nu'n, G3814, marks that time as the initial point of the present Christian position of the converts. Compare  Gr. Gr. § 498, 1, 3. In English the perfect affords the best approximation to the sense here.

ajnhggevlh, set forth, is the word used in II Isa. 52:15 (oi|" oujk ajnhggevlh peri; aujtou' o[yontai, kai; oi} oujk ajkhkovasin sunhvsousin), the verse which at the beginning of the prophecy of the sufferings of the Servant of Jehovah declares His being made known to the Gentiles, and which is quoted by St Paul (Rom. 15:21) as expressing a principle followed by himself in his missionary labours. jAnaggevllw, a word common in all Greek, is especially frequent in the LXX. (for several Hebrew words denoting narration); less so proportionally in the N.T., being confined, with the exception of these two passages and 2 Cor. once (2 Cor. 7:7), to the Acts and to St John’s Gospel and First Epistle. A reminiscence of the passage in the LXX. apparently suggested the word here; and the association of ideas thus implied confirms the identification of uJmi'n with the Gentiles. But St Peter probably meant more by the word than the translators had done. Everywhere in the N.T. (for in John 5:15 ei\pen, not ajnhvggeilen is probably the true reading), unlike the LXX. ajnaggevllw, G334, clearly retains under one shape or another its true classical force of rehearsing, telling in successive particulars (ajnav, G324); differing thus from ajpaggevllw, G550, which may denote any kind of narration. The primary usage for detailed narrative (Acts 14:27, o{sa; 15:4, o{sa; 19:18, confessions of different practices by “many” belonging to different occupations; 2 Cor. 7:7, emphatic enumeration of different emotions) leads easily to the sense of unfolding into various results or applications what is already present in sum (Acts 20:27, ouj ga;r uJpesteilavmhn...pa'san; and so vs. 20, oujde;n uJpesteilavmhn; 1 John 1:5, expansion of the single message [ajggeliva, G32] in the next eleven verses; John 16:13, 14, 15, successive interpretative expansions of to; ejmovn into ta; ejrcovmena; 4:25, application of a special knowledge of the truth to the answering of all questions, a{panta). Compare the analogous modifications of sense in ejxhgou'mai and in dihgou'mai, though they do not include the idea of announcement, which ajnaggevllw, G334, retains throughout. Accordingly, as indeed the use of two different verbs (ajnhggevlh, eujaggelisamevnwn) suggests, the phrase a} nu'n ajnhggevlh uJmi'n doubtless includes not only the announcement of the historical facts of the Gospel, but, yet more, their implicit teachings as to the counsels of God and the hopes revealed for men.

diav, G1328, through, marks the speaker of the announcement to be God or the Spirit, using as His instruments the bearers of good tidings. The sense is brought out clearly by the double phrase of Matt. 1:22, 2:15. The simple diav, G1328, in this sense is common in St Matthew (Matt. 2:5, 17, 23; 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 24:15; 27:9), and occurs in Luke 18:31 (gegrammevna); Acts 2:16; 28:25; Rom. 1:2; in all these cases in reference to the old prophets: in Heb. 2:2, 3 it is used in reference to angels and to “the Lord” himself. In St Luke (Luke 1:70) and Acts (Acts 1:16; 3:18, 21; [? 4:25;] cf. 15:7), we find the more Hebraistic form dia; stovmato", which in the LXX. of 2 Chr. 36:21 f. stands for the common ypiB].

dia; tw'n eujaggelisamevnwn uJma'", through them that brought you good tidings] This construction of eujaggelivzomai with the accusative, not found in the LXX. or other Greek translations, but following the construction of the virtually transitive rc'B;, H1413, (especially to gladden [with good tidings]), is constant in St Luke and the Acts where recipients are mentioned but not the subject of the message; while the dative is as regularly employed (Acts 13:32 not being a true exception, but rather a case of attraction: cf. , G. G. ii.285f.), where both are mentioned: St Paul uses the dative in both cases, except in Gal. 1:9, where uJma'" follows uJmi'n (perhaps twice repeated) in the preceding verse: if, as is not improbable, the first uJmi'n is an interpolation, the usage of these two verses exactly agrees with St Luke’s, on the supposition that parj o{ k.t.l. is in each case adverbial. In Eusebius and other late writers eujaggelivzomai takes a double accusative. The use of the verb itself in the N.T. is founded on three passages of II Isaiah 40:9; 52:7; 61:1. The last in particular receives special weight from Christ’s express appropriation of it (Luke 4:18: cf. Matt. 11:5 || Luke 7:22). In Acts, St Paul, and St Peter it naturally means proclaiming the central glad tidings of His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. In Acts 13:32 it stands in the same antithetical relation to the prophetic promises as here.

The persons denoted by the phrase are all those to whom the Christians of any of these provinces owed their first knowledge of the Gospel, including alike St Paul and any lesser evangelists. As regards this particular function of apostleship, they were all apostles. Compare Rom. 10:15, pw'" de; khruvxwsin eja;n mh; ajpostalw'sin… kaqavper gevgraptai JW" wJrai'oi oiJ povde" tw'n eujaggelizomevnwn ajgaqav.

pneuvmati aJgivw/ ajpostalevnti ajpj oujranou', by a holy spirit sent from heaven] The preceding ejn, G1877, of the common texts is an early interpolation, apparently Alexandrian. It is a natural introduction of the idiomatic ejn pneuvmati which, with or without additions, occurs in various forms of phrase in the N.T., as also in postbiblical Hebrew usage. The curious phrase “to prophesy in Baal” (Jer. 2:8; 23:13) may be analogous: in Neh. 9:30; Zech. 7:12 (cf. Job 26:13; Isa. 4:4; Zech. 4:6) B]need be no more than instrumental, the subject being God Himself, not men inspired by Him.

The simple dative pneuvmati aJgivw/ accompanying a verb of speaking (eujaggelisamevnwn) is virtually unique. The nearest approximation is Acts 6:10, oujk i[scuon ajntisth'nai th'/ sofiva/ kai; tw'/ pneuvmati w|/ ejlavlei (Stephen), where the combination with sofiva, G5053, modifies the sense of pneu'ma, G4460, and both datives are apparently modal. Compare Sir. 48:24 pneuvmati megavlw/ ei\den ta; e[scata (Isaiah). Twice in the Acts diav, G1328, (d. tou' p.) is used in the case of prophetic intimations on approaching events (Acts 11:28; 21:4), where a more Hebraic writer would probably have used ejn tw'/ pneuvmati. Here diav, G1328, would be out of place, even if it had not already preceded tw'n eujaggelisamevnwn. The dative here is not “instrumental”: it is the true “dynamic” dative, from which is derived the properly “instrumental” dative of common usage (likewise by some incorrectly called “dynamic”), hardly distinguishable in sense from the genitive preceded by diav, G1328. It expresses that in virtue of which a state of things exists or an action is performed. Its distinctive force is well shown in an often quoted passage of Plato (Theaet. 184 C D), in which the faculty which makes sensation possible (w|/ oJrw'men, w|/ ajkouvomen), that is, the “soul,” is distinguished from the organs through which sensation takes place (dij ou| oJrw'men, dij ou| ajkouvomen). The “spirit” here spoken of was not a means employed by themselves, but an animating power within them.

There is a certain awkwardness in the English phrase “a holy spirit,” due partly to imperfect correspondence between the Greek conception of pneu'ma, G4460, as used in the N.T. and the English conception of “spirit”: but it is a nearer approximation to what seems to be the true sense than any other rendering. The difference from what would have been the sense had tw'/ aJgivw/ pneuvmati stood here is illustrated by the language of St Peter on the first Christian day of Pentecost, as recorded in the Acts (Acts 2:17, 33), first ejkcew' ajpo; tou' pneuvmatov" mou from Joel 2:28 (LXX. not Heb.), and then, in the fulfilment, thvn te ejpaggelivan tou' pneuvmato" tou' aJgivou labw;n para; tou' patro;" ejxevceen tou'to o} uJmei'" ªkai;º blevpete kai; ajkouvete, where most Western documents too explicitly, but with substantial correctness of sense, add to; dw'ron (donum, donationem, gratiam) to tou'to. Each operation or manifestation of “the Holy Spirit” may be represented, and in the N.T. is most commonly represented, as immediately due to “a holy spirit”; and much confusion has arisen from a failure to recognise this intermediate sense.

The adjective “holy” retains its full force. The designation “Holy Spirit” (of God) or “Spirit of holiness,” adopted originally from II Isa. 63:10 f.; Ps. 51:11 is common to the N.T. and Jewish theology (Weber Altsynag. . Theol. 184-7: also in Wisd. 9:17 [cf. 1:5; 7:22]; but not in Philo). In the N.T. it is no mere name, but expresses an essential characteristic, in contrast to the mixed or even evil qualities associated with spiritual powers and operations in a time of promiscuous religious fermentation. Thus the “spirit” here spoken of was not only “holy” as coming from the holy God, but, as a spirit of revelation, had holiness for the governing principle and purpose of the message which it inspired.

ajpostalevnti ajpj oujranou', sent from heaven] The idea of a mission or commission, properly belonging to ajpostevllw, G690, as distinguished from the more generic pevmpw, G4287, is obliterated in the LXX. which almost dispenses with pevmpw, G4287. In the N.T. it is apparently preserved, except in (the common source of) Matt. 21:3 and Mark 11:3, and perhaps in Mark 4:29 (contr. Apoc. 14:15, 18 and Acts 10:36), in both which passages there is a reminiscence of the LXX. as well as not improbably a latent suggestion of mission. The idea of mission is natural here as derived from such language as that in which the coming of the Holy Spirit, or specially the Pentecostal manifestation of it, is described elsewhere, chiefly as a result of the Ascension. The principal passages are Luke 24:49 (kai; ijdou; ejgw; ejxapostevllw th;n ejpaggelivan tou' patrov" mou ejfj uJma'"), together with Acts 1:4 (parhvggeilen aujtoi'" ... perimevnein th;n ejpaggelivan tou' patro;" h}n hjkouvsatev mou); three passages of St John’s Gospel, John 14:26 (oJ de; paravklhto", to; pneu'ma to; a{gion o} pevmyei oJ path;r ejn tw'/ ojnovmativ mou), 15:26 (o{tan e[lqh/ oJ paravklhto" o}n ejgw; pevmyw uJmi'n para; tou' patrov"), 16:7 (eja;n de; poreuqw', pevmyw aujto;n [sc. to;n paravklhtonº pro;" uJma'"); and Gal. 4:6 (o{ti dev ejste uiJoiv, ejxapevsteilen oJ qeo;" to; pneu'ma tou' uiJou' aujtou' eij" ta;" kardiva" hJmw'n). In the last passage the parallelism of language with what is said of the sending of the Son in the preceding sentence (vs. 4 o{te de; h\lqen to; plhvrwma tou' crovnou, ejxapevsteilen oJ qeo;" to;n uiJo;n aujtou') is significant: as the Messiah was “sent forth” (Acts 3:20, 26; Heb. 3:1), so after Him the Spirit was “sent forth.” Compare II Isa. 48:16, according to the most probable construction (LXX. kai; nu'n kuvrio" Kuvrio" ajpevsteilevn me kai; to; pneu'ma aujtou'). What had been said of the universal gift to the Church is here applied by St Peter to the special gift by which the bearers of the evangelic message were inspired (cf. Eph. 4:8-13).

ajpj oujranou', from heaven] The spirit spoken of, though operative on earth, was not of earthly origin: it was an illumination from above. Part of the same sense is otherwise expressed in those passages of the Acts which describe the (or a) Holy Spirit as “falling” upon converts (Acts 8:15 ff.; 10:44 ff.; 11:15 ff.; cf. Ezek. 11:5). The phrase “from heaven” will cover either or both of the forms of speech as to the Sender; as the Father (John 14:26; Gal. l.c.), or as the Son (Luke l.c.; Acts l.c.; John 15:26; 16:7; cf. Eph. 4:8): they are virtually combined in the initial saying in John 14:16 (kajgw; ejrwthvsw to;n patevra kai; a[llon paravklhton dwvsei uJmi'n).

This spirit by which the apostles and their disciples proclaimed their message is evidently meant to be represented as corresponding to the spirit in the prophets; but St Peter does not identify them; they were, so to speak, different modes of the One Spirit.

eij" a} ejpiqumou'sin a[ggeloi parakuvyai, into which things angels desire to look down] This sentence is added at the close of the digression on the searchings of the prophets, fulfilled in the apostolic preachings. As in the Apocalypse (Apoc. 19:10; 22:6-9; see Ewald Sieb. Sendsch. 24), the interpreter angel declares himself to be a “fellow servant” of St John and of St John’s brethren, the prophets in the past and the faithful sufferers in the present, so a glimpse is given here of the fellowship of angels with prophets and evangelists, and implicitly with the suffering Christians to whom St Peter wrote. Moreover this fellowship is expressed in a form analogous to the questionings and aspirations of the prophets, for the Incarnation was a beginning as well as an end: a great and mysterious future still remained to be accomplished.

In the absence of an article a[ggeloi exactly resembles profh'tai in 1 Pet. 1:10; not “the angels,” or “some angels,” but “even angels.”

The precise meaning of the sentence depends on the precise meaning of parakuvyai. Apparently no ancient evidence supports the tradition of modern commentators that parakuvptw, G4160, means a long or earnest or searching gaze. The mistake seems to have arisen from prematurely importing into parakuvya" in James 1:25 the idea added by the subsequent words kai; parameivna". Kuvptw and all its compounds express literally some kind of stretching or straining of the body, whether up, down, or forward. Parakuvptw is to stretch forward the head, as especially through a window or door, sometimes inwards, oftener outwards. When used figuratively, it commonly implies a rapid and cursory glance, never the contrary. Here, however, nothing more seems to be meant than looking down out of heaven. Parakuvptw is one of several LXX. renderings of 5q'v;, H9207 (Niph. Hiph.), “to look down”; some of the others being diakuvptw, ejkkuvptw, katakuvptw. For God’s looking down out of heaven 5q'v;(Hiph.) is several times used (Deut. 26:15; Ps. 14:2; 53:3; [righteousness 85:12 Niph.;] 102:20; Lam. 3:50: cf. Exod. 14:24): and though this particular compound of kuvptw, G3252, is not employed in any of these cases, it occurs in the Greek fragments of the Book of Henoch (ix.1, p. 83 ed. Dillm.) in a phrase which the presence of ejk tw'n aJgivwn suggests to have been founded on two (Deut. l. c.; Ps. 102:19), if not more, of the above passages: kai; ajkouvsante" oiJ tevssare" megavloi ajrcavggeloi Micah;l kai; Oujrih;l kai; JPafah;l kai; Gabrih;l parevkuyan ejpi; th;n gh'n ejk tw'n aJgivwn tou' oujranou'. The coincidence is the more interesting since in each case angels, not God, are the beholders. Compare Tertullian De spect. 27: Dubitas illo enim momento, quo diabolus in ecclesia furit, omnes angelos prospicere de caelo et singulos denotare, quis blasphemiam dixerit, quis audierit, & c.?

The meaning of parakuvyai, as thus determined, limits the possible reference of eij" a{: the things into which angels could look down must be on earth, not in heaven. Now the glorification of Jesus Christ, though in one sense begun on earth, was consummated by the Ascension (cf. Acts 2:33-36); and therefore the antecedent of a{ could hardly be identical with the historical contents of the Gospel message, the necessary key to which was the final exaltation. On the other hand, the natural reference of a{ here is to the a{ of the preceding sentence. If, however, as the usage of ajnaggevllw, G334, has suggested, by a} nu'n ajnhggevlh uJmi'n was meant not the bare narrative of the facts of the Gospel, but the message founded on them, there is no contradiction. The subject-matter of this derivative Gospel, “the Gospel” of St Paul, was no other than the subject-matter of the seekings and searchings of prophets, even the “grace” extended to the Gentiles, and the accompanying “salvation” (1 Pet. 1:10). But this manifestation of grace drew down the eyes of angels less as a present fact than as a promise of the future: they recognised the fulfilment of prophecy as itself a larger prophecy, subject to the necessary conditions of prophecy, and preeminently partaking of its mysteriousness. Thus much is implied in the phrase “desire to look down” (ejpiqumou'sin parakuvyai, not parakuvptousin). The notion of a total or partial veiling of past or present events on the earth from their eyes, and of a consequent desire of clearer vision, is fantastic in itself, and alien from the subject of the three preceding verses; while the vision of the future apparently involves inherent limitations for all finite beings.

From this point of view St Peter’s words receive important illustration from their often noticed affinity to Eph. 3:10. St Paul there represents the present making known of the manifold wisdom of God through the Church to the principalities and powers as one purpose of his preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles: and the remarkable phrase “through the Church” is explained by part of the preceding paragraph (2:14-18), on the founding of the two, Israel and the Nations, in Christ into one new man, the reconciliation of them both in one body to God, and the announcement of peace to them that were far off and peace to them that were nigh. The Church, in virtue of this its Catholicity, was not only the herald of God’s all-embracing peace to the ears of men, but its visible embodiment in the eyes of men and angels. Its very existence was a memorial of Divinely appointed barriers Divinely broken down, and a living sign of a Will and a Power which would work on till the victory of love was universal and complete. Neither to angels nor to men were the last resources of the Manifold Wisdom as yet disclosed: but a sufficient pledge of the “unsearchable riches” contained in it was already given in the Gospel, and in the living community created by the Gospel.

If this is the purport of Eph. 3:10, taken in conjunction with the immediate context (3:1-21, but especially vv. 4-6, 8-11, 18-21), with other parts of the same Epistle (1:8-11, 18-23; 2:14-18), and with the summing up of the Divine dispensations in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 11:25-36), we have a satisfactory clue to St Peter’s drift likewise. The five words are a momentary outburst from the undercurrent of his thoughts, fed from St Paul’s two chief Epistles: compare the last four words of 1 Pet. 2:8, on a kindred topic, derived in like manner from the Epistle to the Romans. His presentiment of new unfoldings of grace mingles with his sense of the fellowship of angels. Beholding the earth from above and beholding it within the range of wider horizons, they could not look on those first scenes of the new drama of Providence without feeling their prophetic significance, and watching eagerly for fresh fulfilments of the Divine process, of which the call of the Gentiles was at once the beginning and the symbol.




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