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


Download 0.9 Mb.
Date conversion03.05.2018
Size0.9 Mb.
1   ...   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   ...   17

Cristou'] Here there is no such strong reason for taking the word as simply a Greek equivalent of “Messiah” as there was in vs. 11. But the sense thus ascertained for the earlier passage appears on consideration to be also appropriate here. Proginwvskw, in its proper sense, is more applicable to our Lord as fulfilling an office than simply as one born and dying at a certain time, the sense required by Cristou' taken as a pure proper name. Further, Scripture gives peculiar significance to the sufferings and death of Messiah, more especially in connexion with the admission of the Gentiles referred to both before and after (vv. 18, 21). According to the construction which we have adopted the presence of ajmnou' creates no difficulty, shut off as it is by wJ", G6055.

We must now return to the general sense of this verse, taking with it ejlutrwvqhte, as repeated out of the preceding verse. The starting point of this and all similar language in the Epistles is our Lord’s saying in Matt. 20:28 || Mark 10:45 “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister kai; dou'nai th;n yuch;n aujtou' luvtron (a ransom) ajnti; pollw'n,” where ajntiv, G505, expresses simply exchange. In return for the price or ransom paid the ransomed are received back. The nearest repetition of these words is in 1 Tim. 2:6 oJ dou;" eJauto;n ajntivlutron uJpe;r pavntwn, to; martuvrion kairoi'" ijdivoi", where the ajntiv, G505, of the Gospels has been joined to luvtron, G3389, and uJpevr, G5642, substituted as the separate preposition. Next comes Titus 2:14 Cristou' jIhsou' o}" e[dwken eJauto;n uJpe;r hJmw'n i{na lutrwvshtai hJma'" ajpo; pavsh" ajnomiva" k.t.l. The only other cognate word used by St Paul is ajpoluvtrwsi", G667, and that in two senses: (1) one strongly modified from the simple idea of ransoming and applied to sins in association with present forgiveness

or atonement, Rom. 3:24 (1 Cor. 1:30, somewhat vague); Eph. 1:7 || Col. 1:14 (Eph. 1:7 having dia; t. ai{mato" aujtou'); and (2) the other in relation to the future redemption of a privilege or possession, Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:14; 4:30. The Ep. to the Hebrews (luvtrwsi", G3391, Heb. 9:12, ajpoluvtrwsi", G667, 9:15) follows St Paul’s former sense. For lutrou'mai St Paul uses ajgoravzw, G60, in writing to Corinthian Greeks 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; more however with reference to the ownership acquired (hjgoravsqhte timh'") than the bondage ended (yet cf. 7:23 mh; givnesqe dou'loi ajnqrwvpwn); and so 2 Pet. 2:1 to;n ajgoravsanta aujtou;" despovthn ajrnouvmenoi. To this head also belongs Acts 20:28 “the church or congregation of God which He purchased (or acquired) with (dia;) the blood that was His own.” We have already (p. 76) considered the more strictly redemptive sense of ejxagoravzw, G1973, in Galatians as regards the Law and its curse. We come now to the important evidence of Apoc. In Apoc. 5:6 a Lamb is seen before the throne standing as slain (ajrnivon eJsthko;" wJ" ejsfagmevnon): in vv. 8 ff. the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fall before the Lamb and sing a new song, “Worthy art thou to receive.... for thou wast slain and didst purchase (hjgovrasa") to God with thy blood [men] of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” In 14:1-5 there is another vision of the Lamb, and again there is a singing of a new song, and none could learn it save the 144,000, even they “that had been purchased from the earth (oiJ hjgorasmevnoi ajpo; t. gh'").” These are the undefiled, “who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from men (hjgoravsqhsan ajpo; t. ajnqrwvpwn), firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, and in their mouth was found no falsehood, they are without blemish (a[mwmoiv eijsin).” Moreover the ascription in 1:5 contains the same idea according to the true interpretation of the right reading, luvsanti not louvsanti: “To him that loveth us and loosed us from our sins ejn tw'/ ai{mati aujtou', at the price of his blood.” This meaning of ejn, G1877, a literal reproduction of the Hebrew B], we have just found with ajgoravzw, G60, in 5:9 (as 1 Chr. 21:24 LXX. ajgoravzw ejn ajrgurivw/ ajxivw/). In fact luvw, G3395, and ajgoravzw, G60, St John’s two words, together make up the idea of lutrou'mai, release and the purchase of those who are released. These passages together represent the blood of the Lamb as the ransom paid for the release of men of every nation from the bondage of the earth, and from the bondage of men (answering to what is elsewhere called “the world”), and from the bondage of their sins: and they in turn are represented as reflecting the character of the Lamb, they are undefiled and without blemish. In a later passage, Apoc. 15:3, “the song of the Lamb” is associated with “the song of Moses the servant of God,” and so with the Exodus. In like manner in St John’s Gospel (John 19:36) words spoken of the paschal lamb are applied to our Lord, and St Paul distinctly says (1 Cor. 5:7), kai; ga;r to; pavsca hJmw'n (i.e. paschal lamb) ejtuvqh Cristov". There is therefore a presumption that here too the paschal lamb was at least the primary subject of allusion.

The difficulty that has been felt is the fact that the paschal lamb is not itself represented in Exodus as a ransom paid for deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It did but save the Jewish firstborn from the destroying angel who smote the Egyptians. But this is not decisive, when the use of lutrou'mai in the O.T. is considered. The LXX. use it chiefly for two Hebrew words, la'G:, H1457 and hd:P;, H7009, both of which have by usage the strict sense “redeem,” i.e. set free by payment, a man or a property, while they are also used in many places where deliverance from bondage alone is perceptible in the sense. Accordingly in the LXX. lutrou'mai is connected with the Exodus, prospectively in Exod. 6:6 and retrospectively in Exod. 15:13 (Song of Moses); and in later references Deut. 7:8; 9:26; 13:5; 15:15; 21:8; 24:18; 2 Sam. 7:23; 1 Chr. 17:21; Ps. 76:16 (77:16); 77:42 (78:42); 105:10 (106:10); Mic. 6:4; and in Acts 7:35 St Stephen boldly says that God sent Moses (of course in the Exodus) as a[rconta kai; lutrwthvn. How completely in the time of our Lord the word was associated with Divine deliverance from bondage we see by Luke 2:38 (t. prosdecomevnoi" luvtrwsin jIerousalhvm) and 24:21 (oJ mevllwn lutrou'sqai to;n jIsrahvl): cf. 21:28 (ejggivzei hJ ajpoluvtrwsi" uJmw'n). It was not unnatural therefore that the blood of the paschal lamb should be considered as a ransom and associated with the whole deliverance of whatever kind belonging to that night of the Exodus, more especially as it did in the strictest sense redeem the firstborn of Israel. So the Midrash on Exod. 12:22 (, Bibliotheca Rabbinica, ii. p. 135) “With two bloods were the Israelites delivered from Egypt, with the blood of the paschal lamb and with the blood of circumcision”: of the latter of course only a Jew would speak.

Whether St Peter meant a distinct reference likewise to Isa. 53:7 is less clear. That whole chapter must have been present to his mind in much of the Epistle: he must have been thinking of it in 1 Pet. 1:11, and he borrows its language in 2:22-25. But the two passages differ from each other as to the relation in which they exhibit the lamb of which they speak; and it is hardly probable that the ai|ma, G135, of St Peter can have any reference to the last verse of the passage in Isaiah, “He poured out his soul unto death,” more especially as the cardinal word “poured out” is rendered paredovqh by the LXX.

The idea of the whole passage is a simple one, deliverance through the payment of a costly ransom by another. On two further questions connected with it St Peter here is silent, viz. who it was that made the payment, and to whom it was made. In some of the passages already quoted, Christ Himself appears as the ransomer: elsewhere it is the Father, as in Acts 20:28, rightly understood, and illustrated by Rom. 5:8 (where note eJautou', G1571) and 8:32. The two kinds of language are evidently consistent. As regards the second point, the testimony of the Bible is only inferential, and serious difficulties beset both the view which chiefly found favour with the Fathers, that the ransom was paid to the evil one, and still more the doctrine widely spread in the middle ages and in modern times, that it was paid to the Father. The true lesson is that the language which speaks of a ransom is but figurative language; the only language doubtless by which this part of the truth could in any wise be brought within our apprehension; but not the less figurative, and therefore affording no trustworthy ground for belief beyond the limits suggested by the silence of our Lord and His apostles.

20. proegnwsmevnou mevn, designated afore] See provgnwsin in 1 Pet. 1:2. The verb usually means “foreknow” in the ordinary sense, i.e. “have prescience of.” But that sense does not well suit either this passage or Rom. 8:29 ou}" proevgnw kai; prowvrisen k.t.l. and Rom. 11:2 oujk ajpwvsato oJ qeo;" to;n lao;n aujtou' o}n proevgnw. A comparison of these passages with each other, and with 1 Pet. 1:2, all having reference to persons, not to events, suggests that in them proginwvskw, G4589, means virtually prerecognition, previous designation to a position or function. This use seems to come from such passages as Jer. 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee”: cf. II Isa. 49:1, 3, 5; Exod. 33:12, 17.

pro; katabolh'" kovsmou, before the foundation of the world] This curious phrase, used by six writers of the N.T. (counting the Apocalypse with the Gospel of St John), is yet unknown elsewhere. In the quotation in Matt. 13:35 the best documents have it without kovsmou. Katabavllomai is used of sowing seed, and of laying down the foundation of a ship or a building (Heb. 6:1 qemevlion kataballovmenoi), and even of founding or setting up a library (2 Macc. 2:13) or a trophy (ib. 5:6). jEk katabolh'" is also used for “from the first beginning.” Doubtless the sense is “before the foundations of the world were laid.” As used by St Peter it very possibly comes from Eph. 1:4, the only place where St Paul has it. The idea of the designation of Messiah in the counsel of God before all worlds is expressed more or less distinctly in other language in Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:9-11; Col. 1:26, 27; 2 Tim. 1:9; cf. 1 Cor. 2:7; Rom. 16:25.

fanerwqevnto" dev, but manifested] The word and the general idea alike belong to several of the passages just cited. The passages in which not a mystery concerning Christ but Christ Himself is said to have been manifested in a wide sense are John 1:31; 1 Tim. 3:16 (? a quotation); 1 John 3:5, 8; besides passages which speak of His future manifestation. Taken by itself, the word suggests a previous hidden existence, and it was not likely to be chosen except in this implied sense, virtually the sense expressed in John 1:14 (Ewald, Die Johann. Schriften, p. 112f.): at the same time the sharp antithesis (mevn... dev) to proegnwsmevnou leaves some little uncertainty.

ejpj ejscavtou tw'n crovnwn, at the end of the times] jEscavtwn is a Syrian reading. The phrase is exactly like ejpj ejscavtou tw'n hJmerw'n, which occurs several times in the LXX. jEpj ejscavtou is virtually an adverb. Crovnoi, an interesting use (cf. Acts 17:30), denotes the successive periods in the history of humanity, and perhaps also the parallel periods for different nations and parts of the world. It answers in a simpler shape to St Paul’s aijw'ne", and in the three places in which he has likewise the plural crovnoi in this sense the adj. aijwvnioi is attached to it (Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2). But compare Gal. 4:4 (o{te de; h\lqen to; plhvrwma tou' crovnou), said with special though not exclusive reference to the Jewish consummation. Thus the phrase is used solely in relation to the actual past; and does not include the sense of “last days” absolutely.

dij uJma'", for your sake] These words reintroduce the element so prominent in Eph. in connexion with the manifestation of the “mystery,” viz. its purpose in the inclusion of the Gentiles. The phrase is of course not exclusive: this was one, but only one, purpose of the manifestation.

21. tou;" dij aujtou' pistou;" eij" qeovn, who through him are faithful as resting on God] This remarkable phrase is confined to two or three of the best documents and a good cursive (9) in the Cambridge University Library. Pisteuvonta" was an obvious alteration.

It is less easy to determine the precise force of pistou;" eij" aujtovn, a phrase having no exact parallel elsewhere. Pistov", pivsti" in the LXX. represent originals closely cognate to that of pisteuvw, G4409, but with a much less close connexion of sense than Greek usage suggests. The common root is the verb ˆm'a;, H587, to carry or sustain (whence hn:m]ao, H595, a pillar). The Hiphil ˆymia,h,, lit. “to make sure,” “hold sure,” is the one Hebrew word for “believe,” whether in reference to words spoken or to him who speaks them. It takes the two prepositions l]and B], naturally expressed (not quite consistently) in the LXX. by the simple dat. and by the dat. preceded by ejn, G1877, after pisteuvw, G4409. Credence rather than confidence is the original O.T. idea. Three or four times only where a preposition follows does the meaning appear to be distinctly “confidence,” “trust” in a person or other object, which on the other hand is habitually expressed by two other verbs jf'B;, H1053 and hs;j;, H2879, both rendered by pevpoiqa and by ejlpivzw, G1827. But it is also true and important that in a few places (Job 29:24; (? Ps. 116:10;) Isa. 7:9; 28:16) the Hebrew verb ˆymia,h,(ˆm'a;, H586, as also its Greek equivalent pisteuvw, G4409) is used absolutely in the sense “have confidence,” “be hopeful.”

On the other hand pistov", G4412, and pivsti", G4411, represent directly or indirectly the Niphal of the verb, meaning literally to be established, assured, secure, applied either to things or to persons (e.g. 1 Sam. 2:35, “a sure or faithful priest ...a sure house”). What is sometimes said, viz. that the Heb. ˆm;a,ndoes mean trustworthy, since trustworthiness implies firmness, and is its practical outcome for others. The Hebrew and the Greek sides of the meaning are well combined in fidelis and faithful. On the other hand neither in the LXX. nor in any other Greek Jewish book (Apocrypha & c.) does pistov", G4412, have the distinctly active sense “believing,” “trustful.” Nor is this surprising, for in classical literature this sense is confined to half a dozen passages from poets, one from Plato Leg. vii.824b (perhaps a quotation from a poet), and one from Dion Cassius xxxvii.12, where pistov", G4412, with a negative = a[pisto", G603, which often has the active sense. Nor again in the LXX. or in Greek Jewish literature is pistov", G4412, ever coupled with ejn tw'/ qew'/, eij" to;n qeovn or any similar phrase (Neh. 9:8 is quite different).

Pivsti" has a parallel though not quite identical history. In the LXX. and most later Greek Jewish literature it is exactly the subst. of pistov", G4412, standing (except in Ps. and Isa., which have ajlhvqeia, G237) for hn:Wma‘, H575. But being freely used in classical literature in the active as well as in the passive sense, it obtained at length the same double force for Greek-speaking Jews, as we see amply in Philo, where it is often that quality in virtue of which a man pisteuvei, and especially faith or belief in God.

The difference thus seen in the O.T. between pistov", pivsti" on the one hand, and pisteuvw, G4409, (with dat. with or without ejn, G1877) is however in part bridged over by the absolute sense of pisteuvw, G4409, mentioned just now, i.e. the sense “to be hopeful” or “to have confidence.”

When we now approach the N.T. we find (leaving alone the uses of pisteuvw, G4409) the active sense of pivsti", G4411, “faith” not “faithfulness,” “trust” not “trustworthiness,” to be predominant everywhere except perhaps in Apoc., where the sense seems to be transitional. This important extension of pivsti", G4411, together with an increased weight, as it were, in the force of pisteuvw, G4409, has had the effect of introducing into the N.T. the (as far as we can tell) previously unknown active or rather semi-active sense of pistov", G4412, which now becomes not “trustworthy” only, but also “trustful” or “believing.” This use however, though in later times it became common, is quite rare in the N.T., which in many books has only the old sense “faithful.” It is clearest in the Pastoral Epistles, occurring about six times (1 Tim. 4:3; 4:10, 12; 5:16; 6:2; and probably Titus 1:6); not improbable in the addresses of Eph. (Eph. 1:1) and Col. (Col. 1:2); and twice under peculiar circumstances it occurs in St Paul’s earlier Epistles, i.e. Gal. 3:9, oiJ ejk pivstew" eujlogou'ntai su;n tw'/pistw'/ jAbraavm (Abraham having the name pistov", G4412, already in usage attached to him in the other sense, faithful under trial; see Sir. 44:21; 1 Macc. 2:52); and 2 Cor. 6:15 in the antithesis tiv" meri;" pistw'/ meta; ajpivstou; Outside St Paul’s writings there are but two other instances, John 20:27 with the same antithesis, mh; givnou a[pisto" ajlla; pistov", and Acts 16:1, gunaiko;" jIoudaiva" pisth'" (I do not reckon 16:15, to which we must return presently).

Classifying these instances we find no passage in which pistov", G4412, is followed by ejpiv eij" or ejn, G1877; in other words, where it means “believing,” it is used absolutely. We find also that the clearest cases, those namely in which pistov", G4412, virtually is equivalent to “Christian” and is quasi-technical, are confined to the Pastoral Epistles and a single passage of Acts (compare the corresponding use of pisteuvw, G4409, in e.g. Acts 19:18; 21:20, 25); while in the addresses of Eph. and Col. the sense is ambiguous and probably transitional; once (Gal.) it is a fresh application of an old epithet of Abraham; and twice (2 Cor.; John) it comes in only by antithesis to a[pisto", G603, as in Dion Cassius. Here it certainly is not equivalent to “Christian,” nor can it be due to any such cause as will account for it in Gal., 2 Cor. and John. But, since St Peter certainly knew Eph., there is no  priori improbability in his using the word with more of an active sense than it bears in the O.T. or (as in most of the N.T.) in 1 Pet. 4:19; 5:12 (for the latter passage cf. 1 Cor. 4:17; Eph. 6:21; Col. 1:7; 4:7, 9; 1 Tim. 6:2). Whether there is in fact here any such extension of the first meaning can be determined only from the neighbouring words.

The combination of pistov", G4412, with eij", G1650, is apparently without example elsewhere. Pistov" with the dat. is occasionally used in the sense “faithful to a person” [four times in Herodian; see Index ed. Irmisch sub voce pistov", G4412, (iv. p. 978)]: so 1 Macc. 7:8,;n Bakcivdhn...mevgan ejn th'/ basileiva/ kai; pisto;n tw'/ basilei' [in Sir. 36:3 oJ novmo" aujtw'/ pistov" seems to be strictly passive, “trusted by him”: Ps. 88:29 hJ diaqhvkh mou pisth; aujtw'/ is irrelevant]; Heb. 3:2, pisto;n o[nta tw'/ poihvsanti aujtovn; and likewise Acts 16:15, eij kekrivkatev me pisth;n tw'/ kurivw/ ei\nai, commonly but quite wrongly taken to mean “believing in the Lord,” a sense incompatible with eij kekrivkate spoken just after Lydia’s baptism. Again, Justin Dial. 131 has eij bouvlesqe th;n ajlhvqeian oJmologh'sai, o{ti pistovteroi pro;" to;n qeovn ejsmen; nor would there be any difficulty in substituting eij", G1650, for prov", G4639. But the sense “faithful toward God” is difficult to bring into intelligible connexion with what follows, to;n ejgeivranta k. t. l. On the other hand, the other extreme sense “believing on God” is equally inadmissible, (1) because it makes this clause entirely tautologous with the last clause of the verse, which is introduced as a fresh statement by w{ste, G6063; and (2) because on this view we cannot explain why St Peter did not use the obvious word pisteuvonta". Doubtless then pistouv" keeps its original sense of “faithful,” but with the accessory sense of dependence on another. The stress lies, it must be remembered, on dij aujtou'. St Peter is explaining what he meant by saying that Christ’s manifestation at the end of the times had been dij uJma'", for the sake of the Gentile Christians. It was because through Him they were enabled to be faithful. He is not speaking here of their original and initial believing (cf. e.g. Acts 19:2; Rom. 13:11), but of the present faithful, stedfast, constant life following upon it, with special reference to constancy under present trial (cf. Apoc. 2:10 “Shew thyself faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life”), virtually referring back to the pivsti", G4411, spoken of in 1 Pet. 1:5-7, a faith shewn under probation. St Peter might therefore have stopped at pistouv", without loss of his primary meaning. But as he had just explained dij uJma'", so now he had to explain dij aujtou': and moreover in such a context he could hardly fail to indicate that the Christian faithfulness was not a self-contained virtue, but a resting of the whole spirit on the Father above. Therefore he goes on eij" qeo;n to;n k.t.l., “who through Him are faithful, faithful I mean by resting on God who...” This enlarged sense of pistov", G4412, is well illustrated by John 14:1 according to the most probable punctuation. In the N.T. pisteuvw, G4409, has much more of the sense of confidence than in the O.T., and for the most part it thus connects together the ideas of credence and of constancy: and so in John 14:1 (pisteuvete, eij" to;n qeo;n kai; eij" ejme; pisteuvete), with a comma after pisteuvete, the sense is “Believe, on God and on me believe”; the first suggestion being of constancy opposed to troubling and fearfulness (exactly as in Isa. 7:9; 28:16), and the second of the ground of that constancy, rest in God, itself depending on rest in Christ.

Dij aujtou' pistouv" is a unique combination. Wherever pisteuvw diav with gen. occurs, the instrumentality is human: the Baptist (John 1:7), or Apollos and Paul (1 Cor. 3:5): cf. John 17:20 tw'n pisteuovntwn dia; tou' lovgou aujtw'n eij" ejmev. The only approximate parallel to this passage is the second clause of Acts 3:16 hJ pivsti" hJ dij aujtou' e[dwken aujtw'/ (the lame man) th;n oJloklhrivan tauvthn. The Resurrection is there mentioned in the preceding verse as God’s act, as it is here; but the intervening clause leaves the precise force of diav, G1328, indeterminate, though there as here (see Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr., p. 324f.) God is certainly the object of the faith. It is not likely that in either place the instrumentality contemplated by St Peter was that of a mere vehicle (as it were) for the exhibition of God’s power and glory. The meaning is rather that on the one hand Christ Himself was the immediate and intermediate object of faith, whereby the ulterior faith in God was attained; and on the other that after the Crucifixion faith in Christ itself rested on the act of God in raising Him up and exalting Him.

eij" qeo;n to;n ejgeivranta k.t.l. St Peter is chary of the article before qeov", G2536; and here there is force in the omission. It indicates that not merely was God as a matter of fact the author of these acts, but that by performing them He manifested Himself as God.

to;n ejgeivranta aujto;n ejk nekrw'n, who raised him from the dead] This description of the Resurrection as a raising up by God is of frequent occurrence in the words of St Peter and St Paul; with ejgeivrw, G1586, Acts 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40—all in speeches of St Peter: 13:30, 37 (and implicitly 26:8) in speeches of St Paul: Rom. 4:24; 8:11 bis; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:15 bis; 2 Cor. 4:14 (and implicitly 1:9); Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10: and with ajnivsthmi, G482, in Acts only, viz. Acts 2:24, 32 in a speech of St Peter: 13:32, 34; 17:31 in speeches of St Paul. The use of ejgeivromai is ambiguous, as passive forms have often a middle sense in late Greek. On the other hand, it is far from certain that the N.T. anywhere speaks of the Resurrection as an act of our Lord Himself. The frequent use of the aor. ajnevsthn and the fut. mid. ajnasthvsomai in this connexion proves nothing, since they are equally used of the restoration of ordinary human beings to life, Mark 12:25 (the general resurrection); John 11:23 f. (Lazarus); and in John 10:17, 18 (the only other passage which could be cited, for John 2:19 refers to the subject too indirectly to be relied on here) lavbw and labei'n are on the whole less likely to mean “take” than “receive”: St John has devcomai, G1312, but once (John 4:45), and that only in the sense prosdevcomai, G4657, “welcome,” whereas “receive” is with him the commonest sense of lambavnw, G3284, (see especially 1:16; 4:36; 7:39; 16:24; 20:22). Hippolytus (Contra Noet. 18) exactly follows Scripture teaching when he says: trihvmero" uJpo; patro;" ajnivstatai, aujto;" w]n hJ ajnavstasi" kai; hJ zwhv.

1   ...   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   ...   17

The database is protected by copyright © 2017
send message

    Main page