Imagini ale paginilor

" 4

applied elsewhere in the New Testament to the subduing of an unclean spirit, and the stilling of the raging sea—both in the Gospel of Mark ;1 “leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps,” the literal meaning of the word translated "examplebeing the copy-head set before a scholar for his patient and persevering imitation;2 "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 3 Akin to the pictorial style of the epistle is the “wealth of epithets” by which it is distinguished, e.g. “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away."

It appears that in writing this epistle Peter had the assistance of “Silvanus, our faithful brother,"5 as his amanuensis, who is, no doubt, to be identified with the “Silas " mentioned in the Book of Acts, and the Silvanus of St. Paul's epistles.

2. The Readers. “To the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." The meaning of this address has been much disputed. By some it has been taken in a literal sense as denoting the Christian Jews of the Dispersion residing in the various parts of Asia Minor that are here specified. But this is inconsistent with the language used by the apostle to his readers, which, in several passages," would lead us to sup

1 ii. 15-φιμούν; Mark 1. 25- φιμώ- not fashioning yourselves according to θητι; iv. 39-πεφίμωσο.

your former lusts in the time of your 2 ii. 21-υπογραμμών.

ignorance"; ii. 9, 10: ... that ye 3 v. 8-ως λέων ωρυόμενος.

may shew forth the excellencies of him 4 i. 4; cf. i. 7: “praise and glory and

who called you out of darkness into his honour"; 19: “as of a lamb without

marvellous light: which in time past blemish and without spot"; ii. 9:

were no people, but now are the people

of God : which had not obtained mercy, “ But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for

but now have obtained mercy"; cf. God's own possession,” &c.

Rom. ix. 25 (where the same words of 5 v. 12: "By Silvanus, our faithful

Hosea (ii. 23] are applied to the calling brother, as I account him, have

of the Gentiles): “As he saith also in written unto you briefly, exhorting, and

Hosea, I will call that my people, which testifying that this is the true grace of

was not my people; And her beloved, God : stand ye fast therein."

which was not beloved ”; iii. 6: “as 6 Acts xv. 22, 32, 40; 1 Thess. i. 1;

Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him 2 Thess. i. 1; 2 Cor. i. 19.

lord : whose children ye now are, if ye 7 i. 14: “as children of obedience,

do well, and are not put in fear by any

pose that the readers of the epistle were largely Gentiles, as we know the members of the Churches in Asia Minor for the most part were.

The words “ sojourners of the Dispersion" are probably to be interpreted in a spiritual sense with reference to the heavenly Canaan, from which Christ's followers on earth may be regarded as temporary exiles, the Churches to which they belong being scattered branches of a commonwealth that has its home and its metropolis in heaven.? This interpretation is justified by the whole tone of the epistle, which gives a spiritual meaning to the blessings of the Old Covenant. It accords in particular with the words, “ Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

3. Date and Place of Composition. The only thing we have to guide us as to the place of writing is in one of the closing salutations : “She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth you.”5 By this we may understand the Church in Rome, which city is here called “ Babylon," as the new seat of oppression and cruelty to God's people. This was the view generally held by the early Church Fathers ;? it is in accordance

[blocks in formation]

terror"; iv. 3: “For the time past may suffice to have wrought the desire of the Gentiles, and to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, wine-bibbings, revellings, carousings, and abominable idolatries.

i For information regarding the Church in Pontus see Acts ii. 9, xviii. 2; in Galatia, pp. 127 f.; in Cappadocia, Acts ii. 9; in Asia, Acts xviii. 24-26, xx. 17-35, and the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians. These Churches had received the Gospel from Paul and his associates. Hence the value of Peter's testimony in v.

uoted p. 234, note 5). 2 " The First Epistle of St. Peter is addressed to all the Christian communities of Asia Minor north of the Taurus. -Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire.


6 Another interpretation identifies She that is in Babylon" with Peter's wife (cf. 1 Cor. ix. 5; Matt. viii. 14); but the explanation above given seems much preferable.

7 It is mentioned by Eusebius, apparently on the authority of Clement of Alexandria and Papias, and it finds confirmation in the general belief that Peter was martyred at Rome, which seems to have been prevalent before the close of the second century (judging

with the figurative language of the epistle, referred to in the previous section ; and it accounts for the strong resemblance between this epistle and that of Paul to the Romans, with which Peter could scarcely have failed to become acquainted during his residence in the capital. It is from the statements of Dionysius of God; and the powers that be are Corinth, Tertullian, and Caius of ordained of God. Therefore he that Rome).

resisteth the power, withstandeth the 1 E.g. i. 14, 15:

"as children of ordinance of God: and they that withobedience, not fashioning yourselves stand shall receive to themselves judgeaccording to your former lusts in the ment. For rulers are not a terror to time of your ignorance : but like as he the good work, but to the evil. And which called you is holy, be ye your- wouldest thou have no fear of the power? selves also holy in all manner of do that which is good, and thou shalt living"; cf. Rom. xii. 2: “And be have praise from the same : for he is a not fashioned according to this world : minister of God to thee for good. But but be ye transformed by the renewing if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; of your mind, that ye may prove what is for he beareth not the sword in vain : the good and acceptable and perfect will for he is a minister of God, an avenger of God.” ii. 5: “Ye also, as living for wrath to him that doeth evil.” iii. 9: stones, are built up a spiritual house, to not rendering evil for evil”; cf. Rom. be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual xii. 17: “Render to no man evil for sacrifices, acceptable to God through evil."

“who is on the right Jesus Christ"; cf. Rom. xii. 1: “I hand of God, having gone into heaven ; beseech you therefore, brethren, by the angels and authorities and powers being mercies of God, to present your bodies made subject unto him”; cf. Rom. viii. a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to “Who is he that shall condemn? God, which is your reasonable service." It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, ii. 6-8: “Because it is contained in that was raised from the dead, who is scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief at the right hand of God, who also corner stone, elect, precious: And he maketh intercession for us.' iv. 3, 7: that believeth on him shall not be put For the time past may suffice to have to shame. For you therefore which be- wrought the desire of the Gentiles, and lieve is the preciousness : but for such to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, as disbelieve, The stone which the wine-bibbings, revellings, carousings, builders rejected, The same was made and abominable idolatries:... But the the head of the corner ; and, A stone of end of all things is at hand: be ye

iii. 22 :

34 :

therestumbling, and a rock of offence; for fore of sound mind, and be sober unto they stumble at the word, being dis- prayer"; cf. Rom. xiii. "II-13: obedient: whereunto also they were this, knowing the season, that now it is appointed”; cf. Rom. ix. 32, 33: high time for you to awake out of sleep: “Wherefore? Because they sought it for now is salvation nearer to us than not by faith, but as it were by works. when we first believed. The night is They stumbled at the stone of stum- far spent, and the day is at hand: let bling; even as it is written, Behold, I us therefore cast off the works of darklay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a ness, and let us put on the armour of rock of offence: And he that believeth light. Let us walk honestly, as in the on him shall not be put to shame.” (In day; not in revelling and drunkenness, both epistles there is here a combination not in chambering and wantonness, not of Isa. viii. 14 and xxviii. 16.) ii. 10; in strife and jealousy." iv. 9: “using cf. Rom. ix. 25 (see p. 234, note 7). ii. hospitality one to another without mur13, 14: "Be subject to every ordinance muring"; cf. Rom. xii. 13: "given to of man for the Lord's sake: whether it hospitality." iv. 10: “according as be to the king, as supreme; or unto each hath received a gift, ministering it governors, as sent by him for vengeance among yourselves, as good stewards of on evil-doers and for praise to them that the manifold grace of God"; cf. Rom. do well"; cf. Rom. xiii. 1-4:

xii. 6: “And having gifts differing acevery soul be in subjection to the higher cording to the grace that was given to powers : for there is no power but of us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy

" And

“ Let

almost certain that Babylon has this meaning in the Revelation; and it would add to the force of Peter's exhortations to courage and patience, that he was himself, when he wrote, in the very thick of the conflict.

With regard to the date of its composition, the probability seems to be that the letter was written shortly after the outbreak of the Neronian persecution, when the Churches in the provinces were beginning to experience the effects of the imperial example at Rome about 64-5 A.D. The readers are addressed as liable to persecution, both of a social and a legal character, the very name of Christian having become a term of reproach, and still worse evils being imminent. Indeed, the signs of persecution are so pronounced in this epistle, that it has, on this account, been assigned by many to a later date.

ii. 3:

[ocr errors]

according to the proportion of our faith.” A resemblance can also be traced between this epistle and Ephesians, as will be seen from a comparison of the following passages:-1.1,&c.: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” &c.; cf. Eph. i. 3, &c. : “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” &c. i. 14: “as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance"; cf. Eph.

among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. i. 20: “who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world"; cf. Eph. i. 4: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love." ii. 18: “Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear"; cf. Eph. vi. 5: “Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling. I: “In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands”; cf. Eph. V. 22: “ Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” iii. 4: “the hidden man of the heart";; cf. Eph. iii. 16: “the inward man. 111. 19, 20: which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which aforetime were disobedient"; cf. Eph. iv. 9:

Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth.” iii. 21, 22: “through the resurrection of Jesus

Christ; who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him"; cf. Eph. i. 20, 21 : 6 which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." v. 5: “Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yéa, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another"; cf. Eph. V. 21: “subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

For resemblances to the Epistle of James, see p. 225, note 3. These go far to prove that the author of this epistle made use of that work, addressed to Jewish Christians by the recognised head of the Church at Jerusalem ; and, as Salmon points out (Introduction, p. 489), this is a circumstance at variance with the Tübingen theory that i Peter is the work of a Paulinist of the second century, who wished to arrogate the authority of Peter's name for his antiJewish views.

1 “That this epistle was written from Rome, I cannot doubt. It is impregnated with Roman thought to a degree beyond any other book in the Bible ; the relation to the state and its officers forms an unusually large part of the whole. That Babylon should be understood as the Chaldæan city appears to conflict so entirely with all record and early tradition, as to hardly need discussion.”—Prof. Ramsay.

2“When Nero had once established the principle in Rome, his action served as a precedent in every province. After 64 A.D. the example set by the



4. Character and Contents. This epistle breathes the spirit of practical earnestness so characteristic of its author. The Greek word "to do good ”2 occurs no less than nine times in the course of the five chapters. There is no want of allusion to Christian privilege and Christian doctrine ; but it is always for a practical purpose, as furnishing motives for Christian obedience. Of this we have an illustration in the frequent use of the words “wherefore,” “therefore," “because," &c., by way of enforcing practical applications. The chief duty which the writer wishes to inculcate is that of patience under trial.4

Emperor necessarily guided the action of all Roman officials toward the Christians.”—Prof. Ramsay.

1 See Note A at the end of this chapter. ii. 18-20 : “Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is acceptable, if for conscience toward God a man endureth griefs, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God”; iii. 13-17: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good ? But and if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled ; but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord : being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear : having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing"; iv. 12-17 : Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery

trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice ; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men's matters : but if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. For the time is come for judgement to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

αγαθοποιείν. .

3 sió, oủv, dióti, &c. i. 13:“Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”; i. 16: “ because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy”; ii. I: “Putting away therefore all wickedness," &c.

4 i. 6,7: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold temptations, that the proof of your faith,

« ÎnapoiContinuați »