Commentary On First Peter
By Jonathan Mitchell

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Chapter One

1. Peter, one sent with a mission pertaining to Jesus Christ (or: an emissary and representative of [the] Anointed Jesus), to selected and picked out (elect and chosen) exiles (or: alien residents; sojourners; expatriates; strangers residing in a country not your own) of [the] dispersion (or: of a scattering; of [the] Diaspora), temporarily living beside residents of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia,

This selected and chosen group of exiles to which Peter is writing is most likely the same group which Jacob (or: James) addresses in his letter, both men using the same term "dispersion" or "scattering." They were most likely those referred to in Acts 8:1 or 11:19, that were scattered from Jerusalem in that period. They were not just Jews who were dispersed, but fellow believers, as he calls them "elect." It is the same group to which Paul wrote in Galatia and the other called-out communities in the province of Asia.

2. in accord with and down from Father God's foreknowledge (or: corresponding to a previous experiential and intimate knowledge possessed by God, who is a Father), within a setting-apart of spirit (or: in union with the process of being set apart from common condition and use by [the] Spirit; or: in the midst of a consecration which is a Breath-effect) into an obedient hearing (a listening and paying attention with compliance) and a sprinkling with Jesus Christ's blood (or: a sprinkling of blood, which is Jesus Christ): May grace (or: favor) and peace [= shalom] be multiplied into fullness (or: be brought to fullness) in you folks (or: to you folks; for you folks)!

Their selection and election, as well as their dispersion, was all in accord with God's plan and foreknowledge. This language suggests:
1) His own prior experience guides His choice, or
2) His prior intimate knowledge of these folks resulted in their being chosen.
Their being chosen and their being scattered were both in union with His set-apart Breath-effect (or: Holy Spirit), and the dispersion was within a process of being consecrated. The word commonly translated as "holy" literally means set-apart, with the sense of consecration for God's use. The very choosing by God is what made them set-apart and sacred.

He set them apart into a realm of being: a obedient hearing and listening which required paying attention and then compliance. When He chooses us, there are requirements placed upon us, but as we see above, the sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ is what enables us to hear and comply. In the parenthetical expansion I have given a rendering of the genitive phrase in the function of apposition (or: definition). The blood of Christ is also Jesus and His life – for the life is in the blood.

In Peter's greeting we see that both grace and peace can be multiplied to us, and that neither of these are a one-time experience – we can receive more of each, to the point of the fullness of each coming to us, in us and for us (these are three of the functions of the dative case of the pronoun "you," each of which make sense in this context). And since these things may be increased "for" the communities to which he is writing, grace and peace are not limited to nor dependent upon individual relationships with God.

3. Well-spoken of (or: Eulogized; Blessed; or: Well-gathered, laid-out with ease, and worthy of praise) [is] the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, (or: Who is our Owner, Jesus Christ), the One [Who], corresponding to and down from His abundant mercy (or: much-existing mercy which is Him), [was/is] – through Jesus Christ's resurrection forth from out of the midst of dead folks – bringing us to birth again (regenerating us; begetting us back up again; causing us to be born again): into a progressively living expectation (or: into the midst of continuously living hope);

4. into the midst of an incorruptible (unspoilable; imperishable; unruinable; undecayable), unstained (undefiled), and unfading (or: unwithering) inheritance (or: enjoyment of and participation in an allotted portion as a possession), one having been kept in view, watched-over, guarded, and which continues being maintained and kept intact within the midst of [the, or our] atmospheres (or: in union with heavens; = in realms of spirit); – [which things were/are being birthed and entering] into you folks,

The word "Eulogized" directly corresponds to its Greek counterpart, but the literal meaning of the Greek elements are: well-spoken of, or, well-gathered, laid-out with ease and worthy of praise. Notice that the first two clauses do not have verbs in the text, and I have supplied "[is]" to conform to English idiom in the first phrase. The adjective "Well-spoken of" is therefore a description of how "the God and Father" is regarded by people.

Rendering this word "well-gathered... etc." says that these are qualities of God. Peter goes on to tell us that He "[was/is]" bringing us to birth again (or: begetting us back up again) through the resurrection of Jesus, which was out from the midst of dead people. Note: His resurrection regenerated us; it cause us to be born again! The Greek is an active aorist participle, so is timeless, but it is tied to the resurrection of Jesus. It happened through His resurrection, and it is existentially happening for each person in his own order or group (1 Cor. 15:23). Note also that His resurrection causes people to be born again! God is doing the action, by raising Jesus from the dead.

The phrase "of our Lord..." is in the genitive case, and this first rendering means that Jesus has a God and Father. Translating it as a genitive of apposition gives the parenthetical reading "Who is our Owner, Jesus Christ." The "begetting us back up again" is according to and down from "His much-existing mercy." His act of salvation and His causing us to be born again are based upon, and have their origin in, His ABUNDANT mercy. Selah!

Now consider the three preposition phrases in vs. 3-4 that each begin with "into."
1) into a continuously and progressively living expectation
2) into and inheritance that is incorruptible, unstained and unfading – which has been watched-over, guarded and maintained within the midst of our atmospheres (or: in union with the heavens – the realms of spirit)
3) and these were through His resurrection being birthed "into [us]."
This expectation, this great mercy, is our inheritance which was then, and is now, entering into folks such as described in vs. 5, below.

Recall that Paul tells us that we are saved by and in the realm of expectation (Rom. 8:24). We were caused to be born into a realm of expectation. We are being birthed into an inheritance which from its very character shows that it is God, Himself. Yet, these are birthed into us. What glorious good news!

5. the ones being continuously garrisoned within God's power, and in union with an ability which is God, through faith and trust – [and], into a deliverance (a rescue which brings health, wholeness and a return to your original state and condition; salvation) [which is now] ready to be unveiled (revealed; disclosed) within the midst of and in union with [this] last season (or: resident within a final fitting situation; in a final fertile moment; on [this] last occasion)

Take note that both we and our inheritance are garrisoned, and this within God's power and in union with an ability which is, in fact, God. In this verse we have another "into" phrase, showing that Peter is continuing in speaking of the realm and sphere into which we were being caused to be born, and here we see that it is into a deliverance – a rescue which brings health, wholeness and a return to our original state and condition. This salvation, this inheritance, this expectation was in Peter's day ready to be unveiled within that last season, the closing of the age of the Jewish Law. The deliverance happened in the resurrection of Jesus, but it was not fully disclosed and revealed until the old creation, which was the system of the Law and the old covenant, was destroyed in AD 70. The destruction of the temple was clear evidence that the old had passed away and all had become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

That situation of the transition, from one age to the next, was the fertile moment of the new birth, the new creation. The burial of Jesus was the implanting of the Seed. The revelation of this was coming via Peter, Paul and the other writers of the NT. The time had come to unveil who Jesus was: the Christ, the New Being, the Second Humanity, the Last Adam, who is the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45-49). This deliverance and its concurrent unveiling repeatedly comes, individually, to us in a final season of the first Adam within us, at a fertile moment and an appropriate season in our lives.

6. within which you folks are presently feeling constant joy and happiness and are continuing to rejoice exceedingly – though for a little while, at present, since (or: if) it continues being binding and necessary, being pained (distressed; grieved; sorrowed) within various tests (or: different trials and ordeals) to put you to the proof.

Those dispersed folks were then presently feeling constant joy and happiness within that "last season." It was in union with their deliverance, even though for a little while – since it continued being binding and necessary – they were pained, distressed and given sorrow within the midst of various trials and tests: the goal of which is the proof to themselves and for others.

7. It [is] to the end that the examined and tested approval of your faith (of the trust and faithfulness of you folks) – [being] of much greater value and worth, and more precious, than of gold that constantly loses itself away (perishes of itself) despite being progressively tested and examined through fire – might be found [progressing] into praise (approval; commendation) and glory (or: a good reputation) and honor (value; worth) within an unveiling of Jesus Christ (or: in union with a revelation whose source is, which has the character of, and which is, Jesus, [the] Anointed One),

This tested approval showed the authenticity, depth and strength of their trust and faith: both personal and corporate. The quality of this faith and trust is, via these tests, shown to be much more precious than gold (which is self-disintegrating) despite its being refined through fire. In 1 Cor. 3:12-15 Paul refers to this same testing of the building upon the called-out community. There the fire tests the quality of the construction materials, pointing out that only things of value and worth will survive the fires of this life's testings. Here Peter says that (by comparison) the effects of their faith and trust are worth much more than gold that has passed through the refining process.

Furthermore, it will be found to lead into praise and a glorious reputation (or: a manifestation which calls forth admiration) – as well as honor and value – in union with, or within the midst of, an unveiling of Jesus Christ. This disclosure will reveal the Anointed Jesus, but it also comes from Jesus via the anointing which manifests itself as faith and trust, while showing the character and qualities of Christ, revealed within the called-out community. This equates to the manifestation of God's sons (Rom. 8:19). It is what Paul referred to in Gal. 1:

8. Whom not seeing (or: perceiving), you folks are continuously loving; into Whom at the present moment you folks are not constantly looking, yet are habitually believing (or: continuously placing [your] trust). You folks are repeatedly rejoicing and being very happy in indescribable (or: incapable of being spoken out) joy which also exists having been made glorious (or: by unspeakable and glorified joy; in joy [that is] inexpressible and has made a notable reputation; with joy that is glorious beyond words, and which is filled with imagination and good opinion),

Here Peter notes that although these communities never saw Jesus, they continue progressively loving Him, and even thought up to the then present time they were still not seeing Him, yet, while continuing in trusting and believing, they are continuing to exult and rejoice in and with a joy which is beyond words and which has been glorified (filled with imagination and good opinion).

9. being ones constantly bringing to yourselves for provision, care and kindly keeping, the promised goal (the finished product; the aim and result) of the (or: your) faith and trust: deliverance ([the] restoration to wholeness and health) of souls (or: your inner beings and selves)!

Peter describes these folks as having the result of the above love and joy within them, being folks that are in themselves carrying the goal of faith and trust: the wholeness and health of their souls, as well as the deliverance and salvation of other people. The term "soul" can refer to either an aspect of our being, our inner beings or self, or can simply be used to refer to people. Each of these applications makes sense here.

10. Concerning (or: Round about) which deliverance (health and wholeness; rescue; salvation) [the] prophets, carefully scrutinizing, sought out and then diligently searched out the [Scriptures] prophesying concerning (or: about) the grace and favor [directed and coming] into you folks,

From this statement it would seem that this very deliverance and salvation was the ultimate goal of the O.T. prophesies – in contrast to the commonly held hopes (such as those held by the Zealots) of a literal Messiah who would deliver the Jews from their oppressors. They apparently searched out other prophesies as well as speaking themselves, of this deliverance which Peter here refers to as "the grace and favor" that had also come "into" these dispersed Christians.

11. constantly searching into which season or what kind of situation the Spirit of Christ (or: Christ's spirit; or: the Breath-effect which is the Anointed One), resident within them, was continuing to point to, making [it] evident and clearly visible, repeatedly testifying (witnessing; giving evidence) beforehand about the effects of the experiences and results of the sufferings [projected] into Christ, and the glories (the manifestations which call forth praise; the good opinions and reputations; the appearances of things) after these things,

These same prophets kept on searching into what season or what sort of situation and appointed fertile moment (of the ages) which the Spirit of Christ (which was within them) kept on witnessing beforehand (previously showing evidence) which pointed into the effects of the experiences and the results of the sufferings with reference to the Messiah that was to come – as well as to the manifestations which induce praises that followed these things.

The Greek word "pathemata" means the results and effects of things (both good and bad) which a person experiences through his senses and feelings.

12. to which folks (or: in which ones) it was unveiled (revealed; disclosed) that not to or for themselves, but to and for you people, they had been progressively dispensing and serving them – which things are now announced (or: which tidings were brought back) to you through those announcing (proclaiming; bringing and communicating) the message of well-being and goodness (or: good news) to you within [or, with other MSS: by] a set-apart Breath-effect (or: [the] Holy Spirit; or: sacred spirit) being sent forth from [the] atmosphere (or: heaven) – into which things agents (or: messengers) are habitually and earnestly desiring (are constantly in full passion and craving) to stoop down beside and look in.

This same Spirit disclosed and unveiled to these prophets that their own and others' prophesies were not talking about themselves, but instead they were dispensing and serving them to the folks (and now, to us) to whom Peter was writing. This means that the prophecies pointed to Christ, and that this included the body of Christ. It was these same prophecies about the Christ that were in Peter's day being announced to them through the people bringing and declaring the message of goodness, ease and well-being to them – by and with the Set-apart Spirit being sent away from heaven (or, the atmosphere).

These agents (or: messengers) are strongly desiring to stoop beside and peer into these things because they are (I suggest) the prophets of the O.T. time, as well as the folks then currently bringing the good news, and these things applied to them as well as to us.

13. On which account (or: Wherefore), in preparation for work or action, girding up in yourselves the clothes about the loins (or: waist) of your divided thoughts and the things passing through your mind (or: mental perceptions; intellect and comprehension), continuously being perfectly (or: maturely) clear-headed and sober (unintoxicated), direct and set (or: being constantly sober-minded, completely direct and set) your hope and expectation upon the grace and favor being continuously brought (or: periodically and progressively carried) to you within an unveiling (a disclosure) of Jesus Christ (or: a revelation which is Jesus [the] Anointed One; or: an uncovering which comes from and pertains to Jesus Christ).

Because of all this, all these communities were advised to brace up (tighten the belts and prepare for work or conflict) their mental perceptions and "batten down" whatever is passing through the midst of their minds – so as to be maturely balanced with clear thinking.

Peter then admonishes them to set their expectations upon the grace and favor that is being brought to them, and borne in them, within the unveiling (or, in union with the disclosure) from the Anointed Jesus (or: which pertains to Jesus Christ) – that revelation which had the character of Jesus, and which brought the qualities of the anointing (and which was, in fact, Jesus Christ: the Risen One). This was a then present (and is a now present) reality – not some future event.

14. As children of (= having the qualities of and characteristics from) submissive, attentive hearing (or: Like listening and obedient born-ones), not being folks repeatedly molding, forming, fashioning or configuring yourselves to and by the former cravings (the prior over-desires or full passions), within your ignorance,

This verse is an echo of Rom. 12:2,

"And stop constantly conforming yourself to (or, as passive: And quit being repeatedly fashioned or patterned together by) this age..."

Peter calls them "born ones" who are by nature obediently hearing and paying attention so as to obey. They are not to act or to be as they formerly were, in their ignorance, "fashioning themselves to and by their over-desires." This idolatry continues today, as the masses follow the fashion industry and the media of advertising – both of which focus on the external, which is in opposition to God's reign and the life of Christ. But we should also use caution that our current modes of "praise and worship," which can also slip into external ritual, not become a kind of idolatry which takes the place of intimate communion with Him Who lives within us.

15. but rather, corresponding to (down from; in accord with) the One calling (or: inviting) you [being] set-apart (or: holy), you folks also let yourselves be made to be (or: be birthed) ones set-apart in the same way, in all behavior (within every conduct; in all turning about or twisting up of [your] way of life),

In contrast, we should be conformed to the One calling us, being birthed to be set-apart folks – in correspondence to the set-apart qualities of the One inviting us. This applies to every area of our conduct, and in any turning or twisting of our way of life or the path that we follow.

16. because it has been written that, "You people will be (will exist being) set-apart (or: holy), because I [am] set-apart (or: holy)." [Lev. 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7]

Peter is saying that what he had said in vs. 15 is because of the promises from the O.T., such as this which he quotes, that we WILL be set-apart and sacred – and that this is because He Himself is set-apart and sacred. He is the cause of all.

17. And since (or: if) you folks are habitually calling upon a (or: [the]) Father – the One consistently separating and deciding (or: judging) impartially (without reception of faces, persons, appearances or external circumstances) according to (down from; corresponding to) each one's work or action – let the time of your sojourn (your temporary stay, dwelling alongside as an alien resident or an exile) be turned upward, in the fear of reverent living,

Now since they were repeatedly calling upon this kind of Father, they should continue turned upward to Him in the fear of reverent living – with respect for their alien country and neighbors during this period of living as foreigners within these dispersion regions of what was before considered to be Gentile lands.

18. having seen, and thus knowing, that you folks were not unbound and released by a ransom of corruptible things (things that are perishable and subject to spoiling) – by little coins of silver or gold – from out of your fruitless behavior (vain conduct; idle and foolish way of life) handed down by tradition from the fathers (= your ancestors),

He points out that they are aware that they were not set free by someone paying money. Furthermore, we see that what they were set free from was the fruitless behavior that came to them from the traditions of their ancestors. For those of Jewish ancestry this would be the "works of the Law" to which Paul referred in Gal. 2:16. For the non-Jews it would refer to pagan rites and worship.

19. but rather by Christ's precious blood (or: in valuable blood, which is [the Anointed One; with honorable blood of anointing; by costly blood from [the Messiah]) – as of a flawless (unblemished) and spotless Lamb:

Peter calls upon their knowledge of the Christ event, in reference to His sacrifice which fulfilled and ended the sacrificial system of the Law. He incorporates into this figure the element of the Kinsman Redeemer (Lev. 25:25) who could (and had the responsibility to) buy a family member out of slavery. However, Christ used His life – symbolized by His blood – to make the purchase. Peter does not say to whom this ransom was paid, but elsewhere (Rom. 6:17, 20) it says that we were slaves to sin and failure, and it was humanity that sinned in the disobedience pictured in Adam (Rom. 5:19).

In the parenthetical expansions we have the range of functions of the dative case of the word "blood," as seen in the prepositions "in," "with," and "by," as well as the word "Christ/Anointed" as the genitive of apposition in "which is [the] Anointed One." This word can also be rendered as "anointing," as seen in the first expansion. This last rendering would then refer to the anointing of the priests (Lev. 8:24), and of the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:15).

20. being One having been foreknown (previously known by intimate experience), indeed, before [the] casting down (as of material for a foundation: founding; as of seed in a field: sowing; as of seed of a man: conception [cf Heb. 11:11]; as in throwing something down: overthrowing; as in battle = slaying; in politics: abandoning [a measure]; of debts: paying down by installments;) of [the; or: an] ordered System (world; universe; a particular order or arrangement of things), yet One being set in clear light and manifested upon [the] last (or: final) part of the times (or: of the successive chronological time periods) because of you folks –

Peter tells us that Christ (or, the Lamb) was known prior to the casting down, or the founding, of the ordered system. The word "foreknown" implies a previous intimate experience. The question then arises, Who foreknew Him and had intimate experiences with Him? This immediate context goes back to "the Father" in vs. 17, but this is not decisive. This word is connected to the context of "[the] casting down of [the/an] ordered System." Now if this system that was cast down is the arranged order before Humanity disobeyed in the Garden of Eden, then this foreknowledge may refer to Adam and Eve. Or, it may refer to the prophecy about Christ in the figure of Eve's Seed, in Gen. 3:15.

If we consider the rendering of "casting down" to refer to a "founding," then this could refer to the concept of a lamb for a sacrifice (itself a prophecy of the Messiah) that was in the mind of God when He founded the system of the Law which created Israel as a people to whom He related as their God. Or, it could refer back to the establishing/creating of the universe – which would imply a pre-existence of the Christ.

This verse continues by referring back to vs. 19 and the Christ, indicating that in contrast to the "casting down" this One was set in clear light and manifested at the last part of those Law-controlled times, and this happened for the sake of the called-out assemblies (which also includes us). Those "times" were the end of the age in which Peter was living. They were the times of the transition from old creation to the new; from the old covenant to the new. The ages overlapped in that particular generation, as shown by the sacrifices in the temple continuing on after the cross of Christ – until AD 70 (cf Heb. 10:11).

21. the ones [who] through Him [are] folks trustingly adhering unto God (or: [are] believing ones, ones full of faith, and confiding ones [proceeding] [p 72 & other MSS read the present participle: ones habitually putting trust] into God): the One awakening and raising Him up, forth from out of the midst of dead folks (or: from out of union with dead people), and giving glory (a good reputation; a manifestation which calls forth praise) to Him. Consequently, your faith (trust; confidence) and expectation (or: hope) are to continuously exist being [plugged; put; focused] into God (or: are to be [returned] into the midst of God)!

This verse defines the "you folks" of vs. 20: the people who are filled with faith and are trustingly adhering unto God, through means of Him, and through His blood (vs. 19). This manifestation (vs. 20), and the work of His blood (vs. 19), brought humanity back "into God" as one by one each is made to believe, be filled with faith and then is caused to put this faith into God – He being the realm of being which is the goal and destination of our trust.

God is specified as "the One awakening and raising Him up" from out of the midst of dead folks – or, from being in union with dead people – having given glory to Him, or, upon granting Him a good reputation through a manifestation which induced praise.

22. Having purified your souls (= inner selves) within the hearing obedience (the humble, attentive listening and submissive hearing) of the Truth and from Reality [which directs and leads] into unhypocritical (non-hypercritical; non-hyper-separating so as to over evaluate; not determined from below; non-nit-picky; or: unpretended; unfeigned; thus: genuine) brotherly affection (= fondness for the fellow believers), love one another in a stretched-out and extended way, from out of a clean [other MSS: true; genuine] heart,

Here we are told to love folks "in a stretched-out and extended way" – which pictures a reaching out of our love, from our heart, to others – upon having purified our inner selves within the midst of obedient hearing that comes from the Truth, and submissive attention which pertains to reality. This is the path to purity: being focused attentively on the words from the anointing within us – from His instructions as He sits on the mercy seat of our innermost being.

This in turn leads us into affection for our brothers (= fellow members of the community) which is unhypocritical and not overly-critical. This last word literally means a quality that does not overly separate things so as to evaluate them, and which does not judge from a low position. True friends do not do this.

23. being folks having been born again (been regenerated; been given birth back up again), not from out of a corruptible (or: perishable) seed that was sown, but rather of an incorruptible (imperishable; undecayable) one: through God's continually living and permanently remaining Word (or: through a message or expressed thought of [the] continuously living and constantly abiding God; or: through means of a living and dwelling Thought, Idea and Logically laid out Expression and Communication, which is God),

This verse affirms that we have been birthed back up again (note: the Greek "ana" gives this force by conflating its retro and up meanings). This happened via the implanting of an incorruptible and imperishable Seed into humanity via the Word becoming flesh (John 1, prologue), and thence individually through the message that has been heralded throughout the world. This living and remaining Word, and God, has birthed us into the new creation. By using the word "incorruptible/imperishable" Peter signifies that the seed will sprout and grow (as in a field), or will conceive and create life (as in a human). Note the final expansion, above, of the last phrase, which gives other definitions of the word Logos, and presents the word God as a genitive of apposition. The adjectives "living and remaining/dwelling" can be construed to modify either "Word" or "God."

24. because, "All flesh [is] like grass (or: vegetation), and all its glory [is] like a flower of grass (of vegetation): the grass is caused to dry out and wither, and the flower falls off...

25. "yet the gush-effect of the Lord (result of what flowed from [Yahweh]; saying, declaration or thing spoken concerning the Lord) is constantly abiding (continuously remaining), on into The Age (or: the eon)." [Isa. 40:6-8]

He uses this quote from Isaiah to contrast the transitory conditions of our souls – even when purified (vs. 22) – to the gush-effect (Greek rhema) that is a declaration from or concerning Yahweh. When something flows from Him the result remains and dwells with us, on into the Age of Messiah. Nonetheless, when this gushed-forth impartation (which is His Seed being incarnated within us) becomes one spirit as we are joined unto the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17), we, too, abide and dwell in His new creation Land (figure of His people), on into the new realm/creation of "The Age."

Now this continues being "the saying" (the declaration; the gush-effect) being announced as well-being and goodness to you folks (or: And this is the thing, and the result of the flow, being spoken into you in the good news).

It should be pointed out that, again, the word "Lord" can be a genitive of apposition, and can read, "the gush-effect which is the Lord." Thus, we see that in this way, He Himself is constantly, abiding and dwelling with us. Remember that He said

"I, Myself, continuously am and exist being with you folks all the days, on until the joint-goal (or: the conjunction; the end [of all] brought together; the conclusion, consummation and fruition; the combined finished product and actualization) of the age (or: which is that Age)" – Matt. 28:20.

This "saying" is the announcement of God's goodness, His ease, and His well-being which is brought "into" (Greek: eis) us through His heralds.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Chapter Two

1. Therefore, being folks putting off (setting away; ridding) from yourselves all poor quality (worthlessness; bad character; malice; what is not as it ought to be; wickedness) and all deceitful bait (fraud; guile) and “answers” from perverse scholarship (or: underlying decisions affecting interpretations and judgments made from opinions; or: overly critical behaviors; deficiencies in ability to sift and decide; judgments from inferior positions; legalistic pulling-apart of things for critical analysis; under-assessments) and envies and all down-talks (speeches or talks which put people, issues or situations down; backbiting),

The antecedent for being the kind of people that live the way this verse describes, is ch. 1:23 – these folks have been again through God's incorruptible Seed, His Word. Living now as a part of the New Being (the Last Adam, the Second Humanity – 1 Cor. 15:45-47) and being in union with the Anointed One, they are empowered to put off and rid themselves of all poor quality, deceitful bait (or: guile; fraud), envies, down-talking and "answers" from perverse scholarship. What a load to set away from ourselves!

Recent scholarship has pointed away from the English words "hypocrisy, pretending and play-acting" as the true meaning of the Greek "hupokrisis" in Koine Greek in the mid-first century (cf TDNT and The Source NT by Dr. Ann Nyland). As elsewhere I have defined this word from the Greek elements, which are "hupo" (under; below; or, as an intensifier: hyper) and "krisis" (from "krino": to separate, judge, make a decision, give an answer – especially from scholarship, be critical, pick at minute details, etc., as seen in the expansion, above). This term was most used against the scribes (Jewish scholars and theologians – experts on the Torah) and the Pharisees, in the gospels – folks who did just this.

The other bad qualities speak for themselves, but perhaps we should note "speeches or talks which put people, issues or situations down." Christianity has been, and yet is, full of such – to our shame and disgrace. This broad definition covers a lot of areas in our daily lives. Our speaking should not put people, issues or situations down. We should only edify.

2. as recently born infants, intensely yearn (crave; long) for the non-baiting (undeceitful; guileless; honest; unadulterated) milk belonging to the Word which is pertaining to thought, reason and communication, and which contains the qualities and characteristics contained in the message – to the end that, within it, you folks can (or: would; may) grow and increase into health and wholeness (deliverance; rescued safety; salvation; restoration),

This verifies our new birth, and admonishes us to desire nourishment. The folks to whom Peter was writing were mostly new to this message of Christ, so he compares them to newborns that need to be at the breast of their mother. Peter here is being just that to them (recall: he is part of the Jerusalem which is above, which entity is "the mother of us all" – Gal. 4:26).

This guileless, unadulterated milk belongs to God's Word, and pertains to "thought, reason and communication." This nourishment also contains the qualities and characteristics that come in the message of the Christ. Its aim is that they (and we) can and would "grow and increase into health and wholeness" like young children. This also involves deliverance from the estrangement of our old flesh nature, rescue from our alienated condition, and restoration to what the true human is supposed to be – in Christ. Here you can see how I used the semantic range of the Greek "sodzo" which is traditionally rendered "salvation," and which Lawrence Garcia likes to call being "salvaged." This word primarily refers to situations in this life – what He does for us now.

3. since (or: if) you folks, "by sipping, tasted (= experienced) that the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] [is] good, kind and useful (or: obliging and profitable)!" [Ps. 34:9]

Peter shows the continuity and validity of the OT Scriptures, at the same time showing what he means by desiring the milk of the Word. The Word was the central medium for experiencing Yahweh, and was a guide to Israel's experiences and to how they were to live – just as His Word and Spirit now lead us as His sons (Rom. 8:14).

Note the second half of this quote: Yahweh (and, now Christ – consider the correlation of the term "Lord" for both) is good, kind and useful (or: obliging and profitable). What a wonderful description of our God. The Greek word used here comes from a word that means "to use." This is a predicate adjective, and "kind, useful, obliging and profitable" is the semantic range.

4. Continuously approaching toward Whom – a living Stone, on the one hand being One having been and still being thrown away (rejected; disapproved) by mankind (humans; people), as the result of a test; yet, on the other hand a Chosen One, a Precious (Inwardly-valuable; [held]-in-honor) One, beside God (= side-by-side with God; = in the presence of God; = in God's view) –

Although the context of Ps. 34:9 would obviously have referred to Yahweh, here the word Whom, whose antecedent is "the Lord" of vs. 3, obviously refers to Christ Jesus. First the Jewish leadership tested then disapproved and rejected Him, and down through the centuries many others kept on rejecting Him. But in contrast, to God He was chosen and precious and inwardly valuable. In this last phrase we have the Greek "para" with the dative, and thus the suggested paraphrases which follow the "=" signs.

Peter is also relating Christ to the temple (His body) and as thus being One stone among many, as we see in the next verse.

5. you yourselves are, as living stones, continuously being erected (or: progressively constructed and built up), [being] a spiritual house (a building with its source being the Spirit, with the characteristics of a Breath-effect), into a set-apart (or: holy; sacred) priesthood to bear up spiritual sacrifices (or: offerings) well (or: most) acceptable in God (or: by God; to God; with God), through Jesus Christ,

He continues the temple metaphor, now focusing on the individual living stones (the people of the called-out communities, or, the various communities themselves – in relation to each other and to the Messiah). I suggest that in one community, each stone is a person of that community and each community is a spiritual house. But on a macro scale, each community is a living stone (one that displays Christ), and all the called-groups together form His one corporate temple.

Then he changes the metaphor to that of those who serve the temple: a set-apart priesthood which is to bear up spiritual sacrifices and offerings through Jesus Christ – the Chief Priest and Corner Stone of the Temple. Isa. 53:10 speaks of the Messiah making His "soul" a guilt offering for sin. And Jesus speaks of laying down our "soul" for our friends. It is the inward giving of ourselves for others that are the spiritual offerings that are "most acceptable" in God and with Him. Ps. 116:17 speaks of "the sacrifice of thanksgiving." In Ps. 27:6 it is "sacrifices of expressed joy," and in Ps. 51:17 it is "a broken spirit along with a broken and crushed heart." Rev. 8:4 seems to associate the prayers of His sacred ones with the altar of incense, which had been as shadow and type of offering spiritual prayer (Greek: proseuche – which means "toward having things go well; toward having goodness and well-being").

6. so that it continues being contained (encompassed; included) in Scripture: "Consider (Behold; Look)! I am progressively setting (placing; laying) within Zion a chosen (picked-out), precious (held in honor and value) cornerstone lying at the extreme angle, and the one habitually trusting (relying; believing; investing loyalty) upon It may by no means be disgraced or brought to shame or be disappointed." [Isa. 28:16]

Peter is giving a reference point for what he had just said – the foundation of Christ in the OT economy – as alluded to in ch. 1:10-12. He quotes Isaiah as his source for calling Jesus the precious, living Stone, in vs. 4, thus, along with the gospel of Matthew, showing Him as being the expected Messiah. And likewise, as we put our trust and loyalty upon Him, we will by no means be disgraced, be disappointed nor brought to shame.

That He is called the "cornerstone" specifies that He is the One that is the beginning of the whole structure, sets the direction of the walls, and that it is in alignment to Him that the entire rest of the building is to conform. He is our pattern and ultimate reference Point.

7. Therefore, in (or: for; with) you folks – those habitually trusting (constantly believing and remaining convinced) – [is] the Precious and Honorable One (or: To you then, who continue loyal, [He is] valuable). Yet for (or: to; in; with) those continuing being without faith (or: being habitually distrustful; being constantly unbelieving or disloyal), [He is] "A Stone which those in process of building the house reject (or: threw away after inspecting and trying) – this One is brought to be (or: was birthed) into [position of] Head and Source of [the] corner," [Ps. 118:22]

8. also [He is] "A Stone that people strike against and which causes them to stumble, even a Rock-mass which functions as a trap-spring (designed to be a snare)," [Isa. 8:14] who, continuing being unpersuaded (unconvinced and thus, uncompliant or stubborn), are repeatedly stumbling by (or: in) the Word (or: who are constantly stumbling, habitually being disobedient to the message), into which [situation] they were placed (= as it was planned).

It is because of what he had just quoted in vs. 6 that he thus begins vs. 7. Note that the bracketed "is" signifies that there is no expressed verb in the Greek, so the placement of the copula can vary the meaning of the statement. The plural personal pronoun "you" is in the dative with no expressed preposition. The first rendering gives either the location of this Precious and Honorable Person, or says that He is Precious and Honorable for and with them. The second rendering also shows His relationship to them, stating that He is valuable to them.

The second statement of vs. 7 would first refer to the Jewish leaders, but also to others who at this point reject Him. Vs. 8 gives another witness from the OT, and describes these same folks as being unpersuaded, unconvinced and thus uncompliant and stubborn. John 3:36 applies to these folks: they remain at this time "unsalvaged; unrescued," and yet His inherent, passionate fervor remains upon them, and we see that in His dying He forgives them, for in their rejecting Him they did/do not know what they are doing (Lu. 23:24).

Now take note of the last phrase of vs. 8. This was something that was planned by God: the Jews needed to reject Him and the Romans needed to kill Him (an action of both Jew and Gentile), else we would not have the Life and Deliverance which we now enjoy. God knew that He would be a stumbling stone and a snare rock, and these folks were "placed" (passive voice) into the situation of being this way – for His purposes. Recall Paul's revelation in Rom. 11,

30. For just as you folks were once (or: at one time) incompliant to God (or: unconvinced, disobedient, unwilling to be persuaded and stubborn by God), yet now (at the present time) you folks are (or: were) mercied (made the recipients of mercy) by (or: in; with) the incompliance (disobedience; stubbornness; lack of being convinced) of these folks.

31. Thus, also, these now (at the present time) are incompliant (stubborn; disobedient; unconvinced) by (or: for; to) your mercy, to the end that they also may now be mercied (would be the recipients of mercy).

32. For you see, God encloses, shuts up and locks all mankind (everyone; the entire lot of folks) into incompliance (disobedience; stubbornness; lack of being convinced), to the end that He could (or: would; should) mercy all mankind (may make everyone, the all, recipients of mercy)!

What a picture this paints. It was all part of His plan, and it is for this reason that He is

"not accounting to them (not putting to their account; not logically considering for them; not reasoning in them) their falls to the side (their trespasses; their offences), even placing within us the Word (the Idea; the Reason; the message) of the corresponding transformation (or: the full alteration; the change from enmity to friendship; the conciliation)" – 2 Cor. 5:19b.
9. Yet you folks [are] "a picked-out (selected; chosen) offspring (family; kin; lineage; race; species; breed) [Isa. 43:20; Deut. 7:6], a royal (kingly; palace) priesthood [Ex. 19:6; Isa. 61:6], a set-apart (holy; consecrated) multitude (company; nation; body of people living together; swarm; association; ethnic group; caste) [Ex. 19:6], a people constructed into an encirclement (made into a surrounding structure; set as a perimeter; made into a performance about [Him]; formed around as an acquisition; gathered into a surrounding [flock])" [Isa. 43:21; Ex. 19:5] – so that you may tell forth the message of (or: out-message; publish; declare abroad) the excellencies and qualities of nobleness (virtues of braveness, courage, good character, quality, self-restraint, magnificence, benevolence, reliability) of and from the One calling you out of darkness into the midst of His wonderful (marvelous; amazing) light [p72 reads: into the wonderful Light],

The narrative returns with a contrast of those of the called-out communities. Let us put their description in a list for consideration:
1) a set-apart species (race; lineage; family; kin; breed; offspring)
2) a priesthood pertaining to the reign of the Messiah
3) a sacred ethnic group; a holy multitude
4) a people constructed into an encirclement and made into a performance round about Him, gathered into a surrounding "flock."

As such, they and we can announce the message, forth from out of their and our midst, telling of the virtues and excellencies, etc., of and from the One calling us all from out of the midst of the darkness (of either Judaism or paganism; cf Col. 1:13) and into the midst of, and thus to be in union with, His wonderful and marvelous Light (which is God, Himself – 1 John 1:5).

The four descriptions, above, describe the new creation. Number 1 follows the pattern of Israel becoming a set-apart people for Yahweh following their exodus from Egypt. But we are also a new species, breed and race: a part of the Second Human, the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-47), the one New Humanity (Eph. 2:15).

The kingly priesthood corresponds to the new covenant priesthood of Melchisedec as portrayed in the book of Hebrews. The holy multitude (sacred ethnic group) is the new corporate humanity referred to above in 1 Cor. and Eph. This word "ethnos" is the word that was used by the Jews to refer to the Gentiles, but now these have become "holy, set-apart" as well, in the one new humanity. The 4th description relates to the figurative picture given to John, in Rev. 5:8-13, of the vast number of agents and messengers surrounding the Lamb's throne, with "every creature" in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (figure of those being dead) giving blessing, honor, glory and power unto Him. This is apocalyptic language describing the new creation that resulted from the Christ event.

10. [you] who [were] once (or: formerly) "not a people," but now [are] "God's people;" [formerly] being the ones having "not been given mercy," yet now [are] "folks being mercied (being given mercy)." [Hos. 2:25]

Here it is clear that Peter is referring to the ethnic multitudes, echoing Paul in Rom. 11:32 and Eph. 2:13-15. This is another picture of Rom. 11:15-17, Paul's analogy of the branches of the olive tree. Note that it is God that does the choosing and the acting in mercy.

11. Folks that are loved (Beloved ones): I am presently calling you alongside to encourage, aid, comfort and admonish you, as resident aliens (exiles; sojourners; one dwelling beside citizens in a foreign country) and temporary residents (expatriates; strangers) to continually hold yourselves away from the fleshly over-desires (passions; full-rushing upon things), which things are constantly warring (doing military service; battling) down against the soul (the inner self and being),

Peter calls to mind their outward circumstances, recognizing that these folks are living among pagans that could have a detrimental influence upon them through their daily contact with them. He does not here specify particular over-desires or passions which assault their flesh and inner selves, but the following verse gives virtuous behavior as his suggested defense in this conflict.

12. continuously holding your beautiful behavior (your fine and ideal turning yourselves back around) among the multitudes (the companies; the associations; the ethnic groups; the nations; the castes; the non-Jews, or, Gentiles), to the end that, within what thing they are continually speaking down pertaining to you folks (repeatedly speaking against you) as of ones constantly doing the worthless and things of bad quality (or: as of evildoers or criminals; as of those repeatedly creating bad situations or forming what not ought to be), repeatedly looking upon and observing as eyewitnesses the outcome from the beautiful actions (the fine deeds; the ideal and honorable works), they may glorify (or: give a good opinion of) God, within a day of inspection and overseeing care.

As with Paul and the other NT writers, there is always the call and admonition to beautiful and ideal behavior as we live among the ethnic multitudes who are not a part of the called-out community. Here he gives the goal for this: observing our lives and the outcome from the fine deeds and honorable works so as to give God glory and have a good opinion of Him.

The last phrase draws upon the picture of a general inspecting his troops – which fits the "warring/military service" metaphor of the previous verse. This is not necessarily an eschatological statement, for troop inspection speaks of a regular and ongoing activity. God constantly observes us, and in this case, so do those among whom we live our daily lives.

13. Because of, and by, the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ], you folks are to be humbly aligned in and to every human creation and with every societal invention (or: be subordinated to every human framing; let yourselves be arranged under for support of every founding or institution pertaining to mankind which brings order to a state of wildness): whether to (or: by; for) a king, as to (or: by; for) one being superior or: constantly holding over [others]; = as a prominent cultural institution),

Here Peter sets the scene of God's reign in and through us as we live among the nations. It is for the Lord's sake that we are to be humbly aligned to give support to the society that comprises our local environment. We are to support and align ourselves to the cultural conditions in which we live – including the local governments, for as Jesus said, His kingdom is not of this world order.

14. or to (or; by; for) governors (government officials; rulers; leaders; guides), as to (or: by; for; with) those being regularly sent (or: dispatched) by Him unto a maintaining of right, in regard to doers of worthlessness (or: into a correction from out of the way pointed out pertaining to those eating bad situations; unto an administering of justice, fairness and equity of situations affected by evildoers) – yet on the other hand, [sent] unto a commendation (a praise; applause) of those habitually doing good things (performing with virtue; constructing excellence).

He goes on to give more specific examples of practical situations. Those who represent God's kingdom are to recognize that He is the One who dispatches governors and those who maintain social order. This is the same message that Paul sent to the Romans in ch. 13:1-6.

15. Because thus is God's will (or: For God's intent and purpose exists in this manner): folks habitually doing good things (constructing excellence; performing with virtues; creating goodness) to repeatedly muzzle (continuously gag; thus: progressively silence) the ignorance of senseless and thoughtless people (humans without intellect and prudence; unreasonable folks);

This is a very simple and practical statement: God's will is embodied in people habitually doing good things and performing with excellence. The result is the silencing of the ignorant and thoughtless folks who would otherwise lodge complaints against His called-out folks. Religious and pietistic folks tend to think that God's will is something super-spiritual. But recall that the Messiah taught His disciples to pray that God's reign would come to earth (our natural environment) and that His will – that is obviously done in heaven (atmosphere; spiritual realm) – would also be done here among people with whom we live.

16. as free folks (those not bound) – and not continually holding (or: having) the freedom as a covering (or: a veil) of worthlessness (bad quality; evil; poorness of situation) – but still, as God's slaves.

This reference to freedom calls to mind Paul's reference to freedom from the old covenant in Gal. 4, and his statement in Gal. 5:1. Christ has set us free from all inward and religious bondage, making us citizens of the free woman, the Jerusalem which is above. We are no longer slave to sin or worthlessness, but to God, our Owner (Lord). We are to live our lives in accord with His will and intent, as Peter points out in the previous verses.

17. Value everyone (Honor all)! Habitually love (Practice loving) the brotherhood (= the organism of fellow-believers)! Practice reverence to God (or: Habitually fear God; Be constantly respecting and revering God)! Be continuously valuing and showing honor to the king (or: the One Who reigns).

What a broad and all-inclusive admonition: value and honor everyone. This calls to mind Paul's words in 1 Cor. 13:7,

"[Love] continuously covers all mankind; it is habitually loyal to all humanity; it constantly has an expectation for all mankind; it is continuously remaining under and giving support to all people."
Value, honor, love: these give the Anointed One a good reputation, and give an appropriate picture of God to those not yet a part of the sacred community. Love of the family of believers and loyal ones is how all people will know that we are His disciples (John 13:35).

The second statement, about practicing reverence to God and fearing Him, was a cultural expression of those times that meant living a life that showed respect to God and that was in accord with His expressed will. It meant to by one's way of living acknowledge His lordship.

The last statement can refer either to the human in charge of the human government under which we live, or to God, referred to in the previous statement.

18. The domestics (house servants or slaves; members of a household), those habitually being subordinated (being humbly aligned and subjected for support) by (or: to; for) the owners (masters): [conduct yourselves] in all fear and respect – not only to the good and reasonable (suitable; equitable; gentle; lenient) ones, but also to the crooked folks –

He give a practical example of how we are to live our lives: with proper respect to those in a position over us, regardless of the kind of person they are.

19. for this [is] grace: if through [the] conscience, which is God, (or: through awareness pertaining to God; or: by means of a joint-knowing with God; or: because of consciousness of God), someone is continuing to bear and hold up under distress or pains (griefs; sorrows; anxieties; sufferings), continuously experiencing it wrongfully (unjustly; contrarily, in regard to fairness and right relationship; undeservedly)!

This gives us another view of grace! It is grace lived out toward other people. It is the life of Christ emerging from hard circumstances and even from injustice. Here we see the call to lay our lives down for our friends and neighbors (which, as Lu. 10:29-37 shows, are more than just our own local group or persuasion).

The phrase "which is God," and the parenthetical alternatives, are expressions of the range of function of the genitive case. Conscience, awareness, joint-knowing, and consciousness are words that express the semantic range of the Greek "suneidedis."

20. For what sort of credible report (honorable rumor; credit; fame; praiseworthy reputation) [is it] if, being ones habitually doing what is wrong (failing to hit the target; sinning) and being repeatedly beaten and struck with a fist [p72 & other MSS: repeatedly lopped-off and pruned], you folks will be [p72 & other MSS read: you are constantly] remaining under and enduring [it]? But to the contrary, if while habitually practicing virtue (doing good; constructing excellence) and [at the same time] repeatedly experiencing such bad treatment (or: continually suffering) you will be [p72 reads: you are constantly] humbly remaining under, enduring and supporting [it], this [is] grace at the side of (or: from beside; = in the presence of) God,

The second situation is another expression of grace and is a restatement of vs. 19. The next verse says that this is a part of the grace to which we are called. Remember that grace came through Christ enduring bad treatment. We are to do the works that He did (John 14:12) – and this is just one example of such.

21. for into this you are called (or: were invited), because Christ also experienced [this] (or: suffered) over you folks (or: for your sakes), leaving continuously below (or: behind) in you (or: with and for you) an underwriting (a writing under which you are to write or copy; hence: a pattern; a model) to the end that you could (or: would) follow-on in the footprints of Him

This is the path of the disciple, the one following the Messiah. His life was our pattern for living. He experienced these things for us, and we are to do so for others. This is the increase of His kingdom and reign. We are CALLED to this kind of thing – here in our natural lives – not to just have wonderful spiritual experiences!

22. "Who does not make a mistake (Who did not perform failure; Who does no sin; Who does not construct failure to hit the target), nor is (or: was) deceitful bait (fraud; guile) found in His mouth;" [Isa. 53:9]

23. Who, being repeatedly reviled (harshly and bitingly rebuked and insulted), was not reviling back (answering insult with insult; taking the position of harsh, biting rebuke); continuously (or: repeatedly) suffering (experiencing ill treatment), he was not threatening, but kept on giving [the situation] over to the One at His side: the One constantly sifting, separating and deciding (or: judging) fairly (equitably; following the Path of the Way pointed out, bringing situations to a rightwised condition),

The verbs of vs. 22 are in the aorist tense – the fact form that can either be a simple present or a simple past (scholars differ in opinions on this) – so I have rendered it both ways. Since He remains the same, I lean toward the simple present here. The word traditionally rendered as "sin" is an archery term which means "to miss the target." The extended meanings are "mistake, failure, error," but the underlying idea is that one is trying to hit the target, but does not succeed.

As we follow in His footprints, we, too, should not speak deceit or fraud. We should only speak the truth, in love.

Vs. 23 gives further example for how we are to handle harsh treatment. Keep in mind that "you folks died, and your life has been hidden (concealed) together with the Christ, within the midst of God (or: in union with God)" (Col. 3:3), and in Gal. 2:20, Paul says,

"I was crucified together with Christ, and thus it remains (or: I have been jointly put on the execution stake in [the] Anointed One, and continue thus), yet I continue living! [It is] no longer I, but it is Christ continuously living and alive within me!"

This outlook and awareness of the new reality is what enables us to follow our Messiah in this way.

Keep in mind that He "kept on giving [the situation] over to the One at His side." God is at our sides, as well, going through all our experiences with us. His is also "the One constantly sifting, separating and deciding (or: judging) fairly (equitably; following the Path of the Way pointed out, bringing situations to a rightwised condition)" – He is constantly making decisions about us, about others and about the situations in life. And we must trust that His decisions are fair and accord with the Way of Christ, turning situations in the right direction that accord with His plans and purposes.

24. Who, Himself, bore back up again our failures (our mistakes; our times of falling short or to the side of the target; our sins and errors) [Isa. 53:4, 12] within His body upon the tree (the wood; the stake), to the end that, being folks suddenly coming to be parted away from the failures (mistakes; errors; sins; misses of the target), we can (or: would; may) live in (or: by; for; with) the fairness and equity, in rightwised relationships, in the Path of the Way pointed out, where "you folks are (or: were) healed (or: cured) in the wound (or: by the welt; in the bruise of the blow)." [Isa. 53:5]

Peter reminds them of the goal of the Christ event, His cross and resurrection, and the effect it has upon us. He "parted away" our sins and mistakes, bearing them up within His body, so that we would live in, by, for and with fairness and equity among other humans, being in relationships that are turned in the right direction, within the path of the Way (Christ) that He pointed out to us (sacrificial love) – the place where we are healed in and by His bruise and wound, for we are healed by being joined to His work, and by coming into union with His life.

25. For you folks were continuing to be "like sheep, being habitually caused to wander (being led astray; or, as a middle: people constantly wandering away)," [Isa. 53:6] but now in contrast, "you are (or: were) turned around and made to return, upon" [the will of; the herding of] the Shepherd and Overseer of (Supervisor of; the One who watches over) your souls (your inner beings).

Peter has drawn a lot from Isa. 53, showing both us and Christ to be the subject of that prophecy. Mark well the passive voice in this quote: caused to wander, led astray. But the verb can also be a middle, describing us as "people constantly wandering away," and yet this is due to our flesh, our estranged human nature – something that we did not ask for.

But the good news is that there is a stark contrast in the new creation, with the New Being, as Paul Tillich calls it. And we see another passive voice that shows that we were (and are) turned around and made to return, upon the will and herding action of the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. We are His flock, the sheep of His pasture (Ps. 95:7). This term Shepherd gives us a tender picture of His loving care and involvement in our lives, as Ps. 23 describes. There He makes, He leads, He restores and then leads again, He is with us, and His staff comforts us. Then He prepares and He anoints, and we have more than enough, with goodness and mercy attending us – as we dwell in, and are, His temple

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Chapter Three

1. Likewise (In like manner), you wives: [Be] habitually with humility aligning yourselves to your own husbands (or: women: [Be] continually arranging yourselves for support, under your own adult males), to the end that if any (or: certain ones) are habitually unpersuaded by the Word (or: uncompliant or disobedient to the message; unconvinced with the thought, reason or idea), they will be profited (will receive advantage; or: will be acquired as gain) without a word (or: message; reason), through the behavior (or: conduct; way of life) of the wives (or: women),

Having addressed the domestics, in 2:18, he now addresses the wives, or unmarried women of a marriageable age , of the community. Although this is a community of people that have been set free in Christ (Gal. 5:1), and among them there is neither male nor female in the anointed assembly (Gal. 3:28), in their outward relationships of their natural lives they still lived as women and men, as wives and husbands. So it was necessary for Peter to speak to these newly formed communities of faith and loyalty to Christ, that in these areas of their daily living – just as with their relationships to government authorities, or, their owners – they should live as an ordered, structured community within the greater societies in which they resided.

Humility and support were core virtues of the life in Christ, so this was no extra burden being placed upon them. The purpose that he explains is that this kind of loving behavior will profit those who are yet unpersuaded as to the Messiah, remaining uncompliant to the message about Jesus. As for us today, how they lived proclaimed the message, so that without any verbal expression their conduct and way of life will give these outside folks an advantage, and they will be acquired as gain to God's reign.

2. being eyewitnesses of (or: looking upon and observing) the pure behavior (or: way of life; conduct) of you folks – which is turned upward in reverence, respect and [sacred] fear and awe –

These other folks will look upon and with their own eyes observe this "pure behavior" which is "turned upward" to God, in reverence and respect, along with sacred fear and awe – terms that in that culture described the proper deference and relationship of a human to God.

3. whose world must not consist of the external adornment – of braiding or interweaving or struggling with [the] hair and [the] placing-around of gold ornaments, or of dressing up (putting on garments) –

No one in the community of Christ should have their "world" consist of external adornment. This is a play on the Greek word "kosmos," as one meaning of this is "an adorned arrangement" – which can refer to one's home, a city, the earth as an ordered interdependent system, or the universe (which God has "adorned"). But a woman's "world" should not consist of her external appearance – else she would then in fact be living an idolatrous life.

4. but to the contrary, [it should consist of] the hidden person (concealed humanity; cloaked personality) of the heart, within the incorruptible and imperishable quality of the gentle (tender; mild; calm; kind; meek) and still (at ease; restful; tranquil; quiet) spirit (or: attitude; disposition; or: Breath-effect), which is (or: continually exists being) of great value and very costly in God's sight (= view, or, perspective).

Here Peter gives what should be the contrasting expression of the reality of kingdom living that is in union with the Messiah – the life of the Age that had been expected. The "hidden person" and "cloaked personality" is the New Being (Christ) that indwells us – but yet can be seen by our way of living. This is an expression of Christ within us and among us – the expectation of glory (Col. 1:27), or, a good reputation (which is another meaning of the Greek "doxa").

5. For thus, at one time, the set-apart wives (or: the holy women) – those being in the habit of placing their expectations and hopes into God – used to normally arrange their world and adorn themselves, constantly being put in humble alignment to their own husbands (or: continuously being arranged under their own adult males, to give support),

Peter is rehearsing the traditional way of living of the Jewish ancestors while at the same time indicating that these traditions are still wise and appropriate for their then present communities. He is indicating that he is not introducing a new custom – but is using the holy women and set-apart wives of the past as an example. This is a part of the many things that occurred among them that are now examples for us (Heb. 8:5; 1 Cor. 10:11). Again, the basic premise is love, not the specific cultural expressions.

6. as Sarah used to humbly hear and submissively obey Abraham, habitually calling him "lord" ("master;" "my owner"), of which woman you were birthed children (or: you are become her born ones [= daughters]), women normally doing good (performing virtue; creating excellence), and not being repeatedly caused to fear even one dismay (alarm; intimidation).

As Paul reached back to Sarah as a type and figure of the freed called-out community (Gal. 4), now Peter does the same thing but drawing upon another aspect of her life, as a specific example of what he has been saying. As Paul used Abraham in Gal. 3:7 (we who have been birthed from faith, trust and loyalty are Abraham's sons), now Peter uses Sarah – as the "mother of us all" (Gal. 4:22-26), and here, specifically, speaking to her spiritual, or in some cases natural, daughters. As Abraham's actions were due to his being a rightwised person, living in the way pointed out (which was obedience to the voice of Yahweh), so women are to be normally performing virtue and creating excellence. This kind of life brings no fear or dismay.

7. Husbands (or: Adult males), likewise (or: in like manner): Continuously dwelling together (cohabiting; making a joint home) with [them] corresponding to intimate, experiential knowledge [of them] (= with a learned insight and an intelligent recognition of the nature and aspects of a married situation), [be] habitually assigning (portioning-off; awarding; allotting) honor (value; worth) to the female attributes (things pertaining to a woman; or: to a feminine one) as to a person having a disadvantaged position in her living (or: a weaker livelihood; or: a weaker vessel, utensil, instrument, container, gear, furniture, equipment), yet as to co-heirs of Life's grace and favor (or: of [the] grace which is life; or, with other MSS: as joint-participants in an inheritance of manifold {diverse; varied; multicolored} grace – of life [p72 adds: pertaining to and having the qualities of the Age {of eonian life}]), into the [situation where] your thoughts, words and actions projected toward goodness (or: prayers) continue not to be hindered or blocked, as if by a trench being cut in their path to impede their progress.

The first point to consider here is that the men are instructed to live with the women as that which corresponds a married couple knowing each other in intimate sexual union. But this in itself is a figure of the emotional and spiritual relationship from which he is to gain a learned insight and an intelligent recognition of the nature and aspects of the phenomenon of marriage. Such insights will also give light to the relationship of the Messiah to His called-out folks (Eph. 5:21-32), and thus benefit the entire community.

He is thus to assign honor to the female attributes of all folks, as well as to the feminine aspects of a woman. He is to see that, especially in that time and society – but even now still in our own, the woman had a disadvantaged position in her living and way of life. The male-dominated society has always resisted equality. However, in the reign of Christ they are co-heirs of Life's grace and favor – or, of the grace which is Life. Papyrus #72 associates this with "the Age" which was a code term for the new creation that came with the Messiah.

In the last clause I conflate the semantic range of "proseuche" that is traditionally rendered "prayer." Note that he is saying that by living as described in the first part of the verse, a man's thought, words and actions that have a view to goodness will not be hindered or blocked – then he uses a colorful word-picture of a trench cut across a road, to get the idea across.

8. Now [this is] the goal (the final situation; the end of the process): all [are to be] like-minded (of the same frame of mind and disposition), folks sharing and expressing the same feelings (being sympathetic), ones being fond of and expressing affection for the brothers (= fellow believers; = communal members), people tenderhearted and compassionate, folks of a humble disposition and way of thinking;

This is what a called-out community should look like. We do not see mentioned here multiple denominations or divisions as there were in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:12-13). This would be a nice group with which to be involved. I think that these characteristics speak for themselves.

9. not being ones habitually giving back (repaying; rendering; giving away) bad in the place of bad (or: poor quality in exchange for poor quality; evil for evil) or abusive language in the place of abusive language (reviling in exchange for reviling; insulting back against insults), but just the opposite: constantly speaking things that embody wellness or give a blessing, because into this you are called (or: were invited), to the end that you folks may inherit a word embodying wellness (a blessing; a message of goodness; a thought bringing ease).

The first part expresses the opposite of what it should look like, and then adds to the good qualities given in vs. 8. "Constantly speaking things that embody wellness or give a blessing" would flow from what Paul said in Phil. 4:8. Think about only the good and virtuous, and your speaking will follow from the same. And thus, as we sow so shall we reap: an inheritance that is a word embodying goodness, ease and well-being; a blessing; a thought that brings ease.

10. For you see, "the person who continues purposing (willing; intending; wanting) to be habitually loving life, and to see and experience good days, let his tongue at once cease from [the] worthless and poor of quality (from [the] bad and evil) and his lips speak no deceitful bait (fraud; guile).

11. "Now let him bend to incline forth and turn out, away from [the] worthless and poor of quality (from [what is] bad or evil), and let him do (practice; construct; produce) [the] good (or: virtue; excellence); let him seek and try to find peace and harmony; let him also run after it and pursue it,

12. "because [the] Lord's [= Yahweh's] eyes [are] upon (= He looks with favor on) [the] fair and equitable folks (the rightwised ones; the just ones who walk in the Way pointed out), and His ears [directed] into their request pertaining to need; yet [the] face of [the] Lord [= Yahweh] (i.e., His countenance and posturing) [is] upon (= set against) wrongdoers (those constantly practicing worthless things, repeatedly constructing bad things or habitually doing evil)." [Ps. 34:13-17]

We should consider how Peter is making his point by quoting from the Bible of his day – in this case, the Psalms. We find this done throughout all of the NT.

Vs. 10 emphasized the importance of the tongue – what we speak. Vs. 11 speaks to how we live and our actions. Vs. 12 reminds us of the involvement of God in our lives, of His awareness of and attention to our needs and requests, and that He postures Himself in opposition to those who constantly practice worthlessness. This is a picture of a God that is very involved with humanity, for good or ill, according to His plans and purposes. Yet we should keep in mind that even His wrath (inherent fervor; passion; swelling emotions) come from the Ground of Being which is Love. Isaiah tells us that when His judgments are in our land, we learn righteousness – the Way pointed out to us (Isa. 26:9), and His expressed will is that we be saved/delivered/salvaged and reconciled to Him. His intent is that we treat each other with fairness and love, so our actions are important to Him. They are part of the fruit that He desires and purposes to see from us. The Messiah's complaint against the religious leaders of Israel was that He found leaves (production; activity) but no fruit (that which gives folks health, strength and life).

13. And who [is] the person who will be treating you badly (be causing evil to come to you) if you folks should come to be zealots in regard to the good (ones boiling hot from the influence of the Good; enthusiasts of virtue and excellence)?

This Peter puts forth as a contrast to the political Zealots of his day, that wanted to overthrow Rome with force and violence. The teachings of Christ were the exact opposite: love your enemies; do good to those who mistreat you; give more than required; etc. We should with "boiling hot influence from the Good (God)" be enthusiasts for virtue and excellence.

14. But even if you folks might continue experiencing suffering [as well as other things] because of fairness and equity (justice; walking in the Way pointed out; a rightwised positioning), [you are] happy and blessed ones. "Yet do not fear their fear (i.e., what they fear; or, as a subjunctive: Now you should not be afraid of the fear that has them as a source), nor yet should you folks be shaken (agitated; disturbed; stirred up) [by them]." [Isa. 8:12]

His first statement is a reflection of Matt. 5:10, and in line with this these folks (and we) will be happy and blessed – because "the reign of the heavens and atmospheres belongs to them [and: us]." Taking a stand for fairness and equity, for a stance in the Way of Christ, for being pointed in the right direction, will often bring opposition – as history has well shown.

But again Peter draws encouragement from the OT, by his quote of Isa. 8:12. We are not to fear their fear, nor fear that comes from them, neither should we be shaken or disturbed, for our lives are hidden with the Messiah, within the midst of God.

15. Now "you folks set [the] Lord [= Yahweh] – the Anointed One – apart (or: Yet, let the Lord Christ be set-apart)" [Isa. 8:13], within your hearts! (or: So, treat the Anointed Owner as holy, in the core of your beings), always ready (ever prepared) toward a defense to everyone – for the one repeatedly asking you for a word (i.e., a rational explanation and a logical response) about the expectation within you folks – but still with gentleness (tenderness; meekness; kindness) and deep respect (or: serious caution; reverence; [the] fear [of the Lord]),

I have given two ways of expressing the imperative of the verb "to set apart," in the first clause. Each way demonstrates a different perspective in our relationship to the Lord, in regard to Peter's imperative to us. The first brings out how we should regard the Lord, in our hearts. The second emphasizes relinquishing our wills to Him and "letting" (in a relative sense) Him be set-apart, with commensurate deference and honor – in regard to our feelings and emotions. Next I parenthetically restate this imperative using alternative semantic expressions. A further consideration is the fact that Peter has here quoted the next verse in Isa. 8 where in the Hebrew text the word "Lord" is actually Yahweh (and thus, my bracketed insertion). We need to keep the relationship between Yahweh and Christ (the Messiah) in mind as we read these OT quotes. I will not here delve into what theological implications should be drawn from this.

The following clause gives an attitude that is joined to the thought of His sacredness and state of being "set apart." We should always be ready and prepared to give everyone a verbal "defense" about our expectation. The Greek word here is "apologia," and from this comes the theological expression and function "apologetics." Peter is making this an imperative, and so we should not neglect our preparedness, nor an attitude of being "ready," to do just this. This presupposes a learned understanding of just what it is that we expect, which in turn presupposes that we

"Make haste, with earnest endeavor and diligence, to place yourself alongside as an approved workman in God (or: to present yourself to God as a tried and approved workman), one without cause for shame, consistently cutting a straight and direct [path {cf Prov. 3:6 & 11:5, LXX} in, to, or with] the Word of the Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

But when we make our verbal or written defense, we must be sure to do it "with gentleness (tenderness; meekness; kindness) and deep respect (or: serious caution; reverence; [the] fear [of the Lord])," not with arrogance or any negative attitude.

16. habitually holding a good conscience (or: having a virtuous joint-knowing, from possessing a clear joined-perception), so that those, having a habit of spitefully abusing and harassing your good behavior (or: conduct; way of life) within, and in union with, Christ, may be brought to shame and disgrace relating to that within which you folks are constantly being defamed (spoken down against).

This verse adds another component to our response and attitude to others, as we make a stand for the message of goodness, ease and well-being. The purpose for their being brought to shame and disgrace is to present to them a clear picture of their attitudes and actions – so that they can change their thinking and their ways – not simply to put them down. God's purposes are always for the good of humanity, not for their harm. This is an example of His judgment bringing to them a lesson in righteousness.

17. You see, [it is] a stronger [case, position or reputation] to be repeatedly experiencing harassment, abuse or suffering [while, or, because of] habitually doing good (practicing virtue; creating goodness) – if God's purpose (intent; will) may be repeatedly willing it – than [because of] constantly doing what is wrong, bad or worthless,

His logic is clear, and his inclusion of such a situation being in line with God's purpose, intent and will should both encourage and comfort us. To experience harassment or abuse because of doing what is worthless would completely undercut our ability to give a defense for our expectation.

18. because even Christ (or: considering that Messiah also) died [other MSS: suffered], once for all, concerning and in relation to failures to hit the target (about errors and mistakes; around and encompassing sins [some MSS: our failures; other MSS: your failures]) – a Just One (a rightwised One; One in accord with the Way pointed out; a fair and equitable individual) over [the situation of] (or: for the sake of) unjust ones (capsized folks; those out of accord with the Way pointed out; unfair and inequitable people) – to the end that He at once may bring (or: can lead; would conduct) you folks [other MSS: us] to (or: toward) God. [He], on the one hand, being put to death in flesh (= a physical body), yet on the other hand, being made alive in spirit (or: indeed, being put to death by flesh {or: = the estranged human condition}, yet, being engendered a living one by Breath-effect {or: [the] Spirit}),

So he goes on to give the basis and rationale for the first clause in vs. 17: it is "because even, or also, the Messiah died," having first received great abuse and suffering, and this was the greatest Good that has ever been done. Then we have the pertinent comparison: He was a "Just Person" – just as they are, because of Christ – Who received the ill treatment "over [the situation – humanity's estrangement and dying situation of] unjust folks (people whose lives were capsized, rather than rightwised; folks that were out of accord with the Way of God; people that were unfair and inequitable)."

Christ's purpose was to bring humanity to God, and this should be also our purpose for enduring harassment and suffering. Our lives poured forth for others is the "laying down of our lives for our friends."

Furthermore, just as He was put to death in and by the flesh, yet made alive in spirit, or "engendered a Living One" by the Effect of God's Breath, so it is with us.

But let us note that this last clause, above, is the first part of the next four verses, which present a context that speaks of His death, what He next did, and then on to the situation that followed His being made alive.

19. at one point journeying (going from one place to another; passing on) within which (or: in union with Which), He also proclaimed (published; preached; heralded) the message to and for (or: among) the spirits in prison (within a guardhouse):

20. to and for those being at one time unconvinced (unpersuaded; disobedient; uncompliant) within [the] days of Noah, when (or: while) he was continuing to be receiving forth, and taking away from, out of God's state of emotional quietness (taking a long time before rushing or being in a heat of passion; long-enduring patience) while [the] ark was progressively being prepared and equipped (constructed to readiness) – into which a few folks, that is, eight souls (= people), were brought safely through [the] water (or: were brought safely through, by means of water),

Picking up "being made alive in spirit," or, "by [the] Breath-effect/Spirit" – which is the Greek "pneuma" in the dative case without an expressed preposition – of vs. 18, we see that it was in this same spirit/Spirit that He was journeying from place to place, although Peter does not tell us where. But he does tell us what this "made alive" Messiah was doing: "He also proclaimed (published; preached; heralded) the message to and for (or: among) the spirits in prison." But what spirits were these? Vs. 20 gives the answer: "to and for those being at one time unconvinced (unpersuaded; disobedient; uncompliant) within [the] days of Noah." The implication is that these were all the folks that were killed in the flood, as recorded in Gen. 7, although many people object to what this would mean: that Christ can proclaim the message of good news (the gospel) to people who have died. It would be a precedent for a person who was unpersuaded and disobedient in this life, after death being presented with the gospel by the living Christ. It would establish a pattern.

This verse also tells us that Noah "was continuing to be receiving forth, and taking away from, out of God's state of emotional quietness." Part of God's character is "taking a long time before rushing or being in a heat of passion," or, as having "long-enduring patience." Noah was continuing in receiving a gift of the Spirit, while he was building the ark.

Peter moves on to make the point that those who were rescued "were brought safely through [the] water." A slightly different point is made by the rendering "were brought safely through, by means of water." The Greek preposition "dia" is used redundantly here (as prepositions often are in Koine Greek), both as a prefix to the verb, and then as a preposition standing alone before the word "water." When such cases arise, most translators ignore this redundancy – as I did in the first rendering. But the second rendering is also viable, translating the second "dia" with the meaning of "by means of." The first simply says that they were brought through the water safely. The second indicates that it was the water (which destroyed everyone but the eight) which was in fact the means of their being brought safely through – the vehicle of the ark being assumed.

Now the "which" of vs. 21 is neuter, and thus refers to the word "water" that ends this verse. With this in mind, let us look at vs. 21.

21. [into] which, also, an echo of correspondent form (or: a copy; an antitype; an impress which answers back; in place of the type or pattern) is now progressively delivering (rescuing) you folks (or: repeatedly bringing you to safety): immersion (submersion and envelopment which brings absorption and permeation to the point of saturation) – not [the] putting off of [the] filth (removal of dirt) away from [the] flesh (= not baptism or bathing of the physical body, or the removal of the alienated false persona), but rather – the result of a full inquiry into the midst of God (or: the effect of an added request unto God; or: = a further quest into “the Divine Mystery” – Paul Tillich) made by a good conscience (from an excellent joint-knowing; in relation to virtuous co- knowledge). [It saves you and it is made] through means of [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ,

The "echo" which is a corresponded form is immersion. There is a progressive passing through the cross (the echo of the water that brought death to the first Adam in the days of Noah) via the ark of the Christ, moving on into His resurrection. Peter's mentioning that 8 souls were safely brought through may be a symbolic number (as are the numbers in the book of Revelation), 8 being the first day after the sabbath, and thus a figure of the new beginning of God's dealing with humanity, after the flood.

I expanded the meaning of immersion, which can here refer to the immersion of a piece of cloth or a garment into a liquid – and not necessarily the religious symbol of baptism. Paul uses the figure for our having been placed into Christ – into His death, and also into His life. Since Christ, in this sense, is spirit (and we also have the figure of immersion into God's Spirit – Matt. 3:11) is we picture ourselves as permeable (like a cloth) then we can absorb that into which we are immersed (Christ) to the point of complete permeation and saturation.

Now consider Peter's further definition of this "immersion": "the result of a full inquiry into the midst of God (or: the effect of an added request unto God; or: = a further quest into “the Divine Mystery” – Paul Tillich)." The Greek word for "inquiry" is "eperotema" which is the word that means to inquire or to ask, with the intensifier "ep-" prefixed (which means fully or added), and the "-ma" ending (which means it is the result or effect of the noun). The phrase which follows this word is "into the midst of God." Thus, Peter is not speaking about a physical "water baptism" here. It is a full inquiry into, an interrogation of, and a seeking for the acquaintance with God – that is "made by a good conscience (from an excellent joint-knowing; in relation to virtuous co-knowledge)." This speaks of a life in Christ, and this life comes "through means of [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ." This immersion into Him – symbolized by the ark passing through the midst of the water – is the correspondent form that is now progressively delivering and rescuing us.

22. Who continuously exists (or: is; has being) within God's right [side, or hand – i.e., the place of authority and ability to exercise power; the place of receiving], going from place to place, journeying into [the] atmosphere (or: heaven) of those being humbly aligned by Him (or: pertaining to those subjected, placed and arranged under in Him; which are the folks being set in order for support to Him): of agents (or: messengers), and of authorities (or: those who have the right and privilege from out of Being), and of powers (or: folks with abilities).

The Who here is Jesus Christ (Jesus, [the] Messiah), Who now exists is the position of authority, and is the place of God's acceptance (both of these thoughts being in the figure of a king's "right hand"). We are accepted in Him, and He exercises God's power as He is "going from place to place, journeying into [the] atmosphere (or: heaven) of those being humbly aligned by Him (or: pertaining to those subjected, placed and arranged under in Him; which are the folks set in order for support to Him)." The idea of Him being "seated" (e.g., Eph. 2:6; Rev. 3:21) is a figure for occupying the position of authority and power, not that He is just sitting there. Here we see that He is on the move, and the word used in Rev. I:8 is a present participle of the verb to come, or to go, and thus can be there rendered "the One continuously, or repeatedly, or habitually coming and going."

Peter here tells us where He is journeying: into [the] atmosphere (or: heaven). Now in the Greek text, the next word is a genitive plural of the passive participle which tells us which atmosphere or heaven it is into which He is going, from place to place: it is the one of "those being humbly aligned by Him... which are the folks being set in order for support to Him." This can also read "pertaining to those subjected, placed and arranged under, IN Him." As He has placed us "in Him," He also journeys into our atmosphere, our heaven, visiting, being a Paraclete, communing... and judging us.

This is not only limited to us, but we are His agents and His messengers; He has given us authority – the right and privilege from out of His Being (Greek: ex-ousia, "from out of the midst of being"); we are folks with abilities to whom He has given the power of His Spirit.

Since the participle is passive present, this is an ongoing process and activity and it reaches beyond us as His sovereign influence bears upon all of creation.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Chapter Four

1. Christ, then, having undergone experiences and suffering in flesh (or: being physically and emotionally affected to the point of suffering) over us (or: over our [situation] and for our sakes), you folks also arm and equip yourselves with the same mental inclination (idea; thought; way of thinking; frame of mind; attitude), because the person [thus] suffering or going through physical or emotional experiences which affect him in [the] flesh (or: = by [his] estranged humanity or alienated self) has in and for himself put a stop to failures, errors and mistakes (or: sins) [or, with other MSS: has been caused to cease from sin],

This is a word for the disciple, the follower of the Messiah. In Matt. 16:24-25 Jesus speaks of denying ourselves, taking up our execution stake and following Him. Peter here points to His suffering and then tells us to expect the same, but then goes on to give a reason for it: to put a stop to failures, errors and mistakes. This may refer to our own times of missing the target (as the other MSS state), or, as in laying down your life for another, we may by such experiences do the works that Christ did, and bring life to others. Paul said in 2 Cor. 4:

11. For we, ourselves – the continuously living ones – are ever being repeatedly handed over into death (or: = continuously delivered into life-threatening experiences) – because of Jesus – to the end that the life, also, of Jesus (or: so that also the life which comes from and is Jesus; or: so that Jesus' life) can (may; could; would) be set in clear light and manifested – within our mortal flesh!

12. So then (or: Consequently), the Death is repeatedly operating and inwardly working within us, yet the Life [is constantly operative] within you folks.
2. [and comes] into the [condition or situation] to no longer live out the additional remaining course [of his] time within [the] flesh (= in the natural realm) in the midst of (or: in union with) [the] full passions (or: for [the] over-desires; to [the] rushings of emotions upon things) of humans (or: pertaining to or originating in mankind), but to the contrary, in God's will (or: for God's intent; to God's purpose).

And here is the second reason: in order to live our lives in God's will, for His intent and to His purpose. We have been set-apart to live a different kind of life: the Christ life – which stand in contrast to following the rushing of emotions and passions characterized by the estranged human condition. As with the wives and women of ch. 3:1, our conduct may win folks over, without our saying a word.

3. For the time having gone by [is] sufficient (= you have spent enough time, in the past,) to have accomplished (to have worked down and effected) the thing desired by (or: the intention of) the multitudes (the nations; the swarms of ethnic groups living together; the non-Jews; the Gentiles), having gone from place to place in indecent and licentious debaucheries (deeds of loose conduct), in rushing passions and over-desires, in excesses bubbling over with wine, in carousing and festive processions, in drinking parties, and in forbidden (i.e., illegal in respect to the natural laws of reason, conscience and common decency) idolatries (or: being a servant to or worshiping external forms or appearances, phantoms of the mind, unsubstantial or reflected images, or conveyed impressions),

Peter is saying that they had spent enough time in the past living like pagans – and today we might say the same. What he describes is a life void of reverence for life and for God, and wasting ourselves in excesses and lack of control. It is the picture of the "prodigal son" in the parable of the extravagantly loving Father (I take this description from Lawrence Garcia) in Lu. 15:11-32.

4. within which they, repeatedly speaking reproachfully and injuriously [about you, as well as about other folks], are constantly struck with surprise, thinking it strange and foreign that you folks are not always running together with [them], as a mob, into the same flooding (pouring forth) of unhealthiness and lack of safety (or: dissoluteness of a course devoid of salvation).

This is the common attitude of people who want you to join in with their fun, not understanding why it might not be fun for you. It is inevitable when contrasting cultures (e.g., one of honor, another without honor) and contrasting world views (e.g., one seeing through the eyes of God's reign, another seeing with the eyes of alienated humanity) come together.

5. Such folks will render an account (or: be giving back a reason) to the One readily and continually judging (separating and making a decision about) [p72: prepared to judge; other MSS: constantly holding {Himself} in readiness to judge] living folks and dead ones,

Notice that Peter is saying that God is "readily and continually judging – making evaluations and decisions about – living people and dead folks." He is not waiting to some future event or situation. He is continually doing it with all of humanity – even those who have died. Now if He is constantly separating and making decisions about dead people, then this would suggest that some sort of existence is still going on with them. It was not a one-time judgment, and that's it. He is actively involved in everyone's life and death, all the time.

6. for into this [purpose], also, the message of goodness and well-being is (or: the good news was suddenly) brought and announced to dead folks, to the end that on the one hand they may at some point be judged (or: can be separated and decided about) – corresponding to humans – in flesh (or: according to humans in flesh; or: = in the sphere of people with estranged selves; or: = on the level of mankind in an alienated condition that was enslaved by the System), yet on the other hand, that they can continue living (or: would be habitually living) corresponding to (down from; in line and accord with; in the sphere of) God, in spirit (or: by Breath-effect).

This verse may be a parallel of ch. 3:18-20, but Peter gives us no specifics William Barclay was convinced that "dead folks" refers to all the dead, and states in his "Daily Bible Study Series" that he considers it one of the most wonderful verses in the Bible. The tense of the verb "brought and announced" is aorist: the fact tense, void of reference to time of kind of action. If this is referring to a state of being outside of time, then it is the appropriate tense to use, and this first clause sheds more light on vs. 5 and His judging of the living and the dead. Some scholars translate the aorist as a simple present (as in my first rendering), which would mean that this is simply something that happens for those who die. Others translate the aorist as a simple past (as in my second rendering), which would suggest this clause as an echo of ch. 3:19.

Some suggest that Peter was referring to those who were only spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), but that statement includes everybody, and in this context we have a differentiation between the living and the dead.

I have given some parenthetical alternative for the two phrases immediately following the word "judged/decided about." I owe the idea expressed in the last expansion on the word "flesh" to the writings of Walter Wink.

The last clause "continue living corresponding to God, in spirit" is put in direct contrast to "corresponding to humans – in flesh," so could lend weight to Barclay's view, but this could also be comparing the first Adam to the Last Adam; the old creation to the new.

7. Now the Goal (or: the end; the final act; or: the finished Product; or: the completion of the plan) of all people (and: pertaining to and affecting all things) has approached and is now near at hand and [He] is close enough to touch (= has arrived)! Therefore, you folks keep a healthy and sound frame of mind (be sane and sensible) and be sober (be unintoxicated; i.e., be functional and with your wits about you) into [a state, condition or realm] with a view toward having goodness and well-being (or: into the midst of prayers).

The semantic range of the Greek "telos" (goal; the end; etc.), so you can ponder the possibilities of what Peter meant in this first clause. In the first rendering I capitalized "Goal" (a central idea of the word) to suggest a correspondence to Rom. 11:36, where God is the goal of all things. The word "all" is both masculine (= people) and neuter (= things), and thus the two renderings.

I expanded the Greek perfect tense of "near..." to show it's, or His, continued presence. Christ, or the Age of the Messiah, had arrived and was close enough to touch. Therefore he gives the admonition to them to have a sound and healthy frame of mind, and to keep their wits about them – for the Parousia was there, and His judgment was soon to come (it came in AD 70). The final admonition here is to focus their minds into the midst of prayers – which literally means having a view toward goodness and having things go well.

8. Before all people (or: = More than anything), continue being folks constantly holding the outstretching and extending love unto yourselves (i.e., into each other) – "because love is constantly covering (habitually throwing a veil over; progressively concealing) a multitude of failures (mistakes; errors; misses of the target; sins)." [Prov. 10:12]

The preposition is literally "before," but the plural noun "all" is both masculine (= people) and neuter (= things), so I gave the two potential meanings of the phrase: either live a life of mutual love in view of all people, or, make this kind of life your priority. The adjective "outstretching and extending" tells us that this is not just a kindly inner attitude or personal emotion, but rather a love that reaches out to others in expressed and practical ways that have an effect upon them. And note the effect of this kind of love: it will be constantly covering, habitually throwing a veil over and progressively concealing a multitude of mistakes, sins, failures, errors, etc. What a witness before the world of mankind. And so we can see that the opposite of love would be to uncover, reveal and expose sin. This quality of God's kingdom is startling to our culture and even to Christianity.

9. [Continue being] those [who are] stranger-loving unto one another (= friendly, kind and hospitable to strangers, foreigners and aliens [inviting them] into the midst of each other's [homes and/or societies]), without expressing dissatisfaction (complaining; grumbling; murmuring),

The plural adjective (used here as a noun) rendered "those [who are] stranger-loving," is the Greek "philos" (love, affection, friendliness, and by extension, hospitableness) joined to "xenos" (a stranger, a foreigner, an alien – the opposite of a citizen). Peter does not say that they must have a legal right to be in one's community for his admonition to apply. And if they are with us, we are not to grumble or complain about it – or even express dissatisfaction with the situation.

In fact, it was part of their culture to be hospitable to foreigners and to invite them into their home and see to their needs. Because of fear, this seldom happens in America, unless we already know them or they come with references. But even here, there are some followers of Jesus who practice this.

10. each one, according as he receives an effect of grace (or: received a gracious gift), continuously giving supporting service and dispensing it unto yourselves (i.e., into each other), as beautiful (fine; ideal) house managers (stewards; administrators) of God's varied grace (or: of [the] diverse favor which is God; [as] of a many-colored [tapestry] of grace whose source and character are from God).

This verse is a continuation of the idea in vs. 9, showing how the "alien-loving" is to be dispensed to these folks – as beautiful supporting service that comes from an ideal house manager. And what is being given are various forms and manifestations of God's grace. The Greek "charisma" is normally rendered "gift, or gracious gift," But the "ma" ending signifies that it is the "effect of charis (grace)." We each receive the effects of God's grace, and are to pass this on to others in the everyday living of this life. We extend our love, and this creates a loving community that has been called out of the dominant culture (the world, the "dominating system" – Walter Wink) to be set apart as the "Light of the world."

11. If anyone is normally speaking, [let it be] as God's little words (= inspired sayings, messages, thoughts and ideas); if anyone is habitually providing attending service and dispensing, [let it be] as out of [the] strength which God is continually supplying (furnishing; providing), to the end that, in union with all people (and: within all things), God may be constantly glorified (may habitually receive a good reputation) through Jesus Christ, in Whom (by Whom; for Whom; to Whom; with Whom) is (or: exists) the glory (the manifestation of that which calls forth praise; the good reputation) and the strength (the might), on into the ages of the ages (or: into the indefinite time periods of the ages; into the superlative times of the eons).

The first two clause are cases of "ellipsis" where the predicate is left out, and so I have supplied "[let it be]." "Little words" is the diminutive form of "logos," God's "little words, thoughts, ideas, messages." I have given a paraphrase which suggests that this phrase may mean "inspired saying, messages, etc." William Barclay suggest that this is referring to "preaching." However, I suggest that since we house God (He lives in us, who are His temple), and are one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17), that this admonition speaks to all of us: speak the thoughts that come from Him; let our words and thoughts be acceptable to Him (Ps. 19:14); or as Paul says in Eph. 5:

19. continuously speaking (making vocal utterances) to (or: among) yourselves in psalms and hymns (or: songs of praise; festive songs) and spiritual odes (songs; chants), continually singing and playing stringed instruments (making music; psalming; sharply touching or plucking [the strings or chords]) in (or: by; with; or: for) your hearts to (or: for; by; with: in) the Lord [= Christ, or, Yahweh], 20. constantly giving thanks (expressing gratitude; or: speaking of the well-being that is in grace and favor) to God, even [the] Father [p46 & others: to the Father, even God] at all times (or: always; = on all occasions) concerning all things (or: for everything; or: over all mankind), within the midst of and in union with the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Our service, our actions, our works and what we dispense to others should all come from His strength – not our own. This calls to mind the words of Jesus, "... that folks may see your good works and glorify your Father, Who is in heaven."

Note the dative form of "Whom" which has the function of location (in Whom), of instrument (by Whom), of the indirect object (for and to Whom), of association (with Whom) – all of which make sense in this phrase which has no expressed preposition.

Both Paul and Peter keep the name Jesus associated with the title/position Christ (or: Messiah; the Anointed One). We should keep the Person of Jesus connected to our theology of Christ, lest we miss what the Scriptures are presenting to us. Both God's glory and His strength come through Him, and we receive these by being within Him and joined to Him. We do not "evolve beyond Him," since what Peter says here is true, and is the new reality "on into the ages of the ages." In the parenthetical expansion of this phrase, the last one gives the force of the Hebrew idiom as we see in "the holy of holies," which equals "the holiest place of all." Paul speaks of "the ages to come" in Eph. 2:7. Peter is not specific about what he means by this phrase, but it definitely shows that there is more to come in God's plan and purpose of the ages (Eph. 3:11).

12. Beloved ones, do not repeatedly feel like strangers to the burning (= the action of the Fire) within and among you folks, which is habitually happening to you with a view toward your being put to the test (or: which is repeatedly coming into being in the face of a proving trial for you; which is progressively birthing itself to an examination in you), as though a strange or foreign thing [or: occurrence] is repeatedly walking with you folks.

"The burning; the action of the Fire." We are fact-to-face with this within the tests and trials that are birthed in us by God, both to purify us (Mal. 3:2-3) and to temper us as a blacksmith tempers a tool, as well as ordeals from without. This is a frequent theme in the NT writings, and from the books of Acts and Revelation we see that the followers of Jesus constantly faced these. John the Baptizer spoke of Jesus immersing us in the Holy Spirit, and in Fire. Here Peter tells us that this is normal and that we should expect it, and that it is something that "is repeatedly walking with" us. And what is clear is that it is for our benefit. The next verse explains this as "a common share in the experiences and sufferings of the Messiah." He does not speak to the form that these tests take, but elsewhere we see that they are things that come in opposition to us in our daily lives. Historically, it was probably a different situation within each community to which he was writing.

13. But on the contrary, keep on rejoicing and being glad to the extent or degree that you folks are continually participating with a common share in the experiences and sufferings of the Christ, to the end that, while continuously exulting and celebrating exceedingly, you folks can (or: should; would) also rejoice within the unveiling of His glory (or: in union with the disclosure of His reputation; or: in the midst of the praise-inducing manifestation which is Him)!

Rejoicing and being glad within this burning seems to be a key element. First of all, we are told here that this means that we are having a common share in Christ's sufferings and are participating in His experiences. But also, while celebrating exceedingly, we can and should also – at the same time – rejoice within the unveiling of His glory. The Fire of God unveils His glory – both in us, and in others, for when other folks observe our remaining under the trials, and giving support to our fellows at the same time, this has an effect in them – to where Christ comes out from behind the veil within them (to use the expression by Stacy Wood). When the Seed of God fell into the ground and died, it was being planted in all of the Second Humanity, the Last Adam. Each one then germinates in his own season and fertile moment, when the Sun warms the soil, and someone – or His rain – waters it.

The uncovering of His glory is the unveiling of His sons (Rom. 8:19). It is God "revealing His son (or: Son) in [us]" (Gal. 1:16). This is a "now" thing, not just a future event. It also happens when God's true reputation (another meaning of "glory") is disclosed – and all creation rejoices. This happened in Jesus, and then within His body, and continues on day by day.

14. Since (or: If) you folks are constantly being insulted and censured in (or: [because of] union with) the Name of Christ, [you are] happy ones (blessed folks), because God's spirit of glory and power (or: the Breath-effect of the reputation and of the ability of God) is continuously "resting back upon" you folks [cf. Isa. 11:2].

So here we see Peter giving us an example of a trial, and then he proclaims a "beatitude" (cf Matt. 5:11) along with an explanation of "the unveiling of His glory" of vs. 13, showing that this is in fact "God's spirit of glory and power" continuously "resting back upon" them. And so it is with us.

15. Of course let not any one of you folks be experiencing suffering as a murderer, or a thief, or a doer of worthless or evil things, or, as a meddler (an interferer) in other people's affairs.

16. Yet if as a Christian [s/he is suffering], let him or her not continue feeling shame or embarrassment, but let him or her constantly glorify (give credit to; enhance the reputation of; bring an opinion of high status for) God within this Name (or: in union with this name [i.e., "Christian;" or, referring to "the Name of Christ" in vs. 14, above]), The reason for suffering as described in vs. 15 is in accord with the natural law of sowing and reaping, because of something wrong that a person has done. But in contrast, vs. 16 shows how suffering can bring glory, credit, an enhanced reputation and an opinion of high status to and for God. How we live our life matters.

17. because [it is; this is; now is] the fitting situation and fertile moment of the appointed season for the judgment (the effect of the separating for evaluation, and the result of the deciding) to begin (to start) from God's house. Now if first from us, what [will be] the closing act (the final stage; the end; the consummation; the outcome; the finished product) pertaining to those continuing unpersuaded and unconvinced by (or: uncompliant to; disobedient to; stubborn in) God's message of goodness and well-being (or: good news)?

The preceding verses have led to this conclusion by Peter. They all had come to the fitting situation and fertile moment of the appointed season (an expansion of the Greek "kairos"), and this season was one of judgment – the result of God's evaluation and His decision for their world of culture, religion, economy and government. The fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 brought an end to their "world" and the conclusion of that age. Peter says that it was to begin from God's house. This would, in this transition period, have referred to the Jews, the Israel of the old covenant, but note that he includes himself and the called-out communities in the phrase "from God's house" by the following phrase "from us." There was a change of ages, into a new creation/covenant, but there was also a continuity, a birthing of the new from out of the old.

At that point in time, Peter did not know what the result would be and how it would affect the Jews or the Romans and the rest of the world of those not yet persuaded or convinced by the message concerning the coming and presence of the Messiah. But he sensed that it would be cataclysmic, and it was.

18. "And if the rightwised one (the fair and just person in right relationships in accord to the Way pointed out) is repeatedly delivered (rescued; brought to safety; made healthy and whole) with difficult labor, then where will the irreverent (the person without pious awe) and the failure (the one who makes mistakes and cannot hit the target; the sinner; the outcast) make an appearance?" [Prov. 11:31]

He cites this verse from Proverbs – which describes how it is in the human situation, and from which they could learn, from history – to make his point. Their present situation was serious.

19. So then, also, let those repeatedly feeling the effects of experiences and of suffering which correspond to, and [are] in the sphere of, God's will (intent; purpose) continuously commit their souls to a Faithful Former (or: Loyal Founder; Trustworthy Creator), within [the] producing of good (in union with making of virtue; in construction of excellence; within the midst of performing goodness).

Let us note that our experience and sufferings (presuming that they accord with vs. 16, not vs. 15) correspond to and are in the sphere of God's will, His intent and His purpose. Herein lies peace. In the knowledge of this fact, we can rest in Him. Since it is His will and purpose, we can rejoice and say "Amen!"

At the same time, we should continuously (the Greek present tense here indicates that this may be for some time, or that there is a process involved) commit our souls (our selves, which include our emotions, feelings, mental processes, wills, being, etc.) to Him that formed and created us and all that is – because He is faithful to, loyal to and trustworthy of His creation.

Furthermore, we are to do this "within [the] producing of good (in union with making of virtue; in construction of excellence; within the midst of performing goodness)." So our focus is to be on living our lives with excellence, constantly producing good actions and virtuous works, as we remain with ourselves committed to our Father, knowing that He is loyal to us.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Chapter Five

1. Therefore, I – the one [being] an older man together with [you] (or: a fellow elder person) and a witness of the experiences and of the effects of the sufferings of the Christ, as well as the one [being] a fellow participant (partner; one who shares in common) of the glory (or: manifestation which will call forth praise) being presently about to be progressively unveiled (revealed; or: disclosed) – am repeatedly calling older folks among you to my side, urging, encouraging and being a paraclete:

Peter was performing as a paraclete to the older folks among the communities who would receive this letter. In both Jewish and Greek cultures, the older folks were the natural leaders of the community. For one thing, they normally had the economic power and thus effected the local politics, and for another, with age comes the wisdom of experience. So it is only natural that Peter should make his final appeal to them. He is also reminding them that he, himself, was both a witness to the experiences and to the effects of the sufferings of the Messiah.

The Greek "pathema" means the results or effects of someone being affected by something – whether good or bad. So it can refer both to Christ's experiences, as well as to the effects and results of the things which He suffered. This takes us from His birth all the way to past the cross and on to the resurrection and to the sending of the Holy Spirit, and the creation of the new age of Messiah. Peter witnessed all of this.

Note that the unveiling of "the glory," which we discussed in ch. 4:13, was in Peter's day "being presently about to be progressively unveiled and disclosed." It was starting to be revealed in the 1st century, and that unveiling has progressed through the centuries which followed as His kingdom, which began as a Stone cut out of the mountain of Israel, has grown to itself be a mountain (kingdom) which is filling the entire earth (Dan. 2:35).

2. you folks shepherd (i.e., lead to pasture, feed, tend, protect, care for) God's little flock [that is] among you folks, constantly watching over [them], not in a forced manner (not by exercising compulsion or constraint; or: not unwillingly), but to the contrary, without compulsion (engendering volunteering; yieldingly; or: voluntarily; willingly), in accord with (or: in line with and corresponding to; in the sphere of) God; neither with eagerness for dishonest gain (greedily; for the low reason of what you can get out of it), but rather, readily rushing toward it with passion.

So the older folks are to be the shepherds – which means that they were to lead the younger folks to places where they could be fed; to tend, protect and care for these people in their community. Peter here uses the same metaphor that Jesus did with Peter himself, in John 21:15-17, and which He applied to Himself in John ch. 10. They were to constantly watch over the younger ones.

There was to be no force, compulsion or constraint. This care was to be in accord to the character of Yahweh (our Shepherd – Ps. 23), and in line with God. They were not to have any agenda of personal gain, but to eagerly and readily rush toward this community service fore-spiritedly, with passion.

3. Nor yet as ones constantly exercising down-oriented lordship (acting as owners or masters, bearing down with demands) of the members of the inheritance (of those who are the allotments of the heritage; or: of those considered to be small objects to be used in assigning positions or portions), but to the contrary, progressively becoming beaten models (types made by the strike of a hammer; examples) for the little flock,

Peter did not want the leaders, the older folks, to be controlling. They were not to act like owners who bore down with demands upon others. There was to be no "down-oriented lordship" over the members of God's inheritance.

The contrast for these "leaders" of the community was to become "beaten models" for the little flock. This literal rendering gives a much richer picture than the more common translation "examples." As you see in the expansion, it means a model that has been formed by the strike of a hammer. This hammer is God shaping us into His image. It is the clay being put through all the processes required to make it to be suitable for the wheel in the hands of the potter – and then the fires of the kiln. Even in this we see that it is all God, and nothing of us. Furthermore, with the "little flock" seeing the work of the Spirit upon the "elder folks," this very necessary process becomes an appropriate "example" for them.

4. and so, with the Chief Shepherd (or: the Original and Ruling Shepherd) [thus] being made visible (being shown in clear light), you folks will be bringing to yourselves – with care and kindly keeping – the unwithering and unfading wreath of the glory (or: the enduring recognition of achievement which comes from this good reputation).

It is the process implied in vs. 3 that makes the Chief Shepherd visible – in them, and now in us. The good reputation is that Christ is being observed in the lives of these folks. As they "shepherd" their little flock, the Life which is Christ is being shown in clear light. And as Paul said in Phil. 4:1, the wreath, which signifies success in the metaphor of the stadium games, is the little flock that they are tending. It is "the enduring recognition of achievement" in the lives now being lived in those whom they have been serving. It is Christ in them, the expectation which is the glory (Col. 1:27).

5. Likewise (or: In like manner), you younger people be humbly placed, arranged and aligned by (or: subjected for support to) older folks. Yet all of you folks (or: everyone) tie on yourselves, as an outer garment (like a slave's apron), the humble attitude (the lowliness of thinking) to one another [other MSS add: continuously being ones that are humbly aligned], because "God habitually sets Himself in opposition, being resistant to those who try to appear conspicuously above others (to haughty and proud ones), yet He constantly gives grace and favor to humble (or: lowly) folks." [Prov. 3:34]

Here he turns his admonitions to the rest of the community, the younger people. They are to be supportively aligned by the wisdom and experience of the older folks, yet this wisdom was for each person to "tie on" themselves, as with a slave's apron, a humble attitude toward each other (including the older folks). Here again Peter cites an OT aphorism as the basis for what he is saying. This is what God is like and how He responds to people. We see this demonstrated in the ministry of Jesus. He set Himself in opposition to the scribes and Pharisees, and gave grace and favor to the outcasts – the lowly ones.

6. Let yourselves be made humble (or: lowly), then, under God's strong hand – so that He can (or: would) at some point lift you up (or: may elevate or exalt you folks) within a fitting situation (or: in [the] proper season) –

7. while throwing (or: tossing) your entire concern (whole worry; every anxiety) upon Him, because He constantly cares about and takes an interest around you folks!

The verb of the first clause is imperative, passive. He is telling us not to resist what God is doing in His bringing us low. We are to toss our entire concern for ourselves and our lives upon Him, the Loyal Father, because He constantly cares about us and takes an interest around our situations. We, His loyal children, are to be without anxiety as we await the fitting situation and proper season for Him to at some point lift us up and elevate our position. We see an example of this whole process in the humbling and later exalting of Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4.

This is also a picture of God's plan of the ages, in the humbling of humanity – through Adam's disobedience – and then our exaltation through the obedience of Jesus (Rom. 5). And through it all, He cares about our concerns.

8. Be sober (or: clear headed)! Be awake, alert and watch! Your barricade in the Way pointed out (your road hazard; your opponent at court; the one "in your face" opposing your fairness and equity), one who casts or thrusts something through the midst of folks (e.g., like a soldier casting a javelin or thrusting a sword through someone, or a person throwing an issue through the midst of a group, causing division; or: a slanderer), as a constantly roaring lion, is continuously walking about, incessantly seeking to drink [you] down (or: searching to gulp and swallow [someone] down),[comment: this path-hazard and road barricade may have been local religions, cultural or political opposition, or a spirit of contrariness]

This verse should not be taken out of context and made to be a description of the works of "the devil," as has been the tradition. It flows out of vs. 6-7, describing the situation in which "God's strong hand" will humble us. James/Jacob 4:10 tell us "You must be made low (humbled; demoted) in the Lord's sight (= in [Yahweh's, or Christ's] presence), and then He will lift you up (elevate you)." We see God's strong hand in Ex. 3:20 where Yahweh "put forth [His] hand" to smite Egypt. The "rod of God" (Moses' staff) brought victory to Israel in Ex. 17:9-12, but it had become a snake in Ex. 7:10-12, and brought plagues on Egypt in vs. 19-20. In ch. 10:3, Yahweh says to Pharaoh through Moses, "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?"

Recall the story of Job, and how in ch. 40 and 42 he responded humbly to Yahweh. In ch. 2:10 he said,

"Indeed, should we receive good from the One, Elohim, and should we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin (err, miss the target) with his lips" (Concordant Version; my expansion).

This last statement says that Job was right, that we should receive evil from God. But we see in the first two chapters that God used an adversary (the Sabeans; the Chaldeans), or adversarial situations (lightning; a great wind) and personal affliction (boils) – and Job was humbled. But later, Yahweh raised him up, as we see in ch. 42.

In Hos. 5:14-15 (LXX) we see Yahweh describing Himself:

"Because of this, I Myself am like (or: exist being as) a panther to (or: for; in) Ephraim, and like a lion to (or: for; in) the house of Judah: thus I Myself will tear, and then journey on; I will take (grasp in [My] hand; seize), and there will be no one to be rescuing and dragging [folks] out of [My grasp]. I will journey on and return into My place until they will be caused to disappear, and then they will search for My face, and seek My presence."

Now in vs. 9, below, he tells us that "these same experiences and suffering," which they had observed as having come upon others in the brotherhood, were "to repeatedly and progressively bring the goal" that God had in mind, and in vs. 10-11 he says that it is God and His strength that will do this. These experiences are the same things that he spoke of in ch's. 1:6 and 4:12-14. Paul, in 2 Thes. 1:4b-5 says,

"all your pursuits (or: chasings; or: persecutions; harassments) and the pressures (squeezings; constrictions; contractions; tribulations; oppressions; ordeals) which you habitually have again (or: sustain; hold up): [are] a demonstration (a pointing-out; a display) of God's fair and equitable (just; righteous; in accord with the Way pointed out) decision (separation for making a distinction and an evaluation or a judging), unto your being accounted worthy (of equal value) of God's kingdom (or: the sovereign reign which is God), over (or: on behalf of) which you are also constantly having sensible experiences (or: normally feeling emotions; or: repeatedly suffering)."

This being the case, they were nonetheless admonished to

"Be sober (or: clear headed)! Be awake, alert and watch!" As the Messiah was delivered to the Romans "by the specific, determined, bounded (limited) plan (intended purpose, design and counsel) and foreknowledge (intimate knowledge which was experienced beforehand) of God" (Acts 2:23),

so were they delivered into these tests and trials. As Jesus told His disciples to "watch" and "pray" in Gethsemane, so Peter advises these folks, and us. Paul in Eph. 6;10-18 told them to put on God's armor and to take a stand (as in vs. 9, below).

Dr. Ann Nyland (The Source NT) points out that the Greek "diabolos" means "slanderer," and thus translates in a similar way the idea expressed by my expansion "opponent at court," seeing this as a legal metaphor. What I rendered "Your barricade in the Way pointed out (your road hazard; your opponent at court; the one 'in your face' opposing your fairness and equity)" she sees as a figure of a lawyer in a court of law, and a legal suit. The entire clause refers to opposition against the called-out community. There are folks or forces that are trying to thrust slander, legal suits, or whatever, to defame and discredit the community of faith, and as Saul did against the early church, these folks are operating as a roaring lion, wanting to devour this move of God. We face similar oppositions in our day, and history is replete with examples.

9. to whom take a stand against (withstand; set yourself in opposition), [being] strong (firm; compact) ones in (or: by) the faith, trust and loyalty – [being] folks having seen and thus knowing about these same experiences and sufferings [that] are to repeatedly and progressively bring the goal upon (bring perfection upon; accomplish maturity upon) your brotherhood within the dominating arrangement of the System (or: in the midst of the secular realm; or: in the ordered world of religion, economy, culture and government).

Jesus said in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation and pressures within the systems of our cultures – those systems that endeavor to dominate and control folks. But again, this is part of His plan: to use these religious, social, economic and political forces to refine and purify us. His plan is always: death, and then resurrection to a higher realm and state of being. Although His work of the cross brought the new creation, we, in following Him, must existentially take up our own crosses – and do the works that He did. These experiences and sufferings bring this goal upon us.

10. Now the God of all grace and favor (or: the God whose character and quality is all grace and favor; the God Who is every grace and joyous favor), the One calling (or: inviting) you folks – ones experiencing a little and briefly suffering – into His eonian glory (His glory and reputation which has the quality and characteristics pertaining to the realm of the Age and which continues on into an unseen and indefinite time) within Christ Jesus, the Same One (or: He) will get [things, or, you] down and prepare [them, or, you] (or: repair [them; you]; fit, knit or adjust [them; you] thoroughly), will set [things; you] fast and establish [them; you], will impart strength (will make [things; you] strong), will set a base upon which to ground and found [things and you]:

11. the strength (or: might) [to do these things is] in Him (and: by Him) on into the ages. It is so (Count on it)! [other MSS: the glory and the strength {is} in Him, on into the superlative times of the ages (or: the ages of the ages)]

The God Who humbles us is a God of all grace and favor. He brings us low in order to raise us up to a higher place. He is calling us into the glory – the manifestations which call forth praise – of the Age of the Messiah. This glory is within Christ Jesus, Who will get us and things down in order to prepare us and them. Then He will set us and them fast and establish us and them. He will impart strength and set a base upon which to ground and found us and situations. The strength and might to do all this is in Him, and by Him, and this carries on into the ages. We can count on it.

12. Through Silvanus (or: Silas), the faithful and loyal brother who is full of trust, as I continue logically thinking and considering, I write through means of a few [thoughts, lines, or, words; p72 reads: through a short {letter}], persistently calling [you] alongside to encourage, comfort and aid [you], as well as constantly bearing a full witness and adding evidence of this continuing to be God's true (and: real) grace and favor, into which you folks should set yourselves to take a stand (or, as an imperative: into which, [enter] and stand firm!).

Peter is sending this letter through Silvanus (thought to be the same person, Silas). I have expanded the adjective of "pistos" that describes this brother to give its semantic range. Peter is using this short letter of a few thoughts to be a paraclete for them – to call them to his side, to encourage, comfort and aid them – as well as to bear full witness and give added evidence of this message continuing to be God's true grace and real favor. They, and we, are to set ourselves into this message and favor, and take a firm stand therein.

13. The jointly-chosen (selected-together) called-out community (assembly; congregation; ecclesia) within Babylon constantly embraces and greets you folks; also Mark, my son.

Scholars differ in their opinions as to what the name "Babylon" refers. Some suggest Rome, others the city in the east to where the Jews had been taken in captivity (some remained there, and it became a center of Jewish scholarship which resulted in the "Babylonian Talmud"). Still others suggest that this was an enigmatic reference to Jerusalem, where both Peter and Mark had taken up residence. The name became a metaphor for corruption and idolatry and it was given to John as a symbol in Rev. 17 and 18. The figure there is of a prostitute, and calls to mind Isa. 1:21 where Jerusalem is thus described. Prostitution was a metaphor that the prophets of the O.T. used to describe Israel's unfaithfulness to Yahweh. Jerusalem has been shown by numerous scholars to fit the descriptions of Babylon in Rev. 17-18, and the beast upon which she rides speaks to her association with Rome (beasts in the book of Daniel represented empires).

14. Embrace as you greet one another within love's kiss. Peace (and: harmony; = shalom) [is] in (or: [is] by; with) you folks – all those within Christ Jesus! It is so (Amen)!

The phrase "within love's kiss" can refer to the middle-eastern form of greeting, which was a hug and a kiss on the cheek, or, it could speak to the kiss of the love of God, within which we exist. As elsewhere, I have added the verb "[is]" to the last clause, making it a statement rather than a wish. Note that the phrase "all those" is in the dative, so it can be "in all those," or "by all those." His peace is within us, but now it also comes through us who are within, and in union with, Jesus, the Anointed One.

[First Peter was written circa A.D. 65 – Based on the critical analysis of John A.T. Robinson]

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