Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Peter 1:1
See on Mat 16:18. As Paul in his letters does not call himself by his original name of Saul, so Peter calls himself, not Simon, but Peter, the name most significant and precious both to himself and to his readers, because bestowed by his Lord. In the opening of the second epistle he uses both names.
Of all the catholic epistles, Peter's alone puts forward his apostleship in the introduction. He is addressing churches with which he had no immediate connection, and which were distinctively Pauline. Hence he appeals to his apostleship in explanation of his writing to them, and as his warrant for taking Paul's place.
To the strangers - elect (Pe1 1:2, ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις)
The Rev., properly, joins the two words, elect who are sojourners, instead of continuing elect with according to the foreknowledge, etc., as A. V.
Regarding all whom he addressed as subjects of saving grace. The term corresponds to the Old-Testament title of Jehovah's people: Isa 65:9, Isa 65:15, Isa 65:22; Psa 105:43. Compare Mat 20:16; Mat 22:14; Rom 8:33.
Persons sojourning for a brief season in a foreign country. Though applied primarily to Hebrews scattered throughout the world (Gen 23:4; Psa 39:12), it has here a wider, spiritual sense, contemplating Christians as having their citizenship in heaven. Compare Heb 11:13. The preposition παρά, in composition, implies a sense of transitoriness, as of one who passes by to something beyond.
Lit., of the dispersion; from διασπείρω, to scatter or spread abroad; σπείρω meaning, originally, to sow. The term was a familiar one for the whole body of Jews outside the Holy Land, scattered among the heathen.
1 Peter 1:2
According to (κατὰ)
In virtue of; in accordance with.
Only here and Act 2:23, in Peter's sermon at Pentecost. He is distinguishing there between foreknowledge and determinate counsel.
Implying that the relation contemplated by the divine foreknowledge is a new relation of sonship.
In sanctification (ἐν ἁγιασμῷ)
Compare Th2 2:13. The spiritual state in which the being elected to salvation is realized. The word is peculiarly Pauline, occurring eight times in Paul's epistles, and besides only here and Heb 12:14.
Unto obedience (εἰς)
Note the three prepositions: according to (κατά) the foreknowledge; in (ἐν) sanctification; unto (εἰς) obedience. The ground, sphere, and end of spiritual sanctification.
Here in a passive sense - the being sprinkled. Properly, the ritualistic act of sprinkling blood or water. See Num 19:19, Num 19:21. Compare Heb 9:13; Heb 12:24 :; Num 19:9, Num 19:13, where the water in which were the ashes of the red heifer is called ὕδωρ ῥαντισμοῦ, water of sprinkling (Septuagint), which the A. V. and Rev. Old Testament render water of separation. The word and its kindred verb occur only in Hebrews and Peter.
The foreknowledge of the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ the Son. The Father foreknowing, the Son atoning, the Spirit applying the Son's work in sanctifying. "The mystery of the Trinity and the economy of our salvation are intimated in this verse" (Bengel).
Grace and peace (χάρις - εἰρήνη)
Pauline terms. See Rom 1:7. The salutation is peculiar by the addition of be multiplied, which occurs Pe2 1:2; Jde 1:2, and nowhere else in the salutations of the epistles. It is found, however, in the Septuagint, Dan 4:1 (Sept. 3:31), and Dan 6:25. Professor Salmond observes: "If the Babylon from which Peter writes can be taken to be the literal Babylon (see on Pe1 5:13), it might be interesting to recall the epistles introduced by salutations so similar to Peter's, which were written from the same capital by two kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, of two great dynasties, and addressed to all their provinces."
1 Peter 1:3
εὖ, well, λόγος, a word. Well-spoken-of; praised; honored. Used in the New Testament of God only. The kindred verb is applied to human beings, as to Mary (Luk 1:28): "Blessed (εὐλογημένη) art thou." Compare the different word for blessed in Mat 5:3, etc. (μακάριοι), and see notes there. The style of this doxological phrase is Pauline. Compare Co2 1:3; Eph 1:3.
Hath begotten us again (ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς)
The verb is used by Peter only, and by him only here and Pe1 1:23. It is in the aorist tense, and should be rendered, as Rev., begat; because regeneration is regarded as a definite historical act accomplished once for all, or possibly because Peter regards the historical act of Christ's resurrection as virtually effecting the regeneration. The latter sentiment would be Pauline, since Paul is wont to speak of Christians as dying and rising with Christ. Rom 7:4; Rom 6:8-11.
Better, as Rev., literally rendering the participle, living: a favorite word with Peter. See Pe1 1:23; Pe1 2:4, Pe1 2:5, Pe1 2:24; Pe1 4:5, Pe1 4:6; and compare Act 9:41, where Peter is the prominent actor; and Act 10:42, where he is the speaker.
Peter is fond of this word also (see Pe1 1:13, Pe1 1:21; Pe1 3:5, Pe1 3:15), which, in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope ("Republic," i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good.
1 Peter 1:4
An inheritance (κληρονομίαν)
A Pauline word, from κλῆρος, a lot, and νέμομαι, to distribute among themselves. Hence an inheritance is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general distribution. In the New Testament the idea of chance attaching to the lot is eliminated. It is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by special gift. So of the vineyard seized by the wicked husbandmen: "Let us seize on his inheritance" (Mat 21:38); of Abraham in Canaan: "God gave him none inheritance" (Act 7:5); "an eternal inheritance" (Heb 9:15).
Incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away
Note Peter's characteristic multiplication of epithets. Incorruptible (ἄφθαρτον). From ἀ, not, and φθείρω, to destroy or corrupt. Undefiled (ἀμίαντον). From ἀ, not, and μιαίνω, to defile, though the verb means especially to defile by staining, as with color; while μολύνω, also translated defile (Co1 8:7), is to besmirch, as with mire. We might render unstained, though the word is not used with any conscious reference to its etymology. That fadeth not away (ἀμάραντον) Used by Peter only, and but once. From ἀ, not, and μαραίνομαι, to wither. The loveliness of the heavenly inheritance is described as exempt from the blight which attaches to earthly bloom. As between ἄφθαρτον, incorruptible, and ἀμάραντον, unwithering, the former emphasizes the indestructibility of substance, and the latter of grace, and beauty. The latter adjective appears in the familiar botanical name amaranth. It will be observed that all of these three epithets are compounded with the negative particle ἀ, not. Archbishop Trench aptly remarks that "it is a remarkable testimony to the reign of sin, and therefore of imperfection, of decay, of death throughout this whole fallen world, that as often as we desire to set forth the glory, purity, and perfection of that other, higher world toward which we strive, we are almost inevitably compelled to do this by the aid of negatives; by the denying to that higher order of things the leading features and characteristics of this." Compare Rev 21:1, Rev 21:4, Rev 21:22, Rev 21:23, Rev 21:27; Rev 22:3, Rev 22:5.
Lit., which has been reserved, a perfect participle, indicating the inheritance as one reserved through God's care for his own from the beginning down to the present. Laid up and kept is the idea. The verb signifies keeping as the result of guarding. Thus in Joh 17:11, Christ says, "keep (τήρησον) those whom thou hast given me;" in Joh 17:12, "I kept them" (ἐτήρουν); i.e., preserved by guarding them. "Those whom thou gavest me I guarded (ἐφύλαξα)." So Rev., which preserves the distinction. Similarly, Joh 14:15, "keep (τηρήσατε) my commandments;" preserve them unbroken by careful watching. So Peter was delivered to the soldiers to guard him (φυλάσσειν), but he was kept (ἐτηρεῖτο) in prison (Act 12:4, Act 12:5). Compare Col 1:5, where a different word is used: ἀποκειμένην, lit., laid away.
For you (εἰς)
The use of this preposition, instead of the simpler dative, is graphic: with reference to you; with you as its direct object.
1 Peter 1:5
A military term. Lit., garrisoned. Rev., guarded. Compare Co2 11:32, and the beautiful metaphorical use of the word at Phi 4:7, "shall guard your hearts." The present participle indicates something in progress, a continuous process of protection. Hence, lit., who are being guarded. "The inheritance is kept; the heirs are guarded" (Bengel).
By (ἐν) the power; through (διὰ) faith; unto (εἰς) salvation
By, indicating the efficient cause; through, the secondary agency; unto, the result.
Note the frequent occurrence of this word, Pe1 1:9, Pe1 1:10.
Stronger than about to be, or destined to be, implying a state of waiting or preparedness, and thus harmonizing with reserved.
1 Peter 1:6
Ye greatly rejoice (ἀγαλλιᾶσθε)
The word is always employed in the New Testament for great or lively joy. See Mat 5:12; Luk 1:47; Luk 10:21.
For a season (ὀλίγον)
More literally and correctly, as Rev., for a little while. Compare Pe1 5:10. The word is used nowhere else in the New Testament in this sense.
In heaviness (λυπηθέντες)
Lit., having been grieved. Rev., ye have been put to grief.
But Rev., better, in; the preposition not being instrumental, but indicating the sphere or environment in which the grief operates.
Literally the word means variegated. It is used to describe the skin of a leopard, the different-colored veinings of marble, or an embroidered robe; and thence passes into the meaning of changeful, diversified, applied to the changing months or the variations of a strain of music. Peter employs it again, Pe1 4:10, of the grace of God, and James of temptations, as here (Jam 1:2). Compare πολυποίκιλος, manifold, in Eph 3:10, applied to the wisdom of God. The word gives a vivid picture of the diversity of the trials, emphasizing this idea rather than that of their number, which is left to be inferred.
Better, trials, as in margin of Rev., since the word includes more than direct solicitation to evil. It embraces all that goes to furnish a test of character. Compare Jam 1:2.
1 Peter 1:7
Only here and Jam 1:3. Rev., proof. The word means a test. As the means of proof, however, is not only the touchstone itself, but the trace of the metal left upon it, the sense here is the result of the contact of faith with trial, and hence the verification of faith. The expression is equivalent to your approved faith. Compare Rom 2:7, Rom 2:10.
Than of gold
Omit the of, and read than gold. The comparison is between the approved faith and the gold; not between the faith and the proof of the gold.
Though it be tried (δοκιμαζομένου)
Kindred with δοκίμιον, proof, and better rendered by Rev., proved. The verb is used in classical Greek of assaying or testing metals, and means, generally, to approve or sanction upon test. It is radically akin to δέχεσθαι, to receive, and hence implies a proof with a view to determine whether a thing be worthy to be received. Compare Co1 3:13; Gal 6:4; Jo1 4:1. It thus differs from πειράζειν, to try or tempt (see on πειρασμοῖς, Pe1 1:6), in that that verb indicates simply a putting to proof to discover what good or evil is in a person; and from the fact that such scrutiny so often develops the existence and energy of evil, the word acquired a predominant sense of putting to the proof with the design or hope of breaking down the subject under the proof - in other words, of temptation in the ordinary sense. Hence Satan is called ὁ πειράζων, the tempter, Mat 4:3; Th1 3:5. See on Mat 6:13. Archbishop Trench observes that "δοκιμάζειν could not be used of Satan, since he never proves that he may approve, nor tests that he may accept."
Might be found (εὑρεθῇ)
In accord with the preceding expressions, and indicating discovery as the result of scrutiny.
Praise and glory and honor
Such is the order of the best texts, and so Rev. Glory and honor often occur together in the New Testament, as Rom 2:7, Rom 2:10; Ti1 1:17. Only here with praise. Compare spirit of glory, Pe1 4:14.
1 Peter 1:8
Full of glory (δεδοξασμένῃ)
Lit., glorified, as Rev., in margin.
1 Peter 1:9
The verb originally means to take care of or provide for; thence to receive hospitably or entertain; to bring home with a view to entertaining or taking care of. Hence, to carry away so as to preserve, to save, rescue, and so to carry away as a prize or booty. Generally, to receive or acquire. Paul uses it of receiving the awards of judgment (Co2 5:10; Eph 6:8; Col 3:25). In Hebrews it is used of receiving the promise (Heb 10:36; Heb 11:39), and of Abraham receiving back Isaac (Heb 11:19). Peter uses it thrice, and in each case of receiving the rewards of righteousness or of iniquity. See Pe1 5:4; Pe2 2:13.
1 Peter 1:10
Have inquired and searched diligently (ἐξεζήτησαν - ἐξηρεύνησαν)
Rev., properly, renders the aorists sought and searched diligently. The ἐξ in composition has the force of out, searched out, and is rendered by diligently.
Used of Esau's seeking carefully for a place of repentance, in Heb 12:17.
Used nowhere else in the New Testament. Compare Septuagint, 1 Samuel 23:23, of Saul's searching out David.
1 Peter 1:11
Did signify (ἐδήλου)
Imperfect tense: better, was declaring, all along through the prophetic age, in successive prophets. See the same verb in Co1 3:13; Pe2 1:14 :.
When it testified beforehand (προμαρτυρόμενον)
Only here in New Testament.
Of Christ (εἰς Χριστὸν)
Lit., unto Christ. So Rev., in margin. The sufferings destined for Christ, as in Pe1 1:10 he speaks of the grace, εἰς ὑμᾶς, unto you; i.e., destined to come unto you. Peter was especially concerned to show that the sufferings of Christ were in fulfilment of prophecy, because it was a subject of dispute with the Jews whether the Christ was to suffer (Act 3:18; Act 26:22, Act 26:23).
The glory (τὰς δόξας)
Rev., correctly, the glories. The plural is used to indicate the successive steps of his glorification; the glory of his resurrection and ascension, of the last judgment, and of the kingdom of heaven.
1 Peter 1:12
Did minister (διηκόνουν)
Imperfect tense, were ministering. See on Mar 9:35. The term is applicable to any kind of service, official or not. Compare Co2 3:3.
The word commonly denotes intense desire. It is used by Christ in expressing his wish to eat the passover (Luk 22:15); of the prodigal's desire to satisfy his hunger with the husks (Luk 15:16); and of the flesh lusting against the spirit (Gal 5:17).
To look into (παρακύψαι)
A very graphic word, meaning to stoop sideways (παρά). Used by Aristophanes to picture the attitude of a bad harp-player. Here it portrays one stooping and stretching the neck to gaze on some wonderful sight. It occurs in Jam 1:25, describing him who looks into the perfect law of liberty as into a mirror; and in Luk 24:12; Joh 20:5, Joh 20:11, of Peter and John and Mary stooping and looking into the empty tomb. Possibly the memory of this incident unconsciously suggested the word to Peter. The phrase illustrates Peter's habitual emphasis upon the testimony of sight (see Introduction). Bengel acutely notes the hint in παρά, beside, that the angels contemplate the work of salvation from without, as spectators and not as participants. Compare Heb 2:16; Eph 3:10.
1 Peter 1:13
Gird up (ἀναζωσάμενοι)
Lit., having girded up. Used here only. The metaphor is suggested by the girding up of the loose eastern robes preparatory to running or other exertion. Perhaps recalling the words of Christ, Luk 12:35. Christ's call is a call to active service. There is a fitness in the figure as addressed to sojourners and pilgrims (Pe1 1:1; Pe1 2:11), who must be always ready to move.
See on Mar 12:30.
Be sober (νήφοντες)
Lit., being sober. Primarily, in a physical sense, as opposed to excess in drink, but passing into the general sense of self-control and equanimity.
Hope to the end (τελείως ἐλπίσατε)
Better, as Rev., set your hope perfectly: wholly and unchangeably; without doubt or despondency.
That is to be brought (τὴν φερομένην)
Lit., which is being brought, as Rev., in margin. The object of hope is already on the way.
1 Peter 1:14
Obedient children (τέκνα ὑπακοῆς)
Literally, and more correctly, as Rev., children of obedience. See on Mar 3:17. The Christian is represented as related to the motive principle of his life as a child to a parent.
Fashioning yourselves (συσχηματιζόμενοι)
See on Mat 17:2; and compare Rom 12:2, the only other passage where the word occurs. As σχῆμα is the outward, changeable fashion, as contrasted with what is intrinsic, the word really carries a warning against conformity to something changeful, and therefore illusory.
1 Peter 1:15
As he which hath called you is holy (κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον)
As of the A. V. is according to, or after the pattern of; and holy is to be taken as a personal name; the which hath called being added for definition, and in order to strengthen the exhortation. Render, therefore, after the pattern of the Holy One who called you. So, nearly, Rev., in margin. A similar construction occurs Pe2 2:1 : the Lord that bought them.
A favorite word with Peter; used eight times in the two epistles. From ἀνά, up, and στρέφω, to turn. The process of development in the meaning of the word is interesting. 1. A turning upside down. 2. A turning about or wheeling. 3. Turning about in a place, going back and forth there about one's business; and so, 4, one's mode of life or conduct. This is precisely the idea in the word conversation (Lat., conversare, to turn round) which was used when the A. V. was made, as the common term for general deportment or behavior, and was, therefore, a correct rendering of ἀναστροφή. So Latimer ("Sermons"): "We are not bound to follow the conversations or doings of the saints." And Shakspeare, 2 Hen. IV., v., 5:
"But all are banished till their conversation
Appear more wise and modest to the world."
Our later limitation of the meaning to the interchange of talk makes it expedient to change the rendering, as Rev., to manner of living.
1 Peter 1:17
If ye call on the Father - judgeth
More correctly, Rev., If ye call on him as Father; the point being that God is to be invoked, not only as Father, but as Judge.
Without respect of persons (ἀπροσωπολήμπτως)
Here only. Peter, however, uses προσωπολήμπτης, a respecter of persons, Act 10:34, which whole passage should be compared with this. Paul and James also use the kindred word προσωπολημψία, respect of persons. See Rom 2:11; Jam 2:1. James has the verb προσωπολημπτέω, to have respect of persons. The constituents of the compound word, πρόσωπον, the countenance, and λαμβάνω, to receive, are found in Gal 2:6; and the word is the Old-Testament formula to accept or to raise the face of another; opposed to making the countenance fall (Job 29:24; Gen 4:5). Hence, to receive kindly, or look favorably upon one (Gen 19:21; Gen 32:20, etc.). In the Old Testament it is, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, "a neutral expression involving no subsidiary notion of partiality, and is much oftener found in a good than in a bad sense. When it becomes an independent Greek phrase, however, the bad sense attaches to it, owing to the secondary meaning of πρόσωπον, a mask; so that πρόσωπον λαμβάνειν signifies to regard the external circumstances of a man, his rank, wealth, etc., as opposed to his real, intrinsic character."
Compare sojourners, Pe1 1:1.
1 Peter 1:18
Ye were redeemed (ἐλυτρώθητε)
The verb occurs only in two other passages, Luk 24:21; Tit 2:14. It carries the idea of a ransom-price (λύτρον, from λύω, to loose).
With silver or gold (ἀργυρίῳ ἢ χρυσίῳ)
Lit., with silver or gold money; the words meaning, respectively, a small coin of silver or of gold.
Rev., manner of life. See on Pe1 1:15.
Received by tradition from your fathers (πατροπαραδότου)
A clumsy translation; improved by Rev., handed down from your fathers. The word is peculiar to Peter.
1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ
The word Χριστοῦ, of Christ, stands at the end of the sentence, and is emphatic. Render, as Rev., with precious blood as of a lamb, etc., even the blood of Christ.
Peculiarly appropriate from Peter. See Joh 1:35-42. The reference is to a sacrificial lamb.
Without blemish (ἀμώμου)
Representing the Old-Testament phrase for absence of physical defect (Exo 12:5; Lev 22:20, Compare Heb 9:14).
Without spot (ἀσπίλου)
Compare Ti1 6:14; Jam 1:27; Pe2 3:14. In each case in a moral sense.
1 Peter 1:20
Lit., and better, foreknown, as Rev.
Observe the difference in tense. Foreknown is the perfect participle, has been known from all eternity down to the present "in reference to the place held and continuing to be held by Christ in the divine mind" (Salmond). Manifested is the aorist participle, pointing to a definite act at a given time.
In these last times ( ἐπ' ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων)
Lit., as Rev., at the end of the times.
1 Peter 1:21
Compare Rom 4:24.
That your faith and hope might be in God
Some render, that your faith should also be hope toward God.
1 Peter 1:22
The Septuagint translation of the Old-Testament technical term for the purification of the people and priests (Joshua 3:5; 1 Chronicles 15:12; 1 Samuel 16:5). Also, of the separation from wine and strong drink by the Nazarite (Num 6:2-6). In this ceremonial sense, Joh 11:55; Act 21:24, Act 21:26; Act 24:18. In the moral sense, as here, Jam 4:8; Jo1 3:3. Compare καθαρίσας, purifying, Act 15:9.
Rev., obedience. A peculiarly New Testament term unknown in classical Greek. In the Septuagint only 2 Samuel 22:36; rendered in A. V. gentleness. Rev., condescension, in margin.
Ἀ, not, ὑποκριτής, actor. The latter word is from ὑποκρίνεσθαι, to answer on the stage, and hence to play a part or to act. A hypocrite is, therefore, an actor.
With a pure heart (ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας)
The best texts reject καθαρᾶς, pure. Render, therefore, as Rev., from the heart.
Used by Peter only, and only in this passage. He uses the kindred adjective ἐκτενής without ceasing, in Act 12:5, where the narrative probably came from him, and also at Pe1 4:8; "fervent charity." The words are compounded with the verb τείνω, to stretch, and signify intense strain; feeling on the rack.
1 Peter 1:23
Being born again (ἀναγεγεννημένοι)
Rev., having been begotten again. Compare Jam 1:18.
Of (ἐκ) seed - by (διά) the word
Note the difference in the prepositions; the former denoting the origin or source of life, the latter the medium through which it imparts itself to the nature.
Word of God (λόγου Θεοῦ)
The gospel of Christ. Compare Pe1 1:25, and Peter's words, Act 10:36. Also, Eph 1:13; Col 1:5; Jam 1:18. Not the personal Word, as the term is employed by John. Nevertheless, the connection and relation of the personal with the revealed word is distinctly recognized. "In the New Testament we trace a gradual ascent from (a) the concrete message as conveyed to man by personal agency through (b) the Word, the revelation of God to man which the message embodies, forming, as it were, its life and soul, to (c) The Word, who, being God, not only reveals but imparts himself to us, and is formed in us thereby" (Scott, on Jam 1:18, "Speaker's Commentary").
Nowhere else in the New Testament. Primarily, the sowing of seed.
1 Peter 1:24
Following the reading ἀνθρώπου, in the Septuagint, Isaiah 50:6, which Peter quotes here. But the best texts read αὐτῆς, of it, or, as Rev., thereof.
Literally, the writer puts it as in a narrative of some quick and startling event, by the use of the aorist tense: withered was the grass. Similarly, the flower fell (ἐξέπεσεν). Lit., fell off, the force of ἐκ.
1 Peter 1:25
Word of the Lord (ῥῆμα κυρίου)
Compare Pe1 1:23, and note that ῥῆμα is used for word, instead of λόγος; and Κύριος, Lord, instead of Θεός, God, which is the reading of the Hebrew, and of most copies of the Septuagint. The substitution indicates that Peter identifies Jesus with God. No very satisfactory reason can be given for the change from λόγος to ῥῆμα. It may be due to the Greek translation, which Peter follows.