New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary



1 Peter























Whole of James






Like James, Peter in both his letters is emphasizing the need to develop spiritual attributes in the light of the imminence of the Lord's coming; and he warns that false teachers would sidetrack them from the pursuit of real spirituality, which is a major theme of James.

1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ- As Peter matured by the time of 2 Pet. 1:1, he adds "a servant and an apostle". Progressive humility, an ever deeper sense of servanthood, is part of our spiritual growth. Phil. 2:5-8 speaks of the Lord's progressive humility as being our pattern.

To the chosen ones who are temporary dwellers of the dispersion- The reference to the dispersion suggests Peter was writing to Jews; the similarities noted above with the letter of James confirm that the same Jewish audience is in view. James too was addressed to the twelve tribes of the dispersion (James 1:1). Perhaps these were those whom Peter had baptized on the day of Pentecost, who had scattered when the Jerusalem church was persecuted, and were now in the provinces of what is now Turkey. All the NT letters are written to those whom the writer has converted, as further pastoral support. It was on this basis that they had authority to tell their converts how they ought to be behaving and believing. But "temporary dwellers" is the word for a pilgrim or foreigner, and is used in a spiritual sense in 2:11 and Heb. 11:13. By status they were to always be 'passers through' and were to remember that. Any refugee yearns for stability, to settle down again permanently. But they were being reminded that they were always on the move. In their cases, they had come from their birthplaces to live at Jerusalem, had accepted Christ, and were now refugees in Turkey. This would make many of those whom Peter was addressing somewhat advanced in years. But even in middle and old age they were to remember that in the spiritual life, we are always moving on. We too may long for stability, and bend all our efforts to try to achieve it; the solid relationship, home, career, family life etc., but we are on a journey and that present instability is for our eternal good. For thereby we are taught that this world is not now the Kingdom of God. Jews within the land of Israel used these terms to denote Gentiles visiting Palestine; and now in Christ, these once orthodox Jews were realizing how those Gentiles felt.

In Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia- The order of the provinces listed is the route a messenger would take, going around the provinces en route further West, perhaps to Rome.

1:2 Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father- Paul speaks of these ideas in Romans [where perhaps Peter had been if Babylon in 5:13 refers to Rome]. He cites them as an example of how the work of the Spirit is by grace- and therefore not by works of the law. And Peter repeats this reasoning, going on now to speak of the Spirit's work.

In sanctification of the Spirit- GNB "made a holy people by his Spirit". Just as we could not call ourselves nor place ourselves in God's foreknowledge, so we cannot make ourselves holy. This is all the work of the Spirit.

To be obedient and sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ- Although so much has been done for us, we must still respond. The reference to obedience to Jesus and being sprinkled / purified by His blood may well refer to baptism. It is by that act that we respond to what has been potentially planned for us.

Grace to you and peace be multiplied- Grace means 'gift'. He wished that the gift of the Spirit be multiplied to them each one.

1:3- see on 1 Thess. 1:2.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy begat us to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead- We are born again by the Spirit (Jn. 3:3-5). This would then be another reference to baptism (see on :2 To obey...). Peter had baptized his audience quite some time ago, and he wanted to remind them of the significance of their baptisms. Because of Christ's resurrection, we too have a living hope, a hope of living [again]. And the connection between His resurrection and ours is made by baptism. We are born again and become living because the Lord rose from the dead, and thereby shed forth the power of His living, His spirit, in our lives.

There are a series of allusions to Daniel which show him to be representative of all those in Christ: 

1 Peter 1 (re. the saints)


"An inheritance... reserved... for you" (v.4)

"Thou shalt... stand in thy lot (inheritance) at the end of the days" (12:13)

In heaviness of spirit (v.6)

Daniel's heaviness of spirit

"The proof of your faith... is proved by fire... unto praise and honour and glory" (v.7 RV)

The experience of Daniel's friends
Daniel praised, honoured and glorified (2:6 cp. 4:37)

"Whom having not seen ye love... now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice" (v.8)

The spirit of Daniel?

"Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (v.9)

Cp. Daniel's assurance of salvation (12:13)

"The prophets have enquired and searched diligently... searching what manner of time the spirit... did signify" (v.10,11)

Peter was certainly writing here with his eye on Daniel's enquiring and diligent searching "what manner of time" his prophecies referred to (8:15,27; 9:2; 12:8)

"Unto whom it was revealed (in response to their enquiries) that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister...
... which things the Angels desire to look into" (v.12)

This is definitely alluding to Dan. 12:4, where Daniel is told that he cannot understand his own prophecies, but they will be understood by latter day believers to whom they will be relevant.
Angelic interest in prophecy is mainly demonstrated in Daniel.


1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away- The same word is used in the parallel James 1:11 about the wealthy shall "fade away". The sustained references to the unfading, eternal inheritance are therefore in contrast with the fading things of material inheritance now. This was particularly relevant to the refugees; whatever they managed to accumulate for themselves would fade away. It probably deeply grieved these older folks (see on 1:1 Temporary dwellers) that as refugees they had lost all and had nothing to leave as an inheritance. But they were to focus upon the eternal inheritance.

Reserved in heaven for you- The "inheritance" is therefore not simply the land inheritance to Abraham to which we become heirs by identity with Christ, the seed of Abraham. It is already prepared for us, and is safely kept in Heaven. Our reward, the nature of our eternal being, is prepared uniquely and individually for us. It is prepared and present now in Heaven, and only our own wilful fighting against God's will can stop us being given it at the Lord's return.

1:5 You who by the power of God are guarded- The power / Spirit of God guards, preserves us, unto salvation at the last day. This continues the theme of :2. But some who start the race shall not finish it. They will therefore have resisted the Holy Spirit, consciously tried not to be saved, wilfully going against His will. There is a power in our lives preserving us unto salvation. Strength is given us even in our weakness; temptations removed or overcome... But God will not force us into His Kingdom. This power operates through faith in it. If on a theological level we deny this power, then we cannot have faith in it- and are left trusting solely on our own strength.

Through faith- The fact that God so loves us is itself a limitation to Him. Because in any relationship, one person usually loves more than the other. And the one who loves the most- which is unquestionably God- has the least power. This is why He, the more powerful in physical terms, changes His mind to accommodate us. But the Almighty also allows His infinite power to become limited by our degrees of spirituality. We are kept “by the power of God through faith…” (1 Pet. 1:5); His power in practice is in some sense paralleled with and in that sense controlled by our faith.

Whatever else it referred to in its local context, the gift of the Spirit promised after baptism in Acts 2 was related to forgiveness and the subsequent hope of salvation. At baptism we rise in prospect as Christ rose, to total victory over sin. In prospect, all our sins were forgiven. As forgiveness is a spiritual gift, or gift of the Spirit, it follows that in some way we receive this at baptism. The continuation of this gift is conditional upon our using faith to keep it active on our behalf. We are "begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (alluding to our baptism), to an inheritance (a place in the future Kingdom)... reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power (spirit) of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1:3-5). 

To a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time- This is the reserved inheritance (see on :4). It is "a salvation" because salvation will be unique to each of us; whilst we shall all be immortalized, the nature of our eternity will be tailored to each of us individually.

1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice- As in :8. Knowing we shall be saved if the Lord returns now is the basis for great joy. If we are not certain of this... then Christianity is hardly the source of all joy and peace, but rather a fearful looking ahead to judgment day.

Though now, for a little while, if need be, you have suffered many trials- The idea is as in GNB "even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer". Rejoicing and sadness therefore go together in the Christian life. The joy experienced is something far deeper than surface level emotion; for on that level we may well be sad. This is how the Lord before His death could talk of sharing His joy with His followers; even though He Himself was sorrowful unto death.

1:7- see on 1 Pet. 3:15.

So that the proof of your faith- To whom is our faith proven through trials? God knows the end from the beginning. Recall how He commented that He knew that Abraham would be faithful: "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD" (Gen. 18:19). The proof is surely to ourselves. The purpose of testing is that we may know ourselves. The initial application of Peter's words here are surely to the "fiery trial" of Nero's persecution, from which he hoped the believers would emerge spiritually intact and then be immediately glorified by the Lord's return; see on 4:12 The fiery trial.

(More precious than gold that perishes though it is proved by fire)- Another parallel with James, who writes of gold that rusts. The idea is that gold doesn't rust and doesn't perish; but it does at infinity. And we are to live as if we are there, at infinity. The Jewish refugees in Turkey needed that assurance, with money a daily worry, especially since they had no land, no property, and no assurance they could work towards getting it. The supreme value of their faith is therefore emphasized.

May be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ- But in this life, choosing the life of faith as opposed to the legalism of neo-Judaism will also result in "the praise of God" (Jn. 12:43). Likewise Rom. 2:29 speaks of receiving praise of God for choosing to circumcise our heart rather than resting content with being a Jew outwardly. Being praised at the last day recalls the parable about the faithful being praised for using their talents, or for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked etc. Such praise is because of the righteousness imputed to us. But it is also because our faith in this life is so deeply significant to Him; it is indeed more precious than gold.

1:8 Whom you love though you have not seen him- Peter almost implies that His very invisibility is what makes us love Him, through His revelation to us in Scripture, in the way He seeks us to. We believe in Him because He is presently invisible to us; for faith is belief in what cannot be seen (Heb. 11:1-3). Yet Peter surely had his mind on the Lord's words of Jn. 20:29: "Blessed are they that have not seen yet have believed". Here Peter parallels believing in Jesus with loving Him. Belief in Him therefore involves far more than accepting His historical existence. It involves emotion and relationship which arise from that.

On whom you believe, though now you do not see him- The language of first faith and conversion, alluding to the Lord’s promise of blessing for those who had not seen but had believed. Remember that Peter had baptized his audience at Pentecost. But believing on or into Jesus is an ongoing process.

And rejoice greatly with joy inexpressible and full of glory- This joy was far deeper than emotion; see on :6. They were saddened and distressed as refugees; but they were inexpressibly happy. But inexpressible joy and fullness of glory suggests the joy of final acceptance at the last day. The awesome message is that we can experience that right now.

1:9 Receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls- The joy of :8 and present fulness of glory can only be because of the fact that we are right now in process of receiving eternity; as John's Gospel puts it, we have eternal life, in that we are living now the kind of life we shall eternally live. We have the hope of life now (:3); and elpis doesn't mean a mere possibility, but a stable, certain future event. See on 1 Pet. 3:15.

1:10 Concerning this salvation the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you- AV "Of which salvation...". They searched for information about this kind of salvation, the salvation that can now be experienced... and perceived that it was for us who believe in Christ. They didn't fully experience it themselves because Christ had not then died and resurrected. They prophesied about the grace that should come to us and was not then revealed in reality.

1:11- see on Mk. 14:35.

Searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point to- The Spirit of God is that of His Son, for they are of the same mind / Spirit. There is ultimately only one Spirit, God's, which is in His Son and in us. The Spirit which was about Christ was in them, so that they prophesied about Him. But they wanted of course to know when this time would be. And it's now, Peter is saying.

When it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow them- We now are "full of glory" (:8). The glories enabled by His sufferings refer to the spiritual blessings we now have, the outpouring of the Spirit as a result of His glorification, which Peter has recounted; the possibility of being certain of future salvation, the transforming Spirit of God sanctifying us and preserving our path to eternity, and living the eternal life right now.

1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven- The things which were not then possible; the Holy Spirit had not been given into the hearts of believers as Christ had not then been glorified; the "things" are the "glories" of :11 [see note there].

Which things the Angels desire to look into- A clear equation of prophets and Angels is found by comparing 1 Pet. 1:10 and 12: "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently. . . which things the Angels (also) desire to look into", referring to the Cherubim Angels peering down intently into the blood on the mercy seat, the "salvation" which the prophets searched after. In the parable of redemption contained in getting a wife for Isaac, the servant went to seek out Rebecca, representing the prophets going to take us out of the world to begin a wilderness journey to our new husband. He must surely represent the word taking us out of the world; yet he was led by an Angel (Gen. 24:7), suggesting the Angels work through the word they inspire to bring us out of the world. Other passages relevant to this theme of Angels giving the Word of God are Ex. 23:22; Num. 22:35; 23:17; 24:1,2; Heb. 2:2. See on 2 Sam. 23:1-3.

Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope completely on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ- Peter’s letters are full of reference to the cross and various physical aspects of the trial and mocking of the Lord which he witnessed first-hand (5:1). “Girding ourselves" with humility is a reference to what the Lord did at the last supper (s.w. Jn. 13:5), although then, Peter had so misunderstood what He had done. Other examples in 1:19; 2:20; 2:22; 2:23; 2:24; 3:18; 4:1; 5:3. Well does the NCV translate Prov. 4:23: “Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life”. We are to gather together “the loins of your mind” (1 Pet. 1:13), make a conscious effort to analyse our thinking, get a grip on it and gather it together into Christ.

The eating of the meal with girded loins (Ex. 12:11,13) is seen by Peter as meaning we should have our minds girded, gathered up, in place and order (1 Pet. 1:13). Note how 1 Peter is replete with Passover allusions (1:17 cp. sojourning with fear in Egypt; 1:18 silver and gold taken from Egypt; 1:19 the Passover lamb; 1:23 corruptible seed= leaven; 2:9,10 cp. leaving Egypt at night, led from darkness to the glory of Sinai, where they became a nation. The Passover night is alluded to in the New Testament as being typical of the spirit which we ought to have in daily life as we await the Lord’s return. They were to eat it with their clothes girded together ready to up and go, huddled together in their family / ecclesial units, focused upon the slain Passover lamb in their midst which was to be their salvation. ”Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind… and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ… forasmuch as ye know that ye were [redeemed] with… the precious blood of Christ, as of a [Passover] lamb without blemish” (1 Pet. 1:13,18,21). “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return… that they may open unto him immediately” (Lk. 12:35,36). In order to be ready to quit this life at any moment, with no looking back after the pattern of Lot’s wife, we need to live in a daily spirit of urgent awareness of our position, living as we do in Egyptian darkness. 1 Peter 1 is packed with Passover and exodus allusions; v. 13 interprets the girding of loins: "Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you". The sober minds of those families on that night, their thoughts like their garments pulled together and tightly bound, should resemble the type of mind control which we exercise in the face of our Lord's return.

Those refugees, so concerned at their lack of future security, worried about mid to long term financial issues (just like so many today) were to set their elpis, their confident expectation, on the fact they would be saved by grace at the last day. The operation of the grace / Spirit mentioned earlier was the guarantee that the final grace of personal salvation would be brought to them at the last day. "Brought to you" is a mild translation of a term used for rushing, a ship being driven by the wind; salvation is rushing to meet us.

1:14 As children of obedience, do not be conformed to the lusts- AV "conforming yourselves". The contrast is between children who are raised with principles which they are obedient to; and children who raise themselves, conforming themselves to whatever takes their fancy. This is how we shall 'turn out' unless we accept God's word as the final authority.

You had in your former ignorance- If my reconstruction is correct, Peter is writing to once very committed Orthodox Jews whom he had baptized in Jerusalem. But the life of legalism is in fact of living in lusts; Paul says this about his own life in Romans 7, and specifically states that he at that stage lived in lust (Tit. 3:3). Only grace can lead us out of that.

1:15 But like He who called you is holy, be you yourselves holy in all manner of living- This connects back to :2, which says that they had been called by God's gracious plan from the beginning, and His Spirit was at work to sanctify or make them holy. He is Holy, and His plan is to raise "children of obedience" (:14) like Him. Orthodox Jews such as they once were would have been obsessed with holiness in the sense of ritual separation. But this was to be extended to "all manner of living". By being holy / separate over a few things, they were tempted to think that vast areas of life in other areas could be lived as they wished. This was and is the problem with legalistic obedience. Hence the focus on all manner of living.

1:16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy- This is quoting from the Levitical code of conduct for priests (Lev. 11:44,45). But those same words were spoke to all the congregation (Lev. 19:2)- for it was God's intention that all Israel should develop into a nation of priests. And this very idea is applied by Peter to the entire church (2:5,9). We likewise cannot assume that others shall take care of our spirituality; we are in fact called to be Levites for others. All of us have this calling.

1:17 And if you call on Him as Father- Perhaps a reference to the way early Christians used the Lord's prayer, beginning "Our Father...". If God was their Father, the first word of the prayer ["our"] demands that we accept we are not His only children. And He will judge all His children the same, and that included the Gentile converts with whom perhaps these Jewish converts were finding it hard to get along.

Who without partiality judges- The trial of our faith is going on now; the judgment will simply formally reveal the verdict which is now being arrived at. The Father judges now "according to every man's work" (1 Pet. 1:17), as He did in OT times: "Thou renderest to every man according to his work" (Ps. 62:12). Yet when His Son returns, He will give every man "according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12). It couldn't be clearer: the judgment is going on now, and the Lord Jesus returns to give us the reward which has been 'judged' appropriate for us. With this background, Peter drives home the almost inevitable practical lesson: "... [therefore] pass the time of your sojourning here in fear". Now Yahweh's eyes judge and examine the righteous, as He sits enthroned; and He will, at the future day of judgment, rain sulphur upon the head of the wicked and chase them away with His brining wind (Ps. 11:4-6 RV- reference to the Angel of the Lord chasing the rejected away?).

God will judge every man’s work “forasmuch as ye know that ye were... redeemed... with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb slain..." (1 Pet. 1:17-19). The link between our judgment and Christ’s death needs to be reflected upon here. Our appreciation (“forasmuch...") of the cross is related to how we will be judged. The Lord’s death should influence our works and therefore it is intimately related to our final judgment. We will be judged in accordance with how far we have let the cross influence our daily works.
Baptism can never be undone; as a result of that covenant statement before God, we for evermore live our lives with a sense of responsibility to Him. “If ye call [upon yourselves] on the [name of] the Father [an allusion to baptism into the Father's Name]... pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know [i.e. the more you realize this, the more you will live in fear / reverence] that ye... were redeemed... with the precious blood of Christ".

According to each man's work- Peter had found it hard to accept that truly “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:37). And, as was well known, there had come a time when he had slipped back into the old mindset, and had once again respected persons by refusing to break bread with Gentiles. And yet he reminds his Jewish readers that their prayers ascend to a Father “who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work” (i.e. Jew or Gentile). He was asking them to learn what he had so slowly and falteringly come to accept as the articulation of the very same grace to the Gentiles which had been his salvation too. 

Pass the time of your sojourning in fear- Or, "exile". The Jewish Christians had been driven out of Jerusalem by the Orthodox Jews, thus making a parallel between the Orthodox and Babylon, who had likewise driven Judah into exile. And "Babylon" may be a title for Jerusalem in 5:13 and in Revelation. It has been demonstrated that the record of the exile from the land is framed in terms of the exile from Eden; the offer of return to the land is therefore an offer of paradise restored, fellowship with God renewed- for those who wanted it. Let’s remember that the exiles were symbols of us. We in this life are passing through “the time of our exile” (1 Pet. 1:17 RSV).

1:18- see on Lk. 24:21.

Knowing you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold- Gold only corrupts at infinity, and that is where we are. The connection is with the reference in :4 to the transitory nature of wealth (see notes there); and how our relation to the Lord's blood, which has eternal effects, ought to make us not materialistic. All wealth can buy is temporary; but we stand related to the eternal wealth.

From your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers- The Orthodox Jewish life of legal obedience was in fact "vain". And they were redeemed from it. And the Lord's death redeems us likewise from whatever was our spiritual and psychological inheritance. Do we feel that life is just pointless, an endless round of childcare, working all day doing in essence the same job for 30 years, a trudging through an endless tunnel until our mortality catches up on us? We were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ from the “vain way of life handed down from the fathers" (1 Pet. 1:18), from the frustration of this present life. The word used for “vain" is that used by the LXX for the ‘vanity’ of life as described in Ecclesiastes, and for idol worship in Lev. 17:7 and Jer. 8:19. We have been redeemed from it all! Not for us the life of endlessly chasing the rainbow’s end, slavishly worshipping the idols of ever bigger homes, smarter technology... we were redeemed from the vanity of life “under the sun" by the precious blood of Christ. We were bought out of this slavery, even if in the flesh we go through its motions. Knowing this, we the redeemed, the bought out from vanity, shouldn’t spend our hours in front of the television or doing endless crosswords, or frittering away the time of life as the world does. James foresaw that a man could appear to be religious, and yet have a religion that was “vain" (James 1:26)- because he didn’t appreciate that the cross has bought him out of vanity.

New life is always needed. This is why in our daily reading and fellowship with our Lord, as we enter ever more deeply into His character, we are challenged afresh daily. We aren’t professionals, committee members, in this drive for spirituality. We are amateurs at heart, children, wide eyed with wonder at what we are being shown, ever moving on to some fresh endeavour. Our spiritual new life need never become a mere routine, a burden, a duty to be performed, a habit. For “[in the heart] where the spirit of the Lord [Jesus] is, there the heart is free” (2 Cor. 3:17); we were brought out from the pointless, repetitive bondage of Egypt by the blood of Christ. What this means is not that red liquid somehow did something for us; His example of death, how He was there, inspires us to break out from the vain way of life we received by tradition from our fathers. We alone, as true believers in the representative nature of His sacrifice, are thereby empowered to break out of the routine of our lives.

1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot- 1 Pet. 1:18,19 sets the blood of Christ in utter opposition to materialism; the very historical fact of His cross of itself means a rejection of material things. The financially strapped refugees needed to be reminded of this. We are familiar enough with the way in which Israel's crossing of the Red Sea represents our redemption in Christ. Their response when they got the other side was to willingly sacrifice the riches of Egypt which they had brought with them; they gave them to the Lord's work, so that the tabernacle could be built up. Israel's exodus and establishment as God's Kingdom at Sinai was the prototype of the early church's experience. They too, for the sheer joy of the Truth, resigned their material possessions. The merchant man for the sheer joy of finding the beautiful pearl sells all he has, for the pure excellency of possessing just that one pearl (Mt. 13:44-46).

"Precious" is the same word just used about how precious is faith (:7). The blood of Christ is only precious to those who believe that by His work we shall eternally live. To damage the faith of another is to damage something so very precious, and if they stumble, then the blood of Christ is no longer for them precious.

1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world- The same word has been used in the opening argument in :2. We were foreknown in God's plan; but this is because we are "in Christ", and all that is true of Him is true of us. By baptism into Him, all that is true of Him becomes true of us. This solves the problem of how some were foreknown from the beginning, and others apparently were not. The truth is that all those who choose to become "in Christ" share all that is true of Him. If He was foreknown, so then are we. It is our choice as to whether we wish to be in Him. And note that as He was foreknown, so were we. That does not require His literal, personal pre-existence, just as it doesn't demand ours.

But was manifested at the end of times for your sake- The "foundation of the world" could refer to the Jewish or Mosaic age. For Judaism, in which the readers had grown up, referred to the Sinai covenant as "the foundation of the world". So "the end of times" would then refer to the end of Jewish times, the time of the Mosaic Law, which was ended by the Lord's death. His manifestation would then refer particularly to His death rather than His birth. His death was the supreme manifestation of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb without spot (:19).

1:21 Who through him are believers in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory- Nearly everyone in the first century believed in the God-idea. There were very few atheists. Hence the radical nature of statements like 1 Pet. 1:21: we "through him [Jesus] are believers in God", because God raised Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of the Lord inspires faith in the Father to such an extent that anyone whose faith in 'God' is not based on the risen Jesus does not actually count as a believer in God.

So that your faith and hope might be in God- The hope / certain expectation which is in view is not simply the existence of God, but of final salvation. That is guaranteed by the Lord's death and resurrection.

1:22- see on 2 Cor. 6:6.

Seeing you have purified your souls- This returns to the theme of :2, that the Spirit has sanctified us, purified us. But we must respond by living in practice according to what we are in status; we must allow the operation of God's desire to purify / sanctify us, and the working of His Spirit to that end. Hence they had "purified your souls... through the Spirit".

In your obedience to the truth- Peter writes in the RV of "your obedience of the truth unto [issuing in] unfeigned love of the brethren… having been begotten again… of incorruptible seed, through the word of God" (1 Pet. 1:21,22 RV). The purity and truth of the "word of God" - and by this he surely refers to the Gospel message- is what issues in a true love for others, in comparison to the pseudo-love that fills our human experience in this world. Truth leads to true love- that's the message. This is the importance of correct teaching of the word of the Gospel. And yet how often have we used the concept of 'truth' to hate and divide our brethren…? John's writings reflect many struggles. But in the end they all forge into one ultimate struggle- between light and darkness, love and hatred, truth and error, life and death. Hence the struggle for purity of doctrine becomes parallel with the struggle between love and hatred. Love is therefore and thereby connected with purity of doctrine.

To sincere love of the brothers- We obeyed the truth “unto unfeigned love of the brethren… [therefore] see that ye love one another” (1 Pet. 1:22 AV). Our obedience to the truth of Christ placed us in the status of those who unfeignedly love their brethren; but this means, Peter is saying, that we’d better get on and love them in practice.
Jonah 2:9 contains the enigmatic statement that those who "hold to empty faiths" (Heb.) "forsake their own hesed". Hesed basically refers to the capacity a superior has to show mercy, grace and love to someone in an inferior position. For over 20 years I wondered what Jonah was really getting at. I think I then grasped it- those who hold to empty faiths forego the capacity to show hesed, favour to others- the implication being that the result of the one true faith is that we are empowered to show hesed, love, favour, grace, mercy, to others. And this ties in perfectly with 1 Pet. 1:22- we obey the truth unto, with the result that, we show "unfeigned love of the brethren". This is how and where true doctrine comes to its ultimate term- love of others. Karl Barth put it powerfully: "The best theology would need no advocates: it would prove itself". If each doctrine of the Gospel had its intended outworking in our lives, there would be no need for the explanation of Gospel doctrine; the doctrines would be lived out in our personalities. Perhaps this was why there was so little 'theology', propositional truths or academic doctrine, on the lips of the Lord Jesus. For He was the word of the Gospel made flesh. To quote Barth again: "Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is Himself the way".

Fervently love one another from the heart- The experience of the grace which brought about the forgiveness of our sins will make us gentle people, kind hearted, generous, not hard-minded in our judgment of situations; it will make us dedicate ourselves to the work of sharing this superb grace with others through preaching, and will inspire us to work unceasingly to reclaim those who have wandered away from the grace of God, and to build up those who hesitate to fully accept it. As God has reached out into our little world, so we will try to do in the lives of those around us. The end result of obeying the truth is "unfeigned love of the brethren... love (of) one another with a pure heart fervently" (1 Pet. 1:22). "Ye were running well; who did hinder you, that ye should not [keep on] obey the truth?" (Gal. 5:7) suggests that obeying the Truth is not just in baptism; it is an ongoing motivation to keep running the race of practical life in Christ.

1:23- see on Job 22:27,28; Lk. 8:11.

 Having been begotten again- AV "Being born again". This second begetting was by the Spirit (Jn. 3:3-5). God has taken the initiative. But we must respond, allowing His movement, and living the life of conscious love, which is the singular fruit of the Spirit. We "love one another from the heart fervently: having been begotten again…". Love of the brotherhood is in the end the result and guarantee of the new birth. We are asked not to receive God's grace in vain, nor do despite unto the spirit [power] of grace. These phrases surely suggest that the experience of grace is a compulsion to action, which we can resist but ought rather to allow to work in us to bring forth fruit. The [Gospel of the] Kingdom of God and our relation to it now ought to bring forth fruit in us (Mt. 21:43). It isn't just a set of true propositions.

The Greek tense of "begotten again" could imply an ongoing process; thus Peter in :3 speaks of how we have already been born again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Christ (a clear reference to baptism), and yet here goes on to say that having obeyed the truth, we must go on in being (continuous tense) born again by the work of God's word (1 Pet. 1:3,23). See on Col. 2:6; Gal. 3:27.

Not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and endures- See on :25 The word of the Lord. I suggest the "word" here refers to the Lord Jesus. It is He who now "lives and abides for ever".

1:24 For, All flesh is as grass and all the glory of it as the flower of grass- We shouldn't see the mortality of man and the true meaning of the Hebrew word nephesh as a negative thing that we unfortunately have to tell people who believe their loved ones are alive in Heaven. "The voice" tells Isaiah to cry. "And I said, What shall I cry?" (Is. 40:6 LXX; RVmg.). What was to be the message of Isaiah's Gospel? The voice addresses Isaiah as "O thou that tellest good tidings", and tells him the good news he is to preach. It is that "All flesh is grass… the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever". The reality of man's mortality is the backdrop against which we can see the eternity of God and the offer made to us through His abiding word that we really can escape from our condition. Christian preaching about "man is mortal" need not be bad news. The message can be turned into good news! For it was this message of mortality which prepared the way for men to accept Christ (Is. 40:3-5); the mountains of human pride are made low by this message so that we can accept salvation in Christ. 1 Pet. 1:24 RVmg. quotes these verses and concludes that we are being offered salvation through "the word of the God who liveth for ever" - the Gospel that is prefaced by the message of human mortality. God's eternity and man's mortality are placed side by side- and thus the way is prepared for the wonder of the fact that through "the word" of Jesus, of the Gospel, we the mortal are invited to share in that immortality.

The grass withers and the flower falls- The seed of all things produces fruit which cannot abide, no matter how beautiful and pleasing it may appear for a moment. The contrast is with the seed of the Gospel of Jesus, which produces permanent results. The great salvation in Christ is an inheritance which will not fade away, like the flowers (see on :4) and which produces eternal glory (:7), unlike the glory of the flower which fades. The things of the Kingdom and the great, eternal, glorious salvation in Christ are being contrasted with material things- because it was materialism which was the problem faced by the exiled Jewish believers in Turkey to whom Peter was writing.

1:25 But the word of the Lord endures for ever- The word of the Lord Jesus is put for the fruit brought forth by it. See on 1:24 The grass withers.

And this is the word of good news which was preached to you- “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth (accepting the basic doctrine of the Gospel)... see that ye (continue) being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God... and this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you" (1 Pet.1:22-25 AV). Note the continuous tense of "is", according to the AV; remembering that Peter is writing to those already converted. The once off act of intercourse and begettal, whereby the seed or sperm initiates new life, is here spoken of in the continuous sense. Similarly, a sower sowing seed is a once-off act, yet the parable has an ongoing application. Human "seed" and begettal is "corruptible" (1 Pet.1:23)- i.e. the offspring does not have the exact character of the person from whom the seed originated. Yet God's seed is "incorruptible" in that it will eventually result in our being brought forth in the exact image of God after the judgment, when we are fully born of Spirit nature. This is because "the word (seed) of God... liveth and abideth for ever", i.e. God's word can have constant intercourse with us, constantly creating us after the image of our spiritual Father.

 The word is to be made flesh in us as it was in the Lord. "The word" in the New Testament often refers to the basic Gospel rather than every inspired word which there is in the whole Bible. But here it specifically refers to the word which is Jesus. "The word of God (a title of Jesus)... the word of the Lord... is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you" (1 Pet. 1:23,25 RV). It is this word of the basic Gospel which is the "milk of the word" which enables us to "put away therefore all malice... guile... hypocrisies" (1 Pet. 2:1,2). And having spoken of tasting / drinking the word of God (the same figure is in Heb. 6:5), Peter then speaks of tasting the grace of the Lord Jesus (2:3). He is the word of the Gospel made flesh- to taste His Gospel, the word, is to taste of Him.