1 Peter 1 Commentary

v.1 “Peter calls the people to whom he writes the elect, God’s Chosen People. Once that had been a title which belonged to Israel alone: ‘You are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth’ (Deuteronomy 7: 6; cp. 14: 2). The prophet speaks of ‘Israel, my chosen’ (Isaiah 45: 4). The Psalmist speaks of ‘the sons of Jacob. His chosen ones’ (Psalm 105: 6, 43).

“But the nation of Israel failed in the purposes of God, for, when he sent his Son into the world, they rejected and crucified him. When Jesus spoke the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, he said that the inheritance of Israel was to be taken from them and given to others (Matthew 21: 41; Mark 12: 9; Luke 20: 16). That is the basis of the great New Testament conception of the Christian Church as the true Israel, the new Israel, the Israel of God (cp. Galatians 6:16). All the privileges which had once belonged to Israel now belonged to the Christian church.  The mercy of God has gone out to the ends of the earth, and all the nations have seen the glory and experienced the grace of God.”[1]

v.7 “Just as gold is refined through fire, so also genuine faith is refined through suffering (cf. Ps 66:10; Mal 3:3). Further, genuine faith is more precious than gold, because genuine faith is imperishable, while even the most precious gold will one day perish. Notice how often the epistle suggests that the gifts of the Christian life have two qualities that set faith apart from the values of the larger world. Christian gifts are immeasurably precious, and Christian gifts are unfading and imperishable. We recall from this verse, too, that genuine faith is absolutely essential, because through faith God’s power preserves the faithful – in their faith – until the last day.”[2]

vv.13-16 “The section begins with ‘therefore,’ indicating that the calls to hopeful life that follow are based precisely in the nature of the God who has been praised in 1:3-12. Because you are called by such a God, therefore…Further, in the immediate context of 1:12, because you have heard such good news, therefore…”[3]

“The point of these verses is to compare the one who calls to the Christians who are called. A holy God demands a holy people, just as a God of hope creates a hopeful people. The quotation is from Leviticus (see Lev 11:44-45; 20:7; 29:2). One of the dominant themes of Leviticus is the claim that the holy God demands holiness of God’s own people. Here 1 Peter, like much early Christian writing, takes the words that Moses addressed to the children of Israel and applies them unapologetically to the early Christians. It is significant, perhaps, that Moses spoke these words to Israelites still in the wilderness in exile, as they awaited the entrance to the promised land. So in the next verse we are reminded that these early Christians live in exile.”[4]

v.17 “The notion of God as Judge underlies many exhortations to obedience in the Bible. Furthermore, if there is a God, if the God of Israel and Jesus are the true one God, and if this God is altogether holy, it follows that this God must judge if he is to allow anyone in his presence. He cannot tolerate any sin, for sin is repulsive to his holiness. The God of the Bible is the Judge of all (cf. Gen. 18:25; Ps. 75:7; Acts 5:1-10; Heb. 12:23; Revelation), and, as Peter says, he is ‘ready to judge the living and the dead’ (4:17). This judgment is according to their works, because these works are the logical result of one’s relationship to God (Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom. 2:6-11; 14:9-12; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10).”[5]

“Knowing that God is judge and that he judges with absolute fairness drives us to live in a healthy fear and awe of him (cf. 2:17, 18; 3:2, 15; see Prov. 1:7; Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:11; 7:1; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:12; 1 Tim. 5:20; Heb. 4:1; 10:31). This can only refer to the constant knowledge the child of God (1 Peter 1:14) has that whatever he or she is about to think or do is subject to the scrutiny of God’s penetrating holiness and love. And when his beautiful holy love checks our thoughts and our actions, we live in the light of his character and in the fear of him, regardless of social conditions. This fear is neither dread nor anxiety; rather, it is the healthy response of a human being before an altogether different kind of being, God, and is a sign of spiritual health and gratitude. This holy Judge we now call ‘Father,’ a term indicating intimacy and love but also respect and submission. That is, though we now call God ‘Father’ (cf. 1:14), as Jesus taught (Matt. 6:9), we must not let that familiarity with God degrade his holiness, for God is just and his judgment will be just.”[6]

vv.18-19 “The Greek word lytroo (‘redeem’) goes back to the institution of slavery in ancient Rome. Any representative first-century church would have three kinds of members: slaves, freemen, and freed men. People became slaves in various ways—through war, bankruptcy, sale by themselves, sale by parents, or by birth. Slaves normally could look forward to freedom after a certain period of service and often after the payment of a price. Money to buy his freedom could be earned by the slave in his spare time or by doing more than his owner required. Often the price could be provided by someone else. By the payment of a price (lytron, antilytron), a person could be set free from his bondage or servitude. A freed man was a person who formerly had been a slave but was now redeemed. (See A.A. Rupprecht, “The Cultural and Political Setting of the New Testament.”) Jesus described his ministry in Mark 10:45: “The Son of Man … [came] to serve, and to give his life as a ransom [Iytron] for [anti, `in the place of’] many.”[7]

“Verse 19 stresses the value of the purchase price of redemption and at the same time identifies the blood as that of a spotless lamb—the Messiah. When Israel was in bondage in Egypt, the Passover lamb was killed and the blood provided release from bondage and judgment. Because Jesus is without sin, he is unique and his life is of infinite value as the Sacrificial Lamb of the Passover (cf. Exod 12:46; John 19:36; 1Cor 5:7).”[8]


[1] William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, Daily Study Bible Series (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1976) 165-166.

[2] David L. Bartlett, The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume XII, (Nashville, TN:Abingdon Press, 1998) 251.

[3] David L. Bartlett, The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume XII, (Nashville, TN:Abingdon Press, 1998) 257.

[4] David L. Bartlett, The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume XII, (Nashville, TN:Abingdon Press, 1998) 258.

[5] Scot Mcknight, 1 Peter, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996) 88.

[6] Scot Mcknight, 1 Peter, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996) 89.

[7] Edwin A Blum, Gen. Editor- Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12 CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981).

[8] Edwin A Blum, Gen. Editor- Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12 CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981).

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One Response to “1 Peter 1 Commentary”

  1. richard says:

    thanks

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