1 Peter 2 Commentary

v.1 “Malice, guile, insincerity, envy, and slander are those habits that are most apt to destroy the mutual love to which 1 Peter calls believers (1:22). Once again we see that a major feature of the new life in which the faithful live is the mutuality and trust that Christians have with one another. That mutuality and trust require shedding the comfortable old garb of familiar selfishness”[1]

v.5And like living stones extends the ‘stone’ imagery in a remarkable way to Peter’s readers, now portraying not only Christ but also Christians as ‘stones’ that live (cf. Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Co. 3:10-15; Heb. 3:2-6, and Mt. 16:18, all of which in various ways liken the church to a building) […] The beauty of this new and living ‘temple made of people’ should no longer be expensive gold and precious jewels, but the imperishable beauty of holiness and faith in Christians’ lives, qualities which much more effectively reflect the glory of God (cf. 1 Pet 3:4; 2 Co. 3:18) […] Spiritual when applied to ‘house’ and ‘sacrifices’ does not mean ‘immaterial’, but rather influenced or dominated by the Holy Spirit; sharing the character of the Holy Spirit (Rom.1:11; 1 Cor. 2:13, 15; 12:1; Gal. 6:1; Col 3:16).  Christians are a new temple of God under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit.”[2]

v.6 “The quotation is from Isaiah 28:16, where God promises that he will reject the rebellious leaders in Jerusalem and establish as a ‘sure foundation’ a cornerstone chosen and precious.  The fact that it would be the cornerstone, the first stone laid as the corner of the ‘foundation’ (Is. 28:16), indicates that the original prophecy was a prediction of the beginning of a new work by him (Is. 28:14-5, 17-22).  The fact that the stone is laid as a foundation stone in Zion, the location of the Jerusalem temple, hints at the idea that this new work would in fact replace the Jerusalem temple, something Peter has already made explicit in verses 4 and 5.”[3]

v.8 “Peter now quotes Isaiah 8:14, which says not only that the Lord himself will become ‘a sanctuary’ for those who follow him, but also that he will prove to be ‘a stone of offence, and a rock of stumbling’ to the disobedient of ‘both houses of Israel.’  Since the Lord himself is said to be the stone in Isaiah 8, this verse is another instance of how readily the early Christians applied to Christ many Old Testament passages which spoke of ‘the Lord.’ […] Though disobey often means simply “not obey,” it sometimes has the connotation of active or entrenched opposition to God’s word…Thus, because they disobey the word means not just that they refuse to believe the gospel – though it certainly includes that – but that they are living lives of disobedience and rebellion against God generally.”[4]

v.9 “Peter now returns to his elaboration of the blessings which belong to his readers […] They are also a royal priesthood, and a holy nation, two phrases quoted exactly from the Septuagint of Exodus 19:6, where God promises this status to all in Israel who keep his covenant.  Just as believers are a new spiritual race and a new spiritual priesthood, so they are a new spiritual nation which is based now neither on ethnic identity nor geographical boundaries but rather on allegiance to their heavenly King, Jesus Christ, who is truly King of kings and Lord of lords.”[5]

vv.9-10 “The two verses make a stunning claim. To unbelievers it seems that the Christian believers have been rejected, as Christ was rejected; they are aliens and exiles, foolish and straying. To the eyes of faith it is clear that Christians are chosen exactly as Christ the cornerstone is chosen, precious and beloved of God. From the perspective of faith, the world is turned upside down. Pagan unbelievers, who seem secure in their position and their prestige, are stumbling and falling.  Christian believers, who seem foolish and useless, are God’s own people – holy, blessed, royal.”[6]

v.18 “It is difficult for twentieth-century Christians to understand the slavery of the ancient world. During the time of the NT writings, slavery was not as bad as that practiced in America before the Civil War. Ancient slaves had fairly normal marital lives. Often people sold themselves into slavery (for a period of time) as a way to get ahead in the world. Nevertheless the lot of a slave could be very hard if the master was unkind. Here ‘slaves’ (oiketai) means ‘house-servants’—i.e., domestic slaves. Their Christian duty was submission and loyalty to their master, even if he was’ harsh (skolios, ‘perverse’).”[7]

v.19 “Yet he does not say that it is pleasing to God merely to endure unjust suffering and the accompanying sorrow.  Rather, it is only such action endured while one is mindful of God, or, more accurately, ‘because he is conscious of God.’  It is not a stoic self-motivated tenacity which holds out against all opposition but rather the opposite, the trusting awareness of God’s presence and never-failing care, which is the key to righteous suffering.  It is the confidence that God will ultimately right all wrongs which enables a Christian to submit to an unjust master without resentment, rebelliousness, self-pity, or despair.”[8]

v.20 “Peter here makes explicit what he implied in verse 19, namely, that it is not just any kind of endurance through suffering that God approves, but endurance through unjust suffering […] This kind of endurance is something only made possible by being ‘conscious of God’ and continually trusting him to care for those rights which have been trampled underfoot by others.”[9]

v.21 “Peter’s exhortation for Christians to be submissive now receives a christological foundation. The ‘calling’ (kaleo) is God’s grace that brings them to salvation (cf. comments on 1:15) and includes the divine ordination in all aspects of their life (Rom 8:28-30), ‘because [hoti] Christ also [kai] suffered for you.’ The sufferings of Christ referred to here are exemplary as well as expiatory on behalf of Christians. ‘Leaving you an example’ (hypogrammon, lit., ‘model, pattern to be copied in writing or drawing,’ […]) shows that Christ is the pattern for believers to copy in their lives. Just as in his life Christ suffered unjustly for doing God’s will, so Christian slaves may have this calling. Servants are to follow their Master’s tracks (cf. Matt 10:38; Mark 8:34; John 13:15).”[10]

v.23 “The instinctive response of human beings when so abused is to try to get even, to hurt in return for being hurt.  Or if that is impossible people will threaten to get even later, trying to give their enemies at least the anxiety that revenge may be taken sometime in the future.  But these responses are natural only to people who depend on themselves and believe that God does not have control of the situation.  To the suffering person who trusts deeply in God and believes that God is indeed in control of every situation, there is another response, one perfectly exhibited by Jesus: he trusted to him who judges justly.  The word trust means ‘handed over, delivered, committed’, an idea better conveyed by the English word ‘entrusted.”[11]

“Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus was reviled (cf. Matt 11:19; 26:67; 27:30, 39-44; Mark 3:22). In all these situations, he was ever the patient sufferer who was able to control his tongue. He committed his case to the heavenly Judge whom he trusted to give a just judgment. ‘Entrusted’ (paredidou) is an imperfect tense in Greek, describing continual activity in the past.”[12]


[1] David L. Bartlett, The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume XII, (Nashville, TN:Abingdon Press, 1998) 263.

[2] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 99-100.

[3] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 100.

[4] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 106-107.

[5] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 111-112.

[6] David L. Bartlett, The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume XII, (Nashville, TN:Abingdon Press, 1998) 266.

[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] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 126-127.

[9] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 127.

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

[11] Wayne Gruden, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press, 1988) 128.

[12] 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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2 Responses to “1 Peter 2 Commentary”

  1. jin kim says:

    insightful

  2. Ernie says:

    thank you for posting!

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