1:1 The Gospel the Foreordained Purpose of God
SUMMARY OF I PETER 1:
The Salutation. The Glorious Hope in Christ. It a Strength in Trial. The Prophets Looking Forward Earnestly to Its Revelation. Even the Angels Desiring to Look into the Mystery. A Godly Life Becometh Those Who Have Such a Hope.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. The first letter of Peter opens as do the other apostolic letters. Peter claims no superiority. The New Testament knows nothing of his succession to Christ as the first of the Popes.
To the strangers. He does not address Jews generally but Jewish Christians primarily, though in portions of the letter he seems to embrace Gentile Christians also.
Scattered. Of the Dispersion (Revised Version). The Jewish race outside of Judea.
Throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. The letter is directed to the churches in five provinces of the Roman empire which Paul had evangelized, all lying in a group south of the Euxine Sea and east of the Caspian. See map of Paul's travels.
1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. Their election and salvation was in accordance with God's predetermined purpose to save men through the gospel, and hence, according to foreknowledge.
Through sanctification of the Spirit. The means by which they become elect are pointed out. They were separated from the world by the gospel, the word of the Spirit, a sanctification which signifies a setting apart to holy uses. They were thus separated
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. In obeying this they were baptized into the death of Christ, Ro 6:1-4 and their sins were pardoned. The sanctification in this case precedes obedience and pardon.
1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ground of special thanksgiving is that the Father, out of his overflowing mercy,
hath begotten us again. Has caused us to be born again as his children.
Unto a lively hope. As children we have a glorious hope of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus.
1:4 To an inheritance. The hope is not merely of eternal existence, but we become heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ.
Incorruptible. It can never decay.
Undefiled. It is sinless and eternal.
1:5 Who are kept by the power of God. The inheritance is reserved for those who are kept safe by God's power, through faith, so that they endure to the end.
1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice. In this glorious hope you rejoice.
Though now for a season. This implies that a persecution was in progress, or threatened.
Manifold temptations. Trials which put faith and patience to the test.
1:7 That the trial of your faith. These persecutions try their faith as gold is tried by the fire, and the faith that stands the test,
more precious than gold, will bear fruit
to praise and honour and glory at the appearing. See 2Co 4:17.
1:8 Whom having not seen ye love. Jesus Christ.
In whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing. Though not having seen Christ, they knew him by faith.
Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Because they believe upon him whom they have not seen they are filled with the unspeakable joy of a glorious hope.
1:9 The end of your faith. The object of the gospel, the faith, and of their faith was salvation.
1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently. This passage implies that the prophets used words and symbols, at the dictation of the Spirit, of which they did not comprehend the full meaning.
1:11 Searching what... the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify. They spoke of Christ and salvation, and then diligently inquired what the Spirit of Christ in them did signify by these words.
When it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ. They spoke of the sufferings of Christ but could not understand these predictions any better than the Jews of Christ's time. See Lu 24:25,26.
1:12 Unto whom it was revealed. The prophets were, however, taught that the subject matter of their predictions related
not unto themselves, but unto us, to a future time, not to their own.
They did minister the things. The things which were fulfilled by the gospel
preached... unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down. Paul and his companions, who preached under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Which things the angels desire to look into. The profound mysteries of the gospel were subjects of earnest inquiry to the angels, an indication that like the prophets they could not understand until the mystery was revealed.
1:13 Gird up the loins of your mind. A figure drawn from the custom of girding the loins when about to start on a journey. So the Christian must prepare himself as on a journey.
Be sober. Let there be sobriety of spirit.
Hope to the end. Never let the glow of your hope cease until the great consummation, when Christ comes.
1:14 As obedient children. An invariable characteristic of all Christians. The divisions between God's children and the children of this world turns on obedience to God.
Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. The spirit of obedience would cause them to turn away from their former sinful life when in ignorance of the gospel.
1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy. God the Father, to whom the calling is assigned in the Scriptures. Obedient children will seek to please and to be like their father.
So be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Our Father is holy, and the duty rests upon us of seeking holy lives.
1:16 Because it is written. See Le 11:44 19:2.
Be ye holy; for I am holy. We must not only submit to God's commands but seek to imitate his holiness.
1:17 If ye call on the Father. In prayer and worship. All call upon him who pray.
Who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work. He judges us and all men according to the deeds, not station or race. Hence, those who seek his blessings and promises show a reverential fear. That is the first reason given for being holy.
Pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear. The whole life is a period of sojourning on the earth.
1:18 Ye were not redeemed with... silver and gold. Gold or earthly wealth could never have wrought our redemption.
From your vain conversation. Vain and profitless manner of life.
[Received] by tradition from your fathers. This was true of Jewish Christians, but still more true of the heathen who had been converted.
1:19 A lamb without blemish and without spot. The New Testament writers with one accord refer to Christ as the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. See Joh 1:29 Eph 1:4 5:27 Col 1:22 Heb 9:14.
1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world. See Joh 1:29. Christ was the center of God's plans of salvation from the beginning.
But was manifest. Though Christ was God's plan from the beginning he was only manifested
in these last times. In that period, the end of the Jewish age and near the end of the temple and of the Jewish nation.
For you. Christ was manifested for the sake of his people, who have become his people by faith.
1:21 That your faith and hope might be in God. Faith, with Peter as well as Paul, is essential to salvation. The salvation is of God, not of ourselves, and is made ours by faith.
1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls. The Greek verb hagnizo, rendered purified, occurs seven times in the New Testament. In four of these, Joh 11:55 Ac 21:24,26 24:18, it refers to ceremonial purification. In the other three it refers to moral purification; the cleansing of the life from its sins. That seems to be the sense here. It refers not only to the forgiveness of sins but to the pure life that should follow. This purification is obtained
in obeying the truth. That is, by obedience to the gospel.
Through the Spirit. The Spirit is inseparable from the gospel. The gospel dispensation is that of the Spirit. See Ac 15:8,9.
Unto unfeigned love of the brethren. The Spirit of Christ in our hearts is the spirit of brotherly love.
[See that ye] love one another. How can one profess to follow Christ unless he loves those for whom Christ died?
With a pure heart fervently. With a sincere heart.
1:23 Being born again. At conversion. See Joh 3:1-6.
Not of corruptible seed. A birth always implies a moving cause. In this birth the new life is planted by incorruptible seed, even
by the word of God. See also Ac 10:36 Jas 1:18. The gospel preached and lodged in the heart, the power of God to salvation (Ro 1:16), is the power that moves the soul to a new life.
Which liveth and abideth forever. God's word is living and eternal. It has life in it and hence communicates life. See Heb 4:12.
1:24 All flesh [is] as grass. See Isa 40:6. God's word lives forever, but the flesh is as evanescent as the grass.
And all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The fleshly life, like the grass, is soon felled by death, but a birth from the living and eternal word is a birth to eternal life.
1:25 The word of the Lord endureth forever. Like its author it is eternal and never loses its power.
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. That word was the gospel, the very gospel preached to them by Paul and his fellow ministers.