One Peter One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Peter. Peter apparently wrote this first epistle from Babylon (see 1 Peter 5:13) which was still a thriving city at the time, even though it had lost most of its former glory. There was a large Jewish community there, and Peter had evidently gone there to evangelize them and plant a church.

strangers. These persecuted Jewish Christians may have been viewed as “strangers” to those among whom they lived, but in God's sight they were “elect” (1 Peter 1:2). The phrase “strangers scattered” means, in effect, “foreigners, dispersed” from their homeland. The five Roman provinces were all in what is now Turkey. Presumably Peter had also worked in the churches of these provinces. Cappadocia, in particular, was not too far from Babylon. Thus Peter's epistles, like that of James, were written primarily to Jewish Christians of the dispersion, although it is evident that there were also Gentiles in the churches.

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

foreknowledge. The “foreknowledge” of God involves more than just knowing ahead of time the choice that a given person will make, for “known unto God are all His works from the [foundation] of the world” (Acts 15:18), and He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Those whom He foreknew He then created as “the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:23). This in no way inhibits anyone who wants to be saved from coming to Christ, for He has invited all to “come unto me” (Matthew 11:28), with the assurance that “whosoever will” may come (Revelation 22:17). The natural man, however, in his own mind “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14), and chooses not to come. The Father, in inscrutable ways, draws to Christ those whom He foreknew and made His elect. “No man can come to me,” said Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). We cannot, in our finite minds, comprehend the infinite mind and ways of God (Romans 11:33-36), but we can, and must, believe His Word. See also the note on 1 Peter 1:20.

obedience. The proof that we have been foreknown by God and are among His elect is that we are obedient to His Word, for we have been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

multiplied. Paul normally began His epistles with “grace and peace” (e.g., Romans 1:7), but Peter begins with grace times peace! Marvelous is the implication of infinite grace (2 Corinthians 8:9) multiplied by infinite peace (Philippians 4:7). The product can only be eternal fullness of joy (John 15:11).

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

begotten us again. “Begotten again” is the same as “born again” in 1 Peter 1:23.

lively hope. “Lively”—that is, our hope in Christ is made vibrantly alive by His resurrection, which guarantees forever the ultimate defeat of Satan, sin and death, and the fulfillment of His promise of everlasting life. On this hope, see also 1 Peter 1:13, 21.

1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

incorruptible. Contrast 1 Peter 1:23-24. Corruptible seed generates only glory that fades away, whereas the incorruptible seed generates an incorruptible inheritance that will never fade away. 1 Peter 1:4 says the inheritance is reserved for us, whereas 1 Peter 1:5 assures us that we are reserved for the inheritance!

1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

kept. “Kept” means “being guarded.” Our keeping is not by our works or even by our faith (though it is received through faith), but by the power of God. We are in His hand (John 10:29).

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

praise and honour and glory. These may represent three classes of rewards for believers at the judgment seat of Christ. See 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. On “praise,” see 1 Corinthians 4:5; on “honour,” see John 12:26, and on “glory,” see Philippians 3:21. Perhaps these are rewards given to those Christians who bear fruit for Christ, “some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23).

1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

having not seen. Compare John 20:29. “Blessed are they,” Jesus said, “that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

1 Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Searching. This is a striking affirmation of the nature of Biblical inspiration—in particular, of those portions of Scripture which contain Messianic prophecies. The prophets were so carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) that they themselves did not understand what they were prophesying. Note, for example, Daniel 12:8-9, where Daniel was told that his words were “sealed till the time of the end.”

glory that should follow. Typical prophecies that referred both to the sufferings and later glory of the Christ included Psalm 22, Daniel 9 and Isaiah 53.

1 Peter 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

angels. It is amazing to realize that even God's holy angels (probably also Satan and the fallen angels) are observing with great interest the unfolding of God's great plan of salvation, both in individual human beings and for the whole creation. For further glimpses into this fascinating subject, study such Scriptures as Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 34:7; Matthew 18:10; 1 Corinthians 11:10; Ephesians 3:10; and many others.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

gird up. This expression, meaning to be serious and thoughtful rather than shallow and flippant in attitude, comes from the custom of gathering up one's flowing robe (the customary dress of the day, even for men) and tying it up around the loins, in order to free the feet and legs for running or for working at certain manual tasks. Note Luke 12:35; 17:8; Acts 12:8.

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

obedient children. Read “children of obedience” (compare Ephesians 5:8; contrast Ephesians 2:2).

fashioning. “Fashioning” is the same word in the Greek as “conforming.” Its only other use is in Romans 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world.”

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

conversation. “Conversation” includes not only our speech, but all aspects of conduct.

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

it is written. See Leviticus 11:44-45.

1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

every man's work. Note the emphasis on “work” rather than “works.” God will judge our life's work as a whole, especially the work of believing on Christ. Note John 6:28-29; James 1:4.

fear. This fear is not cowardly fear, of course, but reverential fear of God our Judge (note Luke 12:4-5; Hebrews 12:28; contrast Romans 3:18).

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

redeemed. To “redeem” means to “ransom” or “buy back,” especially the redemption of a bondservant by a kinsman (Leviticus 25:49). But the first use of the Hebrew word (gaal), thus establishing the primary theme throughout Scripture, speaks of “the Angel which redeemed me from all evil” (Genesis 48:16). This could only have been the one called “the Angel of the Lord” in many Scriptures (e.g., Genesis 16:7), often in fact a theophany, or preincarnate appearance of Christ, who in His incarnate appearance would ultimately become the true Redeemer of the lost world which had been enslaved to Satan and sin. See also such Scriptures as Ephesians 1:7, 11; Hebrews 9:12; and Revelation 5:8-9.

silver and gold. Money payment was made by a kinsman-redeemer to purchase back an indentured relative (Leviticus 25:48), but silver and gold are “corruptible things”; in fact, the whole world is in “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21), and can only be redeemed by an adequate price paid in incorruptible legal tender. Nothing but the shed blood of Christ can meet such a requirement, purchasing total and eternal redemption (Romans 3:24; Hebrews 9:12).

1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

without spot. Under the Mosaic system, a temporary atonement (i.e., “covering”) could be obtained for forgiveness of sins by offering the blood of an unblemished and unspotted lamb (Exodus 12:5; Numbers 28:3). But this merely served as a type of the future offering of the blood of Christ, without contamination by either inherent sin or practiced sin. He would become “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The sinlessness of Christ is often affirmed in Scripture (e.g., 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; xTerm 3:5; John 8:29).

1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

foreordained. “Foreordained” (Greek proginosko) is the verb form of the noun (prognosis) better translated as “foreknowledge” in 1 Peter 1:2. Just as God foreknew that Christ would become the Savior, because the triune God had so ordained, so He also foreknew those who would be saved by Him.

foundation of the world. Before God ever created the world, in the mind of God, Christ had been sacrificed, and the names of the redeemed were known (see Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 2 Timothy 1:9).

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

obeying the truth. Note that truth (that is, God's Word), if obeyed, will generate a purified soul and genuine love.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

corruptible seed. Not only is all seed (the assurance of continued plant, animal, and human reproduction) corruptible, but so is our own human flesh (1 Corinthians 15:53) and, indeed “the whole creation” (Romans 8:22). However, we have been redeemed by the incorruptible blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19) to an incorruptible inheritance (1 Peter 1:4), an incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:53), and an incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25), to serve an incorruptible King (1 Timothy 1:17), all revealed and activated through the incorruptible, eternal Word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

flower of grass. 1 Peter 1:24-25 is essentially a quotation from Isaiah 40:6-8.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

endureth for ever. For more on the eternal nature of God's Word, see also Psalm 119:89, 160; Matthew 24:35; 5:18; Psalm 12:6-7.

gospel. Note that the “everlasting gospel” includes creation as its very foundation (Revelation 14:6-7).