1. The holy people of God, 1:3-2:10
ii] The witness of salvationArgument
Peter now concludes the opening section of his letter where he develops his thesis / proposition that the grace of God is the means by which a believer survives in a Godless world. Peter has looked at how God's election of a people for himself applies to the future and to the present, now he looks at how it applies to the past. God's sovereign intentions, realised in the suffering of Christ, were revealed to the prophets of old. These intentions are now being fulfilled in the life of John's readers who, although suffering, can feel assured that their ultimate salvation is firmly within God's plan.
i] Context: See 1:1-2.
ii] Background: See 1:1-2.
iii] Structure: Salvation in Christ was revealed long ago:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ", v3a
The ground upon which God is so addressed (adored / thanked):
Not yet, v3b-5;
Long ago, v10-12; (chiasma cf., Michaels)
A. Inquiries of prophets in the past, v10-11.
B. Divine revelation to prophets in the past, v12a.
B'. Divine announcement to Christians in the present, v12b.
A'. Inquiries of angels in the present, v12c.
In this passage, Peter establishes the authority of the Old Testament as a source for his readers understanding of Jesus, as well as a source of ethical instruction.
Long ago, God revealed to the Old Testament Prophets the salvation that would be realised by Israel through the sufferings of the Messiah. This revelation gave confidence to their generation in the face of suffering, but also gives confidence to Peter's readers. Peter points out to his readers that they have the same knowledge of God's revelation as did the prophets, although the revelation revealed to the prophets is now realised in the redemptive mission of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This knowledge was explained to them in the gospel, a knowledge that even the angels long to hear explained over and over again.
By making this argument, Peter has established an important link with the Old Testament, a link he will use throughout the letter for a foundation upon which to build his ethical instructions.
Text - 1:10
Salvation in Christ was revealed long ago, v10-12: i] The gospel is grounded on God's revelation to the prophets of old, v10-11. The prophets intently pondered God's revelation to them in order to understand the mystery of the coming kingdom in the Christ, the messiah. They wanted to understand the nature of God's promised salvation, how this would be achieved by the messiah, and when all this would occur. This salvation, this "grace", has now come to Peter's readers, and the same Spirit that worked in the prophets now works in God's people today.
peri + gen. "concerning" - about, concerning. Reference / respect; "with respect to this salvation."
h|V pro. "this" - which [salvation]. Introducing a relative clause with an embedded antecedent, namely, "salvation", so "this salvation", as NIV.
profhtai (hV ou) "the prophets" - prophets. Nominative subject of the verb "to search out." Selwyn suggests New Testament prophets, but OT prophets seem more likely.
oiJ .... profhteusanteV (profhteuw) aor. part. "who spoke" - the ones prophesying [about the grace to you]. The articular participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "prophets", as NIV. Peter is referring to the OT prophets, although since he is addressing Gentiles he doesn't specify this fact.
peri + gen. "of" - about, concerning. Reference / respect.
thV .... caritoV (iV itoV) gen. "the grace" - the grace. Divine grace; God's unmerited favour, although with Peter, the stress is on the outcome of the favour, ie., "salvation", "the specific consequences of the divine favour", Beare.
eiV + acc. "that was to come to" - to, into [you]. Expressing advantage, "for you", or possibly goal, "destined for you", Beare.
exhraunhsan (exeraunaw) aor. "with the greatest care" - [sought diligently and] made an investigation. Both verbs here are aorist and are intensified by the prefix ex. Both verbs express the same thought and are obviously used together for rhetorical effect (paronomasia) and so can be combined with effect; "this salvation was the subject of intense search by the prophets", REB.
eraunwnteV (eraunaw) pres. part. "trying to find out" - searching, trying to learn. Attendant circumstance participle, expressing action accompanying the verbs "to seek diligently" and "to investigate", although somewhat redundant. Dubis suggests it it not completely redundant as it does provide an amplification; "they tried to discover the circumstances and the time pointed to by the Spirit of Christ that was in them", Cassirer.
eiV "-" - to, into [what or what kind of time]. Spacial; "inquiring into the time and circumstances", so Michaels, who argues that the preposition is to be taken with eraunaw, "to learn", and not dhlow, "to make known." They were delving into "the signs of the times", Beare.
Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - [the spirit] of christ. The genitive is likely to be adjectival, relational, but it may be ablative, source / origin, "the Spirit sent forth from Christ."
en + dat. "in" - in [them was making clear, known]. Local, expressing sphere. The Spirit of Christ facilitated the divine revelation being opened up to the prophets.
promarturomenon (promarturomai) pres. mid. part. "when he predicted" - testifying beforehand, fore-telling, predicting. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV. The singular referent is obviously the Spirit; "when that Spirit declared beforehand the sufferings Christ would have to endure", Barclay.
eiV + acc. "of [the messiah]" - [the sufferings] to, into [christ]. The NIV has read the preposition as equivalent to a genitive phrase, adjectival, possessive / verbal, subjective. Dubis suggests that the genitive phrase "sufferings of Christ", 4:13, may be adjectival, attributive; "messianic sufferings." He proposes that these "sufferings" include the sufferings of Christ's body, the church, the people of God. This sense is reflected in some translations where "sufferings", plural, is given weight, and eiV is taken to express advantage / benefit, "on behalf of, for"; "sufferings in Christ's cause", REB. Elliott argues that the preposition here expresses goal, so "bearing witness to the sufferings destined for Christ."
meta + acc. "would follow" - [and the glories] after [these things]. Temporal use of the preposition is probably intended, "after these things", but association is possible, "and the glories along with them", Berkeley, although a genitive to follow would be expected. "Christian teaching in early times commonly summarised the message about Christ under the two heads of suffering and glory; this is the sum both of the prophetic witness in past ages and of the gospel proclamation, now that the events have come to pass", Beare. "As it (the Spirit) predicted the sufferings in store for Christ as well as the splendours that would follow", Cassirer.
ii] The gospel aligns with God's revelation to the prophets of old, v12. The tauta, "things", namely, revelations which the prophets wrestled with and finally committed to the written word, "these things" (auta) constitute the substance of the gospel announced to Peter's readers by twn euaggelisamenwn, "the ones having preached the gospel" = Christian evangelists. The gospel message of the evangelists is the same message as the prophets of old. The promised blessings of the covenant proclaimed by the prophets is renewed by Christ and proclaimed by the evangelists such that what is old is new again. As the prophetic word was empowered by the Holy Spirit, so the gospel is empowered by the same Spirit. And as God's covenant with his people unfolds toward fruition, the angels look on in wonder.
oi|V dat. pro. "to them" - to whom. Dative of indirect object.
oJti "that" - [it was revealed] that [they were ministering these things]. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what was revealed.
eJautoiV refl. pro. " themselves" - [not] to themselves. As with the dative uJmin, "to you", dative of interest, advantage; "not for themselves ......., but for you."
de "but" - but/and [to you]. Here as an adversative in a counterpoint construction; "not ....., but ....", used to emphasise the contrasted point; "it was revealed to them that their search was not for their own sakes, but for yours", Barclay,
a} def. pro. "when they spoke of the things" - [they were ministering these things] which. The antecedent is auta, "these things", God's promised covenant blessings and their realisation in God's messiah, as revealed to the prophets.
nun adv. "now]" - now [were announced]. Temporal adverb.
uJmin dat. pro. "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.
dia + gen. "by" - Instrumental, expressing agency; "by, by means of."
twn euaggelisamenwn (euaggelizw) gen. aor. mid. part. "those who preached the gospel" - the ones preaching, announcing, communicating an important message [to you]. The participle serves as a substantive.
pneumati aJgiw/ dat. "by the Holy Spirit" - in, by the holy spirit. The dative is instrumental, expressing means. Variant instrumental en.
apostalenti (apostellw) dat. aor. pas. part. "sent" - having been sent. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Holy Spirit"; "in the power of the Holy Spirit who was sent down from heaven."
ap (apo) + gen. "from" - from [heaven]. Expressing source / origin.
eiV + acc. "into" - into [which things (auta, "these things") angels desire, long]. Here more proV, direction, "toward", than expressing movement toward and arrival at.
parakuyai (parakuptw) aor. inf. "to look" - to look - to bend down and look into from without. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of perception expressing what the angels want. It is not clear what the angels are intently interested in, ie., the direct object of this verb. Certainly a}, "which things" = auta, "these things" = the revelation of the covenant promises, so possibly the information itself, so Jobes, Moffatt, Achtemeier. Surely the angels would know all about the ins and outs of the covenant and its realisation in the messiah. Thomas Aquinas argued that they certainly don't lack knowledge, but rather that they never grow weary of God's revealed truths. Maybe they are interested in its realisation, the salvation of a people in Christ, so Selwyn, namely, "the circumstances of the Church and the progress of its redemptive work."