1 Peter


1. The holy people of God, 1:3-2:10

iii] Personal holiness - be what you are


Following normal Jewish practice, Peter opens his letter with an ascription of praise to God. After this statement of praise, Peter goes on to remind his readers of the wonderful blessings that they have received through Christ. Peter now goes on to challenge his readers to live as faithful children of God, rather than conform to their secular environment:


i] Context: See 1:1-2.


ii] Background: See 1:1-2.


iii] Structure: Personal holiness - be what you are:

A call to holy living, v13-16;

A call to fear God rather than man, v17-21;

A call to action, v22-2:3.


iv] Interpretation:

Peter opens his letter by giving thanks to God for the blessings drawn from the past, realised in the present and guaranteed in the future, 1:3b-12; "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ", v3a. A believer's standing before God is a product of the grace of God the Father (v10), the redemptive work of the Son (v7, 11), and the indwelling compelling of the Holy Spirit (v11,12). Peter's readers have every reason to rejoice because of the "living hope" / "the inheritance" / "grace" that is theirs. Given this hope, Peter draws a conclusion, introduced by the conjunction dio, "therefore", encouraging his his readers to be what they are - they are to be the holy people they are already in Christ. This conclusion consists of responsibilities which Peter expresses in a series of Greek imperatives, along with dependent participles, defining the responsibilities / ethical implications of the living hope that is now theirs in Christ. By this means "he sets forth the strenuous moral demands of the life into which (his readers) have entered", Beare.

Jobes identifies four main imperatives, each identified by main clauses with subordinate clauses:

*Set your mind on the grace ahead;

*Be holy in your whole way of life;

*Love one another earnestly;

*Crave pure spiritual milk.

Peter's argument presents in three main parts:

*A call to holy living, v13-16. Think and act with the mind of Christ: "prepare your minds for action", "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you" and "be holy" - the reader is asked to rest on the glory that is theirs in Christ and live out that grace rather than be conformed to the world about them.

*A call to fear God rather than man, v17-21. Fear does not mean to feel horror, but rather to feel a reverence for God's authority, for his awesomeness, so "respect God." Peter asks his readers to remember who God is and what he has done.

*A call to action: "Love one another deeply from the heart" and "crave the uncontaminated milk of the gospel.", 1:22-2:3.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of the passage can be found in the pew-level sermon notes Set free by the sacrifice of Christ.

Text - 1:13

Be what you are, 1:13-2:3: i] A call to holy living, v13-16. Peter has just outlined the gospel of God's grace to his readers and now he encourages them to be what they are. His exhortations are very practical. "Prepare your minds for action", ie., work to understand the truth of God's revelation. Also, "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you", ie., rely on the glory that is to come.

dio "therefore" - Inferential conjunction. "So then, your minds must be stripped for action", Barclay.

anazwsamenoi (anazwnumi) aor. part. "prepare" - having girded up, tied up ready for work [the loins]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "hope [completely]", which being an imperative, makes this participle an imperative, so NIV; see Moulton MHT I re. participles used as imperatives, also Selwyn p.467-480. Yet, see "set your hope" below. Here, of pulling together the loose ends of ones thinking.

thV dianoiaV (a) "mind" - of the mind, thinking [of you]. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, limiting by specifying the sense of "loins". "Put your minds in readiness, therefore, as .......", Cassirer.

nhfonteV (nhfw) pres. part. "self-controlled" - being well-balanced, self-controlled. Again, possibly an attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "hope", so again imperative, as NIV, but possibly adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, "by being sober-minded."

elpisate (elpizw) aor. imp. "set your hope" - hope. The word in Greek usage is not the same as commonly used in English; "hope" is not "wishful thinking", but "a sure expectation". As Jobes notes, the word commonly means "to look forward with confidence", but also carries the sense "to think concerning future contingencies." This main verb needs to be emphasised rather than giving emphasis to the two attendant participles, eg., "bracing up, therefore, you minds for action and perfectly composed, fix your hope altogether on the grace that will be coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed", Berkeley.

teleiwV adv. "fully" - absolutely, perfectly, completely. This adverb of degree modifies the verb "set your hope."

epi + acc. "on" - upon, on. Possibly expressing a basis / ground, "down upon" = "on", but also possibly direction toward, ie., expressing the object of the hope.

carin (iV ewV) "the grace" - the grace. Peter has used a number of words in his letter so far to describe the content of the eschatological "living hope" of a believer: "inheritance", "salvation", "grace", ie., "grace rather than wrath", Beare.

thn feromenhn (ferw) pres. pas. part. "given" - being brought, carried. More likely in this context, "proclaimed". The participle is adjectival, limiting "grace"; "which is coming to you", Barclay. When Christ comes he proclaims God's eternal acceptance, or literally, he brings it to us.

umin dat. "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object / interest.

en + dat. "when [Jesus Christ is revealed]" - in, on /at [revelation of jesus christ]. A temporal use of the preposition is probably intended here, as NIV. The actual "when" is usually taken in eschatological terms, ie., "at the second coming of Christ", rather than "when Christ is revealed in the teaching of scripture."


Don't be shaped by the transient nature of this age. The phrase, "As obedient children" is probably best rendered "children of obedience." We are never truly obedient, but we do, through the indwelling Spirit, possess a pervasive inclination toward obedience.

wJV "as" - like, as. Comparative. Peter seems to use this particle in two ways, "as if / as it were", or, "in the manner of / functioning as", so Achtemeier.

uJpakohV (h) gen. "obedient [children]" - [children] of obedience. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "children", as NIV; "obedient people", "those characterised by obedience", Zerwick. It seems likely that Peter uses "obedience" here as a preexisting condition possessed by his readers, due to the fact that they are "the chosen exiles of the dispersion", and this "according to the foreknowledge of God" and "by means of the sanctification of the Spirit", eiV "into the obedience" and blood of Jesus Christ, 1:1-2. In their union with (into / in) Jesus, a believer is obedient / righteous / holy. In simple terms Peter is saying "be what you are."

mh suschmatizomenoi (schmatizw) pres. pas. part. "do not conform" - not conforming to, fashioning to, shaping to. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperative verb genhqnte, and so also expressed as an imperative, as NIV. "Do not be conformed / do not allow your lives to be shaped", Barclay.

proteron adv. "-" - former, before. Adverb used as an attributive adjective, limiting the noun "passions"; "do not be conformed to your former passions."

taiV .... epiqumiaiV (a) dat. "to the evil desires" - the passions, lusts. The dative is possibly instrumental, so "by the passions that controlled you", Berkeley, although the sun prefix verb "to be conformed", ususally takes a dative of direct object.

uJmwn "you had" - of you. Probably possessive, so "your former passions", but it may be taken as verbal, subjective, "the former passions emanating from you."

en + dat. "-" - in. Adverbial use of the preposition, possibly expressing reference / respect, "As obedient children, do not be conformed with respect to your passions", but more likely taking on a temporal function, modifying an assumed verb to-be, "when you were ignorant", as NIV; "In the days of your ignorance", REB.

th/ agnoia/ (a) dat. "ignorance" - ignorance. The sense here is of being in a state of sinfulness


So, be holy, be what you are, and this because God is holy, v15-16, cf., Ex.6:6, 19:3f.

alla "but" - but. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction; "do not be conformed to ...... (v14), but ........ be holy in all your conduct."

kata + acc. "just as .... so ..." - according to. Here expressing cause / reason, "since / because he who called you is holy .....", but possibly "in accordance with / like", ie., in relation to something else, "modelling yourself on him", Cassirer. "Instead of conforming to this age the Christian is to conform to God", Davids.

ton kalesanta (kalew) aor. part. "he who called" - the one having called [you]. The participle serves as a substantive. Certainly "called" takes the sense of "destined by divine will", although it is the covenant people who are so destined, while membership of this people is through faith in the faithfulness of Christ. Peter's readers, most likely Jewish believers, well understand the notion of being part of God's called-out people, whereas a Gentile (a stranger to Israel) is more inclined to understand the notion of being "invited" to join God's covenant family.

a{gion adj. "is holy" - Predicate adjective.

kai "so" - and = so also. Adjunctive; "you also be holy", ESV.

genhqhte (ginomai) aor. pas. imp. "be" - become [holy]. As noted above, the point is "be what you." "Holiness is not just an inner pietistic ideal, but a quality to be expressed in the whole of life", Best.

en + dat. "in" - in [all]. The preposition here is again adverbial, here expressing reference / respect; "with respect to all your conduct."

anastrofh/ (h) "you do" - conduct, way of life, behaviour. We should be like the one who called us.


dioti (dia-oJti) "for" - wherefore, therefore / since, because, for [it has been written]. Causal conjunction; "for, as scripture says", Cassirer. The believer is to live out the holiness that is theirs in Christ because God has told us to be holy.

oJti "-" - that. Variant. Serving to introduce a dependent statement, direct speech / quote. Leviticus 11:44, 19:2, 20:7-8, 26.

esesqe (eimi) fut. "be [holy]" - you will be [holy]. The future tense is used here as an imperative.

oJti " because" - Here introducing a causal clause explaining why a person should "be holy."

egw pro. "I am" - i am [holy]. Emphatic by use and position.


ii] In v17-21 Peter challenges his readers with a second imperative, to live "as strangers here" with "reverent fear." He asks us to recognise whom we serve - the mighty God who redeemed us. Peter seems to play with an Exodus image in this passage. God is pictured as the stern Lord of the wilderness wanderings. He is a "judge" who has "redeemed" his people with the precious blood of the "lamb", people who are "strangers", "called" from their "empty way of life." So, we are pictured as sojourners in the wilderness waiting to enter the promised land. Christ has gone before, and we will soon follow. Obviously, we are tempted to return to Egypt, to the power and pleasure of the secular city, and so we must keep our "faith and hope" burning brightly before us.

In the Greek these verses form one sentence which, according to Achtemeier, summarise "the whole of what he (Peter) has to say and indeed virtually the whole of the import of the Christian faith." "We must spend our time on this earth in reverent living", cf. Barclay, because: a) our Father God is an impartial judge; and b) we have been redeemed from our former life by Christ' death.

kai "-" - and. The use of kai rather than de indicates a close association with the preceding argument.

ei + ind. "since" - if. Introducing a 1st class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be true, "if, as is the case, [you invoke the Father, the one who judges according to each one's works (impartially)] then [live with fear (behave reverently) during the time of your exile]." The presence of the kai possibly indicates that it is intended to stand with ei to give a concessive sense; "even if". The condition is not expressing doubt, so best expressed in English, "given that / since".

epikaleisqe (epikalew) pres. "call on" - you call upon. In the middle voice it is "call upon", and here calling on the divine, "invoke".

patera (hr roV) "a Father" - a father. Emphatic by position. Serving as the accusative complement of the direct object "the one who judges impartially according to each one's deeds", standing in a double accusative construction, and stating a fact about the object; "since you call the one who judges impartially according to each ones deeds Father, then ....."

ton ..... krinonta (krinw) pres. part. "who judges" - the one judging. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative direct object of the verb "to call upon." Note how the NIV treats the participle as adjectival, attributive, limiting "Father"; "call on him as Father who judges impartially", ESV.

kata + acc. "-" - according to [the work]. Expressing a standard; "according to, in accordance with each one's deeds."

ekastou adj. "each person's [work]" - of each. The adjective serves as a substantive with the genitive being verbal, subjective, or adjectival, possessive.

aproswpolhmptwV adv. "impartially" - without respect of persons. Adverb of manner modifying the verbal aspect of the participle "the one judging."

anastrafhte (anastrefw) aor. pas/mid. imp." live your lives" - then live / conduct yourselves. In the Middle, "I conduct myself" in the sense of living by certain principles.

thV paroikiaV (a) gen. "as strangers" - [in fear during the time] of the exile, sojourn, residing with a foreign people. The genitive is adverbial, of time; "conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your sojourn / journeying / exodus. Used here of believers who camp in the world awaiting entrance into their true home.

en + dat. "in [reverent fear]" - in [fear]. "Fear" is not being used of feeling scared, but rather of reverential respect. The preposition en, "in", is being used adverbially, modal, expressing the manner of the conduct, "with awe"; "in awe of him", Cassirer.


Peter goes on in v18-20 to support his exhortation that his readers spend their time on this earth in reverent-living by reminding them that they have been redeemed from the slavery of sin and death, and this at great cost. The redemption-price paid by God is the life of the Messiah, the suffering servant. This price is "without blemish or defect." It is a perfect "blood" offering. The Messiah, who redeems God's people out of bondage, was "chosen" to fulfil this task even before the creation of the world. All this took place in "these last times" (these last days), the age when the history of humanity finds its consummation.

eidonteV (oida) perf. part. "for you know" - having known. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because", as NIV.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they know.

ou ..... alla (v19) " it was not ......... but ....." - not [with perishable things like silver or gold were you redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers], (v19) but [with precious blood .....] Forming a counterpoint construction.

fqartoiV dat. adj. "with perishable things" - in corruptible, perishable things. The adjective functions as a substantive, so "corruptible things." The dative is probably instrumental, expressing means, so Beare, possibly of measure "in / with", "the ransom has not been paid in perishable things", Cassirer; "It was not by perishable silver or gold that you were ransomed", Moffatt.

arguriw/ (on) dat. "silver" - like silver [or gold] = money. Dative in agreement with fqartoiV, "perishable things." "Silver or gold" stand in apposition to "perishable things", so defining them, as NIV.

ou .... elutrwqhte (lutrow) aor. pas. "you were redeemed" - were you ransomed, ransomed / liberated, delivered. As is always the case with this word, it is unclear whether the sense is "ransom / redemption", referring to the payment of a price, or "deliverance", referring to deliverance from bondage without the payment of a price. It seems "ransom" is intended, the price being the blood of the lamb, rather than silver or gold, but without the logical implication of a price paid to someone. Of course, some have tried to identify the recipient of the ransom, eg., The devil. No such identification is made in the scriptures. See Leon Morris, The apostolic Preaching of the Cross, 1955.

ek + gen. "from" - Expressing separation; "away from."

mataiaV gen. adj. "empty" - [the] vain, useless, fruitless, futile [manner of life, lifestyle]. Possibly even "godless".

patroparadotou adj. "handed down to you from your forefathers" - handed down ancestral way of life. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting the noun "lifestyle, manner of life"; "empty lifestyle which was inherited from the forefathers." Believers have inherited the corrupt condition of their forebears, and it is from this that we are redeemed.


alla "but" - Strong adversative. See ou ... alla, v18.

titmiw dat. adj. "with the precious" - in valuable, precious, costly [blood]. The dative is instrumental, expressing means; see above.

wJV "-" - as, like. As with wJV v14, probably comparative, but sometimes used by Peter to express manner; like the blood of a lamb unblemished and unspotted." "Like a lamb", Cassirer.

amnou (oV) gen. "a lamb" - the blood of a lamb. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, limiting an assumed ai|ma, "blood".

aspilou adj. "[or] defect" - [unblemished and] unspotted [of christ]. Referring to the sacrificial offering. "Flawless and faultless", Elliott. The genitive "of Christ" is adjectival, possessive, referring back to aiJmati, "blood" in the main clause, not the assumed ai|ma, "blood", in the comparative phrase, as NIV.


men ...... de "- ....... but ...." - [who] on the one hand [having been foreknown before foundation of world] but/yet on the other hand [having been manifested ....]. Adversative comparative construction.

proegnwsmenou (proginwskw) perf. pas. part "he was chosen" - having been foreknown / chosen ahead of time. The meaning is "to know in advance / foreknow", but often implies "foreordained / chosen before / appointed in accord with God's eternal plan", as here, ie., "God's electing foreknowledge." The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing "Christ", v19. "He was destined to this task before the creation of the world", Barclay.

pro + gen. "before" - before [the foundation]. Temporal use of the preposition.

kosmou (oV) gen. "of the world" - of the world. The genitive is usually classified as verbal, objective.

fanerwqentoV (fanerow) perf. pas. part. "was revealed" - [but] was manifested. With the sense reveal to someone. The participle is adjectival, attributive, as above.

ep (epi) + gen. "in" - in. Here adverbial; temporal use of the preposition. When followed by a genitive, duration of time is usually intended.

escatou gen. adj. "these last" - the last, after which there is nothing remaining [of the times]. See ep above. The genitive "of times" is adjectival, partitive. "Disclosed at the end of time", Berkeley.

di (dia) + acc. "for [your] sake" - because of, on account of [you]. Here expressing advantage; "for the benefit of"; "for your benefit." Stressing the "for-you-ness" of the gospel, cf., Elliott.


Peter concludes by making the point that it is through Jesus the Messiah, that we can believe "in God." The "in" here means "toward" - Jesus enables us to approach God. God has raised Jesus and glorified him and through Jesus he will do the same for us. For this reason, our trust and eternal hope is in him.

di (dia) + gen. "though [him]" - [believers] through, by means of [him]. Instrumental / agent, namely "Jesus." Salvation depends on what God has done in and through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

touV .... pistouV adj. "you believe" - the faithful, reliable = believers. The articular adjective serves as a substantive standing in apposition to uJmaV, "you", v20; for the sake of you, believers through him (Jesus). Yet, it is unclear whether the adjective should be read positively, or actively, ie., is it "believers" or "believing"? Beare argues that "the adjective most likely brings out the thought of faithfulness; through Christ, we are not only brought to have faith in God, but are enabled to show ourselves faithful to Him in all our life." None-the-less, most commentators, as with translations, take the articular adjective to mean "the believers"; "you who are believers in God", Michales.

eiV "in" - to, into [god]. A preposition often used of placing ones trust in God.

ton egeiranta (egairw) aor. part. "who raised" - the one having raised [him]. The participle is adjectival, attributive limiting "God", as NIV.

ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - out of, from [dead]. Expressing separation; "away from."

ton .... donta (didwmi) aor. part. "glorified" - [and] having given [glory]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "God". "In the primitive tradition the resurrection and exaltation of Christ are associated as a single action of God indicating his triumph, Ac.2:32f, Phil.2:8-11, ...", Best. "And gave to him glory."

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

wJste + inf. "so" - so that. This construction usually forms a consecutive clause expressing result, but sometimes a final clause expressing purpose, or, as is the case here, hypothetical result, "so that", BDF #393.3.

thn pistin ... kai elpida "[your] faith and hope" - the faith [of you] and hope [to be into god]. Of these two nouns, joined by kai, only pistin takes an article. This has prompted many commentators to treat elpida as predicate after the infinitive einai, giving the sense that the intended result of Christ's glorification is "so that your trust may also be (is also) your hope in God", Elliott, cf., Moffatt. None-the-less, most commentators, as with translations, treat the lack of the second article as stylistic. "Faith" and "hope" are certainly closely connected ideas (both being confidence-based), here treated as coordinate nouns ("almost in the sense of a hendiadys", Achtemeier), almost interchangeable, but not identical; "these two are most closely joined, but they differ with respect to the present and the future", Bengel, NT Word Studies; "those who believe in God also hope in him", Beare. Through Christ, faith and hope are realised in the life of a believer, and this directed toward God, thus bringing us into a living union with him. "So then, you faith and hope look to God", Barclay.


iii] Given the "living hope" / "the inheritance" / "grace" that belongs to his readers, and how this is played out in relation to God, Peter now sets out some key responsibilities / ethical implications which apply to the business of living within a Christian fellowship, 1:22-2:3. These responsibilities focus on two imperatives, the third and fourth imperatives in this letter so far, namely "love one another", v22, and "crave pure spiritual milk", 2:2. "They are to love one another earnestly and to crave the spiritual nourishment that fosters a vital Christian community", Jobes. The first responsibility is set out in two Gk. sentences, v22-23, and v24-25.

hJgnikoteV (agnizw) perf. pas. part. "now that you have purified" - having purified. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because". By taking a perfect tense the participle expresses a single past act with ongoing results. Often taken as a reference to baptism although this is unlikely. Submission to the gospel for regeneration is more likely. "Since, by your obedience to the truth, you have purified yourselves", NJB.

taV yucaV uJmwn "yourselves" - the souls of you. "Your personal inner self", so "yourselves", as NIV, but obviously not the whole self, but here the spiritual self.

en + dat. "by" - in, on = by. Instrumental use of the preposition seems best, expressing "by means of", as NIV, but local / sphere is possible, "in connection with", Hiebert.

hnV alhqeiaV "the truth" - [the obedience] of the truth. Usually treated as an objective genitive, "obedience to the truth", Moffatt, etc., ie. acceptance of the gospel. Of course, an adjectival sense is possible where the genitive functions attributively, limiting / modifying "obedience"; "true / truthful obedience." This "true" type of obedience may be construed as the type which concerns a person's acceptance of, and living out of, the gospel, given that in the NT the word "truth" is often synonymous with "the gospel", so "gospel obedience." In fact, "obedience" is often expressed in the terms of "the obedience of faith", such that obedience and faith become synonymous, so "true faith." To further confuse matters, taking en as local, it is possible that the "true obedience" is Christ's obedience such that we are purified in union with him. At any rate, the principle is clear enough, we are purified by faith in the faithfulness of Christ.

eiV "so that" - to, into = resulting in. Here expressing purpose, or better hypothetical result, the result being the fruit of faith: "so as to engender in you an unfeigned love", Cassirer.

anupokriton adj. "sincere" - genuine, unfeigned [brotherly love]. Genuine, rather than superficial play-acting. "See to it that you do love each other fervently, from the heart", Phillips.

ektenwV adv. "deeply" - [therefore love one another] earnestly, eagerly, with full intensity. Adverb of manner.

ek + gen. "from [the heart]" - from [a pure heart]. Expressing source / origin.


Peter's exhortation to love rests on his readers having obeyed the truth. This obviously refers to their having believed the gospel. Thus "purified" and "born again" (forgiven and quickened) they can now love. This gospel, "the living and enduring word of God", is an "imperishable seed" which gives life to those who believe in it.

anagegennhmenoi (anagennaw) perf. pas. part. "have been born again" - having been regenerated, caused to be born. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because / for", as NIV. "Love each other intensely from the heart, for your new birth was not from any perishable seed, but .....", NJB.

ek + gen. "of" - [not] out of, from. Expressing source / origin, although Dubis suggests means - a means consisting of a source.

fqarthV gen. adj. "perishable" - perishable, corruptible, mortal.

sporaV (a) gen. "seed" - Initially referring to sowing, but can mean the seed itself, as here. The image of "perishable seed" is being used of natural human life which is mortal, while "imperishable" seed applies to a divine spiritual new birth which, in and through Christ, is immortal. Brotherly love is a natural fruit of those who are alive in Christ. Note that "seed" does not serve here as an image of the word of God.

alla "but" - but. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction; "not ...., but ...."

afqartou adj. "of imperishable" - incorruptible, imperishable, immortal [seed].

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means.

zwntoV (zaw) gen. pres. part. "[living" - the living [and remaining, abiding word of god]. This participle, as with "enduring / abiding / remaining", is adjectival, attributive, limiting "word"; "by means of a word which is living and abiding." The "word" is probably not the theological logoV, the incarnate Christ, but rather the preached word about Christ / the gospel. So, the "word" is living, not in the sense that Christ is living as a risen Lord, but living in the sense of being "dynamic", even "life-giving". The "word" is also mentontoV, "abiding / enduring" in the sense of eternal, a constant reality; "permanent and unchanging", Hiebert. Both adjectives are used of God in Daniel 6:26, but here of his word, reminding us that the words, as well as the being of God, are one. Of course, it is possible that the adjectives modify qeou, "God", but logou, "word", seems more likely.


Peter now quotes the LXX version of Isaiah 40:6 and 8 in support of the divine nature of the gospel.

dioti "for" - because, for [all flesh]. Causal conjunction. A shorthand version of "for as it is written", serving to introduce a scriptural support for, and thus verification of, the regenerative and imperishable nature of the gospel. The human experience of life is here today, gone tomorrow, but the word of God is eternal.

wJV "like" - [is] like [grass]. Comparative.

cortou (oV) gen. "of the field" - [and all the glory of it like flower] of grass. The genitive is adjectival, possibly of place, "flowers growing in a field", so Michaels.

exhranqh (xhrainw) aor. pas. "withers" - it was dried up [and the grass and the flower fell off]. Passive = "become dry."


The things of this world fade; they are transitory, but "the word of the Lord stands forever".

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument, here to a contrasting point.

kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - [the word] of the lord. The genitive may be taken as ablative, source / origin, or verbal, subjective.

eiV + acc. "stands forever" - [remains] into [the age]. Temporal use of the preposition. The term "into the age" is idiomatic for "forever". ""But the word of God remains forever", Barclay.

de "and" - but/and. Transitional, indicating the next step in the argument, here copulative, concluding the argument; "and taken note, this is news which we communicated to you."

to euaggelisqen (euaggelizw) aor. pas. part. "that was preached" - [this is the word] the one having been proclaimed, evangelised [to, into you]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting rJhma, "word", as NIV. "Which you have had proclaimed to you", Cassirer.


The fourth imperative, "crave pure spiritual milk", the second concerning life in the fellowship of believers, is contained in a single Gk. sentence covering v1-3. This call for spiritual growth, as for brotherly love, represents a natural consequence of the readers new birth in Christ, their "living hope" / "inheritance" / "grace", ie., the imperative rests on the indicative = be what you are.

oun "therefore" - Drawing a logical conclusion; "therefore, having rid yourself .....(ie. having loved the brotherhood) ...., crave pure spiritual milk."

apoqemenoi (apotiqhmi) aor. mid. part. "rid yourselves" - having put away, rejected. The participle is probably adverbial, possibly causal, "since you have rid yourself of all .....", or temporal, "as you lay aside all ......", Berkeley. Causal would work nicely with the durative present tense; "since you are laying aside ..."). The list of negative qualities serve to define what it means to love one another. To love a brother entails getting rid of all "malicious and twisted conduct, of two-faced and envious behaviour, of all slanderous gossiping", Barclay. As already noted, it is argued by many commentators that Peter often uses participles as imperatives, here attendant on the imperative verb epipoqhsate, "crave", v2. This has prompted translations of this verse in the form of an imperative, as NIV; see also, NJB, REB, CEV, TNT, Moffatt, NAB, Knox, Williams, ......

pasan adj. "all [malice]" - all [malice and] all [guile and hypocrisies, pretence and envies, jealousy and all evil speakings]. The threefold use of "all" "conveys the sense of totality and inclusiveness (no exceptions!)", Elliott. The list of nouns all serve as the direct object of the participle "having put away."


Peter knows that his readers do strive to love one another, putting away malicious and twisted conduct, two-faced envious behaviour, and slanderous gossiping, so he encourages them to support their Christian life by "craving pure spiritual milk." We are not quite sure what Peter means by this phrase, but we are best to go with the old King James version: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word." We grow in the Christian life when we infuse ourselves with the gospel of God's grace.

wJV "like" - as, like [a recently born infant, baby]. Comparative, here introducing a modal adverbial construction; "in the manner of newborn children who crave after their mother's milk, so we should crave ....." The comparison is related to craving, not to children, although the New Testament will often describe Jesus' disciples as children.

epipoqhsate (epipoqew) aor. imp. "crave" - desire greatly, long for greatly, crave. "As newly-born children want nothing more than their mother's milk, so you must set your heart on ....", Barclay.

adolon adj. "pure" - [the] pure, without deceit, sincere. The attributive adjective limits "milk." "Uncontaminated", Beare.

to logikon adj. "spiritual" - rational. This limiting adjective has many subtle meanings, eg., reasonable / rational / metaphorical / spiritual in the sense of not of this world, in contrast to literal. Here, Peter may be using any of these meanings. Other than metaphorical, the gospel is all of the above. "Spiritual" is preferred in most modern translations; "long for spiritual milk, the milk, that is, which is wholly pure", Cassirer, ie., milk which is necessary for spiritual growth / existence. As already indicated, the tendency is to understand this "spiritual milk" as representing the Word of God, that which provides spiritual nourishment and growth, so eg. Elliott, Best; "Go for the real spiritual milk of the Word", Junkins. Yet, by itself, the phrase "pure spiritual milk" could be referring to anything! None-the-less, Clowney is surely right when he notes that "since Peter has just been describing the living logos by which Christians are given new birth, it would seem that he is using logikon in that sense: the milk of the word", so also Hiebert. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word", AV.

to .... gala (a) "milk" - The article indicates something specific, as above, "the milk of the word"; "the divinely-given nourishment supplied by the gospel", Hiebert. Of course, other possibilities have been suggested, eg. the acceptance of Christ in the Eucharist, Beare. "Crave the uncontaminated milk of the gospel."

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that."

en + dat. "by" - in = by [it]. Here taking an instrumental sense expressing means.

auxhqhte (auxw / auxanw) aor. pas. subj. "you may grow up" - Transitive, "I cause to increase"; intransitive, "I grow". The word is used of a growing child and here the sense is of maturing toward eternal salvation.

eiV "in" - to, into [salvation]. Here expressing purpose / end-view; the purpose of desiring this milk is that we may "grow up" in our "salvation". Peter is probably using "salvation" here to mean something like "the full realisation of our eternal inheritance." Not earning it, of course, but releasing our full potential in it. So, Peter is encouraging his readers to desire the spiritual nourishment of the Word of God, so guiding their Christian walk together, and this in preparation for eternity.


ei + ind. "now that" - if. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be true; "[therefore], if, as is the case, [you tasted that the lord is good, gracious, kind then having put away all malice = put away all malice and all .................. that by it you may grow into salvation].

egeusasqe (geuomai) aor. "you have tasted" - you tasted, experienced. Here of experiencing the Lord's kindness. Peter is alluding to Psalm 33:9, LXX.

oJti "that" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they have experienced.


1 Peter Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]