1 Peter


2. Instructions on Christian living, 2:11-3:12

ii] State and household duties


In the passage before us, Peter reminds his readers that they are to act with regard toward all humanity. In particular, he calls on his readers to submit to secular authority, v13-17, reminding slaves that they must submit to their masters, v18-21a. In a cover-all exhortation, Peter makes the point that believers should follow the example of Christ, v21b-25.


i] Context: See 2:11-12.


ii] Background: See 1:1-2.


iii] Structure: State and household duties:

Societal obligations:

Be subject to secular authority, v13-16.

Be respectful, v17.


Fulfil your duty in unjust circumstances, v18-21a;

The example of Christ, v21b-25.


iv] Interpretation:

Having spoken of the privileges of being part of God's chosen people, 2:4-10, Peter goes on to speak of the responsibilities believers have toward others, 2:11-3:12. The responsibilities he tackles seem to reflect the social situation of the time. Christians were facing persecution, and so Peter wants to make sure that church members don't inflame the situation, but rather that they live as exemplary citizens. In the passage before us, Peter focuses on a believers responsibilities with respect to secular authority and employment.


The interpretive problems posed by this passage: Peter lays on us, as a Christian duty, obedience and respect for secular authorities, to governments and employers. We would have little trouble doing this with authority which is legally constituted and which acts morally. Yet, what of authority that acts Immorally? Does Peter demand, as to the Lord, submission to immoral authority? The following three points are worth considering:

*Although not clear in the passage dealing with submission to government authority, it is clear in the passage on slaves that believers, as a Christian duty, are to submit to unjust treatment, rather than resist. "Submit .... with respect ..... to those who are harsh", 2:18.

*Given the social environment of the first century, we have to admit that both government and business were corrupt. The Roman government was a tyrannical dictatorship which discriminated on the basis of race, favoured the privileged, ignored the poor, and waged war on its neighbours. As far as employment was concerned, Roman society was based on slavery.

*Peter argues that there is eternal value in suffering for doing good. He tells us that God's grace is active in such a situation. He gives the example of Christ, and on this basis, argues that we should suffer willingly when treated harshly by secular authorities. In so doing, God's favour is activated toward us and toward those around us.

Given the totalitarian nature of the Roman empire and its suspicion of organised associations, religious or otherwise, and given the fact that those addressed in this letter are facing persecution, Peter encourages his readers to submit to unjust governmental interference and an employer's infringement of their rights. Given this situation, Peter applies both pragmatics and sound theology. First, he encourages his readers to submit (ie. to face unjust circumstances stoically), to continue to do good in the face of evil (accentuate the positive!), and to recognise in this situation an alignment with the sufferings of Christ. This approach reflects Peter's "visitor mind-set", Jobes; we are just passin thru.

Of course, such necessary compliance with injustice does not stop believers from applying the humanising affect of the gospel, when the opportunity presents itself. Although the kingdom of God is primarily realised in God's covenant people, its social justice elements should be shared with secular society. The dream of Christian socialism, of heaven on earth, is just that, a dream, but such does not prevent us from striving to realise something of what is primarily an eschatological reality, and this for the good of our neighbours. The abolition of slavery, driven by the children of the Great Awakening, by Wilberforce and friends, was driven by this truth. But then, how far should a Christian go in the struggle against injustice? Is it acceptable to join with Bonhoeffer and the like and take up the sward against tyranny? We would probably have to be alive and living in Nazi Germany to answer that question!


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of the passage can be found in the pew-level sermon notes The Shepherd and Bishop of our souls

Text - 2:13

Concerning submitting to authority, v13-25: i] Peter begins by telling us to "submit" (rank ourselves under) the authority of government, v13-16. The term "every authority instituted among men" is probably best viewed as local human institutions which exist for the welfare of society, this means government and government instrumentalities. Peter implies that such institutions are from God - they are Divinely instituted, cf., Rom.13:1. We should submit to them for the "Lord's sake", ie., we should submit freely out of our respect for Jesus - it is something he wants us to do, cf., "give unto Caesar......"

Verses 13-16 consist of a single sentence in the Gk. with the main verb being the imperative uJpotaghte "be subject, submit."

uJpotaghte (uJpotassw) aor. pas. imp."submit yourselves .... to" - subject to = you be subject to [every human authority, institution]. The aorist imperative expresses a decisive demand. In this case to submit to civil authority.

dia + acc. "for" - because of, on account of [the lord]. Causal. A believer should seek to obey secular authority because of / out of loyalty to the Lord, "the Lord" presumably being the Lord Jesus Christ.

pash/ dat. adj. "every" - Dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb , "to submit to." All levels of authority, eg., local, state or federal government authorities.

krisei (iV ewV) dat. "authority / [human] authority" - [human] institution, authority. Dative, as above. This is the only place in the NT where this word is translated "institution, authority." "Accept the authority of every human institution", NJB, although better "every human authority", ie., civil rulers.

anqrwpinh/ dat. adj. "instituted among men" - human. The adjective "human" probably means "man made", ie., authorities appointed / created by men, rather than "human authority", as opposed to "spiritual authority."

eite ..... eite "whether ...... or" - either [to the emperor, king being in authority] (v14) or. A disjunctive correlative construction.

basilei (euV ewV) dat. "the emperor" - Dative of direct object of an assumed upotassw, "to submit to."

wJV "as" - as. Here expressing a characteristic quality rather than comparative, or modal expressing manner. The "emperor" is not "like" or "as if" supreme, but is supreme. Michaels thinks that here it is causal; "we are to obey, whether it is the emperor, because he is supreme, or governors ...."

uJpereconti (uJperecw) dat. pres. part. "supreme authority" - being supereminent, supreme, in authority. Here wJV + the participle is adjectival, limiting by describing the "emperor", and dative in agreement; "whether it be the emperor, who is the supreme authority, or ....", Barclay.


Secular authorities are authorised by God to punish those who "do wrong and commend those who do right," v13b, 14. When it comes to the administration of justice, the function of government is to apply the scales of justice - to redress the balance. So, for this reason, government authority is to be respected.

eite "[whether ........] or" - or. See above.

hJgemosin (wn wnoV) dat. "governors" - to rulers, governors. Again a dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb "to submit to"; "[submit yourselves ...... to] governors." The word was used at this time of officials appointed by the emperor.

wJV "-" - as. See v13 above. Possibly "because they are sent."

pempomenoiV (pempw) dat. pres. pas. part. "who are sent" - being sent. Again, wJV + the participle is adjectival, limiting "governors", and dative in agreement; "governors who are sent to punish those who do evil."

di (dia) + gen. "by [him]" - through, by means of [him (the Emprior)]. Instrumental, agency. Expressing the point that the emperor appoints the governors.

eiV "to" - to, into = for. Here serving to form a final clause expressing purpose, "for the purpose of"; "for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them that do well", AV.

ekdikhsin (iV ewV "punish" - vengeance. Obviously legal punishment is in mind here. Retributive punishment which appropriately fits the crime is the intended sense of the legal "vengeance" that is applied to the perpetrator, under God's polity.

The modern concept of criminal punishment for the reformation of the criminal and the protection of the populous finds little Biblical support, particularly as it does not justly treat the criminal and gives little consideration to the victim. The punishment often does not fit the crime (eg. a sentence ranges from incarceration to a good behaviour bond) and victim compensation is rarely considered. Note how in Mosaic law victim compensation is foremost and how the punishment fits the crime - kill a person's cow by accident and you must replace the cow; steel a cow and you must return the cow, plus three others. None-the-less, the modern justice system of Western democracies is somewhat more humane than the Roman justice system of the first century (Senatorial administration was noted for its corruption, although the administration of justice in the Imperial provinces was somewhat more honest).

Implied unjust justice may indicate that there is an unstated qualification to Peter's words. A society which fails to "punish criminals and praise good-living citizens", Barclay, is not necessarily a society which believers should automatically "submit" to. Are we, "for the Lord's sake", required to "submit" to the justice system of a society which praises the criminals and punishes good-living citizens, a society which demonstrates that it is not a "servant of God", Rom.13:4? None-the-less, as already noted, Peter probably is calling for an unquestioning submission to the secular state, just or otherwise, since resistance to its authority can only bring harm both to those who resist, as well as the church, and the gospel. So, Peter is probably not qualifying his instructions at this point, other than defining the proper exercise of state authority under God. None-the-less, the question is a valid one.

kakopoiwn (oV) gen. "those who do wrong" - of evildoers. "Of evildoers" is often taken as an objective genitive, "punishment for evildoers", but adjectival is possible, describing / limiting "punishment"; "the punishment of those who do wrong."

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

epainon (oV) "commend" - praise. Good order in the home is rightly commended by authorities who see this as evidencing civil order.

agaqopoiwn (oV) gen. "those who do right" - of the ones doing good. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective; those who do good receive the praise; "to bestow praise on those who have done well", Cassirer.


God's will is that believers be law-abiding citizens. The fruit of this obedience may serve to muzzle the foolish criticism of those who oppose the Christian faith, v15-16.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why we should submit ourselves to human authorities, v13. "Because that is in accordance with God's will, who wills that by well-doing men should muzzle the ignorance of foolish men", Selwyn.

ou{twV adv. "it is" - thus = this is. This adverb of manner is here serving as a predicate adjective; "because this is God's will." The "this" is usually understood to be the doing what is right of v14, but some argue that ou{twV refers forward to the epexegetic clause "that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people", ESV.

tou qeou gen. "God's" - [the will] of god. The genitive may be classified as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective.

fimoun (fimow) pres. inf. "that ..... you should silence" - to silence. The infinitive introduces an epexegetic clause specifying ou{twV, "thus" = "this"; "God's intention is this, that you should silence the foolish talk of ignorant people by doing what is right."

agaqopoiountaV (agaqopoiew) pres. part. "by doing good" - doing good. The participle is adverbial, probably instrumental, expressing means, as NIV. The context would imply that the "good behaviour" relates to good citizenship, the support of societal regulations which function to enhance community relationships - peace and harmony.

thn .... agnwsian (a) "the ignorant talk" - the ignorance. Accusative direct object of the participle "doing good." Usually understood as "ignorant / foolish talk."

twn afronwn adj. "of foolish [men]" - of the senseless, foolish, silly [men]. Attributive adjective. The genitive phrase "of silly people" is usually classified as verbal, subjective when taking the noun thn .... agnwsian, "the ignorance" = "the foolish talk", as a verbal noun.


The Greek sentence commenced in v13 concludes with this verse, so the main verb uJpotaghte, "be subject", still applies. Thus, the sense of the verse is "be subject to all authority, as people who are free, and not as people who use their freedom as a pretext for evil." This verse is often translated as if it introduces the series of imperatives in v17, but grammatically, this unlikely.

wJV "-" - as. Comparative, or modal expressing manner, although Beare suggests that the three uses in this verse come with imperatival force; see v13. Continuing the dependent statement expressing the divine will, v15; "God's intention is that you should silence the foolish talk of ignorant people by doing what is right as / like a free people ...." It seems more likely that the three uses in this verse are adverbial, expressing manner; "be subject in the manner of / as if free people ....."

eleuqeroi adj. "free" - free people. As a substantive, "freedmen", ie. as a slave having gained their freedom and now able to choose their vocation etc. (surely not theological freedom, "as the redeemed", Michaels). The function of the State is to provide an environment where relationships flourish in mutual respect for person and property. The Christian citizen, like a freedman, should willingly choose to submit to the authority of a state that provides such an environment, and to do so in a way that does not infringe the freedom of others.

kai mh "but do not" - and not. Often treated here as contrastive, as NIV.

econteV (ecw) pres. part. "use" - having [the freedom as a pretext, veil cloak]. The participle may be adverbial, possibly instrumental, "not by employing freedom to cover up wickedness", Berkeley, although better concessive, "live as free persons, although not as an opportunity to use that freedom ...." Yet, it seems more likely that it serves as a substantive; "as free men and women and not as those who use their freedom as a cover ....", Achtemeier.

thV kakiaV (a) "for evil" - of wickedness, evil, trouble. The genitive is usually treated as objective; "as an excuse for their malicious disposition", so NIV, but an adjectival modification is probably intended, "as an evil pretext / smokescreen."

all (alla) "-" - but. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction, "not ...., but ...."; "but as God's slaves."

qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [as the slaves] of god. The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "God's slaves."


ii] Respect, v17. Peter rounds off his instructions concerning societal submission with a series of four imperatival clauses. We are to show "respect" toward our fellow citizens. The word means something like "esteem highly." Our particular care rests with the brotherhood, but in like manner to God, we must extend our care to all, cf. Rom.14:10, Jas.3:8-10. When it comes to those in authority over us, we should "fear" God (a reverential awesome respect) and honour (respect) the king. Our first loyalty lies with God, although Peter is simply making the point that both God and lawfully instituted government have rights, and we should respect those rights.

timhsate (timaw) aor. imp. "show proper respect to" - honour. "Showing of respect, acknowledgment of another's status and deference to authority", Elliott.

pantaV adj. "everyone" - all men = people. This adjective serves as a substantive, accusative direct object of the imperative verb "to honour." Possibly in the context, "all those in authority."

agapate (agapaw) pres. imp. "love" - love [the brotherhood]. The present tense is durative, "keep on loving."

fobeisqe (fobeomai) pres. pas. imp. "fear" - be afraid = respect [god]. Ref. Proverbs 24:21 for this summary of a Christian's duty.

timate (timaw) pres. imp. "honour" - respect, honour [the king]. Show deference to someone of high status.


iii] Turning his attention to servants / slaves, Peter encourages them to fulfil their duties, even in unjust circumstances, v18-21a. Why does Peter call on slaves to give unquestioning subservience to masters, without giving instructions to masters on the proper treatment of their slaves? Does he just assume that masters will do the right thing, or was the Christian church so poor at this point in time that no Christian actually owned slaves? As already noted, the answer to this question probably lies with the purpose of Peter's letter. Peter is writing to encourage Christians who are struggling to live out their faith in an aggressive and often hostile secular environment. Believers who face the greatest disadvantage are slaves. So, Peter's practical advice is that they accept what cannot be changed (slavery was an integral part of Roman society - 50% of the population of Rome were indentured slaves - and resistance to the institution was mercilessly dealt with). Given the circumstances, it is best that slaves approach their task positively ("doing good"), in the knowledge that such commends them to God by aligning them with their calling to follow the example of Christ. This advice does not mean that a slave should never try to gain their freedom when legally able to do so, nor does it imply that the institution of slavery is moral form of employment that should never be dispensed with.

oiketai (hV ou) voc. "slaves" - slaves, household servants. Although the NIV uses the word "slaves", it has the wider sense of "household servants", although these may well include slaves. In our context, the word "employees" will suffice. These servants should submit to the authority of their employer out of respect for God.

oiJ uJpotassomenoi (uJpotassw) pres. pas. part. "submit yourselves" - being subject to, accepting the authority of. This participle is often viewed as imperatival in its own right, so Selwyn, and nearly always translated this way, yet technically it is attendant on the leading imperative in v13, uJpotaghte, "be submissive", and therefore treated as an imperative. As Lenski puts it, "this is good Greek, the effect being to make all of these admonitions a continued chain by means of (attendant) participles."

toiV despotaiV (hV ou) dat. "to your masters" - the = your masters. Dative of direct object of the uJpo prefix participle "submitting to".

en "with" - in [all fear]. Adverbial use of the preposition, forming an adverbial modal construction modifying the verbal aspect of the participle "submitting"; "respectfully submitting to". "All" serves to intensify, and "fear", means "respect" rather than servile fear.

toiV agaqoiV dat. adj. "to those who are good" - [not only] to the good ones. The adjective serves as a substantive; dative of direct object of an implied uJpotassomenoi. Best with the sense "benevolent".

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

toiV skolioiV dat. adj. "to those who are harsh" - to the crooked, bent, harsh ones. Dative as above. "Unreasonable, exacting, capricious, and cross-grained", Manson.


Peter goes on to give reasons why a believer should, out of respect for God, willingly suffer unfairly, v19-21a: "It is commendable" he says, to "suffer for doing good" and to "endure it", and "to this you were called."

gar "for" - because of. Introducing a causal clause explaining why a servant / slave should submit, as NIV.

touto pro. "it" - this. The close demonstrative pronoun is forward referencing to the protasis of the conditional clause, namely, "when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly."

cariV (iV ewV) "commendable" - is grace, favour = commendable. Peter seems to imply that faithfulness in the face of unjust suffering prompts divine blessings as a natural consequence. "God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly, for being loyal to him", CEV, even to the earning of merit, "there is merit", NJB. Yet, this takes the meaning of "grace" in this context too far. We are best to follow Achtemeier when he defines "grace" in this context as "God's favourable judgment on the activity here under discussion", so NIV "commendable".

ei + ind. "if" - if. Introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the proposed condition is assumed to be true; "[for] if, as is the case, [anyone bears up under pain ....], then [this is grace / a gracious thing / commendable]."

pascwn (pascw) pres. part. "suffering" - [a certain one endures pain] suffering [wrongly]. The participle is probably adverbial, temporal; "if a person endures pain while suffering undeserved ill-treatment."

dia + acc. "because" - because of. Causal.

suneidhsin (iV ewV) "he is conscious" - a conscience / consciousness, awareness. The sense "awareness" is better here.

qeou (oV) "of God" - of god. The genitive "of God" is adjectival, attributive, "a God consciousness", a godward type of awareness / knowing / "inner reference", Selwyn, or verbal, objective, "a consciousness toward God." Possibly ablative, expressing source / origin, "from God." "Because God is in his thoughts", Cassirer, ie., the person understands the will of God.


The Christian life entails bearing up under unjust suffering by the call of Christ, v20-21a.

gar "but" - because. Introducing another causal clause explaining why it is commendable to serve faithfully in the face of unjust suffering, namely because there is no merit in suffering as a consequence of stupid or wilful behaviour.

kleoV (oV) "[how is it] to your credit" - [what kind of] honour, merit is there. Nominative subject of an assumed verb "to-be". As of receiving honour, so "credit / advantage."

ei + ind. "if" - if. This sentence / verse is made up of two conditional clauses, 1st. class, where the proposed conditions are assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, ..... then." The two clauses are arranged chiastically, ie., in the form of C, Chi. The a b b a form of the conditional clauses being: apodosis, protasis, protasis, apodosis, ie. then ..... if .....; if ..... then ....; Lit. "then what advantage [is there] if you endure sinning and being beaten, but if you endure doing good and suffering, then this [is] commendable with God."

kolafizomenoi (kolafizw) pres. pas. part. "you receive a beating" - [sinning and] being beaten. This participle, as with pasconteV, "suffering", is adverbial, probably best treated as temporal; "when you are flogged / punished."

aJmaratanonteV (aJmartanw) pres. part. "for doing wrong" - sinning. This participle, as with agaqopoiounteV, "doing good", is adverbial, either temporal, or causal, "when / because you sin / have done wrong." There are other ways of putting the two adverbial participles together, eg. following the order of the Gk. "[when] you do wrong and [as a result] get flogged [for it]."

uJpomeneite (uJpomenw) fut. "and endure it" - you will endure. Translated as present tense, although Peter has the future tense since he is thinking of a time in the future when his encouragement will need to be applied; "Bear it uncomplainingly", Barclay.

alla "but" - but [if doing good and suffering you endure, this is grace = commendable]. Strong adversative used in a counterpoint construction / argument. There is no value in suffering for doing wrong, but there is value in suffering for doing good.

para + dat. "before" - beside = with [god]. Here expressing sphere, "in the sight of / before", ie., this conduct comes with God's approval; it's the right thing to do. As noted above, Peter is probably not saying that God credits such behaviour, that there is merit in it. The only credit worth anything is that which Christ has earned for us.


This clause is transitional; it concludes v18-20, but also introduces v21b-25.

gar "-" - because. Introducing the final causal clause explaining why slaves should serve faithfully even when treated unjustly, namely, because "for to this you have been called", NAB.

eiV + acc. "to" - to, into. Here expressing purpose; "because, for this purpose you were called."

touto pro. "this" - The close demonstrative pronoun is backward referencing, namely, to willingly suffer unjustly, v20b.

eklhqhte (kalew) aor. pas. "you were called" - you were elected, called, summoned, invited. The word is being used here of "vocation", of a pathway set before the followers of Jesus. As the master has suffered, so will the servant, which suffering is part of our calling / vocation. "You are engaged to this by the call of Christ", Knox.


iv] Peter now goes on to explain that Christ's suffering and death serves as an example which is applicable to all believers. Such supports his contention that slaves should willingly submit to their masters, acting in the master's best interest, even when treated unfairly, v21b-25.

oJti "because" - because [christ]. Possibly causal, as NIV, "the reason for such a call to suffering for doing good", Achtemeier. Yet, also possibly introducing a dependent statement expressing the content of a believer's calling as it relates to willingly suffering injustice, that content being the example of Christ.

kai "-" - and = also. Adjunctive; "also". "Emphasises the similarity of Christ's sufferings and those of Peter's readers", Hiebert, so also Elliott.

uJper + gen. "for" - [suffered] on behalf of [you]. Here expressing advantage / benefit; "for, on behalf of."

uJpolimpanwn (uJpolimpanw) pres. part. "leaving" - leaving behind [an example]. The participle is adverbial, modifying the verb "suffered", possibly introducing a consecutive clause expressing result; "Christ too (also) suffered for you, and in so doing, he left you an example", Barclay.

uJmin "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage; "leaving an example for you to follow."

uJpogrammon (oV) "an example" - example, outline, pattern. Accusative direct object of the participle "leaving behind." Used of the model to guide the construction of a finished product. So plan, "a plan", or "a guideline", but not an exact detail. To show how "to move in the direction he is going", Kelly.

iJna + subj. "that" - that. Possibly introducing a purpose clause, "in order that", or hypothetical result, "so that", so Hiebert, Michaels (expressing "intent"), Achtemeier; "for he wanted us to follow in his steps", Barclay. Yet, the construction here could also be epexegetic, specifying "example", so Beare; "namely / that is, that you should ....."

toiV icnesin (oV) dat. "in [his] steps" - [you should follow along with] the steps [of him]. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to follow, happen along with."


Peter goes on in v22-23 to draw on some images of the Suffering Servant found in Isaiah, images we should emulate. In v22 Christ is the sinless one, Isaiah 53:9, while in v23 he is the one who suffers without protest (a possible allusion to Isaiah 53:7), for he entrusts his vindication to God, submitting to unjust suffering, and committing himself into the hands of God. So, the point Peter is making is that in the face of abuse, Jesus did not retaliate; such is an example that should be followed by the slaves (and, in fact, all believers) Peter is addressing.

doloV (oV) "no deceit" - [who did not commit sin, nor was found] deceit. Nominative subject of the verb "to find." "And no one ever heard him speak a twisted word", Barclay.

en + dat. "in" - in [the mouth of him]. Local; expressing space / sphere.


loidoroumenoV (loidorew) pres. pas. part. "when they hurled their insults at" - [who] being reviled, insulted, abused. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

ouk anteloidorei (antloidorew) imperf. "he did not retaliate" - did not revile back, return abuse, retaliate. The imperfect, used with the main verbs in all three clauses of this verse, may simply be durative, expressing repeated action, although here it could reflect a more technical usage, namely, to express return action; "he did not revile in return", Cassirer.

pascwn (pascw) pres. part. "when he suffered" - suffering. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV, or concessive, "although suffering", so Dubis.

ouk hpeilei (apeilew) imperf. "he made no threats" - he did not threaten. Again the imperfect is being used to express return action; "he did not answer ill-treatment with threats of revenge", Barclay.

de "instead" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument, here to the positive side of a negative-positive argument; "but .......".

paredidou (paradidwmi) imperf. "he entrusted himself" - handed over, committed, delivered over, gave over, entrusted himself. The object is assumed, "himself and his cause", Zerwick.

tw/ krinonti (krinw) dat. pres. part. "to him who judges [justly]" - to the one judging [righteously, justly]. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object, with the direct object "himself" assumed.


Yet, "Christ was not only a model, but a mediator", Ball, v24-25. Peter concludes by drawing out the meaning of Christ's death in order to show "that our sufferings too may be transformed from the meaningless and maybe sordid thing that they often are, into something of dignity and worth by being associated with Christ's suffering, and that our little crosses may be lit up by the splendour and brightnesses of his cross", Cranfield. For this, and the next verse, Peter again sources Isaiah 53. In v24 he draws on Isaiah 53:4/11/12, which he goes on to explain, concluding with a quote from Isaiah 53:5, and then in v25 he concludes with Isaiah 53:6.

autoV pers. pro. "he [himself]" - who [he = himself]. Nominative subject of the verb "to bear, carry".

anhnegken (anaferw) aor. "he ... bore" - bore, carried up, offered up. Sacrificial imagery is being used here, of carrying up the sacrifice to the alter. The verb is aorist, punctiliar, indicating a single act.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - [the sins] of us. The genitive is adjectival, verbal, subjective, "the sins we commit", or possessive, "the sins that belong to us / our sins"

taV aJmartiaV (a) "sins" - In the Gk. "the sins of us" is emphatic by position; "sins" (pl.) entailing wilful disobedience to God's requirements; "our" serves to include Peter and his readers. It is usually understood that Christ does not take upon himself the actual sins, but he does take upon himself sins' curse, and thus that which is demanded of sin, ie., the punishment for sin, namely, the curse of death (separation from God???).

en + dat. "in [his body]" - in, on [the body of him]. Local, expressing space; "His body was the means through which his self-sacrifice was accomplished, cf. Heb.10:5", Hiebert.

epi + acc. "on [the tree]" - on, upon [the wood, tree, the thing made of wood = the cross]. The preposition is spacial here. It is often noted that, as Deuteronomy 21:22-23 states, a person executed by being hung on a post is cursed of God. So, Jesus' death on the cross expiates / propitiates (debate rages over which of the two apply) the curse which properly applies to the sinner seeking God's mercy.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Introducing a purpose clause, "in order that", or hypothetical result, "so that".

apogenomenoi (apoginomai) aor. mid. part. "we might die to" - having parted from, separated from = having died to. Probably as a medial passive, "having been parted from our sins" = "having died to our sins", although Michaels suggests "having parted with our sins." Often translated "die" here under the influence of Pauline theology, cf. Rom.6:10f. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "might live." The sense of the word is explained in Thayer's lexicon as "become utterly alienated from your sins."

taiV aJmartiaiV (a) dat. "sins" - sins. The dative may be viewed as a dative of reference / respect, "an utter alienation / abandonment with respect / with relation to sin", even possibly a dative of interest, advantage used instead of a genitive of separation, "from sins", although the apo prefix verb "to be separated, parted from" will often take a dative.

The sense of a believer's abandonment of sin at this point in Peter's letter is a matter of some debate, cf., Romans 6. Given the atonement, a believer's sins have no claim over them, for Christ has met the claim and paid the price. Thus, a believer is utterly alienated from, separated from, dead to, ... any claim, any demand that sin may make of them = "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus", Rom.8:1. Yet, is Peter into Pauline theology at this point (so Beare, Cranfield, Stibbs), or is he just speaking about the abandonment of sin and the redirection of life towards a righteousness /goodness which is a moral consequence of the atonement (so Selwyn, Michaels, Elliott, Jobes, Davids, Best, Kelly, Hiebert)?

It seems more than likely that Peter has in mind the atonement from which a believer experiences a complete emancipation from sin, rather than an emancipation from sinning, which reality gives dignity to our suffering, particularly when we suffer unjustly. If, on the other hand, Peter is speaking about moral liberation, of freedom from the power of sin, rather than the condemnation of sin, to what degree has "the power and tyranny of sin in our lives ... been broken, enabling us to conquer sin, and by the indwelling Spirit ... claim our liberation", Hiebert?

As any student of theology knows, sound theology will, by its very nature, align with experience, and experience tells us that the old Adam continues in his wilful ways until deposited in the grave (so Luther). When it comes to freedom from the power of sin, it is a matter of degree. Moral renewal is realised in the life of a believer because, on the one hand, we are no longer under the power of the law, that which makes sin more sinful, 1Cor.15:56, and on the other hand, we are daily renewed by the indwelling compelling of the Spirit of Christ. Yet even so, such does not make for a sinless Christian.

So, it is very unlikely that Peter is speaking of freedom from sinning, "that we might not any longer respond to the impulse to sin", TH. It is far more likely that Peter is speaking of freedom from the curse of sin realised through identification with Christ; "our sins have been done away with", Cassirer.

th/ dikaiosunh/ (h) dat. subj."[live] for righteousness" - [we might live] to righteousness, justice. The dative may be local, sphere, "in righteousness", so Achtemeier, or interest, advantage, "for righteousness", so Michaels, or reference / respect, so Dubis. Note that the subjunctive "might live" stands with iJna; "in order that we die to (abandon) sin and live to righteousness." We are faced with the same problem as regard "sin" or "sinning" above. If a moral sense is intended, then "live to righteousness" entails "living a life in accordance with God's will", Achtemeier, "to live to goodness", Barclay, "doing what is right", but if Peter has in mind a believer's identification with Christ in his death and resurrection, then this "righteousness" is that which belongs to those who share in Christ's resurrection life, a "righteousness" / holiness in which we "live" eternally in the presence of God.

tw/ mwlwpi (wy wpoV) dat. "by [his] wounds" - in = by the bruise, welt, wound [of whom]. The dative is instrumental, expressing means. Wounds that are the product of a beating, although the imagery is being used of Jesus' death. The genitive relative pronoun ou|, "whose", is adjectival, possessive, or possibly verbal, objective, where Jesus receives the action of the wounding, "it was the suffering he bore that healed you", Phillips.

iaqhte (iaomai) aor. pas. "you have been healed" - you were healed. Clearly Peter is using this text from Isaiah to refer to the substitutionary nature of Christ's sufferings and death. Again, it is possible that Peter is drawing out the idea that Christ's sufferings actually "heal" in the sense of enable a believer to live a godly life, and this even in the face of suffering. Yet, as already noted, this moral consequence of the atonement may not be Peter's intention here. It is more than likely that Peter has in mind the healing of our sin on the cross, such that the believer is free from its condemnation. This is reinforced by v25, Isa.53.6. We were all like sheep having gone astray, sinners through and through, separated from God and facing his condemnation. Yet now, because of all that Jesus has done for us, we have been brought back into God's eternal flock, safe and secure. This truth further clarifies the dignity and worth of suffering as Christ suffered.


gar "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why it was necessary for us to be "healed"; "because you were straying like sheep .....", ESV.

h\te .... planwmenoi (planaw) pres. pas. part. "you were .... going astray" - you were being led astray / being deceived. A periphrastic imperfect construction, possibly serving to emphasise durative aspect; "you were like sheep continually going astray, led astray, deceived."

wJV "like" - as [sheep]. Here serving as a comparative, as NIV. "Wondering away like so many sheep", Phillips.

alla "but" - but. Strong adversative introducing a contrast with the previous clause.

nun adv. "now" - now. Temporal adverb introducing a temporal clause.

epestrafhte (epistrefw) aor. pas. "you have returned" - you were turned back to, turned around. The aorist expresses punctiliar action, as opposed to the imperfect verb to-be + the present participle, expressing durative action, ie., the text describes an ongoing wondering followed by a definite return. The passive is probably theological, identifying God's action in the gospel. So, the text alludes to the conversion of Peter's readers.

epi + acc. "to" - upon. Spacial; expressing goal.

episkopon (oV) "overseer" - [the shepherd and] overseer. Someone who looks after other's, shepherds them, cares for them - a word similar to "shepherd". This is the only place in the NT where the word is used of Christ. The word is often applied to church leaders. So, the conversion of Peter's readers brought them back to the Shepherd and Overseers of their souls; it brought them back to God.

twn yucwn (h) gen. "of [your] souls" - of the souls [of you]. The genitive is adjectival, usually classified as verbal, objective, but possibly idiomatic / subordination, "over your souls."


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