1 Peter 3:1-22 . RELATIVE DUTIES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES: EXHORTATIONS TO LOVE AND FORBEARANCE: RIGHT CONDUCT UNDER PERSECUTIONS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE, AFTER CHRIST'S EXAMPLE, WHOSE DEATH RESULTED IN QUICKENING TO US THROUGH HIS BEING QUICKENED AGAIN, OF WHICH BAPTISM IS THE SACRAMENTAL SEAL.
11. In oldest manuscripts, Greek, "Moreover (besides his words, in acts), let him."
ensue--pursue as a thing hard to attain, and that flees from one in this troublesome world.
12. Ground of the promised present and eternal life of blessedness to the meek ( 1 Peter 3:10 ). The Lord's eyes are ever over them for good.
ears . . . unto their prayers--( 1 John 5:14 1 John 5:15 ).
face . . . against--The eyes imply favorable regard; the face of the Lord upon (not as English Version, "against") them that do evil, implies that He narrowly observes them, so as not to let them really and lastingly hurt His people (compare 1 Peter 3:13 ).
13. who . . . will harm you--This fearless confidence in God's protection from harm, Christ, the Head, in His sufferings realized; so His members.
if ye be--Greek, "if ye have become."
followers--The oldest manuscripts read "emulous," "zealous of" ( Titus 2:14 ).
good--The contrast in Greek is, "Who will do you evil, if ye be zealous of good?"
14. But and if--"But if even." "The promises of this life extend only so far as it is expedient for us that they should be fulfilled" [CALVIN]. So he proceeds to state the exceptions to the promise ( 1 Peter 3:10 ), and how the truly wise will behave in such exceptional cases. "If ye should suffer"; if it should so happen; "suffer," a milder word than harm.
for righteousness--"not the suffering, but the cause for which one suffers, makes the martyr" [AUGUSTINE].
happy--Not even can suffering take away your blessedness, but rather promotes it.
and--Greek, "but." Do not impair your blessing ( 1 Peter 3:9 ) by fearing man's terror in your times of adversity. Literally, "Be not terrified with their terror," that is, with that which they try to strike into you, and which strikes themselves when in adversity. This verse and 1 Peter 3:15 is quoted from Isaiah 8:12 Isaiah 8:13 . God alone is to be feared; he that fears God has none else to fear.
neither be troubled--the threat of the law, Leviticus 26:36 , Deuteronomy 28:65 Deuteronomy 28:66 ; in contrast to which the Gospel gives the believer a heart assured of God's favor, and therefore unruffled, amidst all adversities. Not only be not afraid, but be not even agitated.
15. sanctify--hallow; honor as holy, enshrining Him in your hearts. So in the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:9 . God's holiness is thus glorified in our hearts as the dwelling-place of His Spirit.
the Lord God--The oldest manuscripts read "Christ." Translate, "Sanctify Christ as Lord."
and--Greek, "but," or "moreover." Besides this inward sanctification of God in the heart, be also ready always to give, &c.
answer--an apologetic answer defending your faith.
to every man that asketh you--The last words limit the universality of the "always"; not to a roller, but to everyone among the heathen who inquires honestly.
a reason--a reasonable account. This refutes Rome's dogma, "I believe it, because the Church believes it." Credulity is believing without evidence; faith is believing on evidence. There is no repose for reason itself but in faith. This verse does not impose an obligation to bring forward a learned proof and logical defense of revelation. But as believers deny themselves, crucify the world, and brave persecution, they must be buoyed up by some strong "hope"; men of the world, having no such hope themselves, are moved by curiosity to ask the secret of this hope; the believer must be ready to give an experimental account "how this hope arose in him, what it contains, and on what it rests" [STEIGER].
with--The oldest manuscripts read, "but with." Be ready, but with "meekness." Not pertly and arrogantly.
meekness--( 1 Peter 3:4 ). The most effective way; not self-sufficient impetuosity.
fear--due respect towards man, and reverence towards God, remembering His cause does not need man's hot temper to uphold it.
16. Having a good conscience--the secret spring of readiness to give account of our hope. So hope and good conscience go together in Acts 24:15 Acts 24:16 . Profession without practice has no weight. But those who have a good conscience can afford to give an account of their hope "with meekness."
whereas--( 1 Peter 2:12 ).
they speak evil of you, as of evildoers--One oldest manuscript reads, "ye are spoken against," omitting the rest.
falsely accuse--"calumniate"; the Greek expresses malice shown in deeds as well as in words. It is translated, "despitefully use," Matthew 5:44 , Luke 6:28 .
in Christ--who is the very element of your life as Christians. "In Christ" defines "good." It is your good walk as Christians, not as citizens, that calls forth malice ( 1 Peter 4:4 1 Peter 4:5 1 Peter 4:14 ).
17. better--One may object, I would not bear it so ill if I had deserved it. Peter replies, it is better that you did not deserve it, in order that doing well and yet being spoken against, you may prove yourself a true Christian [GERHARD].
if the will of God be so--rather as the optative is in the oldest manuscripts, "if the will of God should will it so." Those who honor God's will as their highest law ( 1 Peter 2:15 ) have the comfort to know that suffering is God's appointment ( 1 Peter 4:19 ). So Christ Himself; our inclination does not wish it.
18. Confirmation of 1 Peter 3:17 , by the glorious results of Christ's suffering innocently.
For--"Because." That is "better," 1 Peter 3:17 , means of which we are rendered more like to Christ in death and in life; for His death brought the best issue to Himself and to us [BENGEL].
Christ--the Anointed Holy One of God; the Holy suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust.
also--as well as yourselves ( 1 Peter 3:17 ). Compare 1 Peter 2:21 ; there His suffering was brought forward as an example to us; here, as a proof of the blessedness of suffering for well-doing.
once--for all; never again to suffer. It is "better" for us also once to suffer with Christ, than for ever without Christ We now are suffering our "once"; it will soon be a thing of the past; a bright consolation to the tried.
for sins--as though He had Himself committed them. He exposed Himself to death by His "confession," even as we are called on to "give an answer to him that asketh a reason of our hope." This was "well-doing" in its highest manifestation. As He suffered, "The Just," so we ought willingly to suffer, for righteousness' sake ( 1 Peter 3:14 ; compare 1 Peter 3:12 1 Peter 3:17 ).
that he might bring us to God--together with Himself in His ascension to the right hand of God ( 1 Peter 3:22 ). He brings us, "the unjust," justified together with Him into heaven. So the result of Christ's death is His drawing men to Him; spiritually now, in our having access into the Holiest, opened by Christ's ascension; literally hereafter. "Bring us," moreover, by the same steps of humiliation and exaltation through which He Himself passed. The several steps of Christ's progress from lowliness to glory are trodden over again by His people in virtue of their oneness with Him ( 1 Peter 4:1-3 ). "To God," is Greek dative (not the preposition and case), implying that God wishes it [BENGEL].
put to death--the means of His bringing us to God.
in the flesh--that is, in respect to the life of flesh and blood.
quickened by the Spirit--The oldest manuscripts omit the Greek article. Translate with the preposition "in," as the antithesis to the previous "in the flesh" requires, "IN spirit," that is, in respect to His Spirit. "Put to death" in the former mode of life; "quickened" in the other. Not that His Spirit ever died and was quickened, or made alive again, but whereas He had lived after the manner of mortal men in the flesh, He began to live a spiritual "resurrection" ( 1 Peter 3:21 ) life, whereby He has the power to bring us to God. Two ways of explaining 1 Peter 3:18 1 Peter 3:19 , are open to us: (1) "Quickened in Spirit," that is, immediately on His release from the "flesh," the energy of His undying spirit-life was "quickened" by God the Father, into new modes of action, namely, "in the Spirit He went down (as subsequently He went up to heaven, 1 Peter 3:22 , the same Greek verb) and heralded [not salvation, as ALFORD, contrary to Scripture, which everywhere represents man's state, whether saved or lost, after death irreversible. Nor is any mention made of the conversion of the spirits in prison. 'preached the Gospel' (evangelizo), but 'heralded' (ekeruxe) or 'preached'; but simply made the announcement of His finished work; so the same Greek in Mark 1:45 , 'publish,' confirming Enoch and Noah's testimony, and thereby declaring the virtual condemnation of their unbelief, and the salvation of Noah and believers; a sample of the similar opposite effects of the same work on all unbelievers, and believers, respectively; also a consolation to those whom Peter addresses, in their sufferings at the hands of unbelievers; specially selected for the sake of 'baptism,' its 'antitype' ( 1 Peter 3:21 ), which, as a seal, marks believers as separated from the rest of the doomed world] to the spirits (His Spirit speaking to the spirits) in prison (in Hades or Sheol, awaiting the judgment, 2 Peter 2:4 ), which were of old disobedient when," &c. (2) The strongest point in favor of (1) is the position of "sometime," that is, of old, connected with "disobedient"; whereas if the preaching or announcing were a thing long past, we should expect "sometime," or of old, to be joined to "went and preached." But this transposition may express that their disobedience preceded His preaching. The Greek participle expresses the reason of His preaching, "inasmuch as they were sometime disobedient" (compare 1 Peter 4:6 ). Also "went" seems to mean a personal going, as in 1 Peter 3:22 , not merely in spirit. But see the answer below. The objections are "quickened" must refer to Christ's body (compare 1 Peter 3:21 , end), for as His Spirit never ceased to live, it cannot be said to be "quickened." Compare John 5:21 , Romans 8:11 , and other passages, where "quicken" is used of the bodily resurrection. Also, not His Spirit, but His soul, went to Hades. His Spirit was commended by Him at death to His Father, and was thereupon "in Paradise." The theory--(1) would thus require that His descent to the spirits in prison should be after His resurrection! Compare Ephesians 4:9 Ephesians 4:10 , which makes the descent precede the ascent. Also Scripture elsewhere is silent about such a heralding, though possibly Christ's death had immediate effects on the state of both the godly and the ungodly in Hades: the souls of the godly heretofore in comparative confinement, perhaps then having been, as some Fathers thought, translated to God's immediate and heavenly presence; but this cannot be proved from Scripture. Compare however, John 3:13 , Colossians 1:18 . Prison is always used in a bad sense in Scripture. "Paradise" and "Abraham's bosom," the abode of good spirits in Old Testament times, are separated by a wide gulf from Hell or Hades, and cannot be called "prison." Compare 2 Corinthians 12:2 2 Corinthians 12:4 , where "paradise" and the "third heaven" correspond. Also, why should the antediluvian unbelievers in particular be selected as the objects of His preaching in Hades? Therefore explain: "Quickened in spirit, in which (as distinguished from in person; the words "in which," that is, in spirit, expressly obviating the objection that "went" implies a personal going) He went (in the person of Noah, "a preacher of righteousness," 2 Peter 2:5 : ALFORD'S own Note, Ephesians 2:17 , is the best reply to his argument from "went" that a local going to Hades in person is meant. As "He CAME and preached peace" by His Spirit in the apostles and ministers after His death and ascension: so before His incarnation He preached in Spirit through Noah to the antediluvians, John 14:18 John 14:28 , Acts 26:23 . "Christ should show," literally, "announce light to the Gentiles") and preached unto the spirits in prison, that is, the antediluvians, whose bodies indeed seemed free, but their spirits were in prison, shut up in the earth as one great condemned cell (exactly parallel to Isaiah 24:22 Isaiah 24:23 "upon the earth . . . they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison," &c. [just as the fallen angels are judicially regarded as "in chains of darkness," though for a time now at large on the earth, 1 Peter 2:4 ], where 1 Peter 3:18 has a plain allusion to the flood, "the windows from on high are open," compare Genesis 7:11 ); from this prison the only way of escape was that preached by Christ in Noah. Christ, who in our times came in the flesh, in the days of Noah preached in Spirit by Noah to the spirits then in prison ( Isaiah 61:1 , end, "the Spirit of the Lord God hath sent me to proclaim the opening of the prison to them that are bound"). So in 1 Peter 1:11 , "the Spirit of Christ" is said to have testified in the prophets. As Christ suffered even to death by enemies, and was afterwards quickened in virtue of His "Spirit" (or divine nature, Romans 1:3 Romans 1:4 , 1 Corinthians 15:45 ), which henceforth acted in its full energy, the first result of which was the raising of His body ( 1 Peter 3:21 , end) from the prison of the grave and His soul from Hades; so the same Spirit of Christ enabled Noah, amidst reproach and trials, to preach to the disobedient spirits fast bound in wrath. That Spirit in you can enable you also to suffer patiently now, looking for the resurrection deliverance.
20. once--not in the oldest manuscripts.
when . . . the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah--Oldest manuscripts. Greek, "was continuing to wait on" (if haply men in the hundred twenty years of grace would repent) until the end of His waiting came in their death by the flood. This refutes ALFORD'S idea of a second day of grace having been given in Hades. Noah's days are selected, as the ark and the destroying flood answer respectively to "baptism" and the coming destruction of unbelievers by fire.
while the ark was a-preparing--( Hebrews 11:7 ). A long period of God's "long-suffering and waiting," as Noah had few to help him, which rendered the world's unbelief the more inexcusable.
wherein--literally, "(by having entered) into which."
eight--seven (the sacred number) with ungodly Ham.
souls--As this term is here used of living persons, why should not "spirits" also? Noah preached to their ears, but Christ in spirit, to their spirits, or spiritual natures.
saved by water--The same water which drowned the unbelieving, buoyed up the ark in which the eight were saved. Not as some translate, "were brought safe through the water." However, the sense of the preposition may be as in 1 Corinthians 3:15 , "they were safely preserved through the water," though having to be in the water.
21. whereunto--The oldest manuscripts read, "which": literally, "which (namely, water, in general; being) the antitype (of the water of the flood) is now saving (the salvation being not yet fully realized by us, compare 1 Corinthians 10:1 1 Corinthians 10:2 1 Corinthians 10:5 , Jude 1:5 ; puts into a state of salvation) us also (two oldest manuscripts read 'you' for 'us': You also, as well as Noah and his party), to wit, baptism." Water saved Noah not of itself, but by sustaining the ark built in faith, resting on God's word: it was to him the sign and mean of a kind of regeneration, of the earth. The flood was for Noah a baptism, as the passage through the Red Sea was for the Israelites; by baptism in the flood he and his family were transferred from the old world to the new: from immediate destruction to lengthened probation; from the companionship of the wicked to communion with God; from the severing of all bonds between the creature and the Creator to the privileges of the covenant: so we by spiritual baptism. As there was a Ham who forfeited the privileges of the covenant, so many now. The antitypical water, namely, baptism, saves you also not of itself, nor the mere material water, but the spiritual thing conjoined with it, repentance and faith, of which it is the sign and seal, as Peter proceeds to explain. Compare the union of the sign and thing signified, John 3:5 , Ephesians 5:26 , Titus 3:5 , Hebrews 10:22 ; compare 1 John 5:6 .
not the, &c.--"flesh" bears the emphasis. "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh" (as is done by a mere water baptism, unaccompanied with the Spirit's baptism, compare Ephesians 2:11 ), but of the soul. It is the ark (Christ and His Spirit-filled Church), not the water, which is the instrument of salvation: the water only flowed round the ark; so not the mere water baptism, but the water when accompanied with the Spirit.
answer--Greek, "interrogation"; referring to the questions asked of candidates for baptism; eliciting a confession of faith "toward God" and a renunciation of Satan ([AUGUSTINE, The Creed, 4.1]; [CYPRIAN, Epistles, 7, To Rogatianus]), which, when flowing from "a good conscience," assure one of being "saved." Literally, "a good conscience's interrogation (including the satisfactory answer) toward God." I prefer this to the translation of WAHL, ALFORD and others, "inquiry of a good conscience after God": not one of the parallels alleged, not even 2 Samuel 11:7 , in the Septuagint, is strictly in point. Recent Byzantine Greek idiom (whereby the term meant: (1) the question; (2) the stipulation; (3) the engagement), easily flowing from the usage of the word as Peter has it, confirms the former translation.
by the resurrection of Jesus--joined with "saves you": In so far as baptism applies to us the power of Christ's resurrection. As Christ's death unto sin is the source of the believer's death unto, and so deliverance from, sin's penalty and power; so His resurrection life is the source of the believer's new spiritual life.
22. ( Psalms 110:1 , Romans 8:34 Romans 8:38 , 1 Corinthians 15:24 , Ephesians 1:21 , 3:10 , Colossians 1:16 , 2:10-15 ). The fruit of His patience in His voluntary endured and undeserved sufferings: a pattern to us, 1 Peter 3:17 1 Peter 3:18 .
gone--( Luke 24:51 ). Proving against rationalists an actual material ascension. Literally, "is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven." The oldest manuscripts of the Vulgate and the Latin Fathers, add what expresses the benefit to us of Christ's sitting on God's right hand, "Who is on the right hand of God, having swallowed up death that we may become heirs of everlasting life"; involving for us A STATE OF LIFE, saved, glorious, and eternal. The Greek manuscripts, however, reject the words. Compare with this verse Peter's speeches, Acts 2:32-35 , Acts 3:21 Acts 3:26 , Acts 10:40 Acts 10:42 .