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1 Peter 4

1 Peter 4:1-19 . LIKE THE RISEN CHRIST, BELIEVERS HENCEFORTH OUGHT TO HAVE NO MORE TO DO WITH SIN.

10. every--"even as each man hath received," in whatever degree, and of whatever kind. The Spirit's gifts (literally, "gift of grace," that is, gratuitously bestowed) are the common property of the Christian community, each Christian being but a steward for the edifying of the whole, not receiving the gift merely for his own use.
minister the same--not discontentedly envying or disparaging the gift of another.
one to another--Greek as in 1 Peter 4:8 , "towards yourselves"; implying that all form but one body, and in seeking the good of other members they are promoting the good of themselves.
stewards--referring to Matthew 25:15 , &c.; Luke 19:13-26 .

11. If any . . . speak--namely, as a prophet, or divinely taught teacher in the Church assembly.
as the, &c.--The Greek has no article: "as oracles of God." This may be due to Greek: "God," having no article, it being a principle when a governed noun omits the Greek article that the governing noun should omit it, too. In Acts 7:38 also, the Greek article is wanting; thus English Version, "as the oracles of God," namely, the Old Testament, would be "right," and the precept be similar to Romans 12:6 , "prophesy according to the analogy of the faith." But the context suits better thus, "Let him speak as (becomes one speaking) oracles OF GOD." His divinely inspired words are not his own, but God's, and as a steward ( 1 Peter 4:10 ) having them committed to him, he ought so to speak them. Jesus was the pattern in this respect ( Matthew 7:29 , John 12:49 , 14:10 ; compare Paul, 2 Corinthians 2:17 ). Note, the very same term as is applied in the only other passages where it occurs ( Acts 7:38 , Romans 3:2 , Hebrews 5:12 ), to the Old Testament inspired writings, is here predicated of the inspired words (the substance of which was afterwards committed to writing) of the New Testament prophets.
minister--in acts; the other sphere of spiritual activity besides speaking.
as of--"out of" the store of his "strength" (Greek, physical power in relation to outward service, rather than moral and intellectual "ability"; so in Mark 12:30 ).
giveth--Greek, "supplieth"; originally said of a choragus, who supplied the chorus with all necessaries for performing their several parts.
that God in all things may be glorified--the final end of all a Christian's acts.
through Jesus Christ--the mediator through whom all our blessings come down to us, and also through whom all our praises ascend to God. Through Christ alone can God be glorified in us and our sayings and doings.
to whom--Christ.
be--Greek, "is."
for ever and ever--Greek, "unto the ages of the ages."

12. strange--they might think it strange that God should allow His chosen children to be sore tried.
fiery trial--like the fire by which metals are tested and their dross removed. The Greek adds, "in your case."
which is to try you--Greek, "which is taking place for a trial to you." Instead of its "happening to you" as some strange and untoward chance, it "is taking place" with the gracious design of trying you; God has a wise design in it--a consolatory reflection.

13. inasmuch as--The oldest manuscripts read, "in proportion as"; "in as far as" ye by suffering are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that is, by faith enter into realizing fellowship with them; willingly for His sake suffering as He suffered.
with exceeding joy--Greek, "exulting joy"; now ye rejoice amidst sufferings; then ye shall EXULT, for ever free from sufferings ( 1 Peter 1:6 1 Peter 1:8 ). If we will not bear suffering for Christ now, we must bear eternal sufferings hereafter.

14. for--Greek, "IN the name of Christ," namely, as Christians ( 1 Peter 4:16 , 3:14 , above); "in My name, because ye belong to Christ." The emphasis lies on this: 1 Peter 4:15 , "as a murderer, thief," &c., stands in contrast. Let your suffering be on account of Christ, not on account of evil-doing ( 1 Peter 2:20 ).
reproached--Reproach affects noble minds more than loss of goods, or even bodily sufferings.
the spirit . . . upon you--the same Spirit as rested on Christ ( Luke 4:18 ). "The Spirit of glory" is His Spirit, for He is the "Lord of glory" ( James 2:1 ). Believers may well overcome the "reproach" (compare Hebrews 11:26 ), seeing that "the Spirit of glory" rests upon them, as upon Him. It cannot prevent the happiness of the righteous, if they are reproached for Christ, because they retain before God their glory entire, as having the Spirit, with whom glory is inseparably joined [CALVIN].
and of God--Greek, "and the (Spirit) of God"; implying that the Spirit of glory (which is Christ's Spirit) is at the same time also the Spirit of God.
on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified--omitted in the two oldest Greek manuscripts and Syriac and Coptic versions, but supported by one very old manuscript, Vulgate, Sahidic, CYPRIAN, &c. "Evil spoken of," literally, "blasphemed"; not merely do they "speak against you," as in 1 Peter 3:16 , but blasphemously mock Christ and Christianity itself.

15. But--Greek, "For." "Reproached in the name of Christ" I say ( 1 Peter 4:14 ), "FOR let none," &c.
as . . . as . . . as . . . as--the "as" twice in italics is not in the Greek. The second Greek, "as," distinguishes the class "busybody in other men's matters," from the previous class of delinquents. Christians, from mistaken zeal, under the plea of faithfulness, might readily step out of their own calling and make themselves judges of the acts of unbelievers. Literally, "a bishop in what is (not his own, but) another's" province; an allusion to the existing bishops or overseers of the Church; a self-constituted bishop in others' concerns.

16. a Christian--the name given in contempt first at Antioch. Acts 11:26 , 26:28 ; the only three places where the term occurs. At first believers had no distinctive name, but were called among themselves "brethren," Acts 6:3 ; "disciples," Acts 6:1 ; "those of the way," Acts 9:2 ; "saints," Romans 1:7 ; by the Jews (who denied that Jesus was the CHRIST, and so would never originate the name Christian), in contempt, "Nazarenes." At Antioch, where first idolatrous Gentiles (Cornelius, Acts 10:1 Acts 10:2 , was not an idolater, but a proselyte) were converted, and wide missionary work began, they could be no longer looked on as a Jewish sect, and so the Gentiles designated them by the new name "Christians." The rise of the new name marked a new epoch in the Church's life, a new stage of its development, namely, its missions to the Gentiles. The idle and witty people of Antioch, we know from heathen writers, were famous for inventing nicknames. The date of this Epistle must have been when this had become the generally recognized designation among Gentiles (it is never applied by Christians to each other, as it was in after ages--an undesigned proof that the New Testament was composed when it professes), and when the name exposed one to reproach and suffering, though not seemingly as yet to systematic persecution.
let him not be ashamed--though the world is ashamed of shame. To suffer for one's own faults is no honor ( 1 Peter 4:15 , 1 Peter 2:20 ),--for Christ, is no shame ( 1 Peter 4:14 , 1 Peter 3:13 ).
but let him glorify God--not merely glory in persecution; Peter might have said as the contrast, "but let him esteem it an honor to himself"; but the honor is to be given to God, who counts him worthy of such an honor, involving exemption from the coming judgments on the ungodly.
on this behalf--The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read, "in this name," that is, in respect of suffering for such a name.

17. Another ground of consolation to Christians. All must pass under the judgment of God; God's own household first, their chastisement being here, for which they should glorify Him as a proof of their membership in His family, and a pledge of their escape from the end of those whom the last judgment shall find disobedient to the Gospel.
the time--Greek, "season," "fit time."
judgment must begin at the house of God--the Church of living believers. Peter has in mind Ezekiel 9:6 ; compare Amos 3:2 , Jeremiah 25:29 . Judgment is already begun, the Gospel word, as a "two-edged sword," having the double effect of saving some and condemning others, and shall be consummated at the last judgment. "When power is given to the destroyer, he observes no distinction between the righteous and the wicked; not only so, but he begins first at the righteous" [WETSTEIN from Rabbins]. But God limits the destroyer's power over His people.
if . . . at us, what shall the end be of them, &c.--If even the godly have chastening judgments now, how much more shall the ungodly be doomed to damnatory judgments at last.
gospel of God--the very God who is to judge them.

18. scarcely--Compare "so as by fire," 1 Corinthians 3:15 ; having to pass through trying chastisements, as David did for his sin. "The righteous" man has always more or less of trial, but the issue is certain, and the entrance into the kingdom abundant at last. The "scarcely" marks the severity of the ordeal, and the unlikelihood (in a mere human point of view) of the righteous sustaining it; but the righteousness of Christ and God's everlasting covenant make it all sure.
ungodly--having no regard for God; negative description.
sinner--loving sin; positive; the same man is at once God-forgetting and sin-loving.
appear--in judgment.

19. General conclusion from 1 Peter 4:17 1 Peter 4:18 . Seeing that the godly know that their sufferings are by God's will, to chasten them that they may not perish with the world, they have good reason to trust God cheerfully amidst sufferings, persevering in well-doing.
let them--Greek, "let them also," "let even them," as well as those not suffering. Not only under ordinary circumstances, but also in time of suffering, let believers commit. (Compare Note,
according to the will of that the believer should suffer ( 1 Peter 4:17 ), is for his good. One oldest manuscript and Vulgate read, "in well-doings"; contrast ill-doings, 1 Peter 4:15 . Our committing of ourselves to God is to be, not in indolent and passive quietism, but accompanied with active well-doings.
faithful--to His covenant promises.
Creator--who is therefore also our Almighty Preserver. He, not we, must keep our souls. Sin destroyed the original spiritual relation between creature and Creator, leaving that only of government. Faith restores it; so that the believer, living to the will of God ( 1 Peter 4:2 ), rests implicitly on his Creator's faithfulness.

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