2:1 Wherefore 1 laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
(1) Having laid for the foundation the Spirit of
God effectually working by the word, and having built on it three virtues
which are the grounds of all Christian actions, that is, faith, hope, and
charity: now he proceeds to a general exhortation the first part being that we
flee all show of both secret and open malice.
2:2 2 As a
newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
(2) The second is, that being newly begotten and
born of the new seed of the incorrupt word, drinking and sucking greedily the
same word as milk, we should grow more and more in that spiritual life. And he
calls it, sincere, not only because it is a most pure thing, but also that we
should take heed of them which corrupt it.
(a) As it becomes new men.
2:3 3 If
so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.
(3) He commends that spiritual nourishment for
the sweetness and profit of it.
2:4 4 To
whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of
God, [and] precious,
(4) He advances the same exhortation, but uses
another kind of borrowed speech, alluding to the temple. Therefore he says,
that the company of the faithful is as a certain holy and spiritual building,
built of the living stones, the foundation of which is Christ, as a living
stone sustaining all that are joined to him with his living power and knitting
them together with himself, although this great treasure is neglected by men.
2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a
spiritual house, 5 an holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
(5) Continuing, he compares us now to priests,
placed for this purpose in the spiritual temple, that we should serve him with
a spiritual worship, that is, with holiness and righteousness: but as the
temple, so is the priesthood built upon Christ, in who alone all our spiritual
offerings are accepted.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be
(6) He proves it by the testimony of the prophet
Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be
disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head
of the corner,
(7) By setting the most blessed condition of the
believers and triumphs over the other: and also prevents an offence which
arises here, that none do more resist this doctrine of the gospel, than they
who are chiefest among the people of God. In the time that Peter wrote these
things, they were the priests, elders and scribes. Therefore he answers first
of all, that there is no reason why any man should be astonished by their
stubbornness, as though it were a strange matter, seeing as we have been
foretold so long before, that it should so come to pass: and moreover, that it
pleased God to create and make certain for this same purpose, that the Son of
God might be glorified in their just condemnation. Thirdly, that the glory of
Christ is hereby set forth greatly, whereas nonetheless Christ remains the
sure head of his Church, and they that are offended by him, cast down and
overthrow themselves, and not Christ. Fourthly, although they are created for
this end and purpose, yet their fall and destruction is not to be attributed
to God, but to their own obstinate stubbornness, which comes between God's
decree, and the execution of it, or their condemnation, and is the true and
proper cause of their destruction.
But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of
darkness into his marvellous light:
(8) On the other hand, he describes the singular
excellency of the elect, and also lest any man should doubt whether he is
chosen or not, the apostle calls us back to the effectual calling, that is, to
the voice of the gospel sounding both in our ears and minds by the outward
preaching and ordinances, by which we may certainly understand that
everlasting decree of our salvation (which otherwise is most secret and
hidden) and that through the only mercy of God who freely chooses and calls
us. Therefore only this remains, faith, that by all means possible we set
forth the great goodness of the most mighty God.
Dearly beloved, 10 I beseech [you] as
strangers and pilgrims, 11 abstain from
fleshly lusts, 12 which war against the
(9) He returns to that general exhortation.
(10) A reason why we ought to live holy, that is,
because we are citizens of heaven, and therefore we ought to live not
according to the laws of this world, which is most corrupt, but of the
heavenly city, although we are strangers in the world.
(11) Another argument: The children of God live
not according to the flesh, that is, according to that corrupt nature, but
according to the Spirit. Therefore fleshly actions should not rule us.
(12) The third argument: for although those lusts
gratify us, yet they do not cease to fight against our salvation.
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak
against you as evildoers, they 14 may by
[your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of b
(13) The fourth argument, taken from the profit
of so doing: for by this means also we provide for our good name and
estimation, while we compel them at length to change their minds, who speak
evil of us.
(14) The fifth argument, which is also of great
force: because the glory of God is greatly set forth by that means, by example
of our honest life, then the most corrupt men are brought to God, and submit
themselves to him.
(b) When God shall have mercy on them.
Submit yourselves to c every ordinance
of man 16 for the Lord's sake: 17
whether it be to the king, as supreme;
(15) That which he spoke generally, he now
expounds in detail, describing individually every man's duty. First, he
speaks of the obedience that is due both to the laws, and also to the
magistrates both higher and lower.
(c) By ordinance, is meant the inventing and
ordering of civil government, which he calls ordinance of man, not because man
invented it, but because it is proper for men.
(16) The first argument: because the Lord is the
author and avenger of this policy of men, that is, which is set among men: and
therefore the true servants of the Lord must above all others be diligent
observers of this order.
(17) He prevents a frivolous objection which is
made by some, who say they will obey kings and the higher magistrates, and yet
condemn their ministers, as though their ministers were not armed with the
authority of those who sent them.
2:14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are
sent by him 18 for the punishment of
evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
(18) The second argument taken from the end of
this order, which is not only most profitable, but also very necessary: seeing
that by that this means virtue is rewarded, and vice punished, in which the
peacefulness and happiness if this life consists.
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the
ignorance of foolish men:
(19) He declares the first argument more amply,
showing that Christian liberty does among all things least or not at all
consist in this, that is, to cast off the bridle of laws (as at that time some
altogether unskilful in the kingdom of God reported) but rather in this, that
living holy lives according to the will of God, we should reveal to all men,
that the gospel is not a cloak for sin and wickedness, seeing we are free of
this sort, that yet we are still the servants of God, and not of sin.
d Honour all [men]. Love the e
brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
(20) He divides the civil life of man, by
occasion of those things of which he spoke, into two general parts: that is,
into those duties which private men owe to private men, and especially the
faithful to the faithful, and into that subjection by which inferiors are
bound to their superiors, but so that kings are not made equal to God, seeing
that fear is due to God, and honour to kings.
(d) Be charitable and dutiful towards all men.
(e) The assembly and fellowship of the brethren.
Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and
gentle, but also to the froward.
(21) He goes to the duty of servants towards
their masters, which he describes with these bounds, that servants submit
themselves willingly and not by force, not only to the good and courteous, but
also to the perverse and severe matters.
For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for f
conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
(22) The taking away of an objection: indeed the
condition of servants is hard, especially if they have perverse masters, but
thus their subjection shall be so much more acceptable to God, if his will
prevails more with servants, than the masters wrong treatment.
(f) Because he makes a conscience of it, to
offend God, by whose good will and appointment he knows this burden is laid
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving
us an g example, that ye should follow
(23) He alleviates the grievousness of
servanthood, while he shows plainly that Christ died also for servants, that
they should bear so much more patiently this inequality between men who are of
the same nature: moreover setting before them Christ the Lord of lords for an
example, he signifies that they cannot but seem too subdued, who show
themselves more grieved in the bearing of injuries, than Christ himself who
was most just, and most severely of all afflicted, and yet was most patient.
(g) A metaphor of speech taken from painters and
2:23 Who, when he was
reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but 24
committed [himself] to him 25 that
(24) He shows them a remedy against injuries,
that is, that they commend their cause to God, by the example of Christ.
(25) He seems now to turn his speech to masters,
who have also themselves a master and judge in heaven, who will justly avenge
the injuries that are done to servants, without any respecting of people.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead
to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
(26) He calls the servants back from considering
the injuries which they are constrained to bear, to think instead on the
greatness and the end of the benefit received from Christ.