1 Peter 2 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Peter 2)

Verse 1

[1] Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

Wherefore laying aside — As inconsistent with that pure love.

All dissimulation — Which is the outward expression of guile in the heart.

Verse 2

[2] As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Desire — Always, as earnestly as new born babes do, 1 Peter 1:3.

The milk of the word — That word of God which nourishes the soul as milk does the body, and which is sincere, pure from all guile, so that none are deceived who cleave to it.

That you may grow thereby — In faith, love, holiness, unto the full stature of Christ.

Verse 3

[3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Since ye have tasted — Sweetly and experimentally known.

Verse 4

[4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

To whom coming — By faith.

As unto a living stone — Living from eternity; alive from the dead. There is a wonderful beauty and energy in these expressions, which describe Christ as a spiritual foundation, solid, firm, durable; and believers as a building erected upon it, in preference to that temple which the Jews accounted their highest glory. And St. Peter speaking of him thus, shows he did not judge himself, but Christ, to be the rock on which the church was built.

Rejected indeed by men — Even at this day, not only by Jews, Turks, heathens, infidels; but by all Christians, so called, who live in sin, or who hope to be saved by their own works.

But chosen of God — From all eternity, to be the foundation of his church.

And precious — In himself, in the sight of God, and in the eyes of all believers.

Verse 5

[5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Ye — Believers.

As living stones — Alive to God through him.

Are built up — In union with each other.

A spiritual house — Being spiritual yourselves, and an habitation of God through the Spirit.

An holy priesthood — Consecrated to God, and "holy as he is holy." To offer up - Your souls and bodies, with all your thoughts, words, and actions, as spiritual sacrifices to God.

Verse 6

[6] 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 confounded.

He that believeth shall not be confounded — In time or in eternity. Isaiah 28:16.

Verse 7

[7] 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,

To them who believe, he is become the head of the corner — The chief corner stone, on which the whole building rests. Unbelievers too will at length find him such to their sorrow, Psalms 118:22.

Verse 8

[8] And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Who stumble, whereunto also they were appointed — They who believe not, stumble, and fall, and perish for ever; God having appointed from all eternity, "he that believeth not shall be damned."

Verse 9

[9] 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:

But ye — Who believe in Christ Are - In a higher sense than ever the Jews were. A chosen or elect race, a royal priesthood - "Kings and priests unto God," Revelation 1:6. As princes, ye have power with God, and victory over sin, the world, and the devil: as priests, ye are consecrated to God, for offering spiritual sacrifices. Ye Christians are as one holy nation, under Christ your King.

A purchased people — Who are his peculiar property.

That ye may show forth — By your whole behaviour, to all mankind.

The virtues — The excellent glory, the mercy, wisdom, and power of him, Christ, who hath called you out of the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery.

Verse 10

[10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Who in time past were not a people — Much less the people of God; but scattered individuals of many nations. The former part of the verse particularly respects the gentiles; the latter, the Jews.

Verse 11

[11] Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Here begins the exhortation drawn from the second motive.

Sojourners: pilgrims — The first word properly means, those who are in a strange house; the second, those who are in a strange country. You sojourn in the body; you are pilgrims in this world. Abstain from desires of anything in this house, or in this country.

Verse 12

[12] Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Honest — Not barely unblamable, but virtuous in every respect. But our language sinks under the force, beauty, and copiousness of the original expressions.

That they by your good works which they shall behold — See with their own eyes.

May glorify God — By owning his grace in you, and following your example.

In the day of visitation — The time when he shall give them fresh offers of his mercy.

Verse 13

[13] Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man — To every secular power. Instrumentally these are ordained by men; but originally all their power is from God.

Verse 14

[14] Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

Or to subordinate governors, or magistrates.

Verse 15

[15] For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

The ignorance — Of them who blame you, because they do not know you: a strong motive to pity them.

Verse 16

[16] As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

As free — Yet obeying governors, for God's sake.

Verse 17

[17] Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Honour all men — As being made in the image of God, bought by his Son, and designed for his kingdom.

Honour the king — Pay him all that regard both in affection and action which the laws of God and man require.

Verse 18

[18] Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

Servants — Literally, household servants. With all fear - Of offending them or God.

Not only to the good — Tender, kind.

And gentle — Mild, easily forgiving.

Verse 19

[19] For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

For conscience toward God — From a pure desire of pleasing him.

Grief — Severe treatment.

Verse 21

[21] For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Hereunto are ye — Christians.

Called — To suffer wrongfully.

Leaving you an example — When he went to God.

That ye might follow his steps — Of innocence and patience.

Verses 22-23

[22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

In all these instances the example of Christ is peculiarly adapted to the state of servants, who easily slide either into sin or guile, reviling their fellowservants, or threatening them, the natural result of anger without power.

He committed himself to him that judgeth righteously — The only solid ground of patience in affliction. Isaiah 53:4,6,7,9.

Verse 24

[24] 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.

Who himself bore our sins — That is, the punishment due to them. In his afflicted, torn, dying body on the tree - The cross, whereon chiefly slaves or servants were wont to suffer.

That we being dead to sin — Wholly delivered both from the guilt and power of it: indeed, without an atonement first made for the guilt, we could never have been delivered from the power.

Might live to righteousness — Which is one only. The sins we had committed, and he bore, were manifold.

Verse 25

[25] For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

The bishop — The kind observer, inspector, or overseer of your souls.