1 Peter 1:13-25
I’ve been leading a local Bible study on 1 Peter, and am posting my notes here, a few verses at a time, in case anyone is interested in following along. Again, this is from my notes, so it may seem a little choppy here and there. Here is the second section.
1:13 – “Therefore,” or, “because,” of all of the previous points stressed by Peter – salvation, a protected inheritance, trials & tests, the eternal joy that follows – “gird up, brace up, prepare, your minds for action.” KJV says, “gird up the loins of your mind.” One definition for the Greek word for “loins” is “procreative power,” that is, “capable of reproducing.” NAS says “for action;” CJB says “for work;” Wuest translates “put out of the way once and for all everything that would impede the free action of your mind.” Reproduce, don’t lose, your initial faith. JFB: “gird up the loins, referring to Christ’s own words in Luke 12:35; an image taken from the way in which the Israelites ate the Passover with the loose outer robe girded up about the waist, as in being ready for a journey.”
Jesus said, in Matt 18:3, that “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Oswald Chambers said that, “These words of our Lord refer to our initial conversion, but we should continue to turn to God as children, being continuously converted every day of our lives.” We should always be girding up our loins, preparing our minds for action, being converted daily.
“keep sober” – be careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences, be morally alert. CJB, “keep yourselves under control.” Strong’s definition is “be discreet.” Be free from every form of mental or spiritual “drunkenness.”
“fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” “Completely,” means “without wavering.” Doing this demands a rugged determination, as life can affect us so.
Twice in this chapter, Peter, the Rock, has written of “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” in vs 7, and here. He’ll refer to that revelation once more, in ch 4. Just prior to his ascension, Jesus was asked by His disciples (read Acts 1:6-8), “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” To that He replied, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth”. Peter and all the apostles, and the early church fathers following them all expected Jesus to return within their lifetimes. So Peter wrote this letter, teaching the next generation of believers to be always ready for the return of Jesus.
1:14 – “As obedient children,” also worded in some as “as children of obedience.” The Greek word here for “children” is teknon. In Scripture, Greek has five levels of spiritual growth, comparable to physical growth.
- Napios (nay’-pee-os) – baby, has not developed proper speech yet, many will eat anything, is easily deceived. 1 Cor 3:1, 14:20; Eph 4:14; Heb 5:13
- Paidion (pahee-dee’-on) – toddler up to teenager, self-expression often comes through rebellion. Luke 1:81, 2:40; 1 Cor 13:11, 14:20
- Teknon – teenager up to full maturity, often have a know-it-all mentality, wanting independence, wanting to be a leader before ready. John 13:33; 1 Cor 4:14; Eph 2:3, 6:1; 1 Peter 1:14.
- Huios – fully matured son, good level of maturity, understands their gifts and abilities, seeks after the Father’s heart. Matt 5:9; Luke 6:35; 1 Ths 5:5; Heb 2:10
- Pater – father, fatherhood, fully matured man. 1 Cor 4:15; 1 Jn 2:13-14. Not found in Scripture too often in this sense, most usages of the word are for an earthly or our Heavenly Father references.
Bible Knowledge Commentary: “Obedience is a conscious act of the will. Christians in conflict need a tough-minded holiness that is ready for action.” Do you have conflicts in life? Paul did. Read 2 Cor 7:5, Paul had “conflicts (fightings, controversies, strivings) without, fears within.” Our conflict is with a world that does not know Jesus. Conflicts with believers are to be dealt with asap, per Matt 18:15-17.
“do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,” Amp: “the evil desires [that governed you],” ESV: “the passions,” Youngs: “the former desires.” Ignorance in Greek means: “ignorance.” Also, “moral blindness, lack of knowledge, especially of divine things.” Peter is telling us here to be obedient teenagers, teknons; to grow up and leave our past behind, those days we didn’t know any better, and especially don’t revert to them.
Speaking of ignorance reminds me of a story of two men who were having a conversation, and one asked the other one if he knew what the difference was between ignorance and apathy. The other’s reply: “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
1:15 – “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” Amp: “in all your conduct and manner of living,” CJB: “in your entire way of life,” KJV: “conversation,” an old English term for “behavior, or conduct.” Emphasis should be upon the word “all.” Not just at certain times, locations, etc. Be the same Godly person at work, at home, at the store, on the road, as you are at church.
The Message (paraphrases 14 & 15 together): “As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.”
1:16 – “because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’” Peter quote is found in Lev 11:44, 19:2, 20:7. What is meant by being holy?
From some commentators: “that is, separate yourselves from all other people, and be distinct from them;” “Separated from the world, the people of God were required to be holy, for His character, His laws, and service were holy,” “abstaining from all impurity and idolatry,” “The idea behind the word holy is ‘separate.’ As it is applied to God, it describes God’s apartness. It means that God is different from man and from all other beings in the greatness and majesty of His attributes. He has a righteousness unlike any other; a justice unlike any other; a purity unlike any other – and love, grace, and mercy unlike any other… Part of this idea is that God is not merely a super-man; His being and character are divine, not human.” “Being holy means being like God, separating ourselves unto Him and His truth – and naturally, separating ourselves from those things that are not like Him and not according to His truth.”
Bible Knowledge Commentary: “Though absolute holiness can never be achieved in this life, all areas of life should be in the process of becoming completely conformed to God’s perfect and holy will.” Do you agree with this statement? How can we do this?
The Message: God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”
1:17 – “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work,” Amp: “if you call upon Him as [your] Father.” If you have been brought into “the family of God” through salvation. Wuest: “The idea in the Greek is, ‘in view of the fact that you call on Him as Father.’”
This Father “judges impartially,” Wuest: “Outward appearance, wealth, culture, social position, family background, education, beauty, intellect, all things that more or less sway the opinions of man, do not count with God when it comes to appraising a person’s character or worthiness.” Read 1 Sam 16:7, of the time that Samuel was looking to anoint the next king of Israel from among the sons of Jesse; “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Wuest: “And yet we are to understand that He is not a critical judge, trying always to find a defect or flaw in our conduct or service… God’s impartiality is an honest appraisal of things, while His heart is always with His child and goes out to him in a spirit of love.”
“conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth,” fear, JFB: “reverential, not slavish. He who is your Father, is also your Judge – a thought which may well inspire reverential fear.” Peter is instructing those who read/hear his letter to live a holy life to the best of their ability. Paul told the people of Philippi something similar, in Phil 2:12 (read), “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” We “fear” Him in reverence, but there should also be in the back of our minds a picture of His extreme holiness – something that when any human in the Bible came in contact with, they “fell down as though dead,” they fainted, passed out, the glory was more than the mind could comprehend.
BK Commentary: “The high cost of salvation – the beloved Son’s precious blood – calls for believers to live in reverent fear before God. Holy living is motivated by a God-fearing faith which does not take lightly what was purchased at so great a cost.”
“the time of your stay” (on earth is an explanatory add-on in NAS) – Greek word means “sojourning, foreign residence, dwelling in a strange land.” Essentially, dwelling on this earth in your present physical body.
The Message: “You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.”
1:18 – “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,” read Ex 30:12-16. Here, Moses was commanded to take a census of Israel, everyone who was counted was to give half a silver shekel for the construction and upkeep of the Tabernacle. The giving of the shekel was the only way to take the census; some scholars believe that the coins were counted, and not the actual people. If a census were taken without the shekel count, a plague could occur on the people. Why? We don’t know. The Creator said so, that’s all we know. This is precisely what happened when David decided to take a census of the people, in 2 Sam 24 and 1 Chron 21. His sin was probably due to the fact that he had no real need to take a census other than pride; he knew Torah well. God had not commanded a census. Back to Ex 30, each shekel given was an atonement for that person – remember, atonement is the giving of something innocent to save the life of someone, it does not mean salvation. Here in 1 Peter, the word “redeemed” also means “ransomed,” but our life was saved by much more than a silver or gold coin. “Futile” way of life means “empty, profitless.”
1:19 – “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” Just as a sacrifice lamb had qualifications, so did our Messiah Jesus. Read Deu 17:1. Peter’s believing Jewish readers in that day knew exactly what he was referring to. How was Jesus’ blood shed? 1) Gethsemane (sweat like drops of blood, Lk 22:44; 2) scourging of His back (Jn 19:1, whip w/ leather strips holding sharp objects, ripping the flesh of the back open); 3) crown of thorns beaten into His head (Mt 27:29-30); 4) nails at the crucifixion. Represented by the cup at the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder meal (Mt 26:28). John was the only apostle to witness the horror of the cross, the rest had fled.
The Message: He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.
1:20 – “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world,” foreknown, Amp: “chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown).” God knows all, and He had a divine plan from the beginning. (Read) Eph 1:4 says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” The Greek word for foreknown is two-part: pro, “prior to, in front of;” ghin-oce’-ko, “to know, have knowledge of.” There is an inference here to God knowing Jesus since before time. The Hebrew word is yada, and means “an intimate knowledge;” is used of Adam & Eve in Gen 4:1, “Adam yada “knew, had relations with” Eve, and she gave birth to Cain.” Occurs in Ex 1:8, where a new Pharaoh did not yada Joseph. Yada can also mean “care for, acknowledge, recognize.” The new Pharaoh did not care for, acknowledge, or recognize Joseph. In Jn 17:24 (read) Jesus says in His magnificent prayer to the Father, “for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
The word foundation in Greek means, “founding, conception; to throw down; hence a laying down of a foundation.” The noun denotes a foundation, cast according to a blueprint; the substructure which determines the entire direction of all that follows. In this context the term relates to the incarnation of Jesus to be our Redeemer. It was all in God’s mind before He took action. God is outside of time and space, but our human minds wonder things like, “how long was He around before He created.” Our minds think in time and space, so we cannot conceive of a thought like no beginning. Gen 1 does not mention the creation of angels, or say anything of the Heaven of God, so we have no clue how long that was around. Of course, being outside of time and space, Heaven just is.
“but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” As Peter wrote this letter, he was thinking that they were then in the last days. The Greek means just that, “final days.” “[Jesus appeared] for the sake of you,” Jesus did not do this for Himself.
The Message: “And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you.”
1:21 – “who through Him are believers in God,” people may believe in God, a god, or some sort of higher power, but only through Jesus is one a true believer. Peter said, in Acts 4:12 (read), “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
The Greek word for “believer” means, “trustworthy, faithful, can be relied on.” As believers, we should put great weight into the thought that we “can be relied on” by God.
“[God] who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory.” To raise from the sleep of death. In Jn 11:11, Jesus said that Lazarus was asleep, speaking of his death. How did God give Him glory? Let’s read Acts 2:22-36, Peter’s great sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Peter quotes from Psalm 16:8-11 & 110:1. Read Phil 2:9-11; quoting Isa 45:23. One commentator said, “The verb graphically depicts the prone corpse of Jesus lying on a tomb shelf being reanimated and transformed by the return of his spirit so that he could rise to an erect position and leave the tomb.”
“so that your faith and hope are in God.” “so that” = therefore, or, for this reason; therefore your faith and hope are in God, or, for this reason, your faith and hope are in God. Amp: “so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.” One scholar felt that “Peter wasn’t talking about a mental capacity but the quality of devotion to Yeshua. An alternate translation could be: “…you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory; for this reason, your faithfulness and hopefulness are in God.”
The Message: “It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.”
1:22 – “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren,” by obeying the words of Jesus. How do we purify our souls? Peter has his readers hearken back to the days of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Prophets. In those times, to purify, or consecrate, oneself before God, meant “by removal of all that is unclean, washing of the body and of the clothes by an immersion, by carefully keeping aloof from every defilement, removing foreign or false gods, and the touching of unclean things; it consisted in spiritual purification also, i.e., in turning the heart to God, in faith and trust in His promise, and in willing obedience to His commandments.” The verb is also used in the New Testament of ceremonial washing for entry into the temple (John 11:55), ending a period of restriction, such as that of a Nazirite (Acts 21:24&26, 24:18), and inward purification of the soul (Js 4:8; 1 Jn 3:3).
In essence, for a Jesus follower, to purify our soul is pretty much the same – turning from anything that is obviously not of God, and turning totally to Him, putting Him as first place in all that we think and/or do. Read Psalm 119:9-16, 97-104. (Young man, in Ps 119:9, a secondary meaning can be “servant.”)
119:9 – Word – spoken word; davar.
119:11 – Word – speech; imrah.
119:12 – Statutes – decreed laws.
119:13 – Ordinance – a judgment, a verdict pronounced judicially.
119:14 – Testimonies – solemn declarations of God’s righteousness.
119:15 – Precepts – general rules of conduct.
119:97 – Law – Torah – teachings; more than just laws.
“for a sincere love of the brethren,” our love for the family of God overrules any fleshly selfishness.
JFB Commentary: “The Christian loves primarily those in Christ; secondarily, all who might be in Christ, namely, all men, as Christ as man died for all, and as he hopes that they, too, may become his Christian brethren.”
“Sincere,” KJV uses “unfeigned,” in the Greek this is the same root word from which the English word “hypocrite” comes from. In Greek, a hypocrite is a stage-actor, one who has on a mask, playing a role. For “sincere,” or “unfeigned,” the Greek has a one letter prefix, “a [ah],” which then means, “not a hypocrite.” You are not acting like you love others, you really do. The Greek word for this love is philadelphos, “loving one’s brother, having a friendship, having mutual interests.”
“fervently love one another from the heart,” now that you’re able to love in the Spirit of Jesus, do so, and do it magnificently. “Fervently” is also “intently, earnestly.” Love here is the Greek agapaō, “a deep love from the heart.” Described as “the unconditional commitment to treat others as God has treated us… agape is not necessarily how we feel about someone, but more how we behave towards them. Agape is acting on that love, not waiting for emotion to move us. You may not feel any agape for someone at first, but keep it up, and you soon will. Agape takes courage – courage to give better than you may get back. It has been called “Cross-courage,’ “Gethsemane Grit.”
The Message: “Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.”
1:23 – “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable,” “born again,” means regenerated. Read John 3:3-8; immersion and the Spirit gives the new birth. Your flesh-man will someday die, but your born-again spirit will live on into eternity with the Lord, in a new body.
“through the living and enduring word of God.” The written Word can only be alive in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives us the “wisdom from above” (James 3:17), only then can we really understand Scripture, or be able to let those words change us. The living Word also is Jesus. See Hebrews 4:12. The Word here is the Greek logos, which means “a vocalized expression, word, discourse, statement, message or speech.”
The Message: “Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself!”
1:24-25a – “for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’” Quoting Isa 40:8. See also Ps 103:15-18. Hebrew Word is davar, spoken word. The Greek is rhema, “a communication consisting of words, often with the implication of importance or special significance.” “The Word of the Lord endures forever.” In Isaiah, it says that “the Word of God remains forever.” Peter says that “the Word of the Lord remains forever.” Vincent points out that this means that Peter is identifying Jesus with God. Peter is the one who had declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
1:25b – “And this word is the word, the good news, the rhema that was preached to you.” Spoken words of importance.
Karl Barth, called the preeminent Christian theologian of the 20th century, wrote that the eternal Word comes to believers in three forms:
- Through Jesus the Messiah. Read John 1:1-2, 14.
- Through Scripture. Read Heb 4:12. In the days of the apostles, and for many years after, and when Peter wrote this letter, there was no such thing as the New Testament. Scripture back then was the Old Testament only; Peter has already quoted or referenced it several times in ch 1. We are blessed today to have the New Testament, and we must consider the Old Testament as also being part of the living Word of God today. In truth, it is all just one holy book.
- Through the preaching of the Word. Read Rom 10:14-17.
The Message: That’s why the prophet said, The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; Grass dries up, flowers droop, God’s Word goes on and on forever. This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.