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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER - Chapter 2 - Verse 1
CHAPTER II. ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER.
This chapter may be divided into three parts:—
I. An exhortation to those whom the apostle addressed, to lay aside all malice, and all guile, and to receive the simple and plain instructions of the word of God with the earnestness with which babes desire their appropriate food, 1 Pe 2:1-3. Religion reproduces the traits of character of children in those whom it influences and they ought to regard themselves as new-born babes, and seek that kind of spiritual nutriment which is adapted to their condition as such.
II. The privileges which they had obtained by becoming Christians, while so many others had stumbled at the very truths by which they had been saved, 1 Pe 2:4-10.
(a.) They had come to the Saviour, as the living stone on which the whole spiritual temple was founded, though others had rejected him; they had become a holy priesthood; they had been admitted to the privilege of offering true sacrifices, acceptable to God, 1 Pe 2:4,5.
(b.) To them Christ was precious as the chief corner-stone, on which all their hopes rested, and on which the edifice that was to be reared was safe, though that foundation of the Christian hope had been rejected and disallowed by others, 1 Pe 2:6-8.
(c.) They were now a chosen people, an holy nation, appointed to show forth on earth the praises of God, though formerly they were not regarded as the people of God, and were not within the range of the methods by which he was accustomed to show mercy, 1 Pe 2:9,10.
III. Various duties growing out of these privileges, and out of the various relations which they sustained in life, 1 Pe 2:11-25.
(a.) The duty of living as strangers and pilgrims; of abstaining from all those fleshly lusts which war against the soul; and of leading lives of entire honesty in relation to the Gentiles, by whom they were surrounded, 1 Pe 2:11,12.
(b.) The duty of submitting to civil rulers, 1 Pe 2:13-17.
(c.) The duty of servants to submit to their masters, though their condition was a hard one in life, and they were called to suffer wrongfully, 1 Pe 2:18-20.
(d.) This duty was enforced on servants, and on all, from the example of Christ, who in more wronged than any others can be, and who yet bore all his sufferings with entire patience, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps, 1 Pe 2:21-25.
The allusion is to putting off clothes; and the meaning is, that we are to cast off these things entirely; that is, we are no longer to practise them. The word wherefore (oun) refers to the reasonings in the first chapter. In view of the considerations stated there, we should renounce all evil.
All malice. All evil, (kakian.) The word malice we commonly apply now to a particular kind of evil, denoting extreme enmity of heart, ill-will, a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification, or from a spirit of revenge.—-Webster. The Greek word, however, includes evil of all kinds. See Barnes "Ro 1:29".
And hypocrisies. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:2"; See Barnes "Mt 23:28"; See Barnes "Ga 2:13, on the word rendered dissimulation. The word means, feigning to be what we are not; assuming a false appearance of religion; cloking a wicked purpose under the appearance of piety:
And all evil speaking. Greek, Speaking against others. This word (katalalia) occurs only here and in 2 Co 12:20, where it is rendered backbitings. It would include all unkind or slanderous speaking against others. This is by no means an uncommon fault in the world, and it is one of the designs of religion to guard against it. Religion teaches us to lay aside whatever guile, insincerity, and false appearances we may have acquired, and to put on the simple honesty and openness of children. We all acquire more or less of guile and insincerity ill the course of life, We learn to conceal our sentiments and feelings, and almost unconsciously come to appear different from what we really are. It is not so with children. In the child, every emotion of the bosom: appears as it is. Nature there work, well and beautifully. Every emotion is expressed; every feeling of the heart is developed; and in the cheeks, the open eye, the joyous or sad countenance, we know all that there is in the bosom, as certainly as we know all that there is in the rose by its colour and its fragrance. Now, it is one of the purposes of religion to bring us back to this state, and to strip off all the subterfuges which we may have acquired in life; and he in whom this effect is not accomplished has never been converted. A man that is characteristically deceitful, cunning, and crafty, cannot be a Christian. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven," Mt 18:3.
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