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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER - Chapter 2 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Honour all men. That is, show them the respect which is due to them according to their personal worth, and to the rank and office which they sustain. See Barnes "Ro 13:7".

 

Love the brotherhood. The whole fraternity of Christians, regarded as a band of brothers. The word here used occurs only in this place and in 1 Pe 5:9, where it is rendered brethren. The idea expressed here occurs often in the New Testament. See Barnes "Joh 13:34, See Barnes "Joh 13:35".

 

Fear God, A duty everywhere enjoined in the Bible, as one of the first duties of religion. Comp. Le 25:17; 24:7; 25:14; Pr 1:7; 3:13; 9:10; 23:17; See Barnes "Ro 3:18"; See Barnes "2 Co 7:1".

The word fear, when used to express our duty to God, means that we are to reverence and honour him. Religion, in one aspect, is described as the fear of God; in another, as the love of God; in another, as submission to his will, etc. A holy veneration or fear is always an elementary principle of religion. It is the fear, not so much of punishment as of his disapprobation; not so much the dread of suffering at the dread of doing wrong.

Honour the king. Referring here primarily to the Roman sovereign, but implying that we are always to respect those who have the rule over us. See Barnes "Ro 13:1-7".

The doctrine taught in these verses 1 Pe 2:13-17 is, that we are faithfully to perform all the relative duties of life. There are duties which we owe to ourselves, which are of importance in their place, and which we are by no means at liberty to neglect. But we also owe duties to our fellow-men, to our Christian brethren, and to those who have the rule over us; and religion, while it is honoured by our faithful performance of our duty to ourselves, is more openly honoured by our performance of our duties to those to whom we sustain important relations in life. Many of the duties which we owe to ourselves are, from the nature of the case, hidden from public observation. All that pertains to the examination of the heart; to our private devotions; to the subjugation of our evil passions; to our individual communion with God, must be concealed from public view. Not so, however, with those duties which pertain to others. In respect to them, we are open to public view. The eye of the world is upon us. The judgment of the world in regard to us is made up from their observation of the manner in which we perform them. If religion fails there, they judge that it fails altogether; and however devout we may be in private, if it is not seen by the world that our religion leads to the faithful performance of the duties which we owe in the various relations of life, it will be regarded as of little value.

{1} "Honour all men" "Esteem" {a} "men" Ro 12:10 {b} "Love" Joh 13:35 {c} "Fear" Ps 111:10 {d} "king" Pr 24:21

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