1 Peter 2:1-5
1. Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1. Proinde deposita omni malitia et omni dolo et simulationibus et invidiis et omnibus obtrectationibus,
2. As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby;
2. Tanquam modò geniti infantes, lac rationale et dolo vacuum appetite, ut per illud subolescatis:
3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:
3. Si quidem gustastis quòd benignus sit Dominus;
4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
4. Ad quem accedentes, qui est lapis vivus, ab hominibus quidera reprobatus, apud Deum vero electus ac pretiosus;
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.
5. Ipsi quoque tanquam vivi lapides, aedificamini, domus spirituales, sacerdotium sanctum, ad offerendas spirituales hostias, acceptas Deo per Jesum Christum.
After having taught the faithful that they had been regenerated by the word of God, he now exhorts them to lead a life corresponding with their birth. For if we live in the Spirit, we ought also to walk in the Spirit, as Paul says. (Galatians 5:25.) It is not, then, sufficient for us to have been once called by the Lord, except we live as new creatures. This is the meaning. But as to the words, the Apostle continues the same metaphor. For as we have been born again, he requires from us a life like that of infants; by which he intimates that we are to put off the old man and his works. Hence this verse agrees with what Christ says,
"Except ye become like this little child,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of God."
"Known," says Paul, "are the works of the flesh, which are these," (Galatians 5:19;)
and yet he does not enumerate them all; but in those few things, as in a mirror, we may see that immense mass of filth which proceeds from our flesh. So also in other passages, where he refers to the new life, he touches only on a few things, by which we may understand the whole character.
What, then, he says amounts to this, -- "Having laid aside the works of your former life, such as malice, deceit, dissimulations, envyings, and other things of this kind, devote yourselves to things of an opposite character, cultivate kindness, honesty," etc. He, in short, urges this, that new morals ought to follow a new life.
"Be ye not children in understanding, but in malice."
(1 Corinthians 14:20.)
That no one might think that infancy, void of understanding and full of fatuity, was commended by him, he in due time meets this objection; so he bids them to desire milk free from guile, and yet mixed with right understanding. We now see for what purpose he joins these two words, rational and guileless, (
"Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
And thus is solved the question which might have been otherwise raised. 1
Paul reproves the Corinthians because they were like children, and therefore they could not take strong food, but were fed with milk. (1 Corinthians 3:1.) Almost the same words are found in Hebrews 5:12. But in these passages those are compared to children who remain always novices and ignorant scholars in the doctrine of religion, who continued in the first elements, and never penetrated into the higher knowledge of God. Milk is called the simpler mode of teaching, and one suitable to children, when there is no progress made beyond the first rudiments. Justly, then, does Paul charge this as a fault, as well as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. But milk, here, is not elementary doctrine, which one perpetually learns; and never comes to the knowledge of the truth, but a mode of living which has the savor of the new birth, when we surrender ourselves to be brought up by God. In the same manner infancy is not set in opposition to manhood, or full age in Christ, as Paul calls it in Ephesians 4:13, but to the ancientness of the flesh and of former life. Moreover, as the infancy of the new life is perpetual, so Peter recommends milk as a perpetual aliment, for he would have those nourished by it to grow.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good."
But he says that this taste is to be had in Christ, as, doubtless, our souls can find no rest anywhere but in him. But he has drawn the ground of his exhortation from the goodness of God, because his kindness, which we perceive in Christ, ought to allure us; for what follows,
Let it then be noticed, that Peter connects an access to God with the taste of his goodness. For as the human mind necessarily dreads and shuns God, as long as it regards him as rigid and severe; so, as soon as he makes known his paternal love to the faithful, it immediately follows that they disregard all things and even forget themselves and hasten to him. In short, he only makes progress in the Gospel, who in heart comes to God.
But he also shews for what end and to what purpose we ought to come to Christ, even that we may have him as our foundation. For since he is constituted a stone, he ought to be so to us, so that nothing should be appointed for him by the Father in vain or to no purpose. But he obviates an offense when he allows that Christ is rejected by men; for, as a great part of the world reject him, and even many abhor him, he might for this reason be despised by us; for we see that some of the ignorant are alienated from the Gospel, because it is not everywhere popular, nor does it conciliate favor to its professors. But Peter forbids us to esteem Christ the less, however despised he may be by the world, because he, notwithstanding, retains his own worth and honor before God.
By calling us
But the Apostle adds,
"Through him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God."
The sense, however, will remain the same; for we offer sacrifices through Christ, that they may be acceptable to God.
1 Our version here seems to convey the most suitable meaning, by taking