1 Peter 5:12-14

12. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, (as I suppose,) I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

12. Per Silvanum vobis fidum fratrem (ut arbitror) paucis scripsi, exhortans et testificans hanc esse veram gratiam in qua statis.

13. The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

13. Salutat vos quae in Babylone est Ecclesia, simul vobiscum electa, et Marcus filius meus.

14. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

14. Salutate vos invicem in osculo charitatis. Gratia vobis omnibus qui estis in Christo Jesu.


12. By Silvanus. He exhorts them at the conclusion of the Epistle to constancy in the faith: yea, he declares that his design in writing, was to retain them in obedience to the doctrine which they had embraced. But he first commends the brevity of his Epistle, lest the reading of it should be tedious to them; and, secondly, he adds a short commendation of his messenger, that the living voice might be added to what was written; for this was the design of the testimony he bears to his fidelity. But the exception, as I suppose, or think, was added, either as token of modesty or to let them surely know, that he spoke according to the conviction of his own mind; and it was unreasonable for them not to assent to the judgment of so great an apostle.

Exhorting and testifying. How difficult it is to continue in the faith! evidences of this are the daily defections of many: nor, indeed, is such a thing to be wondered at, when we consider how great is the levity and inconsistency of men, and how great is their inclination to vanity. But as no doctrine can strike firm and perpetual roots in men's hearts, if it be accompanied with any doubt, he testifies that God's truth, in which they had been taught, was certain. And, doubtless, except its certainty appears to our minds, we must at all times necessarily vacillate, and be ready to turn at every wind of new doctrine. By the grace of God, he means faith with all its effects and fruits.

13. That is at Babylon. Many of the ancients thought that Rome is here enigmatically denoted. This comment the Papists gladly lay hold on, that Peter may appear to have presided over the Church of Rome: nor does the infamy of the name deter them, provided they can pretend to the title of an apostolic seat; nor do they care for Christ, provided Peter be left to them. Moreover, let them only retain the name of Peter's chair, and they will not refuse to set Rome in the infernal regions. But this old comment has no color of truth in its favor; nor do I see why it was approved by Eusebius and others, except that they were already led astray by that error, that Peter had been at Rome. Besides, they are inconsistent with themselves. They say that Mark died at Alexandria, in the eighth year of Nero; but they imagine that Peter, six years after this, was put to death at Rome by Nero. If Mark formed, as they say, the Alexandrian Church, and had been long a bishop there, he could never have been at Rome with Peter. For Eusebius and Jerome extend the time of Peter's presidency at Rome to twenty-five years; but this may be easily disproved by what is said in the first and the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians.

Since, then, Peter had Mark as his companion when he wrote this Epistle, it is very probable that he was at Babylon: and this was in accordance with his calling; for we know that he was appointed an apostle especially to the Jews. He therefore visited chiefly those parts where there was the greatest number of that nation.

In saying that the Church there was a partaker of the same election, his object was to confirm others more and more in the faith; for it was a great matter that the Jews were gathered into the Church, in so remote a part of the world.

My son. So he calls Mark for honor's sake; the reason, however, is, because he had begotten him in the faith, as Paul did Timothy. Of the kiss of love we have spoken elsewhere. Now he bids this to be the kiss of love, 1 so that the sincerity of the heart might correspond with the external act.


1 See a Note in the Epistle to the Romans, p. 547. -- Ed.