Verse 23. And the very God of peace. The God who gives peace or happiness. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 1:7.


Sanctify you. See Barnes "Joh 17:17".


Wholly. oloteleiv In every part; completely. It is always proper to pray that God would make his people entirely holy. A prayer for perfect sanctification, however, should not be adduced as a proof that it is in fact attained in the present life.

Your whole spirit and soul and body. There is an allusion here, doubtless, to the popular opinion in regard to what constitutes man. We have a body; we have animal life and instincts in common with the inferior creation; and we have also a rational and immortal soul. This distinction is one that appears to the mass of men to be true, and the apostle speaks of it in the language commonly employed by mankind. At the same time, no one can demonstrate that it is not founded in truth. The body we see, and there can be no difference of opinion in regard to its existence. The soul (h quch psyche) the vital principle, the animal life, or the seat of the senses, desires, affections, appetites, we have in common with other animals. It appertains to the nature of the animal creation, though more perfect in some animals than in others, but is in all distinct from the soul as the seat of conscience, and as capable of moral agency. See the use of the word in Mt 22:37; Mr 12:30; Lu 10:27; 12:20; Ac 20:10; Heb 4:12; Re 8:9, et al. In the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy this was distinguished from the higher rational nature, (o nouv, to pneuma,) as this last belonged to man alone. This psyche (Greek) "soul," or life, it is commonly supposed, becomes extinct at death. It is so connected with the bodily organization, that when the tissues of the animal frame cease their functions, this ceases also. This was not, however, the opinion of the ancient Greeks. Homer uses the term to denote that which leaves the body with the breath, as escaping from the erkov odontwnthe fence or sept of the teeth—and as also passing out through a wound. This quchpsyche—continued to exist in Hades, and was supposed to have a definite form there, but could not be seized by the hands. Ody. ii. 207. See Passow, 2. Comp. Prof. Bush, Anastasis, pp. 72, 73. Though this word, however, denotes the vital principle, or the animal life, in man it may be connected with morals—just as the body may be—for it is a part of himself in his present organization, and whatever may be true in regard to the inferior creation, it is his duty to bring his whole nature under law, or so to control it that it may not be an occasion of sin. Hence the apostle prays that the "whole body and soul"—or animal nature—may be made holy. This distinction between the animal life and the mind of man (the anima and animus, the quch and the pneuma,) was often made by the ancient philosophers. See Plato, Timse. p. 1048, A. Nemesius, de Nat. Hom. i Cit. Glyca, p. 70. Lucretius, iii. 94. 116. 131. Juvenal, xv. 146. Cicer,), de Divinat. 129, as quoted by Wetstein in loc. A similar view prevailed also among the Jews. Rabbi Isaac (Zohar in Lev. tbl. 29. 2,) says, "Worthy are the righteous in this world and the world to come, for lo, they are all holy; their body is holy, their soul is holy, their spirit, and their breath is holy." Whether the apostle meant to sanction this view, or merely to speak in common and popular language, may indeed be questioned; but there seems to be a foundation for the language in the nature of man. The word here rendered spirit (pneuma) refers to the intellectual or higher nature of man; that which is the seat of reason, of conscience, and of responsibility. This is immortal. It has no necessary connection with the body, as animal life or the psyche (quch) has, and consequently will be unaffected by death. It is this which distinguishes man from the brute creation; this which allies him with higher intelligences around the throne of God.

Be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle does not intimate here that either the body or the vital principle will be admitted to heaven, or will be found in a future state of being, whatever may be the truth on that subject. The prayer is, that they might be entirely holy, and be kept from transgression, until the Lord Jesus should come; that is, until he should come either to remove them by death, or to wind up the affairs of this lower world. See Barnes "1 Th 1:10".

By his praying that the "body and the soul"—meaning here the animal nature, the seat of the affections and passions—might be kept holy, there is reference to the fact that, connected as they are with a rational and accountable soul, they may be the occasion of sin. The same natural propensities; the same excitability of passion; the same affection, which in a brute would involve no responsibility, and have nothing moral in their character, may be a very different thing in man, who is placed under a moral law, and who is bound to restrain and given all his passions by a reference to that law, and to his higher nature. For a cur to snarl and growl; for a lion to roar and rage; for a hyena to be fierce and untameable; for a serpent to hiss and bite; and for the ostrich to leave her eggs without concern, (Job 39:14,) involves no blame, no guilt for them, for they are not accountable; but for man to evince the same temper, and the same want of affection, does involve guilt, for he has a higher nature, and it these things should be subject to the law which God has imposed on him as a moral and accountable being. As these things may, therefore, in man be the occasion of sin, and ought to be subdued, there was a fitness in praying that they might be "preserved blameless" to the coming of the Saviour. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 9:27".


{b} "blameless" 1 Co 1:8,9


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