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6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!


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6. Wherein—in which prospect of final salvation.

greatly rejoice—"exult with joy": "are exuberantly glad." Salvation is realized by faith (1Pe 1:9) as a thing so actually present as to cause exulting joy in spite of existing afflictions.

for a seasonGreek, "for a little time."

if need be—"if it be God's will that it should be so" [Alford], for not all believers are afflicted. One need not invite or lay a cross on himself, but only "take up" the cross which God imposes ("his cross"); 2Ti 3:12 is not to be pressed too far. Not every believer, nor every sinner, is tried with afflictions [Theophylact]. Some falsely think that notwithstanding our forgiveness in Christ, a kind of atonement, or expiation by suffering, is needed.

ye are in heavinessGreek, "ye were grieved." The "grieved" is regarded as past, the "exulting joy" present. Because the realized joy of the coming salvation makes the present grief seem as a thing of the past. At the first shock of affliction ye were grieved, but now by anticipation ye rejoice, regarding the present grief as past.

throughGreek, "IN": the element in which the grief has place.

manifold—many and of various kinds (1Pe 4:12, 13).

temptations—"trials" testing your faith.

7. Aim of the "temptations."

trial—testing, proving. That your faith so proved "may be found (aorist; once for all, as the result of its being proved on the judgment-day) unto (eventuating in) praise," &c., namely, the praise to be bestowed by the Judge.

than that of gold—rather, "than gold."

though—"which perisheth, YET is tried with fire." If gold, though perishing (1Pe 1:18), is yet tried with fire in order to remove dross and test its genuineness, how much more does your faith, which shall never perish, need to pass through a fiery trial to remove whatever is defective, and to test its genuineness and full value?

glory—"Honor" is not so strong as "glory." As "praise" is in words, so "honor" is in deeds: honorary reward.

appearing—Translate as in 1Pe 1:13, "revelation." At Christ's revelation shall take place also the revelation of the sons of God (Ro 8:19, "manifestation," Greek, "revelation"; 1Jo 3:2, Greek, "manifested … manifested," for "appear … appear").

8. not having seen, ye love—though in other cases it is knowledge of the person that produces love to him. They are more "blessed that have not seen and yet have believed," than they who believed because they have seen. On Peter's own love to Jesus, compare Joh 21:15-17. Though the apostles had seen Him, they now ceased to know Him merely after the flesh.

in whom—connected with "believing": the result of which is "ye rejoice" (Greek, "exult").

nowin the present state, as contrasted with the future state when believers "shall see His face."

unspeakable—(1Co 2:9).

full of gloryGreek, "glorified." A joy now already encompassed with glory. The "glory" is partly in present possession, through the presence of Christ, "the Lord of glory," in the soul; partly in assured anticipation. "The Christian's joy is bound up with love to Jesus: its ground is faith; it is not therefore either self-seeking or self-sufficient" [Steiger].

9. Receiving—in sure anticipation; "the end of your faith," that is, its crowning consummation, finally completed "salvation" (Peter here confirms Paul's teaching as to justification by faith): also receiving now the title to it and the first-fruits of it. In 1Pe 1:10 the "salvation" is represented as already present, whereas "the prophets" had it not as yet present. It must, therefore, in this verse, refer to the present: Deliverance now from a state of wrath: believers even now "receive salvation," though its full "revelation" is future.

of … souls—The immortal soul was what was lost, so "salvation" primarily concerns the soul; the body shall share in redemption hereafter; the soul of the believer is saved already: an additional proof that "receiving … salvation" is here a thing present.

10. The magnitude of this "salvation" is proved by the earnestness with which "prophets" and even "angels" searched into it. Even from the beginning of the world this salvation has been testified to by the Holy Spirit.

prophets—Though there is no Greek article, yet English Version is right, "the prophets" generally (including all the Old Testament inspired authors), as "the angels" similarly refer to them in general.

inquired—perseveringly: so the Greek. Much more is manifested to us than by diligent inquiry and search the prophets attained. Still it is not said, they searched after it, but concerning (so the Greek for "of") it. They were already certain of the redemption being about to come. They did not like us fully see, but they desired to see the one and the same Christ whom we fully see in spirit. "As Simeon was anxiously desiring previously, and tranquil in peace only when he had seen Christ, so all the Old Testament saints saw Christ only hidden, and as it were absent—absent not in power and grace, but inasmuch as He was not yet manifested in the flesh" [Calvin]. The prophets, as private individuals, had to reflect on the hidden and far-reaching sense of their own prophecies; because their words, as prophets, in their public function, were not so much their own as the Spirit's, speaking by and in them: thus Caiaphas. A striking testimony to verbal inspiration; the words which the inspired authors wrote are God's words expressing the mind of the Spirit, which the writers themselves searched into, to fathom the deep and precious meaning, even as the believing readers did. "Searched" implies that they had determinate marks to go by in their search.

the grace that should come unto you—namely, the grace of the New Testament: an earnest of "the grace" of perfected "salvation … to be brought at the (second) revelation of Christ." Old Testament believers also possessed the grace of God; they were children of God, but it was as children in their nonage, so as to be like servants; whereas we enjoy the full privileges of adult sons.

11. whatGreek, "In reference to what, or what manner of time." What expresses the time absolutely: what was to be the era of Messiah's coming; what manner of time; what events and features should characterize the time of His coming. The "or" implies that some of the prophets, if they could not as individuals discover the exact time, searched into its characteristic features and events. The Greek for "time" is the season, the epoch, the fit time in God's purposes.

Spirit of Christ … in them—(Ac 16:7, in oldest manuscripts, "the Spirit of Jesus"; Re 19:10). So Justin Martyr says, "Jesus was He who appeared and communed with Moses, Abraham, and the other patriarchs." Clement of Alexandria calls Him "the Prophet of prophets, and Lord of all the prophetical spirit."

did signify—"did give intimation."

ofGreek, "the sufferers (appointed) unto Christ," or foretold in regard to Christ. "Christ," the anointed Mediator, whose sufferings are the price of our "salvation" (1Pe 1:9, 10), and who is the channel of "the grace that should come unto you."

the gloryGreek, "glories," namely, of His resurrection, of His ascension, of His judgment and coming kingdom, the necessary consequence of the sufferings.

that should followGreek, "after these (sufferings)," 1Pe 3:18-22; 5:1. Since "the Spirit of Christ" is the Spirit of God, Christ is God. It is only because the Son of God was to become our Christ that He manifested Himself and the Father through Him in the Old Testament, and by the Holy Spirit, eternally proceeding from the Father and Himself, spake in the prophets.

12. Not only was the future revealed to them, but this also, that these revelations of the future were given them not for themselves, but for our good in Gospel times. This, so far from disheartening, only quickened them in unselfishly testifying in the Spirit for the partial good of their own generation (only of believers), and for the full benefit of posterity. Contrast in Gospel times, Re 22:10. Not that their prophecies were unattended with spiritual instruction as to the Redeemer to their own generation, but the full light was not to be given till Messiah should come; it was well that they should have this "revealed" to them, lest they should be disheartened in not clearly discovering with all their inquiry and search the full particulars of the coming "salvation." To Daniel (Da 9:25, 26) the "time" was revealed. Our immense privileges are thus brought forth by contrast with theirs, notwithstanding that they had the great honor of Christ's Spirit speaking in them; and this, as an incentive to still greater earnestness on our part than even they manifested (1Pe 1:13, &c.).

us—The oldest manuscripts read "you," as in 1Pe 1:10. This verse implies that we, Christians, may understand the prophecies by the Spirit's aid in their most important part, namely, so far as they have been already fulfilled.

with the Holy Ghost sent down—on Pentecost. The oldest manuscripts omit Greek preposition en, that is, "in"; then translate, "by." The Evangelists speaking by the Holy Spirit were infallible witnesses. "The Spirit of Christ" was in the prophets also (1Pe 1:11), but not manifestly, as in the case of the Christian Church and its first preachers, "SENT down from heaven." How favored are we in being ministered to, as to "salvation," by prophets and apostles alike, the latter now announcing the same things as actually fulfilled which the former foretold.

which things—"the things now reported unto you" by the evangelistic preachers "Christ's sufferings and the glory that should follow" (1Pe 1:11, 12).

angels—still higher than "the prophets" (1Pe 1:10). Angels do not any more than ourselves possess an INTUITIVE knowledge of redemption. "To look into" in Greek is literally, "to bend over so as to look deeply into and see to the bottom of a thing." See on Jas 1:25, on same word. As the cherubim stood bending over the mercy seat, the emblem of redemption, in the holiest place, so the angels intently gaze upon and desire to fathom the depths of "the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels" (1Ti 3:16). Their "ministry to the heirs of salvation" naturally disposes them to wish to penetrate this mystery as reflecting such glory on the love, justice, wisdom, and power of their and our God and Lord. They can know it only through its manifestation in the Church, as they personally have not the direct share in it that we have. "Angels have only the contrast between good and evil, without the power of conversion from sin to righteousness: witnessing such conversion in the Church, they long to penetrate the knowledge of the means whereby it is brought about" [Hofman in Alford].




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