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2. Be Holy

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

13Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

25 For ye were as sheep This also has Peter borrowed from Isaiah, except that the Prophet makes it a universal statement,

“All we like sheep have gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6.)

But on the word sheep there is no particular stress; he indeed compares us to sheep, but the emphasis is on what the Prophet adds, when he says that every one had turned to his own way. The meaning then is, that we are all going astray from the way of salvation, and proceeding in the way of ruin, until Christ brings us back from this wandering.

And this appears still more evident from the clause which follows, but are now returned to the Shepherd, etc.; 3535     I would render the clause thus, “But you have been now restored,” that is, from your wandering, “to the shepherd and the bishop (or, overseer) of your souls.” Macknight thinks, that our Lord took the title of shepherd in order to shew that he is the person foretold in Ezekiel 34:23, and that Peter alludes, in calling him bishop or overseer, to the eleventh verse of that chapter, the latter clause of which, according to the Sept. is, “I will oversee them,” (ἐπισκέψομαι.) — Ed. for all who are not ruled by Christ, are wandering like lost sheep in the ways of error. Thus, then, is condemned the whole wisdom of the world, which does not submit to the government of Christ. But the two titles given here to Christ are remarkable, that he is the Shepherd and Bishop of souls There is then no cause to fear, but that he will faithfully watch over the safety of those who are in his fold and under his care. And it is his office to keep us safe both in body and soul; yet Peter mentions only souls, because this celestial Shepherd keeps us under his own spiritual protection unto eternal life.


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