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PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect,

Ver. 1.  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers dispersed.  Lit. of the dispersion; i.e. to the Jews or Gentiles now converted, who lived dispersed in those countries, chosen or elected† according to the foreknowledge and eternal decrees of God unto the sanctification of the spirit.  Wi.


--- Asia is taken for one of the four quarters of the globe, or for Asia Minor, or for that province of Asia Minor of which Ephesus is the capital.  It is in this latter sense it appears here to be understood, since Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia are also contained in the provinces of Asia Minor.  V.


[†]  V. 1.  Electis, eklektoiV.  It is certain this word does not only signify those who are predestinated to eternal glory, but those who are chosen or called to believe; as John vi.  Christ says, that he had elected or chosen his twelve apostles, and yet one of them (Judas) was a devil.  The Jews were called the elect people of God, as now are all Christians; nor can we think that all to whom S. Peter wrote, were predestinated to glory.  Ibid. Advenis dispersionis; i.e. dispersis in Ponto, &c.







This first Epistle of S. Peter, though brief, contains much doctrine concerning faith, hope, and charity, with divers instructions to all persons of every state and condition.  The apostle commands submission to rulers and superiors, and exhorts all to the practice of a virtuous life, in imitation of Christ.  This epistle was written with such apostolical dignity, as to manifest the supreme authority with which its writer, the prince of the apostles, had been invested by his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  He wrote it at Rome, which figuratively he calls Babylon, about fifteen years after our Lord's ascension.  Ch.


--- S. Peter, otherwise called Simon, son of John or Jonas, was from Bethsaida, a city of Galilee.  He was married, and lived at Capharnaum, and was employed with his brother Andrew, as fishermen, when our Lord called them.  S. Peter on every occasion testified a more than usual zeal for his Master, and hence our Lord shewed him a very particular and very marked attention.  He would have Peter present at his transfiguration; (Luke ix. 28.) and at another time declared that he was a rock, upon which he would build his Church, against which the gates of hell should never prevail.  Mat. xvi. 18.  Although S. Peter had the misfortune or weakness to deny Jesus Christ in his passion, our Lord, after his resurrection, gave him fresh proofs of his regard.  Mat. xvi. 7.  He continued him in his primacy over all, and appointed him in the most explicit manner visible head of his Church, when thrice asking Peter: "lovest thou me more than these?" and S. Peter as often answering, Christ said to him: "feed my lambs, feed my sheep."  John xxi. 15.


--- This epistle was always received in the Church as canonical, and as written by S. Peter, prince of the apostles.  It is commonly agreed that it was written from Rome, which S. Peter calls Babylon, (C. v. 13.) and directed to those in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, &c. (v. 1.) who were before Jews or Gentiles, and had been converted to the Christian faith.  It is certain this letter was not written till after the true believers had the name of Christians.  C. iv. 16.  Many think it was written before the year 49; but this is not certain.  Others judge not till after the year 60, and some not till a short time before he wrote his second epistle.  See Tillem. t. i. Art. 31. on S. Pet. and tom. ii. on S. Mark, p. 89.  The main design is to confirm the new converts in the faith of Christ, with divers instructions to a virtuous life.  Wi.


--- Grotius, Erasmus, and Estius, discover in this epistle, a strength and majesty worthy the prince of the apostles.  Est autem epistola profecto digna Apostolorum Principe, plena authoritatis et majestatis Apostolicæ: verbis parca, sententiis referta.

2 According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.

Ver. 2.  Unto the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; i.e. to be saved by the merits of his death and passion.  Wi.


--- All the three divine Persons conspire in the salvation of the elect.  The Father as principle of their election, by his eternal prescience; the Son as victim for their sins, and the source of all merit; the Holy Ghost as the spirit of adoption and love, animating and sanctifying them, and leading them to glory.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,


4 Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that can not fade, reserved in heaven for you,

Ver. 4.  Reserved in heaven for you.  Lit. in you; that is, it is also in you by reason of that lively faith and hope, which is in you, of enjoying Christ.  Wi.

5 Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Ver. 7.  At the appearing of Jesus Christ.  Lit. in the revelation; i.e. when he shall be revealed, manifested, and appear at the day of judgment.  Wi.

8 Whom having not seen, you love: in whom also now, though you see him not, you believe: and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified; 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and diligently searched, who prophesied of the grace to come in you. 11 Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in them did signify: when it foretold those sufferings that are in Christ, and the glories that should follow:

Ver. 11.  Searching into what time, or manner of time.  The ancient prophets with longing and ardent desires, obtained to know of the Holy Ghost, the spirit of Christ, the time and the glory that followed those sufferings, by Christ's resurrection and ascension.  All these were revealed to them, and they saw that they ministered things to you, not to themselves; that is, that these things they were ministers of, in prophesying about them, were not to happen in their time, but are not come to pass, as they have been preached to you.  Wi.

12 To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you they ministered those things which are now declared to you by them that have preached the gospel to you, the Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven, on whom the angels desire to look.

Ver. 12.  The Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven, on whom the Angels desire to look.  This place is differently expounded.  Some refer these words, on whom the Angels desire to look, to Jesus Christ, who was named in the foregoing verse; some to the Holy Ghost, who, being one God with the Father and the Son, the Angels are happy in seeing and loving him.  See Estius and the Greek text.  Wi.


[†]  V. 12.  In quem desiderant Angeli prospicere.  The Greek MSS. and copies at present have eiV a, in quæ, which is commonly expounded to agree with the mysteries revealed to the prophets, and which the Angels rejoiced and were delighted to see fulfilled by the coming of Christ.  It seems as if the ancient interpreter had read eiV o, agreeing with pneuma, spiritum; or perhaps eiV on, to agree with qeon, understood.  These changes of a letter might easily happen.  It appears that not only divers Latin interpreters, but also some of the Greek Fathers brought these words to shew the divinity of the Holy Ghost, as S. Athan. Epist. i. ad Serap. p. 653. Edit. Ben.

13 Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ,

Ver. 13.  The loins of your mind girded.  It is a metaphor, to signify they must live in such a manner as to be always prepared for heaven, as persons used to gird their garments about them, when about to walk or run, or to undertake any labour.  Wi.

14 As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance:

Ver. 14.  As children of obedience; i.e. as obedient children.  Wi.

15 But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: 16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.


17 And if you invoke as Father him who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every one's work: converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here.


18 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers:

Ver. 18.  From your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers.  S. Peter teacheth what S. Paul repeats in many places, that it was in vain for them to hope to be saved by the ceremonies and precepts of the former law, to which their forefathers had added many unnecessary and groundless traditions.  They could only hope for salvation by believing in Christ, by the price of whose precious blood they were redeemed from their sins, as they had heard by the word of the gospel preached to them.  His doctrine is the same with that of S. Paul, of S. James, of S. John, and of the other apostles, that to be saved it is not enough to have faith or hope in Christ, but it must be a faith joined and working by charity, obeying the law of Christ in the spirit of charity with a sincere and brotherly love of every one, without setting our hearts upon the vanities and corruptible things of this world, remembering that all flesh is as grass, or the flowers of the field, which wither and pass away in a very short time.  Thus presently vanish all riches, honours, pleasures, and all the glory of this life, but the word of God and his promises will bring us to happiness which will last for ever.  Wi.


19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled,


20 Foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you, 21 Who through him are faithful in God, who raised him up from the dead, and hath given him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.


22 Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly: 23 Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever.

Ver. 23.  Thus this new birth, common to you all, should form between you an union much more stable and solid than that formed in you by the ties of blood.  V.

24 For all flesh is as grass; and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass is withered, and the flower thereof is fallen away.


25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you.
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Holy Spirit