HOW THE NEW TESTAMENT QUOTES AND INTERPRETS THE OLD TESTAMENT

As C. S. Lewis once observed, “one of the rewards of reading the Old Testament regularly” is that “you keep on discovering more and more what a tissue of quotations from it the New Testament is.” Conscientious readers of the Bible may well acknowledge this; but there is much disagreement among NT interpreters on just how the NT authors saw the OT from which they quoted. Questions include: Did the NT authors respect the original meaning of the OT texts? Did they put new meanings into these OT texts, and if so, how closely tied were these new meanings to the original meaning? Did a citation of an OT passage invoke the whole context of the OT passage, or was the NT writer really only interested in what he could make a particular “verse” do for him? What kind of text did the NT authors use: the original Hebrew, or the Septuagint, or another Greek version—and did the NT authors depend on the Greek, even when its rendering of the Hebrew was inadequate?
This short article cannot supply a complete discussion of all these questions, nor does it suggest that all faithful interpreters (or even all contributors to this Study Bible) see things the same way. Rather, the aim here is to offer a way of looking at these issues that does justice both to the NT and to the OT.

A VARIETY OF KINDS OF “USES”

We begin by observing that there is a variety of ways the NT authors can refer to the OT. They can quote it directly (as Matt. 1:23 cites Isa. 7:14); they can allude to it (as John 1:1–5 alludes to Genesis 1); they can use OT vocabulary with a meaning conditioned by OT usage (e.g., “the righteousness of God”); they can refer to the OT’s broad concepts (such as monotheism and creation); and they can refer to the basic overarching story of the OT (e.g., Rom. 1:1–6).

The second observation is that there is no reason to expect a single, one-size-fits-all explanation that covers every instance of the NT using the OT. For example, an author may be intending to specify the one meaning of the OT text, or he may be using the OT text as providing an example or pattern that illuminates something he is writing about. He may draw a moral lesson from some event (e.g., Mark 2:25–26), and he might find an analogy between his audience and the ancient people (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:6–11). He might be making a point about how the Gentile Christians inherit the privileges of Israel (1 Pet. 2:9–10), or he might be explaining why Christians need not keep some provision of the OT (e.g., Mark 7:19; Eph. 2:19). Paul describes his own calling in terms that remind us of the servant of the Lord (Gal. 1:15 evoking Isa. 49:1): since Isaiah’s servant is a messianic figure (as Paul knew, cf. Acts 13:47; Rom. 10:16; 15:21), it is best to see Paul as likening his own calling in some way to that of the servant, rather than as claiming that he was the servant.

TEXT FORM

This part is the least controversial. As a general rule, NT authors cite the OT in a Greek form that is basically the Septuagint that is available in printed form today (see The Septuagint). There are places where the NT author’s citation differs slightly from that of the Septuagint: either because the author has adjusted the quotation to fit the syntax of his own sentence or otherwise adapted it to his purpose, or because he has quoted the Septuagint from memory, or because the quotation represents a textual variation. There are places where the NT author has apparently corrected the Septuagint in order to be closer to the Hebrew: for example, “grieve” in Ephesians 4:30 is far closer to the Hebrew of Isaiah 63:10than the Septuagint’s “provoke.” In John 1:14 “full of grace and truth” may be a free paraphrase of “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6).

Many Hebraists view the Septuagint as a translation with some value, but with many obvious deficiencies. The truth is, the translation quality varies with the kind of material being translated (poetry is harder than narrative), the skill of the individual translator, and the purposes of the translation (e.g., it seems that the translators of Proverbs intended to adapt the Hebrew wisdom to their setting in the high Hellenistic culture of Alexandria, at the expense of faithfully conveying the meaning of the Hebrew). More to the point, it is not clear that translational infelicities cloud any particular NT use of the Septuagint—generally the point for which the verse is cited depends on the part where the translation is close enough to the original.

Therefore one cannot say that, in using a Greek version, the NT authors have in any way slighted the original intent of the OT authors.

NT REFLECTION ON THE USE OF THE OT

Several NT texts discuss the general stance by which Christians do, and should, approach the OT. The first is Romans 1:1–6, where Paul describes the “gospel of God” as “promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.” The content that follows narrates Jesus’ public entry onto his Davidic throne through his resurrection, and Paul’s apostleship as the outworking of Jesus’ program “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations”: Paul is explaining that the events of Jesus’ victory, and the witness of the early Christians, are just what the OT had foretold. This is the kind of reading the OT itself invites (see The Theology of the Old Testament). Later in the same letter (Rom. 15:4), Paul says, “For whatever was written in former days [i.e., in the OT] was written for our instruction [i.e., as Christians].” He then goes on (in vv. 9–13) to cite several OT texts about the expectation of the coming era when the Gentiles would receive the light and join in worship with the faithful of Israel: the mixed congregations of Jewish and Gentile Christians are the fulfillment of that hope.

In 1 Corinthians 10:1, Paul alludes to OT events, saying “our fathers” experienced them. The church in Corinth, however, had a considerable proportion of converted Gentiles; so this means that Paul is treating the Gentile Christians as having been “grafted in” (Rom. 11:17ff.) to the olive tree (the people of God, cf. Jer. 11:16), and every bit as much heirs of the story as Jewish Christians are. After listing the ways that God judged the unfaithful among the ancient people (1 Cor. 10:6–10), Paul explains that “these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” God expects those who profess to be Christians to be sure their faith is real, just as he did the people in the Pentateuch.

Hebrews 11 is able to parade the OT faithful before its audience (probably mostly Jewish Christians) to show them that they must persevere in faith just as the ancients did.

In Luke 24:25–27, 44–47, Jesus “interpreted to [his disciples] in all the [OT] Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke does not tell us what that Bible study actually said. Some Christian interpreters have understood this to mean that it is possible to find in every part of the OT a “foreshadowing” of some aspect of the work of Jesus. However, other interpreters think it is enough to recognize both that there are specific texts that predict the messianic work, and that the entire trend of the OT story was heading toward Jesus’ victory after his suffering, which would usher in the era in which the Gentiles would receive God’s light (Luke 24:47, “to all nations”).

BASIC CATALOG OF NT USES OF THE OT

When the apostles applied the OT to NT realities, they were following a long line of citing earlier Scripture, using a set of practices that can be found in the OT itself. For example, OT writers could allude to an earlier passage and elaborate on it (e.g., Psalms 8 and 104 use Genesis 1–2); or they could allude to an earlier text and give a more precise nuance to it (as Ps. 72:17 takes the more general Gen. 22:18and ties it specifically to the house of David). They could recognize a promise (e.g., Dan. 9:2 finding inJer. 25:12 a promise for the length of Babylonian domination). They could see patterns of God’s behavior repeated (e.g., many Psalms allude to Ex. 34:6–7 as God’s way of dealing with his people). They could also take texts from earlier generations and apply them to new situations (e.g., Neh. 8:14–17is often seen as an example of actualizing the laws of Lev. 23:39–42 in concert with Deut. 16:13–15; cf. also the well-known pairing of Jer. 22:24–27 and Hag. 2:23).

The NT writers exhibit these uses due to their conviction that Christians are the heirs of Israel’s story; they exhibit other uses as well due to their conviction that the resurrection of Jesus had ushered in a new era, the messianic age—“the last days” foretold by the prophets. These authors saw themselves as God’s authorized interpreters for this new era that God had opened in the story of his people.

The early Christian missionaries went to synagogues to prove from the OT Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (cf. Acts 17:1–3; 18:26–28). This implies that they relied on and used publicly accessible arguments from the text itself, rather than merely private insights—otherwise, they would have been unjust to hold anyone responsible for failing to see something that was not truly there. Luke praises the Berean Jews, who examined the OT to see whether what Paul and Silas told them was so (Acts 17:11): this implies that the NT invites critical interaction over its appeal to the OT, and is not solely dependent on the “insider’s” point of view.

In classifying these uses, the basic questions are:

  • What is it about the OT text that enables the NT writer to use it the way he does?
  • What is the NT writer’s stance toward the “original meaning” of the OT text?
  • What rhetorical goal is the NT writer trying to achieve by using the OT text as he does?
  • In what ways does the NT author resemble and differ from interpretative principles found among other interpreters who come from the same period of time, particularly other Second Temple Jewish authors who were not Christians?

The categories in this catalog are intended to be broad and suggestive; there is no substitute for a case-by-case examination of the various passages.

Promise and fulfillment. In many cases the NT writers understood their OT texts as providing a promise about where the story was headed, and identify a particular event as the fulfillment (or partial fulfillment) of a promise. For example, Matthew 12:17–21 understood the servant of the Lord in Isaiah 42:1–3 as the Messiah, with Jesus being the promised person. Likewise, in Romans 15:12 Paul sees the spread of Christian faith among the Gentiles as fulfilling the expectation of Isaiah 11:1–10.

Pattern and fulfillment. This is often called “typology,” and it refers to the way patterns found in the OT enable Christians to understand their own situation in, through, and under Christ. For example, the way that a lamb in the sin or guilt offering serves as an innocent substitute to work atonement explains how Jesus’ sacrifice benefits believers (see note on Isa. 53:7, the probable background to John 1:29).

Analogy and application. Sometimes the NT writers find some kind of resemblance between their situation and an earlier one, and derive principles from the OT passage for addressing the new situation. The examples of Mark 2:25–26 and 1 Corinthians 10:6–10 have already been mentioned.

When an author is using an analogy, he is not offering an interpretation of the original intent of the OT text; nevertheless, the analogies respect the original intent. For example, in Matthew 21:42, Jesus usesPsalm 118:22–23 (about “the stone the builders rejected”) to describe the way the Jewish leaders rejected him. Though many understand this to be a messianic prediction, the main point Jesus makes is that Jewish leaders who rejected him are (by analogy) just as wrong and wretched (Matt. 21:41) as the great world powers that thought so little of Israel (see note on Ps. 118:22–23).

Understanding the use of analogy in this way will help when encountering some NT texts that are more difficult. In 1 Corinthians 9:9 and 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul cites an OT law (Deut. 25:4) about not muzzling an ox, and he applies it as a justification for paying those in ministry. The OT text is based on a principle of caring for working animals; Paul’s application seems to be based on a “How much more should we care for those who serve us with the word” kind of argument. In Galatians 4:21–31, Paul constructs an “allegory” from Hagar and Sarah in Genesis, in order to convince his readers to reject the false teachers. There is no need to think he is disclosing any kind of additional meaning in Genesis, nor is he disregarding the original intent of the OT passages; he is simply likening those who follow his message to the “children of promise” (supernaturally produced like Isaac), and those who follow the false teachers to him “who was born according to the flesh” (i.e., to Ishmael).

Eschatological continuity. As indicated in The Theology of the Old Testament, “eschatology” in the OT is focused on the coming era in which the Messiah will lead his people in bringing the light to the Gentiles; the NT position is that this era began with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. These are separate chapters in the unfolding story of God’s work in the world, but they exhibit continuity because it is the same God at work, who saves people in the same way (cf. Rom. 4:1–8), who grafts believing Gentiles into the olive tree of his people (Rom. 11:17), and who is restoring the image of God in them. Hence Christian believers, both Jew and Gentile, share the privilege of the mission of Israel (e.g., 1 Pet. 2:9–10, looking back to Ex. 19:5–6 and other texts). Thus, the Ten Commandments supply moral guidance to Christians (Rom. 13:8–10). The same “righteousness of God”—God’s uprightness and faithfulness in keeping his promises—that the OT celebrates lies behind God’s sending Jesus (Rom. 1:17).

Eschatological discontinuity. This category is related to the previous one and reflects the change in redemptive era. For example, God’s faithful no longer need to observe the OT food laws, whose purpose was to distinguish Israel from the Gentiles (Lev. 20:24–26; cf. Acts 10:9–23). Other aspects of the Sinai covenant are likewise no longer directly applicable to God’s people, such as the sacrificial system and the theocratic government centered in Jerusalem.

Development. Psalm 72:17 does not change the promise of blessing-to-the-nations of Genesis 22:18 but rather develops it by bringing the manner of fulfillment into sharper focus. In the same way, Isaiah 52:13–53:12 certainly describes the career of the Messiah in terms of rejection and humiliation followed by vindication and victory. As the note on Isaiah 53:10 explains, death is clearly not the messianic servant’s end; but resurrection is not explicit there (although it now seems to be the natural inference). Thus 1 Corinthians 15:3–4 can say, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (probably echoing Isa. 53:10), and “he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (developing, or clarifying, Isa. 53:10). The assumption behind these examples is that the story is moving along, and God can feed new events and insights into the process (in the case of Ps. 72:17, by giving an oracle establishing the Davidic covenant; in the case of 1 Cor. 15:4, by raising Jesus from the dead).

“Fuller sense.” Christians have used the Latin term sensus plenior (“fuller sense”) for cases where the NT seems to find a meaning in the OT that goes much farther beyond the original intent of the earlier passage than simple development. There is every reason to allow for such cases, when one considers that God is both planning events and inspiring the biblical authors as his authentic interpreters. Nevertheless it is wise to be careful: in many cases the suggestion of sensus plenior stems from a misapprehension of the earlier text or of the NT usage (see discussion of Matt. 2:15/Hos. 11:1 below; see note on Ps. 16:9–11). There are some instances, however, where this does in fact seem to be what the NT author has done: e.g., in John 1:1–5, John describes “the Word” as a divine Person active in the creation; he is echoing Genesis 1:1–2:3 but seeing something there that Moses did not say. Nevertheless, as the notes on Psalm 33:4–9 explain, this is not out of step with Genesis (see also note on Gen. 1:26 for the Trinity). One can imagine Moses saying, if he had been presented with John’s Gospel, “Well, I never thought of it that way, but now that you come to say it like that, I can see where you got it, and I like it”: that is, he would not think that his original intent had been violated. It is tenuous, however, to advocate a sensus plenior that dispenses with original intent.

Matthew 2:15 is often taken as a case of sensus plenior because it says that when the holy family took shelter in Egypt (later to return to Palestine), this was to “fulfill” the words of Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Is Matthew finding a “messianic meaning” in Hosea that no one could have seen before? Probably not: it is more likely that Matthew found in Hosea a convenient summary of the exodus that contained the term “son.” (Many prophets summarize the exodus as a way of reminding Israel of their obligations to the Lord: cf. Amos 3:1–2.) One of Matthew’s themes is that Jesus showed himself the true Messiah (the Davidic representative of Israel) by embodying all that Israel was called to be, and doing so faithfully (in contrast to Israel). On the “son of God” idea, an important theme for Matthew, see note on Psalm 2:7. So Jesus’ experience “fulfilled” the pattern of the exodus, which means that this is a case of pattern and fulfillment.

Deity of Christ. NT authors often apply OT texts to Jesus that originally applied to Yahweh, the God of Israel. For example, Hebrews 1:10–12 describes Jesus by using Psalm 102:25–27, which is about God’s eternity. This is not because the psalm is directly messianic but because NT authors accept that Jesus is Yahweh incarnate (cf. John 1:1–14). Thus the NT uses these texts consistently with their original intent—they describe the Lord—and recognize that their description applies to Jesus as being no less truly the Lord than is God the Father.

In all of these cases the NT authors view themselves as the proper heirs and faithful interpreters of the OT.

AUTHOR AND TITLE

That this letter was written by the apostle Peter is explicitly affirmed by 1:1 and by the author’s claim to be an “eyewitness of the sufferings of Christ” (5:1). The title of the letter, The First Letter of Peter, functions as early external evidence for the view that the letter was written by Peter. Indeed, in the early church there was no dispute over the authenticity of the letter, for it was regularly ascribed to Peter by the early church fathers.

Some recent scholars maintain that the letter is pseudonymous (falsely ascribed to Peter). Thus some have argued that: (1) the cultivated Greek of the letter could not have been written by a Galilean fisherman like Peter; (2) the theology is too much like Paul’s to be ascribed to Peter; (3) the OT citations come from the Greek OT (Septuagint), but the genuine Peter would have cited the Hebrew OT; (4) the background of the letter reflects the reign of the Roman emperors Domitian (a.d. 81–96) or Trajan (98–117), both of whom reigned after Peter’s death; and (5) the genuine Peter would have referred more to the historical Jesus.

None of these objections are compelling, and there are persuasive reasons for continuing to support Petrine authorship: (1) Peter was a middle-class fisherman who very likely knew Greek from his youth. There is significant evidence that Greek was spoken quite commonly in Galilee. Furthermore, Peter may have used a secretary, namely Silvanus (cf. note on 1 Pet. 5:12), to assist him in composing the letter. (2) Although the common elements in the theology of Peter and Paul should not be exaggerated (for there are distinctive themes in Peter; e.g., the particular emphasis on suffering), it should not be surprising that Peter and Paul shared the same theology. (3) It is hardly unexpected that Peter would cite the Greek OT in writing to Greek readers. (4) There is no clear evidence that the letter was written under the reign of Domitian or Trajan (see Purpose, Occasion, and Background). (5) The reader must be careful of saying what an author “must do”; i.e., although one cannot demand that Peter refer to the historical Jesus in a short letter written for a specific purpose, there is significant evidence that Peter alludes to some of the sayings of Jesus (e.g., Luke 12:35 in 1 Pet. 1:13; Matt. 5:16 in 1 Pet. 2:12; Matt. 5:10 in 1 Pet. 3:14). (6) Finally, there is no historical evidence in early church history that pseudonymous books, especially letters, were accepted as authoritative and inspired. Indeed, writing in someone else’s name was considered deceptive (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2; 3:17). On balance, there are compelling reasons to conclude that the apostle Peter is in fact the author of 1 Peter.

DATE

The date of 1 Peter is linked with the issue of authorship. Those who reject Peter as the author typically date the letter in the reign of Domitian (a.d. 81–96) or Trajan (98–117). Since there are good grounds for holding to Petrine authorship, the letter probably should be dated during the reign of Nero (a.d. 54–68). The reference to Babylon in 5:13 is almost certainly a reference to Rome, leading one to conclude that Peter wrote the letter from Rome. He probably wrote before the Neronian persecution in Rome, and thus the date of composition is likely a.d. 62–63.

THEME

Those who persevere in faith while suffering persecution should be full of hope, for they will certainly enjoy end-time salvation since they are already enjoying God’s saving promises here and now through the death and resurrection of Christ.

PURPOSE, OCCASION, AND BACKGROUND

Peter encourages his readers to endure suffering and persecution (1:6–7; 2:18–20; 3:9, 13–17; 4:1–4, 12–19; 5:9) by giving themselves entirely to God (4:19). They are to remain faithful in times of distress, knowing that God will vindicate them and that they will certainly enjoy the salvation that the Lord has promised. The death and resurrection of Christ stand as the paradigm for the lives of believers. Just as Christ suffered and then entered into glory, so too his followers will suffer before being exalted.

The letter is addressed to Christians dispersed in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1:1), an area north of the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey); see map. These provinces were ethnically (and at times linguistically) diverse, yet all these territories had been impacted by Greco-Roman culture and were firmly under Roman control from the mid-first century b.c. The order in which the areas are listed probably designates the order in which the courier (Silvanus, see 5:12) would carry the letter to its intended readership.

Most scholars are convinced that the recipients of 1 Peter were primarily Gentiles. The reference to their “former ignorance” (1:14) and “the futile ways inherited from your forefathers” (1:18) suggests a pagan past that would not fit with Jewish readers. Further, the former lifestyle of the readers (4:3–4) fits with Gentiles rather than Jews. But undoubtedly there were also some Jewish Christians in these churches, for Jewish residents of “Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia” were present at Pentecost and heard the gospel at that early date (Acts 2:9; see note on Acts 9:19b–20). Though the recipients may have been literally “exiles” (1 Pet. 1:1, 17; 2:11), it is more likely that Peter speaks figuratively here: they are spiritual exiles awaiting their heavenly inheritance.

In the past, many scholars detected an empire-wide persecution of Christians in 1 Peter, whether under Nero (a.d. 54–68), Domitian (81–96), or Trajan (98–117), and even used this argument to deny that Peter wrote the letter by specifically placing 1 Peter in the reign of either Domitian or Trajan. However, the evidence is lacking for an official government policy against Christians in the reign of all these emperors. Instead, there were spasmodic and general outbursts against Christians during the first century. Nero’s persecution of Christians after the great fire in Rome (a.d. 64) did not launch official empire-wide persecution of all Christians; nor does 1 Peter reflect an official policy against Christians. Also, an empire-wide decree against Christians is not necessitated by Peter’s writing about the need to respond when asked about one’s faith (3:15), the charges brought against Christians (4:14–16), or the reference to believers suffering worldwide (5:9). The questions and charges brought against Christians that Peter mentions in 3:15 and 4:14–16 were typical of the everyday questions believers would encounter because of their faith. In some instances, Roman authorities punished Christians, but even in these cases it was a local and restricted response. The reference to believers suffering throughout the world (5:9) does not signal that the Roman Empire had passed a decree against the Christian faith. This verse simply reveals that the Christian faith was under threat in the entire Greco-Roman world. Indeed, 1 Peter says nothing about Christians suffering physically for their faith. The focus is on the verbal abuse and discrimination they receive because of their Christian commitment (4:3–4). Of course, verbal abuse easily leads to physical mistreatment, and it is possible that some of the believers to whom Peter wrote were suffering physical abuse for their faith as well (cf. 2:18–20).

KEY THEMES

1. Those who suffer as Christians will be exalted.1:6–9; 2:18–25; 3:13–22; 4:12–19
2. The church of Jesus Christ is the new temple, the new Israel, the new people of God.1:1–2; 2:4–10
3. Believers should set their hope on their end-time inheritance.1:3–9, 13–16
4. Christ died as a substitute for sinners, and his death is the basis for their new life.1:17–21; 2:24; 3:13–22
5. Christ’s suffering is an example to his disciples.2:21–23
6. At his resurrection, Christ triumphed over his enemies.3:18–22
7. Christians should live righteously in their homes and in society.2:11–3:7
8. New life in Christ is the basis for a life of love and holiness.1:3; 1:13–2:3

HISTORY OF SALVATION SUMMARY

Christians are to endure suffering for the sake of Christ, looking back on Christ’s sufferings and forward to the consummation of salvation in his second coming. (For an explanation of the “History of Salvation,” see Overview of the Bible.)

LITERARY FEATURES

First Peter follows the usual contours of the NT epistles. Along with the standard ingredients of salutation-thanksgiving-body-paraenesis (moral exhortations)-closing, there is a pattern of back-and-forth movement between theological assertions and either practical application or lyric celebration. The book moves in a fluid manner between two poles: the riches that believers have in Christ and the dutiesthey need to shoulder, within the implied situation of their living in a hostile surrounding culture.

First Peter is exuberant in tone and exalted in language. Virtually every paragraph contains vivid imagery and a skillful use of figurative language. The tone of the book is urgent and intense, as signaled by the presence of more than 30 imperative verbs (an average of one command in every three verses). The content and style are thus elevated and elevating.

THE SETTING OF 1 PETER

c. a.d. 62–63

Peter, probably writing from Rome (called “Babylon” in 5:13), addressed 1 Peter to believers in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. These names all referred to Roman provinces in Asia Minor, north of the Taurus Mountains.

The Setting of 1 Peter

OUTLINE

  1. Opening (1:1–2)
  2. Called to Salvation as Exiles (1:3–2:10)
  3. Praise for salvation (1:3–12)
  4. The future inheritance as an incentive to holiness (1:13–21)
  5. Living as the new people of God (1:22–2:10)
  6. Living as Aliens to Bring Glory to God in a Hostile World (2:11–4:11)
  7. The Christian life as a battle and a witness (2:11–12)
  8. Testifying to the gospel in the social order (2:13–3:12)
  9. Responding to suffering in a godly way (3:13–4:11)
  10. Persevering in Suffering (4:12–5:11)
  11. Concluding Words (5:12–14)

TIMELINE

Timeline

THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER

CHAPTER 1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

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

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

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

CHAPTER 2

1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore 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.

7 Unto 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,

8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

9 But 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:

10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

12 Having 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.

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

20 For 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.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who 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.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

CHAPTER 3

1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

CHAPTER 4

1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

CHAPTER 5

1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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.

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

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

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