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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Peter 5:5-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 23, 2016

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of 1 Peter 5 followed by his comments on the reading. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the Scripture he is commenting on.

AN ANALYSIS OF 1 PETER CHAPTER 5

In this chapter, the Apostle addresses himself to the pastors of the Church, and points out the mode in which they should tend the flocks committed to their care, and acquit themselves of their pastoral functions. They should, in tending their flocks, shun three vices directly at variance with their exalted calling; these are, firstly, the performance of their functions not cheerfully, but with restraint arising from the necessity they were under of procuring thereby the necessary means of support, so opposed to the cheerfulness which springs from viewing their flocks, according to God; secondly, the base vice of sordid avarice, so opposed to liberal and generous disinterestedness (2); and thirdly, domincering pride, so opposed to the example of humility, which every pastor is bound to give (3). By avoiding these vices and practising the opposite virtues, the pastors will merit to obtain, on the day of judgment, from Jesus Christ, the unfading crown of eternal life (4).

He next points out the reciprocal duties of the laity towards their pastors. They should be subject and obedient to them.

All, both pastors and people, should clothe themselves with humility, as their chief ornament (5). He tells them to humble themselves before God, in order that he may exalt them, by the effusion of the heavenly graces which he has in store, only for the humble—and, this humility they should manifest, by laying aside all anxious cares, and casting themselves on the Fatherly Providence of God (6, 7). He, next, recommends them to practise the virtues of sobriety and vigilance—two virtues most necessary for a soldier on guard, in order to defeat the stratagems and assaults of a powerful and subtle foe, such as the devil, the sworn enemy of man, is. They should courageously resist him, by the unshaken firmness of their faith (8, 9). He next promises them the powerful protection of God to guard them, and bring them to a happy end (10).

He closes the Epistle with informing them, that Silas is the bearer of this Epistle to them; they will thus be secured against the imposition often practised by false teachers, in substituting counterfeit Epistles. He ends with the usual salutation.

1Pe 5:5 In like manner, ye young men, be subject to the ancients. And do you all insinuate humility one to another: for God resisteth the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace.

In like manner, do you, both inferior clergy and laity, fulfil the reciprocal duty of obedience and subjection to your bishops and pastors; and I enjoin you all, both pastors and people, to manifest feelings of humility towards one another, making this great fundamental virtue your chief exterior ornament; for, God resists the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace.

He new points out the duty which the people reciprocally owe their pastors; and this is subjection and obedience. This is the peculiar virtue of persons placed under authority; the other virtues the people may learn from the lives and conduct of their pastors, who should be a “pattern to them from the heart” (verse 3). “Ye young men.” The laity, who are contrasted with the “ancients,” or pastors. He calls them “young men,” because generally younger in age than their pastors, who, in the time of St. Peter, were far advanced in life, when vested with the pastoral dignity. Others understand by “young men,” young persons in general, who ought to be reverential towards those, who are advanced in life. The former interpretation is more probable; for, all young men are not bound to be “subject” to the old, as is here required. By the “ancients,” are meant the pastors of the Church, especially the bishops, to whom both laity and inferior clergy should be subject and obedient. The word, viewed according to etymology, only means persons advanced in age; but in almost all languages, men vested with authority, whether in church or state, are designated by words expressive of age; because, those appointed to such offices were, generally speaking, far advanced in life. For instance, the terms, Senate, Patricians, &c., though according to etymology referring to age, are employed, according to present usage, to express office or dignities. In many instances, to adhere strictly to etymology would be silly in the extreme, as is apparent, for example, in the original etymological signification of the word, Pontiff, which means “a bridge-maker” (Pontifex), “Episcopus,” bishop, which meant originally, “an inspector.” “Deacon” originally meant, a “waiter;” “Apostle,” “one sent,” &c. “But, do ye all insinuate humility to one another.” The Greek is, “but do ye all (subordinate to one another) put on humility as an exterior garment.” The Greek word for “insinuate,” εγκομβωσασθε, means, put on as the exterior garment covering all the rest, or, as the fibula closely knotting together the other virtues; hence, it means to put on humility, as their chief habit or ornament. This applies to both pastors and people. The word, subordinate, or subject, is not found in either the Alexandrian or Vatican MS. “For God resisteth the proud,” &c. This sentence, quoted by St. James also (4:6), is taken, as to sense, from the Book of Proverbs (3:34). It is translated by St. Jerome from the Hebrew: “he shall scorn the scorners,” which is in substance the same as, “he shall resist the proud,” for, the “proud,” scorn and deride others, “and to the meek he will give grace,” in substance, the same as “he shall give grace to the humble;” for they are generally meek and forbearing.

1Pe 5:6 Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation:

Be ye, therefore, humbled under the powerful hand of God, that he, who gives his grace to the humble, may, after having copiously showered down upon you his graces, exalt you in the day when he shall come to judge the world, to separate the sheep from the goats:

With all humility, therefore, and fear, walk in the presence of God, whose powerful hand is raised to humble and depress the haughty. “That he may exalt you in the time of visitation;” that, after having bestowed on you here the gifts of grace in store for the humble, he may bestow on you hereafter the crown of everlasting glory, when he shall come to judge the world. The words, “of visitation,” are wanting in the Greek, which run thus: ἶνα ὑμας ὑψωση ἐν καιρῷ, that he may exalt you in the time, that is, in his own good time, or at a befitting opportunity. This entire passage is very like the passage of St. James (4:6 and 10).

1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you.

Casting aside all anxious care, and placing your trust in him; for, he has charge of you.

These words express the humiliation of ourselves, which the Apostle inculcates (verse 6), “under the mighty hand of God.” They involve the full resignation of ourselves and all our concerns into his adorable hands. They are perfectly similar to the words, Psalm 54:23, “Cast thy care upon the Lord and he will sustain thee,” and most probably, the Apostle quotes the words of the Psalmist. Of course, in this the Apostle prohibits neither the exercise of prudent foresight nor the employment of our active faculties, to bring about our ends. He only prescribes to us, after having done according to the rules of human prudence what in us lies, to leave the result of our undertakings in the hands of God, and to conform ourselves to his adorable will; for, he will dispose of us better than we could ourselves either divine or anticipate; even the crosses, trials, and privations, so opposed to our natural inclinations, are, in the gracious designs of his Providence, so many visitations of his mercy, weaning us from things of earth, and fixing our desires on things heavenly and eternal. We should, therefore, cast aside all undue anxiety in the several concerns of life, placing all our undertakings in the hands of God. “Oculi mei semper ad Dominum, quoniam ipse evellet de laqueo pedes meos.”—(Psalm 25)

1Pe 5:8 Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.

Be sober and temperate in the use of meat, drink, sleep, and the other comforts of life, and be also vigilant; for, the sworn enemy of your race, by whom sin was first introduced into this world, the devil, the calumniator of mankind, is always on the alert, going about, like a roaring, hungry lion, seeking for some object of prey.

“Be sober.” The Greek word for this, νηψατε, is rendered watch (4:7); it means either “to be sober” or “vigilant,” but here it must be rendered “be sober,” because the following word signifies only “to watch,” or “be vigilant.” “Be sober,” that is, “temperate in the use of meat,” &c., “and watch.” Vigilance is an accompaniment of sobriety, as drowsiness and sleep are of intemperance. Similar is the precept given (Luke, 21:34):—“Take heed to yourselves lest, perhaps, your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life.” Sobriety and vigilance are most indispensable for a soldier, while engaged in warfare and on guard, against the attacks of a wily and dangerous enemy. Such is the state of every Christian, during the whole course of his life. “Because your adversary,” the sworn enemy of man, by whom sin and death were first introduced into this world (“Satan,” or “accuser,” is the Hebrew word for “adversary.”) “The devil,” which means, calumniator; hence called (Apocalypse, 12) “the accuser of our brethren,” for, he always endeavours to make men enemies to God and render them deserving of accusation before him. “As a roaring lion,” the strongest and most furious animal in nature, “goeth about,” seeking for some weak point of attack, in order to avail himself of the weakness of our nature and of that passion in particular, to the gratification of which we are most prone; hence, commonly termed, our predominant passion. “Seeking whom he may devour.” When drowsy and sluggish from the effects of intemperance, we are most exposed to the attacks of this powerful and subtle enemy. Hence, the Church commences the concluding hour of the divine office, Complin, with the words of this verse, in order to remind her ministers of the necessity of temperance and vigilance, at the close of the day, for resisting the temptation of the devil. From this passage we may clearly see the great power of the devil, this prince of the “principalities and powers and spirits of wickedness in high places,” with whom we are constantly engaged in deadly conflict.—(Ephes. 6) Job assures us there is no power on earth equal to the devil: “There is no power on earth that can be compared with him, that was made to fear no one.”—(Job. 12:24).

1Pe 5:9 Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls, your brethren who are in the world.

Whom resist ye courageously, firmly grasping the shield of faith, bearing in mind that the same crosses that befall you are borne by your brethren all over the earth, who join you in filling up what is wanting in you to the sufferings of Christ.

“Whom resist ye, strong in faith.” In the panoply or full suit of spiritual armour, which St. Paul wishes the Christian warrior to put on, “faith” is marked out as the shield for resisting “all the fiery darts of the most wicked enemy.”—(Ephesians, 6:16). Here, St. Peter wishes the Christian warrior first to “resist” the enemy, and to do so firmly and bravely. “Strong in faith,” the Greek word, στερεοι, means, solid and fixed in faith, it may be allusive to a fortification, wherein they are protected; or, more likely, the idea is the same as that conveyed by St. Paul—“taking the shield of faith”—by which is meant the consideration of the truths of faith, the menaces and hopes which they propose to us. Under “faith,” is included the great confidence in God, which the consideration of the principles of faith is so calculated to inspire, and which will secure us against all our enemies. “If God be with us, whom shall we fear?” “Knowing that the same affliction” (in Greek, τα αυτα των παθηματων, the same afflictions) “befalls your brethren,” &c. Deriving consolation from the consideration, that in suffering, you are only conforming to the decrees of God’s providence, wishing that all his elect should enter heaven by the road of suffering; and hence, nothing peculiarly difficult in their case, all “their brethren who are in the world” are treated similarly.

1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you.

But God, the source and author of every good gift, who, out of his pure and gratuitous mercy, has called us through the merits of Jesus Christ, to a participation in his eternal glory, and has given so many pledges thereof by his grace, will himself bring you to consummate and perfect glory, and confirm and establish you unalterably in its eternal enjoyment, after you shall have borne comparatively light and trivial crosses, for a short time here below.

“But the God of all grace,” from whom proceed all gratuitous gifts, “who hath called us unto his eternal glory.” The Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. have, ὁ καλεσας ὑμας, called you. Among his gratuitous gifts is to be reckoned our call to a share in his eternal glory, of which he has given us an earnest in the manifold graces he bestows upon us, “in Christ Jesus.” This call, and the graces consequent on it, are all owing to the merits purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. “After you have suffered a little.” “A little,” probably refers both to the duration of their sufferings, “for that which is at present momentary and light,” &c. (2 Cor. 4:17), and the comparatively light nature of them. “The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come.”—(Rom. 8:18). “Will himself perfect, confirm, and establish you.” In some Greek copies the words are read optatively, thus: “may he perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you;” the sentence being thus composed of four members, instead of three, as in our version. But the Alexandrian and Vatican manuscripts, as also the Syriac version support the Vulgate reading. The words are nearly synonymous; and the idea derived from the material building is applied to the spiritual edifice of virtue and grace, which the Apostle here prays that God would perfect in them, unto the unchangeable state of glory.

1Pe 5:11 To him be glory and empire, for ever and ever. Amen.

To him is due all glory for his gifts, and all power over creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

“To him be glory and empire,” that is, all the glory of his gifts, and power over all his creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

1Pe 5:12 By Sylvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I think, I have written briefly: beseeching and testifying that this is the true grace of God, wherein you stand.

Sylvanus, a faithful brother, I have made the bearer of this Epistle, which I have written to you, I should think briefly, considering the interest and pleasure its perusal will afford you, imploring and exhorting you to perseverance, and bearing witness, that the grace of faith, in which you still have faithfully persevered, is the true grace of God leading to eternal life.

“By Sylvanus;” this is, most probably, Silas, the companion of St. Paul in preaching the gospel.—(Acts, 15:40). “A faithful brother unto you, as I think I have written briefly.” “Unto you,” according to the Greek, ὑμιν τον πιστον ἀδελφον, is joined with “faithful,” and means, who discharges a faithful ministry for you; but according to the Latin and Syriac copies, it is connected with “I have written.” Silas was the bearer of the Epistle from Rome to the East. “As I think,” i.e., faithful to you, as I think; or more probably, I have written to you this Epistle, I think, briefly, considering the matter so interesting to you, and your affectionate regard for myself. The Epistles of those we love are always considered brief, and never tiresome. “Beseeching;” the Greek word, παρακαλῶν, means also, exhorting you to perseverance in the faith, wherein you hold out, notwithstanding the pressure of persecution: and “testifying that this is the true grace of God.” As Apostle of God, I bear witness that the faith you received from us, and in which you still “stand,” is the true grace of God, which leads to eternal life.

1Pe 5:13 The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you. And so doth my son, Mark.

The assemblage of the faithful at Rome, elected to the same grace with you, salute you, and wish you the abundance of all temporal and spiritual blessings, and so does my son, Mark, whom I have spiritually begotten, or who serves me as a son.

“The Church that is in Babylon,” or the assemblage of the faithful, “elected together with you,” called to the same faith and hope in eternal glory, “saluteth you,” or wish you all blessings both temporal and spiritual. “In Babylon.” Meaning the City of Rome.—(Vide Introduction).

“And so doth my son, Mark.” He refers to St. Mark, the Evangelist, whom he afterwards sent to found the Church of Alexandria, A.D. 45. “My son;” either because he was spiritually begotten by him, and fully instructed in the faith (Baronius Annal. Anno Christi, 45); or because he served him in the work of the Gospel with the fidelity and affection of a son, as St. Paul says of Timothy (Philippians 2).

1Pe 5:14 Salute one another with a holy kiss. Grace be to all you who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Salute one another with a holy and chaste kiss. Grace and peace be to you all, who are incorporated with Christ Jesus, by your Christian profession.—Amen.

“With a holy kiss,” that is a chaste embrace. “Grace be to you all.” In Greek, ειρηνη, “peace be to you all.” There is scarcely any difference in sense. The Hebrews, by wishing a person peace, wished him all spiritual and temporal blessings, which we mean by “grace.” “Who are in Christ Jesus,” that is, Christians incorporated with him, and forming the body, of which he is the mystic head.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Peter 5:6-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of 1 Peter 5, followed by his notes on the reading (1 Pet 5:6-11). Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red are my addition.

ANALYSIS OF 1 PETER 5

In this chapter, the Apostle addresses himself to the pastors of the Church, and points out the mode in which they should tend the flocks committed to their care, and acquit themselves of their pastoral functions. They should, in tending their flocks, shun three vices directly at variance with their exalted calling; these are, firstly, the performance of their functions not cheerfully, but with restraint arising from the necessity they were under of procuring thereby the necessary means of support, so opposed to the cheerfulness which springs from viewing their flocks, according to God; secondly, the base vice of sordid avarice, so opposed to liberal and generous disinterestedness (1 Pet 5:2); and thirdly, domincering pride, so opposed to the example of humility, which every pastor is bound to give (1 Pet 5:3). By avoiding these vices and practising the opposite virtues, the pastors will merit to obtain, on the day of judgment, from Jesus Christ, the unfading crown of eternal life (1 Pet 5:4).

He next points out the reciprocal duties of the laity towards their pastors. They should be subject and obedient to them.

All, both pastors and people, should clothe themselves with humility, as their chief ornament (1 Pet 5:5). He tells them to humble themselves before God, in order that he may exalt them, by the effusion of the heavenly graces which he has in store, only for the humble—and, this humility they should manifest, by laying aside all anxious cares, and casting themselves on the Fatherly Providence of God (1 Pet 5:6-7). He, next, recommends them to practise the virtues of sobriety and vigilance—two virtues most necessary for a soldier on guard, in order to defeat the stratagems and assaults of a powerful and subtle foe, such as the devil, the sworn enemy of man, is. They should courageously resist him, by the unshaken firmness of their faith (1 Pet 5:8-9). He next promises them the powerful protection of God to guard them, and bring them to a happy end (1 Pet 5:10).

He closes the Epistle with informing them, that Silas is the bearer of this Epistle to them; they will thus be secured against the imposition often practised by false teachers, in substituting counterfeit Epistles. He ends with the usual salutation.

1Pe 5:6  Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation:

6. Be ye, therefore, humbled under the powerful hand of God, that he, who gives his grace to the humble, may, after having copiously showered down upon you his graces, exalt you in the day when he shall come to judge the world, to separate the sheep from the goats:

With all humility, therefore, and fear, walk in the presence of God, whose powerful hand is raised to humble and depress the haughty. “That he may exalt you in the time of visitation;” that, after having bestowed on you here the gifts of grace in store for the humble, he may bestow on you hereafter the crown of everlasting glory, when he shall come to judge the world. The words, “of visitation,” are wanting in the Greek, which run thus: ἶνα ὑμας ὑψωση ἐν καιρῷ (hina hymas hypsose en kairo), that he may exalt you in the time, that is, in his own good time, or at a befitting opportunity. This entire passage is very like the passage of St. James (4:6 and 10).

1Pe 5:7  Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you.

7. Casting aside all anxious care, and placing your trust in him; for, he has charge of you.

These words express the humiliation of ourselves, which the Apostle inculcates (verse 6), “under the mighty hand of God.” They involve the full resignation of ourselves and all our concerns into his adorable hands. They are perfectly similar to the words, Psalm 55:23, “Cast thy care upon the Lord and he will sustain thee,” and most probably, the Apostle quotes the words of the Psalmist. Of course, in this the Apostle prohibits neither the exercise of prudent foresight nor the employment of our active faculties, to bring about our ends. He only prescribes to us, after having done according to the rules of human prudence what in us lies, to leave the result of our undertakings in the hands of God, and to conform ourselves to his adorable will; for, he will dispose of us better than we could ourselves either divine or anticipate; even the crosses, trials, and privations, so opposed to our natural inclinations, are, in the gracious designs of his Providence, so many visitations of his mercy, weaning us from things of earth, and fixing our desires on things heavenly and eternal. We should, therefore, cast aside all undue anxiety in the several concerns of life, placing all our undertakings in the hands of God. “Oculi mei semper ad Dominum, quoniam ipse evellet de laqueo pedes meos.”—(My eyes are ever upon the Lord, for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare Psalm 25:15)

1Pe 5:8  Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.

8. Be sober and temperate in the use of meat, drink, sleep, and the other comforts of life, and be also vigilant; for, the sworn enemy of your race, by whom sin was first introduced into this world, the devil, the calumniator of mankind, is always on the alert, going about, like a roaring, hungry lion, seeking for some object of prey.

“Be sober.” The Greek word for this, νηψατε (nepsate), is rendered watch (4:7); it means either “to be sober” or “vigilant,” but here it must be rendered “be sober,” because the following word signifies only “to watch,” or “be vigilant.” “Be sober,” that is, “temperate in the use of meat,” &c., “and watch.” Vigilance is an accompaniment of sobriety, as drowsiness and sleep are of intemperance. Similar is the precept given (Luke, 21:34):—“Take heed to yourselves lest, perhaps, your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life.” Sobriety and vigilance are most indispensable for a soldier, while engaged in warfare and on guard, against the attacks of a wily and dangerous enemy. Such is the state of every Christian, during the whole course of his life. “Because your adversary,” the sworn enemy of man, by whom sin and death were first introduced into this world (“Satan,” or “accuser,” is the Hebrew word for “adversary.”) “The devil,” which means, calumniator; hence called (Rev 12) “the accuser of our brethren,” for, he always endeavours to make men enemies to God and render them deserving of accusation before him. “As a roaring lion,” the strongest and most furious animal in nature, “goeth about,” seeking for some weak point of attack, in order to avail himself of the weakness of our nature and of that passion in particular, to the gratification of which we are most prone; hence, commonly termed, our predominant passion. “Seeking whom he may devour.” When drowsy and sluggish from the effects of intemperance, we are most exposed to the attacks of this powerful and subtle enemy. Hence, the Church commences the concluding hour of the divine office, Compline, with the words of this verse, in order to remind her ministers of the necessity of temperance and vigilance, at the close of the day, for resisting the temptation of the devil. From this passage we may clearly see the great power of the devil, this prince of the “principalities and powers and spirits of wickedness in high places,” with whom we are constantly engaged in deadly conflict.—(Ephes. 6) Job assures us there is no power on earth equal to the devil: “There is no power on earth that can be compared with him, that was made to fear no one.”—(Job. 12:24).

1Pe 5:9  Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls, your brethren who are in the world.

9. Whom resist ye courageously, firmly grasping the shield of faith, bearing in mind that the same crosses that befall you are borne by your brethren all over the earth, who join you in filling up what is wanting in you to the sufferings of Christ.

“Whom resist ye, strong in faith.” In the panoply or full suit of spiritual armour, which St. Paul wishes the Christian warrior to put on, “faith” is marked out as the shield for resisting “all the fiery darts of the most wicked enemy.”—(Ephesians, 6:16). Here, St. Peter wishes the Christian warrior first to “resist” the enemy, and to do so firmly and bravely. “Strong in faith,” the Greek word, στερεοι, means, solid and fixed in faith, it may be allusive to a fortification, wherein they are protected; or, more likely, the idea is the same as that conveyed by St. Paul—“taking the shield of faith”—by which is meant the consideration of the truths of faith, the menaces and hopes which they propose to us. Under “faith,” is included the great confidence in God, which the consideration of the principles of faith is so calculated to inspire, and which will secure us against all our enemies. “If God be with us, whom shall we fear?” “Knowing that the same affliction” (in Greek, τα αυτα των παθηματων [ta auta ton pathematon] = the same afflictions) “befalls your brethren,” &c. Deriving consolation from the consideration, that in suffering, you are only conforming to the decrees of God’s providence, wishing that all his elect should enter heaven by the road of suffering; and hence, nothing peculiarly difficult in their case, all “their brethren who are in the world” are treated similarly.

1Pe 5:10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you.

10. But God, the source and author of every good gift, who, out of his pure and gratuitous mercy, has called us through the merits of Jesus Christ, to a participation in his eternal glory, and has given so many pledges thereof by his grace, will himself bring you to consummate and perfect glory, and confirm and establish you unalterably in its eternal enjoyment, after you shall have borne comparatively light and trivial crosses, for a short time here below.

“But the God of all grace,” from whom proceed all gratuitous gifts, “who hath called us unto his eternal glory.” The Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. have, ὁ καλεσας ὑμας (ho kalesas hymas), called you. Among his gratuitous gifts is to be reckoned our call to a share in his eternal glory, of which he has given us an earnest in the manifold graces he bestows upon us, “in Christ Jesus.” This call, and the graces consequent on it, are all owing to the merits purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. “After you have suffered a little.” “A little,” probably refers both to the duration of their sufferings, “for that which is at present momentary and light,” &c. (2 Cor. 4:17), and the comparatively light nature of them. “The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come.”—(Rom. 8:18). “Will himself perfect, confirm, and establish you.” In some Greek copies the words are read optatively (i.e., expressing desire), thus: “may he perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you;” the sentence being thus composed of four members, instead of three, as in our version. But the Alexandrian and Vatican manuscripts, as also the Syriac version support the Vulgate reading. The words are nearly synonymous; and the idea derived from the material building is applied to the spiritual edifice of virtue and grace, which the Apostle here prays that God would perfect in them, unto the unchangeable state of glory.

1Pe 5:11  To him be glory and empire, for ever and ever. Amen.

11. To him is due all glory for his gifts, and all power over creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

“To him be glory and empire,” that is, all the glory of his gifts, and power over all his creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, liturgy, Notes on 1 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My Notes on 1 Peter 5:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 21, 2012

1. So, then, I exhort the elders that are among you as a fellow elder, and as a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and as a partaker in the glory to be revealed.

So, then. What St Peter is about to communicate builds upon what he has previously written in 3:13-4:19. He began by focusing on the Christian’s conduct towards those outside the Church; they are called upon to Sanctify Christ in the heart by suffering and witnessing to outsiders and persecutors (1 Pet 3:13-17); this is how Christ came to his victory (1 Peter 3:18-22); willingness to suffer for the sake of Christ (at the hands of enemies of gospel morality) is victory over sin, and prepares for the judgment (1 Peter 4:1-6). In 1 Peter 4:7-11 he turns his attention towards how Christians are to conduct themselves with one another, and our reading today continues in that vein.

I exhort the elders…as a fellow elder. St Peter turns first to the elders (here to be understood as leaders, and not merely as referring to those who are “older”), for it is incumbent upon them to serve as models of how Christians ought to conduct themselves toward those without and within the Church. In describing himself as a fellow elder, St Peter connects the elders in some sense with his function as an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1), but also gives an example of humility which they too should show forth, not lording over others placed in their charge (see 1 Pet 5:3).

As a witness of Christ’s sufferings. The Greek μαρτυς (martus) is the word from which we get martyr. The word has a fairly wide range of meaning and would probably be better translated in this instance as one who has seen and testified. The recipients of the letter never saw Christ, it is through those who were chosen to testify that they have come to know and love Christ (1 Pet 1:8-12). For this reason it think the word μαρτυς (martus) here has prophetic connotations. Thus while the Apostle is showing humility by designating himself as a fellow elder, he is nonetheless reminding them of his authority, and the necessity of obedience to his message (1 Pet 1:13-16). Note the connection the Apostle draws between obedience, love towards others and the Gospel proclamation in 1 Peter 1:22:25, and recall the context of out current passage as outlined above, in the opening paragraph.

The theme of suffering in this letter is intense. The sufferings of Christ: 1 Pet 1:11; 1 Pet 1:19; 1 Pet 2:21-24; 1 Pet 3:18; 1 Pet 4:1. The sufferings of Christians: 1 Pet 1:6; 1 Pet 2:19; 1 Pet 3:14; 1 Pet 3:17; 1 Pet 4:1; 1 Pet 4:13; 1 Pet 4:16; 1 Pet 4:19. And St Peter was an example of suffering (Acts 5:17-42; Acts 12:2-5).

2. Watch over the little flock of God which is fixed among you, provide the lookout for it, not by constraint but willingly, according to God, and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness,

Watch over the little flock of God. Watch (ποιμανατε) and flock (ποιμνιον) are related in the Greek, coming from the word ποιμήν, a shepherd. Watch can also be translated as feed, or rule. My translation indicates that I see it as intended to parallel the phrase provide the lookout for it, i.e., oversee it. The underlying Greek word is  ἐπισκοπέω (episkopeō), also related to ποιμήν (a shepherd), it designates the act of watching with diligence. This word itself is related to ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos), which is translated into English as “bishop” and gives us the word episcopal.

Little flock. The Greek word ποίμνιον (poimnion) is diminutive, hence the translation “little flock”.

Which is fixed among you. The phrase translates the Greek preposition εν (en). Most translations read “among you” (Douay-Rheims, KJV, ASV); “In your midst” (NAB). I’m using its primary meaning, which comes close to translations such as the RSV: that is in your charge. My translation serves to highlight the function of leaders as providing stability to the church, as a shepherd does to his flock (John 10:12-13).

Provide the lookout for it. As already indicated, I see this phrase in parallel to the opening watch over (or shepherd) the little flock of God.

Not by constraint but willingly. The word ἀναγκαστῶς (anagkastōs = constraint) is found only here in the NT. The Greek word ἑκουσίως (hekousiōs = willingly) is almost as rare, occurring only here and in Heb 10:26.

According to God. Greek: κατα θεον = in God’s way; in a godly manner.  This phrase is not found in some MSS and is therefore missing from some modern translations (e.g., RSV). The phrase may be intended to recall the admonition St Peter gave earlier in the letter to all the recipients: As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy (1 Pet 1:14-16 RSV).

Not for sordid gain, but with eagerness. The Greek word αἰσχροκερδῶς (aischrokerdōs = sordid gain) is found only here in the NT. The word implies and eagerness for something of questionable worth. The word comes from the base αἰσχρός (aischros) and designates something venal, base, shameful, dirty (see Titus 1:11). St Peter contrasts this word with προθύμως (prothumōs = eagerness). The word basically means “to be forward in spirit” and, by implication, “to be of superior spirit”.  The prefix προ (pro = forward, superior) forms a nice contrast with the base of the word αἰσχροκερδῶς (sordid gain) which, as already indicated, refers to something venal, base, inferior.

3. Not lording it over the heritage entrusted to you, but acting as examples to the flock.

Not lording it over. The opening words call to mind our Lord’s words to the Apostles in Matt 20:25-26. Just as the prophets of old served not themselves but others, so too must the leaders (1 Pet 1:12), for they in their own way carry on a prophetic function. The verse calls to mind something St Peter wrote earlier: As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (1 Pet 4:10-11).

The heritage entrusted to you. The Greek word κληρων (heritage). God according to his great mercy has regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Unto an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled and that cannot fade, reserved in heaven for you (1 Pet 1:3-4). As leaders, the elders have been entrusted with overseeing this heritage which is from and of the Lord. Obviously this entails great responsibility and, therefore, an accounting at the judgement (Heb 13:17).

Acting as examples to the flock. Their example of acting willingly, according to God and not by constraint, etc., is here in mind (see the contrasts in verses 2-3).

4. And when the head shepherd is manifested, you shall be tendered a never fading crown of glory.

And when the head shepherd is manifested. The conjunction και (kai = and) provides a link with the previous verse. The crown the leaders will receive from the head shepherd is bound up with the injunction not to lord over the flock but to serve as example to it (verse 3). In Christianity, kingship, lordship, authority, leadership, etc., are all bound up with service to others (John 13:12-17Luke 22:24-27).

Manifested. The word also appears in 1 Peter 1:20, the context of which has numerous connections with chapter 5 (some have already been indicated in my notes).

You shall be tendered a never fading crown of glory. The word I’ve translated as tendered is in Greek κομιεισθε (to tend, take care of, provide for). While not completely synonymous with ποιμανατε (watch, feed, rule, tend) used in verse 2, it does have certain affinities with it. At the judgment God will provide for those who have provided for the flock; he will tend to those who have tended to their duty.

5. In similar fashion you who are younger should be subordinate to the elders. All of you, put on humility toward one another, For God resists the proud but bestows his grace on the humble.

In similar fashion. Just as those shepherds who have been placed over the flock are to be subject to the head shepherd (Christ), so too are the younger members of the community to be subject to the leaders.

All of you. This could be taken as a reference to all the non-leaders (elders), but what follows is against this. All are called to exhibit humility according to their state in life (see next paragraph).

put on humility. The Greek implies the act of clothing ones self with an apron such as slaves wore, this is an appropriate symbol inasmuch as the saint has, at the start of verse 5, told his readers to be subordinate to one another. That husbands and wives, slaves and masters, parents and children are to be subordinate to one another may sound contradictory, but obviously the saint means that we are to serve others according to our state in life and the gifts we have. The Greek word for humility is tapeinophrosyne which is a compound word. Tapeinos refers to something which stays close to the ground, while phren can refer to the heart or mind. The word conveys the idea of not being arrogant or self-seeking.

For God resists the proud but bestows his grace on the humble. Establishes the foundation for the call to subordination and humility (see James 4:6; also Prov 3:34). Recall that in the first half of verse 5 (not part of the liturgical text) Christians are told to be subordinate to one another. The Geek word used there is hupotasso, from the root tasso, the same root as resist here (antitassomai).

6. Be you humble therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in time.

Humility and the subordination/service it fosters will not be without its reward at the “time” (judgment). The one who is humble now will be exalted then, while the one who is proud now will be brought low, for God “resists (literally battles against) the proud. The thought reminds me of Isaiah 2:9-17 and Mary’s canticle in Luke 1:46-55.

7. Casting all your cares upon him, for he has care for you.

Notice how the second half of the verse provides motive for the imperative that opens it. But also notice that the previous verse also provides motive. There is intense irony in the phrase casting all your cares upon him because the Greek word translated “casting” implies something done carelessly. Because God cares for us, our cares should be seen as of no account. Recall the teaching from the Sermon on the Mount:

  • Mat 6:24-34  No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is to day, and to morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying: What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

8. Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.

The word for sober is nepho, which can mean either “be sober” or “be watchful” (for the latter usage see 2 Tim 4:5; 1 Pet 4:7). Perhaps the Apostle wants to be emphatic here, in which case we could translate “be vigilant and watch”, or, “watch and watch some more.” Precisely because the devil is seeking (see-king) our ruin is why we should keep watch (see the repeated appeals to watch, look out, take heed, in Mark’s end-time discourse, chapter 13).

9. Whom you must resist, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls, your brethren who are in the world.

Whom resist ye, The word for resist used here is different from-but synonymous with- the word for resist in verse 5. If God resists the proud, then we are called upon to resist the king of arrogance, Satan, who is our adversary (resistor).

strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. the strength of our resistance is faith, which is a shield against “all the fiery darts of the most wicked enemy” (Eph 6:16). The words resist and strong in this verse are derived from the same root in Greek. Our faith is our resistance. We should take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our struggle. We have brothers-in-arms.

10-11. But the God of all grace, who has called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and strengthen you, and establish you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen

God has freely called us to eternal life, but the call entails struggle and suffering on our part; if we remain strong in our resistance he will establish (Greek sterizo), confirm (sthenoo) and perfect (kataritzo) us. In various ways, all these verbs relate to “strong” and “resist” in verse 9.

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Bishop MacEvily on 1 Peter 1:10-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 26, 2012

Besides commentary, the Bishop provides a paraphrase of the text he is commenting on, and I’ve included these in purple text. Text in red, if any, represent my additions. For the Bishop’s summary of 1 Peter 1 see the post on 1 Peter 1:3-9.

1Pe 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and diligently searched, who prophesied of the grace to come in you.

After which salvation, now enjoyed by you, the prophets of old, ho had prophesied concerning the gracious benefits to be conferred in time upon you, ardently sighed and inquired, and anxiously examined its nature and multifarious details (Eph 3).

The Apostle shows the exalted nature and great value of the salvation, the faithful now enjoy, which is as a foretaste of future glory, by pointing to the eager longings of the prophets of old after it, and their anxiety to obtain a full knowledge of its nature. By referring to the prophets of old, he also shows that it was not a novel system, but such as the Jews themselves should expect.

“Of which salvation,” viz., of justification and grace, and the whole economy of redemption. The words are very like the passage (Eph 3:5-10, &c.), “have inquired and diligently searched.” The prophets of old anxiously inquired and sighed after the accomplishment of redemption. How often, from the gloomy prison of Limbo, did they send forth their sighs and entreaties, “rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem” (Isaiah 45::8), “Oh, that thou wouldst rend the heavens and wouldst come down” (Isaiah 64:1): similar is the allusion (Luke 10:24): “Many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them.”’

“And searched diligently.” The prophets were ignorant of many circumstances of man’s redemption, afterwards fully developed, and made known in the Church (Eph 3:5-10).

1Pe 1:11  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.

Searching and investigating at what particular period, or at what description of times, whether prosperous or otherwise, the Spirit of Christ, or the Holy Ghost, which dwelt in them, would point out, as the term of the accomplishment of these great events, while it inspired them to foretell the sufferings which Christ was to undergo, and the glories which were to be consequent on them.

“Searching what, or what manner of time,” that is, after how many years, or, at what kind of times, whether of national prosperity or adversity, “the spirit of Christ,” the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the Father and Son, “in them,” (the Greek has, which was in them), “did signify;” or, referred to, when, treating of the accomplishment of this event; “when it foretold,” i.e., previously inspired them with a knowledge to foretell. “The sufferings that are in Christ,” i.e., the sufferings which Christ was to undergo, “and the glories, which should follow.” He says, “glories,” owing to the many instances in which Christ, after his passion, received glory, (v.g.) in his Resurrection, Ascension, &c. As his glory was consequent on his sufferings, so must we too suffer with Christ, before we can enter with him on his glory.

1Pe 1:12  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.

To whom, in remuneration for their anxious search and eager longings it was revealed, that it was not for themselves, but for you, they were made instrumental in predicting these wonderful mysteries of grace, now clearly announced to you, by those who have preached the gospel to you as already fulfilled, after the Holy Ghost was sent down from heaven to  descend upon them, and teach them all truth; upon whom the angels themselves are anxious to gaze, and with mingled feelings of awe and astonishment, to contemplate in him those mysteries of grace, by appropriation, ascribed to him.

“To whom (the prophets of old) it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you, they ministered these things;” that it was not to confirm or strengthen their own faith, or that of their contemporaries, but to confirm your faith in after ages (for, the the things that happened in figure, were written for our admonition—1 Cor 10:6), they were employed in the ministry of predicting beforehand, “those things,” those mysteries of redemption and grace, “which are now declared to you,” announced to you as already accomplished “by them that preached the gospel to you,” by the Apostles, who preached in Pontus, Galatia, &c.  “The Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven; ” after the Holy Ghost descended upon them from heaven, on the day of Pentecost, teaching them all truth. The ordinary Greek has “in the Holy Ghost,” but the preposition, in, is not found in either the Alexandrian or Vatican MS. ” On whom the angels desire to look ;—”on whom” is referred by Venerable Bede, and others, to “Christ,” of whom mention is made in the preceding verse. Others refer it to the Holy Ghost, the word immediately preceding. In the Greek, instead of “on whom,” we have,  εις α, into which, referring to the mysteries of redemption and grace, which the angels are anxious to examine into most closely, in order to know them fully. And this will have the same signification with Eph 3:10. It will, moreover, contain a further commendation of the exalted benefits, conferred on the faithful, when we know that the angels themselves, with mingled feelings of admiration and awe, are anxious to search narrowly into them. The present Greek reading is preferred by Estius and others. The Greek word for “look,” παρακυψαι, which means, to stoop down, for the purpose of examining a thing more narrowly, also favours this reading. The meaning will not be very different, even though we adhere to the Vulgate reading, and understand it of the Holy Ghost; for, in him they would see the wonderful mysteries of grace, by appropriation, ascribed to the Third Person of the Adorable Trinity.—Lapide. From all this, we, who, as well as the faithful in the time of St. Peter, are sharers in the benefits of redemption, can clearly see the debt of gratitude we owe Almighty God, for having favoured us, in preference to millions of his creatures, upon whom, both in past and present generations, never has beamed a single ray of his revelation. It is the effect of his great mercy, “secundum magnam misericordiam  regeneravit  nos(A reference to the Father in 1 Pet 1:3~who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us).  “Misericordias Domini in eternum cantabo” (Psalm 89:1~The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever)

1Pe 1:13  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.

Such, therefore, being the exceeding, great value of the blessings and inheritance in store for you, you should, by the prefect subjugation of your passions, remove every obstacle to you onward march  towards your heavenly country, and with vigilance and sobriety, constantly and perseveringly hope for that grace of perfect happiness, which is to be brought to you at the coming of Jesus Christ to judgment.

The Apostle, in this verse, commences the moral part of the Epistle.

“Wherefore,” since the inheritance and the blessings reserved for you in heaven, of which you have here a foretaste and sure earnest, are so great, that the prophets sighed after them, and the very angels regard them with astonishment.

“Having the loins of your mind girt up.” These words contain an allusion to the custom among the ancients of girding their flowing robes, when preparing for any active feat, and “the loins of the mind” are taken metaphorically, to denote the passions of the soul; hence, the words mean, subjugating all their passions, and removing every obstacle, arising from the
concupiscible and irascible appetites, to the onward march towards their heavenly
country.

“Being sober;” the Greek word, νηφοντες, means also, being vigilant, as in
1 Timothy 3:2; both meanings are given in the Paraphrase.

“Trust perfectly in the grace, &c.” “Perfectly” may mean, perseveringly unto the end, or, trust with a hope, animated with charity and good works.

“In the grace,” the perfect salvation of soul and body, “which is offered.” The Greek, φερομενην, means, which is to be brought you “in the revelation,” &c., on the day of general judgment.

1Pe 1:14  As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance,

As obedient children of God, you should also comply with all the precepts of his law, and not live  any longer following the dictates of your carnal desires, or in exhibiting this in your external demeanour, as you did heretofore, while you lived in ignorance of Christ.

In order to gain the inheritance, they should not only repress the passions of the soul, but as obedient sons of their Father, who has this inheritance in store for them, they should obey all his precepts, and “not be fashioned.” The Greek word, συσχηματιζομενοι, means, putting on the external form and dress of a thing; similar is the idea conveyed (Eph 4:22). Hence, it means here, not to exhibit in their external actions and conduct, the workings of their corrupt passions and carnal desires; “former,” according to which they formerly lived; “of your ignorance,” before they were gifted with the true knowledge of Christ. These latter words apply to the Jewish, as well as to the Gentile converts. Hence, they furnish no argument that this Epistle was addressed principally to the latter.

1Pe 1:15  But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy:

But, following the example of the Holy One, who called you to faith and salvation, be you holy in all the actions of your life.

He encourages them to sanctity of life after the example of God, “him that called you, who is Holy.” God is such, by his very nature and essence.

“In all manner of conversation;” they should exhibit sanctity of life in all their actions, in all places, and in all circumstances of life.

1Pe 1:16  Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.

For, it is not a new, but an old precept, that commands you to imitate, as far as the weakness of human nature will permit, the sanctity of God: “Be you holy, “&c.–(Lev 11:44, &c; Lev 19:2; Lev 20:7).

“Because it is written: you shall be holy,” &c.—(Leviticus 11:44, and Lev 19:2 and Lev 20:7; Lev 21:8). Hence, the precept of being holy after the example of God—who is holy by essence—as far as our infirmity will permit, is not a new precept, having been enjoined of old, on the Jewish people. It is promulgated in the New Law, “be you perfect as your heavenly Father,” &c.—Matthew 5:48. The ordinary Greek, instead of, “you shall be holy,” has, γενεσθε, “be ye holy;” but, the Vulgate is the reading of the chief MSS.

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Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Peter 4:7-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 19, 2012

1Pe 4:7  But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore and watch in prayers.

Christ is ready to judge the living and the dead, to punish the wicked, and reward the patient suffering of the just, and that at no distant time; for the final end of all is fast approaching. In order, then, to be fully prepared for his coming, be prudent and circumspect, and be sober and vigilant for the due exercise of the important duty of prayer.

This verse may be connected with the preceding, thus: not only has the end of these men, to whom Christ preached in Limbo, and upon whom judgment has been already passed, come, but the end of us all, and the entire world, is fast approaching. It is, however, more commonly connected, as in Paraphrase.

“The end of all is at hand,” may refer to the near approach of the death of each individual, at which his judgment takes place, and his eternal doom sealed; or to the near approach of the day of judgment, the world being now in its last stage, hæc est hora novissima (1 John 2:18); in quos fines seculorum devenerunt (1 Cor 10:11); and the time that intervenes, be it ever so long, compared with eternity, is but as yesterday, which is past and gone.

“Be prudent, therefore,” that is, circumspect, in all your actions, observing that prudence of salvation, which is true wisdom with God. “And watch in
prayers.” The Greek word for “watch,” νηψατε, also means, be sober, in which signification it is taken (1 Tim 5:8). Watch and be sober for the exercise of prayer; for, the prayers of such as are given to intoxication are heavy, drowsy, and unacceptable to God. There is allusion in these words to the words of our Redeemer (Matthew 25:13, and Matthew 26:41).

1Pe 4:8  But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins.

Above all things, entertain for each other mutual unceasing feelings of charity, which nothing can interrupt; for, this charity covers the sins of the neighbor, be they ever so numerous, and obtains or merits the remission of our own.

“But before all things.” These words show the importance of charity, which is justly designated, the queen of virtues.

“Have a constant mutual charity among yourselves.” The word “constant” means, that their charity for one another should be persevering and uninterrupted.

“For charity covereth a multitude of sins.” These words are commonly understood to refer to the sins of our neighbour, and to the offences committed by him against us. These charity dictates to us to palliate and
excuse; for, “charity is patient, kind, beareth all things, endureth all things” (1 Cor 13); and hence, by dissembling and pardoning the sins of our neighbour, we most effectually secure the inestimable blessing of concord and peace. The Apostle appears to allude to the words (Proverbs 10:12), “hatred stirreth up strifes, and charity covereth all sins,” wherein reference is made to the sins of our neignbour. No doubt, the words will, even in this interpretation, indirectly include the sins of the man who exercises charity, by obtaining their remission, should there be question of mortal, or by
meriting the remission of venial sins, in a man already justified. Some interpreters say, there is direct reference to the sins of the man who exercises charity, and that this is proposed by the Apostle as a motive of reward for the cultivation of charitable feelings. Both interpretations are adopted in the Paraphrase.

1Pe 4:9  Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring,

Practice the virtue of hospitality by harboring in your houses and supporting your indigent Christian brethren, without murmuring at the inconvenience or expense which the laudable exercise of this virtue may entail upon you.

“Using hospitality one to another,” that is, towards such as require it. By “hospitality” is meant, the exercise of Christian charity in affording shelter, lodging and support to destitute Christian strangers. The practice of receiving Christian strangers into their houses was much recommended in the primitive Church, and was a very necessary exercise of Christian charity, owing to the want of accommodation at inns, and on account of the dangers, both to faith and morals, to which the recently converted would be exposed, by associating with infidels. Hence, the usage among the early churches of giving passports or “tesserœ hospitalitatis,” on showing which, a Christian was sure of a hospitable reception from his brethren of the faith. The Apostle here recommends the exercise of this virtue, “without murmuring,” either at the number or condition of the poor Christian strangers, to whom it might become necessary at times to afford accommodation.

1Pe 4:10  As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another: as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Let each one who has been endowed with any spiritual gift, emply and minister it with the same liberality with which it was bestowed on him by God,  for the service of his neighbour; all persons thus gifted should regard themselves merely as faithful stewards of the manifold grace and gifts of God, and dispense them accordingly.

He now instructs them in the proper exercise of the spiritual gifts and ministrations gratuitously conferred on them by God.

“Hath received grace.” By “grace,” as appears from the Greek word, χαρισμα, is meant, any gratuitous gift. These gifts were bestowed on them liberally and gratuitously for the good of others; and hence, they should be exercised in the same way (“as every man hath received,” &c.), gratuitously and liberally.

“As good stewards of the manifold grace of God,” they should recollect that they are merely dispensers of a deposit placed in their hands; they should, then, administer it according to the will of him from whom they received it, neither allowing it to remain idle, nor employing it for their own interest or selfish advantages.

The manifold grace of God ” (vide Rom 12:6).

1Pe 4:11  If any man speak, let him speak, as the words of God. If any minister, let him do it, as of the power which God administereth: that in all things God may be honoured through Jesus Christ: to whom is glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

If any one be endowed with the grace of the word; if he speak, whether to explain the mysteries of faith, and instruct in the Christian doctrine, or to console those under affliction, or to exercise the gift of tongues or interpretation, let him employ words perfectly in accordance with the truths of faith, without any admixture of error-if he exercise any spiritual ministration, whether in curing the sick, or administering the sacraments of the Church, let him, in the exercise of such ministry, display that zeal and fervour with which God inspires those engaged in his service; so that by the proper exercise of all these gifts and all your actions, God may be -honoured and glorified, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is due eternal honor and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

These gifts are reduced by the Apostle to two great divisions, viz., the gift of
the word and of action. This is conformable to the division made by St. Paul (Rom 12, and 1 Cor 12)

“If any one speak,” by which is meant: if any one is called to exercise in the Church the gift of wisdom, or knowledge, or prophecy, doctrine, exhortation, interpretation (vide Rom 12), “let him speak as the words of God,” that is, let him say nothing that is not perfectly in accordance with the truths of God, and worthy of the minister, through whom God speaks. The phrase, “as the words of God,” is perfectly similar to the words, “according to the rule of faith.”—(Rom 12:6).

“If any one minister,” that is, be gifted with the grace of action, if he exercise any spiritual ministry, whether in curing the sick; or, as probably the words refer to the duties of the early deacons, in administering the Holy Eucharist, or relieving the corporal wants and necessities.

“As of the power which God administereth,” that is, let him display that zeal and fortitude in overcoming difficulties which God supplies to those engaged in his service.

“That in all things,” in all our actions, no matter how apparently indifferent,
“God may be honoured.” This should be the great end of all our ministrations and actions, “through Jesus Christ,” since it is to his merits we are indebted for the grace through which our actions are rendered acceptable with God.

“To whom,” refers either to Jesus Christ or to God, “is glory and empire,” &.c.

Posted in Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 1 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Peter 5:1-4, 10-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 15, 2012

Note: This post includes the bishop’s analysis of all of chapter 5, followed by his commentary on verses 1-4. The text in purple which immediately follows the biblical passages he is commenting on are the bishop’s paraphrase. Text in red, if any, are my additional notes.

Analysis of 1 Peter 5~In this chapter, the Apostle addresses himself to the pastors of the Church, and points out the mode in which they should tend the flocks committed to their care, and acquit themselves of their pastoral functions. They should, in tending their flocks, shun three vices directly at variance with their exalted calling; these are, firstly, the performance of their functions not cheerfully, but with restraint arising from the necessity they were under of procuring thereby the necessaty means of support, so opposed to the cheerfulness which springs from viewing their flocks, according to God; secondly, the base vice of sordid avarice, so opposed to liberal and generous disinterestedness (2); and thirdly, domineering pride, so opposed to the example of humility, which every pastor is bound to give (3). By avoiding these vices and practising the opposite virtues, the pastors will merit to obtain, on the day of judgment, from Jesus Christ, the unfading crown of eternal life (4).

He next points out the reciprocal duties of the laity towards their pastors. They should be subject and obedient to them.

All, both pastors and people, should clothe themselves with humility, as their chief adornment (5). He tells them to humble themselves before God, in order that he may exalt them, by the effusion of the heavenly graces which he has in store,onlyfor the humble—and, this humility they should manifest, by laying aside all anxious cares, and casting themselves on the Fatherly Providence of God (6, 7). He, next, recommends them to practise the virtues of sobriety and vigilance—two virtues most necessary for a soldier on guard, in order to defeat the stratagems and assaults of a powerful and subtle foe, such as the devil, the sworn enemy of man, is. They should courageously resist him, by the unshaken firmness of their faith (8, 9). He next promises them the powerful protection of God to guard them, and bring them to a happy end (10).

He closes the Epistle with informing them, that Silas is the bearer of this Epistle to them; they will thus be secured against the imposition often practised by false teachers, in substituting counterfeit Epistles. He ends with the usual salutation.

1Pe 5:1  The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech who am myself also an ancient and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come:

Since, therefore, the just man will be saved only with great difficulty, and God’s judgment is to commence with his own house (see 1 Pet 4:17-18), I, who am myself a fellow-bishop and pastor, a witness also of the sufferings of Christ, to be a sharer in that glory to be revealed at a future day, implore and exhort the bishops and pastors who preside over you;

The ancients, therefore, that are among you.”  “Therefore,” is not in some
Greek copies. It is found in the Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. It may be connected with the foregoing, as in Paraphrase:—therefore, since judgment commences first with God’s house (1 Pet 4:17), and in a special manner with the pastors of God’s people, it is meet, they should prepare for this responsibility. “The ancients.” The Greek word, πρεσβυτερους, viewed according to etymology, means elderly men, or men advanced in years but since the word is employed in Scripture to designate offices and dignity rather than age (the signification which the word bears here, as is clear from verses 2 and 4), the office has been expressed in the Paraphrase, bishops and pastors, or priests of the first order; for to them alone, strictly speaking, could be applied the words (verse 2), “feed the flock,” &c., in the fullest and most exalted sense. Of course, the admonition contained here applies also to the priests of the second order, charged with the care of souls. That the Greek word for “ancients,” includes not only priests of the second order, but of the first order, or bishops also, is clear from Epistle to Titus (Tit 1:. 5, 7). ‘”That are among you,” that is, that preside over you. “I beseech.” Ihe Greek word, παρακαλω), means also, I exhort. “Who
am myself also an ancient.” The Greek word, συμπρεσβυτερος, means, who am a co-presbyter; or, fellow-bishop; the word expresses the Episcopal office. Although, as Prince of the Apostles, he might call himself, chief of bishops; still, from a feeling of humility, he places himself on an equality with them. The same feeling of humility is observable in all the documents addressed by St. Peter’s successors, the Sovereign Pontiffs, to the other bishops, during the different ages of the Church: Servus Servorum Dei, (Servant of the Servants of God) they take as their ordinary title. “And a witness of the sufferings of Christ,” may mean (as in Paraphrase), that he witnessed all that Christ endured, both through life and in his sacred passion—or, a witness or martyr (by my sufferings), to the sufferings of Christ, and to the faith founded thereon. This latter mterpretation is grounded on the signification of  “witness,” in Greek, martyr. They were called martyrs, who, by their own sufferings, bore the sincerest testimony to the truth of the Christian faith. The antithesis which exists between this and the following member of the sentence, renders this latter interpretation very probable; the Apostle, by referring to his own sufferings, wishes to animate his brethren to the faithful discharge of their pastoral fuuctions, notwithstanding the violence of persecution.  “And also a partner of that glory,” &c. This may express merely a strong Christian hope, or it may be the result of some revelation with which God had favoured him. (It may be an allusion to the transfiguration, see 2 Pet 1:16-18).

1Pe 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre’s sake but voluntarily:

Feed, with the wholesome pastures of spiritual knowledge, with the heavenly graces imparted through the sacraments, the flock of God, over whom you have charge, superintending and caring it, not from feelings of co-action, as if force thereunto by the mercenary motive of securing the necessary means of support; but with cheerfulness, regarding it according to the will of God, which is, to promote its spiritual good, and in view of a spiritual reward–not with the sordid view of acquiring thereby wretched pelf, more enlarged incomes, but with feelings of generous and cheerful disinterestedness.

‘Feed the flock of God.” They are charged with the flock of another, to whom they shall render an account of their stewardship. “Feed,” ποιμανατε. This word is employed to signify, govern, direct, &c. It expresses a charge analogous to that which shepherds have over their flocks.  “Which is among you,” or which is given in charge to you; each one is responsible for that portion ot God’s flock, confided to his care.  “Taking care of it.” The Greek word, επισκοπουντες, literally means, Episcopizing, or superintending it; it expresses the vigilant care, which a pastor of souls should use, in guarding and tending his flock.  “Not by constraint,” from the necessity you are under of doing so in order to acquire a livelihood, while you would otherwise neglect them; “but willingly, according to God.” The words “according to God,” are not in the Greek. They are found in the Alexandrian MS. They explain more fully what the word, “willingly,” means, viz., with that cheerfulness which the consideration of the exalted nature of your functions, viewed according to God and his holy will—and that is, that we should advance the spiritual interests of souls, with a view to a spiritual reward—is apt to engender.  “Not for filthy lucre sake,” that is, from motives of sordid avarice, a vice so disgraceful in a pastor of souls; the effect of which is to harden his heart, to inspire him with low, grovelling ideas, to make him prostitute the most exalted mysteries of his sacred calling to the gratification of this wretched and unmeaning passion, and even at the awful moment of death, to blind him against the terrors of approaching judgment. “But voluntarily,” from feelings of liberal and generous disinterestedness. Detachment from early treasures should be a distinguishing characteristic of him, who, at his first step mto the sanctuary, takes God for his inheritance. “Dominus pars hereditatis mea et calicis mei, &c.,” are the words of the Cleric on his first entrance into the sanctuary. (The Latin translate as The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup. See Psalm 16:5)

1Pe 5:3  Neither as lording it over the clergy but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart.

Neither acting as persons lording it over the flocks specially entrusted to each; but exhibiting yourselves as patterns and models to them in all sincerity and truth, and with a view of advancing their spiritual interests.

Neither as lording it over the clergy.” By “clergy,” are meant, according to some, the subordinate ministers of religion, subject to the bishop. The Greek word, however, των κληρων, lot or inheritance, renders the opinion which understands it of the particular congregations which fell to the lot of each pastor to superintend, by far the more probable interpretation. In it is contained an allusion to the usage observed among the Jews of old, of receiving by lot their different inheritances. Hence, the word, clergy, is generally applied to the sacred ministers who are especially the inheritance of the Lord.  “A pattern” (in Greek τυποι, types or patterns) “of the flock;” these latter words show that it is to the flock, the word “clergy” refers here.  “From the heart,” is not found in the Greek. It means, not by a false, hypocritical show of virtues; but by an exhibition of real, genuine virtues, or from a sincere regard for their spiritual welfare and the glory of God.

1Pe 5:4  And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.

And when the prince of pastors, Jesus Christ, by whom both pastors and people were purchased, shall appear, to pass sentence on all mankind, you shall receive an unfading, ever-blooming crown of glory–or, the glorious crown of eternal life.

And when the prince of pastors,” Jesus Christ, to whom belong pastors and
people, purchased by his blood, “shall appear,” come in his glory to judge the world, to reward and punish, according to man’s deserts, “you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.”  A crown, the reward of merit, “never-fading,” αμαραντινον, the amaranth, a flower so called, because it never fades, is employed as an image of heavenly bliss, unlike the crown given to the victors in the Grecian games, made of bay, laurel, &c., this shall always remain the same, ever-blooming and unfading (see 1 Cor 9:24-27). Such is the reward which the Apostle wishes the ministers of the gospel ever to keep in view in the discharge of the arduous and exalted functions of their sacred ofhce. It is disputed whether the “crown of glory” regards the essaitial happiness of the blessed, the “corona justitice” which St. Paul expected (2 Tim 4:8), or, the aureola, or accidental reward, which in heaven is reserved for the Doctors, who, after instructing many unto justice, ”shall shine as stars for ever.”’—(Daniel). In the preceding passage, can be seen how strongly the Apostle enjoins on pastors the avoidance of three vices, so much at variance with the pastoral state, viz., performing their spiritual functions solely with the view of avoiding poverty; avarice (verse 2), and pride (verse 3); or, it should rather have been said, that he points out the vicious ends and motives that destroy the good effects of the pastoral ministry.

1Pe 5:10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you.

But God, the source and author of every good gift, who, out of his pure and gratuitous mercy, has called us through the merits of Jesus Christ, to a participation in his eternal glory, and has given so many pledges thereof by his grace, will himself bring you to consummate and perfect glory, and confirm and establish you unalterably in its eternal enjoyment, after you shall have borne comparatively light and trivial crosses, for a short time here below.

But the God of all grace,” from whom proceed all gratuitous gifts, “who hath called us unto his eternal glory.” The Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. have, ο καλεσας υμας, called you. Among his gratuitous gifts is to be reckoned our call to a share in his eternal glory, of which he has given us an earnest in the manifold graces he bestows upon us, “in Christ Jesus.” This call, and the graces consequent on it, are allowing to the merits purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  “After you have suffered a little.” “A little,” probably refers both to the duration of their sufferings, “for that which is at present momentary and light,” &c. (2 Cor 4:17), and the comparatively light nature of them. ” The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come.”—(Rom 8:18). “Will himself perfect, confirm, and establish you.” In some Greek copies the words are read optatively, thus: “may he perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you;” the sentence being thus composed of four members, instead of three, as in our version. But the Alexandrian and Vatican manuscripts, as also the Syriac version support the Vulgate reading. The words are nearly synonymous; and the idea derived from the material building is applied to the spiritual edifice of virtue and grace, which the Apostle here prays that God would perfect in them, unto the unchangeable state of glory.

1Pe 5:11  To him be glory and empire, for ever and ever. Amen.

To him is due all glory for his gifts, and all power over creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

“To him be glory and empire.” That is, all the glory of his gifts, and power over all his creatures, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Peter 2:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 13, 2012

I’ve included the Bishop’s brief summary of chapter 2 in this post. In addition, I’ve also included (in purple text) his paraphrasing of the verses he is commenting on.

A Summary of 1 Peter 2~In this chapter, the Apostle, alluding to the spiritual regeneration (1-23), by which the faithful contracted towards one another the relation of spiritual brotherhood, calls upon them to lay aside the vices opposed to the exercise of fraternal charity (1), and as they had lately received a new spiritual existence, to continue to covet the milk of the divine word (2), the sweets of which they already experienced (3).

He, in the next place, views them under a different respect, as living stones of the spiritual edifice, of which Christ was the chief corner-stone; and that he was the corner-stone of his Church, the Apostle proves from Isaias (4-7). He shows, that while to the believers Christ is a source of glory and honour, by their incorporation with him, to the unbelievers, he is the occasion of ruin (7, 8).

He applies to the Christian converts, the exalted titles bestowed by God on his chosen people of old (9), and shows the magnitude of the blessings bestowed on them, by contrasting their present benefits, with their former deplorable condition (10). He encourages them to subdue their passions, and to edify, by their good works, the unconverted Gentiles (11, 12).

He inculcates the duty of subjection to temporal rulers, whether exercising supreme or subordinate authority, as both derive it from God (13, 14), and he enjoins this duty on the ground, that God wills it so. He also tells them not to make the liberty, into which Christ asserted them, the pretext of insubordination, and of unrestrained licentiousness, (15, 16).

He, then, descending to domestic obedience, enjoins on servants, the duty of obedience to their masters, even to such as are unkind (11). He encourages them, to suffer wrongs patiently after the example of Christ, he shows the great merit of such patience (19-24), and points out the great blessing of redemption through Christ (25).

Notes~

1Pe 2:1  Wherefore laying away all malice and all guile and dissimulations and envies and all detractions,

As, then, you have received a new spiritual regeneration (1:23), having divested yourselves of the vices and evil inclinations, opposed to fraternal charity, that is to say, the deliberate desire of injuring one another, every deceitful design of inflicting on your neighbour a private injury, all feelings of dissimulation and hypocrisy, all feelings of envy at our neighbour’s prosperity, all attempts at slandering his reputation.

“Wherefore,” has reference to 1 Pet 1:23, where it is said, the converted Jews and Gentiles received a new spiritual birth, whereby they contracted the relation of a spiritual brotherhood towards each other. The Apostle now exhorts them to lay aside the vices and wicked passions, opposed to the exercise of fraternal charity.

“Laying away;” these words probably contain an allusion to their laying aside their clothes at baptism, which was an emblem of their putting away the sinfulness of their corrupt nature.

“Guile,” a deceitful design of circumventing and injuring our neighbour. “Dissimulations,” showing in our actions, the opposite feelings of those which we actually entertain. The vices here enumerated are quite opposed to the simplicity of that spiritual infancy, upon which they have just entered.

1Pe 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation:

Like newly born babes, on whom has been lately conferred the new birth of grace, eagerly long for, and imbibe the spiritual and intellectual milk of divine truth, free from every corrupt admixture of error, so that it may strengthen and nourish you, until you shall have arrived at the full vigour and maturity of spiritual manhood, in the life to come.

“As new born babes,” i.e., as persons, who have just received the spiritual life of grace, “desire the rational milk.” By “milk,” is commonly understood the doctrine of Christ whether it regard faith or moral duties, and this he calls “rational,” that is, spiritual or intellectual, to show that he is not referring to material milk. The word “rational,” (in Greek, το λογικον), is employed in this sense by St. Paul (Rom 12),  rationabile obsequium vestrum, which the Greek, αδολον γαλα, shows to be connected with the word “milk.” It is also termed “without guile,” unadulterated by the admixture of false and erroneous doctrine. The Jewish converts, in particular, were anxious to add to the Gospel truth certain false tenets respecting the necessity of the ceremonial law of Moses. “That thereby you may grow unto salvation,” that, owing to the vigour imparted to you by this spiritual milk of God’s holy word, you may arrive at the consummation of spiritual manhood, which is accomplished in the life to come.

Query.—How reconcile this with St. Paul (1 Cor 3), where he says that not milk but solid food is the nourishment of those who are well instructed in the faith?

Answer.—There is no opposition between both Apostles. The word “milk,” in this passage, is contrasted with their former carnal mode of living, and not with the solid food, referred to by St. Paul. It may be, also, said in reply, that, during our term here below, we are in a kind of spiritual infancy; in a certain sense, all the doctrines of Christ are milk, accommodated to our present condition, contrasted with the life to come. The words, “unto salvation,” are wanting in many Greek copies. They are, however, admitted to be genuine by critics, on the authority of the chief manuscripts.

1Pe 2:3  If so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet.

Continue to imbibe this spiritual milk, since,  indeed, you have already tasted in baptism the sweetness of those graces and consolations, which the Lord Jesus has benignly bestowed upon you.

“If so be you have tasted,” &c. The word “if” may be taken conditionally, thus: If, however, you have tasted, &c. (as I know you have). It is better, however, to understand it to mean, since, a meaning warranted by the Greek, ειπερ, as if he said, since, indeed, you have tasted, how sweet the Lord is. In the Vatican MS it is ει not, ειπερ. The Apostle here alludes to Psalm 34: gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus (“O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet”). For “sweet,” the Hebrew word in the Psalm is, good, and in the Greek, as here, benign,  χρηστος. By some, this verse is understood of the participation of the Holy Eucharist, which in the early ages was received after baptism. The words are employed by the Apostle to imply, that as children, after tasting of their mother’s milk, become fonder of it, so ought the Christian converts desire more and more, that wholesome milk of God’s holy word, the sweets and consolations of which they have already experienced.

1Pe 2:4  Unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men but chosen and made honourable by God:

Unto whom approaching by a conformity of life, as unto a living stone, whereon is built the sacred  edifice of the Church, and whereby is also communicated a spiritual life to the parts that form the superstructure; a stone, rejected as valueless, by men; but, chosen by God as the foundation of his Church, and honoured by him in his Resurrection, Ascension, and the other mysteries of his glory.

After having regarded the Christian converts under the relation of spiritual children, who should continue to partake, during life, of the pure and nutritious food of Christian doctrine, the Apostle views them under a different respect viz., as living stones of the spiritual edifice of the Church, the great foundation and corner-stone of which was Christ. He it is, that continually imparts life and animation to the different parts of this spiritual edifice; and they should continue to approach him by good works and charity, after having been incorporated with him in baptism. “Unto whom coming,” by good works and charity, “as to a living stone-”living,” because he imparts life to all the other parts of the spiritual edifice. These words, “living stone,” show that the Apostle is here employing metaphorical language—”rejected by men,”—”His own received him not.”—(John 1:11). They would not have “this man to reign over them.” (Luke 19:14). There is an allusion in the Text to (Psalm 118:22), “the stone which the builders rejected” &c.  “But chosen by God,” as select and excellent, to become the foundation of his Church, “and honourable by God.” Honoured in his Resurrection, Ascension, in the glorious and adorable name of Jesus, &c. The Apostle, addressing the Jewish Christians, borrows his images from the temple and its service; hence, he represents Christ as the corner-stone of the edifice, and the faithful were to lead the life of grace, as its living, component parts.

1Pe 2:5  Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

You, also, as living stones, to whom he imparted the life of grace, are built up to form the spiritual edifice of his Church.  You are, likewise, in a certain sense, an assemblage of holy priests ; inasmuch, as you are constituted to offer up the spiritual sacrifices of good works, rendered acceptable to God through the merits of Jesus Christ.

“Be you also as living stones;”  “living,” through the life of grace, which Christ has imparted to you; the word “living” is also employed to show more clearly the metaphor, and to admonish them to promote, by good works, the advancement of the mystic edifice.  “Be you built up;” the Greek word, οικοδομεισθε, admits of being rendered in the indicative mood also, you are built up; and, this latter is the more probable construction; for the Apostle, has principally in view here, to point out the dignity to which Christians are raised by their connection with Christ; “a spiritual house,” the faithful are built up, and from the superstructure of the spiritual and mystical edifice of the Church.

Objection.-Is not the Church, then invisible?

Answer.—By no means. The word “spiritual,” is not opposed to visible, but to a material house, such as the temple of Solomon. Hence, it means mystical, as typified in the Old Testament, by the material temple of Solomon and the Tabernacle; but, this, by no means, implies, thar the thing typified is invisible; for, the men who constitute the living stones of this edifice surely are visible, and so must the house which they compose.

1Pe 2:6  Wherefore it is said in the scripture: Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious. And he that shall believe in him shall not be confounded.

It is good to point out to us, that Christ is the living foundation of his Church, that the following words are contained in the sacred Scripture (Isaiah 28): Behold I place in Sion-in which was contained the palace of David, and, was a type of the Church, wherein Christ reigns—a chief corner-stone, whereby the entire edifice is bound together, propped up and supported; chosen for this, in preference to every other, and “precious,” owing to the infinite dignity of his person, in which are united the divine and human natures. Whosoever shall believe, and place his trust in him, will not be confounded in his expectation.

“Wherefore, it is said in the Scripture,” In Greek,  περιεχει εν τη γραφη, ”it is contained in Scripture”—(Isaiah 28:16). The Apostle quotes the passage, with some transposition of the words. He expresses the sense, however, both of the Hebrew and Septuagint. He proves, from the prophet, that Christ was made the living foundation of his Church.  “Behold I will place in (Mount) Sion”—a type of the Christian Church—”a chief corner stone,” because, he supports the edifice; and, by a Hebrew idiom, the rulers and governors are called the corners or angles of the people, as being their chief props of support.—(Judges, 21:1; 1 Sam 14; Isaias, 19.) Christ might be called the “corner-stone,” because he connects and unites in one, the two walls of Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:14-21); ”elect,” for, in no other name can salvation be found; “and precious,” and most highly honoured, since, “in His name every knee in heaven, &c., must bow.” (Philip 2:10).  “And he that shall believe in him shall not be confounded.” The Apostle quotes from the Septuagint version. In the Hebrew, instead of “shall not be confounded,” we have “let him not hasten.” The sense, however, is the same, for, the word ”hasten,” expresses the hurry and trepidation, consequent on confusion or disappointment in one’s expectation; hence, the words mean, he need not be in that hurried anxiety into which those are thrown, who dread disappointment in any important concern (see Rom 9:33).

1Pe 2:7  To you therefore that believe, he is honour: but to them that believe not, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner:

To you, therefore, that believe in him, will belong the special privilege of not being confounded in your hopes; or, to you, who by faith are incorporated with him, will belong, a share and participation in the honour conferred on him; but to those who refuse to believe in him, this same stone, which the builders rejected, shall, in despite of their efforts and machinations against him, become “the head of the comer,” by being vested with supreme, legal, and judicial authority, so as to punish and destroy them.

“To you, therefore, that believe, he is honour.” The word “honour” may refer either to the last part of the preceding verse, “shall not be confounded,” or, to “precious,” that is, honourable. This “corner-stone” is honourable and precious. To you, therefore, who as living stones, are constructed as a part of the spiritual edifice on him, and incorporated with Him, shall be given a share in the honour and preciousness, which belongs to him.—(See Paraphrase above). The Apostle wishes to show the glory of the believers, and the greatness of the benefits conferred on them, by being incorporated with Christ, and this he does the more clearly, by contrasting their advantages with the evils, in which the unbelievers are involved, “But to them, that believe not;” “The stone which the builders rejected;” by “builders” are meant the Scribes and Pharisees, who under pretext of zeal for their religion, rejected Christ, and persecuted him unto death, this stone is “made for them, the head of the corner,” that is. He who is represented by this stone, is vested with supreme authority, to punish and destroy them. The words are taken from Psalm 118:21.

1Pe 2:8  And a stone of stumbling and a rock of scandal, to them who stumble at the word, neither do believe, whereunto also they are set.

And he shall become a stone of offence, which shall cause them to fall, and a rock of scandal, against which they shall be dashed, who stumble against his word, and refuse to obey; into this blindness and incredulity, they are permitted by God to fall, in punishment of their sins, and their resistance to divine grace.

In the first words of this verse, there is an allusion to Isaiah (8:14). The words “stone of stumbling, and rock of scandal,” probably mean the same thing, which is repeated, for the sake of emphasis, in two different forms of expression; “who stumble at the word,” that is, who make it the occasion of sin and unbelief; “neither do believe,” they stumble against his word, by their positive incredulity and unbelief.  “Whereunto also they are set.” Some Commentators understand these words to mean, that they were set, and appointed by God to believe this word, which, through incredulity, they rejected. Looking, however, to the construction in the Greek, where, for
“neither do believe,” we have but one word, απειθουντες, disbelieving; the most probable construction seems to be that given in the Paraphrase. “Whereunto,” i.e., into which unbehef they are permitted by God to fall in punishment of their sins. There is nothing in this, which is not perfectly warranted by the sacred Scripture. “God delivered them up to a reprobate sense.”—(Rom 1:28; 2 Thessa 2:10). On which passages, (see Commentary.)

1Pe 2:9  But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

But you are, in a still more exalted sense than were the Jewish people of old, a chosen generation, peculiarly selected by God as his chosen people—a kingly priesthood, in whom are united the exalted dignities of kings and priests at the same time—a holy nation called to interior sanctity, and rendered such, by the plentiful effusion of heavenly and sanctifying grace—a purchased people, whom your Lord has rescued and redeemed by the effusion of his blood, and asserted into liberty, thereby making you his own peculiar possession, in order that you may announce, and loudly proclaim the wonderful attributes and perfections of him who called you forth from the darkness of vice and ignorance, in which you were involved, into the light of faith, which reveals to you the admirable truths and mysteries of his gospel.

The Apostle now reckons up the glorious titles and prerogatives conferred by God on the faithful. These several titles were originally bestowed on his chosen people, the Jews, but, as “all things happened unto them in figure” (1 Cor 10), hence, the Apostle applies, in a still more exalted sense, the same glorious titles to spiritual Israel, the children of the promise called in Isaac. “You are a chosen generation,” which according to some, is taken from Isaiah (43:20), “my people, my chosen,” also from Deuteronomy 4; 8;  10; 14.), and elsewhere; “a kingly priesthood,” from Exodus (19:6), where it is written, “a priestly kingdom.”  The Apostle, however, here quotes, according to the Septuagint version. The words mean that they are priests and kings at the same time. This meaning is also conveyed (Rev 1:6).

“A holy nation,” from Deuteronomy 7:6, “because thou art a holy people to the Lord thy God.” Also (Exodus 19:6). They are called a “holy nation” in the same sense, in which the Church is termed holy, viz., in her doctrine, sacraments, founder, and many members, in the abundant means of sanctity, and the plentiful effusion of sanctifying grace; all Christians are called to the state and practice of sanctity; “a purchased people,” that is, a people asserted into liberty, and fully ransomed, so as to become peculiarly his (Exodus 19:6), “you shall be my peculiar possession above all people;” also, Deuteronomy7:6.  “That you may declare his virtues;” by “virtues,” as appears from the Greek, τας αρετας, are meant, his attributes and perfections, his power, his goodness, mercy, &c. There is allusion made to the canticle, which the Jewish people sang, proclaiming God’s perfections after their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, when they crossed the Red Sea.  “Who hath called you out of darkness,” that is, the darkness of sin and ignorance, in which the Jews, as well as the Gentiles, were involved (Isaiah 60), “surge, illuminare Jerusalem” (Matthew 4), “populus qui sedebat in tenebris, vidit lucent magnam.”  “Into his marvellous light,” the light of faith, which proposed to their view, the marvellous mysteries of God’s designs upon man, and the whole economy of man’s redemption.

1Pe 2:10  Who in times past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy: but now have obtained mercy.

You can estimate the magnitude of God’s favors to you, by considering your former wretched condition, and comparing it with the present. You, who were  not his people, while following the bent of your passions, are now become the people of God, by the obedience of faith and love, and you who had not obtained mercy, while involved in the darkness of ignorance and servitude of sin, have now obtained mercy, by being called to the bosom of his Church.

The Apostle places in a clear light the magnitude of God’s benefits towards them, by reminding them of their former wretched condition—”Who in time past, were not a people,” &c. This quotation is taken from the Prophet Osee (i.e., Hosea 2:23-24), and it is quoted by St. Paul (Rom 9) to prove the vocation of the Gentiles to the faith. This, he shows, by taking the text in its mystical sense; for, in its literal signification, it refers to the deliverance of the Jews from the kings of Syria, after they turned aside, to the worship of the false gods. From this passage, some Expositors derive an argument in favour of the opinion, that this Epistle was addressed to the Gentile converts. All, however, that would follow at most from this and other such passages is, that the Epistle was addressed to Jews and Gentiles indiscriminately, and that some parts of it primarily regard the Gentile converts; and others, the Jews. Nor, would that necessarily follow, because, passages, like that from Osee (Hosea) might refer to both Jews and Gentiles; to the former, in its literal, and to the latter, in its mystical sense, and St. Peter here applies it in a far more exalted meaning to the Jews, to whom it was originally addressed. (In 2:12 He addresses the Jews directly.) This is the opinion of St. Jerome on Osee (Hosea), or, we might say, that “the children of Juda, and the children of Israel, who were to be gathered together,” (Osee [Hosea] 1:11), represented, respectively— the former, the Jewish converts; the latter, the Gentiles; and that the text here taken from Osee (Hosea 2:23), includes both; St. Paul applies it to the Gentiles, and St. Peter here applies it to the Jews converted to the faith. Hence, no proof that this Epistle was addressed to the Gentile converts.

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Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Peter 3:18-22

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 22, 2012

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 3 follwed by his commentary on the reading. The Bishop included a paraphrase of the text he was commenting on and these have been reproduced here in purple text.

Analysis:  In the preceding chapter the Apostle had been inculcating the duty of political subjection, on the part of the governed, to their rulers, and the domestic subjection of servants to their masters, from which he digressed at verse 18, to treat of the benefits of redemption. In this, he resumes the subject with reference to another species of subjection, somewhat different from the preceding, viz., that which is due by wives to their husbands ; and he inculcates this duty, by pointing out the advantages its observance might confer on the husbands, in case they should have continued to be unbelievers (verses 1, 2).  H next shows, in what manner women should adorn themselves, viz., by attending more to the decoration of their souls than of their persons (3, 4). He inculcates the same duty of subjection, by the examples of the wives of the patriarchs of old, and particularly by that of Sara (5, 6).

He then enjoins on husbands the faithful observance of the reciprocal duties of more abundant attention and respect, which they owe their wives.

He briefly and summarily enjoins on all, the exercise of charity and compassion for one another (8). He prohibits retaliation for injuries, whether in word or deed (9); and proves from the Psalms, that in order to be heirs to their destined benediction, they must return blessing for cursing, avoid evil, and do good (10-12). He shows that if they are zealous in the practice of good works, unjust persecutions will not only be ultimately harmless (13), but will procure a special benediction for them (14). He exhorts them to fear God only, and to be prepared with some satisfactory answer when questioned, in due circumstances, respecting their faith. He encourages then to suffer patiently for justice sake; since, in doing so, they conform to God’s will (17); and moreover, by so doing, they perfectly conform to the example of Christ, who also suffered unjustly, even death, for our sins; he shows, for their consolation, the efficacy and good effects of the unjust suffering of Christ, both in reference to himself, who was raised to a glorious and immortal life, enlivened in the spirit” (18), and with reference to his creatures, whether we regard past generations—and among them the most signal instance of the great efficacy of his merits was the salvation of the Antediluvians; to whom he went a d preached during the interval between his death and resurrection, in the prison of Limibo, the glad tidings of their approaching admittance into glory (19, 20)—or, whether we regard present or future generations during the entire term of the law of grace, during which, men are saved by the waters of baptism, received with due dispositions, of which waters those of the deluge were a type figure (21, 22).

1Pe 3:18  Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit,

(And by thus suffering unjustly you will more perfectly conform to Christ). For he also suffered, nay, even died, once, not for his own, but for our sins; the just suffered for the unjust; that he might offer us to God; and, by breaking down the enmities that existed between him and us, bring us nearer to him, by a conformity of our virtues, by our faith and belief in his gospel, “being indeed put to death in the flesh,” when his mortal life was put an end to, but again resuscitated in the reunion of his soul—now become the principle of a glorious and immortal life—with his body, on which were conferred tlie properties of glorification.

In this verse, the Apostle adduces another motive for consolation under the unjust sufferings for justice sake, to which the faithful, whom he is addressing, may have been exposed. This is, the example of Christ, to whom in such circumstances they most perfectly conform. “Because Christ also died once for our sins.”  “Also,”shows that the Apostle is exhorting them to suffer for justice sake even unto death; which can happen only once, “and Christ also died once for our sins,” for, he was himself incapable of sinning; “the just for the unjust;” hence, he could not himself merit the tortures and death to which he was subjected. “That he might offer us to God,” for which we have in the Greek, προσαγαγη, “that he might bring us to God.” The meaning furnished by both readings is given in the Paraphrase. We were afar off from God owing to our sins. Christ “broke down the wall of separation,” “the enmities in his flesh” (Ephes 2:14), and by paying an adequate and sufficient ransom, of which a Man-God alone was capable, purchased the grace by which we were enabled to draw near and approach to God.  “Being put to death indeed in the flesh,” that is, his mortal and animal life, requiring the aid of earthly aliments, for its continuance—which life Christ voluntarily led, and preferred up to the time of his death, although he might, if he pleased, have enjoyed, from his Incarnation, a life independent of all the requirements of animal existence—was put an end to by the separation of his soul from his body on the cross.  “But enlivened in the spirit.” By “the spirit,” some interpreters understand, the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of Christ, by whom Christ was raised from the dead; this resuscitation was an act of the Divinity, of the three Adorable Persons of the Trinity, to whom all acts, ad extra are common. Others, and it would seem with greater probabihty, understand it of the Soul of Christ, in which Christ “was enlivened,” just as it is said (1 Cor 15:45), “the last Adam was made into a quickening spirit,” inasmuch as his soul, after his Resurrection, imparted to his glorified body the gift of spirituality, in virtue of which it subsists without the aid of earthly aliments, such as food, clothing, &c.—required for the continuance of an animal life,—and will also be the principle of similar spiritual life, at a future day, to others. Of course, from his very Incarnation, Christ could have led such a life, exempt from all the necessities of animal existence; but it was only after his glorious birth at his Resurrection, that he actually entered on that glorified spiritual state.— Vide 1 Cor 15:45, Commentary.

1Pe 3:19  In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison:

In which soul he came, during the interval between his death and resurrection, and preached to the departed souls of the ancient just who died in the Lord, and were confined in the prison of Limbo, the glad tidings of their near deliverance, when they were to accompany Hun on high, while he ”led captivity captive.”

1Pe 3:20  Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.

And among those to whom Christ then preached, should be reckoned, and especially noted by us, those who for some time, had been great sinners and incredulous in the days of Noe (Noah), for whose conversion the patience of God had been waiting during the term of years that Noe had been employed in constructing the ark, wherein only eight persons were saved from death, by the water on which, borne aloft, it floated in security amidst the surrounding desolation.

19, 20 ~”In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison.” There is a great diversity of opinion respecting the meaning of this obscure passage. Dismissing the improbable and heretical interpretations, the probable opinions regarding it may be reduced to two: the one, that of St. Augustine (Epistola 99), who, at first, understood the word “spirits in prison,”‘ to refer to the souls of men departed out of life; but when he came to interpret the words, verse 6, of next chapter, “for this cause, was the Gospel preached also to the dead” he made the word “dead ” refer to the same person with ” spirits” in this verse. Seeing the difficulties involved in the interpretation of verse 6, of next chapter, should it be understood of the preaching of the Gospel to the departed souls of men; and still holding, that in both passages there was reference made to the same persons, he adopted a different interpretation of the words of this verse, and understood “spirits in prison,” to refer to those who were detained, while in the body, in the prison of vice and infidelity. According to St. Augustine’s interpretation, the meaning of the passage is this: “Christ was vivified in the spirit,” that is, by the Holy Ghost (verse 18); and to prove that Christ always lived in the spirit, he says it was in the same spirit that he came and preached to the unbelievers, who were detained in the prison of vice and infidelity, through the ministry of his prophets and chosen servants (verse 19), and he particularizes one signal instance, viz., that of the great sinners, to whom he preached through the ministry of Noe, during the one hundred and twenty years employed by him in building the ark, in which only eight persons were saved from the waters of the deluge (verse 20). Instead of the Vulgate reading, “when they waited for the patience of God,” the Greek reading preferred by St. Jerome and St. Augustine, and preserved in the Roman Missal, corrected by Clement VIII., in the Epistle of Friday in Easter week is οτε απεξεδεχετο η του θεου μακροθυμια, When  the patience of God was waiting in the days of Noe; and this seems the more natural reading of the passage; since, of the incredulous, who mocked and derided Noe, it could hardly be said, that “they waited for the patience of God;” this is true only of such as, sincerely anxious for a reconciliation with him, expect, that in his patience he will avert the scourges of his wrath, which their sins deserve; whereas, it is quite fair to say, that the patience of God was waiting for the conversion of these sinful, incredulous men, whom he graciously forewarned of their impending destruction, during the one hundred and twenty years that Noe had been employedl in building the ark.

The interpretation of St. Augustine appears open to insuperable difficulties. In the first place, it makes the word “spirits” refer, not to the disembodied souls of men, but to the very persons, souls and bodies, of the antediluvians, to whom he supposes Christ, in his Divine Spirit, to have preached through Noe; now, this is clearly opposed to the general usage of sacred Scripture, designating men by the flesh—their visible part, rather than by the spirit, which is invisible. Besides, it might suit prophetic style, to call men, while in this life, “spirits in prison,” such a form of expression is, however, clearly unsuited to the plain, historical style here employed by the Apostle. In the next place, the form of expression used here, far from supposing the preaching attributed here to Christ, to have been the same with the preaching, for which the ministry of Noe was employed (as St. Augustine has it), supposes the very reverse; it supposes that the preaching made by Christ (verse 19), to which the antediluvians were incredulous (verse 20) was posterior to that made by Noe: τοις πνευμασιν εκηρυξεν απειθησασιν ποτε. He preached to those spirits which had been some time incredulous in the days of Noe. Is it not plain, then, that the preaching of Noe must have preceded his? His could be no other (since they all perished in the waters of the deluge) than that made to their departed souls, in the prison of Limbo. In truth, in order to be warranted in making the preaching of Christ referred to (verse 19) identical with that which, in the opinion of St. Augustine, he is supposed to have made (verse 20) by the ministry of Noe, we should change the entire structure of tlie sentence, and make it run thus: “In which coming formerly, in the days of Noe, when the patience of God was waiting for them, he preached to spirits that had been incredulous to himself;” but, this is, obviously, quite different from the real construction of the sacred text.

But what particularly militates against this opinion is the context of the Apostle. For, in the preceding passage (verse 18), he is encouraging the faithful to endure unjust persecutions, nay, even martyrdom, for the faith, by the example of the unjust sufferings of Christ; and, as a further inducement, he proposes the salutary effects of these unjust sufferings with regard to Christ himself, who “was enlivened in the spirit,” and underwent these sufferings “to offer us,” (or, to bring us nearer) “to God,” doubtless by our faith and belief in the gospel. He next adds (verse 19), that Christ went and preached to the incredulous men, who had been mocking the preaching of Noe; now, what connexion can there be between our reconciliation (verse 18), and the incredulity of the antediluvians, who perished in the waters of the deluge, and were eternally lost, according to the interpretation of St. Augustine? What object could the Apostle have in view, in introducing the example of the inefficacious preaching of Noe in a passage, where, from the context, it is evident, he is recommending the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ? Hence, it is, that the common interpretation seems by far the more probable, as being more in accordance with the obvious meaning of the words of the text, as also with the context. The Apostle is encouraging the faithful to endure persecution, nay, even death itself for the faith, and, as a most consoling motive, he adduces the example of Christ, who died for the unjust (verse 18), and for the purpose of bringing us nearer to God. (This is the Greek reading for, “that he might offer us to God.”) As a further motive, he proposes the efficacy of the death of Christ, both with reference to himself, who was raised to a glorious and immortal lite, “enlivened in the spirit;” and with reference to his creatures, whether we regard those who in ages past, preceded him, to whom his future
merits were applied; or, those of the present and future generations (verse 21). As an example of the efficacy of the merits of Christ, with reference to past ages, he adduces one of the most signal manifestations of his great mercy, in the salvation of those giant sinners who perished in the deluge, whose crimes are described (Genesis 5); and, in order to extol still more this great mercy of God, the Apostle mentions the aggravating circumstances of their obstinacy. God had through Noe, preached to them their coming destruction; they continued in their obstinate unbelief ; and it was only when they saw the waters of the deluge overflow the earth, that, touched with repentance amid the wreck of all nature, they felt concern for the salvation of their souls, while their bodies were submerged in the desolating waters. It was to announce to these souls confined in the Prison of Limbo, expiating the temporal punishment due to their sins, that the soul of Christ, after his death on the cross, descended, announcing the joyous tidings of their near deliverance, the termination of their pains, and the throwing open of the gates of heaven, for so many ages closed against them.

The chief difficulties against this opinion are:—First, What grounds are there for saying that the incredulous, to whom Noe preached, on seeing the waters of the deluge overflow the earth, were converted, and died in sentiments of penance? Secondly, why should St. Peter, in this passage, confine to those who perished in the flood, whose conversion and salvation is supposed in this opinion, the preaching which Christ addressed to all the souls of the just, detained in the prison of Limbo, including patriarchs and prophets?

In answer to the second point of objection it may be said, that although Christ had preached to all the souls shut up in the prison of Limbo, and while announcing to them their near deliverance, had, most probably, remitted what remained to be discharged of the temporal debt due to their sins, thereby consecrated, by being the first himself to exercise it, the power of granting indulgences, to be afterwards exercised by his Church; still, the Apostle specially refers to those, who were converted in the waters of the deluge, as the most signal instance he could adduce of the divine mercy, whether the number or the enormity of their crimes be considered, by which “all flesh corrupted its way on the earth” and which provoked an immutable God to cry out, “it repenteth me that I have made them ” (Genesis 6); and he, thereby supplies the firmest grounds of confidence in the merits of Christ, for such as died for righteousness sake; seeing that his future merits were so efficacious in saving the souls of those sinful men, whose crimes provoked the divine justice to sweep them off the face of the earth. Another reason why St. Peter particularizes those who perished in the deluge is, that the deluge, in which they were drowned, was typical of the baptismal waters, in which those whom he addresses received their spiritual regeneration, and the surest earnest of the efficacy of Christ’s merits with reference to themselves.

Who, after considering the consoling teaching of the Apostle in this passage, can, for an instant, distrust the boundless mercy of God? The salvation of those giant sinners of old, whose crimes drew down the deluge or universal shipwreck of the first creation, and provoked an immutable God to exclaim, that he was ”sorry for creating man” furnishes the most striking and the most consoling exemplification, that could be adduced, of his boundless mercies. Well therefore, may we all, whom God has spared in our sins, cry out with the Psalmist; “mercies of the Lord I shall sing for ever.” “His mercy is above all his works.”

1Pe 3:21  Whereunto baptism, being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but, the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

To this diluvian water, baptism corresponding, as the antitype, or thing typified, to its type and figure, now, in the New Law, saves you too from the death of your souls by the graces and right to life eternal, which it confers; and these effects it produces not inasmuch as it is a mere external rite, washing away bodily uncleanness; but, inasmuch as this external rite is accompanied by the internal dispositions which the subject of baptism, when interrogated sincerely, and before God, declares that he possesses; these effects baptism produces owing to the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ; for “he rose for our justification.”—(Romans 14).

In this verse the Apostle points out the efficacy of Christ’s merits, in regard to the present and future generations, during the time of the New Law. “Whereunto, baptism being of the like form.” In our English version the Greek reading is followed, and the same has been adopted in the Paraphrase. The Vulgate reading runs thus: quod et vos nunc similis formæ salvos facit Baptisma; and this accords with the Vatican reading:—”Which (water), the antitype of that in the deluge, and which is Baptism, now saves you.” According to others, there is a Hebraism in the Vulgate readings wherein the relative precedes the antecedent, and is thus explained: “and now baptism,
saves you, which baptism of like form,” &c.  “Whereunto,” that is, to which water of the deluge, “baptism being of like form.” The Greek for “like form,” αντιτυπον, means, being the antitype, corresponding with it, as the antitype to the type, the truth to the shadow. “Now,'”‘ that is, in the New Law, “saveth you,” (in Greek, saveth us, the Codex Vaticanus has υμας, you), from the death of the soul; as the waters, on which the ark was borne aloft, saved Noe and his family from temporal drowning. The points of correspondence between the diluvian water and baptism are many. In the former, while the inmates of the ark were saved, the wicked, were drowned and buried; in the latter, our sins are buried, and we are become dead to sin. In the former, the ark was borne aloft, and salvation secured to its inmates; in the latter, we are raised to a new life and saved from the consequences of our sins, viz., spiritual and eternal death. “Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” that is; it is not inasmuch as it is an external rite cleansing our bodies, that baptism produces these salutary effects of grace and spiritual regeneration; “but the examination of a good conscience;” but, inasmuch as this rite is accompanied by the internal conditions and dispositions (“a good conscience”), which the subject of baptism, when interrogated, sincerely, and in the presence of God, declares he possesses. There is allusion in this to the questions usually put to the person to be baptized, whether ”he believes in God? &c., “renounces Satan and all his pomps?”  The word “examination,” or interrogation, is put for the aforesaid dispositions, regarding which the subject of baptism is usually interrogated before receiving the sacrament, and “a good conscience towards God,” regards the sincerity of his conviction that he possesses the necessary dispositions. These salutary effects are ascribed to baptism in consequence of ”the resurrection of Jesus Christ;” either, because this resurrection is the exemplary cause or model of our spiritual resurrection and justification; ”resurrexit propter justificationem nostram,” or its supplemental cause; since, “if Christ had not risen, our faith would be vain,” and proved to be unfounded, as resting on the promises of one who would have deceived us, and proved himself to be an impostor.

1Pe 3:22  Who is on the right hand of God, swallowing down death that we might be made heirs of life everlasting: being gone into heaven, the angels and powers and virtues being made subject to him.

Who, in his divine nature, being equal to God in his human nature, sits at His right hand, and holds next him, the most honorable place in heaven, by his own death and resurrection he destroyed death, and deprived it of its sting, in order that we might be made heirs of life everlasting; he has, also, ascended and gone into heaven, the entire heavenly host, of every order and degree, whether from the ranks of angels, powers, virtues, or any other order, having been subjected to him by his heavenly Father.

“Who is on the right hand of God;” this refers to his human nature; considered according to this nature, he holds the highest place in heaven next to the Divinity, and before all other creatures. In these words, the Apostle conveys a tacit exhortation to us to suffer with Christ for justice sake, in order to become partakers in his glory.  “Swallowing down death, that we might be made heirs of life everlasting.” These words are not found in the Greek; they are, however, read in all Latin copies, and cited by the Latin Fathers. They contain an allusion to the words of the Prophet Osee (i.e., Hosea 13, 14), death! I will be thy death; O hell! I will be thy bite.” This will be fully accomplished only on the final day, when the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed.-(1 Corinthians, chapter 15).

“Being gone into heaven,” whither he ascended by the power of his own divinity. These words are immediately connected with the words, “on the right hand of God.” “The angels,” viz: those belonging to a lower order of blessed spirits; “and powers and virtues,” refer to the higher ranks; under these are included all the the orders of heavenly spirits, and of all creatures that can be named, or that exist.—(Col 1:18, and Col 2:10; Eph 1:22) ; “being made subject to him,” as man; for, his heavenly Father “has subjected all things under his feet.”—(Psalm 8; 1 Cor 15; Eph 1 &c.) As man, Christ is the head of the entire Church, militant and triumphant, comprising both angels and men.

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Sunday, June 5: Bishop MacEvily on the Second Mass Reading (1 Peter 4:13-16)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 1, 2011

This post contains the Bishop’s summary analysis of the entire chapter, followed by his commentary on the reading. Text in purple represents the Bishop’s paraphrase.

A Summary of 1 Peter 4~In this chapter, the Apostle, after having digressed from the subject of the death of Christ (1 Pet 3:18), now returns to point out the lesson of instruction, which they should all derive from It, viz.: that they should no longer live in sin, but that their wole lives should be employed in performifig the will of God ( 1 Pet 4:1, 2). For, they had already devoted too much time to the gratification of the corrupt passions, to which the unconverted Gentiles are prone (1 Pet 4:3), who, on seeing the Christian converts, now refuse to join them in the perpetration of their former crimes, execrate and blaspheme both them and their holy religion, as the enemies of all social and friendly intercourse among men (1 Pet 4:4). For these blasphemies, they shall one day have to render a most strict account to Christ, the judge of the living and the dead (1 Pet 4:5).

Against the Epicurians and other sects, who held, that, at death, man ceases to exist, and hence, no judgment or accountability, he proves from the fact of Christ having preached In the prison of Limbo, to those who had been long since dead, that Christ was to be judge of the dead as well as of the living (1 Pet 4:6). Not only have these been judged; but, in a short time, all things are to come to their final close; and hence, those whom he addresses, as well as all future generations, should be very circumspect and tvaichful duly to discharge the great duty ofprayer (1 Pet 4:7).

He exhorts them to the practice of uninterrupted charity towards one another, and particularly of that branch of it, which consists in affording lodging and support to poor indigent stangers (1 Pet 4:8, 9).

He next prescribes the proper mode of exercising the spiritual gifts with which they might have been endowed for the good of others (1 Pet 4:10). These gifts he reduces to two heads, viz.: the gift of speaking, and the gift of action or administration; and both one and the other, should be exercised so as to promote, as indeed all our actions should, the glory of God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet 4:11).

He then renews his former exhortatlon to patience, on several grounds: because, by suffering they only submit to what all the elect before them had to undergo (1 Pet 4:12).Because, patient sufferings cause us to share in the sufferings of Christ, and lead to unalloyed joy and transport (1 Pet 4:13). Because, these sufferings and reproaches arc the source ofpeculiar blessedness (1 Pet 4:14). From this peculiar blessedness, he excludes sufferings, undergone for the commission of crime (1 Pet 4:15, 16). He exhorts them to patience, because they are thus submitting to the general will of God, in saving his elect (1 Pet 4:17). Finally he encourages them to commit their souls to God (1 Pet 4:19).

1Pe 4:13  But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

But since by thus suffering patiently for justice sake, you share and take a part in the sufferings of Christ, you should now rejoice, in order that, at the revelation of his glory hereafter, you may become partakers of unmixed joy and ineffable transport.

This is an additional motive to suffer patiently, because, by so doing, they share in the sufferings of Christ, their sufferings are united with his (2 Cor 1:5), “as the sufferings of Christ abound in us.”—(Heb 13:13, 11:26; 2 Cor 4:10; Rom 8:17; Gal 6:17). Christ is our head—we his members; we are also incorporated with him by baptism. Rejoice, then, as you know that these sufferings are united with those of Christ. “That when his glory shall be revealed,” on the day of judgment, you may also be glad with exceeding joy; and the present joy which you now feel, although embittered by pains and crosses, will then be exchanged for ineffable, unalloyed joy, which will manifest itself in transport and the rapturous joy of your glorified bodies.

1Pe 4:14  If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honour, glory and power of God, and that which is his Spirit resteth upon you.

And if you suffer reproach for bearing the name of Christian and professing the doctrine of Christ, you are blessed here in firm hope, and shall be blessed, hereafter, in the enjoyment of never ending happmess; for, far from its being dishonourable; inglorious, or cowardly in you to bear silently such reproaches; on the contrary, you alone are possessed of real honour, glory and fortitude abidingly conferred on you by the power of God and of his Holy Spirit, the only source of good gifts.

And if you be reproached for the name of Christ. The profession of Christianity had been to the first Christians a subject of reproach and disgrace. You shall be blessed. This is a subject of peculiar blessedness rather than of reproach. For that which is of honour, &c., that is, far from its being either dishonourable, or inglorious, or cowardly, to profess Christianity, and to bear such reproaches silently, as probably had been charged upon the faithful by their enemies; on the contrary, they alone were possessed of real honour, and glory, and fortitude, which God only can confer, and which comes from his Holy Spirit, the giver of every good gift. In the Greek we have not ” honour or power;” it runs thus: οτι το της δοξης και το του θεου πνευμα, because what is of glory, and the Spirit of God, rests upon you. But in some Greek copies are added the following words: indeed in them it (the Spirit of God) is blasphemed, but in you it is glorified. These words are not found in any Latin copies, nor in the Syriac version, nor in the chief manuscripts.

1Pe 4:15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or a railer or coveter of other men’s things.

But in pointing out the merit of patient suffering, I speak not of suffering in a bad cause, on account of outraging the laws of society; for none of you should draw down upon himself merited punishment, due to a homicide, or a thief, or a slanderer, or to such as curiously pry into other persons affairs, in order to circumvent and rob them.

The Apostle excludes from all merit suffering in a bad cause; for, to suffer the penalties due to human justice, in consequence of outraging the laws of society, far from being honourable, is a disgrace to religion. Or railer; for this the Greek has κακοποιος, an evil doer, one who maliciously injures his neighbour in person or property. Or a coveter of other men’s things. The Greek word for this, αλλοτριεπισκοπος, means, one who pries into the concerns of others. The Vulgate has, however, fairly given the meaning, because the words mean, one who pries into other men’s concerns, for the purpose of circumventing them, and rapaciously depriving them of their property, taking advantage of the knowledge thus unwarrantably acquired.

1Pe 4:16  But, if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed: but let him glorify God in that name.

But if anyone of you suffer for being a Christian, and for practicing Christian virtue, far from feeling ashamed, he should give glory to God on this account.

But if any one among you be subjected to suffering for bearing the name of Christ and for practising the virtues which Christianity prescribes, far from feeling ashamed, he should glory in this name, that is, on this account, or, as in some Greek copies, in this part. The Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. support the Vulgate,  εν τω ονοματι τουτω. Such was the conduct of the Apostles, who ”went rejoicing from the presence of the council, because they were judged worthy to suffer reproach for Christ” (Acts 5:41).

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Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Pet 3:15-18 for Sunday Mass, May 29, 2011 (6th Sunday of Easter)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 24, 2011

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 3 follwed by his commentary on the reading. The Bishop included a paraphrase of the text he was commenting on and these have been reproduced here in purple text.

Analysis:  In the preceding chapter the Apostle had been inculcating the duty of political subjection, on the part of the governed, to their rulers, and the domestic subjection of servants to their masters, from which he digressed at verse 18, to treat of the benefits of redemption. In this, he resumes the subject with reference to another species of subjection, somewhat different from the preceding, viz., that which is due by wives to their husbands ; and he inculcates this duty, by pointing out the advantages its observance might confer on the husbands, in case they should have continued to be unbelievers (verses 1, 2).  H next shows, in what manner women should adorn themselves, viz., by attending more to the decoration of their souls than of their persons (3, 4). He inculcates the same duty of subjection, by the examples of the wives of the patriarchs of old, and particularly by that of Sara (5, 6).

He then enjoins on husbands the faithful observance of the reciprocal duties of more abundant attention and respect, which they owe their wives.

He briefly and summarily enjoins on all, the exercise of charity and compassion for one another (8). He prohibits retaliation for injuries, whether in word or deed (9); and proves from the Psalms, that in order to be heirs to their destined benediction, they must return blessing for cursing, avoid evil, and do good (10-12). He shows that if they are zealous in the practice of good works, unjust persecutions will not only be ultimately harmless (13), but will procure a special benediction for them (14). He exhorts them to fear God only, and to be prepared with some satisfactory answer when questioned, in due circumstances, respecting their faith. He encourages then to suffer patiently for justice sake; since, in doing so, they conform to God’s will (17); and moreover, by so doing, they perfectly conform to the example of Christ, who also suffered unjustly, even death, for our sins; he shows, for their consolation, the efficacy and good effects of the unjust suffering of Christ, both in reference to himself, who was raised to a glorious and immortal life, enlivened in the spirit” (18), and with reference to his creatures, whether we regard past generations—and among them the most signal instance of the great efficacy of his merits was the salvation of the Antediluvians; to whom he went a d preached during the interval between his death and resurrection, in the prison of Limibo, the glad tidings of their approaching admittance into glory (19, 20)—or, whether we regard present or future generations during the entire term of the law of grace, during which, men are saved by the waters of baptism, received with due dispositions, of which waters those of the deluge were a type figure (21, 22).

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

But reverence in your hearts the Lord Christ, and manifest this reverence in the edifying practice of all Christian virtues; and be always prepared to give some satisfactory answer or apology to every one that asks, in due circumstances, for some reason of the hope that is in you.

“But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts.” The word “sanctify” means to proclaim him “holy,” and endeavour to show him forth as such to the world. The Apostle adds this to show that, if the fear of the Lord reign in their souls, they will be proof against every other base fear which would prompt to acts opposed to his holy will. These words, as well as the words in the preceding verse, “and be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled,” are taken from Isaiah 8:13, with this difference, that in the latter the words are, “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself,” whereas here it is “the Lord Christ;” and St. Peter adds “Christ,” probably to show that Christ is “the Lord of Hosts ” referred to by Isaiah. In some Greek copies the reading is,  Sanctify the Lord God. But the Vulgate reading is supported by the Syriac, and found in the chief manuscripts.
“Being always ready to satisfy everyone,”‘ which, in the Greek, runs thus: ετοιμοι αει προς απολογιαν, “being always ready for an apology to every one” &c., that is to say, being always furnished with, and having ready at hand, some satisfactory reply to give to those who, in due and proper circumstances, interrogate you about the grounds of that hope which you entertain, and which supports you against the pressure of evil and persecution. In this the Apostle does not require that every person among the faithful should be a Theologian,
able to account for all the truths of faith, and to dispute regarding them; neither
does he require that under all circumstances, whether interrogated from idle, impertinent curiosity, without any regard for instruction, or, from motives of embarrassing us, we should enter on a defence of our holy faith or give answer: all he requires is, that when interrogated at proper times, and in due circumstances, every Christian should be instructed in some general satisfactory reasons for embracing and adhering to the Catholic faith (v.g.), if the question were proposed by infidels, he might ground his hopes in Christ on the fact, that He was proved to be the God predicted of old by the Prophets, from the circumstances of the prophecies being all fulfilled in Him and Him only; from his having confirmed by miracles his declaration that He was the Son of God; and finally, as he had foretold, from his having raised himself from the dead; that this infinitely veracious God promised us eternal life, provided we adhered to his true faith and kept his commandments; and that the enduring of crosses here below, far from showing that he did not exercise a paternal care over us, was, on the contrary, a necessarv condition for obtaining the heavenly inheritance marked out by him beforehand for his followers; he himself having first given us the example, by taking up the cross, and despising the ignominy attached thereto, even when joy had been proposed to him.—(Hebrews 12) To heretics, one general answer should be:— That we believe all the truths which the Catholic Church proposes, because that Church is infallible, being “the pillar and ground of truth”—having been vested unto the end of time with power and knowledge, “to preserve usfrom being carried atvay and tossed about by
every wind of doctrine” (Ephes 4)—having the plentitude of truth deposited with HER by the Holy Ghost, in teaching which he promised to abide with her for ever — having Christ hin[iself remaining with her “all days even to the end of the world.”

1Pe 3:16  But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

But your answer should be always marked by gentleness and due reverence for those who interrogate you, having a good conscience and leading lives conformable to the principles of your holy faith, so that instead of speaking evil ofyou, those may be confounded and put to shame, who now falsely accuse and calumniate your virtuous edifying life and Christian conversation.

Our answer should be wholly exempt from harshness or contentious arrogance
of any kind. In truth, no man was ever converted by abuse; and it is to be feared that the practice of abusing such as differ from us in religion, under ordinary circumstances, proceeds from another spirit than the spirit of God, from passion and caprice rather than from zeal. The ample benedictions poured on the labours of a De Sales and an Xavier are the clearest evidence of the will of God in this repect.  “Haying a good conscience,” otherwise our reasonings will prove prejudicial; for, it may fairly be said, if we believe what we say, why not live up to this belief? Hence, in order that our disputations or instructions may prove of any avail, we should lead lives conformable to our faith; and then, by this readiness to account, with meekness, for the hope which is in us, and by our exemplary lives, we will confound such as now calumniate us and our holy faith. In some Greek copies, after the words, “who speak evil of
you,” are added the words, ως κακοποιων, as malefactors. It is likely, however, that they were added from verse 12, of the preceding chapter. In the Syriac version, the words run thus—that your enemies may be confounded as calumniators of your good conversation in Christ.

1Pe 3:17  For it is better doing well (if such be the will of God) to suffer than doing ill.

For, it is much better and far more meritorious to suffer for our good actions (if such be the will of God, without whose will nothing happens, except sin), than to be forced to undergo punishment for our misdeeds.

To such as are suffering for justice sake, the Apostle proposes motives of consolation founded on the advantages and merit of such suffering, and also on the consideration of God’s holy will, that they should thus suffer.  “For, it is better,” &c. These words would appear to be immediately connected with verse 14. “It is better,” that is, more meritorious for you (” if such be the will of God.”) This he adds to show, that in thus suffering, they are only conforming to God’s holy will; for, everything happens by his positive will, sin excepted.  “Than to suffer doing ill,” because, then you would be only paying the just penalty due to your misdeeds. No doubt the very act of submitting to merited punishment may be rendered a just and meritorious thing; but, still not so meritorious as suffering for justice sake. This latter is “better” than the former, which may sometimes be good.

1Pe 3:18  Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit,

(And by thus suffering unjustly you will more perfectly conform to Christ). For he also suffered, nay, even died, once, not for his own, but for our sins; the just suffered for the unjust; that he might offer us to God; and, by breaking down the enmities that existed between him and us, bring us nearer to him, by a conformity of our virtues, by our faith and belief in his gospel, “being indeed put to death in the flesh,” when his mortal life was put an end to, but again resuscitated in the reunion of his soul—now become the principle of a glorious and immortal life—with his body, on which were conferred tlie properties of glorification.

In this verse, the Apostle adduces another motive for consolation under the
unjust sufferings for justice sake, to which the faithful, whom he is addressing, may have been exposed. This is, the example of Christ, to whom in such circumstances they most perfectly conform. “Because Christ also died once for our sins.”  “Also,”shows that the Apostle is exhorting them to suffer for justice sake even unto death; which can happen only once, “and Christ also died once for our sins,” for, he was himself incapable of sinning; “the just for the unjust;” hence, he could not himself merit the tortures and death to which he was subjected. “That he might offer us to God,” for which we have in the Greek, προσαγαγη, “that he might bring us to God.” The meaning furnished by both readings is given in the Paraphrase. We were afar off from God owing to our sins. Christ “broke down the wall of separation,” “the enmities in his flesh” (Ephes 2:14), and by paying an adequate and sufficient ransom, of which a Man-God alone was capable, purchased the grace by which we were enabled to draw near and approach to God.  “Being put to death indeed in the flesh,” that is, his mortal and animal life, requiring the aid of earthly aliments, for its continuance—which life Christ voluntarily led, and preferred up to the time of his death, although he might, if he pleased, have enjoyed, from his Incarnation, a life independent of all the requirements of animal existence—was put an end to by the separation of his soul from his body on the cross.  “But enlivened in the spirit.” By “the spirit,” some interpreters understand, the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of Christ, by whom Christ was raised from the dead; this resuscitation was an act of the Divinity, of the three Adorable Persons of the Trinity, to whom all acts, ad extra are common. Others, and it would seem with greater probabihty, understand it of the Soul of Christ, in which Christ “was enlivened,” just as it is said (1 Cor 15:45), “the last Adam was made into a quickening spirit,” inasmuch as his soul, after his Resurrection, imparted to his glorified body the gift of spirituality, in virtue of which it subsists without the aid of earthly aliments, such as food, clothing, &c.—required for the continuance of an animal life,—and will also be the principle of similar spiritual life, at a future day, to others. Of course, from his very Incarnation, Christ could have led such a life, exempt from all the necessities of animal existence; but it was only after his glorious birth at his Resurrection, that he actually entered on that glorified spiritual state.— Vide 1 Cor 15:45, Commentary.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 1 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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