Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 3 -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 097:388 (Oct 1940)
Article: Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 3
Author: Everett F. Harrison


Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
Part 3

Everett F. Harrison

(Continued from the July-September Number, 1940)

From the contemplation of salvation as a future blessing, an inheritance laid up in heaven, Peter turns to consider for his readers the hard realities of the present (1:6–9). To counterbalance these trials, he offers the consolation that these very things serve in the divine purpose to prove and purify faith, and that the heaviness these experiences bring to the people of God is more than offset by the joy of knowing and loving the unseen Lord.

It is difficult to locate an antecedent for ἐν ὧ. Equally possible are the translations wherein or in whom. In the latter case, the rejoicing may be either in God, the subject of the long sentence beginning in verse three, or in Christ, whose resurrection gives hope for the future. The latter possibility receives some support from the fact that the same verb to rejoice is used in verse eight with Christ as the object. The nearest possible antecedent is καιρῷ, in the expression last time. On this construction, the thought would be that the time until the Advent was so brief that suffering saints could rejoice in the near approach of their deliverance. Stress would then be laid on the words for a season. But surely ὀλίγον is a relative term here, since in the light of the unending future a lifetime of suffering in this world amounts to little, and even the age-long tribulation of the church appears as momentary. If we refer ὧ to καιρῷ as its antecedent, we make Peter imply that his readers will live to see the period described as the last time, which is untrue from the standpoint of actual fulfillment and therefore cannot have been the meaning the inspired apostle intended to convey. The most widely adopted solution is to connect the relative, not with any one word, but with the thought of the preceding verses in general, namely the provision for our final salvation. In this, believers can rejoice, come what may.

The translation rejoice for ἀγαλλιᾶσθε is capable of

improvement. A better rendering is exult. In Matthew 5:12, where it is coupled with χαίρειν, the common term for rejoice, it is rendered be exceeding glad. It refers not to a quiet, settled emotion, but to exuberance of feeling. In view of our Lord...

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