Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 6 -- By: Everett F. Harrison
BSac 98:391 (Jul 41) p. 307
Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
(Continued from the April-June Number, 1941)
Exhortation to Spiritual Growth and Unity, Based on the New Birth and the Position of Living Stones in God’s Temple (2:1-10)
Our heading is indicative of the composite character of this section, which contains elements apparently so disparate as to require a break between the third and fourth verses. Yet the two segments seem intended to coalesce, however discrete milk and stone appear to be. Peter passes without a pause from food to fellowship, making Christ the key to both. How closely allied the concepts of growth and unity can be may be seen in Ephesians 2:21, 22, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Peter is about to describe the new order of which Christians are a part, a divine society so wonderful as to require the heaping up of epithets for its delineation, a fellowship possessing such a holy dynamic that the world is bound to feel the force of its testimony to the God who called it into being (vs. 9). To attain this goal, every factor hindering the corporate development must be recognized and put away, hence the exhortation with which the chapter begins. The difficulty confronting the church is not simply that of achieving progress in spiritual things by advancing from a lower to a higher level, but also of meeting antagonistic elements in its own life and gaining the victory over them. Fully matured and ripened fruit is worthless if it be worm-eaten.
A similar statement of the case is found in Paul’s letters, notably in the Ephesian epistle, with which First Peter has such marked affinities. In 4:13 we have the goal-“till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure
BSac 98:391 (Jul 41) p. 308
of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Farther on in the chapter, attention is paid to the things which hinder fellowship with other believers and which grieve the indwelling Spirit. These things are to be put off (ἀποτίθεσθαι), which is Peter’s admonition also. James, too, employs the word in a similar connection (1:21).
The second chapter of First Peter opens in such a way as to give clear evidence of its dependence upon what has preceded, s...
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