Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 13 -- By: John H. Bennetch
BSac 100:400 (Oct 43) p. 524
Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
(Continued from the July-September Number, 1943)
Who has not known the weight of suffering? The great and the small, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the white and the black, the righteous and the unrighteous-all the world has known some. Once Adam committed sin, trouble began to enter the experience of man. No question arises in the mind of the average individual, then, if hurt does fall to his lot. Conscience is telling him plainly enough how well it is deserved and how much below his due is received. But the person with a clear conscience-to such a person the coming of woe will naturally raise problems. Burdened and oppressed he will likely ask: Why has God sent this? Is woe the reward for obedience? How could the Lord treat me like this?
The problem of the godly man suffering is considered in 1 Peter at length, as nowhere else in the New Testament. (This has made the epistle an appropriate study for the times.) In witness thereof, mark the fact that the book employs πάσχω and πάθημα more frequently than any other book of the New Testament, though only five chapters long. And these words are the customary verb and noun for suffering to be used by apostles. Before 1 Peter 3:13-already in 1:6, 7, 11 and 2:7, 19ff -the dark theme of oppression has come to the fore. But not until 3:13ff does it occupy the most prominent place in the epistle. From now on it will dominate much of what is being said. First of all, 3:13–4:6 exhorts the Christian to endure woe because it spells
BSac 100:400 (Oct 43) p. 525
blessing. “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (3:14).
Peter begins the new paragraph with a question: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers1 of that which is good?” (3:13). A question like this can be answered easily. At the end of the previous paragraph verses from Psalm 34 were quoted to show that God bestows special blessing upon the good. “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but...
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