Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 1: Following Christ’s Example: An Exposition of 1 Peter 2:21-25 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 139:553 (Jan 1982)
Article: Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 1: Following Christ’s Example: An Exposition of 1 Peter 2:21-25
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


Selected Studies from 1 Peter
Part 1:
Following Christ’s Example: An Exposition of 1 Peter 2:21-25

D. Edmond Hiebert

[D. Edmond Hiebert, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California.]

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls (1 Pet 2:21–25. NASB).

These verses contain the fullest elaboration of the example of Jesus Christ for believers in the New Testament. The confirmatory “for,” with which verse 21 begins, establishes the fact that the picture was drawn to undergird the call to the “household servants” (οἱ οἰκέται) to submit, as believers in Christ, to suffering for well-doing (vv. 18–20). Peter confirmed the call to submissive suffering by citing the example of Christ (v. 21) and then depicted His exemplary and redemptive sufferings (vv. 22–25). His picture contains various allusions to Isaiah 53, the prophetic portrait of the Suffering Servant of the Lord.

The Call to Suffering Confirmed by Christ’s Example

“For you have been called for this purpose” (v. 21) looks back to what has just been said. “This purpose” (εἰς τοῦτο, lit., “into this”) has the same force as “this” in verse 19 and refers to

suffering for, and while, doing good. Williams rendered this phrase, “It is to this kind of living that you were called.”1 The verb “called” (ἐκλήθητε) looks back to the time of their conversion and indicates that God Himself acted in calling them to such a life. “You,” a direct reference to the household servants being addressed, assures these suffering se...

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