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1 Peter 1:22
Since you have in
souls for a
love of the brethren,
Analyzed Literal: Having [or, Since you have] purified your
souls in obedience to the truth through [the] Spirit in sincere
brotherly love [fig., affection for fellow-believers], love one
another earnestly from a pure heart [fig., inner self],
Amplified: Since by your obedience to the Truth through the
[Holy ] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection
of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure
Bible - Lockman)
ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth
through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love
of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a
fervently: (Note: Phrase in green present only in the Textus
Receptus not Nestle-Aland used for most modern translations).
NLT: Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers
and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted
the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each
other intensely with all your hearts.
- Tyndale House)
Wuest: Wherefore, having purified your souls by means of
your obedience to the truth, resulting in not an assumed but a genuine
affection and fondness for the brethren, an affection and fondness
that springs from your hearts by reason of the pleasure you take in
them; from the heart love each other with an intense reciprocal love
that springs from your hearts because of your estimation of the
preciousness of the brethren, and which is divinely self-sacrificial
in its essence (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Your souls having purified in the
obedience of the truth [through the Spirit ] to brotherly love
unfeigned, out of a pure heart one another love ye earnestly,
SINCE YOU HAVE IN OBEDIENCE TO
THE TRUTH PURIFIED YOUR SOULS: Tas psuchas humon hegnikotes (RAPMPN)
en te hupakoe tes aletheias:
(note: some manuscripts like Greek Textus Receptus -- KJV add "through
the Spirit" after "truth). (John 15:3; 17:17,19; Acts 15:9; Romans
6:16,17; 2Thessalonians 2:13; James 4:8) (1Peter 3:1; 4:17; Acts 6:7;
Romans 1:5; 2:8; Galatians 3:1; 5:7; Hebrews 5:9; 11:8)
Since you have - Peter
appeals to the genuineness of his readers' conversions, a radical
change they were well aware of. One of the radical changes of this new
birth is that it brings is love for our brethren.
You do have love for your
Christian brethren don't you?
In obedience to the truth -
Synonymous with believing the truth. We should not separate belief and
obedience for true faith is obeying faith. Those who teach you can
believe the truth but not obey the truth have difficulty
with passages like this.
John 3:36 He who believes
tense = as the
general direction of their life) in the Son has eternal life; but he
who does not obey (apeitheo
[word study] - disbelieves willfully and perversely and as a
the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
See related topic - Study of
Obedience of faith
What is the evidence of a purified
soul in this context? Love for the brethren. Holy living is incomplete
if it isn’t accompanied by love. And such love is now possible for
born again persons for as Paul explained to the believers in Rome...
the love of God has been poured out
[word study] in
= speaks of the permanence of this divine outpouring! PTL!)
within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us. (Ro
Peter alluded to
obedience in his opening words explaining that his readers were
according to the foreknowledge of
God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may
obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and
peace be yours in fullest measure. (1Pe 1:2-note)
In Romans Paul the phrase
obedience of faith is like a pair of "bookends" as it were enclosing
Paul's magnum opus on the gospel of Jesus Christ...
through whom we have received grace
and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all
the Gentiles, for His name's sake (Ro 1:5-see
discussion here on "obedience of faith")
but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets,
according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known
to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; (Ro
Barnes writes that obedience
to the truth refers to their...
yielding to the requirements of truth, and to its fair influence on
their minds, which has been the means of their becoming pure. The
truth here referred to is, undoubtedly, that which is revealed in the
gospel--the great system of truth respecting the redemption of the
world. (Barnes NT Commentary)
Fronmuller (Lange's Commentary) on phrase in obedience to
By absolute subjection to the truth
given in the word of God, by keeping it and causing it to work in the
heart. Obedience to the faith and moral obedience are again comprised
in one. Truth has a purifying and separating power, removing all
obstacles to the exercise of brotherly love, such as selfishness,
obstinacy, self-sufficiency, men-pleasing, ambition, flattery, in
fact, all manifestations of egotism. Because true believers are
the children of God, 1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, they should act as brethren one
to another. This is one of the principal commandments of Christ
Himself, and consequently one of the main ends of holiness, Mt 22:40;
Mk 12:31; Lk 10:28; Jn 13:34, 35; cf. 1Pe 2:17; 1Pe 5:9. But because
selfishness, deceit, hypocrisy and flattery are frequently hidden
under the cloak of love, the word
anupokritos is added. (A
Commentary on the Holy Scriptures - Online)
John Piper comments on the critical importance of understanding
the phrase obedience of faith writing...
How then does our own obedience—“the
obedience of faith”—relate to justification? The answer is: Our
obedience is not the ground or the basis of our justification. Nor is
it any part of the instrument or means by which we are united to
Christ who alone is the ground and the basis of our justification.
Faith alone unites us to Christ and Christ alone is the ground of our
justification. Our obedience is the fruit of that faith. The faith
that justifies is the kind of faith that, by the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:13-note),
changes us. If your faith in Christ leaves you unchanged, you don’t
have saving faith. Obedience—not perfection, but a new direction of
thought and affections and behavior—is the fruit that shows that the
faith is alive. James put it this way, “So also faith by itself, if it
does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17-note). Faith alone justifies, but
the faith that justifies is never alone. It is always accompanied by
“newness of life” (Ro 6:4-note).
Live in the Joy and Assurance of the Gospel - When Paul begins and
ends his letter with the goal of “the obedience of faith,” he means
for us to live in the joy and the assurance of the first five chapters
of Romans, where he shows that we are “justified by faith apart from
works of the law” (Ro 3:28-note).
And then out of that faith and peace and assurance and boldness, a new
mind and a new man emerge and the fruit of obedience grows. And the
reality of justifying faith is made manifest. I pray that you will
trust in Christ alone as the ground and basis of your justification
before God, present and future, and that this faith prove its life and
truth by producing a passion for obedience to God—the obedience of
faith. (See further relevant texts: Ro 14:23
Gal 5:6; 1Th 1:3
2Th 1:11; He 11:4, 7, 8, 17, 24.) (See full sermon
Command of God: The Obedience of
Obedience (5218) (hupakoe
from hupo = under + akouo = hear) literally means to "hear
under" which conveys the picture of attentive hearkening, of
listening and following instructions, of being in compliance or of
listening and submitting to that which is heard.
Hupakoe conveys the picture
of one listening and following instructions. Submitting to that which
is heard involves a change of attitude, forsaking the tendency of the
fallen nature to rebel against Divine instructions and commands and
seeking God's will, not self will.
Someone has said that a
"proof" that we are of the elect is not an empty prating about how
secure we are once we believed, but rather how sensitive we are to the
principle and practice of obedience to Jesus.
Vincent notes that hupakoe was a
"peculiarly New Testament term
unknown in classical Greek."
in 1 Peter "obedience to the truth" refers to subjection to the
saving will of God revealed in Christ. It is notable that this is the
second time Peter describes
saving faith as an act of obedience (1Pe 1:2-note).
In Romans, Paul twice uses the
phrase “the obedience of faith.” (Ro 1:5,16:26)
We should not try to separate belief and obedience.
True faith is obeying faith (He 3:18, 19-note where you see
unbelief paralleled with
Illustration - A
missionary translator was endeavoring to find a word for “obedience”
in the native language. This was a virtue seldom practiced among the
people into whose language he wanted to translate the New Testament.
As he returned home from the village one day, he whistled for his dog
and it came running at full speed. An old man, seeing this, said,
admiringly in the native tongue, “Your dog is all ear.” Immediately
the missionary knew he had his word for obedience. (Encyclopedia of
7700 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan)
Wayne Barber reiterates
this important truth emphasizing that believers have a
to obey. That doesn’t mean Christians always obey. But you
cannot habitually live disobedient unto God. You may have an area that
will trip you up. But at some point you will confess, repent and come
back to God. Why? Because Life is inside of you. It is a Person. The
divine Seed of Life is in you, and you can’t be left to do what you
want to do. God will either take you out of here, or He’ll prune you.
He’ll cut you back and cut you back and cut you back until finally He
disciplines. He scourges and chastens those whom He loves. He doesn’t
let us get away with lawless living. You find a person who claims to
know Christ and lives in sin, lives lawlessly as a habitual practice,
that person does not know Christ" (see 1Jn 2:10,11, 3:9,10, 5:2).
Obviously we do not have the power to produce personal purity, but God
it is the Holy Spirit Who purifies our souls when we are saved.
[word study] from
hagnos [word study]
= freedom from defilements or impurities; see also word study
on related word
hagios = holy, saint) in the literal
sense refers to ceremonial washings and purifications undertaken to
purify oneself from ritual defilement. In the context of this
ceremonial purification the idea was withdrawal from the profane
(common) and dedication to God, thereby making one ceremonially ready.
This sense is seen in the OT uses in the
Septuagint (LXX) - see below,
where hagnizo was used of the the
who took upon themselves a temporary or a life-long vow to abstain
from wine and all kinds of intoxicating drink, from every defilement
and from shaving the head. Luke seems to make allusion to a similar
Nazirite-like practice by Paul in Acts 21:24, 26, 24:18.
Hagnizo - 7x in 7v - John
11:55; Acts 21:24, 26; 24:18; Jas 4:8; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:3-note.
NAS = purified(2), purifies(1), purify(3), purifying(1).
Hagnizo - 25x in
Ex 19:10; Num 6:3; 8:21; 11:18; 19:12; 31:19, 23; Josh 3:5; 1 Sam
21:5; 1 Chr 15:12, 14; 2 Chr 29:5, 15ff, 34; 30:3, 15, 17f; 31:18; Isa
66:17; Jer 12:3;
The root word
hagnos describes what is morally
undefiled and when used ceremonially describes that which has
been so cleansed that it is fit to be brought into the presence of God
and used in His service. James uses this root word hagnos in
his list of characteristics of heavenly wisdom (Jas 3:17).
Hagnos describes a purity which affects a not only a person’s
motives but also their conduct. In short, hagnizo is a verb
used in Scripture to describe ceremonial and/or spiritual
purification, and addressing both the external and internal aspects of
our being. As stated, James is commanding his readers to undertake an
Three of the NT uses of hagnizo
refer not to literal (ritual/ceremonial) purification, but to
ethical/moral or internal/heart purification (Jas 4:8-hagnizo,
1Jn 3:3-note), where the emphasis is not on external cleansing but on
internal cleansing so that one's heart is fully devoted to
the Lord and His will and way. The present
context of 1Pe 1:22 describes an internal,
supernatural cleansing which occurred when they received the living
and abiding word and were caused to be born
again by God (1Pe 1:3-note).
Peter says a person is purified when he or she
obeys the truth (the Word of God, the Gospel) and in context
Peter is referring to the initial experience of salvation
(justification) by grace through faith.
Hagnizo is in the
perfect tense signifying a past act
(the moment we believed the gospel) with ongoing effects (enabled to
sacrificially love others). The perfect tense underscores the
permanence of the once for all transaction of salvation. The point is
that one's salvation cannot be lost. Thus even the verb tense (perfect)
supports the eternal security of the believer and
counters the teaching that one can lose their salvation (cp Jesus'
words of assurance in Jn 10:27, 28, 29 which could not be more plainly
Matthew Henry comments
To purify the soul supposes some
great uncleanness and defilement which had polluted it, and that this
defilement is removed. Neither the Levitical purifications under the
law, nor the hypocritical purifications of the outward man, can effect
this. The word of God is the great instrument of a sinner’s
purification. The gospel is called truth, in opposition to types and
shadows, to error and falsehood. This truth is effectual to purify the
soul, if it be obeyed, John 17:17. Many hear the truth, but are never
purified by it, because they will not submit to it nor obey it...The
souls of Christians must be purified before they can so much as love
one another unfeigned. There are such lusts and partialities in man’s
nature that without divine grace we can neither love God nor one
another as we ought to do; there is no charity but out of a pure
heart. It is the duty of all Christians sincerely and fervently to
love one another. Our affection to one another must be sincere and
real, and it must be fervent, constant, and extensive.
(purified) forms the basis for our practice (fervent
love). Note that it is God of course Who purifies our souls when we
are saved for fallen men and women do not have the power to bring about
personal internal moral purity.
FOR A SINCERE LOVE OF THE
BRETHREN: eis philadelphian anupokriton: (1Peter 2:17; 3:8;
4:8; John 13:34,35; 15:17; Romans 12:9,10; 2Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians
4:3; 1Thessalonians 4:8,9; 1Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 6:10; 13:1; James
2:15,16; 2Peter 1:7; 1 John 3:11,14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,23;
a fraternal affection without
For a sincere love -
literally unto or into a sincere love. And so one of the primary goals
of our salvation is that we might show love to fellow believers.
Why is demonstration of love so
important? For one thing John writes...
We know that we have passed out of
death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love
abides in death. (1Jn. 3:14)
And in John's gospel Jesus
explains to His disciples...
A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also
love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another. (John 13:34, 35).
Sincere (505) (anupokritos
from "a" = without + hupokrinomai = to pretend) means unfeigned, without pretense,
that is that which is genuine, free from deceit, authentic,
undisguised, without pretense or sham and to use the "king's old
English" to be "without dissimulation" (KJV) (dissimulate =
hide under a false appearance).
In classical Greek drama, the hupokrites (actor) wore a
face-mask projecting an image but hiding his true identity under (hupo)
Peter is saying that the
Christian’s love should not be acting a part or wearing a mask, but
should be an authentic expression of goodwill.
In a similar way Paul exhorts the
believers at Rome to...
Let love be without hypocrisy
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. (Ro 12:9-note)
Believers are not simply to be
"playing the part" but are to exemplify a love which is completely
genuine, unhypocritical, without pretense or deceit. A believer's love
is to be "the real thing".
Wuest comments that
The world wears a mask. The love
which it shows on the face is only external. That is feigned love.
Ours should be unfeigned. If a saint does not have a love which is
unfeigned, the trouble is with his adjustment to the Holy Spirit who
is the One to provide that saint with that love. The Spirit-filled
saint does not have to play the hypocrite in the matter of love, for
love shines right out of his eyes. It is on his face, in his actions."
(Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids:
Anupokritos is used by the
NT writers to modify
love (Ro 12:9-note,
2Cor 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22),
faith (present verse and
1Ti 1:5) and
wisdom (James 3:17).
Metaphorically and morally, a
(a hypocrite) is anyone who
pretends to be something they are not.
It is interesting to note that our
English word sincere comes from the Latin sincerus,
which means "without wax" which stems from a practice of the
early Roman merchants who set their earthen and porcelain jars out for
sale. If a crack appeared in one, they would fill it with wax the same
color as the jar, so a buyer would not be aware that it was cracked.
But astute buyers learned to hold these jars out in the sun, and if
the jar was cracked, the wax would melt and the crack would be
revealed. So the honest merchants would test their wares this way and
mark them sincerus -- "without wax".
exceeded in evil only by unbelief. The consummate hypocrite in
Scripture, Judas, was also the consummate egoist. He feigned devotion
to Jesus to achieve his own selfish purposes. His hypocrisy was
unmasked and his self-centeredness was made evident when he betrayed
Jesus for the thirty pieces of silver. Peter's exhortation for us to manifest an
unfeigned love implies that there can be a feigned "love". Don't be
deceived. It is tragic when people try to “manufacture” love, because
the product is obviously cheap and artificial. The love that we share
with each other, and with a lost world, must be generated by the
Spirit of God. It is a constant power in our lives, and not something
that we turn on and off like a radio.
John Calvin says
nothing is more difficult than to
love our neighbors in sincerity. For the love of ourselves rules,
which is full of hypocrisy; and besides, every one measures his love,
which he shows to others, by his own advantage, and not by the rule of
doing good. He adds, fervently; for the more slothful we are by
nature, the more ought every one to stimulate himself to fervor and
earnestness, and that not only once, but more and more daily.
By nature, all of us are selfish
and it therefore took a work of grace to supernaturally give believers
the selfless, sacrificial kind of love that God is and that He
displays undeserving sinners. Because we “obeyed the truth through the
Spirit,” God purified our souls and poured His love into our hearts,
Paul recording that...
hope does not disappoint, because
the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy
Spirit who was given to us. (Ro 5:5-note).
Love of the brethren
from phílos = beloved, dear, friendly + adelphós =
brother) means "fraternal love" or brotherly love (kindness).
Brotherly love normally referred to the love members of a family held
for each other (this was the way it was used in secular Greek) and
would not normally be used to describe the love between members of
different families. However, in the NT philadelphia is used to
describe the love that believers possess for one to another, for even
though they were members of different natural families, they were
united in Christ and were recipients of family love originating from
the Father Who had bestowed His great love on His spiritual
See how great a love the
Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of
God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us,
because it did not know Him
Peter uses philadelphia
in his second epistle describing one aspect of their growth in grace
exhorting the believers to apply all diligence in their faith...
and in your godliness, brotherly
in your brotherly kindness, love. (See note
2 Peter 1:7)
Philadelphia describes a
love which calls for an affection for one another like that one
expressed between natural family members (Ro 12:10-note
or "loving warmly" = philostorgos from philos = beloved, dear +
= family love, the love of parents and children).
Remember that Christianity
forged a radical relationship in Christ wherein believing Greeks and
Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, Scythians, slaves and
freemen, men and women were now all one in their Lord (cp Gal 3:28,
Such a diverse cultural community would have continual need for
emphasis on love of the brethren.
As Christians we have become
brothers and sisters in the community of faith and Paul refers to them
as brothers (sisters is clearly implied) some nineteen times in
his first letter to the Thessalonians (and most of these believers had
been rank idol worshippers so for a Jew to call them brothers requires
a supernatural work). Our love is not just a passive disposition of
fondness but manifests itself in overt acts of kindness toward the
Love for the brethren is an
evidence that we truly have been born of God, as John explains in his
Beloved, let us love one another,
for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows
God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His
only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent
His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so
loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has beheld God
at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is
perfected in us. (1Jn 4:7-21).
Now as obedient children
we are no longer to live in the selfish desires of our old nature, for
believers are partakers of His divine nature and have a new to love.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER FROM THE HEART: ek (katharas) kardias allelous
agaphesate (2PAAM) ektenos:
1:9; 1Th 3:12; 2Th 1:3; Rev 2:4)
KJV (Textus Receptus)
qualifies the NAS from the heart, but adding
love one another with a pure heart
From the heart (or with
a pure heart) - When we entered the New Covenant by grace through
faith, we received a new heart and God's Spirit (see Ezekiel
36:26, 27 which is an OT promise of the New Covenant). Now with our new
heart, enabled by the Spirit, our motive in loving one another is not
to get but to give. The world teaches that if you give to others, you
will be able to manipulate them and ultimate fulfill your selfish
desires. Love from the (pure) heart never seeks to use others to its
Because of our new position
(purified souls) we are commanded to a new practice (sincere
love of the brethren). In other words, our position in Christ
forms the basis for our practice in the power of His Spirit (cf
Gal 5:23-note). The principle that doctrine determines duty
permeates the Scriptures, for as James said...
if anyone is a hearer of the
word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in
a mirror for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has
immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. (Jas 1:23, 24-note)
Fervently love one another -
Matthew Henry writes that this exhortation...
supposes that the gospel had
already had such an effect upon them as to purify their souls while
they obeyed it through the Spirit, and that it had produced at least
an unfeigned love of the brethren; and thence he argues with them to
proceed to a higher degree of affection, to love one another with a
pure heart fervently
The true reason why there is so
little truth of this Christian mutual love amongst those that are
called Christians, is, because there is so little of this purifying
obedience to the truth, whence it flows; faith unfeigned would beget
this love unfeigned: men may exhort to them both, but they require the
hand of God to work them in the heart.
Paul's prayer for the saints
at Philippi was to manifest and experience an abounding love
for one another...
And this I pray, that your
love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all
discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in
order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ (Php 1:9,
Paul gives a similar
charge to the saints in Thessalonica who have come out of
paganism and idol worship exhorting them...
Now as to the love of the
brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you
yourselves are taught by God
to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the
brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel
still more. (1Th 4:9, 10-note)
from ek = out + teíno = stretch; English = tension, etc)
literally pictures one "stretching out" to love others! It pictures
"an intense strain" and unceasing activity which normally involving a
degree of intensity and/or perseverance.
Ektenos is from the verb
ekteino which means to “stretch out the hand.”, thus it means
to be stretched out—earnest, resolute, intense. The fundamental idea
is earnestness, zealousness -- not doing something lightly and
perfunctorily but straining as it were to do it!
Ektenos was an athletic term conveying the meaning of “striving
with all of one’s energy” and was used to describe a runner who
was moving at maximum output with taut muscles straining and
stretching to the limit. This meaning presents the clear picture that
love is not something that will just happen, but is something we have
to work at like an Olympic athlete who strives to master his area of
expertise with all his energy. We must make the choice and be earnest,
resolute, even intense in our practice of agape love, always in
complete dependence of God's indwelling Spirit and His living and
Fronmuller writes that
is a very pregnant addition. It
denotes stretching out, straining, putting forth strenuous effort,
hence (a) by straining and extending every energy, by untiring
elasticity, (b) by sustained perseverance, (c) by extending it to such
brethren as appear less
worthy of love. Weiss: “With lasting, persevering energy, that cannot
be tired out by the cumulating guilt of our neighbour,” 1Pe 4:8. The
possibility of such a mode of conduct belongs to the state of
regeneration, 1Pe 1:23; cf. Mt 18:21, 22. Steiger. “As natural
relationship produces natural affection, so spiritual relationship
produces spiritual affection.” It is lasting, because emanating from
an eternal source of life. (1 Peter 1:22-25 Commentary
Lange's Commentary Online)
Peter is saying in essence
Stretch to the limits in your loving others sacrificial and
Roger Raymer adds that...
This love is to be expressed not
shallowly but “deeply” (ektenos, “at full stretch” or “in an all-out
manner, with an intense strain”...). (Walvoord,
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985.
Vincent writes that
ektenos is a compound work
with the verb teino, to
stretch, and (signifies) intense strain; feeling on the rack (an
instrument of torture on which a body is stretched)
The idea suggested is that of not
relaxing in effort, or acting in a right spirit.
In the only other NT use, ektenos describes the church's prayer for Peter in prison
So Peter was kept in the prison,
but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to
God. (Acts 12:5) (Note that the Textus
Receptus - used to translate the KJV - actually has the closely
related word ektenes not ektenos as does the Nestle-Aland which
is used for the NAS translation.)
The comparative form of the
closely related adjective ektenes (ektenesteron) is used to describe the
intensity of our Lord's prayer in Gethsemane
And being in agony He was
praying very fervently (ektenesteron); and His sweat became
like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:44)
what a picture of the passion of Jesus in prayer!
Note that ektenos is used
only here and in some manuscripts (Nestle-Aland) in Acts 12:5. As
mentioned above, Acts 12:5 in the Textus Receptus uses the closely
related adjective ektenes., which is also used in chapter 4 of
Above all, keep fervent
(ektenes) in your love for one another, because love covers a
multitude of sins. (1Pe 4:8-note)
Fervently love one another -
MacDonald comments that...
The exhortation to love one another
is especially timely for a people undergoing persecution because it is
well known that “under conditions of hardship, trivial disagreements
take on gigantic proportions.” (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
agapao) speaks of an unconditionally,
sacrificial love, which is ultimately the love that God demonstrates
and even "is" ("God is love" 1Jn 4:8, 16). By
nature, in Adam (Ro 5:12-note),
all men are are selfish and therefore only a a miracle of God could
give sinners this quality of divine, saintly love.
Agape love is neither a
not sentimental or emotional type love so often depicted in
television, movies and
magazines. Instead, agape love demands an act of
obedience by the lover for the "lovee" and thus represents a
specific volitional choice or act of the lover's will.
Agape love desires the
recipients highest good whether one they deserve it or not or whether
the lover feels like giving it or not. If is not a matter of how one
feels. Feelings can be deceiving and can emanate from our fallen
nature. Too many marriages
are falling apart because one party doesn't feel like they love the
other party any longer. That is unbiblical for a believer, for we are
commanded to demonstrate a love based on God's truth and we can
carry out this command empowered by God's Spirit as we yield to His
control in every circumstance that might cause us to not "feel" like
loving the other person.
Agape love is not conditional
but is to be given to one's spouse or any other person, believer or
not even if or when it is not received or is not returned!
"Impossible" you protest! Indeed, this supernatural love is not
humanly possible but only possible because God's Spirit is within us
both to give us the "want to" and to give the "power to" carry it out.
Note that in this verse, the
verb "love" is not a suggestion but a clear command to be
immediately (even urgently) obeyed each time one encounters a person
or circumstance that might otherwise tempt us to rely on and respond
out of our fallen nature. To grow in grace is to recognize those
circumstances (especially "adverse" circumstances) and those people
(especially "difficult" people) and then surrendered to and empowered
by the Holy Spirit (in other words as you encounter these
circumstances or people, you are already walking in the Spirit, being
controlled by the Spirit) the giving of agape love is your
"supernatural reflex". In other words you act (based on the
truth) don't react (based on your feelings)!
aorist tense and imperative mood
commands the believer to carry out
this act of love now and do it effectively. The
active voice indicates that each
believer must decide in his or her mind to carry out this love. It is
decision of your will. Imperative mood (a command which
conveys the sense of urgency).
Wuest adds that agape
"speaks of a love which in its
classical usage refers to a love called out of one’s heart by the
preciousness of the person loved, which usage is carried over into the
NT, but which word has an additional content of meaning poured into it
by the way it is used in certain contexts such as (John 3:16), where the idea of self-sacrifice for the benefit
of the person loved is added to its classical meaning, (1Cor13:4ff-note) where the constituent elements of its Biblical usage are listed,
and (1Jn 4:8), where it is said to refer to the love that God is. Thus, the exhortation is to love
one’s brother Christian because he is precious to God, and to love him
with a love that is willing to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of
that brother, a love that causes one to be long suffering toward him,
a love that makes one treat him kindly, a love that so causes one to
rejoice in the welfare of another that there is no room for envy in
the heart, a love that is not jealous, a love that keeps one from
boasting of one’s self, a love that keeps one from bearing one’s self
in a lofty manner, a love that keeps one from acting unbecomingly, a
love that keeps one from seeking one’s own rights, a love that keeps
one from becoming angry, a love that does not impute evil, a love that
does not rejoice in iniquity but in the truth, a love that bears up
against all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things. That is the kind of love which God says one Christian should
have for another. These Christians to whom Peter was writing already
had a fondness and an affection for one another. The feeling of
fondness and affection was perfectly proper in itself, but it could
degenerate into an attachment for another which would be very selfish.
But if these Christians would blend the two kinds of love, saturate
the human fondness and affection with the divine love with which they
are exhorted to love one another, then that human affection would be
transformed and elevated to a heavenly thing. Then the fellowship of
saint with saint would be a heavenly fellowship, glorifying to the
Lord Jesus, and most blessed in its results to themselves. There is
plenty of the phile fondness and affection among the saints,
and too little of the agape divine love." (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
is something we have to work at, just as an Olympic contestant has to
work at his particular skills. Christian love is not a feeling; it is
a matter of the will. We show love to others when we treat them the
same way God loves us (unconditionally, sacrificially). God forgives
us, so we forgive others. God is kind to us, so we are kind to others.
It is not a matter of feeling but of willing, and this is something we
must constantly work at...Jesus must be always increasing in us and our
old self always decreasing. How do we love this way? By letting the
word of Christ dwell in us richly and by being continually filled with
(controlled by) the Holy Spirit of God. The same truth that we trusted
and obeyed to become God’s children is our "power source" to nurture
and enable us. It is impossible to love the truth and hate the
brethren. The Spirit of God produces this agape type love as a
beautiful “fruit” in our lives (Gal
As Vance Havner quipped
Never before has the church had so many degrees yet so little
We love “with a pure heart”
and not with a motive to get but in fact to give. There is a popular
teaching that that uses "love" to subtly manipulate others in order to
get what one wants. If our love is sincere and from a pure heart, we
do not “use people” for our own advantage.
Barnes writes that...
The phrase "with a pure heart
(1.) that it should be genuine
love, proceeding from a heart in which there is no guile or hypocrisy;
(2.) that it should be intense
affection, (ektenos) not cold and formal, but ardent and strong. If
there is any reason why we should love true Christians at all, there
is the same reason why our attachment to them should be intense.
(Barnes NT Commentary)
1 Peter 1:23
have been born again
Literal: having been [or, because you have been] regenerated [or,
born again] not from corruptible seed but incorruptible, through
[the] word of God [which is] living and remaining into the age [fig.,
Amplified: You have been regenerated (born again), not from a
mortal  origin ( seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by
the ever living and lasting Word of God. (Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
NLT: For you have been born again. Your new life did not come
from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in
death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the
eternal, living word of God. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
having been begotten again through the Word of God which lives and
Young's Literal: being
begotten again, not out of seed corruptible, but incorruptible,
through a word of God -- living and remaining -- to the age;
FOR YOU HAVE BEEN
BORN AGAIN: anagegennemenoi (RPPMPN):
John 1:3; 3:5)
This truth (born again by the
living and abiding word of God) will form the basis for Peter's
exhortations in the next chapter which is begins with therefore
1 Peter 2:1)
J Vernon McGee reminds us
You cannot be saved, you cannot be
born again apart from the Word of God. This Book is the miracle that
is in the world today. Although I believe this, I never cease to
marvel at the letters I receive from folk who tell me that they have
been born again and their lives have been transformed from listening
to my Bible-teaching radio broadcast. It is wonderful, but I don’t
understand how it happens; I only know that it is the result of the
Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
again (313) (anagennao
from aná = renewal, again, up + gennáo =
beget) (Click for more on anagennao) means to be given new
birth and describes regeneration, the act of the Holy Spirit imparting
to us a new life, making us partakers of the divine nature and thus
children of God, a begetting anew.
Note that in the context this
verse teaches that the supernatural birth was through the
instrumentality of the Word of God but then
Verse 25 adds
that it was the Word that was preached to them. It must
be proclaimed to the lost.
indicates an event that occurred in the
past (at the time of belief) and having continuing effect.
also emphasizes the permanent effect of this new birth and new life in
Christ which makes possible an unhypocritical brotherly love.
idea of a new beginning through a new birth with the infusion of divine
life was an idea
that was widespread in the ancient world. It was an idea present in
the mystery religions and also in Judaism. A proselyte to Judaism for
example was regarded as a newborn baby!
The word of God is the great
means of regeneration, James 1:18-note. The grace of regeneration is
conveyed by the gospel. This new and second birth is much more
desirable and excellent than the first. This the apostle teaches by
preferring the incorruptible to the corruptible seed.
By the one we become the children of men, by the other the sons and
daughters of the Most High.
The word of God being compared to
seed teaches us that though it is little in appearance, yet it is
wonderful in operation, though it lies hid awhile, yet it grows up and
produces excellent fruit at last.
NOT OF SEED WHICH IS
PERISHABLE BUT IMPERISHABLE: ouk ek sporas phthartes alla aphthartou:
(Malachi 2:3; Romans 1:23; 1Corinthians 15:53,54) (1John 3:9; 5:18)
Seed (4701) (spora)
is the productive unit of a plant representing the fertilized and
ripened egg cell of a plant, capable of sprouting to produce a new
plant thus enabling the species to perpetuate itself.
A seed represents "the
fertilized ripened ovule of a flowering plant containing an embryo and
capable normally of germination to produce a new plant" (Webster)
Seed in this verse
is identified as God’s Word as in Jesus' parable in Luke 8...
The sower went out to sow his
seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was
trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up. (Luke 8:5 )
Now the parable is this: the
seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11)
As Constable reminds
This “seed” shares the character of
its Source. It never passes out of fashion nor does it become
The Dictionary of Biblical
Imagery has an interesting description of seed writing
A seed is a product and a producer,
a small investment with large potential value, an essential detail, a
step in a continuum of reproduction. Though one, it becomes many
through death. It is a treasury, an allotment, an investment whose
yield depends on its environment. Having central importance in
agriculture, which is common to all nations from Adam, the seed yields
fertile imagery for both OT and NT principles and events. At a
physical level, the image of seed is preeminently of the potential for
life and generation. (Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J., Longman, T., Duriez, C.,
Penney, D., & Reid, D. G. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press)
A flower's seed or a man's seed
(sperm) is perishable and the birth they generate is perishable but
God's seed is imperishable and so when we are born of His seed
He begets unto us His nature and that nature is a forever nature. Thus
our new birth is into the sphere of forever...just another reason one
needs to know God's Word to help them understand that they cannot be
"unborn" (aka, "lose one's salvation") and but that they will live
forever because God's everlasting, ever-living seed abides within
The apostle John writes
No one who is born (perfect
tense = speaks of permanence of this new birth = you cannot
lose your salvation or be "unborn" beloved) of God practices (present
tense = continually) sin, because His seed abides (present
tense = continually) in him; and he cannot sin (present
tense = habitually), because he is born of God." (1Jn 3:9).
Human life is brought into being by
means of seed that must obey physical laws of decay and death, but not
so with the spiritual life implanted by the Holy Spirit Who uses the
Word of God to produce this new life.
Piper writes that...
Peter defines the
imperishable seed as "the living and abiding word of God" (or makes
the Word the instrument of the seed). So there's the point again. It
is not only imperishable, it is living and abiding. That is, it lasts.
It will not fail you. If this seed—this Word—has brought you into
being by the new birth, you will stay in being. Again the point is
hope... The Word of God that he is talking about is the gospel that
has been preached to them—the good news that we have been reading
about in this chapter—the ransom of the blood of Christ (1Pe 1:18-note;
1Pe 1:19-note) and the
resurrection of Christ (1Pe 1:3-note,
1Pe 1:21-note), and
the keeping power of God (1Pe 1:5-note), and
the inheritance of God. All this good news was preached to them. And
the point now in 1Pe 1:25 is that it is not like grass and flowers:
it doesn't wither and fall; it abides forever. If this Word is your
life, you live forever. The point is hope. (The
Seed of the Word and the Fruit of Love)
which is imperishable - Samuel Ridout writes that there
things we have in this first chapter—an incorruptible inheritance (1Pe
an incorruptible redemption (1Pe 1:18-note;
1Pe 1:19-note), and an
incorruptible word by which we are born (1Pe 1:23-note). Thus we have a nature which is taintless,
fitted for the enjoyment of a taintless inheritance and on the basis
of a redemption which never can lose its value. How the stamp of
eternal perfection is upon all, and what a fitting companion to these
is that “incorruptible” ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (1Pe 3:4-note).
(From "The Numerical Bible")
= negates what follows + phtheiro = to corrupt)
describes that which cannot
be ruined, that which is not subject to death and decay, that which endures forever.
Absolutely nothing can ruin your
eternal inheritance beloved.
Paul uses aphthartos in the
letter to the "sports crazed" Corinthians writing that
in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to
receive a perishable wreath (one that will wither), but we an
imperishable (aphthartos - one that cannot wither)." (1Co
The blessings of heaven that shall
be bestowed on the righteous are often represented under the image of
a crown, here one that is unfading.
Paul uses to aphthartos
describe the believer's transformed, glorified, resurrection body
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we
shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised imperishable (aphthartos - free and
immune from decay), and we shall be changed." (1 Cor 15:51)
Not only are all
plant, animal and human seeds corruptible, but so is our own human flesh (1Cor
15:53). However, we have been
redeemed not with the perishable but with the precious blood of Christ
(1Pe 1:18 [note];
[note]) to an
imperishable inheritance (1Pe 1:4
[note]), and imperishable body (1Co
and an imperishable crown (1Co 9:25), to serve an imperishable King
all revealed and activated through the imperishable eternal, Word of
God (1Pe 1:23-note).
Every stone of earth will
crumble, every column will fall, every arch will collapse. Diamonds
chip, gold wears away, but this inheritance of ours is a truly
“imperishable” commodity and will endure forever.
Spurgeon draws the
Now observe, to close, wherever
this new life comes through the word, it is incorruptible, it lives
and abides for ever. To get the good seed out of a true believer's
heart and to destroy the new nature in him, is a thing attempted by
earth and hell, but never yet achieved. Pluck the sun out of the
firmament, and you shall not even then be able to pluck grace out of a
regenerate heart. It "liveth and abideth for ever," saith the text; it
neither can corrupt of itself nor be corrupted. "It sinneth not,
because it is born of God." "I give unto them eternal life, and they
shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
"The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water
springing up into everlasting life." You have a natural life—that will
die, it is of the flesh. You have a spiritual life—of that it is
written: "'Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." You
have now within you the noblest and truest immortality: you must live
as God liveth, in peace and joy, and happiness.
But oh, remember, dear hearer, if
you have not this you "shall not see life." What then—shall you be
annihilated? Ah! no, but "the wrath of the Lord is upon you." You
shall exist, though you shall not live. Of life you shall know
nothing, for that is the gift of God in Christ Jesus; but of an
everlasting death, full of torment and anguish, you shall be the
wretched heritor—"the wrath of God abideth on him." You shall be cast
into "the lake of fire, which is the second death." You shall be one
of those whose "worm dieth not, and whose fire is not quenched."
May God, the ever-blessed Spirit,
visit you! If he be now striving with you, O quench not his divine
flame! Trifle not with any holy thought you have. If this morning you
must confess that you are not born again, be humbled by it. Go and
seek mercy of the Lord, entreat him to deal graciously with you and
save you. Many who have had nothing but moonlight have prized it, and
ere long they have had sunlight. Above all, remember what the
quickening seed is, and reverence it when you hear it preached, "for
this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." Respect
it, and receive it. Remember that the quickening seed is all wrapped
up in this sentence: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved." "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned." (The
Withering Work of the Spirit
THROUGH THE LIVING AND
ABIDING WORD OF GOD: dia logou zontos (PAPMSG) theou kai menontos (PAPMSG):
(1Peter 1:25; Jeremiah 23:28; Matthew 24:35; John 6:63; Hebrews 4:12;
Authority of God's Word;
The Power of God's Word - A Simple
Living and abiding Word of
God - Matthew Henry writes that
The word of God lives and abides
for ever. This word is a living word, or a lively word, Hebrews 4:12.
It is a means of spiritual life, to begin it and preserve in it,
animating and exciting us in our duty, till it brings us to eternal
life: and it is abiding; it remains eternally true, and abides in the
hearts of the regenerate for ever.
Steven Cole notes that...
Wherever the Bible has gone and the
good news about Jesus Christ recorded in the Bible has been preached,
whether among a savage tribe or in a sophisticated, educated culture,
the miracle of new birth has taken place. People are transformed
inwardly by God’s power through His Word, not through human
A skeptic once told Gaylord
Kambarami, the General Secretary of the Bible Society of Zimbabwe, “If
you give me that New Testament will roll the pages and use them to
make cigarettes!” Gaylord replied, “I understand that, but at least
promise to read the page of the New Testament before you smoke it.”
When the man agreed, Gaylord gave him the New Testament and that was
the last he saw of him for 15 years.
Then, while Gaylord was attending a
Methodist convention in Zimbabwe, the speaker on the platform suddenly
spotted him, pointed him out to the audience and said, “This man
doesn’t remember me, but 15 years ago he tried to sell me a New
Testament. When I refused to buy it he gave it to me, even though I
told him I would use the pages to roll cigarettes. I smoked Matthew
and I smoked Mark and I smoked Luke. But when I got to John 3:16, I
couldn’t smoke anymore. My life was changed from that moment!” That
man is now a full- time evangelist, preaching the Word he once smoked!
God uses His Word to bring the new birth! (Read
Pastor Cole's entire excellent sermon)
The Spirit of God takes the
living Word of God to
produce eternal life. It is the truth of the gospel that saves, for as
It is the Spirit Who gives life;
the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are
spirit and are life. (John 6:63)
Abraham Lincoln addressed a
group of African-Americans who had given him a special presentation
Bible in 1864
"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it
is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to
the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not
know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare,
here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it."
So here Peter describes God's Word
as a seed which is living and abiding which speaks of its ability to
give new life, to grow that life and to sustain that life forever. The
Word of God is also described metaphorically in several passages.
James says that God
In the exercise of His will He
brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it
were, the first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:18-note)
Here the word of truth, is
the instrument by which God brought about our new birth as "first
fruits", which parallels the idea of the word as a seed.
In this same chapter James
describes the Word as a mirror
But one who looks intently at the
perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a
forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in
what he does. (James 1:25-note)
The writer of Hebrews uses
metaphor of a sword which like a doctor's scalpel is able to
supernaturally dissect explaining that
For the word of God is living and
active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as
the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able
to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (He 4:12-note)
In the OT Jeremiah pictures
power inherent in God's Word recording Jehovah's question...
Is not My word like fire?" declares
the LORD, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock? (Jeremiah 23:29)
The psalmist pictures God's
Word as a light to guide us declaring...
Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and
a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 -
Finally Paul pictures God's
Word as the believers offensive weapon in spiritual war...
And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:17-note)
The living and abiding
word is also
characterized a number of NT passages as the...
the word of His grace (Acts
the word of the gospel (Acts
the word of promise (Ro 9:9-note)
the word of the Cross (1Cor
the word of reconciliation (2Co
the word of life (Php 2:16 -
the word of truth (2Cor 6:7,
the message of truth (Ep
the word of His power (He
the word of righteousness
the word of Christ
the word of the Lord (18x in NAS NT-
Lk 22:61; Acts 8:25; 11:16; 12:24; 13:48, 49; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10,
20; 1Th 1:8; 4:15; 2Th 3:1; 1Pe 1:25)
word of God
(39x in NAS NT- Mt 15:6; Mk 7:13; Lk 3:2; 5:1; 8:11, 21; 11:28; Jn
10:35; Acts 4:31; 6:2, 7; 8:14; 11:1; 13:5, 7, 44, 46; 17:13; 18:11;
Ro 9:6; 1Cor 14:36; 2Cor 2:17; 4:2; Ep 6:17; Php 1:14; Col 1:25; 1Th
2:13; 1Ti 4:5; 2Ti 2:9; Titus 2:5; Heb 4:12; 6:5; 11:3; 13:7; 1Pe
1:23; 2Pe 3:5; 1Jn 2:14; Re 1:2, 9; 6:9; 19:13; 20:4)
See the interesting A. W. Pink
Profiting From the Word
C. H. Spurgeon's
exhortation is applicable here...
'It is blessed, to eat into the
very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural
language, and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord, so
that your blood is Bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows
Spurgeon - Morning and Evening- Peter most earnestly exhorted
the scattered saints to love each other "with a pure heart fervently"
and he wisely fetched his argument, not from the law, from nature, or
from philosophy, but from that high and divine nature which God hath
implanted in his people. Just as some judicious tutor of princes might
labour to beget and foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified
behaviour, finding arguments in their position and descent, so,
looking upon God's people as heirs of glory, princes of the blood
royal, descendants of the King of kings, earth's truest and oldest
aristocracy, Peter saith to them, "See that ye love one another,
because of your noble birth, being born of incorruptible seed; because
of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things;
and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away,
though the glory of the flesh shall fade, and even its existence shall
cease." It would be well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized
the true dignity of our regenerated nature, and lived up to it. What
is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly
sanctity to royal dignity. The king's royalty often lieth only in his
crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He
is as much above his fellows through his new birth, as a man is above
the beast that perisheth. Surely he ought to carry himself, in all his
dealings, as one who is not of the multitude, but chosen out of the
world, distinguished by sovereign grace, written among "the peculiar
people" and who therefore cannot grovel in the dust as others, nor
live after the manner of the world's citizens. Let the dignity of your
nature, and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ,
constrain you to cleave unto holiness, and to avoid the very
appearance of evil. (C H Spurgeon, Morning and Evening)
Divine, Ever-Living, Unchanging - But the word of the Lord
endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is
preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:25)
All human teaching and, indeed, all human beings shall pass away as
the grass of the meadow; but we are here assured that the Word of the
Lord is of a very different character, for it shall endure forever.
We have here a divine gospel; for what word can endure forever but
that which is spoken by the eternal God?
We have here an ever-living gospel, as full of vitality as when it
first came from the lips of God; as strong to convince and convert, to
regenerate and console, to sustain and sanctify as ever it was in its
first days of wonder-working.
We have an unchanging gospel which is not today green grass and
tomorrow dry hay but always the abiding truth of the immutable
Jehovah. Opinions alter, but truth certified by God can no more change
than the God who uttered it.
Here, then, we have a gospel to rejoice in, a word of the Lord upon
which we may lean all our weight. "For ever" includes life, death,
judgment, and eternity. Glory be to God in Christ Jesus for
everlasting consolation. Feed on the word today and all the days of
1 Peter 1:24
chortou exeranthe (3SAPI)
Analyzed Literal: For "All flesh [is] like grass, and all glory
of humanity like [the] flower of grass; the grass withered, and its
flower fell off,
Amplified: For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its
glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the
flower drops off, (Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
NLT: As the prophet says, "People are like grass that dies
away; their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of wildflowers. The
grass withers, and the flowers fall away. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
for every kind of flesh is as grass, and its every kind of glory is as
the flower of grass. The grass withers away, and the flower falls off (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: because all flesh is as
grass, and all glory of man as flower of grass; wither did the grass,
and the flower of it fell away,
ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER
OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF: dioti pasa sarx os chortos
kai pasa doxa autes os anthos chortou exeranthe (3SAPI) o chortos kai to anthos exepesen
19:26; Ps 37:2; 90:5; 92:7; 102:4; 103:15; 129:6; Isa 40:6-8; Jas
1:10,11; 4:14; 1Jn 2:17)
is used 147 times in the NT and to
give a simple definition of sarx is somewhat difficult because
sarx has many nuances (some Greek lexicons list up to 11
definitions for sarx!). The diligent disciple must carefully
of in order to discern which nuance is intended. The range of meaning
extends from the substance flesh (both human and animal), to the human
body, to the entire person, and to all humankind. Refer to notes on
for the 4 basic definitions of sarx in Strong's Lexicon.
flesh is a comprehensive term referring to all of humanity (Mt
24:22 where "life" is sarx)
or including both the human and animal creation (Ge 6:13).
(chortos) refers to a feeding place for grazing animals and by
metonymy as used here by Peter chortos refers to what grows
there (grass, hay).
(xeraino) literally dries out or becomes parched.
(anthos) refers to a blossom, and figuratively is a picture of
that which does not last. Physical beauty is as short-lived as the
flowers of the field, as even the glamorous stars in Hollywood are
eventually forced to acknowledge!
(ekpipto from ek = out, from + pipto = fall)
literally is to to fall from some point, here picturing withering
blossoms falling to the ground, which in turn pictures the idea of
Man, in his
utmost flourish and glory, is still a withering, fading, dying
creature. Take him singly, all flesh is grass. In his entrance into
the world, in his life and in his fall, he is similar to grass, Job
14:2 ("Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like
a shadow and does not remain"). Take him in all his glory, even this is as the
flower of grass; his wit, beauty, strength, vigour, wealth,
honour—these are but as the flower of grass, which soon withers and
dies away. The only way to render this perishing creature solid and
incorruptible is for him to entertain and receive the word of God; for
this remains everlasting truth, and, if received, will preserve him to
everlasting life, and abide with him for ever.
Thomas Gray penned “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” at a
cemetery near Stoke Poges, a little village not far from Windsor
Castle, England. One stanza of that poem describes well what Peter is
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Man’s glory simply does not last, but God’s glory is eternal and He
has deigned to share that glory with us! Let us live for His
as beautiful as they be for a moment are destined for destruction. It
is therefore foolish to place one's trust in anything temporal. Trust what God
says for it alone is enduring, and trustworthy.
Spurgeon in a sermon to his
congregation instructed them...
Brethren, look around you. To what
shall we compare this immense assembly? As I look upon the many
colors, and the varied faces, even if it were not in the text, I am
certain that a meadow thickly besprinkled with flowers would rise up
before my imagination. Look at the mass of people gathered together,
and doth it not remind you of the field in its full summer glory, when
the king-cups, daisies, cloves, and grass blooms, are sunning
themselves in countless varieties of beauty? Ay, but not only
in the poet's eye is there a resemblance, but in the mind of God, and
in the experience of man.
All flesh is grass - all
that is born of the first birth, if we compare it to grass in poetry,
may be compared to it also in fact, from the frailty and shortness of
its existence. We passed the meadows but a month ago, and they were
moved in verdant billows by the breeze like waves of ocean when they
are softly stirred with the evening gale. We looked upon the whole
scene, and it was exceeding fair. We passed it yesterday and the
mower's scythe had cut asunder beauty from its roots, and there it lay
in heaps ready to be gathered when fully dry. The grass is cut down so
soon, but if it stood, it would wither, and handfuls of dust would
take the place of the green and coloured leaves, for doth not the
grass wither and the flowers thereof fall avidly?
Such is mortal life. We are not
living, brethren, we are dying. We begin to breathe, and we make the
number of our breaths the less. Our pulse is "beating funeral marches
to the tomb." The sand runs down from the upper bulb of the glass, and
it is emptying fast. Death is written upon every brow.
Man, know that thou art mortal, for
thou all art born of woman. Thy first birth gave thee life and death
together. Thou dost only breathe awhile to keep thee from the jaws of
the grave, when that breath is spent, into the dust of death thou
tallest there and then.
Everything, especially during the
last few weeks, has taught us the frailty of human life. The senator
who guided the affairs of nations and beheld the rise of a free
kingdom, lived not to see it fully organized, but expired with many a
weighty secret unspoken. The judge who has sentenced many, receives
his own sentence at the last. From this earth, since last we met
together, master-minds have been taken away, and even the monarch on
his throne has owned the monarchy of Death. How many of the masses too
have fallen, and have been carried to their long home! There hav e
been funerals, some of them funerals of honored men who perished doing
their Master's will in saving human life, and alas, there have been
unhonoured burials of others who did the will of Satan, and have
inherited the flame. There have been deaths abundant on the right hand
and on the left, and well have Peter's words been proved—"All flesh is
grass, and all the glory thereof is as the flower of the field; the
grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." (1
Peter 1:23-25: The New Nature
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER: to de rhema kuriou menei
(3SPAI) eis ton aiona:
1:23; Ps 102:12,26; 119:89; Isa 40:8; Mt 5:18; Lk 16:17)
from verb rheo = to speak -
to say, speak or utter definite words) refers to the spoken word,
especially a word as uttered by a living voice.
Read the Bible as if God were speaking
to you. He is!
The more you read it, the more you love it
The more you love it, the more you read it.
If you're too busy to read the Bible, you're too busy.
Laleo is another word translated speak but it refers only to
uttering a sound whereas rheo refers to uttering a definite
intelligible word. Rhema refers to any sound produced by the
voice which has a definite meaning. It focuses upon the content of the
communication. For example in Luke we read...
And they understood none of these
things, and this saying (rhema) was hidden from them, and they
did not comprehend the things that were said. (Luke 18:34)
used to refer to "the thing spoken of", an object, a matter, an affair
or an event. For example we read in Luke 1:65
And fear came on all those living
around them; and all these matters [rhema] were being talked
about in all the hill country of Judea.
(Compare to) But Mary treasured up
all these things (rhema), pondering them in her heart. (Luke
the NT can exhibit several nuances of meaning depending on the context
a prophecy ("that you
should remember the words - rhema - spoken beforehand by the
holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by
your apostles." see note
2 Peter 3:2),
a charge against one (Mt
27:14 Jesus "did not answer him with regard to even a single
charge" - rhema), a message (Ro 10:8 "But what does it say?
"THE WORD - rhema - IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR
HEART"-- that is, the word - rhema - of faith which we are
a promise (Lk 2:29 "Now
Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart In peace, according to Thy
word", Lk 1:38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of
the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel
departed from her.),
a command (Mt 4:4 "Man
shall not live on bread alone, but on every word - rhema - that
proceeds from the mouth of God"; Luke 5:5 And Simon answered and
said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at
Your bidding - rhema - I will let down the nets.")
The Word of God
BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the
doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.
doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and
its decisions are immutable.
it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy.
contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer
the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the
soldier's sword and the Christian's character.
paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.
is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end.
should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.
it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.
given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be
involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and
will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."
Anonymous (found on the flyleaf of an old Bible)
the seed, the Word, abides forever, it follows that the new life of
believers is equally eternally enduring.
Oh, children of God, I know not any
subject that ought more thoroughly to lift you out of yourselves than
this. Now let the divine nature live in you; come, put down the animal
for a moment, put down the mere mental faculty; let the living spark
blaze up; come, let the divine element, the newborn nature that God
has given to you, let that now speak, and let its voice be praise; let
it look up and let it breathe its own atmosphere, the heaven of God,
in which it shall shortly rejoice. O God, our Father, help us to walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, seeing that we have by
thine own self been quickened to an immortal life. (1
Peter 1:23-25: The New Nature
is not static, but living and abiding forever. It has confounded its
critics for 3,500 years. Emperor Diocletian tried to eradicate
it and in 303 A.D. he proclaimed an edict requiring Christians to
destroy their Bibles but within 25 years, the next emperor
ordered 50 copies be made and distributed at government expense!
Atheists have failed to stamp it out.
Voltaire, the French
atheist (1778) boasted that within 100 hundred years of his
lifetime, Christianity would be swept from earth but only 50
years after his death, his own printing press and house were
being used by the Geneva Bible Society to produce Bibles! God
does have a sense of humor! As recently as 1899, atheist Robert Ingersoll said: "In twenty five years the Bible will be a
forgotten book." No, Peter says "living & abiding."
AND THIS IS THE WORD (gospel)
WHICH WAS PREACHED TO YOU: touto de estin (3SPAI) to rhema to euaggelisthen (APPNSN)
(1Peter 1:12; 2:2; Jn
1:1,14; 1Co 1:21, 22, 23, 24; 2:2; 15:1, 2, 3, 4; Eph 2:17; 3:8; Titus
1:3; 2Pe 1:19; 1Jn 1:1,3)
The Word - This Word is
incorruptible message of the Gospel of our salvation which when
preached is used by the Spirit to cause sinners to be supernaturally
born again into saints. For in depth discussion of verses that most
succinctly define the gospel 1Co 15:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6- see notes on
The prophets and apostles preached the same doctrine. This word which
Isaiah and others delivered in the Old Testament is the same which the
apostles preached in the New.
Comment: Abraham was saved by
faith in the gospel as were all the other true believers in the Old
Testament. Cf Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing
that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel
beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED
Peter is using a
figure of speech to illustrate the imperishability of God's Word in contrast to
human flesh and man's 'glorious' achievements. This truth should
motivate us to read and meditate (Ps 119:97, Ps 1:2, Josh 1:8) on the
unchangeable (Proverbs 30:5) living word of God in the midst of a
world which is passing away (1Jn 2:17).
where the word
is the future message of salvation in the time when God would redeem
his people (e.g., Isaiah 52:7, 8).
A voice says, "Call out." Then he
answered, "What shall I call out?" All flesh is grass, and all its
loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the
flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the
people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word
of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8)
a glorious affirmation of the absolute sufficiency and the eternal
existence of God's word. Nature will decay, human flesh will grow
frail, and circumstances will change, but God's word remains like an
everlasting anchor for our souls, an anchor which is both sure and
steadfast. God's Word gives absolute promises from the Unchangeable
God which certainly will be accomplished in His perfect timing. Human
words are fleeting, making their impact for a moment and then dying in
the mists of history, but God's Word never dies and thus it manifests
eternal authority. We can count on Scripture when all else fails.
As J Vernon
My friend, we need the preaching
and the teaching of the Word of God above everything else. I do not
mean to minimize the place of music, the place of methods, and the
place of organization, but there is absolutely no substitute for the
Word of God today. “The word of the Lord endureth for ever. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
Peter quotes from Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8
Septuagint - LXX) to support his point. In the context, Isaiah was writing
prophetically to God’s people who had been taken into captivity in
Babylon, comforting them that God would fulfill His promises by
restoring them to the land. Babylon, outwardly, was one of the most
impressive and powerful kingdoms on the face of the earth. The hanging
gardens were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The
walls of Babylon seemed impenetrable. But Isaiah says, “All flesh is
like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass
withers and the flower falls off; but the Word of the Lord abides
forever.” In other words, don’t be fooled by the outward
impressiveness of Babylon. It will fade like a flower, but God’s Word
will stand forever! Of course, God’s Word through Isaiah proved true.
In case they missed the point, Peter adds, “This is the word which was
preached as good news to you.” Thus when you are suffering in an alien
world that looks glamorous and seems lasting, don’t be fooled. It will
fade and perish; but the new birth you possess through God’s Word will
abide forever. This new birth, marked by purity of soul in obedience
to the truth, which takes place through God’s imperishable Word, is
the basis for the command Peter gives to love one another (1Pe 1:22-note)
I’ve developed this definition of
Biblical love is a
self-sacrificing, caring commitment which shows itself in seeking the
highest good of the one loved.
Thus it is not a sentimental
feeling, like so much modern love, since at its core it is a
commitment. It does not mean always being “nice,” since sometimes the
commitment to seek a person’s highest good involves confronting them
in a way that causes pain. If I have a choice between a doctor who is
nice and who gives lots of hugs, and who sends me out the door feeling
good; and another doctor who says, “Steve, I’m going to be honest:
You’re very sick. The cure will be painful, but it will make you
well”; give me the second doctor. He’s the one who really loves me!
He’s willing to confront the sickness in my life and he’s committed to
helping me get better. Love is always caring, even when it must
confront. It is not devoid of feelings of compassion and tenderness.
It often involves sacrifice on the part of the one extending it. The
highest good for anyone, of course, is that he comes under the
lordship of Christ so that his life gives glory to Him.
Peter describes this love here in
three ways: First, it is a sincere love. The word means “not
hypocritical” (see Ro 12:9; 2Cor. 6:6; 1John 3:18). Biblical
love is not affirming and gushy to a person’s face but then
disparaging of him when he’s not around. It’s not manipulative, trying
to butter a person up for one’s own advantage, while in your heart you
despise him. Biblical love doesn’t try to use someone for the
“connection” for personal gain. Second, it is a clean love. There is
strong manuscript evidence for the reading, “fervently love one
another from a clean heart” (1Peter 1:22).
In other words, love is not for
impurity, such as sexual favors. Neither should it be a camaraderie
because of common sinful pursuits, such as going out drinking or
partying together. You cannot love if you harbor unconfessed sin in
your heart. It must stem from a clean heart.
Third, it must be a fervent love.
This word stems from a verb meaning to stretch out or strain. It
implies effort and emotion. It is used of Jesus’ fervent prayer in the
Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) and of the church’s fervent prayer
for Peter when he was in prison facing execution (Acts 12:5). It shows
that while love is an emotion, it is more than an emotion. It can be
commanded and thus involves the will. It involves hard work and
effort. It’s not always easy. But it is required as a crucial part of
the outworking of our salvation.
Conclusion - I want to conclude by
asking two important questions:
First, Have you truly been born
again, not just in the American cliche sense, but has God’s Spirit
imparted spiritual life to you?
You ask, “How can I know for sure?”
There are several tests given in the Bible, but the test which comes
from our text (and is developed repeatedly in 1 John) is, “Do you obey
God’s truth?” It’s not that you never sin, but is the desire and bent
of your life to please the Savior who loved you and gave Himself for
you? It will be impossible for you to love others as God wants you to
do if you have not been born again. So you must put your trust in
Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord as the primary matter.
Second, Are you working at
loving as you should?
That may sound like a
contradiction, since our culture says that you either have love or you
don’t and there’s not much you can do about it. But God’s Word says
that if we’ve been born again we must work at having a sincere love, a
clean love, and a fervent love, especially toward other Christians.
You may need to begin at home or with an extended family member. It
may be someone in this church. But if you’ve received the new birth,
you’ve got to work at the new love. Christians must love because they
have been born again through God’s imperishable Word of truth.
(Copyright 1992, Steven J. Cole, All Rights Reserved) (Read
Pastor Cole's entire excellent sermon)
Ray Pritchard asks...
So how does God teach us to
love? By putting us around unlovely people. There is no other way
to learn to love. If you only hang around nice, sweet, fun people,
you’ll never learn to love. That’s why God has some of you in
marriages to some very difficult people. That’s why you’re working
around some people you don’t particularly like. You can only learn to
love by being around hard-to-love people. And God is the one who
I told you a few weeks ago that your marriage isn’t about you or your
spouse. And it’s not about your happiness or your sexual fulfillment.
Your marriage is about God. The next week I told you that your
sexuality is not about you. It’s all about God. Today I’m simply
adding the fact that true brotherly love isn’t about you or your
friends or your family. It’s not about the people you like or don’t
like. It’s all about God. Until you see that and come to believe and
rest upon it, you’ll never have the sort of brotherly love that really
goes the distance.
And so with God’s help, we will never stop loving, never stop
believing, never stop serving, and we will never stop standing for the
truth. It’s not about us. It’s all about God. Amen. (See
sermon - Love One Another Deeply)
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