Notes on 1 Peter 1:10-24
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
1 Peter 1:10, KJV Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace (that should come) unto you:
The prophets—the true prophets, to be specific—knew that there was a blessing in following God and a curse on those who did not. It is not clear if they ever understood that the Son of God would become part of His own Creation, then live with them, die for them, and be raised from the dead for their salvation. They did know that there would be a Messiah (Isaiah spoke often of the “Servant” to come) who would suffer (Isaiah 53 is a classic chapter) as well as reign as King (Isaiah 11 and many other scriptures in Isaiah’s prophecies alone).
Peter does not say they ever comprehended this double aspect of Messiah, namely one who suffered and yet would reign, only that they enquired and searched diligently. They gave the message from God Himself at the time of His choosing with God providing additional revelation (i.e., the Gospels) as He chose to do so.
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
The prophets sometimes gave dates or intervals but some prophecies had no set date or time. Isaiah gave a specific time, for example, in Isaiah 7:8 where he said that “Ephraim”, or the northern kingdom, would be destroyed within 65 years. But he also prophesied that “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (9:6)” without giving a specific date this would happen. Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be taken captive to Babylon and would remain there for 70 years (Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10) but he did not give the nation a specific date when it would happen.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Peter mentions that the prophets had it revealed to them that their ministry was not just for them but for the first century believers (and us, by extension). It is not stated when or where or how the prophets obtained this revelation. He also speaks of the chain of knowledge, beginning with the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit (Ghost, KJV) came down from Heaven and the Church was begun.
He also speaks of the angels desiring to look into this. Their knowledge of salvation appears to be limited, in that the angel did not preach the Gospel to Cornelius (Acts 10) but told him to find Peter and have him preach the gospel to Cornelius’ household.
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Several commentators have observed that the phrase “gird up” has the following picture: most everyone in the days of Peter wore long, flowing robes (for modesty, perhaps; protection, or any number of reasons) and ordinarily there was no problem. As you walked, the robe of course walked with you. But there was a time when running or fighting or some other reason called for you to be ready, and that meant gathering up a great deal of the robe’s fabric then tucking or folding it into a wide leather belt sometimes called a “girdle”. Peter might be reminding the readers that persecution was coming, if not already taking place (see verse 7) and that they needed to be ready when it came.
Then Peter again makes reference to the “revelation” of Jesus Christ. He does not give a specific time, sign, prophecy, date, or anything else when this is going to happen. He did know certainly that just as Jesus had departed this world, He would return in a similar way (paraphrased from the angels’ message to the apostles in Acts 1).
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
This could be in reference to both Romans 12:1-2 and other parts of Paul’s letters, where Paul gave a list of what each sinner had been doing or was still doing (examples:
Romans 1:18-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-21, etc.). These believers, much like us today, were struggling, apparently, with being or living in the world without being part of it (the world system).15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
This is a direct quote from Leviticus 20:7. The phrase appears several other times in the Old Testament, mostly reminding Israel that they were to be God’s special people. Peter is not seeking to put Gentile believers under the Law (Acts 15 settled that issue) but reminding them that God is holy and we should live holy lives as well.17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning (here) in fear:
Reminding the readers that God is no respecter of persons—proved conclusively when Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his household (Acts 10). He also reminds them that they are only “sojourning” here on this earth. An additional note is that each believer should “pass the time” here in fear: not being afraid of God but having a reverential awe and respect for Him.18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, (as) silver and gold, from your vain conversation (received) by tradition from your fathers;
In the New Testament, redemption is a concept based on re-purchasing something, sometimes in view of releasing an item from slavery. Concordances and other sources provide much more information than space allows here.
Peter also mentions the “vain conversation” which probably refers to the rituals the readers had been doing before they became believers in Jesus Christ. The rituals could not save anyone’s soul!19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Paul had written before, in Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14, that we have redemption through (Christ’s) blood. The reference to the lamb “without blemish and without spot” is part of the description of the Passover Lamb. Exodus 12:5 does not mention “without spot” does specifically say the lamb had to be without blemish.20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
No verse in the Old Testament has these exact words but there are numbers of prophecies spoken centuries before the New Testament era. “Manifest” probably means “made visible” or “made known”, because the Old Testament saints had a vague knowledge, at best, about the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter also references his day as “these last times”, even though these “last times” have continued for nearly 2000 years afterwards.21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Another reference to Christ being raised from the dead. He didn’t “rise”, He was “raised” through the Power of God the Father (see also Acts 13:29-30). Jesus had also prayed to receive the glory He used to have (John 17:5).22 Seeing 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 pure heart fervently:
Here Peter refers to the words of Jesus in John 15:12 but adds the phrase “with a pure heart fervently”. Our souls had already been purified but our hearts might need to have this done more than once. Compare the difference between bathing and washing the feet (see John 13:1-17).23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
We were neither redeemed by means of corruptible things, nor are we born again by corruptible seed (see John 1:13). Paul wrote in Romans 10:17 that faith came by hearing, and hearing by God’s Word.24 For all flesh (is) as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
This is in reference to Isaiah 40:6-8.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)