1 Peter 2:20 MEANING

1 Peter 2:20
(20) For what glory is it.--A poetical and pagan-sounding word, not elsewhere found in the New Testament; in the Old Testament it corresponds to the word "fame," in Job 28:22. The sense may be said to be slightly humorous. "If you make a blunder" (such is the meaning of "fault" here--it might include such things as the breaking of dishes), "and receive a buffet for it" (or a box on the ear--a common punishment of slaves for trifling faults), "and bear it with fortitude" (the meekness of patience has no place in the word), "do you expect to be made the subject of an heroic or dithyrambic poem, to have your name resounded through the world and immortalised among posterity?" The "for" at the beginning of the clause explains why the writer added "suffering wrongfully" at the end of the last.

When ye do well, and suffer for it.--It is a pity that the translators have limited St. Peter's meaning by the insertion of the last two words. It is unnecessary to understand the suffering to be directly provoked by the well-doing. It would have done just as well to say, "when ye do well, and yet are ill-treated." The "froward" master makes his servants suffer without thinking what he makes them suffer for.

This is acceptable with God.--Timidity about St. Peter's theology has caused a difference between the rendering of the same word in two consecutive verses. It should be translated "thankworthy" here as well as above, and must be taken in precisely the same sense. Observe that the Apostle does not continue, "this is glory," as we might have expected; a Christian is not supposed to care for such trash as fame. But a Christian may well care to win the thanks of God! And such endurance of griefs for God's sake is now distinctly said to be "thankworthy with God"--i.e., from God's point of view. See 2 Thessalonians 1:6, where, as here, it is assumed that the moral law is identical for God and for us, and that His principles and impulses of action are the same as those which He has implanted in us. "He will thank a man for it," says Archbishop Leighton, not a divine to favour the doctrine of human merit, but too honest a scholar to shrink from the meaning of words. Many things are strictly duty, and yet we do not expect to find them done, and are proportionably grateful when we see that they are done. And shall we, for the sake of a doctrinal thesis like that, "that man can deserve nothing at the hand of God," deny to God the possibility of enjoying one of the happiest exercises of love, the sense of gratitude?

Verse 20. - For what glory is it? The word translated "glory" (κλέος), common in Greek poetry, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, first, "rumor, report;" then "fame, renown." If, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently; literally, if sinning and being buffeted. The word translated "buffeted" (κολαφιζόμενοι), used by St. Matthew and St. Mark in describing our Savior's sufferings, has a figurative meaning in 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7. It is probably used literally here; blows were a common occurrence in the life of slaves. To be patient when suffering deserved punishment is often difficult, but it is no more than a simple duty; it would not be for the glory of religion. Christian slaves ought to do their duty to their masters, and not deserve punishment. But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; literally, but if doing well, and suffering. The words "for it" are not in the Greek. This is acceptable with God. If we read "for" (τοῦτο γὰρ), with some of the best manuscripts, we must supply "there is glory" after the last clause. "It, doing well and suffering, ye take it patiently, there is glory (κλέος), for this is thank-worthy (χάρις) with God." Such conduct will bring honor to Christianity, for it is thankworthy even in the sight of God. When Christian men and women took cruel sufferings patiently and joyfully, as the apostles did (Acts 5:41; Acts 16:25), that was more than a mere recognized duty - that showed the power of Christian motives, that brought glory to Christianity, and was held to be thankworthy (such is God's gracious condescension) even in the sight of God. The word for "acceptable" here is that translated "thankworthy" in ver. 19, where see note.

2:18-25 Servants in those days generally were slaves, and had heathen masters, who often used them cruelly; yet the apostle directs them to be subject to the masters placed over them by Providence, with a fear to dishonour or offend God. And not only to those pleased with reasonable service, but to the severe, and those angry without cause. The sinful misconduct of one relation, does not justify sinful behaviour in the other; the servant is bound to do his duty, though the master may be sinfully froward and perverse. But masters should be meek and gentle to their servants and inferiors. What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ's death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us. The fruits of Christ's sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man's sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults,.... Which ye have committed, and are guilty of, and are truly such:

ye shall take it patiently? to be silent, and not murmur when beaten, within measure, for real faults, is no great honour, nor does it deserve any praise; it is the least that can be done:

but if, when ye do well; either in their master's service, or rather in the business of religion, and the things of God; as when what they do is according to the will of God, and from love to him, and in faith, and in the name and strength of Christ, and to the glory of God; without all which there is no well doing:

and suffer for it; reproach and persecution, by words or blows, in person or property:

ye take it patiently; without grieving and repining, or answering again, and making any returns:

this is acceptable with God; is agreeably to his will, and grateful in his sight, what he is well pleased with, is reckoned grace with him; and though it is his own grace, and of his own bestowing, he will reward it with glory.

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