Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Peter 1:3-9

This post includes Father’s summary of chapter 1.  Also, he provides a paraphrase of he text he is commenting on, these are in purple text.

In the first two verses of this chapter, the Apostle addresses his apostolical sahttation to the faithful who are elected to grace here, and to glory hereafter, and shows that the Three Persons of the Adorable Trinity concur in the work of redemption. He next bursts forth into the praises of God, for the great gift of spiritual regeneration bestowed on the faithful, which carried with it a lively hope (verse 3); and this regeneration was bestowed on them in order to qualify them, as sons of God, to enter on the possession ofhis priceless and undying inheritance, securely laid up in heaven for them, who are protected by the strong fortress offaith, until they enjoy this consummate salvation, which shall be manifested on the last day (4, 5). And on account of the blessings in store for them, they now rejoice under the afflictions which it may please Providence to send them, with a view of testing their faith, and bringing it to a happy issue (6, 7). He points out the greatness of the blessings bestowed on them, by referring to the anxiety of the prophets of old to become fully acquainted with them, and of the angels themselves to view these mysteries of grace with awe and wonder (10-12). Here closes the dogmatical part of the Epistle.

He next enters on the moral part, and exhorts them to remove evety obstacle, arising from their unsubdued passsions, to the attainment of the bliss prepared for them (19), and to obey, as children of God, his precepts, and perform good works (14). He exhorts them to sanctity of life, after the example of God (15, 16), and to have reverential fear of him as just judge (17). He reminds them of the value God attaches to their souls, owing to the price paid for them (19); not only did Christ shed his blood for them in
due time, but this was pre-ordained from eternity; hence, a new motivefor sanctity of life (21). He exhorts them to practise fraternal charity (22), and points out the excellence of their new spiritual birth (23-25).

1Pe 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead:

Eternal praise and thanksgiving be rendered to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, regardless of any merits of ours, whether actual or foreseen, and influenced solely by his copious and abundant mercy, has given us a new spiritual birth, which carries with it a firm and undying hope of life everlasting; and this new birth of grace has resulted from the resurrection of Christ from the dead, by which our justification has been completed.—(Rom 4:25).

The Apostle commences the subject of the Epistle with the praises of God—
“blessed be the God,” &c. Our blessing of God is different from his blessing of us.  His blessing of us consists in bestowing benefits; whereas, our blessing of him consists in benevolence towards him, in acts of praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude. “The God and Father of our Lord,” &c. This refers to God the Father, the First Person of the Adorable Trinity. The words bear the same meaning as m Rom 15:6; Ephes 1:3. He begot the Son by an eternal generation.  “Regenerated us,” i.e., has given us a new and second birth of grace, in the laver of baptism, thus bestowing on us a new spiritual essence by grace.  “Unto a lively hope,” this new spiritual birth carries with it a “lively hope,” i.e., a hope of life everlasting.  “Hope,” may be also put for the object of hope, which is an object ever living, viz., life eternal; and unto this life and the hope of it has he regenerated us, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The resurrection of Christ is the exemplary cause or model of our justification, and it completed our justification by carrying with it, the graces necessary for our spiritual life. ”Resurrexit propterjustificationem nostram.”—(Rom 4:25 “Raised for our justification”). Or, if we join the words “by the resurrection,” &c., not with the word “regenerated,” as in the preceding, but with “living hope,” then, they will mean—this lively hope is confirmed by the resurrection of Christ, which is a sure pledge and earnest of our spiritual and immortal life (1 Cor 15:12-14). The hope of the faithful is called “lively,” because animated with charity and good works, which give a foretaste of eternal life, a foretaste never enjoyed by the impious, who “have no hope.”—(1 Thess 4:12).

1Pe 1:4  Unto an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled and that cannot fade, reserved in heaven for you,

He has given us this new birth of grace, in order to qualify us, as sons, for the enjoyment of an inheritance, which, unlike earthly heritages, is neither
subject to coruption nor decay; and, unlike the voluptuous and impure pleasures proposed to themselves by the impious, shall be free from all stain and defilement— an inheritance also which will not only remain incorruptible in substance, but will also retain its original lustre and never-fading beauty; it is, moreover, securely laid up in heaven, “where thieves cannot break through nor steal” and securely reserved there for you.

“Unto an inheritance,” &c. This is the object of the living hope into which we
are regenerated. Even though we were to connect this verse with “living hope,” it still must be connected with “regenerated.” He gave us this new existence, in order to qualify us to enter, as sons, on his inheritance. Such is God’s goodness that he wishes to grant eternal life and never ending happiness on the most exalted titles as a “kingdom,” as an “inheritance,” &c. The Apostle shows the exceeding great excellence of this inheritanc—”incorruptible,” never to crumble away, or be ruined or dissipated, like an earthly inheritance; “undefiled” (“nothing defiled can enter it,” Rev 21:27), unlike the voluptuous enjoyment which many unbehevers and heretics propose to themselves; such, for, instance, was the carnal elysium of Mahomet: “and that cannot fade;” it will never grow old; it will retain for ever its original freshness and beauty, not only incorruptible in substance, but unfading in its form and appearance. And finally, he says, it is “reserved in heaven.” This shows its excellence as being a heavenly inheritance, and its certainty, as being safely laid up, “where thieves cannot break through nor steal.”  ” For you—.” In some Greek copies, for us. The Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. have εις υμας, “for you,” the Vulgate reading. It is reserved in heaven for the sons of God; an inheritance is destined for children; and they, whom the Apostle addresses, have become sons of God in their spiritual regeneration, which is for them a new and second birth.

1Pe 1:5  Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

Who, by the powerful grace and protection of God, are guarded by faith, as by a strong fortress, for that perfect salvation both of soul and of body, which only awaits the last period of time for its full and open manifestation.

“By the power of God,” i.e., the powerful grace and succour of God.  “Are kept by faith.” The Greek word for “kept,” φρουρουμενους, conveys the idea of being protected as by a strong military fortress; faith is the medium through which the justifying grace of God protects us, The root and foundation of all justification (Council of Trent), and they are guarded “unto salvation “—that perfect salvation of soul andbody-”ready to be revealed in the last time,” that is, which requires only the last period of time, or the day of judgment to arrive, in order to be fully revealed and manifested. What motives have we not in this passage to aspire, with all the aidour of our souls, after the possession of our heavenly heritage, to disregard and undervalue everything else in comparison with it: to omit nothing, in order to secure this inheritance stored up for us by the boundless goodness of our heavenly Father. “Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde, ut quid diligitis vanitatem et quæritis mendacium?” And, in truth, what are all things else, all pleasures, all enjoyments, not conducing to the possession of our heavenly inheritance, but delusive, cheating vanities and lies? Of this alone can it be said, that it is, “incorruptible,” “undefiled,” and ”never fading.” It alone is our true end, our only rest—”fecisti nos ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in te.“—St. Augustine. O God! grant us true wisdom ever to keep in view our heavenly inheritance; never to barter it for any temporal emolument or gratification, whatever. Mary, “gate of heaven,” pray for us.

1Pe 1:6  Wherein you shalt greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations:

On account ot this hope of future blessings in store for you, and of which you  even at present enjoy a foretaste, you now rejoice in the very midst of the  painful trials wherewith it may please God’s providence to visit you.

” Wherein you shall greatly rejoice.” If the word ” wherein ” be connected with those immediately preceding, “in the last time,” then the words, “you shall greatly rejoice,” retain their future signification, as in our Vulgate (although in the Greek they are read in the present tense, αγαλλιασθε, you rejoice), and mean, that in the last day they will rejoice, althuugh they may have been afflicted with several trials and temptations for a short time in the present life, should it be the will of God to send them. If the word “wherein” refer not to “the last time,” but to the preceding benefits (as in Paraphrase}, then, the Greek reading is to be strictly adhered to in the present tense; and the words mean: on account of which hope of future inheritance and salvation prepared for you, you now rejoice in the very midst of the trials which it may fall to your lot to suffer for a short time here below; for, although the inferior part may feel pain, the spirit will rejoice.

1Pe 1:7  That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

The object God has in view in sending these sufferings is, that your faith, well tried and tested by afflictions (a faith, more precious than gold, which men try in a furnace), may be found to terminate in the praise, honor, and glory, that shall be bestowed on you on the last day, when the majesty of Jesus Christ will be fully revealed.

“That the trial of your faith,” &c. This is connected with the foregoing, “if you must now be made sorrowful,” &c. The end of these afflictions is, “that the
trial of your faith,” whereby is meant their faith, tried and tested by afflictions (“much more precious than gold, which is tried in the fire “), and hence, it is left to be inferred, that it is no wonder, that their faith, also, which is more precious, should be tried in the furnace of tribulation—”may be found unto praise,” that is, may be found to eventuate in the praise and commendation, which will be bestowed by God on his faithful servants, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” &c.; “and glory,” the celebrity and good fame consequent on their virtuous actions—and “honour,” the exalted dignity which will be conferred on them “  at the appearing” (in Greek, αποκαλυψει, the revelation), “of Jesus Christ,” on the last day. when his glory will be revealed. To the words, “more precious than gold,” are added, in the Greek, the words, which perisheth.  “Glory and honour.” This order is sustained by the Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. The ordinary Greek has, “honour and glory.”‘

1Pe 1:8  Whom having not seen, you love: in whom also now though you see him not, you believe and, believing, shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified;

Whom, although never seen by you who have lived so remote from Judea, you still love, in whom also, although invisible to you, now that he has ascended into heaven, you still believe, and while  believing, you enjoy, by anticipation, a foretaste of that inconceivable joy, which is the portion of God’s glorified elect in heaven.

“Whom having not seen,” because, when on earth, he had not gone amongst
them, who lived so far remote from Judea, and, although some amongst them migit have seen him at Jerusalem on the occasion of the great festivals (Acts 2:9), still, the greater portion of those, to whom the Apostle writes, had not. For, “seen,” the ordinary Greek is, ειδοτε, but the Vatican MS. has, ιδοντες (discerned).   “You love,” as your God and Redeemer. “Though you see him not, you believe;” the words, “you believe,” are not in the Greek. They are implied, however, in the following words, “believing you shall rejoice,” &c. For, “you shall rejoice,” we have in the Greek, αγαλλιατε, you rejoice, in the present tense, “with joy unspeakable,” which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, &c.; “and glorified,” such as is enjoyed by the saints of God in glory. Of course, if the words be read in the present tense, as in the Greek, they mean, as in the Paraphrase, that even now they enjoy a foretaste of the unspeakable and glorified joys of heaven.

1Pe 1:9  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Receiving as the fruit and end of your faith the salvation of your souls, by grace and justification here, and by glory hereafter.

“Receiving the end of your faith,” the end for which faith is given and to which it conducts us. “The salvation of your souls.” If the preceding words be read, as in the Greek, then these words regard the present salvation of their souls by grace and justification, which is the seed of future glory. If the Vulgate reading be followed, the words regard the consummate salvation of their souls in glory, which carries with it the glory and salvation of their bodies. The following verses are in favour of the opinion which makes “salvation,” immediately and directly refer to salvation by justification and grace in this life.

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One Response to Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Peter 1:3-9

  1. Pingback: Commentaries and Resources for Divine Mercy Sunday, Year A | stjoeofoblog

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