1 Peter 3:1-7
1Ὁμοίως αἱ γυναῖκες, ὑποτασσόμεναι τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν, ἵνα καὶ εἴ τινες ἀπειθοῦσιν τῷ λόγῳ, διὰ τῆς τῶν γυναικῶν ἀναστροφῆς ἄνευ λόγου κερδηθήσονται 2ἐποπτεύσαντες τὴν ἐν φόβῳ ἁγνὴν ἀναστροφὴν ὑμῶν. 3ὧν ἔστω οὐχ ὁ ἔξωθεν ἐμπλοκῆς τριχῶν καὶ περιθέσεως χρυσίων ἢ ἐνδύσεως ἱματίων κόσμος, 4ἀλλ’ ὁ κρυπτὸς τῆς καρδίας ἄνθρωπος ἐν τῷ ἀφθάρτῳ τοῦ πραέως καὶ ἡσυχίου πνεύματος ὅ ἐστιν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ πολυτελές. 5οὕτως γάρ ποτε καὶ αἱ ἅγιαι γυναῖκες αἱ ἐλπίζουσαι εἰς θεὸν ἐκόσμουν ἑαυτὰς ὑποτασσόμεναι τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν, 6ὡς Σάρρα ὑπήκουσεν τῷ Ἀβραὰμ κύριον αὐτὸν καλοῦσα ἧς ἐγενήθητε τέκνα ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι καὶ μὴ φοβούμεναι μηδεμίαν πτόησιν.
7Οἱ ἄνδρες ὁμοίως, συνοικοῦντες κατὰ γνῶσιν ὡς ἀσθενεστέρῳ σκεύει τῷ γυναικείῳ, ἀπονέμοντες τιμὴν ὡς καὶ συγκληρονόμοις χάριτος ζωῆς εἰς τὸ μὴ ἐγκόπτεσθαι τὰς προσευχὰς ὑμῶν.
The writer offers two more case studies in the application of the Christian concept of ὑποτάσσομαι within the household. This time he focuses on the spousal relationship. In 3:1-6 he addresses Christian wives, compressing his message into two sentences (vv. 1-4, 5-6) and in 3:7 he addresses Christian husbands. The focus on household relationships in these three case studies (2:18-3:7) suggests that this was the social context in which issues of Christian living were most acute. These three segments often are linked with similar “household codes” found in Hellenistic literature, particularly essays by Aristotle and Plutarch. The fundamental principal seems to be that the arrangements of the household mirror the arrangements of the city-state and so order in the household is foundational to order in the city-state. The domestic and civil realities are bound together. Much of the same terminology can be found in these extra-biblical documents, but the values that generate the principles are of course quite different.
The vocative αἱ γυναῖκες, the adverb ὀμοίως, and the repetition of the participle ὑποτασσόμεναι signal a new, but related topic in this larger discourse. The article is probably defining a category in contrast to οἱ οἰκέται and οἰ ἄνδρες and so is specifying. Note again the present middle participle form, indicating that the wives are involved in the action, perhaps indicating the voluntary and intentional nature of their action. Some argue that it is a passive form. How would you decide which voice the writer intended? Does its use in Ephesians 5 provide any direction? The dative τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν indicates the person or agency to whom one shows such respect. ἴδιος is an adjective that defines what belongs to a person or is related to a person in a specific fashion. Its use here puts a limit on the activity expressed by the participle. When γυνή/ἀνήρ are juxtaposed, often it signals that a spousal relationship is in mind.
The writer provides a purpose clause (ἵνα + future passive; compare the similar clause in 2:12 that uses a subjunctive) to justify his instruction. The main verb of the clause is the future passive tense form κερδηθήσονται, whose subject is the τινες expressed in the prior conditional clause. ἵνα clauses usually have a subjunctive verb form. Why does the writer use an indicative tense form here? How common is this in the NT? The verb is modified by two adverbial phrases that precede the verb: διὰ τῆς τῶν γυναικῶν ἀναστροφῆς defines the means women will use to achieve the objective expressed in the verb (note the placement of the genitive modifier); ἄνευ λόγου defines the manner in which they shall act, “without a word.” So this is a witness communicated by their ἀναστροφή, i.e., their entire way of living. The husbands, presumably non-believers, for their part are defined in the conditional clause. καὶ εἴ expresses a concessive idea, “even if.” So there is a kind of worst case scenario being described. Τινες is the indefinite pronoun (no accent, enclitic) and subject of the present indicative active verb ἀπειθοῦσιν. This is a first-class condition and the writer assumes it to be true. The verb marks its object with the dative case (τῷ λόγῳ). What are we to make of the repeated use of λόγος, the first arthrous and the second anarthrous?
The main verb in the ἵνα clause is modified by an adverbial aorist active participle of attendant circumstance ἐποπτεύσαντες (cf. its usage in 2:12 – is this second use related to the first?). The participle is nominative masculine plural and so relates to the subject of the main verb, i.e., the husbands. The writer again uses ἀναστροφή, this time as the object of the participle. It has three modifiers — ἐν φόβῳ defining means, ἁγνήν attribute adjective qualifying the “way of life”, and ὑμῶν possessive pronoun referencing the wives.
In my understanding vv. 3-4 form a complex relative clause, marked by the initial ὧν. Its reference is the preceding ὑμῶν. It is genitive plural and modifies ὁ… κόσμος positioned at the end of the clause. The subject of the 3rd person singular imperative form ἔστω is ὁ…κόσμος. We should probably also read κόσμος as the implied predicate nominative [ὁ κόσμος ὧν ἔστω κόσμος….]. Between the article ὁ and the noun κόσμος the writer uses the adverb ἔξωθεν (“external”) to differentiate this kind of adornment from ὁ κρυπτὸς [κόσμος] τῆς καρδίας. Three genitive phrases define the kinds of adornments that are quite irrelevant to “gaining husbands” in spiritual terms (though important for “gaining husbands” romantically perhaps). The first genitive might be epexegetical defining κόσμος and the second would be an objective genitive. ἐμπλοκῆς is a noun meaning “braiding, weaving” and it is modified by another genitive noun τριχῶν “hair.” The second, joined by καί, is the genitive noun περιθέσεως, describing the act of “wearing or putting on” and it is modified by the noun χρυσίον, describing an object made of or adorned with gold. The third in the series is connected with the correlative ἤ and is the genitive noun ἔνδυσις meaning “putting on, clothing,” modified by ἱματίων “garments, clothes.” So the writer creates a very complex syntactical structure to describe what should not be the case (note the negative οὐκ). He is not proscribing such κόσμοι entirely, but rather their incorrect use to achieve a spiritual purpose.
The contrasting perspective that should replace this false means is marked by ἀλλ᾿. The verb ἔστω is implied, as is the noun κόσμος the predicate nominative. The subject is ὁ κρυπτὸς…ἄνθρωπος qualified by the genitive καρδίας. The phrase ἐν τῷ ἀφθάρτῳ could be a dative of specification or association. Perhaps it implies κόσμῳ. The genitive that follows would also be epexegetical. How should we understand πνεύματος here? The adjectives define this πνεῦμα as “meek and quiet/relaxed/peaceable.” πνεῦμα is then defined by a relative clause, marked by the neuter singular relative pronoun ὅ. The pronoun is the subject and πολυτελές is a neuter singular predicate adjective. The phrase ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ defines who makes the assessment of what is valuable.
Verses 5-6 form a new sentence in this section. It is marked as an explanation (γάρ) for some aspect of the first sentence. The adverb οὕτως indicates a comparison is being made, perhaps with what follows in the content of the participle ἐλπίζουσαι. The adverb ποτε places the subject of this comparison in the past and the ascensive καί gives emphasis to the subject αἱ ἅγιαι γυναῖκες, “the holy wives,” as does its position before the verb. The article is specifying a category of wives. The writer uses an adjectival participle to define the nature of the comparison, i.e., they too αἱ ἐλπίζουσαι εἰς θεόν “put their hope in God.” Note the present active participle that situates this action concurrent with that of the main verb, the imperfect tense form ἐκόσμουν. The reflexive pronoun ἑαυτάς functions as object of the verb. The adverbial, present middle participle ὑποτασσόμεναι with the object τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν makes the comparison clear by repeating vocabulary that occurred in 3.1. It demonstrates the similarity of their situations.
The writer cites a particular example in v. 6. It is unclear which specific incident the writer references, but perhaps it is the Gen 18 incident. The particle ὡς could be temporal “when” or mark a comparison “as.” He uses the subject-verb word order and puts Σάρρα in the focal point of the clause. He notes her “obedience” (ὑπήκουσεν) with the dative identifying the one to whom she renders obedience τῷ Ἀβραάμ. The adverbial present participle καλοῦσα could be causal, temporal, or attendant circumstance and references the subject. The verb takes a double accusative. αὐτόν is the object and κύριον the complement. κύριος can mean “master,” and in the LXX can render בעל “husband” (e.g., Ex. 21:3, 22). The sentence concludes with a relative clause marked by ἧς referring to Sarah. The genitive pronoun modifies τέκνα, that functions as the complement. The verb is aorist passive “you have become” (ἐγενήθητε). Two adverbial present participles define the verbal action, indicating what they do to merit this qualification as Sarah’s offspring – “by doing good and not fearing any terror.” How does this reference to μὴ φοβούμεναι integrate with the phrase ἐν φόβῳ in v. 2? πτόησις means “intimidation, terrifying; experience of being intimidated, terror.”
The writer defines a third case in v.7. He repeats the adverb ὁμοίως (3:1) and again uses the nominative οἱ ἄνδρες as a vocative (cf. 3:1 αἱ γυναῖκες). However, he changes the verb to the present active participle συνοικοῦντες “living with,” describing a domestic situation. The adverbial prepositional phrase κατὰ γνῶσιν describes the manner in which they “live with” their wives. What knowledge is the writer referencing? The object of the verb is the substantival adjective τῷ γυναικείῳ “the feminine, related to being a woman or wife.” The comparison ὡς ἀσθενεστέρῳ σκεύει defines it as “the weaker vessel.” The head noun is σκεύει from a noun meaning “vessel, instrument.” It is modified by the comparative adjective ἀσθενεστέρῳ “weaker.” This structure could go with the following participle, but then it would ruin the parallelism between the two participles + ὡς clauses.
The adverbial present participle ἀπονέμοντες “assign, show, accord” could modify the previous participle συνοικοῦντες and describe the manner of living together, or it could function as a second command in this instruction. The accusative noun τιμήν is the direct object. Within the second ὡς comparison the writer identifies the indirect object with the dative case συγκληρονόμοις “fellow heirs, heirs together.” It is given emphasis by the ascensive καί. χάριτος ζωῆς is a genitive phrase indicating what they share together (χάριτος) as an objective genitive and the second genitive could be epexegetical (“i.e., life”).
The sentence ends with an articulated infinitive modified by the preposition εἰς to express purpose. In this case it modified by a negative μή, “lest….” The present passive infinitive ἐγκόπτεσθαι means “to make progress slow or difficult, hinder, thwart.” The accusative τὰς προσευχὰς ὑμῶν is the subject of the infinitive and is modified by the possessive pronoun that probably refers back to the husbands. The genitive could be subjective genitive. Some suggest it includes husbands and wives, but the focus in this segment is on husbands.
Τὸ δὲ τέλος πάντες ὁμόφρονες, συμπαθεῖς, φιλάδελφοι, εὔσπλαγχνοι, ταπεινόφρονες,9μὴ ἀποδιδόντες κακὸν ἀντὶ κακοῦ ἢ λοιδορίαν ἀντὶ λοιδορίας, τοὐναντίον δὲ εὐλογοῦντες, ὅτι εἰς τοῦτο ἐκλήθητε, ἵνα εὐλογίαν κληρονομήσητε. 10ὁ γὰρ θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾶν καὶ ἰδεῖν ἡμέρας ἀγαθὰς
παυσάτω τὴν γλῶσσαν ἀπὸ κακοῦ
καὶ χείλη τοῦ μὴ λαλῆσαι δόλον,
11ἐκκλινάτω δὲ ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ ποιησάτω ἀγαθόν, ζητησάτω εἰρήνην καὶ διωξάτω αὐτήν·
12ὅτι ὀφθαλμοὶ κυρίου ἐπὶ δικαίους καὶ ὦτα αὐτοῦ εἰς δέησιν αὐτῶν,
πρόσωπον δὲ κυρίου ἐπὶ ποιοῦντας κακά
In my opinion this section (and 3:13-22) conclude the writer’s exhortation regarding “submission” (2:13-17) as one strategy to combat “fleshly desires” (2:11-12). Following a summary statement in 3:8-9, the writer gives support to his exhortation by quoting extensively from Psalm 34:13-17 in 3:10-12. He marks this summation with the particle δέ (v. 8) indicating a new topic in the discourse. In nominal sentences the subject usually is marked by an article, unless it is a pronoun, but here I think the pronominal adjective πάντες is the subject. τὸ τέλος is an adverbial accusative marking a summary or conclusion. So the main clause is a nominal sentence and it is qualified by the causal ὅτι clause and within it, there is a purpose clause marked by ἵνα.
The predicate in the nominal clause is the series of plural masculine adjectives ὁμόφρονες… ταπεινόφρονες. Is there a relationship between these adjectives and the key verb the writer has been using ὑποτάσσομαι? He concludes with two adjectival present participles μὴ ἀποδιδόντες…τοὐναντίον δὲ εὐλογοῦντες (v.9). The writer has used this structure (two participles joined by an adversative δέ) several times (e.g., 1:8; 2:4; 3:18; 5:3). Why does the writer switch to participles at this point? Compare the lexical terms to those used in 2:23. The preposition ἀντί + genitive has the sense “in place of, in exchange for.” In the ὅτι clause the adverbial phrase εἰς τοῦτο precedes the verb and has a prominent place, as it refers back to the list of behaviours cited in v. 8. ἐκλήθητε is an aorist passive and presumably God is the implied agent. ἵνα + aorist subjunctive defines the purpose for God’s invitation, namely to provide an inheritance for those who respond (cf. 1:4-5). In this clause the object εὐλογίαν precedes the verb. There probably is some relationship intended between the instruction involved in the sentence that begins with εὐλογοῦντες (1:3) and the noun εὐλογίαν in the sentence in 3:8-9..
The writer indicates through γάρ (v. 10) that the content of vv. 10-12 is intended to provide a rationale for the instructions given in vv. 8-9. The writer does not mark this as a quotation, so would he expect his readers to identify it as such? And if they did not, what difference would it make to hearing his message in this section? The words in vv. 10-12 parallel quite closely those found in Psa. 34:13-17
LXX 33(34MT):13-17 Τίς ἔστιν ἄνθρωπος ὁ θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπῶν (ΝΤ ἀγαπᾶν) ἡμέρας (ΝΤ καὶ] ἰδεῖν (ΝΤ ἡμέρας) ἀγαθάς; παῦσον (ΝΤ παυσάτω] τὴν γλῶσσάν σου (ΝΤ omit) ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ χεῖλη σου (NT omit) τοῦ μὴ λαλῆσαι δόλον. ἔκκλινον (NT ἐκκλινάτω) ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ ποίησον (ΝΤ ποιησάτω) ἀγαθόν, ζήτησον (ΝΤ ζητησάτω) εἰρήνην καὶ δίωξον (ΝΤ διωξάτω) αὐτήν. ὀφθαλμοὶ κυρίου ἐπὶ δικαίους, καὶ ὦτα αὐτοῦ εἰς δέησιν αὐτῶν πρόσωπον δὲ κυρίου ἐπὶ ποιοῦντας κακά….
The syntactical adjustments occur primarily in v. 10 with the change of the participle ἀγαπῶν to an infinitive ἀγαπᾶν, the addition of καί, and transposition of ἡμέρας. The other changes are required by the context, i.e., omission of second person singular possessive pronouns, and the conversion of second person imperatives to third person imperatives. The Greek text of Ps. 33:13-17 generally follows the Hebrew word order and reflects its poetic parallelism. τοῦ μὴ λαλῆσαι in v. 10 is an articulated aorist active infinitive denoting result. The nouns in v. 12 have no articles, reflecting the form of the Hebrew nouns. Note how the preposition ἐπί in v. 12 changes it meaning in relationship to the context. The particle δέ in v. 12c is adversative. The verbal phrases ποιέω κακά…ποιέω ἀγαθά (vv. 11-12) may be the primary influence on this writer’s use of the compounds ἀγαθοποιέω…κακοποιέω. Whether the writer read ἀγαπᾶν in his LXX Vorlage is unclear. It is a matter of one vowel and the pronunciation of the two forms would have sounded very similar. The following infinitive ἰδεῖν may also have encouraged this alternative reading.
13Καὶ τίς ὁ κακώσων ὑμᾶς, ἐὰν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ζηλωταὶ γένησθε; 14ἀλλ’ εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε διὰ δικαιοσύνην, μακάριοι. τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτῶν μὴ φοβηθῆτε μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε, 15κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος, 16ἀλλὰ μετὰ πραΰτητος καὶ φόβου, συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν, ἵνα ἐν ᾧ καταλαλεῖσθε καταισχυνθῶσιν οἱ ἐπηρεάζοντες ὑμῶν τὴν ἀγαθὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστροφήν.
17κρεῖττον γὰρ ἀγαθοποιοῦντας, εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, πάσχειν ἢ κακοποιοῦντας. 18ὅτι καὶ Χριστὸς ἅπαξ περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἔπαθεν, δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων, ἵνα ὑμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ θεῷ θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκί, ζῳοποιηθεὶς δὲ πνεύματι· 19ἐν ᾧ καὶ τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασιν πορευθεὶς ἐκήρυξεν 20ἀπειθήσασίν ποτε, ὅτε ἀπεξεδέχετο ἡ τοῦ θεοῦ μακροθυμία ἐν ἡμέραις Νῶε κατασκευαζομένης κιβωτοῦ εἰς ἣν ὀλίγοι, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν ὀκτὼ ψυχαί, διεσώθησαν δι’ ὕδατος 21ὃ καὶ ὑμᾶς ἀντίτυπον νῦν σῴζει βάπτισμα, οὐ σαρκὸς ἀπόθεσις ῥύπου ἀλλὰ συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς ἐπερώτημα εἰς θεόν, δι’ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ 22ὅς ἐστιν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ πορευθεὶς εἰς οὐρανὸν ὑποταγέντων αὐτῷ ἀγγέλων καὶ ἐξουσιῶν καὶ δυνάμεων.
This section of 1 Peter contains some of the most contested verses in the NT, particularly vv. 19-22. After the initial conditional, interrogative sentence in v. 13, the writer produces another long complex sentence that in my opinion includes vv. 14-16. I also think that vv. 17-22 form a second complex sentence.
The writer adds further commentary in v. 13 regarding the challenge of believers enduring suffering. This question Καὶ τίς ὁ κακώσων ὑμᾶς draws the attention of the audience to the source of this opposition, but portrays this opposition as a future possibility by using a future active participle ὁ κακώσων. Does this refer to this world or the future world? How does it relate to the following, contrastive condition? The question is a nominal clause, with no expressed verb. The subject is the interrogative pronoun and the articulated participle functions as the predicate. κακόω in the LXX describes the abuse Israel experienced in Egypt (Gen. 15:13 – referenced in Acts 7:6; see also 7:19) and in the NT refers to opponents of Christians (e.g., Acts 12:1; 14:2; 18:10). The question serves as the apodosis of a complex conditional clause. ἐάν + subjunctive reflects a 3rd class condition, that expresses an hypothesis. The writer places the predicate nominative first in the conditional clause — τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ζηλωταὶ. What kind of person would be described this way in the Greco-Roman world or the Jewish context? This noun takes other genitive modifiers in NT documents (e.g., νόμος Acts 21:20; θεός Acts 22:3; πνεῦμα 1 Cor. 14:12; τῶν πατρικῶν μου παραδόσεων Gal 1:14; καλῶν ἔργων Tit 2:14). Should we read ἀγαθοῦ as masculine (“the good one”) or neuter (“the good thing”)?
Presumably the relationship between ὁ κακώσων…μακάριοι is contrastive and so ἀλλά reflects that contrast. The order εἰ καί may indicate that καί is ascensive here, modifying the following verb (cf. Gal. 3:4). However, BDAG also lists a number of contexts where this combination expresses concession, e.g., Luke 11:8; 18:4; 1 Cor. 7:21; etc.). εἰ + optative (πάσχοιτε – present optative) forms a fourth class condition that suggests a more remote possibility. In a formal fourth class condition the verb in the apodosis would also be in the optative mood with the particle ἄν. Wallace (314-15) says such a clause “indicates a possible condition in the future, usually a remote possibility.” He renders this text as “even if you should suffer for righteousness…” (cf. Luke 1:62; Acts 17:18). Here we do not know what the writer intended, because the apodosis is simply the predicate adjective μακάριοι, with an implied verb “you would be blessed”). διὰ δικαιοσύνην is an adverbial prepositional phrase indicating the cause or reason that generates the suffering. Presumably it refers to “acts of righteousness,” i.e., good works.
At this point in the text the writer incorporates material from Isaiah 8:12, but does not signal this with an introductory formula. The “quotation” extends into the first part of v. 15. The writer has referenced parts of Isaiah 8:14 in 1 Peter 2:8.
Isaiah 8:12-13a τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ φοβηθῆτε οὐδὲ μὴ ταραχθῆτε· κύριον αὐτὸν ἁγιάσατε, καὶ ἔσται σου φόβος.
NETS but do not fear what it fears, neither be troubled. Sanctify the Lord himself, and he himself will be your fear.
MT ואת־מוראו לא־תיראו ולא תעריצו. את־יהוה צבאות אתו תקדישו והוא מוראכם והוא מערצכם [ערץ – hiphil – “be terrified”]
NRSV and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear and let him be your dread.
NT NA28 τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτῶν μὴ φοβηθῆτε μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε, 15κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν.
The writer borrows this material from the Septuagint, but modifies it to suit his context (plural pronouns; identification of κύριον; normal prohibition (μή)). The Septuagint renders יהוה צבאות (Yahweh of hosts) with κύριον and reduces the compound nominal clauses (והוא מוראכם והוא מערצכם) to a single nominal clause (καὶ ἔσται σου φόβος), adding ἔσται. The two aorist passive/middle subjunctives φοβηθῆτε…ταραχθῆτε with μή form prohibitions. κύριον τὸν Χριστὸν looks like a double accusative following ἁγιάζω. However, this verb, first attested in the Septuagint, but related to ἁγίζω (make sacred, hallow) used in classical Greek writers, does not seem to occur with a double accusative according the Muraoka (GELS, 5), so I think we probably have to treat one of these nouns as object and the other as appositional. Presumably, if we follow the direction of the Hebrew text, then αὐτον/τὸν Χριστόν would be the appositional element. All three texts (MT, LXX, NT) front the object and give it prominence, but only the LXX and NT also front the appositional component. The aorist imperative ἁγιάσατε should probably be interpreted as a general command. ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν would be an adverbial locative phrase, probably indicating the space metaphorically within which this action occurs.
It is unclear whether the clause headed by ἕτοιμοι should be regarded as another imperative structure, or whether it should be construed as a subordinate, participial clause defining the previous imperative defined by the phrase ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν. Perhaps the entire contents of vv. 15b-16 should be understood as the definition of what it means to “hold the Messiah as sacred in your hearts,” in terms of behavior and response to opposition. It may be another way of understanding the concept of συνείδησιν…ἀγαθήν. ἕτοιμοι is a predicate adjective and some form of εἰμι probably needs to be supplied. This adjective belongs to a group of adjectives that normally take a complementary infinitive to complete the idea being expressed. However, in this context its idea is completed by the preposition phrase πρὸς ἀπολογίαν that conveys an action. In classical Greek an ἀπολογία refers to a speech made in defense of someone or something (Acts 22:1) or the action involved in making a defense (2 Tim. 4:16). The dative articulated participle παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι probably is a dative of respect or reference. The verb αἰτέω means “ask, demand.” The modifier παντί makes this response inclusive of every questioner. This verb can take a double accusative as it does here ὑμᾶς λόγον. When λόγος occurs with this verb it may have the sense of “demand an accounting.” The adverbial prepositional phrase περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος defines λόγος. Again the writer embeds a prepositional phrase within the article-noun structure for purposes of modification. Presumably “in you” = “in your hearts.” ἔλπις refers to the experience of salvation and all of its benefits.
Verse 16 continues the sentence using ἀλλά in the sense “moreover.” I suggest that the adverbial prepositional phrase μετὰ πραΰτητος καὶ φόβου modifies the participle αἰτοῦντι and the use of the noun φόβου references the concept of “fearing God,” and not fearing others (as in vv. 13-14). The writer has used the adjective πραΰς in 3:4, but now he employs the cognate noun πραΰτης, that primarily occurs in Pauline documents in the NT. It characterizes a submissive spirit in terms of 2:13-17. The writer continues with another participial clause συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν that probably defines the subject-verb ἁγιάσατε…ἕτοιμοι…. This is the second present participle indicating an incomplete action. This is an example of hyperbaton, as the participle separates the noun and its predicate adjective. Perhaps we might reflect the emphases in an English translation such as “having a conscience that is good.” What does ἀγαθήν mean in reference to this noun? The sentence ends with a result clause marked by ἵνα. This seems to relate to the entire discussion that has occurred in 3:8-16a, in terms of rationale. In this subordinate clause the subject-verb construction is quite straightforward (καταισχυνθῶσιν οἱ ἐπηρεάζοντες ὑμῶν). The articulated present participle comes from the verb ἐπηρεάζω meaning “treat someone in a despicable manner, disparage, malign; threaten” (Luke 6:28). It only occurs here in 1 Peter. As a substantive participle it functions as subject of the aorist passive verb καταισχυνθῶσιν. The action of the participle is concurrent with the action of the verb. The participle has an object τὴν ἀγαθὴν…ἀναστρφήν which is modified by the embedded phrase ἐν Χριστῷ and the possessive pronoun ὑμῶν that is placed at the beginning of the object phrase. Does the embedded phrase modify the adjective, the noun, or their combined sense? The entire clause is framed by the initial relative clause ἐν ᾧ καταλαλεῖσθε (see the commentary at 2.12). Note here that it a present passive, whereas in 2.12 it is a present active form. The subjects are different in these two cases.
Verse 17 begins an extensive sentence of explanation marked by γάρ and continuing until v. 22, in my opinion. The main clause is a nominal clause consisting of the neuter predicate, comparative adjective κρεῖττον and πάσχειν, the infinitive could be construed as the subject, i.e., “to suffer…would be better.” The subject of the infinitive is an implied accusative pronoun ὑμᾶς with an adverbial, present participle ἀγαθοποιοῦντας expressing a concurrent action of circumstance or it could be causal, or even temporal or concessive. This participle is compared to κακοποιοῦντας (κτρεῖττον…ἤ — better…than). The main clause is the apodosis of a fourth class condition expressed by εἰ + present active optative θέλοι (if the will of God would desire) (see v. 14 for a previous fourth class condition). Note the alliteration with εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. Perhaps there is an implied infinitive (πάσχειν) that completes the sense of θέλοι. For the phrase τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ see 2:15 and 4:2, 19. The genitive is probably subjective in function.
The next clause (v. 18) is a subordinate causal clause marked by ὅτι. Obviously if the Messiah suffered under similar conditions, then this demonstrates that Christians’ suffering can reflect the will of God. The subject of the causal clause is ὁ Χριστός, modified by an ascensive καί and occurring first in its clause. The verb is ἔπαθεν (or απεθανεν – textual issue that arises because of verbal similarity; cf. 2:21). It is modified by two adverbial qualifiers — ἅπαξ and περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν. The first indicates a singular occasion and the second indicates the reason for the suffering as “for sins” or “a sacrifice for sins.” δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων is an appositional structure (nom. masc. sg) that qualifies ὁ Χριστός. The preposition ὑπέρ could mean either on behalf of or for the sake of. The purpose for the Messiah’s action is given in the ἵνα clause (18b). The writer places the object ὑμᾶς first in the clause, giving it prominence. The main verb is προσάγω “bring into the presence of,” with the dative marking the official under consideration (τῷ θεῷ). In Israelite religion only the High Priest could enter into the presence of God, once a year.
The writer employs two aorist passive participles whose lexical meaning expresses a contrast, marked by μέν…δέ. These adverbial participles are nominative masculine singular formations, related to the implied subject of προσαγάγῃ (see 1:20 for a similar construction using participles). θανατόω means “put to death, executed,” but the agent is left unstated. The dative σαρκί and its correspondent πνεύματι that follows, are probably expressing the sphere/space in which the actions defined by the participles occurred. One refers to the “fleshly realm” (cf. the use of σάρξ in 1:24) and the other refers to the “spiritual realm,” i.e., the realm in which God abides. Some argue that these are datives of agency, but this creates a problem with σαρκί, because this plainly is not the sense of this noun a few verses later in 4:1-2. I also think we probably have to interpret both datives in the same way, rather than, for example, explaining the first as dative of respect or sphere, and the second as dative of agency. ζῳοποιέω obviously refers to the resurrection experienced by Jesus.
Verse 19 generates immense discussion in the literature. However, essentially it is a relative clause in some way defining Jesus’ actions in this new resurrection reality. ἐν ᾧ could be taken as a general reference to the entire content of verse 18, i.e., in which circumstances, or the antecedent of the pronoun could be πνεύματι, i.e., “in which spiritual existence/resurrected state.” If the second is the writer’s intended meaning, then the “proclamation to the spirits” occurs in Jesus’ resurrected state, not between his death and resurrection. The writer pre-poses the indirect object καὶ τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασιν. Here we find characteristic features of this writer’s style – ascensive καί and embedded prepositional phrase ἐν φυλακῇ. Dalton’s research indicates that NT writers do not use the noun πνεῦμα to describe dead people, but rather with reference to spiritual beings, i.e., angels good or bad. Because these “spirit beings” are “in prison,” they obviously are bad angels. The writer does not say where this prison is. He does indicate that the resurrected Jesus πορευθεῖς “travelled” (neither ascending or descending) to make this proclamation (κηρύσσω). I avoid the translation “preach” because I think it conveys the wrong idea in this situation (i.e., that this is evangelistic message giving such spirits a “second chance”).
The writer continues to describe these “spirits in prison” in v. 20. First, explains why they are in prison using the aorist active participle dative plural ἀπειθήσασίν modified by the adverb ποτε – “because they disobeyed in the past.” However, it could be attributive because πνεύμασιν is anarthrous. The time reference is explained by the temporal ὅτε clause “when.” ἀπεξεδέχετο is imperfect middle meaning “was waiting eagerly” (cf. Romans 8:19; Phil. 3:20). The middle might suggest the idea of self-restraint. The subject ἡ τοῦ θεοῦ μακροθυμία has an embedded subjective genitive. The verb is modified by an adverbial prepositional phrase of time ἐν ἡμέραις Νῶε. Νῶε functions as a genitive, even though it is an indeclinable personal name. This is the transcription used in Septuagint Genesis. Genesis 6:4 talks about “giants” on the earth ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις. The writer describes the construction of the boat with a genitive absolute κατασκευαζομένης κιβωτοῦ, another subordinate construction that defines the “time of Noah.” κατασκευάζω means “construct” but is not used by the translators of Genesis or Exodus to describe the construction of Noah’s boat or the chest in the Tabernacle, both of which are rendered as κιβωτής. The participle is present passive.
The last part of v. 20 is another relative clause marked by εἰς ἣν, with κιβωτής being the antecedent of the pronoun. Whether the preposition εἰς has any sense of motion here or expresses a sense similar to ἐν is debated. Since there is no verb of motion in the clause, probably the sense is “in which.” The subject of the clause is ὀλίγοι and it is fronted for emphasis, as well as having an appositional clause that defines it further τοῦτ’ ἔστιν ὀκτὼ ψυχαί. The subject of this appositional clause is the neuter demonstrative τοῦτο and the complement is ὀκτὼ ψυχαί. Why is the writer interested in the fact that only a few “were preserved?” The main verb in the relative clause is the aorist passive form διεσώθησαν. The compound verb can mean “be saved out of difficulty, be preserved; or bring safely through” (cf. Acts 23:24; 27:44; 28:4) It is modified by the adverbial prepositional phrase δι’ ὕδατος, defining the means or the manner of their preservation. The writer may be using it with deliberate ambiguity, given the next clause.
Verse 21 has many challenges. It is constructed as a relative clause marked by the neuter singular ὃ. The antecedent is debated, but the immediately preceding ὕδατος is in my view the prime candidate. The verb is σῴζει (cf. the previous διεσώσθησαν), whose object is the pre-posed ὑμᾶς (cf. a similar word order in v. 18 ἵνα ὑμᾶς προσαγάγῃ). The verb is also modified by the adverb νῦν that contrasts with the previous ποτε at the beginning of v. 20. The subject may be qualified by a juxtaposed accusative formation ἀντίτυπον…βάπτισμα. This “water” has a “corresponding representation” (ἀντίτυπον) in the ritual of βάπτισμα (“water rite of plunging”). Others interpret ἀντίτυπον as juxtaposed to ὑμᾶς who form a corresponding representation to the previous ὀλίγοι. The word order in the clause might give preference to this interpretation. The writer clarifies his understanding of βάπτισμα in a negative and then positive characterization. οὐ σαρκὸς ἀπόθεσις ῥύπου claims that this ritual is not a physical bath that sometimes accompanied pagan rituals, and certainly was a common part of Jewish religious practice. σαρκὸς…ῥύπου (of flesh’s dirt) is the objective genitive modifying ἀπόθεσις (the cognate verb occurs in 2:1 ἀποθέμενοι) “removal” which is in apposition to βάπτισμα. The negative οὐ is contrasted with ἀλλά. The writer defines the religious significance of this ritual as συνειδήσεως ἀγαθὴς ἐπερώτημα εἰς θεόν. The main noun ἐπερώτημα is also in apposition to βάπτισμα. Traditionally this noun has been interpreted as “appeal, request” based on its relationship to the verb ἐπερατάω. However, more recently the discovery of this term used in contracts found among papyri to mean “pledge, promise” has led commentators to prefer this sense, which would support the exhortation that follows in 4:1-6. We have seen this writer use συνείδησις frequently. If the term does mean “pledge, promise” then εἰς θεόν would define the party to whom the pledge is being made. The last adverbial phrase δι’ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ probably modifies the previous verb σῴζει, to alleviate any misunderstanding that the ritual itself has salvific efficacy. The phrase defines the “resurrection of Jesus Messiah” as the means for this salvation. The genitive could be subjective or objective in my opinion. This is one of the few places in 1 Peter where the double expression Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ occurs.
This complex sentence ends with another relative clause (v.22) marked by ὃς, whose antecedent is Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. The relative clause is an equative clause, using ἐστιν. The present tense indicates that this is the current situation of the subject. The predicate ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ defines the location of the subject, using the preposition ἐν to define a spatial relationship that metaphorically refers to the authority that the subject now enjoys. The genitive τοῦ θεοῦ defines to whom the “right (hand χεῖρ)” belongs. The adverbial, aorist passive participle, nominative masc. sing. πορευθεῖς, reflects the use of the same participle in v. 19 “having travelled” and is connected with the subject. εἰς οὐρανόν defines the destination. The clause ends with a genitive absolute construction ὑποταγέντων αὐτῷ ἀγγέλων καὶ ἐξουσιῶν καὶ δυνάμεων. The aorist passive/middle participle ὑποταγέντων continues the writer’s frequent use of this verb. The subject of the participle is the compound ἀγγέλων καὶ ἐξουσιῶν καὶ δυνάμεων, presumably referring to spiritual agents, some of whom might have been the “spirits in prison” (v. 19). αὐτῷ is the dative complement referring to the subject of the relative clause. Perhaps this final expression explains why the writer has included vv. 18-22 in his letter, namely to answer the question posed in v. 13 “and who is the one who shall harm you,” because all these evil powers have been made subject/subjected themselves to Jesus Messiah through the victory established at his resurrection.