Verse 14. "Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity." - See the notes on Rom. xvi. 16, and on 1 Cor. xvi. 20. In the above places the kiss is called a holy kiss; here, filhmati agaphv, a kiss of LOVE; i.e. as a mark of their love to each other, in order that misunderstandings might be prevented. But ten or twelve MSS., with the Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, and Vulgate, have agiw, holy; salute one another with a HOLY kiss. The difference is not great.
Peace be with you all] May all prosperity, spiritual and temporal, be with all that are in Christ Jesus - that are truly converted to him, and live in his Spirit obedient to his will.
Amen.] Is wanting, as usual, in some of the principal MSS. and versions.
The subscriptions are, as in other cases, various.
In the VERSIONS: The end of the First Epistle of the Apostle Peter.
The First Catholic Epistle of Peter the apostle is ended.
- SYRIAC PHILOXENIAN.
The end of the Epistle of St. Peter; may his supplication preserve us! Amen. Praise be to the Lord of never ending and eternal glory! Amen.
The First Epistle of Peter is completed; may his intercession be with us! Amen, and Amen.
- AETHIOPIC, Nothing in the COPTIC.
Nothing in the printed VULGATE.
The end of the First Epistle of St. Peter.
- COMPLUTENSIAN Polyglott.
The First Epistle of St. Peter is ended.
- BIB. VULGAT. Edit. Princ.
In the MANUSCRIPTS: The First of Peter.
- Codex Alexand. and Codex Vatican.
Written from Rome.
- A MS. of the twelfth century, The end of the First Catholic Epistle of Peter, written from Rome.
- A MS. of the thirteenth century.
These later subscriptions are of little value, nor do any of them help to ascertain the place where the epistle was written. The word Rome is only the supposed interpretation of the word Babylon, as in ver. 13, which see.
As the true Church of Christ has generally been in a state of suffering, the epistles of St. Peter have ever been most highly prized by all believers.
That which we have just finished is an admirable letter, containing some of the most important maxims and consolations for the Church in the wilderness. No Christian can read it without deriving from it both light and life. Ministers, especially, should study it well, that they may know how to comfort their flocks when in persecution or adversity. He never speaks to good effect in any spiritual case who is not furnished out of the Divine treasury. God's words invite, solicit, and command assent; on them a man may confidently rely. The words of man may be true, but they are not infallible, This is the character of God's word alone.
I SHALL sum up the contents of this chapter in the words of a good commentator: "Because the knowledge and good behaviour of the people depend, in a great measure, upon the kind of instruction which they receive from their teachers, the apostle in this chapter addressed the elders, that is, the bishops, pastors, rulers, and deacons among the brethren of Pontus, &c., 1 Peter v. 1, exhorting the bishops in particular to feed the flock of God committed to their care faithfully, and to exercise their episcopal office, not as by constraint, but willingly; not from the love of gain, but from love to their Master and to the flock, ver. 2; and not to lord it over God's heritage, but to be patterns of humility and disinterestedness to the people, ver. 3. This exhortation to bishops to feed Christ's flock was given with much propriety by Peter, who had himself been appointed by Christ to feed his lambs and his sheep. Next, because the faithful performance of the bishop's office was, in that age, attended with great difficulty and danger, the apostle, to encourage the bishops, assured them that; when the chief Shepherd shall appear, they shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away, ver. 4. The distinguished reward which Christ is to bestow on those who have suffered for his sake being a favourite topic with our apostle, he introduces it often in this epistle.
"Having thus exhorted the pastors, the apostle turned his discourse to the people, charging them to be subject to their elders, and to one another; that is, to be of a teachable disposition, and to receive instruction from every one capable of giving it, and to do all the duties which they could to each other, according to their different stations and relations, ver. 5. But especially to be subject to God, by humbly submitting themselves to the judgments which were coming upon them, that God might exalt them in due time, ver. 6. Casting all their anxious care on God, because he cared for them, ver. 7. And to watch against the devil, who went about as a roaring lion, seeking to destroy them by instigating the wicked to persecute them, and drive them into apostasy, ver. 8. But they were to resist that terrible enemy by steadfastness in the faith, and not to think themselves hardly dealt with when persecuted, knowing that their brethren everywhere were exposed to the same temptations of the devil, 1 Pet. v. 9. In the meantime, to give them all the assistance in his power, the apostle prayed earnestly to God to stablish and strengthen them, ver. 10. And ended his prayer with a doxology to God, expressive of his supreme dominion over the universe, and all the things it contains.
"The apostle informed the brethren of Pontus that he had sent this letter to them by Silvanus, whom he praised for his fidelity to Christ, ver. 12. Then, giving them the salutation of the Church in Babylon, where it seems he was when he wrote this letter, he added the salutation of Mark, whom he called his son, either because he had converted him, or on account of the great attachment which Mark bore to him, ver. 13. And having desired them to salute one another, he concluded with giving them his apostolical benediction, ver. 14." See Dr. Macknight.
Finished correcting this epistle for a new edition, Dec. 31, 1831,-A. C.