Hope as the Motivation of Love: 1 Peter 3:9–12

New Testament Studies, 1980, Volume 26, Issue 02

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

1. The problem and the approach

The specific question which this essay tries to answer came from 1 Peter 3:9, 'Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called that you may obtain a blessing' (RSV). What does the word "this" refer to? The preceding behaviour of love? Or the following eschatological blessing? The answer one gives to this question significantly reflects how one conceives of the motivation of love in 1 Peter.

I will argue later that 'this' refers to behaviour and that therefore the motivation given here is that by so behaving one inherits the eschatological blessing of salvation. Loving behaviour is in some sense a condition and means of gaining salvation. But how then are we to understand those texts in 1 Peter which stress the believer's confident hope of salvation and which ground his new behaviour precisely in that hope (e.g. 1:13 ff)? The resolution of this apparent tension in 1 Peter is the aim of the essay.

If we are to avoid lopsided and misleading analyses of how any writer conceives of ethical motivation, we must not treat anyone of his motivational statements in isolation from the realities which dominate his concern with Christian conduct in other places. The scholar who treats one text in detail is just as susceptible to the danger of arbitrary selectivity and lopsided exposition as is the scholar who attempts a more general cross–cut of a writer's thought. In the long run it is the mutually correcting interaction between detailed analyses of particular texts (at the risk of conceptual myopia) and more general syntheses of an author's total thought (at the risk of superficiality) which will yield the most balanced and true picture of how he may conceive of ethical motivation (or anything else).

In accordance with this principle I will deal first in general terms with the motif of hope as it is grounded in the work of Christ and as it functions to motivate Christian ethical behaviour (Part 2); then I will treat the key text 1 Peter 3:9–12, in some detail (Part 3); and, finally, through the interaction of these two efforts, I will draw my conclusions (Part 4).

2. Hope as Ethical Motivation in 1 Peter1

A person's conduct (whether toward an enemy or anyone else) can seldom be accounted for by a single motive. Part of the answer to the question of why we act the way we do is found by analysing those dominant and decisive forces that have shaped us into the kind of people we are. Therefore, to understand Christian motivation we must take into account the transforming gospel by which a person becomes a Christian. Lohse's observation about 1 Peter is now a commonplace: 'The paraenesis finds its real anchor in being traced back to the Kerygma.'2 Attention has especially been drawn to the way the traditional, christological units in 1:17–21, 2:21–5 and 3:18–22 are adapted to motivate the paraenesis3 (compare Philippians 2:6–11). And if space allowed, it would be fitting to describe the larger kerygmatic foundation of 1 Peter.4 But after all this we would still be left with the question how in actual experience this kerygma so affects a person that he is inclined to bless those who revile him (3:9) and endure unjust suffering patiently (2:20).5 To this question we now turn.

1 Peter 1:22–23 is a seminal text on the connection between the gospel message and loving behaviour. Here the beginning of life as a Christian is described (with reference to God's act) as new birth and (with reference to man's act) as 'obedience to the truth', that is, hopeful faith6 in response to the gospel.

Having purified your souls in obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love each other earnestly from the heart, having been begotten anew not from perishable but from imperishable seed through the living and abiding word of God.

The perfect participles (ἡγνικότες, ἀναγεγεννημένοι) denote an abiding condition as a result of some past event—probably the event of conversion–initiation.7 But no effort is made here to order these two participles temporally. They are grammatically parallel, subordinate to ἀγαπήσατε, and function together as the means to the end of brotherly love. Therefore Goppelt is right to conclude: 'These are two sides of the same event. Purification signifies liberation from the old; new birth signifies being opened up for the new. The phrase "through obedience" designates the event as a human act; the phrase "begotten anew" designates it as a gift of the creator.'8

With this reference to the "human act" of "obeying the truth" in 1:22 we are already confronted with hope as a motivation of love in 1 Peter. How this is so may be seen from what follows. "Obedience to the truth" in 1:22 does not refer to ethical behaviour but to the prior and foundational act of faith in the gospel.9 This is proved by the parallels in 3:1 and 2:8 which speak of disobeying the word, and 4:17, which speaks of disobeying the gospel (all three in reference to unbelievers). Yet faith may not be the best way to describe what 1 Peter is calling for in response to the gospel.

It is generally recognized that "1 Peter orients Christian existence primarily on hope, not like Paul on faith."10 In fact it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two in 1 Peter. Perhaps what we can safely say is that the word "hope" makes explicit the fact that trusting Christ (1:9; 2:6–7) or God (1:21; 4:19) always involves trusting him for the future.11 What 1 Peter means by a faith that has been proved by suffering and found genuine (1:7) is a faith that throws all its anxieties on God (5:7), entrusts itself to a faithful creator (4:19), and perseveres in righteousness (3:24), confident that the "God of all grace . . . will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish" it (5:10). In other words genuine faith is an undying hope in God (1:21).

Therefore, the "obedience to the truth" in 1:22 which grounds the command to love is the response of hope in the heart of the believer. And thus in accordance with the grammatical structure of 1:22–23, hope is of a piece with new birth (1:23) and is a necessary dimension of Christian existence. This is confirmed in 1:3 (the only other reference to new birth in 1 Peter).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begot us anew unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Here the divine act of begetting has a causal priority over the human response of hope.12 But the link with hope is just as close as in 1:22–23. The new birth brings a person into such a relationship to God that his future is one of 'living hope.' As verses 4 and 5 explain there is now secured (τετηρημένην, v. 4) for him an 'imperishable inheritance' ('God's eternal glory', 5:10).13 Or, to put it another way, he is now 'secured (φρουρουμένους, v. 5) by the power of God' for salvation (cf. 5:10). Thus new birth secures for a person an objective, glorious future hope.14 And since this hope is called 'living' (cf. 1:23; 2:4–5) we may agree with Kelly that it is "therefore effective even now."15 That is, new birth not only secures one's future with God but also (and thereby) enables one to experience the joy of hope now even in suffering (1:6; 4:13).16

The link between this life of hope and the life of "holy conduct" (1:15) is given in 1:13–15 in a way that parallels the link in 1:22. After the declaration in 1:3–5 of what God has done to provide a sure salvation and a living hope, comes the inferential imperative of 1:13: 'Therefore (Διό) hope fully (τελείως ἐλπίσατε)17 the grace being borne to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ." I cannot follow Goppelt when he says, '''Hope' in 1:13 does not mean: Have hope! but rather: Demonstrate that hope that has been given to you."18 On the contrary, the demonstration of hope in a new life style follows in 1:14–15 and results from the hope commanded in 1:13.19 Verse 13 is indeed a call to hope and to hope fully. It is a command20 to bring our desires into conformity with reality—the reality of how sure and how valuable the coming grace is.21

Accordingly, the command to hope fully in the future which Christ promises is followed by a command not to be conformed to "your former desires in ignorance" (1:14). These "former desires" are "ignorant" because they do not take into account the surpassing value of the gracious future which Christ offers and, therefore, try to satisfy themselves with what the 'flesh' has to offer, only to find that all flesh is like grass (1:24) and wars against the soul (2:11). But the one whose mind is sober has his desires redirected and finds satisfaction elsewhere; he does not pin his hopes on what the "flesh" can achieve, he hopes fully in Christ. And with that he becomes an alien in the world (1:1, 17; 2:11).

The link between hope and conduct is completed in 1:14–15. As obedient children, do not be conformed to your former desires in ignorance, but as the one who called you is holy be holy yourselves in all your conduct.

As hope in Christ replaces the "former desires," so the old conduct which conformed to those desires is replaced by conduct which conforms to the experience of this hoping (cf. 4:2–3). For, I think our author would say, we inevitably conform our behaviour to the future we desire most of all to enjoy: an uncertain future to be achieved by our own effort or a promised future of grace joyfully accepted in hope. I would conclude, therefore, that 1 Peter 1:22–23 as well as 1 Peter 1:3–5, 13–15 depict Christian conduct, and especially love, as a natural outgrowth of fully hoping in the future which is given and secured by the grace of God in Christ.22

Finally, it may help answer the question how hope motivates love if we sketch summarily the psychological dynamics of this process implicit in 1 Peter. The future promised to those who trust Christ does not lead them out of the institutions of the world nor does it remove them from suffering, but it freely offers them the imperishable blessing (1:4) of eternal life (3:7) with Christ (1:13; 4:13), guaranteed by his resurrection (1:3) and by the promise of God to preserve them for himself to the end (1:5; 4:19; 5:10). Therefore, having entrusted their soul to a faithful creator (4:19) and casting all their anxieties on him (5:7), Christians rejoice even in suffering (4:13). Thus content, they do not fear what men can do to them (3:6, 14) nor are they greedy for earthly gain (4:15; 5:2). They are not inclined to lord it over others (5:3), as if they needed to feel superior. But in a meek and tranquil spirit (3:4, 16) with lowliness (3:8; 5:5–6) they submit themselves in freedom (2:16) to every human creature (2:13),23 seeking to do good in every relationship (2:15, 20; 3:11, 13, 17; 4:19). Secure in the grace of Christ from whom they will receive an imperishable crown of glory, and remembering that this is because of him who died for their sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, Christians are not inclined to seek honour for themselves but are disposed to honour all men (2:17). Since they are not inclined to "seek their own" they love the brothers earnestly from the heart (1:22; 3:8), showing hospitality without grumbling (4:8) and extending to others the grace they have received (4:9). And not only to the brother but also the enemy: those who know themselves to be the beneficiaries of a future whose glory is to meet the one who bore their sins in his body on the cross (2:24), cannot out of pride or anxiety return evil for evil or reviling for reviling—not if they "fully hope" in precisely this future. On the contrary, desiring the joyful extension to others of the grace in which they hope, they will be inclined to bless those who revile them, that they might be won (3:1) and become "fellow heirs of the grace of life."24

3. An Exegesis of 1 Peter 3:9–12

8 Finally, all of you, have one mind, brotherly love, compassion, and lowliness.
9 Do not return evil for evil,
or reviling for reviling,
but bless,
because unto this you were called
in order that you might inherit a blessing.
10 For he who would love life
and see good days
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking guile;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those that do evil.

3.1 The Traditional Background

Part of any detailed analysis of a text in 1 Peter should probably include an investigation of the tradition behind the text. This has become most clear since the recent publication of Leonhard Goppelt's Meyer Kommentar (vol. xii, 1, 1978), Der erste Petrusbrief. If any still doubted that 1 Peter is an "Épître de la Tradition"25 Goppelt's commentary should remove the doubt, because in a very insightful way he combines "die Exegese der einzelenen Abschnitte sterts mit einer form– und traditionsgeschichtlichen Analyse".26 Therefore the following paragraphs summarize briefly my conclusions concerning the history of the tradition behind 1 Peter 3:9–12.

First we many note the parallels on the following page. The close similarities between such paraenetic elements in 1 Peter and in Paul have led some scholars to argue for direct literary dependence,27 and others for the existence of a fairly fixed early Christian catechism from which both authors drew.28 But it seems preferable now to think neither of literary dependence nor fixed codes but rather of an oral paraenetic tradition with admonitions clustering around different relations in daily life. When we compare, for example, the immediate contexts of 1 Peter 3:9 and Rom. 12:17 the imprecise similarities amid wide divergences make any kind of literary dependence improbable, but do suggest the use of common tradition.

This conclusion has found widespread scholarly acceptance.29

Looking now more closely at 1 Peter 3:9a we may say almost certainly that the wording μὴ ἀποδιδόντες κακόν ἀντὶ κακοῦ was taken from the early Christian paraenetic tradition which had adopted it from Hellenistic–Jewish tradition reflected, for example, in Joseph and Asenath where this exact phrase occurs (28:4 and with minor variations in 23:9, 28:12, 29:3). Johannes Thomas is probably correct that the tradition has its roots in an Old Testament text like Proverbs 17:13 (cf 20:22).30

The next phrase we consider is ἢ λοιδορίαν ἀvτί λοιδορίας, τοὐναντίον δὲ εὐλογουντες (3:9). The problem of how to respond to reviling was, of course, not unique to Christians. The Stoics had reflected long on this problem and in general admonished the true philosopher to endure reviling (λοιδούμενος ἀνέχεσθαι)31 and treat the reviler with gentleness (πρᾴως ἕξεις πρός τόν λοιδοροῦτα),32 although with a different motive than the early Christians. The key word "blessing" is missing from the Stoic context, and the Stoic emphasis is on the cultivation of self–reliance and sovereign individualism. That this phrase in 1 Peter 3:9 had its roots in Christian paraenetic tradition which was decisively determined by Jesus' own word and conduct is evident from the analogy in 1 Cor. 4:12 and 1 Peter 2:23.

In 1 Cor. 4:9–13 Paul lists the adverse circumstances of the apostles (Perista–senkataloge) and the apostolic responses including the following: "When reviled we bless (λοιδούμενοι εὐλογοῦμεν), when persecuted we endure, when slandered we try to concilitate" (4:12), and he urges them to "imitate" him (v. 16), referring then to his own "ways in Christ" which he "teaches everywhere in every church" (v. 17). If then λοιδούμενοι εὐλογοῦμεν reflects paraenesis common among the churches, then very probably the combination of λοδορίαν and εὐλογοῦντες in 1 Peter 3:9 is traditional.

The connection of 1 Peter 3:9 with the gospel tradition is apparently not direct. That Jesus' conduct (Mark 14:6, 65; 15:29; Matt. 26:62: 27:12, 14, 39, 41, 44; Luke 22:63–65; 23:9, 11, 35 f., 39: in connection with the Isaianic servent motif (Isa.53:7 LXX διὰ τὸ κεκακῶσθαι οὐκ ἀνοίγει τὸ στόμα) shaped the early Christian (liturgical) tradition is demonstrated in 1 Peter 2:23 (ὃς λοιδούμενος οὐκ ἀντελοιδόρει, πάσχων οὐκ ἠπείλει). In concert with his conduct Jesus' word in all likelihood shaped the tradition behind 1 Peter 3:9. The ἀντί–principle was forbidden by him in Matt 5:39 μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ).33 And according to Luke 6:28a Jesus commanded εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους. The closest parallel to this command in the New Testament paraenesis is Rom. 12:14: εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς διώκοντας, εὐλογεῖτε καὶ μὴ καταρᾶσθε. This command is essentially the same as Luke 6:28a and the repeated εὐλογεῖτε shows that the stress falls on the positive , active side of the command. Except for 1 Peter 3:9 and 1Cor. 4:12 (cf. James 3:9–12) there are no other comparable uses of εὐλογέω in the New Testament. The far more common use of εὐλογέω in the New Testament is God's blessing and being blessed. I would argue, therefore, that Luke 6:28a was not created by the church to expand Jesus' original "Love your enemies" (Luke 6:27),34 but rather than Rom. 12:14 and 1 Peter 3:9 are free adaptations of Jesus' word which had been taken up (albeit not word for word) into the paraenetic tradition.35

Robert Gundry in his response36 to Ernest Best's critique37 of an earlier article38 argues that the word λοιδορίαν [in 1 Peter] where Romans and Luke have καταράομαι, and four other allusions to the same Lucan passage – in 1 Peter 2:18 ff. (Luke 6:27 ff.); 3:14; 4:13–14; and 1:6 (Luke 6:22–2) – unsettle Best's deduction that 1 Peter 3:9 rests on common catechetical tradition "rather than" on any saying of Jesus. It becomes preferable to think of the direct recollection of a dominical saying with influence from catechetical tradition (p. 226).

But what Best said was that 1 Peter 3:9 "probably depends on the common catechetical tradition rather than directly on any saying of Jesus' (p. 105, my italics). I would accept the truth in both these quotes: Gundry's reference to 1 Peter's manifold dependence on words of Jesus like those in Luke 6:22–36 surely strengthens our conclusion that Luke 6:28 is the root of 1 Peter 3:9a. but Best is correct to stress that evidently these words were mediated at least partly through a paraenetic tradition in which they were expanded and adapted (for example by adding μὴ ἀποδιδὸντες κακὸν ἀντὶ κακοῦ). This in my judgment is not decisive for or against Petrine authorship since, as Gundry stresses again and again, it is an "unwarrantable assumption that a hearer of Jesus would not have used a somewhat developed tradition or have developed it himself". 39

We may now go a step farther and cite some evidence that the command not to return evil for evil and the command to bless were connected in the paraenetic tradition before 1 Peter. Between Rom. 12:14 ("Bless those who persecute you") and Rom. 12 :17 ("Render to no one evil for evil") there are admonitions that do not relate directly to enemy–love. Thus Otto Michel observes, "Between v. 16 and v. 17 there is no bridge, but rather v. 14 and vv. 17–21 are admonitions of a more general kind with a stronger traditional connection; they put relations with non–Christians in the foreground."40 It is not unlikely, therefore, that Rom. 12:14 ("Bless those who persecute you") and Rom. 12 :17 ("Render to no one evil for evil") were originally closely connected in the paraenetic tradition which Paul used. Perhaps v. 14 was drawn away from v. 17 by the catchword connection between v. 13 (τὴν φιλοξενίαν διώκοντεσ) and v. 14 (εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς διώκοντας).

With regard now to the ὃτι–clause in 1 Peter 3:9b W. Schenk says, "the antithetical admonition to renounce vengeance in v. 9a…is probably…common early Christian paraenesis. But the following double theological motivation of this admonition has the special style of the author of 1 Peter." 41 Pointing apparently in the same direction, Goppelt did not discuss the traditional antecedents of 1 Peter 3: 9b in his commentary. This is misleading since the elements of 3:9b were almost certainly the common possession of early Christian teachers. The idea of being "called" to a particular way of life 42 occurs frequently in Paul's letters, sometimes with the same passive verb form as we have here (I Cor. 1:9; Gal. 5:13; Col.3:15; cf. Ephesians. 4:1; I Cor. 7:15; I Thess.4:7). And while eschatological "blessing" (εὐλογίαν, 3:9b)43 and the eschatological "inheritance" (κληρονομήσητε, 3:9b)44 are not uncommon elements of Jewish tradition, nevertheless the combination of these two, according to Schenk,45 is not found there, but it is found again in Heb. 12:17.46 Therefore, even though the traditional background of 1 Peter 3:9b is not as clear and sure as that of 3:9a, it would be misleading to treat 3:9b as if it had no antecedents in the early Christian paraenesis.

Finally, the writer brings in a Psalm quote (LXX 33:13–17 = 1 Peter 3:10–12) to ground 1 Peter 3:9. The role this psalm played in the paraenetic tradition and the specific use 1 Peter made of it here will be discussed in the next section. It will become obvious, as the use of the Christian paraenesis has already suggested, that 1 Peter 3:9–12 is not so much exegesis of the Old Testament as it is an exposition of traditional Christian teaching with roots in the teachings of Jesus.47 What 1 Peter has made of this tradition will become clear in what follows.

3.2 The Context

The unit 3:8–12 follows the so–called "Ständetafel"48 (2:13–3:7) in which Christians were addressed as citizens (2:13–17); slaves (2:18–25), wives (3:1–6) and husbands (3:7). The τέλος of v. 8 ("finally") shows that the author is concluding the paraenetic series, and the πάντες ("all of you", v. 8) shows that here the whole church is addressed. Verse 8 has to do with harmonious relations of brotherly love among believers. Verse 9 has to do with the response of Christians to abusive outsiders.49 The command not to return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but to bless, is grounded briefly with the words "because unto this you were called in order that you might inherit a blessing" (b). This is followed finally by a quote from Ps. 34:13–17a (LXX 33) which varies from both the LXX and Hebrew in some details and is introduced simply with γάρ.

3.3 The Exegesis

According to 3:9b, we are to bless those who revile us, ὃτι εἰς τοῦτο ἐκλήθητε ἵνα εὐλογίαν κληρονεμήσητε. The primary exegetical question here is : what does the τοῦτο refer to? Does it refer (A) to what precedes, namely, blessing one's revilers; or (B) to what follows in the ἵνα–clause, namely, the hope of inheriting a blessing? The sense of "A" would be: Bless those who revile you because you have been called to do this in order that as a consequence you might inherit a blessing. Thus Rudolf Knopf translates 3:9b as follows: "Denn dazu (nämlich um zu segnen) seid ihr berufen, damit auch ihr Segen empfangt."50 The sense of "B" would be: Bless those who revile you because you know that through God's call (1:15; 2:9; 5:10) and your new birth (1) a blessing most certainly awaits you. Thus Goppelt (revising Knopf"s work) translates 3:9b as follows: "Ihr sollt segnen, weil ihr dazu berufen seid, Segen zu erben."51 "A" makes the inheritance of the blessing conditional upon loving one's enemies. "B" makes the surety of the inheritance through the regenerating call of God the motive of loving one's enemy. Thus "A" seems to conflict with the general structure of kerygma and paraenesis determined above (Part 2) according to which the imperatives are grounded in the finished work of God in Christ and the surety of the coming salvation.

It is precisely this apparent theological conflict which leads most commentators to favour interpretation "B".52 Kelly sums up three additional arguments for "B". (1) According to "A" there is an awkward parenthesis: Bless those who revile you (for unto this you were called) in order that you might inherit a blessing." (2) 1 Peter 4:6 offers a parallel which shows that τοῦτο in this construction can look forward: εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ νεκροῖς εὐηγγελίσθη ἵνα κριθῶσι . . . And A.T. Robertson cites 1 Peter 3:9 along with Acts 9:21; Romans 14:9; 2 Cor. 2:9; I John 3:8 as examples of texts in which εἰς τοῦτο is followed by a ἵνα–clause in apposition.53 (3) "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8) is better in tune with the spirit of the passage.

There is a fourth argument not in favour of construing the ἵνα–clause in apposition to τοῦτο, but against construing it as the purpose of not reviling. This is the possibility that ἵνα can sometimes introduce a consequence rather than a purpose. As possible examples C. F. D. Moule cites Luke 9:45; Gal. 5:17; I Thess. 5:4; I John 1:9. He observes that

The Semitic mind was notoriously unwilling to draw a sharp dividing–line between purpose and consequence. It may be for this reason (or, at least, Semitic influence may be a contributory cause) that ἵνα with Subj. sometimes occurs in contexts which seem to impose a consecutive, instead of final, sense upon it.54

Are these arguments compelling?

With regard to the first argument it may be said that there need be no parenthesis at all. The sentence makes good sense if the ἵνα–clause is subordinate to ἐκλήθητε: "Bless those who revile you because you were called to do this and the purpose or aim of this call to love your enemy is that you might be blessed." The second argument shows that interpretation "B" is grammatically possible, but 1 Peter 2:21 provides a more striking parallel than 4:6 and points in the opposite direction. In 2:20b–21 slaves with abusive masters are instructed: εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντες καὶ πάσχοντες ὑπομενεῖτε, τοῦτο χάρις παρὰ θεῷ . εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ἐκλήθητε, ὃτι καὶ χρισὸς ἒπαθεν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ὑμῖν ὑπολιμπάνων ὑπογραμμὸν ἵνα ἐπακολουθὴσητε τοῖς ἵχνεσιν αὐτοῦ. Here we have almost the identical wording (γάρ instead of ὃτι) of 3:9b and the τοῦτο certainly refers backwards. It seems far more appropriate to cite 2:21 as an instructive analogy to 3:9b than to cite 4:6, because 2:20, 21 correlates with 3:9 not only in form but also in content. 1 Peter 2:19, 20 requires a slave (with different words) not to return evil for evil but rather to bless; 2:21 says that the Christian slave should act this way because he was called to do so. On this analogy, then, 3:9b says that all Christians should act this way because they were called to do so. The difference between the texts is that 2:21 gives a ground for the call to patient endurance in the atoning (ὑπέρ ὑμῶν) and exemplary (ἵχνεσιν αὑτοῦ) suffering of Jesus; while 3:9b gives a purpose for the call to bless, namely, that we might thereby inherit a blessing.

The third argument – that construing the ἵνα–clause as an appositive to τοῦτο is better in tune with the spirit of the passage – can be shown to be false, I think, when we focus on the way the author used the quotation from Ps. 34 in 1 Peter 3:10–12 (see below). Finally, with regard to the fourth argument, that ἵνα can introduce consecutive as well as purpose clauses, I can only say that the context must determine when this is the case. To the context, therefore, we should now turn.

The decisive factor from the immediate context in favour of interpretation "A" (in which inheriting the blessing is a purpose for not returning evil for evil and is conditional upon it) is the way Ps. 33:13–17 (LXX) has been used. The changes in Ps. 33:13 are significant:

The rhetorical question of the psalm followed by a second person imperative is replaced55 by a conditional participle followed by a third person imperative.56 The difference between second and third person is preserved throughout the quotation. As the added γάρ shows, 1 Peter intends the Old Testament quotation as a ground for what he has just said in v. 9. This may account in part for why he prefers the less direct third person imperative to the Psalmist's second person imperative: he is not primarily commanding in vv. 10–12, but rather arguing for the command of v. 9 and its motive.

Perhaps the strangest difference between Ps. 33:12 and 1 Peter 3:10 is the transformation of the participle ἀγαπῶν into an infinitive ἀγαπᾶν. The psalm says: "…the one who desires life, who loves to see good days…"57 1 Peter says "…the one who desires to love life and to see good days…". In 1 Peter 3:10 loving life and seeing good days are parallel direct objects of θέλων. Alford remarks that in the psalm all is plain, "whereas θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾶν is hardly intelligible".58 This criticism may turn out to be a bit harsh if we take the following into account.

It is generally agreed that, "Im Brief sind Leben und gute Tage [1 Peter3:10] eschatologisch verstanden"59 in distinction from the primary original sense of earthly prosperity. In support of this is a complex of links with the preceding verses. The one other place where ζωή occurs in 1 Peter is three verses earlier in 3:7: husbands are to live together with their wives ὡς καί συγκληρονόμοις χάριτος ζωῆς. Here "life" is something that is "inherited". It is that "inheritance (κληρονομίαν) which is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (1:4).60 It is that "grace" (χάριν) that is coming to you at the revelation of Christ" (1:13)61 Therefore when 3:9 speaks of not returning evil for evil in order to inherit a blessing and then supports this by saying that if you want to love life you must cease from speaking evil, we are compelled to view the inherited "blessing" and the inherited (3:7) and loved (3:10) "life" as synonymous. Therefore "life in 3:10 refers to the eschatological blessing of 3:9.62 And the peculiar phrase ὁ θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾶν (3:10) may, therefore, be taken to mean: "if someone desires to enjoy (ἀγαπᾶν) the inherited blessing (ζωὴν)…".

I noted above that 1 Peter introduces the Psalm quotation as a ground (γάρ) for 3:9. We are now in a position to see more precisely of what and how it functions as a ground. The entire Old Testament quotation is an expansion and restatement of the argumentation in 3:9. And since the Old Testament is authoritative for 1 Peter its confirmation of the logic of v. 9 functions as a ground (hence γάρ). The logic of 3:10 is: "If someone desires to love life and to see good days, then his tongue must cease from evil." This restates and confirms the logic of 3:9: "If you desire to inherit a blessing, then you must not return evil for evil but must bless when reviled." Both the terminology and the logic of the verses are parallel.

That this is the writer's intention is confirmed by another redactional element in the Psalm quotation: he inserts a causal ὃτι at the beginning of 3:12. "By means of inserting a ὃτι in v. 12 … the theological ground, which in the Psalm had followed without any connecting word, is emphatically underlined."63

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it, because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

One must cease from evil and do good precisely because the Lord is for the righteous and against those who do evil. The insertion of this ὃτι shows how 1 Peter intends the logic of 3:9: one must bless those who revile him because his inheritance from the Lord depends on it.

In view of this conscious redactional treatment of Ps. 34 as a support for the argumentation of 3:9, interpretation "A" (that τοῦτο refers back to enemy–love)64 has far more in its favour from the immediate context than does interpretation "B" (that τοῦτο refers forward to inheriting the blessing). In other words, the way 1 Peter 3:9–12 motivates enemy–love is by showing that it is a condition for inheriting the eschatological blessing. Therefore the "desire to enjoy (eternal) life" (3:10) should motivate a person to bless those who revile him.65

As additional confirmation of this interpretation we may ask whether a similar kind of motivation is found elsewhere in this letter. 1 Peter 1:17 says, "If the father you call upon is the one who judges according to each one's work, then conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your (earthly) sojourn."66 To grasp fully the sense in which this author conceives of the fear of God we would have to attend carefully to 2:17, 18; 3:2, 6, 14, 15. Surely Herbert Preisker was wide of the mark when he used this text to illustrate how in "The middle period of early Christianity . . . individual good works – wholly in the Spirit of late Judaism – were possibilities with which men agonized in their own strength (von sich aus) in order to be saved at the judgment."67 But the least we can say is that 1 Peter does intend for the future prospect of judgment to function in shaping the Christian's behavior (ἀναστράφητε). The writer apparently sees no inconsistency between pointing the believer forward toward the future of God's judgment (1:17, cf. 3:12b) and backward in the next verse (1:18 f.) to their accomplished redemption through "the precious blood of Christ". And this is a clear warning against equating 1 Peter 1:17 with a legalistic doctrine of self–achieved merit.68

Several other texts illustrating 1 Peter's future–oriented paraenetic motivation may be cited briefly. 1 Peter 4:13 ("Insofar as you share the sufferings of Christ, rejoice in order that you might rejoice in gladness at the revelation of his glory") appears to make one's response to reproach the means by which one comes to participate in the future glory of Christ. Two other pertinent sayings from chapter 5 contain Old Testament wisdom and reflect the sayings of Jesus: "All of you clothe yourselves with lowliness toward each other because (redactional ὃτι again)69 God resists the proud but gives grace to the lowly" (5:5b = Proverbs. 3:35 LXX, cf. Matt. 23:12). "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God in order that (ἵνα) in the proper season he might exalt you" (5:6; cf. Job 22:29; Matt. 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14). Again it would be wrong (as at 1:17) to view humility as a kind of meritorious virtue by which one earns exaltation from God.70 My point is simply that humility (which is a necessary psychological constituent of enemy–love) is here motivated by an appeal to a future divine blessing which is in some sense conditional upon it. I think it is fair to say therefore that the interpretation of 1 Peter 3:9 to which we came earlier does not involve an isolated, unique idea in this writer's thought. We are urged to bless those who revile us precisely because this is a means of inheriting the blessing of eternal life and because "the face of the Lord is against those who do evil".71

4. The Synthesis

Having now dealt in general with hope as an ethical motivation in 1 Peter (Part 2) and having engaged in a detailed analysis of the motivation of enemy–love (Part 3), we are prepared to approach what I called in Part 1 a "mutually correcting interaction" between the two.

On the one hand, Part 2 could mislead us into thinking that loving conduct toward our enemy is not a condition of final salvation. It could suggest that, since salvation is secured for all who are born of God, we should never try to motivate love by calling attention to such a condition or by warning that God's face is against those who do evil. On the other hand, Part 3 could mislead us into thinking that there is no assurance of salvation and that salvation is a reward to be earned with sufficiently valuable moral effort. But neither of these misleading conclusions follows necessarily from our exegesis. Rather, when we hold the two parts together a more balanced and true picture emerges of how 1 Peter aims to motivate enemy–love.

From Part 2 it is true: (1) that salvation is secured for all who (by God) are called from darkness into light (2:9) and are born anew through the living and abiding word (1:23; 1:3); (2) that salvation is the τέλος of a genuine faith (1:9, 7) and will not be enjoyed by those who disobey the gospel (3:1; 4:17) and fail to put their faith and hope in God (1:21; 2:8); and (3) that hopeful faith (or trustful hope) always yields a life–style of love, since we inevitably conform our behavior to the kind of future in which we "fully hope". From Part 3 it is true: (1) that enemy–love is a condition of final salvation (3:9b); (2) that it is a legitimate moral motivation to say: Make sure you fulfill the condition of love in order to inherit salvation.

If we take all of this into consideration when we are addressed with the command and motive of 1 Peter 3:9–12, what would be a proper response? As a synthesis I would suggest the following: If in our heart we do not desire the well being of the one who reviles us, then we will not legalistically and hypocritically proceed to do some good deed for him just because the apostolic word demands it, all the while bearing a grudge in our heart. That would not be obedience to this command to bless, for one cannot truly bless while inwardly desiring someone's hurt.72

Instead (taking the whole message of 1 Peter into account) we will recognize in our own ill will a failure to "hope fully" in the grace of Christ (1:13) who by bearing our own sins in his body (2:24) has brought us home to God (3:18) – our faithful creator (4:19). We will admit that not legalistic moral effort but a change of heart is demanded. To that end we will "be sober unto prayer" (4:7), and girding up our minds (1:13) will direct our attention to the reality of the Lord's kindness in the living word (2:2, 3; 1:23). Thus by the grace of God we may experience a renewal of hope so that in all sincerity and earnestness (1:22) we can speak and act toward our enemy from a hopeful, humble and loving heart that truly desires his blessedness.

Thus the function of the motive in 1 Peter 3:9 is, by an appeal to our innate and proper love of life (3:10), to cause us to measure our hope and faith by our conduct, and, when it is unloving, to summon us back to full hope and thus to love. Only in this way will our "good conduct" bear witness to God's power and not to our achievement, so that he alone receives the glory (2:12; 4:11).

This article was published by Cambridge University Press, New Testament Studies, 1980, Volume 26, Issue 02.

  1. Our discussion of ethical motivation in 1 Peter will not be exhaustive: the motivation cited in 3:1 (the desire to win the unbelieving husband) and the idea of imitating Christ (e.g. 2:21) and God (1:15,16) will not be discussed. The aim here is not to give a comprehensive view of ethical motivation in 1 Peter but to uncover an (I believe the) essential aspect of that motivation by grappling with two apparently contradictory motifs (see Part I). 

  2. 'Paränese und Kerygma im I. Petrusbrief', Z.N.W. xlv (1954), 87. 

  3. L. Goppelt, Der erste Petrusbrief (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1978), p. 121. With reference to these three texts Lohse (p. 86) says, 'Die letzte und eigentliche Begründung aber, die der I Pt für die ethischen Mahnungen bietet, ist christologischer Art.' Heinrich Schlier constructs the first part of his excellent essay around these three texts, "Eine Adhortatio aus Rom, Die Botschaft des ersten Petrusbriefes" in: Das Ende der Zeit: Exegetische Arifsätze und Vorträge iii (Freiburg: Herder, 1971), 272–8. 

  4. Briefly, the foundation reveals an entire "plan of salvation" rooted in the mercy (1:3; 2:10b) and grace (5:10, 12; 4:10) of God. Christ was predestined before the foundation of the world, was manifested in history (1:20), was rejected by men (2:4), suffered (1:11; 4:1, 12; 5:1), and died for the sake of his people (2:21, 24; 3:18; 1:18, 19). Yet he was raised from the dead (3:18; 1:21) and was glorified at God's right hand (1:21; 2:7) with all authorities subject to him (3:22). Now the good news of this accomplished redemption is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven (1:12) in such a way that it is the life–giving "word of God" (1:23) calling men out of darkness into light (2:9; 1:15) – into his eternal glory in Christ' (5:10). 

  5. Gerhard Delling's fine statement on motivation in 1 Peter also stops short of explaining how the Christ event enables new behaviour in actual experience: "Dieses neue Handeln ist von dem Christusgeschehen in Kreuz und Auferweckung her ermöglicht. Denn im gewaltsamen Sterben Christi ist die alte Existenz aufgehoben, ist die Trennung von Gott durch die Schuld und durch das Verfallensein an das eigene Begehren überwunden, das dem Willen Gottes entgegen ist (4, 2f.) und dadurch die Existenz des Menschen schlechthin bedroht (2:11)" "Der Bezug der christlichen Existenz auf das Heilshandeln Gottes nach dem ersten Petrusbrief", in: Neues Testament und christliche Existenz, Festschrift for Herbert Braun, ed. H. D. Betz and L. Schottroff (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1973), 112. 

  6. The term is adapted from Schlier (281): "Aber auf welche Weise läβt sich der Mensch auf die ihm so eröffnete und angebotene Geschichte Jesu Christi und also auf die Gnade ein? Wir können mit unserem Brief antworten: im Gehorsam des hoffenden Glaubens oder der glaubenden Hoffnung." 

  7. The term is James Dunn's, Baptism in the Holy Spirit (London: SCM, 1970), 220, "In 1 Peter [obedience to the truth] probably refers to the once–for–all act of obedience at conversion–initiation...; in fact it may well refer to baptism – their response of faith to the gospel, their acceptance of the challenge and invitation made therein and their commitment to the One thus proclaimed." 

  8. Der erste Petrusbrief; 132. See also Dunn, 221. 

  9. Goppelt (131) and J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and Jude (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), 49. See also Eph. 1:3 and Col. 1:5 which seem to equate 'word', 'gospel' and 'truth': "You have heard the word of truth the gospel." Paul also speaks in Gal. 5:7 and Rom. 2:8 of obeying the truth and in Rom. 10:16 and II Thess. 1: 8 of not obeying the gospel. See also Acts 15:9. 

  10. Goppelt, 95. I would want to stress, however, that in Paul faith always includes trusting God's promise (Rom. 4:17–25) and therefore always involves hope. 

  11. "Glaube ist Grund zumJubel insbesondere, weil er nach vorne gerichtet ist." Delling, 'Bezug der christlichen Existenz', 97. 

  12. Compare John 1:13 where "children of God" are begotten " not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God"'. Again the divine priority is expressed in I John 5:1: "The one who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God" (cf. I John 4:7). That 1 Peter has a similar conception of the origin of faith / hope is confirmed by 2:8: "who stumble not obeying the word, unto which also they were appointed". "εἰς ὃ denkt an das Straucheln, das Versagen des Glaubens, nicht an seine Folgen" Goppelt, Der erste Petrusbrief; 150, note 58. So Christian Maurer in T. D.N. T. viii, 157. 

  13. "Die Aussageweise drückt den Gedanken der vollen Gewiβheit aus". Delling, "Bezug der christlichen Existenz:, 96. 

  14. "ἐλπίς ist hier nicht das Hoffen, sondern das Erhoffte, die verbügte, heile Zukunft", Goppelt, 94. But this is an over statement wrongly excluding the subjective dimension. 

  15. The Epistles of Peter and Jude, 48. Cf. Heb. 4:12. 

  16. "Darin begründet der Jubel der Christen auch in der Bedrängnis der Gegenwart (V. 6)." Delling, "Bezug der christlichen Existenz" 97. 

  17. I can see no way to be at all sure whether τελείως modifies νήφοντες ("being completely sober") or ἐλπίσατε ("hope fully"). The commentators usually just express their feelings and cite each other's opinions. I can do no better: it seems to me more in tune with the supreme value of grace in 1:3–12 to follow up with a call for an all–consuming hope rather than simply to say "Hope!". 

  18. Der erste Petrusbrief; 110. 

  19. Which Goppelt (as far as I can see, inconsistently) admits (116) : "Dem Hoffen entspricht als unmittelbare Folge, wie des öfteren in der Paränese gesagt wird, die Heiligung, worauf V. 14–16 eingeht.' 

  20. The New Testament knows nothing of the philosophical difficulty that affections or desires cannot be commanded. We find commands to rejoice, to be grateful, not to fear or be anxious, etc., all of which demand a change in our affections. The command to love God with all our heart may mean more, but surely not less, than that we should delight ourselves in the Lord and desire his fellowship. The reason affections can be commanded is not that they are in our ultimate control but because, given the nature of divine reality, some affections ought to exist toward God and man and some ought not. To know that a certain affection ought to exist is a sufficient condition for being the object of a reasonable command to experience that affection if we feel unable to render obedience the solution is not to call the commands unreasonable but to pray with St. Augustine: "O Charity, my God, enkindle me! Thou commandest continence. Grant what thou commandest and command what thou wilt." Confessions (400) x. 40. Some of the most insightful reflections on the relation between will and desire are still those by Jonathan Edwards in Freedom of the Will (New York: Bobbs–Merrill Co., 1969), 4–15. 

  21. That is why our minds must be "girded up" and "sober": "While the drunkard loses himself in a dream world, the sober person sees the real situation and adapts himself to the reality of his assured future: he hopes". Goppelt, p. 116. See lsoo Schelkle, Die Petrusbriefe (HTK, xii, 2; Freiburg: Herder, 1970), 44, "Alle Gedanken durch die Erwartung behindert werden könnte, müssen abgetan werden." 

  22. Cf. R. Schnackenburg, The Moral Teaching of the New Testament (London: Burns and Oates, 1965), 368, "This epistle shows more compellingly than almost any other New Testament writing what strong moral stimulus hope gives." 

  23. Not "human institution", C. Bigg, The Epistles of St Peter and St Jude, ICC (Edinburgh : T. and T. Clark, 1902 ), 139. "Diese ganz offensichtlich von Röm 13 inspirierte Deutung ist aber keineswegs überzeugend. κτίσις heiβt nirgendwo sonst 'Ordnung', weder in Profangräzität noch in der LXX. Da das Wort auβerdem in V. 13 f and 17 durch personale Begrifie aufgenommen wird und auch in V. 18a; 3:1 und 5:5 jeweils eine personale Fassung der Unterordnung im Blick ist (vgl. auch das πάσῃ) liegt die . . . Übersetzung 'Geschöpf' durchaus näher", W. Schrage, Die Christen und der Staat nach dem Neuen Testament (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1971), 66 note 145. So Goppelt, 182; and Delling, 110. 

  24. I have phrased these last two sentences carefully so as not to imply that a Christian in absolutely every situation is forbidden to retaliate against evil. In view of 2:14 the possible situation of forcefully resisting evil in the world cannot be ruled out even for the Christian. But even when he resists, it will be from a different spirit: "So kann wer die Freiheit gefunden hat, nicht zu widerstehen, in dieser Freiheit auch um der Ordnung und um des Nächsten willen dem Unrecht widerstehen. Er wird in anderer Weise widerstehen, z. B. das Gericht anrufen, als der Mensch, der voll Angst und Begehren seinen Lebensraum selbst absichern will . . . er leidet darunter, daβ er widerstehen muβ." L. Goppelt, "Das Problem der Bergpredigt", in Christologie und Ethik (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1968), 40. 

  25. C. Spicq, Les Épîtres de Saint Pierre, sources Bibliques (Paris, 1966), 15. 

  26. Der erste Petrusbrief, 48. 

  27. F.W. Beare, The First Epistle of Peter, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1958), 134. The efforts of E. G. Selwyn "establish more clearly than ever the literary dependence of 1 Peter upon several if not all of the epistles of the Pauline corpus", 195. 

  28. E. G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of Peter, see Essay II; Philip Carrington, The Primitive Christian Catechism (Cambridge, 1940). 

  29. Goppelt, 224; E. Lohse, "Paränese und Kerygma im I. Petrusbrief" (see note 6), 75. Cf. p. 72 for a warning against trying to reconstruct a fixed catechism behind the written sources. In agreement are J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter, 135, and K. H. Schelkle, Die Petrusbriefe (Freiburg: Herder, 1970), 95. 

  30. "Aktuelles im Zeugnis der Zwölf Väter" in: Studien zu den Testamenten der Zwölf Patriarchen (Berlin, 1969), 96. The saying was also alive in the rabbinic tradition: Strak–Bill., 370. C. Burchard cites the use of this expression in I Thess. 5:15, Rom. 12:17 and 1 Peter 3:9 and comments: "es ist an allen drei Stellen Bloβ negativer Vordersatz zu einer Positiven . . . Hier wird ein jüdisch–hellenistischer Satz übernommen und in Fortgang verchristlicht". Untersuchungen zu Joseph u. Asenath, W.U.N.T. viii (Tübingen, 1965), 100. 

  31. Epictetus, Discourses iii, 12:10; 21:5, Encheiridion, 10. 

  32. Epictetus, Encheiridion, 42; for other discussions of reviling in Epictetus see Discourses i, 25:29; iii 4:8; 20:9; iv, 4:46; 5:8, 9, 32; Encheiridion 20, 28. 

  33. I have argued in Love Your Enemies, SNTS Monograph 39 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) that this command is not Matthean but original. It is a daring statement, for everywhere else in the early church paraenesis that ἀνθίστημι appears in connection with some sort of evil, the command is; "Resist!" (Gal. 2:11; Ephesians 6:13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9). 

  34. Comparing Matt. 5:44 with Luke 6:27, 28 we find "Love your enemies" in both and a command to pray for those who persecute (Matt.) or abuse (Luke) you in both. The commands "Do good to those who hate you and bless those who curse you" (Luke 6:27b, 28a) are unique to Luke. Bultmann argues that Luke's four–line unit "is more likely to be the original form since he gives otherwise parallel elements in abridged form", The History of the Synoptic Tradition (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1963), p. 79. O. J. F. Seitz argues that the synthetic parallelism of Luke 6:27, 28 shows that these four lines are preserved "with great fidelity" and "are probably of Palestinian origin", "Love Your Enemies", N.T.S. xvi (Oct. 1969), 52. Dieter Lührmann, however, argues that Matthew's two–line form is more original and that of these only the first (Matt. 5:44a "Love Your Enemies") is authentic; "Liebet eure Feinde", Z.Th.K. lxix (1972), 416, 425 f. His reasons for rejecting Luke's two unique commands are that the first ("do good to those who hate you") can be constructed from words in 6:22, 26, and the second ("bless those who curse you") has a parallel in Rom. 12:14 which shows "that Paul knew these lines as a free saying" (p. 416). I do not think either of these arguments is compelling. His reason for rejecting Matt. 5:44b ("pray for those who persecute you) is this: the rhetorical questions (Matt. 5:46 f.) could never have stood alone but were attached from the time of their formation to the command of Matt. 5:44. But the only correspondence between the rhetorical questions and the commands in 5:44 is the reference to love. "Das läβt den Schluβ zu, daβ sie zu einer Fassung des Gebotes hinzutraten, die nur die erste Zeile, 'Liebet eure Feinde!' enthielt" (425 f.) Lührmann may be demanding an overly strict correlation between the commands of 5:44 and the rhetorical questions of 5:46 f. Even if he is not, we can put against his argument Schürmann's sharp observation that Matthew's ἀσπάσησθε (5:47) may be a "Gräzisierung" of Luke's εὐλογεῖτε (6:28a) which has been dropped by Matthew in 5:44, Das Lukasevangelium, Part I (Freiburg: Herder, 1969), p. 354. This would not only weaken Lührmann's argument that "Pray for those who persecute you" is secondary, but it would also buttress our conclusion that the command "Bless those who curse you" moved from Jesus' mouth into the NT paraenesis, not vice versa. 

  35. In agreement with C. K. Barrett, the Epistle to the Romans (New York: Harper, 1957), 241; P. Althaus, Der Brief an die Römer, N.T.D. vi, 3rd edn (Göttingen, 1963), 116; C. E. B. Cranfield, A commentary on Romans 12–13, S.J.T. Occasional Papers XII (Edinburgh, 1965), 49; C. H. Dodd, The epistle of Paul to the Romans (London, 1932), 200; H. W. Schmidt, Der Brief des Paulus an die Römer , T.H.N.T. vi (Berlin, 1963), 214; Goppelt, Der erste Petrusbrief, 229 note 18. 

  36. Robert Gundry, "Further Verba on Verba Christi in First Peter", Biblica lv (1974), 211–32. 

  37. Ernest Best, "1 Peter and the Gospel Tradition", N.T.S. xvi (1970), 95–113. 

  38. Robert A. Gundry, "'Verba Christi' in 1 Peter: their implications concerning the Authorship of 1 Peter and the Authenticity of the Gospel Tradition", N.T.S. xiii (1966–7), 335–50. 

  39. "Further Verba", 225, cf. 213, 216, 223. 

  40. Der Brief an die Römer, MK, 12th edn (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1966), 307. 

  41. Der Segen im Neuen Testament (Berlin, 1967), 62. 

  42. I construe τοῦτο (3:9b) to refer back to εὐλογοῦντες rather than forward to the ἵνα–clause. See next section. 

  43. For example IV Ezra 5:41; I Enoch 45:4 f. 

  44. For example IV Ezra 7:9, 16; 8:58; Ps. Sol. 14:10; 15:15; I QS 11:7. 

  45. egen im Neuen Testament, 63. 

  46. Suggestive too is the reference in Matt. 25:34 and Heb. 6:7 to an eschatological blessing given to those who live a certain kind of life. Delling, 97, points out the verbal and substantial parallels between Matt. 25:34 and 1 Peter 1:5. 

  47. But the author does not buttress his command with an explicit reference to the Lord (as Paul occasionally does). It is probably inappropriate to ask why, since the question assumes wrongly that one should or would make explicit the source of every allusion to Jesus' teachings. For a discussion of why Jesus was not quoted more freely in the early Christian paraenesis see L. Goppelt, Theologie des Neuen Testaments,ii (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1976), 369–71. To write as an apostle (1:1) in continuity with Jesus and the early Christian paraenetic tradition was sufficient authorization for 1 Peter's exhortation. Ernest Best's remark that Jesus is not cited because he was not yet a moral authority for the church is totally unwarranted. 1 Peter, N.C.B. (London: Oliphants, 1971), 129. 

  48. See the excursus "Die Ständetafeltradition" in Leonhard Goppelt, Der erste Petrusbrief, 163–79. 

  49. Admittedly there is no clear break between vv. 8 and 9, but λοιδορίαν ἀvτί λοιδορίας in v. 9 clearly recalls Jesus' response to abuse in 2:23, ὃς λοιδούμενος οὐκ ἀντελοιδόρει, and therefore must surely refer to abuse coming from outside the circle of believers. 

  50. R. Knopf, Die Briefe Petri und Judä, MK, xii, 7th edn (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1912), 134. 

  51. Der erste Petrusbrief, 228 note 15. 

  52. Goppelt, 228; E.G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of Peter, p. 190; B. Reicke, The Epistles of James, Peter and Jude, The Anchor Bible, xxxvii (New York: Doubleday, 1964), 105; J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and Jude, 137; C. Bigg, The Epistles of St Peter and St Jude, 156; H. Alford, The Greek Testament, iv, 360; Karl Schelkle says that "die grammatische Auf lösung des Verses ungewiβ ist". Die Petrusbriefe, HKNT, xiii, /2 (Freiburg: Herder, 1970), 94. 

  53. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadmann, 1934), 699. 

  54. An Idiom–Book of New Testament Greek, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959, reprinted 1979), 142. 

  55. Selwyn (see note 2) argues (413 f.) that Ps. 34 was a reservoir of early Christian paraenetic teaching, as parallels from Rom. 12 and I Thess.5 show, as well as its use here and in 1 Peter 2:3, 4. He suggests that the form it has in 1 Peter may have already existed in the catechetical tradition (p. 190). 

  56. So Goppelt (note2), 230. 

  57. The Hebrew text reads, "Who is the man who desires life, who loves days to see good?" 

  58. The Greek New Testament, iv, 360. 

  59. Schelkle, Petrusbriefe, 95; W. Schenk, Segen in Neuen Testament (Berlin, 1967), 63; Selwyn, 190; Kelly, 138. On the other side, interpreting them in an earthly, present sense are Bigg, 157, and Alford, 360. A common Rabbinic interpretation of Ps. 34:13 was that leprosy was often a curse upon the misuse of the tongue (e.g. slander) and so the instruction that the one who desires life should keep his tongue from evil was taken as a warning that leprosy would ruin or take one's life if one did not guard one's tongue. Leviticus Rabbah 16 (116b); Tanḥ uma (Buber) 4 (23a). But also among the Rabbis the psalm had been given an eschatological interpretation: Tanḥ uma (Burber) 5 (23a), " 'Who desires life' in this world, 'who loves long life' in the future world. Therefore it says, 'Keep your tongue from evil' etc." Strack–Billerbeck iii, 764 f., 498; ii, 136c. The Rabbis often admonished not to return evil for evil but instead to do good, basing this on OT texts like Proverbs 20:22 (Midrash Psalm 41:8 (131a)) and Exod. 23:5 and Proverbs. 17:13 (Genesis Rabbah 38 (23a) and Mic. 7:18 (Exodus Rabbah 26 (87b)). But in the material gathered by Strack–Billerbeck, i, 370–2, I did not find any connection with Ps. 34:13 ff. 

  60. Goppelt, 222. 

  61. Alford, 359; Bigg, 155. 

  62. Kelly, 138: here "life" and "good days" "stand for eternal life (cf. 'life' in 7), 'the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time' (1:5), which is in fact the content of that 'blessing' the Anatolian Christians are to inherit (9)…". 

  63. E. Lohse, "Paränese und Kerygma im I. Petrusbrief" (note 6), 86. 

  64. So Schenk (note 55), 62: "Vom eschatologischen Ziel der Berufung spricht nicht unsere Stelle, sondern 5:10." 

  65. On 1 Peter 3:9 Calvin writes: "Because the condition may seem hard and almost unjust, he calls their attention to the reward, as though he were saying that there is no reason why the faithful should complain, because they will turn wrongs to their own benefit. In short, he shows what a gain patience will be, for if we submissively bear injuries the Lord will bestow on us this blessing." The First and Second Epistles of St Peter, trans. W.B. Johnston (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1963), 285. Similarly Hans Windisch: "Die Motivierung würde einem Logion εὐλογεῖτε ἵνα εὐλογηθῆτε entsprechen", Die Katholischen Briefe, H.N.T. xv (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1951), 69. E. Best, "1 Peter and the Gospel Tradition", N.T.S. xvi (1970), 113, note 2, having cited I Clement 13:2 (ἐλεᾶτε, ἵνα εὐλογηθῆτε, etc.), suggests that 1 Peter 3:9b "may represent a phrase cast in the same pattern as those in I Clement". Furnish agrees that εἰς τοῦτο looks backward, in opposition to Kelly, but he does not discuss the significance of the ἵνα–clause, The Love Command in the New Testament (Nashville: Abingdon, 1972), 168. 

  66. Selwyn (142) argues that due to the emphatic place of "father" in the sentence "the sense cannot be 'if the Father you invoke is the impartial Judge of every man's work' but conversely 'if you invoke the impartial Judge as Father'." Hence for him the motive here is the father's mercy not the judge's righteousness. But surely Kelly (71) is right that "Coming so soon, however, after the mention of the divine judgment, fear is much more naturally understood of the awe ('godly fear') is to be their judge, they would be wise to have a healthy dread of His judgment and shape their behaviour accordingly." 

  67. Das Ethos des Urchristentums (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968 reprint of 2nd edn, 1942), 201. 

  68. This is especially true if what we are to fear is not the prospect of failing to show our works valuable enough to merit salvation, but rather the prospect of failing to act in a way that befits beneficiaries of the infinitely valuable work of redemption already achieved for us in the death and resurrection of Christ (1:18–21). Similarly Delling, 109 F., "…der Verfasser warnt damit vor einer praktizierten Geringschätzung der Heilstat Gottes". 

  69. The same quotation from Proverbs. 3:34 LXX is found in James 4:6. Both James and 1 Peter have ὅ θεός for the LXX κύριος. The saying therefore probably belongs to the early Christian tradition where it received this form. But James 4:6 does not have 1 Peter's ὅτι. It is typical rather of 1 Peter (so Goppelt, 334). 

  70. "Die Demut wird Hier nicht al seine Tugend oder als Selbsterniedrigung gelohnt; sie empfängt Gottes gnädige Zuwendung, weil sie die Hände nach ihr austreckt: 'Demut' bedeutet, sich von Gottes Barmherzigkeit abhängig wissen." Goppelt, 334. 

  71. W. C. Van Unnik's 1954 article, "The Teaching of Good Works in 1 Peter" (N.T.S .i) defends the thesis that "Peter uses the word ἀγαθοποιεῖν and its derivatives with the same range of meaning as was usual among the 'Greeks'…But the foundation is quite different from the Greek: God's calling and not human goodness; and its aim is different: not to earn glory for oneself but to make the way free for the Gospel towards the disobedient" (108). That is, "No special 'Christian', but truly human ethics are demanded" (107). What makes "good works" Christian is their "foundation" and "aim". But how do these good works fit into the process of salvation? Van Unnik answers, "These good works have no place in the process of salvation. The work Christ has done is the unshakable basis in the relation with God…" (107). "It is nowhere said that good works are accounted for righteousness with God, that they bring atonement or special reward… 'Good deeds' have no special value for the acquirement of God's favour…They are not done for heaven's sake, but for neighbour's sake" (108). But in view of my exegesis I think that in his reaction against a doctrine of supererogation (mentioned on p. 108), Van Unnik has minimized, if not denied, a crucial aspect of the motivation of Christian behaviour in 1 Peter, namely, the promise of resulting blessing or reward. 

  72. See K. Schelkle, Die Petrusbriefe, 94, note 2, to bless "bedeutet…segnen, indem man Gottes Gnade auf jemand herabruft". Also Goppelt, Der erste Petrusbrief, 229: "Heil wünschende Fürbitte".