Body Middle (2:11–4:11)

From: 1 Peter

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Body Middle 1 Peter 2:11-4:11 Analysis 1. Structure The descriptive adjective with which 2:11 begins, aya1r7JTOL ("beloved"), repeated in 4:12, indicates the boundaries of this passage.1 Further indication is provided by the benediction in 4:11 b,2 and the indusia formed with the repetition of God's glorification in 2:12 (Yva .. . ootaol to flag the beginning of a new direction in thought (Rom 12: I; I Cor I: I0; I Thess 4: I ; cf. also Heb 13:22). 5 2 While this benediction can form the end of a section of the lener, it is less likely to have formed the end of a document subsequently included into the letter; on this point, see the Introduction IV. A, "Literary Unity of I Peter." 3 It is that motif of subordination that renders 2:133 :7 a unity, although the elements of a traditional household code are restricted to 2:18-3:7. Comparable NT household codes do not include commands about civil rulers (e.g.. Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3: 18-4: I), and a comparable passage of advice about civil rulers (Rom 13: 1-7) has no elements drawn from a household code. Only later (e.g., 1 Clem. 1.2) are all these elements combined as they are The use of root rtl\o~ in v. 8 further indicates the beginning of a new unit, as Piper ("Hope," 223) and Combrini ("Structure," 42) also observe. Coppell (I 55) divides this section as 2:11-3:12 (duty of Christians to act responsibly within institutions of society) and 3: 13-4: I I (Christians are to bear suffering such actions bring), with each section ending in paranesis on living together in the Christian community (3:8-12; 4:7-1 1). 169 2. Suffering and triumphant Christ as basis (3: 18-22) C. All readers to right conduct among unbelievers (4: 1-6) D. All readers to right conduct within the fellowship (4:7- 11 ) 2 . Theological Import The theme of this section of the letter follows on the identification of the Christian readers as a people chosen and precious to God because they adhere to Christ (2:410 ), and is announced in the opening paragraph (2: 11 12 ): appropriate conduct for Christians whom their contemporary culture looks upon as they do other exiles and aliens who are members of a foreign people and who follow strange and often unacceptable customs. That this fate of Christians is made inevitable by their adherence to Christ was announced in the previous section, particularly in the thematic statement in 2:4b, where Christ who for God is chosen and precious is nevertheless rejected by human beings. That affirmation that the fate of Christians is determined by the fate of Christ becomes thematic in this body middle through the strategic references to the suffering (2:21-24; 3:18-20, 22; 4: 1) and triumphant (3:22) Christ as the basis for the exhortations to appropriate conduct in the midst of their hostile environment. There is a discernible progression in the way the figure of Christ is used in this passage. One's initial impression is that the major benefit of the suffering of Christ was understood by our author to be the pattern this sets for those who follow (2:2 1, where the benefit "you" derive from Christ's suffering "for you" appears to be the pattern this gives "to you" for your own conduct). The chance to follow in Christ's footsteps is thus the benefit of his passion, and the ensuing description of the suffering Christ (2:22-24) describes what those footsteps entail, as they lead one back to God as wandering sheep are led back to their shepherd (2:25).6 That falls far short of the authm-'s understanding of the significance of Christ's suffering, however, as was already clear from the earlier discussion of the ransoming of Christians by Christ's death (1:18-20). That broader Christology comes directly into focus in the next discussion of Christ's suffering in this passage (3: 18-22), with its references to Christ the righteous one dying for the sin of the unrighteous in order to open for them the way to God (3: 18).7 The significance of Christ's suffering is then further extended by the enigmatic reference to his proclamation to imprisoned spirits (3: 19), implying that there are no entities and no...


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