restricted access Body Closing (4:12–5:11)

From: 1 Peter

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Body Closing 1 Peter4:12-5:11 Structure This portion of the letter is the shortest of the three parts of the body of the letter, although it is closer in length to the body opening than to the body middle. 1 Thus there is a rough symmetry of short/ long/ short to the major part of the letter. The language of the body closing is somewhat more straightforward, with proportionately more indicative and imperative verbs and fewer participles , particularly adverbial participles, than the previous two parts. That imparts to this section something of the flavor of a final and summarizing admonition to the readers. 2 Like the body opening and body middle, this section begins with a command,3 and like the middle, begins with the vocative aya1r7JTOL ("beloved," 2:11; 4: 12)4 and ends with a doxology (4: 11; 5: 11). The epistolary conclusion that begins with 5:12 confirms 5:11 as the limit of the body closing. The passage is bound together by the frequent references to suffering, particularly by the threefold use of ra 1ra8~JJ.aTa ("the sufferings," roL's rov Xptcrrov 1ra8~JJ.aTa, 4: 13; rwv rov xptcrrov 1ra87JJJ.Ihwv, 5: I; Ta avra TWV 7Ta87JJJ.IlrWV, 5:9), but also by the references to of m1crxovns ("those who suffer," 4: 19) and 1ra8ovras ("after suffering," 5:1 0). The body closing divides itself into three parts, with the second (5: 1-5), with its emphasis on Christian behavior within the community, separating the first (4: 12-19) and third (5:6-9), with their emphasis on the suffering of the Christians.5 The structure of the passage is thus aba': a = 4:12-19, Christian suffering in eschatological context (non-Christians will also suffer); b = 5:1-6, appropriate conduct of elders, younger people, all Christians; a' = 5:7-II, appropriate conduct in eschatological suffering (God will sustain suffering Christians). a and a' are thus directed outward, to the suffering experienced outside the community, while b is directed inward, to appropriate behavior within the Christian community. Thus the passage can be divided into three parts, each part in its turn capable of being seen in three segments, a division made more on the basis of content than linguistic structures, although the latter also play a role. I. 4: 12-19 Suffering of Christians in Present and Eschatological Context A. 4:I2- 13 Suffering of Christians and joy I. 4: 12 Christian suffering nothing strange 2. 4: 13a Christian suffering brings joy now 3. 4: I3b Christian suffering brings joy in future B. 4: 14-16 Suffering of Christians as Christians I. 4:14 As Christian, to obtain blessing 2. 4:15 Not as outlaw 3. 4:16 As Christian, to glorify God C. 4: I7-19 Suffering of Christians as prelude to final judgment I. 4: 17ajudgment begins with house of God 2. 4: 17b-18 Fate of non-Christians 3. 4: 19 Appropriate conduct for suffering Christians II. 5: 1-6 Appropriate Conduct in Community A. 5: 1- 4 Conduct of elders I. 5: I Identification of elder who exhorts 2. 5:2-3 Appropriate conduct for elders 3. 5:4 Reward of appropriate conduct B. 5:5a Conduct of young people C. 5:5b Conduct of all II I. 5:6-9 Appropriate Conduct in Eschatological Suffering A. 5:6-7 Toward God I. 5:6 Be humble 2. 5:7 Cast care on him B. 5:8-9 Toward the devil I. 5:8 He seeks you 2. 4:9 Resist him as do all C. 5: I0-1 I Conclusion I. 5: I0 Divine help in suffering 2. 5: II Doxology Theological Thrust Two themes already treated at some length in the body middle, the conduct of Christians within their community (2: 18-3:7) and the suffering they must endure within a hostile society (3:8-4: II), are to be found in the body closing (suffering: 4: 12-I9; 5:6-11; conduct with the community, 5: I-5), with more emphasis here on Christian suffering. In addition, a number of points made in the earlier portion of the letter are picked up once more in this final part of the letter: 4:12, fire as a The body opening has approximately 356 words, the 4 body middle 773, the body closing 289. A point noted also by, e.g., Goppelt, 296; Michaels, 257 . 2 For a discussion of the close relationship between the...


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  • Bible. Peter, 1st -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
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