Lectionary Year A
April 7, 2002
1 Peter 1:3-9

Step I: Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation


(JFC)The New American Standard Bible has, at the end of verse 2, "in the fullest measure". This translation might be an exaggeration of the text, yet it surely amplifies the term toward its intended breadth. At the end of verse 4, NASB translates, "reserved in heaven for you". That image sounds like "living hope" is set apart from or kept away from any whose new life from God's great mercy is yet to avail itself to the believers; can believers receive their inheritance only after they pass the age of accountability or maturity? This text lays no such conditions on the recipients of this message. NASB reads the first verb in verse 6 in the present active indicative. I read it as an imperative, though not overly forcefully so. NASB, furthermore in verse 6, reads, "if necessary, you have been distressed", almost as rough a translation as an original. NASB's verse 8 is somewhat more readable than a rough first draft translation. There we read, "though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory". Here the NASB is a little more hearer friendly, yet at the expense of some accuracy of translation. NASB seems more poetic, almost using parallelisms to convey what is meant to be, surely, more dynamic than poetic. In verse 9, NASB refers to, "the outcome of your faith". That word choice sounds too final, too completed. Growing in faith is a process.

The New International Version calls God's gift in verse 3, "new birth". The NASB called it, "to be born again". Both idioms are popular. However, the gift is certainly more than can be contained in a smoothly read almost faddish or, at least, fashionable phrase. In verse 5, the NIV has God's power "shielding" the recipient "until the coming of salvation to be revealed in the last time". Verse 9, in NIV's translation, speaks of "the goal of your faith". Many hearers will resonate with this term. It is popular in the workplace.

The translations used for comparison were The Living Bible (LB), The Revised Standard Version (RSV), and The New King James Version (NKJV).

Verse 3 LB All honor to God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; for it is his boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God's own family. Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead
RSV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
NKJV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Verse 6 LB So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.
RSV In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
NKJV In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,

Verse 8/9 LB though not seeing him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself.9 And your further reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls
RSV though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.9 As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.
NKJV Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.

B. Textual Criticism

(GG/RR)We find that there are no text critical issues in the text. All text contained in the Nestle-Aland Text is supported by a majority of Alexandrian and Western sources.


(JFC)1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the select temporary residents of the dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2according to the foreknowledge of God our Father whose Spirit sanctified (us) to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with His blood, grace to you and peace be multiplied. 3 Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose plentiful mercy He gives new life to us unto a hope living through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death, 4 into an inheritance imperishable and undefiled and unfading, and being maintained in heaven for you, 5 who in the power of God are being protected through faith in salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you are to rejoice if briefly at the present time you must become distressed in various kinds of testing, 7 so that the means of testing your faith more precious than gold tested by fire is demonstrated with approval and glory and honor in a revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 whom not have you seen (though) you love, concerning whom now you do not recognize yet you are believing and are being made to rejoice joyfully inexpressibly and praiseworthily 9 You are receiving the end of your salvation for your inmost being.

A Contributor's Response:
(JEA) Thank you for the rough translation of 1 Peter 1. I have a question about v. 7 as regards the rendering of "dokimion" as "means of testing" and "peirasmois" in v. 6 as "testing". While I appreciated the way you avoided the mistake most translations promote, namely the mistaken notion that the thing more precious than gold, etc. is "faith" rather than the testing itself (cf. the grammatical agreement of the "polutimoteron"), I still am not clear why you introduce the added terms "means of". Could one not simply work with the options of "testing" or "proving" or "provenness" or "reliability" or some such? This is merely a question for which I'd like a little help because I, too, have wrestled with this step one task here on occasion.

Also, in v. 8 you translate: "concerning whom now you do not recognize yet you are believing and are being made to rejoice joyfully inexpressibly and praiseworthily" and I wonder how you arrived at "recognize" for "horao," how the two participles ("seeing" and "believing") function in relationship to the main verb "you all exult or are exulting" (present indicative or imperative), and then since the dative of means or respect with "chara" is used to modify the action and links the two adjectives "unutterable" and "having been glorified" to the "joy", why do you translate them adverbially? I think you had a good reason for doing such and it might help the others of us to know how you thought things through as translator. This work with the original text is both a joy and a challenge for many of us so maybe you can help us look over your shoulder as you work. Thanks for the help.

3 Blessed One, the God and Father of the Lord of us, Jesus Christ, according to great mercy of his having given us new birth in hope Jesus Christ having come back to life through resurrection from death.
3 Euvloghto.j o` qeo.j kai. path.r tou/ kuri,ou h`mw/n VIhsou/ Cristou/( o` kata. to. polu. auvtou/ e;leoj avnagennh,saj h`ma/j eivj evlpi,da zw/san diV avnasta,sewj VIhsou/ Cristou/ evk nekrw/n(

4 Into what is promised by God to his people, imperishable and pure, and unfading having been kept in heaven into you.
4 eivj klhronomi,an a;fqarton kai. avmi,anton kai. avma,ranton( tethrhme,nhn evn ouvranoi/j eivj u`ma/j

5 That in power of God being guarded through faith into Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
5 tou.j evn duna,mei qeou/ frouroume,nouj dia. pi,stewj eivj swthri,an e`toi,mhn avpokalufqh/nai evn kairw/| evsca,tw|

6 In this you are extremely joyful in yourself, now for a little while necessary it is having been distressed in various kinds of temptations (trials).
6 evn w-| avgallia/sqe( ovli,gon a;rti eiv de,on evsti.n luphqe,ntej evn poiki,loij peirasmoi/j(

7 In order that the genuineness of the faith of yours more precious than gold perishing for yourself but being tested through fire it might receive in praise, and glory, and honor at revelation of Jesus Christ.
7 i[na to. doki,mion u`mw/n th/j pi,stewj polutimo,teron crusi,ou tou/ avpollume,nou dia. puro.j de. dokimazome,nou( eu`reqh/| eivj e;painon kai. do,xan kai. timh.n evn avpokalu,yei VIhsou/ Cristou/\

8 Whoever not having recognized your love into that now not seeing believing but your joy of happiness that cannot be expressed in words but having been in glory
9 having received the goal of the faith of yours Salvation of one's inner most being
8 o]n ouvk ivdo,ntej avgapa/te( eivj o]n a;rti mh. o`rw/ntej pisteu,ontej de. avgallia/sqe cara/| avneklalh,tw| kai. dedoxasme,nh|
9 komizo,menoi to. te,loj th/j pi,stewj u`mw/n swthri,an yucw/n

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