Lectionary Year A
May 12, 2002
1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11

Initial Acquaintance


      The New Revised Standard Version rearranges several phrases throughout this pericope. However, its translations read smoothly enough for a true translation from the Greek. In 4:14, NRSV reads, "If you are reviled . . ." That choice conveys a rather mild image for what seems intended here. After "glory" in this verse (14), NRSV has a footnote, "Other ancient authorities add 'and of power.'" NRSV ends verse 14 with "resting on you" and a footnote, "Other ancient authorities add 'On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.'" In 5:8 NRSV reads, "Discipline yourselves, keep alert" and adds another footnote, "Or be vigilant." Later in that verse, NRSV paraphrases, "your brothers and sisters" with a footnote, "Gk 'your brotherhood.'"
      The Jerusalem Bible refers to those addressed as "My dear people." It continues, "you must not think it unaccountable that you should be tested by fire. There is nothing extraordinary in what has happened to you." In 4:6, the JB reads, "Bow down . . . the appointed day." Verse 7 has "unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you." Verse 8, "Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil . . ." Verse 10, "he will confirm, strengthen and support you" and adds a footnote, "'called you', var. (Vulg.) 'called us. 'In Christ, add. (Vulg.) 'Jesus'. Om. (Vulg,) 'strengthen'."
      The New English Bible tells those this passage addresses not to be "bewildered" & refers to "something extraordinary". To conclude 4:13, they call joy "triumphant." Then, in verse 14, we read, "If Christ's name is flung in your teeth as an insult, count yourselves happy." In 5:7, NEB recommends we "cast all our cares on him, for you are in charge." The new paragraph, beginning with verse 8, reads, "Awake! be alert!" NEB's concluding doxology, verse 11, reads, "He holds dominion for ever and ever. Amen."


Only P72 tries to add "epi" to 4:12's first imperative. Unnecessary, isn't it?

Many uncials add to verse 14, "and the power/ability", to God's name and spirit. Metzger finds the various witnesses' ways of suggesting the change leaving it less than recommended. Yet, why not? It's frequently done in Scriptural formulae. Many also want to add again, an unnecessary prefix to the final word in that verse's (14) designation of what God glorious name and spirit will do unto those get blessed as they get reviled in the name of Christ.

Some witnesses want to add the word for bishop/overseer to the end of 5:6. Perhaps, even though it makes it longer, and thereby, possibly a later addition, less than original. And, in as much as we have encountered this word previously in 1 Peter.

In verse 7, P 72 and others want to change what we do with our anxieties upon God from casting them to other verbs. In as much as God can handle all approaches by humans, any word will do. However, why change an acceptable one as near to the original as we can get?

P72 and many others try to add "hoti" to verse 8's description of lion-like adversaries to Christian witness. P72 and 33 need to add an article to the name of the devil. Several uncials prefer altering the lion's looking for someone to devour.

P72 wants to omit verse 9's initial imperative, "Resist him". Probably is a later addition than the original. Similarly, P72 and several uncials suggest adding "tina" = someone(s) for the lion to seek to devour. Yes, that'll work for me.

In verse 10, a few witnesses change the pronoun to include those addressed and those addressing those addressed. Seems good to me. Then a number of witnesses want to add "Jesus" to Christ's name originally mentioned. No harm, it's done lots in Scripture. Many variants at the end of the verse where several terms describe what the God of all grace will do for those called in Christ's glory. Textual witness aside, how dare we limit what biblical authors and/or hearers expect of God? Eventually, we'll include all these descriptions in our proclamations, surely.

In verse 11, several witnesses prefer replacing "power" with "glory". Then, several want to repeat the "Aeon" before the Amen. Witnesses too weak and too late. The "Aeon" suffices, surely. We reject the longer reading.


4:12 Beloved, be not surprised when a fiery ordeal to test you takes place among you as if it were anything strange. 13 Rather, in so far as you share the passion of Christ, rejoice so that in the revelation of His glory you may rejoice and be extremely joyful. 14 If you get denounced in the name of Christ, you are blessed, so that the glory and the spirit of God upon you gives relief.

5:6 Humble yourselves then under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in proper season, 7 all your anxiety throw on Him, who is concerned for you. 8 Be sober, keep alert. The enemy of you the devil like a lion roaring searching for something to devour; 9 him withstand firmly so that the faith you have known so that the suffering in the world to the brotherhood is being performed. 10 But, the God of all grace, the One having called to you everlasting of glory in Christ [Jesus], a little while you endure it made complete, established, strengthened, established firmly. 11 Unto Him be the dominion unto the Aeon, Amen.

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