1 Peter 1:1-25

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An apostle is one who is sent forth. Peter, as one of the twelve apostles whom Jesus Christ chose, represented him as a witness. In his role as a witness, Peter made known that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, on the basis of faith in him, individuals could be forgiven of their sins and reconciled to his Father. To authenticate his testimony, Peter had been empowered to perform miracles, healing the sick, making the crippled whole, raising the dead, and freeing individuals from demonic possession. (Matthew 10:8; Mark 3:13-16; Acts 3:2-7, 11-16; 5:12-16; 9:32-42) Jesus Christ gave the name “Cephas” or “Peter” (meaning “rock”) to him, revealing his confidence that he, Simon, would prove to be solid like a rock in his faith and a strengthening aid to fellow believers. (1:1; Mark 3:16; John 1:41, 42)

The “elect” are those whom God chose to be his people, for they responded in faith to his Son. In the world, believers were strangers, for theirs was a heavenly inheritance. They lived in widely scattered areas among the masses of unbelievers. Therefore, Peter addressed the “elect” or divinely chosen ones as sojourners or resident aliens “of the dispersion.” The believers to whom he sent his letter resided in five regions of Asia Minor. Pontus was situated along the Black Sea in northern Asia Minor and was bordered by Galatia on the south and Bithynia on the west. Cappadocia bordered Galatia on the east, and the Roman province of Asia lay along the western border of Galatia and extended to the coast. (1:1; see the Notes section.)

The election or choosing of believers is “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” He foreknew or predetermined that there would be humans who would come to be his approved children. In keeping with his predetermined purpose and through the operation of his holy spirit, the chosen ones are “sanctified” or set apart as holy for his use. The objective of the election and sanctification is “for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Numerous translations render the words to indicate that Jesus Christ is the one who is to be obeyed (“to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood” [NRSV]; “for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling with his blood” [REB]; “that they might obey Jesus Christ and be cleansed by his blood” [J. B. Phillips]). The Greek text, however, does not specifically link Jesus Christ to the obedience. Peter’s focus had been on what “God the Father” has done for believers, and so it appears preferable to consider God to be the implied object of the obedience. “God wanted you to obey him and to be made clean by the blood of the death of Jesus Christ.” (NCV) Considering the “obedience” to mean obedience to God would also fit Peter’s later admonition for believers to conduct themselves like “obedient children” (literally, “children of obedience”). (1:2, 14)

The “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” could relate to two prominent aspects in the lives of the chosen ones. When individual Israelites became ceremonially unclean, they needed to be sprinkled with the water of cleansing in order to be purified from defilement. (Numbers 19:11-20) At the time the law covenant was inaugurated, Moses sprinkled the Israelites with the blood of sacrificed animals. (Exodus 24:5-8) Therefore, the “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” could refer to the purification from sins made possible by his blood and the validating of the new covenant by means of his shed blood. In being sprinkled with the “blood of Jesus Christ,” God’s chosen ones are forgiven of their sins and become beneficiaries of the new covenant. (1:2)

“Favor” or unmerited kindness includes all the divinely granted aid and blessings that believers come to enjoy. “Peace” is the sense of tranquility and well-being that comes from the inward assurance of divine love, concern, and care. Peter’s prayerful desire was for believers to continue to experience “favor and peace” in increased measure. (1:2)

For the “God and [kaí] Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” to be “blessed” would signify that he be magnified and praised for all that he is and has done. The Greek conjunction kaí, often translated “and,” can in certain contexts mean “even.” A number of translators have adopted this significance, choosing not to identify the Father as the God of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (CEV) “Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NJB) The context, however, does not require departing from the usual meaning “and” for the conjunction kaí, especially since the Scriptures speak of Jesus as calling his Father “my God.” (1:3; John 20:17; Revelation 3:12)

In his great mercy, God took the initiative to provide the means to deliver humans from their sinful condition, granting all who respond in faith to his Son a newness of life. In being thus generated anew in expression of divine mercy, believers have been forgiven of their sins, passing from a condition of death (the condemnation to which sin leads) to life as God’s approved and beloved children. As a result of their new birth, believers have a “living hope.” This hope may be regarded as “living” because it energizes its possessors, fills them with courage, and holds promise of certain fulfillment. A dead hope would be no hope at all, as it would never be fulfilled and so could only end in disappointment. (1:3; see the Notes section.)

The “living hope” has been made possible “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” His resurrection proved undeniably that his sacrificial death had been accepted by his Father as the means for forgiving humans of their sins and reconciling them to himself as his children. Jesus’ resurrection assured that all of his Father’s promises would be fulfilled, providing a solid basis for the believers’ hope that they will be united with Christ, enjoying an enduring relationship with him and his Father as part of the sinless family of his Father’s children. (1:3)

Believers have been generated anew through the operation of God’s spirit, and this has made it possible for them to embrace the “living hope.” As children of their heavenly Father, they are also heirs. They have been granted a newness of life “for an inheritance,” one that is “imperishable and undefiled and unfading, reserved in the heavens for [them].” Being imperishable, this inheritance cannot be ruined, destroyed, damaged, or corrupted in any way. Unlike inheritances that can be defiled through misuse or attained by base means, this inheritance is free from all impurity. It will never lose its attractiveness like material things that are subject to fading and cease to have their former vibrancy. The inheritance is secure, for it is “reserved in the heavens.” There, in the exalted heavenly realm, God safeguards the inheritance. No one can deprive believers of it, or their share with Jesus Christ in everything that his Father has given him. (1:4; see the Notes section.)

Believers also have the assurance of God’s help in attaining their secure inheritance. They are “safeguarded by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” God’s power is at work for them like a protective fortress. By means of his spirit, he strengthens believers to endure trials and to conduct themselves acceptably to him. This incomprehensibly great power was involved in raising Jesus Christ from the dead and is now at work in believers. (Ephesians 1:19, 20) It is through their faith, or their unqualified trust, in God and Christ that believers have come to benefit from the protective divine power. Their continuing to maintain faith with God’s help assures that they will never be without his strengthening aid. (1:5; see the Notes section.)

The “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” and for which believers are being safeguarded by the “power of God” designates the future deliverance they will experience at the time of Jesus Christ’s return in his exalted position as King of kings and Lord of lords. At that “last time,” the culminating point of the age that had its start when Jesus Christ was on earth, all who defiantly persist in unbelief would face eternal ruin. Believers, however, would escape condemnatory judgment and be delivered from the affliction they had experienced on account of being servants of God and Christ. First those then asleep in death would be resurrected, and the living believers would be changed, making it possible for all of them to be united with Jesus Christ for all eternity as sinless children of his Father. (1:5; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)

For believers, this sure hope of future salvation and the divine mercy that makes the marvelous deliverance possible provide the basis for rejoicing. During their alien residence in the world, they “for a little while now, if it must be,” are saddened on account of “various trials.” From the standpoint of eternity, any affliction or hardship believers might experience would be for a very short time. Despite their distress, if suffering came to be their lot on account of being disciples of God’s Son, they could rejoice, confident that their future deliverance was certain. They could also find joy in knowing that the trials could result in spiritual benefits for them. (1:6; see the Notes section.)

Trials, when endured in a manner that honors God and Christ, produce a refined faith. These trials can expose weaknesses, making the afflicted believers aware of the need to cooperate with God’s spirit in resisting pride, impatience, a love of pleasure, stubbornness, anger, or a desire for revenge. As a consequence, faith can be strengthened and purified from the stain of undesirable traits and attitudes. The believer can come to rely more fully on God when again faced with suffering. A refined faith is of exceedingly greater value than gold from which fire has removed impurities, for even gold can perish or wear away. Faith that has been purified by trials, on the other hand, is of an enduring quality and does not perish. Therefore, at the revelation of Jesus Christ, or upon his return, this refined faith will be found to result “in praise and glory and honor.” He will then praise or commend those who have allowed their faith to be purified, grant them the “glory” or magnificence of sharing with him in his inheritance as the highly exalted Son of God, and accord them “honor” when acknowledging them as his approved disciples, doing so before his Father and the angels. (1:7; Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8; 18:8; see the Notes section.)

Peter had personally seen Jesus Christ at the time he was on earth, but those to whom he sent his letter had not. Though they had never seen the Son of God, they loved him. The message about him, including his dying for them in expression of his love, stirred within them a deep affection for him and moved them to want to be his devoted disciples. Because Jesus was then in the heavenly realm, these believers could not see him but they could have faith in him, trusting him unreservedly. They could have full confidence that all the divine promises would be fulfilled because of what Jesus Christ had done when surrendering his life for them. The reliable testimony that had been given to them about him and which they accepted provided them with the sound basis for rejoicing with a joy so great that it could not be expressed in words. It is a “glorious joy,” one that is suggestive of the excelling joy believers will experience upon being found approved by the Son of God and his Father. (1:8)

This joy relates to their receiving the “end,” goal, culmination, or final outcome of their faith, “the salvation of [their] souls.” The expression “souls” designates the believers in the entirety of their being. They themselves would attain their final salvation as sinless children of God who escaped the ruin of those who chose stubbornly to remain in unbelief. (1:9)

The ancient Hebrew prophets had an intense interest in the promised salvation. They searched and investigated what God’s spirit had revealed to them, wanting to know about the gracious favor or unmerited kindness that, in the future, would be shown to humans, to persons with faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah or Christ. The gracious favor that came to be extended to those who put faith in Jesus Christ included forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with his Father as his beloved children. Although not really understanding the message about divine favor that they made known, the prophets carefully reflected on the prophecies about the coming Messiah and what God would accomplish through him. (1:10)

According to the majority of extant manuscripts, the “spirit of Christ” was “in” the prophets. Fourth-century Codex Vaticanus, however, does not include “Christ.” If original, the expression “spirit of Christ” may indicate that the spirit operating in the prophets was the same spirit that Christ imparted to his disciples on the day of Pentecost in the year he rose from the dead. Upon his ascension to heaven, he received the holy spirit from his Father. Therefore, the holy spirit would also be the “spirit of Christ.” (1:11; Acts 2:33)

The prophets eagerly sought to learn just what had been revealed to them through the operation of God’s spirit, investigating “what [tína], or what kind of time,” the spirit’s advance testimony revealed about the “sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” The Greek pronoun tína is masculine and so could designate the one “to whom,” “to what person,” or “to what sort of person” the spirit was pointing. A number of translations convey this meaning. “So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen.” (CEV) They were “inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated.” (NASB) Other translations have rendered tína as a neuter pronoun and, in conjunction with “what kind of time,” make an application to “time and circumstances” (NAB, REB) “The prophets tried to learn about what the Spirit was showing them, when those things would happen, and what the world would be like at that time.” (NCV) It would appear that the interest of the prophets is more likely to have been on the person of the Messiah or Christ and the time of his appearing rather than on the time of and the conditions existing at his arrival. (1:11)

With God’s spirit operating upon them, the prophets came to know much about the sufferings and the glories of the Messiah. He would be regarded with contempt and rejected. (Isaiah 53:3) A close associate would betray him for thirty pieces of silver. (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12) Accusers would present false testimony against him, but he would remain silent. He would be struck on the cheek, spit upon, reckoned with sinners, be pierced, and die a sacrificial death as a sin bearer. (Isaiah 50:6; 53:3-12; Micah 5:1) His enemies would taunt him, ridiculing his trust in God. (Psalm 22:8) The subsequent glories included his being resurrected from the dead, coming to be at the right hand of God, and being granted the position of king-priest like Melchizedek of ancient Salem. (Psalm 16:8-10; 110:1, 4) As the one with God-given royal authority, he would crush all who defiantly oppose him and then rule over the whole earth. (1:11; Psalm 2:9; 72:7, 8; Zechariah 9:9, 10)

While many details about the Messiah had been disclosed to the prophets, they did not understand how all this would be fulfilled and how, through him, sins would be forgiven and humans would become reconciled to God as part of his family of beloved children. (1:11) They found themselves in a position like Daniel when he said, “I heard, but I did not understand.” (Daniel 12:8)

Through divine revelation, the prophets came to discern that what had been made known to them would benefit those who would be living from the time of Messiah’s or Christ’s arrival and then onward. Those who saw how Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies about him and put faith in him benefited fully from what the prophets had long previously foretold. So it was to them that the prophets ministered. This included the believers to whom Peter wrote concerning the prophets “to whom it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to you [‘to us,’ according to a number of other manuscripts] they were ministering them.” The pronoun “them” pertains to the prophetic matters concerning which the prophets ministered or served. A number of translations make this significance explicit. “It was shown them [the prophets] that their service was not for themselves but for you, when they told about the truths you have now heard.” (NCV) “It was disclosed to them that these matters were not for their benefit but for yours.” (REB) The matters that had been announced to the believers to whom Peter wrote included how Jesus Christ fulfilled the words of the prophets. (1:12; compare Acts 2:14-36; 3:12-26; 13:16-47; 26:22, 23.)

When proclaiming the evangel, Jesus Christ’s disciples were guided and empowered by the “holy spirit sent from heaven.” To those in Asia Minor, they had made known that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that, through him, individuals could be forgiven of their sins and reconciled to God. These were matters into which angels desired to look attentively. The Greek verb referring to the action of angels is parakypto, literally meaning to “bend down beside” or to “bend over,” and is descriptive of the special attention one would give when bending over to take a closer look at something. Angels are not all-knowing. Although not personally involved in God’s means for effecting a reconciliation of sinful humans to himself, they took a keen interest in wanting to know how this would be accomplished. This also revealed to them to an even greater degree the love, mercy, and wisdom of their God and Father, which must have filled them with reverential wonder. (1:12; see the Notes section.)

On account of all that believers had come to enjoy, they should “gird up the loins of [their] mind.” The “girding up of the loins” is a figure of speech based on what a person would do in preparation for manual labor or vigorous activity like running. A man would pull up his robe between his legs and secure it with a girdle, giving him greater freedom of movement. To “gird up the loins of the mind” would indicate to seek to have the mind in a state of preparedness for action, ridding oneself of anything that could hinder one in being properly focused on faithfully serving God and Christ. A number of translators have paraphrased the figurative expression according to its apparent meaning and rendered the next Greek word (népho) to signify “to be alert” or “to have self-control.” “Your minds must therefore be stripped for action and fully alert.” (REB) “So prepare your minds for service and have self-control.” (NCV) The verb népho can denote to be vigilant, watchful, sober, or alert. It is descriptive of one’s being in control of one’s senses, showing reasonableness and self-restraint and avoiding rash words or actions. (1:13)

Punctuation determines whether the Greek adverb teleíos is to be understood as meaning “fully” or “completely” and modifying the verb népho (“be fully alert”; or, “maintain [your] senses completely”) . If regarded as starting a new thought, teleíos could apply to setting the hope fully. This is the meaning numerous translations convey. (1:13) “Set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (NAB) “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV) “Set your hope perfectly, wholly, and unchangeably, without doubt and despondency, upon the grace that is being brought to you upon the occasion of the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Wuest) “Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears.” (CEV)

As resident aliens scattered among masses of unbelievers in the world, believers face distress. So they need to keep their focus on the gracious favor that will be extended to them at the “revelation of Jesus Christ,” never ceasing to hope in the unmerited kindness they will then be shown. They will be delivered from all the affliction they have experienced and be united with Christ as sinless children of his Father at the time he returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. (1:13)

Confident in becoming recipients of divine favor when Jesus Christ returns with royal power and unparalleled glory or magnificence, believers should be conducting themselves like his Father’s “obedient children,” faithfully adhering to his ways in disposition, word, and deed. This would require that they cease to conform to their former ways, not yielding to the base desires they had during the time of their ignorance. Before they heard the good news about Christ and became believers, they had lived their lives as their passions or desires dictated, often harming themselves or others in their ignorance of God’s ways. (1:14)

Through the proclamation of the message about his Son, God called those to whom Peter sent his letter. They were invited to accept his arrangement for having their sins forgiven and to become members of his beloved family. He is “holy,” pure, untainted by any trace of defilement. In keeping with his holiness, believers, as his children, should be “holy in all [their] conduct.” Peter backed this up with a quotation from Leviticus 19:2 (LXX), “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1:15, 16)

The context in which the quotation from Leviticus appears reveals that holiness or purity should involve all of one’s life. Included are commands relating to respect for parents, compassionate consideration for the poor, the deaf, the blind, and the resident aliens; honesty, truthful speech, high moral standards, and impartiality in rendering judgments. (1:16; Leviticus 19:3-36)

The heavenly Father judges humans impartially (literally, “does not accept faces”) on the basis of their deeds and so does not act according to outward appearances. Believers call upon the heavenly Father when making their petitions in prayer. Recognizing that he has no favorites and will always judge justly or fairly, believers should consider that they are accountable to him. Therefore, during their time as resident aliens in this world, they should conduct themselves “in fear,” or with a wholesome fear or reverence of the heavenly Father, the impartial judge. Believers should want to conduct themselves in a manner that he can look upon as acceptable to him. (1:17)

They were rescued from being dead in trespasses and sins, from a life that reflected the “vain,” empty, or futile conduct that followed the pattern their ancestors had handed down to them. With a price of far greater value than perishable things — silver or gold — they were ransomed, liberated from their sinful condition and the condemnation associated with it. (1:18)

The price for their redemption proved to be beyond any human evaluation. It was the precious blood of Jesus Christ, blood that was like that of a lamb without blemish or defect. (1:19)

“Before the founding of the world,” or from the beginning, Christ was foreknown. God’s purpose had always been for humans to be in a condition of flawless oneness with his Son and so also with himself. So the Son was foreknown from the very beginning as the one who is the focus of his Father’s purpose and activity. The Son’s manifestation came at his Father’s appointed time and marked the start of a new age, with the opportunity opening up to humans everywhere to become part of his Father’s family of approved children. Therefore, Christ could be spoken of as having been manifested or as having appeared at the “last of the times,” or at the end of the ages. (1:20)

Christ’s appearance at the last or end of the times is spoken of as being “for your sake,” that is, for those in Asia Minor to whom the letter was sent and so for all who are believers. With Christ’s coming to the earth, individuals everywhere could benefit from what he accomplished upon surrendering his life in sacrifice. His redemptive work was exclusively for humans. (1:20)

Through Christ, the recipients of Peter’s letter, came to have faith or trust in “God, the one who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that [their] faith and hope would be in God.” The relationship with God as one of faith or trust came into existence “through Christ,” for through him the state of alienation from his Father ended. The redemption from sin and its associated condemnation came about when Jesus Christ surrendered his life for the sinful human family. The surpassing greatness of what the Father, in expression of his unparalleled love for fallen humans, accomplished by means of his Son gives believers the utmost confidence in his love and care for them and assures them that all of his promises will be fulfilled. God raised Christ from the dead and gave him glory by exalting him to the ultimate position of favor (represented by being at his “right hand”) and granting him all authority in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18; Acts 3:13; Philippians 2:9-11) What God did in resurrecting his Son and granting him glory provides the basis for believers to have trust and hope in him as their heavenly Father. They can trust him fully as their Father who deeply loves them and so will never fail to aid and strengthen them in their time of need. Their hope in his promises will never come to disappointment. (1:21)

The “truth” is the message that has Christ as its focus; it is the word of God. Believers obeyed this truth when they accepted Jesus as God’s Son and as the one who died for them. Through this act of responsive obedience, they were forgiven of their sins and so their “souls” or they themselves as persons were purified or cleansed from the stain of their transgressions. As purified persons, they became members of God’s family. This called for them to have genuine affection for fellow children. Their love should be “unhypocritical,” not just a mere expression of the lips but an affection that was evident in deeds reflecting care and compassion. Believers should be loving one another “fervently [ektenós] from the heart,” or from their inmost self. The Greek adverb ektenós incorporates the thought of “extending” or “stretching out” and so, in relation to love, conveys an image of an unlimited affection, one that is intense and constant. (1:22)

Believers have been generated anew or have experienced a new birth. This new birth came about from imperishable or incorruptible seed and not from seed that perishes (as is the case with human seed that starts physical existence but is subject to death). This imperishable seed is the “living and enduring word of God.” It is “through” this imperishable word or message that the new birth came about. This message is identified (in verse 25) as the “evangel” that had been proclaimed to the believers being addressed. (1:23; see the Notes section for another possible meaning.)

When they put faith in the good news about Jesus Christ and accepted his having died for them so that they might be forgiven of their sins, God’s spirit became the controlling power in their lives. Like a seed, the “word” operating in conjunction with the spirit, brought about a newness of life for them. Being “living [energizing and activating, not dead] and enduring,” this word continues to have a powerful effect in the lives of believers, producing permanent changes in them as part of the family of God’s children. As indicated in verse 22, the tangible evidence of the new birth that has come about “through” (or by means of) the “word” is the mutual love that believers have as fellow children of God. (1:23; compare 1 John 3:14.)

The quotation from Isaiah 40:6-8 (LXX) serves to show that the “word” does endure, unlike the “flesh” (transitory human life) that “is like grass, and all of its glory,” beauty, or splendor, like a blossom on a plant. The grass withers, and the wilted flower drops from the stem. “But the word of the Lord [‘our God,’ Hebrew text] endures forever.” These words from Isaiah appear as part of a message of comfort, including the assurance that God would turn his favorable attention to his people and would care for them like a loving shepherd looks after the sheep. (1:24, 25; Isaiah 40:1-6, 10, 11)

In the fullest sense, God turned his favorable attention to his people when he sent his unique Son to the earth. (Luke 1:68-79) Appropriately, therefore, the “word” is identified as the good news that had been declared to the believers in Asia Minor. This good news focused on Jesus Christ and all that his Father accomplished through him. (1:25)

Notes:

The original reading of fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus for verse 1 includes “and” after “elect” (“to the elect and resident aliens”), but the “and” is missing in all other extant Greek manuscripts.

After the expression “generated anew” (in verse 3), a few manuscripts say “you” instead of “us.” The words “living hope” have the best manuscript support. A few manuscripts say “hope of life.”

In most extant manuscripts, verse 4 concludes with “for you” (literally, “into you”), but a few manuscripts read “for us.”

In verse 5, the reading “power of God” has the best manuscript support. A few manuscripts read “love of God” or “spirit of God.”

Similar thoughts about the beneficial effect of trials (as found in verses 6 and 7) are expressed in the books of Wisdom and Sirach. “For though in the sight of others they [the upright] were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.” (Wisdom 3:4-6, NRSV) “My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing.” (Sirach 2:1, NRSV) “Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in humiliation. Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him. You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not stray, or else you may fall. You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost.” (Sirach 2:4-8, NRSV)

When referring to salvation (verse 9), most manuscripts either read “your” or “our.” Fourth-century Codex Vaticanus and a few other manuscripts, however, omit the pronoun.

Verse 12 contrasts the past with the present — the testimony of the prophets in earlier times and the full revelation “now” through the proclaiming of the evangel, the good news about Christ and what his sacrificial death accomplished.

In verse 22, numerous manuscripts add “through [the] spirit” after “truth,” but these words are not included in the oldest extant manuscripts. Another difference in manuscript readings is the inclusion or omission of the word for “clean” or “pure” as a modifier for “heart.” A corrected reading of fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus is “true heart.”

Another way in which to understand the reference to the “word” (in verse 23) is that it comes from the “living and enduring [or eternal] God.” (NRSV, footnote) In view of the emphasis thereafter on the enduring nature of the word of God, however, it appears that the more likely application is to the “living and enduring word.”

Although missing in the oldest extant manuscripts in verse 23, many later manuscripts add “into the age,” meaning “forever,” after the Greek word for “abiding” or “enduring.”

In verse 24, the reading “glory of it” has the best manuscript support. Many other manuscripts say, “glory of man,” which is also the reading of Isaiah 40:6 in the extant text of the Septuagint.