Translation commentary on 1 Peter 2:6

The metaphor of Christ as the living stone is now expounded further through the use of several quotations from the Old Testament: Isaiah 28.16 (verse 6); Psalm 118.22 (verse 7); and Isaiah 8.14 (verse 8). These quotations seemed to have been employed very early by Christian preachers to refer to Christ, and as polemic against the Jews who rejected him.

In accordance with the usual practice in this letter, a scripture quotation is introduced by dioti (see in 1.16; 1.24). The scripture quoted is from Isaiah 28.16, with some variations. One omission worthy of note is the mention of “foundation” in the Old Testament; its omission may be explained in part by the desire of early Christian preachers not to make the stone a part of the foundation, and since the foundation is usually buried, then it will not be possible for people to stumble over it (as it is mentioned in the quotation from Isaiah 8.14 (verse 8)). I chose a valuable stone translates “chosen and precious” (for analysis of this, see 2.4). The stone (lithos) and the cornerstone (akrogōniaion) are one and the same; the former functions as the latter. A cornerstone is what it means literally, that is, a stone at the corner where the two walls meet and where they are bound firmly together. In the light of Psalm 118.22 and Ephesians 2.20, some understand this to refer to the chief cornerstone; the Good News Translation leans towards this position by the use of the definite article: the cornerstone. It is possible, however, on the basis of the Greek text, to use the indefinite article before cornerstone, as many translations have done.

It may be necessary to render the expression For the scripture says as “for in the scripture one may read” or “one may read in a passage of scripture.”

The introduction of the first person “I” without indicating who is speaking may cause serious complications in certain instances, and therefore it may be better to employ an introductory statement including a reference to “God,” for example, “for as one may read in a passage of scripture in which God says.”

Zion is used in the Old Testament for the city of Jerusalem, sometimes politically, but more often in a religious and symbolic sense as the city of God (for example, Isa 60.14; Psa 48.1 and following), and the city where God dwells (Isa 8.18; Psa 74.2; 13.13, 14). At other times, Zion is personified and is made to refer to the inhabitants of the city (Psa 74.2; 97.8; Jer 14.19; Isa 51.16). This last sense, together with the symbolic meaning, seems to have been the primary way in which the early church interpreted Zion in this quotation, in that it now stands for the new Jerusalem, the new people of God.

It may be expedient in the phrase the cornerstone in Zion to indicate that this is “the cornerstone of the city of Zion.” Even though in this type of context Zion may suggest the inhabitants, nevertheless the use of cornerstone makes it almost necessary to refer to a building or a construction.

The last part of the quotation plays both a positive and negative role. Positively, it was an encouragement to the Christians who were facing persecution, and an indirect appeal for them to keep on trusting in Christ; negatively, it was an indictment on those who have rejected Christ. Believes as it is often used in the New Testament stands for a relationship of trust in and commitment to someone. The pronoun him, as the object of believes, refers back to the cornerstone, which is personified. There is a problem involved in the shift from the cornerstone, which would normally have as a pronominal referent “it,” to the third person animate pronoun him. This may require some specific identification of the relationships by translating “whoever believes in the Lord, who is the cornerstone” or “whoever believes in the Lord, that is, in the one who is like a cornerstone.”

Will never be disappointed is literally “shall never be put to shame” (whereas, the Hebrew has “shall not make haste”), a very emphatic statement, as shown by the repetition of the negative (Greek ou mē). Disappointed translates a subjunctive aorist passive verb (Good News Translation, Jerusalem Bible, Barclay, Knox, Moffatt). The Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch and Biblia Dios Habla Hoy have “disillusioned,” whereas New American Bible has “shall not be shaken.”

If one translates believes in him as “puts his trust in him,” it is possible then to translate will never be disappointed as “will never discover that he has trusted the wrong person” or “will never regret that he has trusted the Lord” or “will never have reason to say that he made a mistake in so trusting.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 3:16

In explaining this hope, they are to do it with gentleness and respect (literally “humility and fear”). For gentleness, see 3.4. Here it includes the idea of “courtesy” (Knox, Jerusalem Bible), “considerateness,” or negatively, “without arrogance or insolence.” For “fear,” see 2.18 and 3.2. As in 2.18, “fear” may refer to reverence to God or respect toward people. For the former, see Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch “with responsibility to God”; for the latter, see Biblia Dios Habla Hoy “respectful fashion.” Many translations leave the object implicit, thus allowing for either interpretation or both (for example, Moffatt “a sense of reverence”; Knox “due reverence”).

With gentleness may be expressed as “not trying to force people to believe” or “not trying to put pressure on people.” In fact, it is often far easier to use a negative statement to express gentleness than it is to find an appropriate positive equivalent.

If respect is regarded as something related to other people, one may employ such an expression as “respecting other people’s views” or “being sympathetic with what others think” or “with courtesy toward others.” If one relates respect to God, then one may sometimes translate “considering how God would want one to act” or “thinking about what God would have you do.”

Keep your conscience clear is literally “having a good conscience,” with the participle having once again an imperative force. The word for “conscience” is the same word used in 2.19, but with a different focus. The word here seems to be used in its classical sense, that is, awareness of what is right and what is wrong. In a Christian sense, conscience is the awareness of one’s moral obligations as a child of God. The expression “good conscience” also appears in other parts of the New Testament, for example, Acts 23.1; 1 Timothy 1.5, 19; 3.9; 2 Timothy 1.3; Hebrews 13.18, and therefore is a vital part of Christian teaching. To have a clear conscience is to act in such a way so as not to offend God, and so as not to violate one’s accepted moral standards.

Keep your conscience clear may be rendered as “behave in such a way that you do not feel guilt” or “act in such a way that your heart does not tell you that you have sinned.” Frequently conscience is expressed in an idiomatic way, for example, “the little person within us.” Therefore, one might translate Keep your conscience clear as “whatever you do, be sure that the little one inside of you has no reason for talking to your heart.”

So that (literally “in which”) refers to the preceding thought, either from the beginning of the verse (for example, Jerusalem Bible “give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that…”), or more specifically to a clear conscience (Good News Translation and most translations). For the analysis of “in which,” see 2.12.

For insulted, see 2.12. The people doing the “insulting” are those who speak evil in the following clause, a fact which is made clear in many translations (for example, Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch, Phillips “so that if men should speak slanderously of you as rogues they may come to feel ashamed of themselves for libeling your good Christian behavior”). Speak evil translates a rare word in the New Testament (used only here, in Matt 5.44, and Luke 6.26). It is synonymous with but more intense than the word for “insulted”; it includes the elements of “insult,” “false accusation,” “abusive and hard words” (compare Jerusalem Bible “accusations”; New American Bible “libel”).

There is of course a measure of duplication in the two expressions when you are insulted and those who speak evil of your good conduct. In fact, the shift from the passive to the active form may cause certain complications, and therefore in some languages it may be preferable to put the two expressions together: “so that if people speak evil of your good conduct…, they will become ashamed….”

It may be somewhat difficult to translate in some languages those who speak evil of your good conduct. Such a relationship of diverse concepts may require some restructuring, for example, “those who say that the good you have done is really bad” or “those who say you are bad even though you have been good” or “those who say, ‘These people are very bad,’ even though you yourselves have only done what is good.”

For good conduct, see 1.15, 18; 2.12; 3.1, 2. As followers of Christ is literally “in Christ,” a favorite expression of the apostle Paul to describe the Christian’s relationship to Christ (it is used 164 times in Paul’s letters). It gives the idea that the believer is united with Christ and one with him. Many translations (including the Good News Translation) do not take the expression in 1 Peter as expressing the rich theological content which it has in Paul’s letters; instead they take it as a synonym for followers of Christ, or “Christians” (Phillips, Barclay, Moffatt, Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch, New English Bible). In any case, the believer’s good conduct is grounded on and made possible by his relationship to Christ, either as united with him or as his follower.

The phrase as followers of Christ adds a further complication to the expression your good conduct, and it may be necessary to translate as followers of Christ as a separate clause, for example, “the good that you do because you are followers of Christ” or “… since you are followers of Christ” or “… because you are one of Christ’s own.”

Will become ashamed (compare Phillips “feel ashamed of themselves”; New American Bible “may be shamed”) may also be translated with the focus on the result of such feeling as shame (for example, Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch “plug up the mouth/shut up”). Will become ashamed is often expressed idiomatically, for example, “will become red in the face” or “will feel bad for what they have done” or “will have their hearts tell them that they have done wrong.”

The Greek construction allows for the possibility of connecting will become ashamed with good conduct, so that what Peter is saying may be rendered thus: “those who speak evil of you may become ashamed because of your good conduct as followers of Jesus Christ.” This is preferred by some interpreters but most translations prefer a rendering similar to that of the Good News Translation. Of what they say may be expressed in a number of languages as a clause of cause, for example, “they will become ashamed because of what they have said” or “their words against you will cause their hearts to hurt.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 5:8

The exhortations to humility in 5b-7 may be misunderstood by the readers as encouraging them to adopt an attitude of passive resignation to their plight. Therefore, in the next few verses Peter calls them back into a posture of vigilance, alertness, and firmness in their faith.

For Be alert, see notes on 1.13 and 4.7. In some languages Be alert may be rendered as “keep awake,” but it is more likely that Be alert can be rendered more satisfactorily as “be constantly ready.”

Be on watch obviously has a parallel meaning. The two verbs also occur together in 1 Thessalonians 5.6, which is part of an eschatological passage; separately they are also used in various eschatological passages (for example, Matt 24.42, 43; Luke 21.34-36; Rev 3.2, 3; 16.15; 2 Tim 4.5). In view of this, it is very probable that this posture of alertness is part of the Christian teaching regarding the end of the world. Be on watch may be rendered as “be ready for whatever may happen” or “be prepared for what will happen.” Because of the context which follows, one might be tempted to translate be on watch as “beware of,” but this is not the implication of the Greek text.

A new element is, however, introduced here; they are to be on guard because of the Devil. Two preliminary notes need to be made at this point. (1) References to the Devil are found in later books of the Old Testament, (for example, Zech 3.1; 1 Chr 21.1). It became quite popular in the last two centuries before the Christian era to portray the Devil as the prince of evil, the anti-Christ, God’s enemy, who nevertheless is allowed by God to have temporary dominion over the world (compare John 14.30; 1 John 5.19). (2) Christian eschatological belief accents the fact that in the age immediately before the end, the Devil will show forth his power in order to lead the believers astray (for example, Matt 24.4-28; 2 Thes 2.3-12; 2 Tim 3.1-9; Rev 20.7, 8).

Enemy (compare Matt 5.25) is literally “plaintiff” or “opponent in a lawsuit” (compare Prov 18.7), but in an extended sense is used to mean an enemy (compare Est 8.11). Devil also carries the same meaning (that is, “accuser”), but with the implication that the charge is false. It is possible, however, that Devil has already become a title or a name, and the Good News Translation indicates this understanding by capitalizing the word (also Barclay).

Both enemy and Devil are translations of the same Hebrew word Satan, which literally means “adversary” or “opponent,” that is, of God and his people.

In this context Your enemy may be readily rendered as “the one who is against you” or “the one who accuses you.” Such an expression must then be placed in apposition to the Devil.

In a number of languages a proper name for the Devil already exists, and it may therefore be employed. However, such a term may refer to a local evil demon which has certain characteristics which one may not wish to introduce into the Scriptures. Therefore, it is possible, as in some languages, to use a phrase for the Devil, namely, “the chief of the demons” or “the great demon.”

The Devil is compared to a roaring lion. The lion is chosen because of its nature as a cruel, ferocious beast of prey. In Judaism, the opponents of God and his people are frequently pictured as lions (for example, Psa 22.13 Revised Standard Version “They open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion”). Roams around may be reminiscent of Job 1.7, where Satan is described as “going to and fro on the earth, and … walking up and down on it” (Revised Standard Version). Roams around may be expressed as “goes from place to place” or “walks here and there” or “walks about.”

Like a roaring lion may be rendered as “like a lion who is roaring.” In some instances a term for lion is not known and therefore needs to be borrowed. This may require some kind of classifier so that one may use a phrase such as “a fierce animal called lion.”

Looking for someone to devour describes the typical activity of the lion. That the intended victims are the Christians is clear from someone. Devour is literally “swallow” or “drink down,” “eat up”; in the present context, it refers to the activity of the Devil in trying to destroy believers, particularly their faith, and lead them into apostasy, that is, to deny their faith in Jesus Christ. Implied in all these is the thought that the sufferings experienced by Christians are not simply the work of people, but are instigated by the Devil himself.

Rarely can one translate literally looking for someone to devour, since a term which relates to “eating” may not suggest the process of “destroying.” Therefore, one can sometimes better render looking for someone to devour as “looking for someone to destroy” or “… to ruin.”

There is a minor textual problem in that some manuscripts have “someone he may devour” instead of “someone to devour,” but in a dynamic equivalent translation, this would not present any difficulties, since the two variants have the same meaning.

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 1:8

This verse gives us a clue as to the readers of the letter: they have not seen Jesus, therefore they were not eyewitnesses of his life here on earth. Despite this, they still love him. The verb for “love” is present tense in the Greek; it could be taken as an imperative, but most probably should be taken as an indicative here, that is, as a statement of a fact, not a command. The present tense indicates that they already love him and continue to do so. There is some manuscript evidence for “known” instead of “seen,” but the evidence for “seen” is more persuasive, and most translations reflect this conclusion (except Moffatt “You never knew him…”).

In a number of languages a so-called concessive clause beginning with a conjunction such as “although” or “even though” must be placed first, and this results in the transposition of two sets of clauses in the first sentence of verse 8, for example, “even though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not now see him, you believe in him.”

The expression you have not seen him must be expressed in some instances as “you have never seen him.”

In a number of languages there are several words which cover different aspects of the semantic domain of “love,” for example, the love of parents for children, the love of children for parents, romantic love of husband and wife, illicit sexual love, and the love between friends. A term from this last category of interpersonal affection is probably the most satisfactory, though in a number of languages the appropriate term for love in this type of context comes from the semantic area of love of children for parents or of parents for children. One must avoid a term which suggests sexual relations or interests.

After stating that his readers had not seen Jesus during his earthly life, Peter now adds that they do not now see him, that is, at the present moment Jesus is not visible to them. Despite this, they nevertheless believe in him. This is not simply a repetition of the first part of the verse, as some translations have taken it to be (for example, New American Bible, New English Bible, Biblia Dios Habla Hoy “in trusting him now without seeing him”), but a statement concerning the present moment, as contrasted from the past. Despite the fact that even now Jesus is not visible to them, yet they believe in him. Believe in the Greek is a present participle, and has durative significance: they continue to believe in him. Here believe has the same sense as in 1.5, namely, trust in, and commitment to Christ, or living in union with him. Accordingly, the Biblia Dios Habla Hoy and Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch translate it this way.

A literal rendering of you do not now see him may seem rather meaningless, since it could be interpreted as “you are not now looking at him,” which of course is something rather self-evident. A more satisfactory rendering is sometimes “you cannot now see him,” meaning that Jesus is invisible.

There is still a further advantage in the shifting of the order of clauses so as to place the concessive clauses first; in this way a more satisfactory connection is to be found between the first sentence and the second sentence of verse 8. This means that the rejoicing is then a more obvious result of the trust in Christ. Otherwise, people might understand the combination of clauses as suggesting that the rejoicing comes as a result of not seeing Christ.

The result of their trusting in Jesus is joy. This joy is so great and glorious that it cannot be expressed in mere words. The Greek for this (literally “unutterable”) is found only here in the whole Bible and conveys the idea that this joy is beyond human expression or description (compare New English Bible “joy too great for words”; Barclay “joy which is beyond words to tell”; Moffatt “unspeakable”).

It is rare that one can speak of “rejoicing with a great and glorious joy,” since “rejoice” and “joy” seem to be a complete duplication. One can, for example, speak of “rejoicing in a great and glorious way” or “rejoicing greatly and gloriously.” It may be possible to speak of this great joy as “you rejoice to such an extent that it is impossible to describe the way you rejoice” or “… so that words cannot be used to talk about the way you rejoice.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 2:18

The word used for slaves (Greek oiketai) refers primarily to domestic helpers, slaves who worked within the household. But perhaps other groups of slaves are also included. For submit yourselves, see verse 13 above. Here, as in 3.1, the word is a participle with an imperative force. The word translated complete respect is from the same word family as the word which is translated “fear” in verse 17, where it is used of the Christian’s attitude toward God. Some scholars interpret it here in the same sense, that is, the slaves’ submission to their masters is motivated by their reverence for God. Most translations, however, take it as a reference to their attitude toward their masters, either as qualifying their submission (Revised Standard Version, New English Bible, New American Bible, Phillips, Barclay, Moffatt) or as an addition to it (Good News Translation, Jerusalem Bible, “respectful and obedient to their masters”; Knox, Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch).

It may be difficult, if not impossible, to qualify respect by an adjective meaning “complete,” though it is usually possible to say “respect them very much” or “show them great respect.” The concept of “completeness” may be approximated by rendering this phrase as “show them all the respect they deserve.”

There are two kinds of masters: the kind and considerate and the harsh. It is easy to submit to the former, but rather difficult to the latter; Peter enjoins his readers, however, to submit to both. Kind is literally “good,” not as inward quality, but as a description of the master’s dealing with his slaves, hence kind, “friendly” (Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch). Considerate (Greek epieikēs) can also mean “gentle,” “fair,” and “reasonable.” The two words are very close in meaning, describing a master who treats his slaves properly, in contrast to the master who is harsh. The Greek word (skolios) literally means “crooked” or “curved,” but is used metaphorically in the sense of “cruel,” “wicked,” “unreasonable,” “unjust” (compare Jerusalem Bible “unfair”; Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch “moody”; Biblia Dios Habla Hoy “bad”; Knox “hard to please”).

In rendering to those who are kind and considerate it may be important to indicate to whom the kindness and consideration is directed, for example, “to those who are kind to you and are thoughtful in dealing with you.” Similarly, in speaking about those who are harsh it may be useful to say “those who are mean to you” or “those who are unfair in the way they treat you.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 4:5

In the Greek, this verse is a relative clause connected with the preceding verse; it starts with “who,” which obviously refers to those who do the insulting at the end of verse 4. Many interpret this, however, as expressing a contrast between the present and the future: now they insult you, but in the future, they will give an account of themselves to God. Accordingly, a contrastive connective is clearly indicated in many translations (Good News Translation, New English Bible, Barclay; compare Phillips “Don’t worry: they are the ones…”).

They will have to give an account is literally “they will give a word,” with the future tense giving a sense of certainty, that is, they will surely give an account. What they will account for is the insults that have been heaped on the Christians (for example, Jerusalem Bible “they will have to answer for it”) or more generally, their total behavior towards the Christians (for example, Barclay “they will have to answer for their conduct”; Phillips “explain their behavior”).

If one assumes that what the people must account for is their insults, then one may translate they will have to give an account of themselves to God as “they will have to defend before God what they have said in insulting you.” However, if the reference is to their conduct in general, then one may translate they will have to give an account of themselves to God as “they will have to defend before God all that they have done” or “they will have to try to explain to God that what they did was all right.” In such a rendering it is often necessary to introduce an expression such a “try,” since obviously these people will not succeed in defending their actions.

To God is literally “to him,” and it is not at all clear whether this refers to God (Good News Translation) or to Christ. In 1.17 and 2.23, God is spoken of as judge, and it is possible that here God is also meant. However, in many other passages in the New Testament it is Christ who is spoken of as judge (for example, Acts 10.42; 2 Tim 4.1; 1 Cor 4.5). Moreover, the general tone found in the letter is that the second coming of Christ is imminent, and it may be that this element is also found here, in which case it would be more natural to understand Christ as the one who judges rather than God. But it is difficult to be certain at this point, and this is probably the reason why many modern translations simply translate literally “to him” or “to the one,” and thus preserve the ambiguity.

Who is ready accents the imminent end of the world (compare 1.5). A vital part of the belief of early Christians is that the second coming of Christ will signal the end of the world, and at that time, both the living and the dead, that is, all people, whether dead or alive, will be judged. This belief soon became incorporated in the earliest Christian creeds (for example, Acts 10.42; Rom 14.9; 2 Tim 4.1). It is possible to interpret the dead here as “spiritually dead,” but this interpretation should be rejected on two grounds: (1) It is associated with the living, which in this case clearly refers to those who are physically alive; and (2) the expression occurs elsewhere in the New Testament with the clear meaning of “physically dead” (compare Eph 2.1, 5; Rev 5.1; Col 2.13).

Since who is ready emphasizes that the event of judging is to take place shortly, it may therefore be better to translate “who will soon judge” rather than literally “who is ready to judge.” The latter expression might mean simply “who is prepared to judge.”

The living and the dead may be translated as “both those who are alive and those who have died.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 1:20

In this verse, it is made clear that God’s way of securing the freedom of people is part of God’s eternal plan and purpose.

He has been chosen by God is literally “foreordained,” with God as the implicit agent. As in 1.2, “foreordination” includes the idea of not only knowing beforehand, but doing something in order to insure that such an event will really take place. The Good News Translation rendering chosen is therefore justified (so also New American Bible, Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch; some other translations have “destined” or “predestined”). The creation of the world is literally “the foundation of the world,” a New Testament way of speaking of creation (Matt 13.35; 25.34; Heb 4.3; Rev 13.18; etc.). It is of course God who is the agent of creation, and this information can be made explicit in the translation (as in Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch “So he [God] offered him before he created the world”).

In rendering He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world it may be relevant to place the temporal expression first, for example, “before God created the world, he had chosen Christ.” In some languages it may be useful to translate the Greek term often rendered “foreordained” as “arranged ahead of time with respect to Christ” or even “arranged ahead of time with respect to what would happen to Christ.”

Although Christ was chosen ahead of time, it was only in these last days that he was revealed. In these last days is literally “at the end of times” and refers to the period beginning with the incarnation and extending to his second coming. A similar expression appears in Hebrews 1.2. It was the conviction of early Christians that the coming of Jesus Christ on earth signalled the beginning of a new stage in history, marked by a new way of God dealing with his people. This new stage in history will come to a conclusion at the second coming of Christ, during which time all the plans of God for the whole world will be realized. The first letter of Peter itself contains many allusions to the idea that the second coming of Christ was imminent and that the end of the world was near at hand (1.7; 4.7; etc.). In these last days gives the unmistakable impression that for Peter, as well as for his readers, this much-awaited end is about to happen. This impact is captured by many modern translations, for example, New English Bible “in this last period of time”; Barclay “as time comes to an end”; Jerusalem Bible “in our time, the end of the ages.”

In these last days includes two related temporal concepts: (1) the end of a particular period and (2) the imminent character of that end. Therefore, one is justified in translating “now in these final days” or “now at the end of this age” or “now when this age is coming to an end,” or even “now when this age will not last much longer.”

He was revealed in the Greek is a passive participle, with God as the implicit agent, hence “God made Jesus known,” or “he was made known by God.” Many translators, however, take this as reflexive; for example, Biblia Dios Habla Hoy “he appeared”; Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch “he has then come,” Barclay “he came.”

The purpose of Christ’s coming is made very personal: for your sake, that is, for the benefit of the readers. In this way the readers are made a part of the divine plan and of the whole drama of human history. A common equivalent for the phrase for your sake is “in order to help you” or “in order to cause good for you.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on 1 Peter 3:6

Among these devout women, Peter chooses one, namely Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Obeyed is in the aorist tense, which suggests that Peter had a specific incident in mind. Since the only time Sarah referred to Abraham as “lord” (in the Hebrew) is in Genesis 18.12, some scholars suggest that Genesis 18.1-15 may have been in Peter’s mind, but this is not at all certain.

Sarah was like that may be rendered as “Sarah was one of those devout women” or “Sarah was a women like that” or “Sarah herself did that.”

She obeyed Abraham may be rendered explicitly as “she did what Abraham told her to do.”

The expression and called him her master must be expressed in many languages as direct discourse, for example, “and spoke to him, My master” or “when she addressed him she said, My master.”

You are now her daughters suggests the idea that in much the same way that Abraham is the father of those who trust in God (Rom 4.11; Gal 3.6-29; etc.), so also Sarah could be regarded as their mother; particularly, Christian women would be her daughters. Their becoming her daughters, however, is conditioned by two factors: if you do good and are not afraid of anything. For do good, see 2.14; 2.15; and 2.20. Are not afraid of anything is literally “you are not afraid of any fear,” a quotation from Proverbs 3.25. The word for “fear” (ptoēsis) is used only here in the whole New Testament, although the verbal form is used in Luke 21.9 and 24.37 with the meaning “to terrify.” It may mean fear of any kind or anything that causes fear or terror. Most translations take afraid and “fear” as cognates, and render the expression in much the same way that the Good News Translation does (for example, New English Bible “show no fear”; Phillips “do not give way to hysterical fears”; Barclay “you refuse to allow anything to reduce you to frightened panic”; Moffatt “yield to no panic”; Knox “let no anxious thoughts disturb you”).

You are now her daughters is a highly specialized Semitic idiom which frequently cannot be translated literally, since it would be seriously misunderstood. An equivalent expression may be “you are now like Sarah” or “you can be like Sarah” (the use of “can be” may be required because of the condition which follows).

If you do good may require some expansion in certain languages, for example, “if you do good to others” or “if you are helpful to others.”

In rendering are not afraid of anything it is important to avoid the suggestion that this means “bravado” or “reckless courage.” The implication seems clearly to be something related to “anxious fears” or “fearful concerns.”

Quoted with permission from Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The First Letter from Peter. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .