Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
December 13, 2009
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1901 ASV Translation:
18 Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is acceptable, if for conscience toward God a man endureth griefs, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were going astray like sheep; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
- I. Peter's Move Into the Particulars.
- A. He specifically addresses the "household servants".
- 1. The word he used is found in four verses of the New Testament. This makes it a less dominant word than the typical word for "servant" (the typical word for "servant" is used 119 times in the New Testament). It has less of the sense of "bondage" than that typical term. Its uses in the New Testament are instructive.
- a. Luke 16:13 uses Peter's term in the setting of "motivation". We are told that "No household servant can 'serve as bound to' two masters." The problem as Jesus stated it is that "love" is exclusive when it comes to "being bound" and the "household servant" will give his loyal support to one and think the other one not worthy of his efforts.
- b. Acts 10:7 is Luke again using the word in an enlightening statement: the "household servants" attended Cornelius assiduously and Cornelius commissioned a couple of them to take on a very serious task for him.
- c. Romans 14:4 is Paul appealing to this term in order to make his point more emphatic that believers are not to be critical of those whose "convictions in the areas where the Scriptures have not spoken" are different, and, perhaps, appear to be more self-indulgent. The issue here is clearly circumscribed: areas where the Scriptures make no demands or give no specific direction. In these areas, the "servant" is subject only to his own "Master" and not a fellow-believer's perspectives.
- 2. He may have chosen this term because it lends itself more freely to "principalizing" in that there is no direct indication that he is limiting himself to those whose "household service" is compelled by the "bondage" of a "slave".
- B. He also specifically outlines the "relationship": the "service" is rendered to a "master".
- 1. The term for "master" is heavily weighted. It is the word from which we get our "despot" and it carries the overtones of an absolute ruler. In other words, there is no "democracy" in his thought as he goes about making his decisions. This is the most difficult type of person to whom "service" is rendered because he gives the "servant" no opportunity for input or any other consideration. Of course, the "difficulty" only lies in the "servant" if he actually thinks he ought to have some input. For those who know their "place" it gives no difficulty at all.
- 2. Peter's intent is clear: he wishes to make sure his readers who are "servants" clearly understand that the idea of having some "say" in how things are going to transpire is a nonstarter. The further into the history of humanity we go, the more the demonic obsession grips us: "I should be given some say in that to which I will be subjected".
- C. He is without hesitation in his "command": be in submission.
- 1. Peter's use of the word in 3:22 tells us what he has in mind: absolute obedience.
- 2. This cannot be taken to remove the real responsibility of a creature to God as "the primary despot" so that human "despots" are free to command their servants to violate godliness, but, aside from the few times when that might happen, submission is a non-debateable requirement.