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Applying the historical-grammatical method in our exegesis, looking at the Greek text as well, how can I understand what Peter is saying in 1 Peter 5:8-11, specifically verse 10?

I have a few questions regarding 1 Peter 5:10, let’s lay out the context first:

“Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.

And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-11‬ ‭NET‬‬

The verse at hand says:

“And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NET‬‬

The bolded portion is what I am having a hard time understanding.

Q1: When Peter says God called us to His eternal glory in Christ; what does he then mean by God restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing us?

Would appreciate the skilled & learned to help exegete this passage or provide commentaries from others, or alternative interpretations. (The text can only have so many possible interpretations)

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  • @Nigel J One question at a time? Isn’t that what I did prior to my edit just now? I erased the multiple other questions; does that meet the qualifications? I can re-read the tour at some point.
    – Cork88
    Feb 13 at 6:19

2 Answers 2

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The last part of 1 Peter 5:10 consists of four future indicative active verbs with only an implied object - - the believers. These verbs are:

  • καταρτίσει = will complete/put in order, root form: καταρτίζω = (BDAG) to cause to to be in a condition to function well, put in order, eg, Matt 4:21, Mark 1:19, Gal 6:1, 2 Cor 1:10, 13:11, 1 Thess 3:10, Heb 13:21, 1 Peter 5:10
  • στηρίξει = will fix firmly, root form: στηρίζω = (BDAG) to cause to be inwardly firm or committed, confirm, establish, strengthen, eg, Luke 22:32, Acts 18:23, Rom 16:25, 1 Thess 3:2, 2 Thess 3:3, 1 Peter 5:10, Rev 3:2, etc.
  • σθενώσει = will strengthen, root form: σθενόω = (BDAG) strengthen, make strong, eg, 1 Peter 5:10
  • θεμελιώσει = will establish, root form: θεμελιόω = (BDAG) to provide a secure basis for the inner life and its resources, establish strengthen, eg, Eph 3:17, Col 1:23, 1 Peter 5:10.

1 Peter 5:10, 11 forms a Benediction to Peter's letter:

And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

Thus, this benediction contains a promise that despite some difficulties and trials of the Christian life, the God would help the individual believer in four areas:

  • God would make us complete and well-functioning
  • God would make us firm and committed to serving Him
  • God would make us strong for living the Christian ideals
  • God would provide a secure basis for such a life (eg Eph 2:20) such as the foundation of the apostles' and prophets' teaching

Note also that it is possible that all four verbs could be translated "strengthen" in one its various meanings.

Note Benson's comments:

Make you perfect — That no defect may remain in your Christian knowledge, experience, or practice. See on Hebrews 13:21.

Stablish — That nothing may overthrow your faith or hope, damp the flame of your love, or interrupt the constancy of your obedience;

strengthen — That ye may conquer all your enemies, and may do, be conformed to, and suffer the will of God to the end;

and settle you — As a house upon a rock. Or, inverting the order of the words, and taking the last particular first, as preparatory to the others, (which the sense of the several expressions seems to require, according to the usual progress of the work of grace in the hearts of believers,) the meaning will be, 1st, May he place you on your foundation, (so the word θεμελιωσαι, here rendered settle you, properly signifies,) even on the foundation which God hath laid in Zion, (1 Corinthians 3:11,) Christ Jesus, or on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, (Ephesians 2:20,) namely, the fundamental doctrines attested by them. 2d, May he strengthen you, that no power of earth or hell may move you from that foundation. In consequence of this, 3d, May he establish you in his truth and grace, in faith, hope, love, and new obedience, that you may be steadfast and immoveable in your adherence to the doctrines, your possession of the graces and privileges, and your performance of the duties of your holy calling. And in this way, 4th, May he make you perfect, or complete Christians, lacking nothing, destitute of no grace or virtue, and possessing every one in a mature state, a state of meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. Thus the apostle, being converted, does now strengthen his brethren.

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  • That makes a lot of sense actually, never thought of it that way. +1
    – Cork88
    Feb 13 at 23:34
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Q1: The calling of God implies all those actions by Him through Christ (for He, Father, can do those things only through Christ, His Logos, who was made also man in human history). Like in a sentence "a coach called 5-years old Leo Messi for training, getting skilled in dribble, in free-kicks, headers, and also in sportsmanship and fortitude".

Q2: It can be not a strict cause-effect or hierarchical sequence, but any theologian can hazard any creative cause-effect interpretation, and more inspired a theologian is, a more appealing and intriguing his interpretation will be.

Q3: "Confirmed" is to be confirmed in Christ's grace ("May your hearts be established in grace" /Hebrews 13:9/); but this is not a guarantee of salvation for we always remain free and can plunder this establishment in grace by our sluggishness, carefreeness, greediness and other unworthy and crooked behavior, for the heart-establishing grace is in us to lead us to a great war against all these iniquities innate in us through falledness, not to hide under a shelter, for only the fighters and victors inherit the Kingdom (Rev. 3:5).

Q4: No, "restore" implies the ontological act on the part of God who sent His co-eternal Logos to restore the fallen human nature once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), but even when human nature is restored entirely by and in Christ, still we remain free to courageously participate in Christ's victory, or to chicken out and continue servitude of our pusillanimous urges and petty passions, that gladden the fallen angels who enjoy us not fighting them but rather succumbing to our non-Godly desires.

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  • While I don’t necessarily agree with you on some points, I’ve noted what you said.
    – Cork88
    Feb 13 at 6:21
  • @Cork88 Thanks, I appreciate your attention. I understand your disagreement, for from our previous conversation it seems to me that you lean more towards later Augustine, in his attacks on Pelagius, that diminished the importance of human freedom to the point of a total annihilation; this tenet was embraced by Jan Kalvin. St Augustine’s gloomy exaggerations can be balanced by more fortunate formulations in his other works, unfortunately not so with Kalvin. Feb 13 at 8:38
  • I see what you mean. I would agree. But I get my understanding of the complete & full fallenness of Mankind in Romans 1:18-3:20, Romans 5:12-21, John 6:44. I’ve done some research on these passages & even John 6:44 even from the Armenian perspective. Based on what the Greek of John 6:44 says I’m convinced Jesus taught moral ability to receive Him is impossible without a grant from His Father. So yes, I reject pelagian doctrine because “none seek after God” (Romans 3:10-11)
    – Cork88
    Feb 13 at 16:51
  • @Cork88 This is an old debate. I am not Pelagian, but Orthodox, whom extreme Augustinians termed as “semi-Pelagians”; but this is the only logically consistent doctrine adhered by Eastern fathers and also by St Cassian the Roman, Julian of Eclanum and even by the teacher of St Augustine himself, St Ambrose of Milan. Irish great saints of early Middle Ages likes of St Columba of Iona or St Finian all were of the sound theology of St Cassian of Roman who was friend and follower of St John Chrysostom. Feb 13 at 17:02
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    @Cork88 For me too, thanks! - there is nothing more joyful than to rub one's soul and heart with those perennial issues related to our life with and in Christ Feb 13 at 19:16

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