Notes on 1 Peter 1:8 (part 2)

Apostle_Peter_Georgian_mosaicὃν οὐκ ἰδόντες ἀγαπᾶτε, εἰς ὃν ἄρτι μὴ ὁρῶντες πιστεύοντες δὲ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ

Translation:

whom you are loving although you have not seen him, in whom, although you are not seeing him now, yet you are believing.

You will be rejoicing greatly with inexpressible and glorified joy…

 Some Theological Notes:

 1. Note the tenses for the concessive participles (ἰδόντες and ὁρῶντες). They have not seen Jesus (past time), yet they love him. They are still not seeing him now (present time), but they are believing in him. Their love and their faith does not depend upon seeing Jesus. Therefore, their loving and their believing are both evidence of true faith (see Heb. 11:1). Upon such faith, Jesus pronounces a blessing in John 20:29. He says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες).

In 1 Peter 1:8, Peter recognizes that they love Jesus and believe in him without seeing him, like he has (see Johnstone, 1 Peter, 73). On this point, we are like those to whom Peter is writing. The end of 1 Peter 1:7 implies that this will not always be the case. There will come a day when Jesus is revealed. On that day, we who believe in him will see him and the genuineness of our faith will be revealed at that time as well (1:7).

2. In the second part of the verse, the rejoicing of the people of God (“with inexpressible and glorified joy”) is described in wonderful and glowing terms. Such a description fits with the idea that the rejoicing described here lies in the future, especially in conjunction with the next verse.

Coming Up: Notes on 1 Peter 1:9

Note on sources: You can find Robert Johnstone’s commentary on 1 Peter (1888) at archive.org and download it for free.

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