Notes on 1 Peter 1:1 (part 1)

Apostle_Peter_Georgian_mosaicΠέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας,

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect sojourners of the diaspora in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Grammatical, Lexical, and Syntactical Matters:

1. Problem raised by ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις . When you read commentaries on this verse, you see disagreement regarding ἐκλεκτοῖς (“elect”) and παρεπιδήμοις (“sojourners”). These words are both adjectives (see lexicon). The question is this: Are they both substantival adjectives or is one of them an attributive adjective? Recall that a substantival adjective is an adjective that plays the role of a noun, while an attributive adjective normally modifies a noun, but it could also modify a substantival adjective.

How would we answer this question? A Greek lexicon (that focuses on NT Greek) would indicate something about how these words are used in the New Testament, the Septuagint, and perhaps in 1 Peter as well. A quick search on Bible software would also tell you something about the usage of these words in the NT, the Septuagint, and 1 Peter. The second search proves quite useful here. In 1 Peter, ἐκλεκτοῖς is an attributive adjective in 2:4, 6, 9. It is a substantival adjective in some other cases in the NT (generally with an article), but not in 1 Peter. On the other hand, παρεπιδήμοις occurs three times in the NT. In the two other cases where it appears (Heb. 11:13, 1 Pet. 2:11), it is clearly a substantival adjective.

Therefore, based on this evidence, how would we answer our question? It appears likely that παρεπιδήμοις is functioning here and in 1 Peter as a substantival adjective, and ἐκλεκτοῖς functions here and in 1 Peter as an attributive adjective.

2. Grammar and syntax for the rest of the verse:
a. Why does this verse not have a verb? Notice that this makes it comparable to the opening of other NT epistles.

b. What is the function of ἀπόστολος? What makes this a good example of apposition?

c. What do you do with the string of genitives at the end of the verse? Could any of these be genitives of place?

Coming Up: Theological notes on 1 Peter 1:1

(Note: This post is part of a series of posts on 1 Peter. To read the other posts in the series, click here.)

Related Resources:

1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text
Mark Dubis, 1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor Handbook of the Greek New Testament)
1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text
Greg Forbes, 1 Peter (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament)
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