Notes on 1 Peter 1:5 (part 1)

Apostle_Peter_Georgian_mosaicτοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ.


who are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto salvation, which is prepared to be revealed in the last time.

Grammatical, Lexical, and Syntactical Matters:

1. τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν. Peter modifies φρουρουμένους with three prepositional phrases (see prepositional phrases in 1:2 and 1:3). The guarding occurs “by the power of God,” where ἐν is used after a passive participle (φρουρουμένους) to indicate impersonal means (Wallace, Greek Grammar, 432-5). The third phrase, εἰς σωτηρίαν, is probably temporal (Jobes, 1 Peter, 90). The guarding happens until salvation comes.

2. τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους. I would recommend that you try to answer the six questions about this participle that I give on the participle handout (see Greek resources).

a. It is important to notice that the article (τούς) goes with the participle. Therefore, the prepositional phrase is essentially in the first attributive adjective position (article-adjective-noun), even though it is an adverbial prepositional phrase that modifies φρουρουμένους. This is common in 1 Peter (see already 1:3).

b. If we look more closely at φρουρουμένους (present passive participle accusative plural masculine φρουρέω), the article marks it as an attributive adjective or a substantival adjective. Here it is clearly attributive (see ὑμᾶς at the end of 1:4).

c. What is its subject? The subject of an attributive adjective participle is generally the word that it modifies.

d. What is the time element for the participle? This can be tricky for adjectival participles, since their time element is not as closely related to the main verb as is the case for adverbial participles. It often requires logic to figure out their time element. The participle here seems to be talking about an action in the present time that will continue until salvation comes.

e. What is the verbal aspect of the participle? A present tense participle will be imperfective in aspect. That is probably important here. The action is an ongoing or continuous action in the present (“being guarded,” where “being” communicates an ongoing action).

3. ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. The passive infinitive, ἀποκαλυφθῆναι, is probably an infinitive of purpose (since a verbal idea is implied by the adjective) (so BDAG). The adjective ἑτοίμην, like certain other adjectives, is sometimes followed by an infinitive (see Acts 23:15, Luke 22:33; see also the infinitive after the related verb ἑτοιμάζω in BDAG).

4. ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ. What does this phrase modify? This phrase is important for providing the time element for ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. It is also important for providing the time element for the next verse.

Coming Up: Theological notes on 1 Peter 1:5

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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