τοὺς 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.
Some Theological Notes:
- τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν. The imperfective aspect of the participle (φρουρουμένους) is significant for the theology of the verse. “You” (see end of v. 4) “are being guarded” (continuous action) until or unto the day of “salvation.” Notice the contrast with 1:4, where the emphasis is upon a future inheritance. Now, the focus shifts to the present time. In the present time, you are being guarded by God’s power. That guarding will not stop until the day of salvation comes. The trials (1:5) of the present time are less threatening if God is guarding you in the midst of them. What about “through faith”? The point of this phrase would seem to be that God guards those who believe in him or have faith in him. This prepares the way for the further development of faith as a theme in 1:6-9.
- σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. The coming salvation will be in accordance with God’s plan. It is a salvation that God has made ready or has prepared to be revealed.
- ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ. This is an important phrase. To decide what it means, we should compare it to 1 Peter 1:20 and 2 Peter 3:3. In 1 Peter 1:20, we find ἐπ᾽ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων (“at the end of the times”). In 2 Peter 3:3, we find ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν (“at the end of the days”). In both of those verses, the words for time (“times” or “days”) are plural. They are both referring to the present time as the last times or last days (see Forbes, 1 Peter, 19). In 1 Peter 1:5, Peter refers to the “last time.” The singular expression would appear to be anticipating a particular “last time” that is yet to come (Michaels, 1 Peter, 23). This also makes sense in the verse as a whole. The present guarding continues until salvation arrives “in the last time.”
Coming Up: Notes on 1 Peter 1:6
Note on helpful sources: On 1 Peter 1:5, see the commentary by Michaels that is referred to above.
Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter.