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1 Peter 2:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 And coming to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen, precious to God,
And coming to him. To the Lord Jesus, for so the word ‘Lord’ is to be understood in 1 Peter 2:3. Comp. Acts 1:24. The idea here is, that they had come to him for salvation, while the great mass of men rejected him. Others ‘disallowed’ him, and turned away from him, but they had seen that he was the one chosen or appointed by God and had come to him in order to be saved. Salvation is often represented as coming to Christ. See Matt. 11:28.
A living stone. The allusion in this passage is to Isa. 28:16, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste.’ See Notes on that passage. There may be also possibly an allusion to Psa. 118:22, ‘The stone which the builders disallowed, is become the head-stone of the corner.’ The reference is to Christ as the foundation on which the church is reared. He occupied the same place in regard to the church which a foundation stone does to the edifice that is reared upon it. Comp. Matt. 7:24, 25. See Notes on Rom. 9:33 and Eph. 2:20–22. The phrase ‘living stone’ is, however, unusual and is not found, I think, except in this place. There seems to be an incongruity in it, in attributing life to a stone, yet the meaning is not difficult to be understood. The purpose was not to speak of a temple, like that at Jerusalem, made up of gold and costly stones, but of a temple made up of living materials—of redeemed men—in which God now resides. In speaking of that, it was natural to refer to the foundation on which the whole rested, and to speak of that as corresponding to the whole edifice. It was all a living temple—a temple composed of living materials—from the foundation to the top. Compare the expression in John 4:10, ‘He would have given thee living water;’ that is water which would have imparted life to the soul. So Christ imparts life to the whole spiritual temple that is reared on him as a foundation.
Rejected by men. Rejected by them, first by the Jews, in causing him to be put to death; and then by all men when he is offered to them as their Savior. See Notes, Isa. 53:3. Psa. 118:22: ‘Which the builders refused.’ Comp. Notes, Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11.
Chosen of God. Selected by him as the suitable foundation on which to rear his church.
And precious. Valuable. The universe had nothing more valuable on which to rear the spiritual temple.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews