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1 Peter 2:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 For this is an agreeable thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.
For this is an agreeable thing. Various interpretations of this expression have been proposed, but the meaning evidently is that it is acceptable to God (see ver. 20, ‘this is acceptable to God’—χάρις παρὰ Θεῷ;) that is, this will be regarded by him with favor. It does not mean that it was worthy of thanks or that God would thank them for doing it (comp. Luke 17:9, 10;) but that such conduct would meet with his approbation.
When, mindful of God. If, in the conscientious discharge of his duty, or if, in the endurance of this wrong, he regards himself as serving God. That is if he feels that God, by his providence, has placed him in the circumstances in which he is and that it is a duty that he owes to him to bear every trial incident to that condition with a submissive spirit. If he does this, he will evince the true nature of religion and will be graciously accepted by God.
One endures sorrows. That is, endure that which is fitted to produce grief, or that which is wrong.
While suffering unjustly. Suffering injury, or where there is injustice, (πάσχων ἀδίκως.) This, though a general remark, has particular reference to servants and to their duty in the relation which they sustain to their masters. In view of what is here said, we may remark (1.) that if this has reference to slaves, as has been usually supposed, it proves that they are very liable to be abused, that they have little or no security against being wronged; and that it was a special and very desirable characteristic of those who were in that condition, to be able to bear wrong with a proper spirit. It is impossible so to modify slavery that this shall not be the case, for the whole system is one of oppression, and there can be nothing that shall effectually secure the slave from being ill-treated. (2.) It would follow from this passage, if this refers to slavery, that that is a very hard and undesirable condition of life; for that is a very undesirable condition where the principal virtue, which they who are in it are required to exercise, is patience under wrongs. Such a condition cannot be in accordance with the gospel and cannot be designed by God to be permanent. The relation of parent and child is never thus represented. It is never said or implied in the Scriptures that the principal virtue to which children are exhorted is patience under wrongs, nor, in addressing them, is it ever supposed that the most prominent thing in their condition is that they would need the exercise of such patience. (3.) It is acceptable to God if we bear wrong with a proper spirit, from whatever quarter it may come. Our proper business in life is, to do the will of God; to evince the right spirit, however, others may treat us; and to show, even under excessive wrong, the sustaining power and the excellence of true religion. Each one who is oppressed and wronged, therefore, has an eminent opportunity to show a spirit that will honor the gospel; and the slave and the martyr may do more to honor the gospel than if they were both permitted to enjoy liberty and life undisturbed.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
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