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1 Peter 2:20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 For what credit is there if you are beaten for sinning and you endure it? But if you endure suffering because of doing good, this is an agreeable thing to God.
For what credit is there. What honor or credit would it be.
if you are beaten for sinning and you endure it. That is, if you are punished when you deserve it. The word buffet (κολαφίζω) means to strike with the fist; and then to strike in any way, to maltreat. Matt. 26:67; Mark 14:65; 1 Cor. 4:11; 2 Cor. 12:7. Perhaps there may be a reference here to the manner in which servants were commonly treated or the kind of punishment to which they were exposed. They would be likely to be struck in sudden anger, either by the hand or by anything that was accessible. The word rendered ‘for your faults’ is sinning (ἁμαρτάνοντες.) That is, ‘if being guilty of an offense, or having done wrong.’ The idea is, that if they were justly punished and should take it patiently, there would be no credit or honor in it.
But if you endure suffering because of doing good. ‘If, even then, you evince an uncomplaining spirit and bear it with the utmost calmness and patience, it would be regarded as comparatively no virtue and as entitling you to no honor. The feeling of all who saw it would be that you deserved it, and there would be nothing to excite their sympathy or compassion. The patience evinced might indeed be as great as in the other case, but there would be the feeling that you deserved all that you received, and the spirit evinced in that case could not be regarded as entitled to any particular praise. If your masters are inflicting on you only what you deserve, it would be in the highest degree shameful for you to rise up against them and resist them, for it would be only adding to the wrong which you had already done.’ The expression here is, doubtless, to be understood comparatively. The meaning is not that absolutely there would be no more credit due to one who should bear his punishment patiently when he had done wrong, than if he had met it with resistance and murmuring, but that there is very little credit in that compared with the patience which an innocent person evinces, who, from regard to the will of God, and by control over all the natural feelings of resentment, meekly endures wrong. This expresses the common feeling of our nature. We attribute no particular credit to one who submits to a just punishment, even with a calm temper. We feel that it would be wrong in the highest degree for him to do otherwise. So it is when calamities are brought on a man on account of his sins. If it is seen to be the fruit of intemperance or crime, we do not feel that there is any great virtue exhibited if he bears it with a calm temper. But if he is overwhelmed with calamity when it seems to have no particular connection with his sins or to be a punishment for any particular fault; if he suffers at the hand of man, where there is manifest injustice done him, and yet evinces a calm, submissive, and meek temper, we feel that in such cases there is eminent virtue.
This is an agreeable thing to God. It is that which is agreeable to him or with which he is pleased.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
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