Re: Concerning 1 Peter 2:4

Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 20:51:42 -0600

At 4:41 PM -0600 1/16/97, Jim Beale wrote:
>On Jan 16, 5:06pm, Jim Beale wrote:
>> (1 Peter 2:4)
>> I'm working through 1 Peter 2, and I've got some questions that
>> maybe someone can help me with.
>> 1. Regarding discourse analysis: Does it seem more likely that this
>> verse begins a new thought, or continues awkwardly from v. 3?

I would say that it does begin a new thought. Even though it begins with a
relative pronoun phrase referring back to hO KURIOS, this is really fairly
standard ancient practice--beginning with a relative pronoun that has
demonstrative force: "To HIM coming, a living stone ..."

>> 2. How should the participle be best rendered, as a habitual action,
>> or as an imperative like 1 Pet. 3:1? What is the significance of the
>> middle voice here?

I'd say the participle is circumstantial, explaining the grounds for the
assertion in vs. 5, "... since you come to him, a/the living stone ... ,
you also as living stones be built ..." (imperative)/OR "you are being
built ..." Note that OIKODOMEISQE may be either an indicative or an
imperative; if one understands it as an imperative, then one may say that
PROSERCOMENOI functions as equivalent to a parallel imperative: "coming to
him ... be built ..." =3D "come to him ... be built ..."

There's no special significance to the middle voice here; ERCOMAI and its
compounds are always in the middle voice (at least in the present tense).

>> 3. Is LIQON here an accusative absolute? If not, then how does it
>> relate grammatically to the rest of the sentence?

I've never seen an accusative absolute in the NT; in Classical Attic it is
used when one needs an absolute for an impersonal verb that doesn't have
any subject, and it always consists of a participle of an impersonal verb
in the neuter accusative: e.g. EXON TOUTO POIHSAI, "it being
possible/permissible to do this ..."

But here LIQON ZWNTA is in apposition to the pronoun hON and therefore
refers back to hO KURIOS in vs. 3. It is in apposition, but it constitutes
the central theme of this thought, and I think one could convey the sense
of vss. 4-5 as, "Since He is the living stone to whom you come, (the living
stone) approved by men and chosen as one honored in the presence of God,
(so) you also as living stones are being built, a spiritual house, for holy
priestly service, to present spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God ..."

>> 4. What is the force of the perfect participle? Is it reasonable to
>> go with something forceful like, "having been completely rejected"?

You could, or you could transform the whole antithetical phrase into a
parenthetical clause: "--it has been rejected by men but in God's view it
is choice (and) highly honored--"

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR