From: Ben Crick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Sep 11 1998 - 18:14:56 EDT
On 10 Sep 98 (17:25:30), email@example.com wrote:
> A list member asked about the use of CARIS in 1 Peter 2:19. Though
> Peter often uses CARIS as "God's favor," it seems to me that here he
> means something like "merit."
> The use of CARIS in 2:20 (TOUTO CARIS PARA QEWi) helps clarify the
> idiom in 2:19 -- something like, "this is meritorious as far as God is
> concerned," or "this finds favor with God," or "this pleases God."
> Most modern English translations make some similar rendering. Cf. Luke
> 6:32-34 -- "If you love those who love you, POIA hUMIN CARIS ESTIN?" --
> where CARIS clearly means "merit" or "credit."
Thank you, Alan, for this contribution. There is much in what you say.
IMHO the whole point about CARIS is that it is *undeserved favour*; true
"grace" indeed. As another writer in another epistle puts it, "THi GAR
CARITI ESTE SESWMENOI DIA PISTEWS... OUK EX ERGWN..." (Ephesians 2:8). So
we should perhaps be wary of interpretations of CARIS which smack of
CARIS is a word which causes much confusion. Its English cognate is
"Charity", but it does not mean that at all. Its Latin cognate is "caritas";
but it does not mean that either.
So we find in the Latin Vulgate "haec est enim *gratia* si propter
conscientiam Dei sustinet quis tristitias patiens iniuste" (1 Peter 2:19).
There is an ambiguity over the Latin /gratia/. We find it used in the
phrase "Dei gratia" (by the grace of God), and we find it used in the
phrase "Deo gratias" (thanks be to God). The Greek for Thanksgiving is
EUCARISTIA, that is EU+CARIS.
So IMHO it is understandable how the translators of the KJV opted as their
reading of 1 Peter 2:19, "For this is thankworthy, etc".
The sentiment behind 1 Peter 2:19 may be Peter's reminiscence of the event
in Acts 5 where he and his companions were beaten for preaching Christ in
the Temple: hOI MEN OUN EPOREUONTO CAIRONTES... hOTI KATHXWQHSAN hUPER TOU
ONOMATOS ATIMASQHNAI (Acts 5:41). They "rejoiced"; they surely "gave thanks"
also. Peter in 1 Peter 2:19 was writing from experience. The beatings they
endured were gratuitous (/gratis/), for nothing, undeserved. Similarly
Christ had suffered the penalty of our sins *undeserved* upon the Cross;
that alone was meritorious and efficacious for our salvation. "Christ
suffered for us, leaving us an example..." (1 Peter 2:20-25). As Christ
before his tormentors was dumb, like the sheep before its shearers, so also
should we be "following in his steps" (verse 21).
With regard to Luke 6:32-34, again the KJV translates CARIS as "thanks",
following the Vulgate /quae vobis est gratia.../, etc. Bengel comments at
verse 32 "CARIS, /thanks/) So thrice the idea is expressed; see ver. 33,34.
/What thanks are due to you/, as though you had done some service of
extraordinary merit, worthy of a special reward?" (Gnomon, ET, T&T Clark,
Edinburgh, 1859, vol 2, p 65).
Compare Luke 17:10, ... LEGETE hOTI DOULOI ACREIOI ESMEN, hO WFEILOMEN
POIHSAI PEPOIHKAMEN. No; there is no "merit" in it for us. But glory may
well redound towards God if we suffer undeserved penalties with good grace
(that word again!).
-- Revd Ben Crick, BA CF <firstname.lastname@example.org> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK) http://www.cnetwork.co.uk/crick.htm
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