RE: 1 Peter 2:19

From: Hultberg, Alan (
Date: Fri Sep 11 1998 - 20:50:08 EDT

> 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
> we should perhaps be wary of interpretations of CARIS which smack of
> *meritorious* works.

Though, of course, it would be an illegitimate totality transfer to assume
that Peter must mean by CARIS in *every* instance what he could mean by it in
*any* instance; worse yet to assume that he must mean by it what Paul often
does. A word can be used differently depending on the context. CARIS
certainly does not *always* imply "*undeserved* favor," though it may be used
in contexts that imply that. (And though my soteriology is unabashedly
Pauline, IMHO I cannot use it to undermine normal lexical semantics.)


> 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.

Though, of course, how CARIS comes to be used in any language is immaterial to
how Peter intends it in 1 Peter 2:19. :-)

> 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
> ONOMATOS ATIMASQHNAI (Acts 5:41). They "rejoiced"; they surely "gave thanks"
> also. Peter in 1 Peter 2:19 was writing from experience.

No doubt.

>The beatings they
> endured were gratuitous (/gratis/), for nothing, undeserved.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see the point. Are you suggesting that CARIS always
means "undeserved" (an adjective, by the way, not a nominal -- no "favor"?)
because gratuitous means "free" in English? If so, I humbly, though strongly,

> 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).

Amen, brother! (And to your citation of and concommitant homily on Luke
17--"it" presumably meaning our obedience to Christ and "merit" presumably
meaning "meritourous of salvation.) Nonetheless, I still contend that all
that can be true without importing it into the use of CARIS in 1 Peter

If I may, I think your confusion with my earlier response stems from a
misunderstanding similar to that over which I have already expostulated far to
long, namely, from a misunderstanding as to what *I* intended by "merit." The
English term "merit" does not mean "deserving of salvation," and I certainly
did not intend it as such. Behavior may be meritorious in some sense without
necessarily being meritorious in a salvific sense.

> 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).

My point exactly.



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