1 Peter 2:19

From: John Barach (johnbarach@juno.com)
Date: Tue Jun 08 1999 - 17:08:21 EDT

I've been working on 1 Peter 2:18-20 and have run into the difficult
phrase in 2:19: DIA SUNEIDHSIN QEOU. My question is twofold:

(1) First, how should SUNEIDESIN QEOU be understood?

Most often in the NT, the word SUNEIDHSIS refers to the conscience as a
source of moral awareness. Consequently, this phrase is sometimes
rendered "because of a [good] conscience toward God." The problem with
that rendering, however, is that the word "good" does not appear in most
manuscripts and it seems awkward or implausible to render the genitive
QEOU as "toward" or "with reference to God."

SUNEIDHSIS can also be rendered as "consciousness," as several
commentaries suggest. Such a translation fits better with the genitive:
"because of consciousness of God." On the whole, the two translations
are not that distant in meaning: being conscious of God (i.e., aware of
His presence, His standards, His evaluation) will lead the believer to
strive for a good conscience before Him.

(2) My second question concerns the function of the prepositional phrase.
 Most often, the passage has been taken to mean that the believer who is
suffering endures his sorrows patiently because he is conscious of God
(or has a good conscience toward God) and because he knows that God is
the ultimate and righteous judge, and so forth.

Some (e.g., Goppelt, Van Houwelingen) understand DIA SUNEIDHSIS QEOU to
be the *basis* or *origin* of the unjust suffering. "Christians have to
suffer above all on account of their conscience which is trained on God
and remains bound to him," Van Houwelingen says, citing Goppelt.

Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.



John Barach
Box 295, Lethbridge, AB T1J 3Y7
Ministerial Candidate (URCNA)

John Barach
Box 295, Lethbridge, AB T1J 3Y7
Ministerial Candidate (URCNA)

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