In his first epistle, Peter calls upon his readers to take responsibility for their lives in following Jesus. In the first chapter, verse 22, we are confronted with two variations in the manuscripts.
The one version is represented in the NIV as: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart.” (NIV)
The other version is found in the KJV as: “Purifying your souls in the obedience of the truth THROUGH THE SPIRIT to unfeigned love of the brothers, love one another fervently out of a PURE heart,” (MKJV) Note the words in uppercase.
We investigate this verse to try to establish which version has the greater chance to represent the original autograph.
If we exclude “Spirit” in the clause of our present investigation, Peter uses the word “spirit” six times in his first epistle. Three times he refers to the spirit of man (3:4, 4:6, 4:14), and three times to the Holy Spirit (1:2, 1:11, 3:18). In all three cases where he refers to the Holy Spirit, it is directly linked to Jesus or His work. “Spirit” is not found in the second epistle. Here in verse 22 the Holy Spirit is however linked to the Christian in his responsibility for his life in following Jesus. This is unusual for Peter.
1 Peter 1:22
|Possibilities:||By obeying the truth.||By obeying the truth through the Spirit.|
|Witness:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:|
|801-900||Mosquensis, Porphyrianus, Uncial 049|
|901-1600||Uncial 056, Uncial 0142, 9 Minuscules||13 Minuscules||Ps-Oekumenius|
Our second criterion is to examine the manuscripts available. It is noticeable that all six of the older Greek manuscripts (200 – 800 A.D.), four Ancient Translations (200 – 700) and quotations by the Church Fathers all are without this reference to the Spirit in this verse. The clause is first found in three Greek manuscripts after 850 A.D. and in two Ancient Translation of 450 and 650 A.D. This is a very strong indication that this clause could not have been in the original autograph, but had been added to the text at a very late date.
But what us important is that the addition of this clause is not only foreign to Peter, but goes directly in against the spirit of this chapter. Peter urges his readers to take responsibility for their lives. Adding “through the Spirit” in this way, makes the Christian dependent on the Spirit instead of taking responsibility himself as is urged in this chapter and in fact throughout the whole epistle. It might sound good, but this alteration is a serious deviation from the Word of God as the Holy Spirit had inspired Peter to write down.
We cannot hide behind the Holy Spirit!
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