1 Peter 2:1 laying aside all malice...envies, and all evil speaking
George Q. Cannon
"Tattle about one another; backbite, slander and speak evil of one another; are such things proper for Latter-day Saints? No. They should be banished from our society and from our households. Our children should be taught better. When they speak evil of any one they should be checked and told if they cannot say something good concerning their fellows, to say nothing." (quoted in Dallin H. Oaks, The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 190.)
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby
Have you ever been amazed by how much a baby grows with a diet of almost nothing but milk? It seems they need little else and certainly don't need adult food. Besides the choking risk, a newborn has neither the teeth to chew meat nor the stomach to digest it. The same is true of our consumption of gospel principles. It is just as inappropriate to teach deep doctrines to gospel novices as it is to feed meat to a baby. Besides, it is the simple gospel principles which edify anyway.
Peter is not speaking just to the new converts but also to the general membership. His hope is that the members will develop a desire for edifying spiritual food, and he thinks they need milk more than meat. Unfortunately, many of our spirits are already undernourished but on a diet anyway. Sometimes we make the mistake of spiritual anorexia, denying our souls the necessary sustenance. Other times we are spiritual bulimics, regularly consuming gospel principles but vomiting them out before they have time to nourish us. Alternatively, some prefer to satisfy their oral fixation with the pacifier of one gospel principle to the neglect of nourishing milk. Others, in their overconfidence, endlessly chew on the meat of deep doctrines without ever truly digesting them.
Gospel meat is an acquired taste. It is not the diet of the natural man. It may be consumed by the masses but can only be savored by those who have acquired a taste, line by line, precept by precept. Until that taste is fully developed we should 'desire the sincere milk' of the basic gospel principles.
1 Peter 2:8 a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence
"The prophets had revealed that Jesus would be rejected of the world, and they declared that even so, he is the only way to salvation. Therefore it is written that 'the stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.' (Ps. 118:22.) Jesus told the rulers of the Jews that he was that stone, and added that 'whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.' (Matt. 21:44.) And Peter, declaring to the people that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead, said that 'this is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' (Acts 4:11-12.) Therefore Jesus is called a stumbling stone to those who reject him, 'a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.' (1 Pet. 2:8.) The Nephite prophet Jacob explained that 'by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation. But ... this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.' (Jacob 4:15-16.)" (Robert J. Matthews, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Jan. 1984, 52)
Neal A. Maxwell
"A stumbling block is defined as involving 'something repugnant to one's prejudices' (The Oxford English Dictionary)...A stumbling block of the Jews of Jesus' day, for instance, was their expectations about what the Messiah would do, such as emancipating them politically. To them, Jesus was not an emancipator, and his death was an unfulfilling stumbling block. This irony had been prophesied. The Greeks, on the other hand, regarded the whole idea of a resurrecting messiah as foolishness. (See Isaiah 8:14; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Peter 2:8; 2 Nephi 18:14.)" (A Wonderful Flood of Light [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 71.)
1 Peter 2:9 ye are a chosen generation
Gordon B. Hinckley
"I want to read you the words of Peter, spoken long, long ago: 'But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.' (1 Pet. 2:9.)
"My brothers and sisters, we are a chosen generation. This is the greatest season in the history of the world and we have been blessed to come forward at this time, this greatest of times, of discovery. This is the grandest age of all. During my lifetime, there have been more scientific discoveries than in all the generations that preceded it, and you and I are upon the earth at this time.
"Beyond all this, we live in a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times, when all that the Lord placed upon the earth in prior generations has come forth in this generation, to bless those of us who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How thankful we ought to be! How anxious we ought to be to do that which the Lord would have us do. Out of the gratitude which we have in our hearts, we ought to be willing to do anything that He asks us-to live the Word of Wisdom, to pay our tithes and offerings, to be active in the Church, to carry responsibilities, to reach out to those who come into the Church and help them and friendship them that they may remain true and faithful. My brothers and sisters, 'Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.'" (Messages of Inspiration from President Hinckley, LDS Church News, 1998, 05/09/98)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Within the past month I have met with other [youth] groups in Spain and Italy, in Switzerland and Denmark. In each place they were clean, neatly dressed, with an eagerness that was wonderful and infectious. It mattered not that they spoke a different language from mine and that they live in a different part of the world. They are partakers of the same gospel of Jesus Christ with a tremendous understanding of that gospel and a deep and abiding sense of gratitude for it.
"Then two weeks ago, I was in southern Utah on the campus of Southern Utah University. Sprinkled all through that congregation were young men and women, many of whom are enrolled in that school and who again reflect in their appearance and manner something that is wholesome and uplifting.
"These are some of our young people of whom I am proud and concerning whom I have a great sense of gratitude and a compelling sense of optimism. In saying this, I do not wish to infer that all is well with all of them. There are many who have troubles, and many who live far beneath the high expectations we have concerning them. There are also those who waver in their faith and who are troubled and frustrated within themselves. There are some, I regret to say, who step over the line of acceptable moral behavior and suffer great tragedies in their lives. But even considering these, I have great confidence in our young people as a whole. I regard you as the finest generation in the history of the Church. I compliment you, and I have in my heart a great feeling of love and respect and appreciation for you.
"Each time I have stood before such a group, there has come into my mind the great and prophetic statement made by Peter of old. Said he: 'Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.' (1 Pet. 2:9.)
"I know of no other statement which more aptly describes you, nor which sets before you a higher ideal by which to shape and guide your lives." ("A Chosen Generation," Ensign, May 1992, 69)
1 Peter 2:9 a royal priesthood
Thomas S. Monson
"As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity and left with a feeling of failure.
"We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference. When we qualify for the help of the Lord, we can build boys, we can mend men, we can accomplish miracles in His holy service. Our opportunities are without limit.
"Though the task looms large, we are strengthened by the truth: 'The greatest force in this world today is the power of God as it works through man.' If we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help. That divine help, however, is predicated upon our worthiness. To sail safely the seas of mortality, to perform a human rescue mission, we need the guidance of that eternal mariner-even the great Jehovah. We reach out, we reach up, to obtain heavenly help." ("You Make a Difference," Ensign, May 1988, 41)
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"I am sure there is no other Church on this earth that has the proportion of Priesthood to total membership that we have. The plan which the Father had for Israel could not be carried out because they refused to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the Lord took the Priesthood and then Moses out of their midst and left them with the Aaronic Priesthood.
"Now the lesson I would like to get out of this situation, is what a tremendous advantage not only, do we have over any other church, I think I may safely say in the world, but I would like to point out to you we have a corresponding responsibility, a responsibility that we cannot escape. We have been made in general language, a kingdom of priests, a priesthood kingdom. The Lord so looks at us, I am sure, and I am sure he will hold us responsible." (Conference Report, April 1956, General Priesthood Meeting 82.)
1 Peter 2:9 an holy nation
Gordon B. Hinckley
"'An holy nation.' I don't think that speaks of a particular nation-the Philippines, the United States, or anything of that kind-it speaks of a vast congregation of those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and try to live its teachings." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 719 - 720.)
Joseph L. Wirthlin
"'An holy nation,' of course, an holy nation, as I understand it, is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an holy nation, and all of those who have membership in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ are in that holy nation as long as they live the gospel." (Conference Report, October 1959, Afternoon Meeting 67.)
1 Peter 2:9 a peculiar people
"Peter told the early saints that they were a 'peculiar people.' (See 1 Pet. 2:9.) There are grounds for believing that many modern saints are hardly 'peculiar' at all. In looks, actions, attitudes, and life style there is nothing to set them apart from their neighbors.
"No one is suggesting the adoption of strange costumes, offensive manners, or a holier-than-thou attitude. But the time may be ripe to remind ourselves that the world does not represent the pattern we should emulate.
"The scriptures tell us:
'Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.' (1 John 2:15-16.)"
("Editorial: Love Not the World," Ensign, Sept. 1971, 81)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Unless the world alters the course of its present trends (and that is not likely); and if, on the other hand, we continue to follow the teachings of the prophets, we shall increasingly become a peculiar and distinctive people of whom the world will take note. For instance, as the integrity of the family crumbles under worldly pressures, our position on the sanctity of the family will become more obvious and even more peculiar in contrast, if we have the faith to maintain that position.
"As the growing permissive attitude toward sex continues to spread, the doctrine of the Church, as consistently taught for more than a century and a half, will become increasingly singular and even strange to many.
"As the consumption of alcohol and the abuse of drugs increase each year within the mores of our society, our position, set forth by the Lord more than a century and a half ago, will become more unusual before the world.
"As government increasingly assumes the burden of caring for all human needs, the independence of our social services and the doctrine which lies behind that position will become more and more important.
"As the Sabbath increasingly becomes a day of merchandising and entertainment, those who obey the precept of the law, written by the finger of the Lord on Sinai and reinforced by modern revelation, will appear more unusual." ("A City upon a Hill," Ensign, July 1990, 4)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Peculiar, of course, in the Greek rendition should denote not eccentricity but 'purchased, preserved, treasured, rare.' 'Purchased' denotes being 'bought' and freed by Jesus' atonement.
"Centuries before, the Lord remarked of His covenant people that He had 'chosen [them] to be a special people' ("deut. 7:6Deuteronomy 7:6).
"But any exclusivity is quickly pervaded and overwhelmed by a sense of sobering duty. Even so, the Lord said to ancient Israel, 'You only have I known of all the families of the earth' (Amos 3:2).
"Furthermore, where 'much is given much is required' (D&C 82:3). Note that the word is not expected but required. For any people favored of God (see 2 Nephi 1:19), it is obligatory for them to favor God's way of life and to keep His stern but sweet commandments. Thus they can then be a much-needed 'light unto the Gentiles' (D&C 86:11). Ways in which they are to be peculiar will include their purity (see D&C 100:16), as this quality, too, comprises a standard for other people (see D&C 115:5).
"It is through those who have such extra blessings that 'all families of the earth [will] be blessed' (Genesis 12:3)." (Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 97.)
1 Peter 2:9 that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light
"Now we are peculiar to the world. Wherever we go they want to give us different kinds of drinks than we are used to, and they wonder what they can do for us peculiar Mormons.
"Then Peter adds the reason for all of this: '. . . that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.' (1 Pet. 2:9.)
"Isn't that what Jesus meant when he said, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven'? (Matt. 5:16.)
"This is God's work
"Just a few years ago we had a prominent woman here from New York. She came to attend our MIA June Conference. I had the privilege of meeting her several times. She was escorted around in the different departments, as many as she could attend. On Sunday morning we had our meeting here directed by the First Presidency. As she went into the little anteroom, I walked up to her, and calling her by name, I said, 'Mrs. So and So, someday you will know that the spiritual capital of the world is Salt Lake City.'
"'Oh,' she said, 'I know that already.'
"It is interesting to know that when people come, they are impressed." (Conference Report, October 1968, First Day-Morning Meeting 10 - 11.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Any man or woman in this Church who violates the commandments, though it may be one of the least, is doing injury not merely to himself or to herself, but to the entire body of the Church. We individually have in our care and keeping the good name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and having that good name in our keeping, it is required of us that we walk circumspectly, that we be sincere in our conversation, in our deportment, in all that we do. A man may say that, if he violates one of these commandments which have been given to the Church, he is injuring only himself, but that is not the case, for he is doing an injury to the entire body of the people, because the world will judge the Church by the acts of the members." (Conference Report, October 1922, Afternoon Session 73 - 74.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Sometimes we take offense when one who is nominally a member of the Church is involved in a crime and the public press is quick to say that he is a Mormon. We comment among ourselves that if he had been a member of any other church, no mention would have been made of it.
"Is not this very practice an indirect compliment to our people? The world expects something better of us, and when one of our number falters, the press is quick to note it. We have, indeed, become as a city upon a hill for the world to see. If we are to be that which the Lord would have us, we must indeed become 'a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light.' (1 Pet. 2:9.)" ("A City Set Upon a Hill," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 99-100)
1 Peter 2:11 abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul
Spencer W. Kimball
"We urge, with Peter, '... Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.' (1 Pet. 2:11.) No indecent exposure or pornography or other aberrations to defile the mind and spirit. No fondling of bodies, one's own or that of others, and no sex between persons except in proper marriage relationships. This is positively prohibited by our Creator in all places, at all times, and we reaffirm it. Even in marriage there can be some excesses and distortions. No amount of rationalization to the contrary can satisfy a disappointed Father in heaven." ("Guidelines to Carry Forth the Work of God in Cleanliness," Ensign, May 1974, 7)
1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man...whether it be to the king...Or unto governors
James E. Talmage
"After the death of Christ the apostles taught obedience to the powers that be, which powers, Paul declared 'are ordained of God.' See Rom. 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:1-3; see also 1 Pet. 2:13, 14. Through the medium of modern revelation, the Lord has required of His people in the present dispensation, obedience to and loyal support of the duly established and existing governments in all lands. See D&C 58:21-22; 98:4-6; and section 134 throughout. The restored Church proclaims as an essential part of its belief and practice: 'We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.' See Articles of Faith, chap. 23." (Jesus the Christ, 522)
1 Peter 2:20 when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently
Neal A. Maxwell
"Being buffeted when we are right and when we have done good-that's often a test!" (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 92 - 93.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The dues of discipleship are high indeed, and how much we can take so often determines how much we can then give!" (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 63.)
1 Peter 2:21 Christ also suferred for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps
Howard W. Hunter
"Christ's supreme sacrifice can find full fruition in our lives only as we accept the invitation to follow him. This call is not irrelevant, unrealistic, or impossible. To follow an individual means to watch him or listen to him closely; to accept his authority, to take him as a leader, and to obey him; to support and advocate his ideas; and to take him as a model. Each of us can accept this challenge. Peter said, 'Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps' (1 Pet. 2:21). Just as teachings that do not conform to Christ's doctrine are false, so a life that does not conform to Christ's example is misdirected, and may not achieve its high potential destiny." ("He Invites Us to Follow Him," Ensign, Sept. 1994, 2)
1 Peter 2:21-26 Peter borrows from Isaiah
"Remarkable in this passage are the parallels between it and Isaiah 53."
1 Peter 2:21-26
v. 21 'Christ also suffered for us'
v. 4 'Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows'
v. 22 'Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth'
v. 9 'he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth'
v. 23 'Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again'
v. 7 'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth'
v. 24 'who his own self bare our sins'
v. 12 'and he bare the sin of many'
v. 24 'by whose stripes ye were healed'
v. 5 'and with his stripes we are healed'
v. 25 'For ye were as sheep going astray'
v. 6 'All we like sheep have gone astray'
(Adapted from Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 416-417)
1 Peter 2:24 Who...bare our sins in his own body on the tree
"The Savior paid the price for sin in Gethsemane; his death on the cross was necessary to bring to pass the resurrection but did not contribute to the redemption from sin." Do you agree with that statement? Did Christ pay the price for sin exclusively in the garden?
The brilliant writings of Elder James E. Talmage and the word of the Lord himself (DC 19:16-19) have given us an incredible understanding of the importance of the blood spilt in Gethsemane. To the rest of Christianity, the garden story appears to be only the final prayer of a man scared of impending death. We are blessed to know so much more of this pinnacle in history. However, our emphasis of this principle has led some to a misunderstanding of what occurred on the cross.
Jesus' suffering on the cross was not only physical. Just as in the garden, his suffering was mental, physical, and spiritual. Just as in the garden, he suffered again 'the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam' (2 Ne. 9:21). Elder Talmage wrote, "It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was alone, alone in most terrible reality. That the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of His immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death. " (Jesus the Christ, 612, italics added)
Having drunk of the bitter cup already, we can only imagine the Savior's horror as he was raised on the cross knowing that the cup wasn't yet empty. The dregs of the bitter cup remained for one last awful swallow. So we see that Peter was not wrong when he said that Christ 'bare our sins in his own body on the tree.' Indeed, he who was with the Master among the trees of Gethsemane is uniquely qualified to teach us what occurred on the tree of Golgotha.
1 Peter 2:24 bare our sins...on the tree, that we...should live unto righteousness
"The New Testament also alludes to the cross of Jesus as a tree. (See Acts 5:30; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24.) Some have noticed that the Greek word used in these passages is the same as that used for the tree of life in the Septuagint, different from the usual New Testament word for tree. According to a number of sources, some early Christians thought of the cross as a tree of life. Later sources likewise relate the cross to the tree of life, as in some hymns attributed to St. Ephraem the Syrian:
'The tree of life is the cross which gave a radiant life to our race. On the top of Golgotha Christ distributed life to men. And henceforth he further promised us the pledge of eternal life.
'Our Savior typified his body in the tree, the one from which Adam did not taste because he sinned.'
"Even a spare sampling of writings from the early Church Fathers shows their awareness of the power of the symbol of the tree of life in ancient Christianity. The Instructions of Commodianus, for example, states in chapter 35 that 'by this tree of death we are born to the life to come; ... therefore, pluck believingly the fruits of life.'" (C. Wilfred Griggs, "The Tree of Life in Ancient Cultures," Ensign, June 1988, 30)