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Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made ° the head of the corner,
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto ° also they were appointed.
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:5 spiritual house. Believers are placed, as living stones quickened by Christ, into the spiritual temple of God (see Ephesians 2:19-22).

2:5 priesthood. Christ is High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), but we also are called on to exercise what has come to be called “the priesthood of the believer,” offering up spiritual sacrifices consisting of our own dedicated bodies (Romans 12:1), prayers of praise, thanksgiving and intercession (Hebrews 13:15), and material gifts for the full-time servants of God (Philippians 4:18).

2:5 spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God. Since the one sacrifice of Christ has completely eliminated the need for repeated animal sacrifices, those sacrifices that are now “acceptable” to God include the presentation of our own bodies as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), the “sacrifice of praise” offered continually, doing good, and “communicating” (that is, sharing what we have with others), “for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

2:6 chief corner stone. Note that Peter here recognizes that Christ, not himself, is the foundation stone of the church (as some have misinterpreted the teaching of Matthew 16:18). He is quoting from Isaiah 28:16, showing that this Messianic prophecy was fulfilled in Christ. The Lord Jesus also called His words the true foundation (Matthew 7:24-27) and Paul confirmed that there is no other foundation (I Corinthians 3:11). Isaiah had also stressed that “in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength,” or “the Rock of ages” (Isaiah 26:4).

2:6 be confounded. “Make haste” in Isaiah 28:16 is interpreted by Peter as “be confounded,” meaning “be ashamed.”

2:7 head of the corner. The reference here is to Psalm 118:22, which in turn was referring to the tradition that, when Solomon’s temple was being built, the odd-shaped stone which seemed not to fit anywhere turned out to be the chief cornerstone, designed for the very apex of the temple. The stones had all been precisely cut deep in the quarry, so that no noise of construction could be heard while the temple was growing (see I Kings 5:17; 6:7). In analogous fashion, each believer is being laid quietly as a living stone in the great spiritual temple. But the unique stone of the pinnacle corner is Christ Himself, who is also the temple’s foundation. He is both underneath all, upholding us, and above all, crowning us as our glorious Head.

2:8 rock of offence. In the meantime, until He is made the head stone (Zechariah 4:7), Christ is just a stumbling stone on the ground, as it were, getting in the way of everyone who would pass by. Peter here quotes Isaiah 8:14, to which Jesus also referred in the same vein (Matthew 21:42-44). But note also Daniel 2:34 and Jeremiah 13:16.

2:9 generation. This is not the usual word for “generation,” being so translated here only. The Greek word (genos) means “kindred,” or simply “kind.” Christians, in effect, are a distinct “kind” of human being, almost like a separate genetic variety, and they have been specially “chosen” or “elected” by God for His own very specific purposes.

2:9 priesthood. In this high calling, Christians, like Christ Himself, are both “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6), a royal priesthood.

2:9 peculiar people. “Peculiar” in this sense means a special possession. The Greek word means “purchased,” and is translated “purchased possession” in Ephesians 1:14. A closely related word is used in Acts 20:28, where Christ is said to have “purchased” the church with His own blood. We have been redeemed by His precious blood (I Peter 1:19), and therefore belong wholly to Christ.

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