“Spirit of Glory and of God”: How an Echo of Jesus Resolves a 1 Peter Debate

Scholars have debated the best interpretation of 1 Peter 4:14c (ὅτι τὸ τῆς δόξης καὶ τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ πνεῦμα ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς ἀναπαύεται). The presence of the article before “of glory” frustrates those who view the text as speaking of “the Spirit of glory and of God” (the unanimous choice in modern translations). A few interpreters (Achtemeier and Schreiner) have suggested that the “glory” is not in reference to the Spirit of God; instead, it refers to the “glory” of the prior verse. This paper serves as a further defense of the minority interpretation. It does so by highlighting an echo of Jesus (from Mt 5:10–12; Lk 6:22–23). 1 Peter has frequently used this teaching of Jesus elsewhere in the letter, making a reference to it here more likely. In this context, the echo provides a justification for the reference to eschatological glory, for in the Gospel passages, Jesus highlights two rewards for unjust suffering: eschatological reward and a temporal confirmation of one’s relation to God. Similarly, 1 Peter 4:14 suggests two reasons to rejoice in suffering: the eschatological glory that will be theirs when Jesus returns and the evidence that they presently have the Spirit of God. Stated differently, Jesus’ two reasons to rejoice align precisely with 1 Peter’s two reasons, albeit with different terminology. In sum, I am making the argument that the echo of Jesus combines with the grammar of the passage to make a powerful case that Peter is speaking of two distinct rewards for unjust suffering.

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