1 Peter 2

A Life Built on the Cornerstone

Building With Stones

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5).

Peter applies the same description to his audience as he did to Christ, “living stones.” This metaphor is explained by his description of the result, a “spiritual house.” It can be understood, then, that his audience as living stones are those who are spiritually alive, who work righteousness and not wickedness. The display in this photo shows part of the process of assembling the stone walls of a house out of individual stones, with the use of scaffolding.


For it says in Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone, a choice and precious cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:6).

Like Peter, Paul also referred to Jesus as the foundation or cornerstone (e.g., Rom 9:33; 1 Cor 3:11). God refers to the foundation stone which He will place on Mount Zion, who will accomplish salvation for those who believe in Him. Paul explicitly identifies this foundation as Christ (Rom 10:10-11; cf. 1 Pet 2:4-8). Several Roman sarcophagi were reused in this Crusader building at Sepphoris, including one at the bottom corner.

"Excellent" Conduct

Keep your conduct excellent among the unbelievers (1 Peter 2:12).

Peter urges his audience to conduct themselves in a way that is “excellent” (Gk. kalos), which in this context refers to behavior that is morally good, noble, or praiseworthy. This relief shows the (now headless) freedman C. Julius Zoilos receiving honors from personifications of Bravery and Honor. Zoilos was born as a slave, but he eventually gained his freedom and became a trusted agent of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. The reliefs shown here come from his tomb at Aphrodisias, where he was a well-known benefactor. Similarly, Paul urges his audience to become known (and hopefully sought out) for their virtue and faith, not for becoming enslaved to the law.

An Example of Doing Right

For such is the will of God, that by doing right you might silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15).

Jesus’s actions in Luke 6 provide an example of doing what is right with the result that fools are silenced. Although the scribes and Pharisees considered healing to be a Sabbath violation, Jesus healed a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath. Immediately before the healing, Jesus asked, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good, or to do harm; to save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9). Although Jesus’s question and actions incited rage in the scribes and Pharisees, they had no response for Him. This picture shows a votive hand dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, as an appeal for healing of a hand.

"Bear Up"

If one bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly, this finds favor (1 Peter 2:19).

The verb “bear up” (Gk. hupopherō) refers to submitting to and enduring something difficult (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). The idea is illustrated here figuratively by a fresco of a man and woman, both of whom are carrying burdens. This painting was photographed at the National Museum of Rome.

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