You Are A Royal Priesthood: What Does 1 Peter 2:9 Mean?


1 Peter 2:9, “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 marvellous light.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation1 Peter 2:9
ESVBut you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
NASBBut you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
NIVBut you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
NLTBut you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

You Are A Royal Priesthood: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

2:1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian’s desires after the word of God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God’s servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built.

He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services. All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces.

But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric.

Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought.

Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded. The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him.

All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit.

Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct.

How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God.

Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.

1 Peter 2:9 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. Contrast in the privileges and destinies of believers. Compare the similar contrast with the preceding context.

chosen—”elect” of God, even as Christ your Lord is.

generation—implying the unity of spiritual origin and kindred of believers as a class distinct from the world.

royal—kingly. Believers, like Christ, the antitypical Melchisedec, are at once kings and priests. Israel, in a spiritual sense, was designed to be the same among the nations of the earth. The full realization on earth of this, both to the literal and the spiritual Israel, is as yet future.

holy nation—antitypical to Israel.

peculiar people—literally, “a people for an acquisition,” that is, whom God chose to be peculiarly His: Ac 20:28, “purchased,” literally, “acquired.” God’s “peculiar treasure” above others.

show forth—publish abroad. Not their own praises but His. They have no reason to magnify themselves above others for once they had been in the same darkness, and only through God’s grace had been brought to the light which they must henceforth show forth to others.

praises—Greek, “virtues,” “excellencies”: His glory, mercy (1Pe 2:10), goodness (Greek, 1Pe 2:3; Nu 14:17, 18; Isa 63:7). The same term is applied to believers, 2Pe 1:5.

of him who hath called you—(2Pe 1:3).

out of darkness—of heathen and even Jewish ignorance, sin, and misery, and so out of the dominion of the prince of darkness.

marvellous—Peter still has in mind Ps 118:23.

light—It is called “His,” that is, God’s. Only the (spiritual) light is created by God, not darkness.

In Isa 45:7, it is physical darkness and evil, not moral, that God is said to create, the punishment of sin, not sin itself. Peter, with characteristic boldness, brands as darkness what all the world calls light; reason, without the Holy Spirit, in spite of its vaunted power, is spiritual darkness.

“It cannot apprehend what faith is: there it is stark blind; it gropes as one that is without eyesight, stumbling from one thing to another, and knows not what it does” [Luther].

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