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1 Peter 2:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Having your conversation honest - Living in such a manner among the Gentiles, in whose country ye sojourn, as becomes the Gospel which ye profess.

That whereas they speak against you as evil doers - In all the heathen countries, in the first age of the Church, the Christians and the Jews were confounded together; and as the latter mere everywhere exceedingly troublesome and seditious, the Christians shared in their blame, and suffered no small measure of obloquy and persecution on this very account. It was doubly necessary, therefore, that the Christians should be exceedingly cautious; and that their conduct should prove that, although many of them were of the same nation, yet they who had embraced Christianity differed widely in their spirit and conduct from those, whether Jews or Gentiles, who had not received the faith of Christ.

In the day of visitation - I believe this refers to the time when God should come to execute judgment on the disobedient Jews, in the destruction of their civil polity, and the subversion of their temple and city. God did at that time put a remarkable difference between the Jews and the Christians: all the former were either destroyed or carried into slavery; not one of the latter: nor did they deserve it; for not one of them had joined in the sedition against the Roman government. That the day of visitation means a time in which punishment should be inflicted, is plain from Isaiah 10:3; : And what will ye do in the Day of Visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from afar? To whom will ye flee for help? And where will ye leave your glory? Some think that by the phrase in this place is meant the time in which they should be brought before the heathen magistrates, who, after an impartial examination, should find them innocent, and declare them as such; by which God would be glorified, the work appearing to be his own. Others think that it signifies the time in which God should make them the offer of mercy by Jesus Christ. The words, however, may refer to the time in which the Christians should be called to suffer for the testimony of Christ; the heathens, seeing them bear their sufferings with unconquerable patience, were constrained to confess that God was with them; and not a few, from being spectators of their sufferings, became converts to Christianity,

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Having your conversation honest - Your conduct. See the notes at Philemon 1:27. That is, lead upright and consistent lives. Compare the notes at Philemon 4:8.

Among the Gentiles - The pagans by whom you are surrounded, and who will certainly observe your conduct. See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 4:12, “That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without.” Compare Romans 13:13.

That, whereas they speak against you as evil doers - Margin, “wherein.” Greek ἐν ᾥ en hō- “in what;” either referring “to time,” and meaning that at the very time when they speak against you in this manner they may be silenced by seeing your upright lives; or meaning “in respect to which” - that is, that in respect to the very matters for which they reproach you they may see by your meek and upright conduct that there is really no ground for reproach. Wetstein adopts the former, but the question which is meant is not very important. Bloomfield supposes it to mean inasmuch, whereas. The sentiment is a correct one, whichever interpretation is adopted. It should be true that at the very time when the enemies of religion reproach us, they should see that we are actuated by Christian principles, and that in the very matter for which we are reproached we are conscientious and honest.

They may, by your good works, which they shall behold - Greek, “which they shall closely or narrowly inspect.” The meaning is, that upon a close and narrow examination, they may see that you are actuated by upright principles, and ultimately be disposed to do you justice. It is to be remembered that the pagan were very little acquainted with the nature of Christianity; and it is known that in the early ages they charged on Christians the most abominable vices, and even accused them of practices at which human nature revolts. The meaning of Peter is, that while they charged these things on Christians, whether from ignorance or malice, they ought so to live as that a more full acquaintance with them, and a closer inspection of their conduct, would disarm their prejudices, and show that their charges were entirely unfounded. The truth taught here is, “that our conduct as Christians should be such as to bear the strictest scrutiny; such that the closest examination will lead our enemies to the conviction that we are upright and honest.” This may be done by every Christian this his religion solemnly requires him to do.

Glorify God - Honor God; that is, that they may be convinced by your conduct of the pure and holy nature of that religion which he has revealed, and be led also to love and worship him. See the notes at Matthew 5:16.

In the day of visitation - Many different opinions have been entertained of the meaning of this phrase, some referring it to the day of judgment; some to times of persecution; some to the destruction of Jerusalem; and some to the time when the gospel was preached among the Gentiles, as a period when God visited them with mercy. The word “visitation” ( ἐπισκοπή episkopēmeans the act of visiting or being visited for any purpose, usually with the notion of inspecting conduct, of inflicting punishment, or of conferring favors. Compare Matthew 25:36, Matthew 25:43; Luke 1:68, Luke 1:78; Luke 7:16; Luke 19:44, in the sense of visiting for the purpose of punishing, the word is often used in the Septuagint for the Hebrew פּקד paaqadthough there is no instance in which the word is so used in the New Testament, unless it be in the verse before us. The “visitation” here referred to is undoubtedly that of God; and the reference is to some time when he would make a “visitation” to people for some purpose, and when the fact that the Gentiles had narrowly inspected the conduct of Christians would lead them to honor him.

The only question is, to what visitation of that kind the apostle referred. The prevailing use of the word in the New Testament would seem to lead us to suppose that the “visitation” referred to was designed to confer favors rather than to inflict punishment, and indeed the word seems to have somewhat of a technical character, and to have been familiarly used by Christians to denote God‘s coming to people to bless them; to pour out his Spirit upon them; to revive religion. This seems to me to be its meaning here; and, if so, the sense is, that when God appeared among people to accompany the preaching of the gospel with saving power, the result of the observed conduct of Christians would be to lead those around them to honor him by giving up their hearts to Him; that is, their consistent lives would be the means of the revival and extension of true religion. And is it not always so? Is not the pure and holy walk of Christians an occasion of His bending His footsteps down to earth to bless dying sinners, and to scatter spiritual blessings with a liberal hand? Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 14:24-25.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Even the best of men, the chosen generation, the people of God, need to be exhorted to keep from the worst sins. And fleshly lusts are most destructive to man's soul. It is a sore judgment to be given up to them. There is a day of visitation coming, wherein God may call to repentance by his word and his grace; then many will glorify God, and the holy lives of his people will have promoted the happy change.
Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 92.2

It is the privilege of the Christian to connect with the Source of light, and through this living connection become the light of the world. Christ's true followers will walk in the light as He is in the light and therefore they will not travel in an uncertain way, stumbling because they walk in darkness. The Great Teacher is impressing upon His hearers the blessing which they may be to the world, represented as the sun rising in the east, dispelling the mist and the shadows of darkness. The dawn gives place to day. The sun, gilding, tinting, and then glorifying the heavens with its blaze of light is a symbol of the Christian life. As the light of the sun is light and life and blessing to all that live, so should Christians, by their good works, by their cheerfulness and courage, be the light of the world. As the light of the sun chases away the shades of night and pours its glories on valleys and hills, so will the Christians reflect the Sun of Righteousness which shines on him. TDG 92.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 120

Our ministers and teachers are to represent the love of God to a fallen world. With hearts melted in tenderness let the word of truth be spoken. Let all who are in error be treated with the gentleness of Christ. If those for whom you labor do not immediately grasp the truth, do not censure, do not criticize or condemn. Remember that you are to represent Christ in His meekness and gentleness and love. We must expect to meet unbelief and opposition. The truth has always had to meet these elements. But though you should meet the bitterest opposition, do not denounce your opponents. They may think, as did Paul, that they are doing God's service, and to such we must manifest patience, meekness, and long-suffering. 6T 120.1

Let us not feel that we have heavy trials to bear, severe conflicts to endure, in representing unpopular truth. Think of Jesus and what He has suffered for you, and be silent. Even when abused and falsely accused, make no complaint; speak no word of murmuring; let no thought of reproach or discontent enter your mind. Take a straightforward course, “having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12. 6T 120.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1081

11. See EGW on Mark 12:30. 6BC 1081.1

12. See EGW on Nehemiah 2:4. 6BC 1081.2

17 (2 Corinthians 8:21; 1 Peter 2:12). The Honest Are His Jewels Forever—Truthfulness and frankness should be ever cherished by all who claim to be followers of Christ. God and the right should be the motto. Deal honestly and righteously in this present evil world. Some will be honest when they see that honesty will not endanger their worldly interests, but all who act from this principle will have their names blotted out of the book of life. 6BC 1081.3

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 241.1

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12. OHC 241.1

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