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Bible Study Commentary

1 PETER

Lesson 10: The Cornerstone

1 Peter 2:6-8

6 For in Scripture it says: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, 

and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,"

8 and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall."

They stumble because they disobey the messageówhich is also what they were destined for.

Peter had a habit of digressing from his flow of thought to explain important ideas mentioned in his exhortation (e.g., 1:10-12). This is the situation in our current passage. Peter is now explaining more details about the living Stone he mentioned in verse 4.

Can you explain the theme of the whole passage?

answer: Our passage is actually an explanation of what was mentioned from earlier verses concerning the living Stone. Verse 4 talks about rejection and acceptance, and this theme is expounded in verses 2:6-8 which specifically focuses on the stone rejected by man but chosen by God and by those who believed.

People will either reject or accept what God has provided as the only way of salvation. Peter explains these two different responses to Godís offer of salvation (Jesus Christ), and what will be the effect of such responses.

Peter first quoted Isaiah 28:16. The original context of this verse talks about Godís promise of salvation in which his people had rejected. It is obviously clear that the NT believers have taken the "stone" to represent the Messiah which is Jesus Christ.

What does "I lay a stone in Zion" means?

answer: The exact location or meaning of Zion has undergone various progression or changes in history. For the sake of simplicity, it refers to Ďthe city of Godí or ĎJerusalemí. The phrase in question can be understood in its original meaning as an expression of God promising a structure (fortress) in Zion where Godís people can put their trust, hope, and can take refuge. This was done because their leaders had made them trust on another nation that is not trustworthy. It is also possible for Ďstoneí to mean Ďking.í

What is the Ďcornerstoneí?

answer: Cornerstone can mean the keystone in the center of an arch or a foundation stone which is the first stone laid in constructing a building. Peterís main point in using the description "cornerstoneí is to emphasis the importance of that particular stone of the building.

"7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious."

The words "this stone" is not in the original Greek. Therefore, there are variation from different Bible translations. The NIV added the two words to help us see the contrast Peter intended. KJV versions has "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious" to help us see that Peter is referring to Jesus. The most literal translation was used by ASV, "For you therefore that believe is the preciousness:".

What is Peterís main point in quoting Isaiah 28:16?

answer: Peter wants to affirm from the Scriptures that those who accepted the salvation (Jesus Christ) that God has provided "will never be put to shame" or disappointed. Even though the choice may not be popular at the present time, they will be vindicated later for trusting God. For them Jesus, the living Stone, is precious. They have already experienced (v.2:3-tasted) that the Lord is good.

"But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," 8 and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall."

Peter also quoted Psalm 118:22 and part of Isaiah 8:14. Notice that Psalm 118:22 was also quoted by Peter in Acts 4:11 as he preached to the rulers and elders of the Jews who rejected and crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth. From these verses in the Old Testament, Peter based his message concerning those who will reject the living Stone, Jesus Christ.

What is the Ďcapstoneí?

answer: It actually says "head of the corner" as in KJV. Also called "chief cornerstone," this stone can refer to the last stone to be placed into a building. As in the used of Ďcornerstone,í Peterís main point in using the description is to emphasize the importance of what the rejected stone had become to the building.

What is Peterís point in quoting Psalm 118:22?

answer: The stone rejected by the builders was chosen by God, the chief builder, to be the capstone. Peter is pointing that Jesus Christ was rejected and crucified by his own people. But God who is building the spiritual house (verse 2:5) has chosen Jesus Christ to be the capstone of that building made up of all the believers in Jesus Christ.

What is Peterís point in quoting Isaiah 8:14?

answer: There are two different responses to the living Stone: acceptance or rejection. Now, Peter shows two different functions of the living stone: as the cornerstone to those who believe or a stone that destroys to those who rejects. Isaiah 8:14 affirms the failure or destruction of those who have rejected Godís offer of salvation. Godís judgment will come upon the unbelievers because of their rejection and disobedience to Godís message of salvation.

"They stumble because they disobey the messageówhich is also what they were destined for."

What is Peterís implication with the phrase "they were destined for."

answer: Some would say that those who rejected Godís offer cannot help themselves to do otherwise because God has destined them to reject and disobey Him, supporting a Calvinistic view. However, Peter can also mean in this phrase simply that those who disobey are destined to stumble. What was destined is not their disobedient or rejection rather it was the result of their action.

Present Application

What truths do we discover from the theme of "accepting or rejecting" Godís offer of salvation?

answer: (1) Like the stone that was rejected by the builders, what God has to offer may seems unpopular today. Many will not accept repentance of sins and complete lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives, but such offer is the only choice that will give us genuine salvation from our sins. (2) The unpopularity of what God has to offer tells us that to choose it requires genuine faith on our part and the works of Holy Spirit in our hearts. (3) We must realize that the rejection of Jesus Christ does not make us free from Godís judgment, rather our own rejection will be the basis of Godís judgment and punishment. Not to choose Godís offer does not mean we can get rid of Godís control and sovereignty of our lives. (4) As surely as those who choose God will receive eternal life, so are those who reject Him will be judged to destruction. Both are guaranteed to received the consequences of their choice.

Is there anything else that you can learn from Lesson 8? How would you apply it to your life today?

answer: [Write in your answer]

Conclusion: In reference to the Old Testaments passages, Peter wants the early believers to see that the choice everyone makes concerning Godís offer of salvation had a guaranteed consequences. Salvation to those who accepted it while destruction to those who rejected it and are disobedient to the message of the gospel. Let's go to Lesson 11 (not available yet).

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