A People for His Possession (NIDNTTE)

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) (5 vols.)1 Peter 2:9 says But 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 (NIV).  The phrase: “God’s special possession” can also be translated, “a people for his [God’s] possession” (λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν).  I like how the NIDNTTE explains this Greek noun “possession” (περιποίησιν) as used by Peter:

Of special significance is 1 Pet 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession [λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, lit., ‘a people for (his) possession’].” These words are a paraphrase of Exod 19:5–6, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession [LXX, λαὸς περιούσιος]. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (cf. also Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; the LXX uses περιουσιασμός in Ps 135:4 [LXX 134:4], and περιποίησις in Mal 3:17; see discussion s.v. περιούσιος G4342). It is remarkable that in his description of Christian believers Peter uses the distinctive OT language intended to emphasize Israel’s uniqueness. It is no longer a specific ethnic group but people from all races that form a new holy nation. And Peter also makes clear the purpose of this new race: “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (a loose quotation of Isa 43:20b–21).

 Moisés Silva, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 718.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015