Dependent or independent clause? Indirect or direct object? Passive or active voice? Yes, just a few questions circulating through my brain as I think about grammar. I’ll go ahead and tell you a little secret. I love grammar. Probably too much. One of my favorite school assignments included diagramming sentences in my seventh grade english class. So it’s no wonder that when I arrived to Dallas Theological Seminary, I was elated to begin diagramming verses in my greek class.
Now, don’t get me wrong – Purple Goods isn’t without grammatical errors. Already in this post, the usage of “to be” verbs abound. But that said, I’d love to spend some time highlighting how a verb in chapter 2 of 1 Peter has gripped me and guides me.
By way of review, we are finishing up chapter 2 of 1 Peter as the apostle begins to speak to this idea of submission. In 1 Peter 2:13-21 we see the command of submission to those in authority over us. And before I even attempt to explain the cultural context of slavery at the time the apostle is writing, I’m just going to pass. I’ll instead move on to verse 23. In these last couple of verses of chapter 2, Peter articulates the person and work of Jesus. We are reminded of the submission of King Jesus.
Before we get all antsy heading into chapter 3 and discuss submission in marriage, let’s stop and breathe. And remember our example – the submission of our Savior. Peter recalls the response of Jesus in the midst of suffering – “We he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). When Jesus was in the midst of the storm, he didn’t revile, threaten, or justify. But instead, he continued to entrust himself to the one who judges justly.
Did you catch that verb in verse 23? Entrust. Merriam-Webster would define this verb as “to confer a trust on; to commit to another with confidence.” In the midst of suffering, Jesus entrusted himself – he committed to the Father with confidence, handing himself over with trust. And I don’t want us to miss the tense of this verb. In the original language, this verb is in the imperfect tense. The imperfect tense in Greek grammar signifies a repeated past action. Friends, this is huge. With each new wave of suffering, Jesus was continually and repeatedly handing himself over to the just judge. And Jesus knew he could entrust himself to the care of the Father because he knew the character of the Father. What an example for us to follow. We too entrust ourselves to the care of the Father because we know the character of the Father.
Greater knowledge leads to greater trust. Think about it – the more you know about your company’s CEO, your workout regime, or your child’s car seat – the more you can trust that person or process. And just as Jesus entrusted himself to the one he knew and trusted, the call is the same for us. To know God fervently and entrust ourselves to him frequently.
Peter closes chapter 2 reminding us that we come under the perfect care, provision, and protection of the “Shepherd and Overseer of our souls” (verse 25). God is both our Shepherd and our Overseer. These two roles are not in isolation from one another or in tension with one another. Instead, they are closely interweaved in both intimacy and importance. God is our Shepherd – he cares for us. He is our leader, the restorer of his flock. God is our Overseer – he rules over us. He is our authority, the king over his flock.
Friends, this is the God we repeatedly entrust ourselves to – our Shepherd and our Overseer. So whether or not you too like diagramming sentences, let’s agree that grammar matters. And let’s affirm the call and comfort of the Gospel. The call – to frequently entrust ourselves to God. And the comfort – the Shepherd and Overseer faithfully cares for us and rules over us. May we be gripped and guided by a posture of entrusting, even if we don’t realize that entrusting is a gerund.