The Pulpit Commentary

1 Peter 2:21 (1 Peter 2:21)

For even hereunto were ye called ; that is, to do good and to suffer patiently. Omit "even," for which there is no authority. St. Peter is speaking of slaves, but what he says of slaves is true in some sense of all Christians (comp. Acts 14:22 ). Because Christ also suffered for us ; rather, for you, with the oldest manuscripts. You do not suffer alone; Christ also suffered, and that for you slaves, on your behalf. "Christ himself," says Bengel, "was treated as a slave; he deigns to exhibit his own conduct as an example to slaves." Leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. The oldest manuscripts have the second person here in both places. Leaving ( ὑολιμπάνων ), leaving behind; Bengel says, "in abitu ad pattern." The Greek for "example" is ὑπογραμμός —a word which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means a copy set by a writing or drawing master, which was to be exactly reproduced by his pupils (see 2 Macc. 2:28, in the Greek). The life of Christ is our model. In particular St. Peter urges us to imitate the Lord's patience in suffering undeserved afflictions. In the last clause the figure is changed to that of a guide along a difficult route, so difficult that those who follow must put their feet in his footprints. We should follow his steps, one by one, closely following him, as the word ἐπακολουθήσητε means.

- The Pulpit Commentary