It doesn’t seem to politically correct (PC) to say that people are peculiar. If we were to refer to [insert a religion here] as a peculiar people we’d be in PC hot water. Depending upon the religion we inserted, we might have our picture on a wanted-dead poster. On the other hand, perhaps it’s just me that interprets the word peculiar as meaning odd, strange. I picture in my mind the word peculiar as being said with a grimace. I infer something wrong, maybe something heinous. “That’s peculiar.” Something isn’t right.
But that’s my problem with the KJV, and my argument with A.W.Tozer. I deeply respect Mr. Tozer, and yet he advised that no version of the Bible except the King James is acceptable for usage. My objection has been the same for many years–it’s like reading a foreign language most of the time. I’ve recently come to read the King James, translating in my head as I read the obvious thee and thou to more modern words. Then I come to peculiar, which sets me off on a task to translate.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. . .
1Peter 2:9 KJV (emphasis added)
Defining the word peculiar, I find it has a lot of meanings.
pe·cu·liar [pi-kyool-yer] [from Dictionary.com]
1. strange; queer; odd: peculiar happenings.
2. uncommon; unusual: the peculiar hobby of stuffing and mounting bats.
3. distinctive in nature or character from others.
4. belonging characteristically (usually followed by to ): an expression peculiar to Canadians.
5. belonging exclusively to some person, group, or thing: the peculiar properties of a drug.
6. [in astronomy] designating a star or galaxy with special properties that deviates from others of its spectral type or galaxy class.
7. a property or privilege belonging exclusively or characteristically to a person.
8. [British usage] a particular parish or church that is exempted from the jurisdiction of the ordinary or bishop in whose diocese it lies and is governed by another.
And in another Bible version, I find the translation as follows: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. . .” (1Peter2:9 World English Bible: Messianic Edition)
When I look at the comment on KingJamesBibleOnline.org, I find the following about the word peculiar, “As used in the phrase “peculiar people” in 1 Pet. 2:9, is” “derived from the Lat. peculium, and denotes, as rendered in the” “Revised Version (“a people for God’s own possession”), a special” “possession or property. The church is the “property” of God, his” “purchased possession (Eph. 1:14; R.V., “God’s own” “possession”).”
Strongs concordance shows two words of interest and translated peculiar. First Kaleō, which is to “call” (properly aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise): – bid, call (forth), (whose, whose sur-) name (was [called]). Second is peripoiēsis, acquisition (the act or the thing); by extension preservation: – obtain (-ing), peculiar, purchased, possession, saving.
Matthew Henry comments that Peter wants to assure Jews who would believe in Y’shuaJesus as Messiah will not become like gentiles, thus losing their place as G-d’s people: “they should lose no real advantage, but continue still what they desired to be, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, etc. Learn, [1.] All true Christians are a chosen generation; they all make one family, a sort and species of people distinct from the common world, of another spirit, principle, and practice, which they could never be if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. [2.] All the true servants of Christ are a royal priesthood. They are royal in their relation to God and Christ, in their power with God, and over themselves and all their spiritual enemies; they are princely in the improvements and the excellency of their own spirits, and in their hopes and expectations; they are a royal priesthood, separated from sin and sinners, consecrated to God, and offering to God spiritual services and oblations, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [3.] All Christians, wheresoever they be, compose one holy nation. They are one nation, collected under one head, agreeing in the same manners and customs, and governed by the same laws; and they are a holy nation, because consecrated and devoted to God, renewed and sanctified by his Holy Spirit. [4.] It is the honour of the servants of Christ that they are God’s peculiar people. They are the people of his acquisition, choice, care, and delight. These four dignities of all genuine Christians are not natural to them; for their first state is a state of horrid darkness, but they are effectually called out of darkness into a state of marvellous light, joy, pleasure, and prosperity, with this intent and view, that they should show forth, by words and actions, the virtues and praises of him who hath called them.
Clarke comments that “They were a holy nation, Exo_19:6; for they were separated from all the people of the earth, that they might worship the one only true God, and abstain from the abominations that were in the heathen world.” (Adam Clarke (1760 or 1762–1832) was a British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar.)
Okay. So we’re a peculiar people in that we are G-d’s possession, for G-d has purchased us through the action of His Son, Y’shuaJesus. Being G-d’s possession means that Jewish Believers or Messianic Jews, continue in their rightful place as G-d’s special people atoned for through the blood of Y’shuaJesus, rather than the yearly sacrifice of an animal. For a Gentile who comes to accept Y’shuaJesus as Lord and Redeemer, it means he or she is grafted into the holy tree as a twig.
While that covers the spiritual and eternal aspect, being G-d’s possession means some other things as well. I am still thinking on this part. I’ll save it for another time.
A thought I have in conclusion, is that by not fully understanding a word from the King James, I delve into the language and come out ahead. Study always takes some work, but is rewarded in a sweetness at the end. . . and more to challenge my thinking.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Thessalonians (2 Thes 3:5)
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .