6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
The word “wherin” [in this] is most naturally referred by the English reader to the word “salvation” in verse 5. It is true that we rejoice in our salvation. But here the Greek text helps us to the correct interpretation, for the word goes back to “time,” since the Greek word “salvation” is feminine in gender and the word “time” is neuter, the word “wherin” being neuter, referring back to its neuter antecedent. Herein lies the value of the Greek. The rules of Greek grammar are just as clear and definite as those of mathematics. … The saints are to rejoice in the last time … — Wuest, page 24.
The words “if need be” are hypothetical, not affirmative. That is, they do not state that there is always a need for the dark days, for testing times and difficulties. — Wuest, pages 24-25.
The word “temptations” [trials] … refers both to trials and testings, and also to solicitations to do evil, in short, to all that goes to furnish a test of character. The trials may come from God or under His permissive will from Satan, or may be the result of our own wrong doing. The solicitations to do evil come from the world, the evil nature, or Satan. These are described as manifold [various], namely, variegated. The word emphasizes the diversity rather than the number of the trials. — Wuest, page 25
trial (v.7) = the act of putting someone or something to the test with a view of determining whether it is worthy of being approved or not, the test being made with the intention of approving if possible. The word was used of the act of examining candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. It is the approval of … faith which is to resound to the praise of the Lord Jesus…. It is not the testing of our faith that is to the glory of God, but the fact that our faith has met the test and has been approved, that redounds to His glory. This is made very clear by the Greek grammar involved in the statement. — Wuest, pages 26-27.
It is not the approved faith, but the approval itself that is in the apostle’s mind here. For instance, a gold-mining company wishes to buy a proposed site where gold is said to have been found. But it is not sure whether the metal is real gold or not and whether it is there in sufficient quantity so that a mine if sunk would be a profitable venture. It engages an assayer of metals to take samples of the gold ore to his laboratory and examine them. The assayer sends his report to the effect that the ore contains true gold, and that the gold in found in sufficient quantity sot hat the venture will pay. The report of the assayer approving the gold ore is of fare more value to the mining company than the gold he returns with his report, for upon the basis of the report, the company can go ahead with assurance an guy the land and begin mining operations. The fact that God finds our faith to be one which He can approve is of far more value to Him and to His glory, than the approved faith, for he has something to work with, a faith that He knows can stand the testings and the trials which may come. — Wuest, page 26.
The picture here is of an ancient gold-smith who puts his crude gold ore in a crucible, subjects it to intense heat, and thus liquefies the mass. The impurities rise to the surface and are skimmed off. When the metal-worker is able to see the reflection of his face clearly mirrored in the surface of the liquid, he takes it off the fire, for he knows that the contents are pure gold. … In the crucible of suffering, in which process sin is gradually put out of our lives, our faith is purified from the slag of unbelief that somehow mingles with it so often and the result is the reflection of the face of Jesus Christ in the character of the [believer].— Wuest, page 27.
Many of the Old Testament prophesies had both a short term and long term view. Sometimes both were fulfilled in the prophet’s lifetime, but more often than not, there were hundreds and sometimes thousands of years between the two. We believe the same can be said regarding Peter’s instructions here in 1 and 2 Peter. They were not only timely for those of the dispersion, his counsel will also be consoling to his countrymen who live through the coming day of the Lord.
Peter speaks of their period of suffering as being “for a season.” That is, a brief or short period, which we know was the case in the first century. But the same can be said of the coming Tribulation period that will span seven years. It, too, is a little season (see Revelation 6:11). This is the period known as Jacob’s trouble. Interestingly, Peter uses the exact same Greek word found in Revelation 3:10, “the hour of temptation,” when he speaks of the manifold temptations that they were called upon to endure. The hour of temptation refers to the coming Tribulation, specifically the latter half of it known as the Great Tribulation.
Peter’s illustration of the trial of their faith being more precious than gold wasn’t without rhyme or reason. It finds is source in a prophetic utterance made by the prophet. Zechariah says concerning Israel’s future time of trouble: “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:9). — Sadler, pages 52-53.
Wuest does a better job of digging into the meaning of the words and explaining how they fit the context. But Sadler understands the big picture much better—that Peter’s audience was Jewish and not the Body of Christ (although there is a great deal of application that fits both dispensations/audiences).