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- THE TITLE
This book bears the name of the writer (1 Pet 1:1), and is the first of two general epistles by Peter.
- THE WRITER
Peter was the son of Jonah (Mt 16:16,17). Before he became a disciple of Christ, he was known as Simon. He was a native of Bethsaida, but seems to have moved to Capernaum where he followed the occupation of fishing. From this work he was chosen to be an apostle of Christ and a fisher of men (Mt 4:18-22). He was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew (Jn 1:40-42). Impetuous, brave and energetic, Peter was a leader among the apostles. He made some mistakes, but was outstanding in the spread of the gospel. He was entrusted "with the gospel of the circumcision" and was one of the pillars of the early church (Gal 2:6-8). Because of his prominence in the Gospels and in the first fifteen chapters of Acts, we know more about Peter's life than of any other of the twelve apostles. After the Jerusalem conference (Acts 15:1-29; Gal 2:1-10), we read no more of him in Acts. In Galatians 2:11-21 we read of his presence in Antioch where Paul rebuked him for his cowardice because of Judaizers. Peter was a married man (Mt 8:14; Mark 1:30; Lk 4:38), and there is no indication that he ceased to live with his wife after he became prominent as an apostle (I Cor 9:5). The New Testament says nothing about when, where, or how he died. The Catholic assumption that Peter was executed in Rome has no basis in the scriptures.
- THE ONES ADDRESSED
First Peter is addressed to "sojourners of the dispersion." These Jewish Christians had been scattered by persecutions (1:1, 17; 2:11,12; 3:17; 4:1-4, 12-19; 5:8,9). They were sojourning among Gentiles in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1 Pet 1:1; 2:12). Although the epistle was addressed primarily to Jewish Christians, it did not exclude Gentiles. Peter presents the church as the true Israel of God's promise (1 Pet 2:4-10).
- TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
The letter was probably written between A.D. 64 and 67. It appears to have been written from Babylon (5:13), though some take the position that "Babylon" was a mystical name for Rome or Jerusalem. Nothing in the New Testament confirms this view. One theory holds that Peter used "Babylon" to conceal his actual location from Nero. Clement of Rome, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius all claim that Peter was martyred in Rome when Nero was emperor.
- PURPOSE AND CONTENTS
The general purpose of the letter, expressed in 5:12, was to console them in their suffering, and to exhort them to faithfulness and duty. An indirect object was to give support to the authority of Paul. Faith, obedience and patience are clearly discussed. The epistle is a summary of the consolations and instructions necessary to encourage Christians in their journey to heaven.
- EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
- Study Peter's thanksgiving for the blessings of grace (1:3-12).
- For the new birth (3-5).
- For joyful faith during trials (6-9).
- For salvation (10-12).
- What obligations grow out of the blessings of grace? (1:13-25).
- A godly life (13-16).
- Prayerful worship of God because of His love (17-21).
- Brotherly love (22-25).
- Some further obligations are impressed (Ch. 2)
- Christian growth depends upon spiritual food (1-3).
- The church of Christ is a living temple (4-10).
- The Christian life is a journey, pilgrimage (11,12).
- Christians must be obedient to authorities (13-25).
- Some ethical relationships (Ch. 3).
- Wives must be in cheerful subjection to their husbands (1-6).
- Husbands must love their wives (7).
- Christians should love each other (8-12).
- Christians should endure persecution patiently (13-22).
- Encouragement for suffering saints is given (Ch. 4).
- Christ died for us; we should live for Him (1-6).
- The coming judgment should cause watchfulness (7-11).
- Christians should expect to suffer persecutions (12-19).
- Peter closes the epistle with divers exhortations (Ch. 5).
- There is a charge to the elders (1-4).
- There is an exhortation to humility (5-7).
- There is an exhortation to watchfulness (8-11).
- There are greetings from the brethren at Babylon (12-14).
- Topics for further study.
- Study Peter's loyalty to Christ, noting carefully what the apostle says about His cross, His suffering, His resurrection, His manifestation, and His exaltation.
- Summarize the teaching of the epistle regarding Christian brotherhood, the duties of society, and of domestic life.
- Using 1 Peter 3:15 as a text, write a brief paper on Giving a Reason for Your Hope.
- Explain the meaning of I Peter 3:18-20.
- What does the epistle teach concerning obedience to the gospel?
Published in The Old Paths Archive