Bible Study Questions First Peter

A Study Paper Presented to Michael A. Szuk, Instructor in New Testament Survey Columbia Bible College

By Donovan Neufeldt February 14, 2008 Box 623

2 1. Outline: Main Topics 1. God’s great blessings to His suffering people. (1:1-2:10) 2. The conduct of God’s people towards others in the midst of suffering. (2:11-3:12) 3. Pursuing what is good while sharing in the suffering of Christ. (3:13-4:19) 4. The shepherding of God’s people in the midst of suffering. (5:1-14) 1. God’s great blessings to His suffering people. (1:1-2:10) 1.1 Introduction- To churches scattered throughout the Roman world under the work of the Triune God. (1:1-2) 1.2 God’s full redemptive salvation, the hope of eternal life, and its implications. (1:3-25) 1.2.1 The reality of our hope in God’s renewal, and our inheritance in the heavens. (1:3-9) 1.2.2 The Holy Spirit’s work through the prophets’ prophesying and the preaching of the apostles. (1:10-12) 1.2.3 Calls to holy living in brotherly love and fear of God through the eternal, living word of God. (1:13-25) 1.3 Growth in life and its results (2:1-10) 1.3.1 Proper behavior and feeding on pure spiritual milk of the Word to grow into a full experience of salvation. (2:1-3) 1.3.2 Becoming living stones in God’s house and serving as a holy priesthood. (2:4-8) 1.3.3 Becoming God’s people and displaying His goodness. (2:9-10) 2. The conduct of God’s people towards others in the midst of suffering. (2:11-3:12) 2.1 Living as foreigners in the world. (2:11-13) 2.2 Respecting people in authority. (2:13-17)

3 2.3 Slaves or servant’s respect for their master’s authority. (2:18-20) 2.4 Christ as our model. (2:21-25) 2.5 Marriage life. (3:1-7) 2.5.1 Wives, accept the authority of your husbands. (3:1-6) 2.5.2 Husbands, love and honor your wives. (3:7) 2.6 Exhortations to all Christians, that pertain to daily life. (3:8-12) 3. Pursuing what is good while sharing in the suffering of Christ. (3:13-4:19) 3.1 Suffering for righteousness, as Christ did. (3:14-22) 3.2 Arming oneself with the attitude Christ had to face suffering. (4:1-6) 3.3 Stewarding the grace of God, as well as other spiritual gifts. (4:7-11) 3.4 Rejoicing while suffering for being a Christian. (4:12-19) 4. The shepherding of God’s people in the midst of suffering. (5:1-14) 4.1 Advice for elders who shepherd God’s people. (5:1-4) 4.1.1 Willingly caring for the flock out of eagerness to serve God. (5:1-3) 4.1.2 A future reward from the Great Shepherd. (5:4) 4.2 The mighty power of God and its purpose. (5:5-11) 4.2.1 Advice for young men to walk in humility and to submit to authority while trusting God. (5:5-9) 4.2.2 The coming regeneration that will be given by our gracious God. (5:10-11) 4.3 Conclusion. (5:12-14) 4.3.1 God’s true, unchanging grace to lay hold of. (5:12) 4.3.2 Peter’s final greetings. (5:13-14)

4 2. Peter was formerly known as Simon the Zealot (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18), or in Greek, “the Cananean,” which was an Aramaic term for a Jewish nationalist. From this it can be inferred that he was formerly a very strongly politically minded person who was contending for an overthrow of Roman rule in Israel. This may be a part of the reason why he was inclined in Acts to doubt that gentiles were included in the atonement and kingdom of God. We know that his Father’s name was John because Jesus had addressed him as “Simon son of John” (John 1:42). He grew up in Galilee (Mark 14:70) as a fisherman, along with his younger brother, Andrew (Mark 1:16), who initially introduced Peter to Jesus. He had told Peter that they had found the Messiah. When Peter met Jesus, he was told that his name had been changed from Simon to Cephas (in Aramaic), or Peter (in Greek) (John 1:42). Both mean “a rock,” which is a metaphor the mantle that Jesus placed upon his life, being the “rock” on which Christ will build his Church (Mathew 16:18). We know that Peter did not grow into this firm, rock-solid faith until the days of the early church, this is most evident in Peter’s denials of Jesus (Matthew 26:70-74). We do not know the names of his mother or his wife, although we do know he was married because Jesus was recorded to have healed Peter’s mother in law. He was also said to have taken his wife on missionary trips (1 Corinthians 9:5). In the Gospels, Peter demonstrated much strength of character, accomplished many remarkable things, and was recognized as a leader among the disciples. This leadership was not limited to the gospels, but carried on into the early church as Peter was called to preach, evangelize, and establish the foundation of the Church (Mathew 16:18). This commission to, “Fish for people” (Mark 1:17), and shepherd Jesus’ flock (John 21:15-19) was voiced by Jesus on several occasions, in his usual parabolic language. One of the things he was best known for in the gospels was walking on the water (Mark 6:45-52), which has remained a great testimony that

5 has given us believers a tremendous lesson on the power of faith and doubt. Peter was also the one who identified Jesus as the Christ (Mark 8:27-30), and was a witness at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1-13). Although Peter clearly had many strengths that were displayed in the gospels, he was definitely a man who was not without flaws and downfalls. At his first witness of Jesus performing a miracle (filling the nets with more fish than one could imagine) he fell down and confessed, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). This could have just been the typical response of anyone who witnesses a mighty manifestation of God’s power, but it could also be an indication that he had previously lived a lifestyle of ungodliness. This is, however, not relevant to the same effect as his other weaknesses and shortcomings, as this only applied to his life before he had met Jesus. Peter’s first significant rebuke from Jesus came after Peter became afraid and sank into the water on which he was walking. This was evidence of his lack of trust in Jesus as Jesus said, “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me” (Mathew 14:29-31). When Jesus began to speak of His future sufferings and death, Peter reprimanded Him, telling Jesus that he should not say such things. For this, Jesus gave Peter possibly the harshest rebuke he ever received, “Get away from me Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not God’s” (Mark 8:33). This was rebuked with great force because he was tempting Jesus to stray outside of God’s plan. Peter’s brash and impulsive comments are also seen at the Mount of Transfiguration when He says, “Let’s make three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Mark 9:5). Not only did Peter not think before he spoke, but he also didn’t think before he acted. This is evidenced when he cut off the ear of Malchus in the garden of Gethsemane. At this, Jesus scolded him, then touched the man’s ear and healed him

6 (Luke 22:49-51). Peter’s most well known shortcoming is during Jesus’ trial, when he denied Jesus three times. Jesus had foretold this earlier, and when Peter realized what he had done he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:66-72). Peter’s burden of knowing that he had denied Jesus probably did not fully lift until his encounter with the resurrected Christ. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, and every time Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to feed His sheep (John 21:15-17). Peter had repented, and here Jesus was asking him to commit his life. After this he became the solid Rock that Jesus had seen in Peter earlier. Peter really does prove to be the steadfast “rock” on which Jesus builds his church, as is evidenced in the book of Acts. This is also re-enforced by how we hear almost nothing of the name Simon except for in Acts 10:5,32; 15:14. At Pentecost, Peter preached with so much anointing that that three thousand people were recorded to have believed and gotten baptized that day (Acts 2). Peter’s preaching and evangelism do not stop there, but continued through preaching at the temple (Acts 3:11-26), witnessing before the Jewish High Council, (Acts 4:1-22; 5:29-32), introducing the gentiles to the Gospel (Acts 10-11), and preaching grace at Jerusalem council (Acts 15). He also did many miracles during his ministry, such as heal a crippled beggar, heal many other sick people, cast out demons, perform signs and wonders, and raised the dead (Acts 3:1-10, 5:14-16, 9:32-43). Other significant events involving Peter include when he prophesied the death of Annias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), rebuked Simon the sorcerer for wanting to buy God’s power (Acts 8:14-25), and was rescued from prison by an angel (Acts 12:3-19). He also gave Mark information to write his gospel, and wrote first and second Peter. Peter’s only major weakness in displayed in Acts is his hesitancy to accept gentiles as equals.

7 3. First Peter is addressed to, “God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1) This simply means that it is for the churches scattered through the geographic region now known as Turkey. This area is shown on the map below within the gray box. The Churches in these Roman provinces, who Peter is addressing, were evangelized primarily by Paul as indicated in the book of Acts. On Paul’s first missionary journey he traveled to this area, primarily in the province of Galatia (Acts 13:1-14:28). On his second missionary journey, he covered a much greater area, and never retraced his steps as he did on the first one. (Acts 15:36) Provinces where he ministered include Pontus, Galatia, Asia, and Bithynia. He visited these areas one again on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-21:16), however he did not visit Cappadocia. Other apostles or believers who were present at Pentecost may have evangelized this area. From this we can infer that Peter is addressing many of Paul’s converts, which illustrates how Paul and Peter’s ministries complimented each other greatly in that Paul first did the work of evangelism, and Peter took on the role of caring for the flock. They also played separate roles to bring the good news to both the Jews (Peter), and the Gentiles (Paul) (Galatians 2:7-9). Peter and Paul also looked after each other’s reputations, which can be seen in 2 Peter 3:15-16 when Peter condemns those who had twisted Paul’s words from previous letters to mean something completely different than what was intended. 4. Peter’s audience may have been composed of many relatively new Christians. This can be inferred by Peter’s warnings about what lay ahead, as well as the encouraging words to help face opposition, which would have helped prepare new Christians to face opposition. The churches were probably composed of more Jews than Gentiles, although the text indicates the presence of both. Peter’s initial encouragement was that they were God’s chosen people (1:1-2),

8 which tends to indicate an audience with gentiles, who were formerly not included in God’s chosen people, Israel. Other than this, there is very little to indicate Gentile audience, but many that evidence a Jewish one. Peter promises a priceless inheritance in heaven (1:4), which is a parallel to the Jewish inheritance of the land of Canaan, which they had passed of because of sin and idolatry; only this time they have accepted a much greater inheritance. Peter also mentioned the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus (1:10-11) and God’s master plan (1:20), which would have affirmed Jews that the law was not seen as irrelevant, but part of God’s plan. He re-enforces this by his numerous quotations of Scripture (1:24-25; 2:6-10,22-25; 3:10-12; 4:18; 5:5). The Jewish history is also spoken of when Peter calls the church a living temple, with Christ as the foundation and cornerstone, and each believer as a stone and part of God’s chosen holy priesthood (2:4-10). Peter also relates to a Jewish audience by using the flood in Genesis as a metaphor for baptism (3:20-21). 5. The conventional greeting that Peter uses is, “May God give you more and more grace and peace” (1 Peter 1:2). This greeting had become common among the early Christians, as it combined elements of the Greek Culture (Grace), and the Jewish culture (peace) (Guzik). Because of this greeting, common to the letters of Paul, we can see that many congregations were composed of both Jew and Gentile (Coffman). The reason this greeting is so significant is due to the meaning of the words, grace and peace. The word “grace” is used to remind the recipient of the many unmerited blessings that have been given to believers in Christ. Through God’s grace we have been freely given salvation and brought into a relationship with Him, through the blood of Jesus. “Grace, one might say, is the work of God for man and encompasses everything we receive from God” (Keathly). It is Grace that gives the believer both power and motivation to like Christ.

9 When we have received God’s grace, it frees us to live in His divine peace. This peace that we receive as a believer has several different facets, including the peace of reconciliation with God, the personal peace of fellowship with God under a clear conscience, and the peace of assurance in God’s control of circumstance. At this point we will also begin to see peace and unity with other people, as well as the peace of orderliness and blessing (Keathly). For the most part, peace is rooted in and manifested out of God’s grace, and salvation as well as God’s other gifts are wrought by grace through faith. Because of this, we can see why such a simple greeting as, “May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure,” is such a powerful and inclusive Christian greeting. 6. The epistles, such as Romans, 1& 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians and 1& 2 Peter were written using scribes who wrote down what the author dictated. Although the author did not write the letter himself, he would often write the final words with his own hand, as is evident in the Pauline Epistles. This serves to verify to us that it is a genuine letter from the apostle and not a forgery, and therefore affirms its authority regarding biblical inspiration. A letter without a personal salutation would be much more difficult to prove the authorship of and authenticity. The probable New Testament identification of Silvanus is Silas, who delivered the letter from the Jerusalem Council to the church in Antioch (Acts 15:22).

10 Works Cited Coffman, James. "Coffman Commentaries: 1 Peter 1." 2008. Heartlight, Inc. 13 Feb 2008 <>. Guzik, David. "1 Peter 1 - Living like you are born again ." 2007. Enduring Word Media. 13 Feb 2008 <>. Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation (NLT). Tyndale Charitable Trust. Tyndale House Publishers Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois, 2004. Keathley, Hampton. "Grace and Peace." 2007. Biblical Studies Press . 13 Feb 2008 <>. "Quick Search." 2008. Gospel Communications International. 13 Feb 2008 <>.

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