THE PETER PRINCIPLES: Week 1
AUTHOR: This letter claims to be from the apostle Peter, and there is no evidence that Petrine authorship was ever challenged in the early church. Silas, who accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey, was likely Peter’s secretary in composing. 1 Peter (5:12), which probably explains the polished Greek style of the letter.
There are linguistic and literary parallels between 1 Peter and Peter’s speeches in Acts. Pentecost address and 1 Peter have the following in common: Christ’s sacrifice was foreordained1; Christ’s resurrection and ascension glory are presented together2; the role of baptism is related to forgiveness of sins3. Peter’s speech at the Jerusalem Council and 1 Peter yield the following: God’s choice in salvation4; purity of heart with response to the Good News5.
OCCASION AND DATE: Peter addresses Christians living in various parts of Asia Minor who are suffering rejection in the world because of obedience to Christ6. He therefore reminds then that they have a heavenly inheritance7.
Peter has learned of their trials and thus addresses them as ‘chosen people who are living as foreigners’ (1:1), a phrase reminiscent of exiled Israel in the OT, but also appropriate for these Christians. The are mostly converted Gentiles. At one time they had no identity as a people’ (2:10, hardly true of the Jews). There former life was one of lewdness, drunkenness, and idolatries (4:3), more descriptive of pagan Gentiles than of first-century Jews. Their compatriots are surprise that they now differently (4:4). Although their sufferings are ‘fiery trials’ (4:12) that suffering apparently does not entail martyrdom as yet. Furthermore, persecution is often the exception (3:13, 14; 4:16).
Ancient tradition suggests that Peter was martyred in Rome in conjunction with Nero’s severe persecution of Christians after the burning of Rome in A.D. 64.8 This letter was likely written toward the end of Peter’s life, but while he cold still say, ‘Respect the king’ (2:17). The early sixties are a good estimate.
CONTENT: Accompanying the several exhortations for faithful living while in a society that is ungodly, the salvation promised is also very much in view. This is the ‘hope’ of the Christian referred to in 1:3, 13, 21; 3:15. Even as Christ suffered and then was glorified, so Christians should anticipate the same. ‘God is pleased’ when His people display patience in the midst of unjust suffering (2:20).
Also addressed is the important goal of believers’ pointing others to God by their godly lifestyles. They thus proclaim the praises of God (2:9, influence pagans to glorify God (2:12), silence foolish people by doing good (2:15), win spouses to Christ (3:1), shame ungodly critics (3:15,16), and puzzle former companions (4:4). Christians are to be a redeeming force in the world, though they suffer.
1 – 1 Peter 1:20 with Acts 2:23
2 – 1 Pet 1:21 with Accts 2:32-35
3 – 1 Pet 3:21 with Acts 2:38
Jerusalem Council— Council of Jerusalem, a conference of the Christian Apostles in Jerusalem in about 50 ce that decreed that Gentile Christians did not have to observe the Mosaic Law of the Jews. … A delegation, led by the apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas, was appointed to confer with the elders of the church in Jerusalem
4 – 1 Pet 1:2, 2:9 with Acts 15:7
5 – 1 Pet 1:22 with Acts 15:9
6 – 4:1-4
7 – 1:3-5