Don’t Be Surprised – 1 Peter 4-5

In chapter 4, Peter urges us to put in the past the living of life in the way of the flesh, according to human passions. In verse 7, he says “be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” This could be taken two ways. The most obvious is that being sober-minded and self-controlled is necessary in order to be prepared to approach the Father in prayer with our petitions. The second is that, just he alludes as in 1 Peter 3:7, willful disobedience to God’s commandments can hinder ones prayers.

English: Head-piece to the first epistle gener...

English: Head-piece to the first epistle general of Peter, vignette with crucifix in clouds with a snake curling around a skull and flaming torch below (1 Peter 1:11-12); letterpress in two columns below and on verso. 1800. Inscriptions: Lettered below image with production detail: “P J de Loutherbourg invt”, “R Shipster Sculpsit” and publication line: “Publish’d by T Macklin, Oct 1800 London”. Print made by Robert Shipster. Dimensions: height: 482 millimetres; width: 382 millimetres. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 12, he tells us that times of suffering are not something we should expect to escape as Christians: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” And in verse 16, he says “if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

He ends this first letter in chapter 5 by exhorting elders to “shepherd the flock among you.” The example all through the New Testament is of leadership at the level of the local congregation. Never is there an example of some governing body in another geographic area.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

1 Peter 4, 1 Peter 5, 2 Peter 1, 2 Peter 2, 2 Peter 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Holiness and Baptism – 1 Peter 2-3

Peter continues his admonishment to be holy in chapter 2, beginning by urging them to leave behind wickedness, thoughts and deeds of ill will toward others, and to study God’s word. The reference to the Scriptures as spiritual milk is used in other passages such as Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 3:2. Verse 3’s reference to having “tasted” that the Lord is good, is quoted from Psalm 34:8 appropriately here, as the entire Psalm is about the Lord delivering the righteous who are suffering. He then describes them as a living stone “rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,” being built up as a spiritual house, with Jesus as the cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22).

He addresses Christians in verse 9, referring to them with terms that were reserved for Jews in the past – “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6, Deuteronomy 7:6, Isaiah 61:6). Many of them were Gentiles. Peter then tells them they must abstain from passions of the flesh, and keep their actions among the Gentiles honorable, referring to unbelievers as “Gentiles.” Living as a holy people, they must submit to the authority of those who rule, and by doing good amid their suffering and persecution they honor Jesus who suffered, “but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

Peter, in chapter 3, has a lot say about how wives should treat their husbands and vice-versa. And he has a lot to say about how Christ suffered and died to save us. But it is a chapter that is often overlooked by those who would say that baptism is not necessary. Such belief requires tossing out completely the last two verses of this chapter. Consider verses 21-222:

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

James 4, James 5, 1 Peter 1, 1 Peter 2, 1 Peter 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

God In His Mercy – 1 Peter 1

Peter opens this letter addressing Christians in the northern and eastern provinces of Turkey (such as Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia) who had scattered because of persecution – and indeed still suffered such. It is notable that Peter now refers to Christians – Jew and Gentile – in terms formerly reserved only for the Jews (chosen, elect exiles of the dispersion, etc.). Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, Christians were now the chosen ones, as Jesus made plain in John 15:16-19. Peter is offering them comfort, as he reminds them that God in His mercy has caused us to be born again through the resurrection of His son, Jesus, for an imperishable inheritance of salvation.

His words of comfort urge them to realize that the persecution they are enduring will test the genuineness of their faith, but their love for Him and steadfastness will be rewarded by His grace. He reminds them of the promise of the prophets concerning Christ, who was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” – that they were ransomed by His blood and by His victory over death. Peter calls on them to not fall back on their old ways – the ways of their fathers – but to purify themselves in love for one another and to be holy.

This latter point is most important. People often try to excuse their sinful behavior by saying “God wants me to be happy.” Sure, God wants us to rejoice in the hope that we have because of Jesus, but He is not nearly so focused on our personal happiness. He wants us to be holy! Peter reminds us in verses 15-16 (quoting Leviticus 11:44) “…as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” Verses 24-25 are cited from Isaiah 40:6-8, reminding us to trust in God , whose word endures forever.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

James 4, James 5, 1 Peter 1, 1 Peter 2, 1 Peter 3

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Elect Exiles – 1 Peter

Cappadocia was the largest province of Asia Minor, located in what is today eastern Turkey. It became more easily accessible to points south, including Jerusalem, after the Romans constructed roads through the Cilician Gates in the Taurus range. Despite the Roman empire's disdain for Christians, these roads actually helped the Gospel to spread.

Cappadocia was the largest province of Asia Minor, located in what is today eastern Turkey. It became more easily accessible to points south, including Jerusalem, after the Romans constructed roads through the Cilician Gates in the Taurus range. Despite the Roman empire’s disdain for Christians, these roads actually helped the Gospel to spread.

Peter’s first letter begins with him declaring his authorship, and it was accepted as such by the early church fathers. It is addressed to the “elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” These are all in an area of Asia minor which is now northern Turkey. Because Peter speaks to them as “exiles of the Dispersion,” some have taken that to mean that Peter is addressing Jews that have scattered to these lands.

But it is clear from many passages in the letter that Peter is addressing all Christians – and probably Gentiles in particular – in this letter. One such example is 1 Peter 1:14, where Peter urges them not to “be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,” which is indicative of Gentiles. Obviously, he refers to a more symbolic form of exile and dispersion, as he says they are exiles according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ.” The best explanation is that these Christians, who will dwell in heaven, are in a strange land – this world is not our home. “The foreknowledge of God” refers to the fact that God always knew that the Gentiles would be part of the kingdom, as evidenced in many passages, all the way back to, and including, Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham that in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

English: Political map of Asia Minor in 500 BC

English: Political map of Asia Minor in 500 BC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several references in the text indicate that Peter probably wrote this letter before the persecutions by Nero began, putting it about 62-63 A.D. It is also indicated that he wrote it from Rome. The mention of Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13 is believed by most scholars to be a figurative reference to Rome. The order of the churches addressed in that opening section of chapter one is thought by many to be the actual order in which the letter would have been delivered. 1 Peter 5:12 states that it was to be delivered by Sylvanus (another name for Silas). If coming by way of the Black Sea, a logical port for a starting point would be Pontus. Then a counter-clockwise circuit through the other cities would end up at Bithynia.

The letter is full of encouragement for those who are suffering, and reminders of the suffering and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus. There is much encouragement to remember the hope they have of their inheritance of an eternal home (1 Peter 1:3-9); and they admonished to live righteously, abstaining from fleshly passions (1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 3:7). But the most famous passage in this letter might be the one that has become synonymous with the area of apologetics (1 Peter 3:15), which says:

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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1 Peter 2 – A Living Stone and a Holy People

Mediterranean Sea near Joppa. Joppa, today called Jaffa, was once the seaport for Jerusalem. Hiram sent cedar logs from Lebanon to King Solomon for the Temple, floating them to Joppa (2 Chronicles 2:15). From Joppa the prophet Jonah ran away from God ( Book of Jonah), sailing from there toward Tarshish. Here Peter raised Tabitha, or Dorcas, from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). Later he was staying here at the house of Simon the Tanner when he saw a vision of unclean animals, which led him to visit Cornelius' house in Caesarea and win him to Christ.

Mediterranean Sea near Joppa. Joppa, today called Jaffa, was once the seaport for Jerusalem. Hiram sent cedar logs from Lebanon to King Solomon for the Temple, floating them to Joppa (2 Chronicles 2:15). From Joppa the prophet Jonah ran away from God ( Book of Jonah), sailing from there toward Tarshish. Here Peter raised Tabitha, or Dorcas, from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). Later he was staying here at the house of Simon the Tanner when he saw a vision of unclean animals, which led him to visit Cornelius’ house in Caesarea and win him to Christ.

Peter continues his admonishment to be holy in this letter, beginning  by urging them to leave behind wickedness, thoughts and deeds of ill will toward others, and to study God’s word.  The reference to the Scriptures as spiritual milk is used in other passages such as Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 3:2.  Verse 3’s reference to having “tasted” that the Lord is good, is quoted from Psalm 34:8 appropriately here, as the entire Psalm is about the Lord delivering the righteous who are suffering.  He then describes them as a living stone “rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,”  being built up as a spiritual house, with Jesus as the cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22).

He addresses Christians in verse 9, referring to them with terms that were reserved for Jews in the past – “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6, Deuteronomy 7:6, Isaiah 61:6).  Many of them were Gentiles.  Peter then tells them they must abstain from passions of the flesh, and keep their actions among the Gentiles honorable, referring to unbelievers as “Gentiles.”  Living as a holy people, they must submit to the authority of those who rule, and by doing good amid their suffering and persecution they honor Jesus who suffered, “but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

The last few verses of the chapter remind them of just how much Jesus suffered for us, and correspond to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 as follows:

Verse 22 – Isaiah 53:9

Verse 23 – Isaiah 53:7

Verse 24 – Isaiah 53:12, 5

Verse 25 – Isaiah 53:6

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Peter 1 – Called to Be Holy

Map of the route of Paul's second missionary journey.  Here in the epistle, Peter writes to Christians to the north and east.

Map of the route of Paul’s second missionary journey. Here in the epistle, Peter writes to Christians to the north and east.

Peter opens this letter addressing Christians in the northern and eastern provinces of Turkey (such as Pontus,  Cappadocia, and Bithynia) who had scattered because of persecution – and indeed still suffered such.  It is notable that Peter now refers to Christians – Jew and Gentile – in terms formerly reserved only for the Jews (chosen, elect exiles of the dispersion, etc.).  Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, Christians were now the chosen ones, as Jesus made plain in John 15:16-19.  Peter is offering them comfort, as he reminds them that God in His mercy has caused us to be born again through the resurrection of His son, Jesus, for an imperishable inheritance of salvation.

Ruins in Cappadocia, the largest province of Asia Minor, located in what is today eastern Turkey. It became more easily accessible to points south, including Jerusalem, after the Romans constructed roads through the Cilician Gates in the Taurus range. Despite the Roman empire's disdain for Christians, these roads actually helped the Gospel to spread.

Ruins in Cappadocia, the largest province of Asia Minor, located in what is today eastern Turkey. It became more easily accessible to points south, including Jerusalem, after the Romans constructed roads through the Cilician Gates in the Taurus range. Despite the Roman empire’s disdain for Christians, these roads actually helped the Gospel to spread.

His words of comfort urge them to realize that the persecution they are enduring  will test the genuineness of their faith, but their love for Him and steadfastness will be rewarded by His grace.  He reminds them of the promise of the prophets concerning Christ, who was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” – that they were ransomed by His blood and by His victory over death.  Peter calls on them to not fall back on their old ways – the ways of their fathers – but to purify themselves in love for one another and to be holy.

This latter point is most important.  People often try to excuse their sinful behavior by saying “God wants me to be happy.”   Sure, God wants us to rejoice in  the hope that we have because of Jesus, but He is not nearly so focused on our personal happiness.  He wants us to be holy!  Peter reminds us in verses 15-16 (quoting Leviticus 11:44) “…as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”  Verses 24-25 are cited from Isaiah 40:6-8, reminding us to trust in God , whose word endures forever.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.