The Book of 1st Peter
Introduction
"Suffering And Glory"

J. Deering, AncientPath.net


FIRST PETER
An Introduction to First Peter

The First Epistle of Peter has appropriately been called "the Epistle of the living hope."  It sets forth the hope of the believer in the midst of a hostile world.  Addressed to those who stood as strangers in the midst of an antagonistic and oppressive world, it is a ringing appeal to steadfast endurance and unswerving loyalty to Christ.

The name of Peter is one of the most familiar to the reader of the New Testament, occurring no less than 160 times.

For convenience the life of Peter may be divided into four parts as follows:

(1)     from the beginning of his life to his meeting with Jesus.  Of this part comparatively little is known.
(2)     from his meeting with Jesus until Pentecost.  The Gospels give us a vivid picture of this part.
(3)     from Pentecost to the Jerusalem Conference.  This part is covered quite fully in the book of Acts.
(4)     from the Jerusalem Conference to his death.  Information on this part is meager and mostly comes from church history.

UNDERSTANDING THE BOOK
First Peter portrays Jesus Christ as the precious cornerstone of our faith.

Jesus lived the kind of life described in this letter of Peter's and "he that saith he abideth in Him ought Himself also so to walk(1 John 2:6).  To "abide in Christ" is to rest quietly where we are.  We, who have received Christ as Savior, are "in Him" (Col3:3).  The secret of walking "in newness of life" (Rom 6:4) or victorious Christian living, is simply to "remember Jesus Christ"(2 Tim 2:8), and to rest on the blessed eternal fact of His sufficiency.

"Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious." (1 Peter 2:7).

THE READERS OF FIRST PETER
As in the case of most churches outside of Palestine, their membership was of mixed racial origin.  they were composed of both Jewish and Gentile Christians, with perhaps the Gentiles in the majority in most churches.  Peter thinks of them not as Jews or Gentiles but as all members of one Body in Christ.

The Epistle is addressed to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Capadocia, Asia, and Bithynia."(1:1).  That the readers are Christians is evident from the term "the elect" as well as the entire contents of the epistle.  That all Christians were addressed seems clear from 5:14.  "You all that are in Christ" naturally includes all believers in that area. That they were organized churches is evident; they are under the care of their elders, they are the flocks of Christ in that region(5:13).  The Epistle is thus an encyclical addressed to the scattered Christian congregations throughout Asia Minor.

THE OCCASION FOR FIRST PETER
The immediate occasion for the writing of First Peter was the information received by the Apostle that the Christians  addressed were  beginning to experience sharp opposition and persecution because of their faith (1:6; 3:13_17; 4:12_19).  A recent unfavorable change in the situation of the readers had taken place.  While there are no hints of actual martyrdom or bloodshed, or even of imprisonment or confiscation of their goods, they were being subjected to a "fiery trial" (4:12).  The persecutions were in the form of vile slander and attacks upon them because of their withdrawal from the licentious practices and amusements of their pagan neighbors (4:4,5). 

Apparently there also were charges of disloyalty to the state (2:13_17).

It may be inferred that Peter also had information concerning certain evil tendencies within the churches which needed to be checked.  The Apostle's warnings may imply that there was a tendency on the part of certain members to yield to the temptation to fall in with the heathen ways of living (2:11, 12, 16).  The words directed to the elders may also imply a greedy and domineering tendency among them which needed to be corrected (5:2,3).  Aware of the needs of these churches, Peter, in fulfillment of the charge given him by the risen Lord to tend His sheep (John21:15_17), addressed this epistle of exhortation and testimony to the believers in Asia Minor.

The purpose of the epistle is clearly stated in the words, " I have written unto you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God:  Stand ye fast therein" (5:12).  It is full of that "comfort which only a true Christian, rich in faith and rich in love, can give to the suffering."  The epistle assures the readers that they are fundamentally right in spite of the opposition and hatred which they are experiencing. 

SEVEN PRECIOUS THINGS
1.   Precious Trial of Faith (1:7)
2.   Precious blood (1:19)
3.   Precious Cornerstone (2:4,6)
4.   Precious Christ (2:7)
5.   Precious Spirit (3:4)
6.   Precious Faith (2 Peter 1:1)
7.   Precious Promises (2 Peter 1:4)

HOW PETER SEES THE CHRISTIAN
1.   A Babe (2:2), desiring the milk of the word.
2.   Living Stones (2:5), built into the temple of life.
3.   Priest, offering spiritual sacrifices.
4.   Stranger, to keep himself unspotted from the world.
5.   Pilgrim, good deeds along the way.
6.   Citizen, render obedience to rulers.
7.   Man, honor all men, in the fear of God.
8.   Servant, subject unto Christ.
9.   Sufferer, to be patient, committing all to Christ.
10.  Steward, (4:10)
11.  Oracles, 4:11

PETER GIVES THE WAY TO BE HAPPY IN A WORLD THAT IS WRETCHED.
By Henrietta C. Mears, "What the Bible is all about"

"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and do good; let his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:  but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (3:10_12).


AN BRIEF OUTLINE OF FIRST PETER
THE INTRODUCTION  1:1_12
I.        EXHORTATIONS IN VIEW OF OUR SALVATION 1:13_2:10
II.      EXHORTATIONS IN VIEW OF OUR POSITION IN THE WORLD 2:11_3:12
III.     EXHORTATIONS IN VIEW OF CHRISTIAN SUFFERING 3:13_5:11
THE CONCLUSION



Teaching Outline: Robert Paul Roth, "The Biblical Expositor"
I. Peter's Greeting to His Readers 1:1_2
II.      The Trinitarian Doxology 1:3_12
III.     Our Relation to God 1:13_2:10
         Be Holy in all your conduct, for He is Holy 1:13_16
         Conduct yourselves with fear, for you were Ransomed with Blood 1:17_21
         Love one another earnestly, for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord 1:22_2:3
         Come to that "Living Stone" and be built into a  Spiritual House, for you are a chosen race 2:4_10
IV.     Our Relation to Men 2:11_3:12
         Believers, be subject to every human institution 2:11_17
         Servants, be submissive to your masters 2:18_25
         Wives, be submissive to your husbands 3:1_6
         Husbands, live considerately with your wives 3:7
         All of you, have unity of spirit 3:8_12
V.      Blessings for Righteousness' sake 3:13_5:11
         Keep your conscience clear when you suffer for wrong 3:13_17
         As Christ died for sins, so Baptism is a sign of our death to sin 3:18_4:6
         Since the end is at hand, hold unfailing love 4:7_19
         Elders, be examples; members, be humble under God 5:1_11
VI.     Salutation 5:12_14

______________________________________________________________

Teaching Outline: Arno C. Gaebelien, "The Annotated Bible"
I.       The suffering of believers and exhortation to holy living  1:1_21
         A.   The introduction and doxology 1:1_5
         B.   Suffering and the coming glory 1:6_9
         C.   As revealed in the Prophets 1:10_12=
         D.   Exhortations to Holy living  1:13_21
II.  The blessings and privileges of all believers  1:22_2:10
         A.   The New Birth  1:22_25
         B.   Spiritual growth  2:1_3
         C.   The privileges of Believers as the holy and royal Priesthood  2:4_10
III. Christ the pattern for His saints  2:11_3:9
         A.   Abstinence and submission  2:11_17
         B.   Christ the pattern for those who suffer  2:18_25
         C.   Glorifying Christ in the marriage relation  3:1_7
         D.   True Christian character  3:8_9
IV.  The comfort in the midst of trials and suffering  3:10_4:29
         A.   The comfort in suffering  3:10_17
         B.   Few saved as illustrated by Noah's preaching  3:18_22
         C.   The new life in its transforming power  4:1_11
         D.   Suffering and Glory  4:12_19
V.   Exhortation concerning service and conflict 5:1_14
         A.   As to Christian service  5:1_7
         B.   Conflict and victory  5:8_14
         C.   The conclusion  5:12_14


2012-11-23