I. Greetings to God’s chosen ones (1-2)
Who wrote this epistle?
Imagine a new believer asks you “who is Peter?” In two minutes introduce Peter to this person.
Who was this epistle written to?
Who is chosen? What does it mean that we are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge? Does it mean that God only knew ahead of time we would believe? Why or why not?
What is the Spirit’s involvement?
From verse 2, what did God choose us to do?
Matthew 10:1-2 – Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew.
Deuteronomy 7:6 – For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
Romans 8:33- Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Colossians 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
2 Timothy 2:10 – Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
John 15:16 – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Acts 2:23 – This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[a] put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart: I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
1. Background. This book was written by Peter. Peter was one of the 12 apostles of Christ and many times functioned as their leader. He was a chief leader of the early church. Before he denied Christ three times, but then was given an opportunity by Christ to state his love for Christ three times. Peter was often brash and outspoken, yet he truly loved the Lord and was willing to follow Him anywhere. In 5:13, Peter alludes to the church located in “Babylon.” Very likely this was a code word used for Rome. At that time Nero had stepped up persecution of Christians so Peter may have been trying to protect believers in Rome by not mentioning it directly in his letter. This letter was likely written towards the end of his life, which is said to have ended near Rome as a martyr himself. The great Roman fire was probably a recent event. People suspected that Nero had started the fire out of some personal motivations to build more things (and because he was crazy!). Public opinion was turning against him so Nero instead blamed the Christians for starting the fire. These were popular scapegoats as they were associated with Jews who were already disliked. They were also new and unknown so were perceived as a threat to Roman culture. Because of this, some persecutions began to come to the Christian church. This is why much of 1 Peter discusses trials and how believers ought to respond to said trials.
2. This book was written to aliens scattered throughout much of the Roman Empire. Many Christians at that time had been uprooted either to share the gospel or to escape persecutions. Also, all believers are aliens in this world since our eternal home is in heaven.
3. Peter also identifies his letter as being written to the chosen. This is yet another place in the Bible that supports the doctrine of election and predestination. We did not choose God of our own initiative. We, in fact, are incapable of doing so as is taught in Romans that there is none who does good, there is none who seeks after God. God called us and chose us and saved us. Believers are merely responding to him because of His calling in our lives. There are a number of applications from this. First of all, it means that God is sovereign. It means that God is merciful. It means that we should be grateful to Him since He has done so much for us.
4. We are chosen according to His foreknowledge. This doesn’t mean that God merely knew ahead of time who would believe. That would clearly contradict with the teaching that God chose us. God didn’t just know ahead of time that we would believe, but He planned and predestined it.
5. We see here the three members of the Trinity all involved. The Father chooses us. The Spirit sanctifies us. Christ redeemed us with His blood and we should obey Him.
Chapter Breakdown: 1 Peter Chapter 01
1From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen
Peter the fisherman was the apostle to the Jews, while Paul the rabbi scholar was the apostle to the Gentiles. It seems as God should have reversed these audiences, but God knows what He is doing.
Peter possessed the keys to the kingdom, meaning that he opened the door of salvation to the Jews at Pentecost, then the Samaritans in Acts 10, and then to the Gentiles in Acts 11. He was writing to "those who are chosen", which were the Jews. After Stephen was martyred, Paul persecuted the Jewish church in Jerusalem. This caused the mostly Jewish church to scatter and live in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithnia. Those Jews living outside of the land were called the diaspora. The Jews had been scattered and were now sheep without a shepherd. Peter was the shepherd to the Jews of the diaspora.
Many replacement and covenant theologians spiritualize this passage, interpreting the diaspora to be Christians outside of Jerusalem. They will falsely claim that Israel and the church were used interchangeably. If read literally, then Peter was writing to Jewish messianic believers outside of Jerusalem. The church is not Israel, as many claim. The church is the church and Israel is Israel. There is no need to spiritualize this passage to make it fit one's own personal theology.
2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!
The Greek word for "foreknowledge" is πρόγνωσις (prognosis), meaning to know beforehand because of pre-planning. God chose these messianic Jewish believers before the foundations of the world were created. These messianic Jews were set apart by the Holy Spirit to perform a service for God.
The Greek word for "obedience" is ὑπακοή (hupakoay), meaning to obey what is heard. The messianic believers were to obey what they heard from the Holy Spirit of God.
These messianic Jews were set apart by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ. There were only three times in the Old Testament where the blood of the lamb was sprinkled. First, the blood was sprinkled at the signing of the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 24:5–8; Heb. 9:19). Second, the blood was sprinkled at the ordination of the Aaronic Priesthood (Ex. 29:21). Third, the blood was sprinkled at the purification ceremony of a healed leper (Lev. 14:6–7).The picture here is that these messianic Jews were persecuted and spread out through the Roman Empire like seed. They were being watered and grown as plants by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.
Grace was the Greek greeting. Peace was the Hebrew greeting. Peter prayed that God would be kind to these messianic Jews. He prayed that they would receive peace. Peace comes from listening and obedience to the Holy Spirit. One listens to the Holy Spirit by studying Bible doctrine at the deepest level. One obeys the Holy Spirit by applying Bible doctrine.
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