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Introduction to the Books of the Bible

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Peter's First Letter






BOOK : 1 Peter

Description : A letter from the apostle Peter to Christians scattered across Asia Minor by persecution

Author: Probably the apostle Peter

Date written : Probably before 67/68AD

Chapters : 5



Brief Synopsis:

•  The letter is not easy to divide up because there is really one main theme and everything is associated with that.
•  There is a recognition that the people of God have been scattered by persecution and many are suffering because of that.
•  The main thrust of the letter is to remember who you are and live your lives accordingly. Your goodness will take away grounds for further opposition and will give you a purpose to help you stand in the midst of all that is going on. We are what we are regardless of what is going on around us and what is happening to us.


Outline :


1:1-12 Opening: setting the scene

1:1-2 Greeting to the scattered church

1:3-9 Praise God for His Grace and Salvation

1:10-13 Remember it was established long back and spoken of by the prophets

1:13-2:12 Be the people you are called to be, expressing goodness

1:13-2:3 The Requirement of Holiness, our calling

2:4-12 The Position of Believers, who we are

2:4-8 A spiritual house

2:9-10 A chosen people

2:11-12 Aliens and strangers

2:13-3:7 Let your goodness be seen in Submission to Authority

2:13-17 Submission to rulers

2:18-20 Submission to masters

2:21-25 Christ's example of submission

3:1-6 Submission of wives to husbands

3:7 The corresponding duty of husbands

3:8-5:11 Let your goodness be revealed in all your conduct

3:8-17 Duties of All

3:18-4:6 Christ's Example

4:7-11 Conduct in View of the End of All Things

4:12-19 Conduct of Those Who Suffer for Christ

5:1-4 Conduct of Elders

5:5-11 Conduct of Young Men

5:12-14 Conclusion

5:12 The Purpose of the Letter

5:13-14 Closing Greetings



Some Key Verses: Hints of a Suffering Church


Perhaps we take for granted the pressures under which the early Christians lived. (Most of ‘the twelve' died for their faith.) This letter has indications of the persecution that was scattering the church


To the scattered Christian Church through persecution suffering trials

1:1 To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus , Galatia , Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia

1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.


Your goodness may help counter persecution

3:13,14 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”


When you suffer in persecution you suffer with Christ

4:12-16 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.


Suffering will not go on and on

5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.



Some Key Verses: Shine in the midst of the persecution


Peter calls for them to live lives of goodness in the midst of it, remembering who they are


In the midst of it remember we are what we are because He chose us

1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ


Our hope… through Jesus' resurrection… an inheritance until he comes again

1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.


It's all working out as God said it would through His prophets

1:10,11 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.


Born again to become a loving community

1:22,23 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.


Joined to Jesus, the key stone, we become God's building

2:4,5 As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house


It is vital we remember who we are

2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God


Out of that we can then do good and glorify God

2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.


Through submission express that goodness by recognising God's order and being humble

2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men


Look for God's grace in the midst of suffering to continue to do good

4:19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.



Concluding Comments


There are a number of Old Testament quotes in this letter which lead some to say this wouldn't have been the fisherman Peter writing, but the truth is that many years have passed since he was that. Those verses are as follows:


Peter's Quote

O.T. reference quoted


Lev. 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7


Isa 40:6-8


Isa 28:16


Psa 118:22


Isa 8:14


Isa 53:9


Psa 34:12-16


Prov 11:31


Prov 3:34


This letter is worthy of a reading all at one sitting and when you do that look for those verses above that hint at the persecution that the Christians were suffering. Note also the two things that Peter presses on them

•  Realise and remember WHO you are, and
•  Therefore live out holy lives regardless of what is happening to you.



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