These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
1 Pet. 1:1 – “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion”
James 1:1 – “To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion”
I never realized until reading James and 1 Peter back-to-back these past 2 weeks how they address the same broad group of people: “the dispersion”
After looking this up, though, I realized this is a different thing than I thought in my comment above regarding James. It wasn’t that they were forced out by some external pressure that happened shortly before James / 1 Peter wrote. Instead, it refers to Jews who live outside of Palestine. In James’ case, it was “Jewish Christians” living abroad. In Peter’s case, according to a commentary I consulted, he speaks to Gentile Christians who are compared to Jews outside of Palestine (because Gentiles are not native Jews, even though they are joining the Jewish faith-now-extended-and-transformed-through-Jesus).
But let’s not take that 1 commentator’s word for it. Looking forward to diving in to 1 Peter more with you guys throughout the week to see how it compares to James and what it speaks more broadly to the church.
1 Pet. 1:22-23 – “love one another earnestly from a pure heart…you have been born again…”
This verse really struck me about the “both/and” reality of our striving and God working in us. Here they had been born again by God’s precious seed of new life (via the word). I think in many places about the parable of seeds, and how they grow organically. So you’d assume you are born again and love just happens. But here it shows Peter telling them to “love one another”. That was something they had to actively decide to do (perhaps we could relate it with 1 Pet. 1:13 – “preparing your minds for action…”).
All to say, this is still a mystery to me. I know it has to be God working this out in me. But then there is something we can actively do in loving one another (lest why would Peter tell them to do that?). I know every command of God must be done by the Holy Spirit in us, so that command is not something we can will on our own. But there is something for us to actively do here. It’s a good challenge for me who tends to emphasize God as doing everything in us (which is good, so long as it doesn’t deny the truth that we have an active role and participation in some way too).
This spoke to me this morning~
1 Pet. 2:9-12 – we are a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
As such, we:
- PROCLAIM the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light
- ABSTAIN from the passions of the flesh
- LIVE HONORABLY among the world
Fellow priests, these are our honorable duties 🙂
1 Peter 3:15-16- “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
What stood out to me here is that we are told to be prepared to answer the question of why we have hope. One of the remarkable things about following Jesus is that even when our lives are in disarray we still have hope. The hope we have from Jesus makes us unexplainable to the world. I also am encouraged that we are instructed to do this kindly and gently. Our current culture is very loud, very opinionated, and not kind. As usual, we are called to be different. We are called to be ready to lovingly tell people about Jesus.
Again, I’m so challenged and moved by the place the N.T. puts prayer. 1 Peter was a whole new level when you read 1 Pet. 3:7 and 4:7, both verses talk about conducting your affairs a certain way FOR THE SAKE OF your prayers. I never noticed that before. But our prayer life is so important to God, and things we do impact that (husband-wife relationship, being sober-minded, self-controlled)
I loved 1 Pet. 4:11 where it talks about serving with the strength God supplies (and speaking with God’s words). This spells out our dependency on Him in a profound way to me. It also shows that not all of our words or service is good. Only the words and service that come from above.
I appreciate the perspective 1 Peter gives on different arenas of authority and how you deal with unjust authority–definitely a challenge. 2 Peter seems to piggy-back off this as well. But in 1 Peter you have (1) God as the one to fear, (2) submit to King’s authority, (3) wives submit to husbands, (4) servant to master, (5) saints to elders. The only realm it might be missing is children submitting to parents (or is that in there and I’m not recalling it?).