1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen sojourners of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 in the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ: may grace and peace be yours in abundance.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you 5 who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. 6 In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 as you attain the goal of (your) faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it, 11 investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you with regard to the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you (through) the holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels longed to look.
13 Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance 15 but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, 16 for it is written, "Be holy because I (am) holy." 17 Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one's works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, 18 realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold 19 but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. 20 He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, 21 who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a (pure) heart. 23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, 24 for: "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever." This is the word that has been proclaimed to you. Version: New American Bible
- 1-2 Peter are written by the famous apostle, although like most ancient writers, he employed the services of a scribe. The scribe who wrote 1 Peter is Silvanus (1 Peter 5:11), also called Silas. (Who assisted Peter with his second letter, we do not know.) 1 Peter is thought by many to have been written in the wake of the persecution under Nero that began in 64 AD, although there is at least one problem with dating the letter in 64 (see first note under Advanced). Peter writes from “Babylon” (5:13), a code name in the New Testament for the city of Rome.
- The unifying theme of 1 Peter is suffering. The letter is especially appropriate for new believers. (See 1:3, 23; 2:2-3.) As you read 1 Peter, ask yourself, “In what areas of the Christian life does suffering affect us?” (Joy, relationships, perseverance, etc.)
- Peter reminds his readers why they are Christians (v.2):
- The Father has chosen them, based on his foreknowledge.
- The Spirit has sanctified them, leading to obedience.
- The blood of Jesus has purified them, bringing grace and peace.
- Thus all three members of the Trinity are involved.
- Verses 3-9 are one magnificent sentence in the original Greek of the letter!
- Though our faith will be tested by difficult trials, it is infinitely precious!
- Through Jesus Christ we have experienced a new birth (1:3,23; 3:21), through obeying the truth, when we were baptized.
- The entire O.T. anticipated the Messiah -- as did the angels (vv.10-12)! We humans, because of Jesus' coming to earth and what we have learned about him through his apostles, are in a most privileged position!
- In view of these tremendous spiritual truths, believers in Christ ought to strive to live holy lives (vv.13-25).
- We are called to holiness -- to be ready for action!
- We are called to break with our former (pre-Christian) lives, including the empty traditions in which we were brought up.
- Through Christ we have come to God.
- In light of our new birth (v.23), we are to relate to one another in genuine love (v.22), and with the perspective of eternity (v.24).
- The message to which we responded (v.25) is imperishable (v.23), and brings about radical and permanent spiritual changes in our lives.
- 1 Peter is addressed to believers in ancient Anatolia (modern Turkey). The "dispersion," or diaspora, parallels the Christians' temporary stay in this world with the Jews' sojourns in Assyria, Babylon, and around the Mediterranean. This diaspora, however, is not Jewish; the recipients of the letter were previously pagans (1:14,18; 2:10,12; 4:3). Pontus ceased being a client kingdom of Rome in 63 AD, so unless the term was still in use, it may be that 1 Peter was penned about 63 AD. Just as the Jews were not "at home" away from their land, for us Christians "this world is not our home." See Hebrews 11:13-16.
- For more on the letters of 1-2 Peter, as well as those of John, James, and Jude, please read the practical book on the seven general letters.
- The call to holiness (v.16) is God's call to his people in Leviticus (e.g. 20:26).
- How do I tend to respond to suffering in my life (Hebrews 12:5,6)?
- What are the biggest challenges facing me now, and how can controlling my thoughts and focus during suffering aid in my faith growing and being proved genuine?
- Peter focuses the Christian’s thoughts on the specialness of their salvation, the hope and grace given by God, their love for Jesus and the rewards at his return. Do I allow these thoughts to dominate my thinking, or do I focus more on my own personal discomfort? (See also Philippians 4:6-8.)
- Suffering calls for meditation and memorization of God’s encouraging word. How long has it been since I’ve spent time really meditating and memorizing? Am I striving in my suffering to live a life holy and pleasing to God?
- In my suffering do I withdraw from those who care about me? Do I provide support when others are suffering? How does sharing in suffering with another help the relationship to grow?
- Do I take my salvation for granted? Am I rejoicing in it? Am I filled with joy? If not, what can I do to turn my heart around? Is my hope and faith in God so that I rely on him and his love for me (v.20 -- see also 1 John 4:16 and 1 Peter 5:7)?
- Am I faithful in prayer during pleasant and unpleasant times (1 Peter 5:7; Romans 12:12)?
- How is my faith more precious to me than gold? Is my faith proving genuine?