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INTRODUCTION TO 1 PETER

 

 
I. AUTHOR
 
A. Peter (1:1,8;5:1)
 
1.    Peter’s given name was “Simon.”
 
2.    Jesus gave him the name Cephas (Jn. 1:42)
 
·         Cephas means stone or rock.
·         The Greek translation of the Aramaic word Cepahas is petros which also means stone or rock.
·         Peter is the only man in the New Testament called by that name.
 
3.     Peter occupied a favored place among the apostles.
 
4.     He occupied a central place in the book of Acts (1st 12 chapters).
 
5.     Married and lived in Capernaum
 
6.     In fishing business with his brother Andrew
 
7.     The Lord appeared to him in a special appearance after the resurrection (Lk. 24:34; I Cor. 15:5).
 
8.     God used Peter to win 3,000 souls to Christ on the Day of Pentecost
 
9.     Peter had an important part in the first Church Council in acts 15 (AD 50; Peter is not mentioned after this in Acts)
 
10.   Paul refers to Peter in Gal. 1:18; 2:11; I Cor. 1-4; 9:5)
 
B.    Peter was literate but unschooled.
 
1.    Called from his trade as a fisherman
 
2.    Called to be a fisher of men (Lk 5:1-11)
 
C. Peter’s public ministry spanned 30 years and stretched from Jerusalem to Rome.
 
D. Peter employed Silas as his secretary to write the letter (I Pet. 5:12).
 
·         Silas was a Roman citizen (Ac. 16:36-37)
 
E.  Parallels between I Peter and his sermons in Acts:
 
·         Cf. I Pet. 1:20 with Acts 2:23; cf. I Pet. 4:5 with Acts 10:42
·         Cf. I Peter 2:7-8 and Acts 4:10-11
·         In each passage Psalm 118:22 is quoted and applied to Christ to refer to his rejection by Jewish leaders.
 
F.  I Peter is quoted extensively in early church history.
 
·         This epistle was quoted extensively in the early church in such writings as the letters of Polycarp, Clement, and Irenaeus.
·         Tradition: Martyred by Nero (Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius; Clement of Rome, Dionysius of Corinth tell us he suffered martyrdom)
·         Origin said he was crucified with his head downwards.
·         He died AD 67-68
 
II. DATE
 
A. AD 64
 
B. This was shortly before Nero’s persecution.
·         Peter warns that persecution is imminent.
 
III. DESTINATION
 
A. Peter wrote to the five Roman provinces of Asia Minor in what is northern Turkey today.
 
B. Many Jews lived in these provinces therefore many quotations from the Old Testament are found in I Peter (1:1).
·         “Dispora” (Jews who lived outside Palestine and yet looked on it as their native land)
 
C. To Christians everywhere (1:18-19,23; 2:10,24)
 
D. Peter was especially the apostle to the Jews (Gal. 2:7-8)
 
E. The epistle was written predominantly to Hebrew Christians but also includes Gentile Christians. 
 
IV. PURPOSE
 
A. The purpose of I Peter is to enable Christians to face persecution in the grace of God (5:12). To prepare them for suffering.
 
B. A secondary purpose is to encourage face persecution and suffering (1:6-7; 5:8-9).
 
C.  Peter encourages believers to lift their eyes above present difficulties to God’s grace.
 
·         he shows them the hope ahead (1:3)
·         he points to the example of Christ (2:21-23)
 
V. OUTLINE
 
I. Salutation (1:1-2) 
 
A. Author, 1:1a
B. Addressees, 1:1b-2
 
II. Perspective in Suffering (1:3-2:10)
 
A. The perspective of hope, 1:3-12
B.    The perspective of the Word, 1:13-25
C.    The perspective of a new position, 2:1-10
 
III. The Pressures of Suffering, (2:11-4:11)
 
A.  Pressure of evil desires, 2:11-12
B.    Pressure of the state, 2:13-17
C.    Pressure of employment, 2:18-25
D.  Pressure of the home, 3:1-7
E.    Pressure of social life in the church, 3:8-12
F.     Pressure of the world, 3:13-4:6
G.  Pressure of service, 4:7-11
 
IV. Prescriptions for suffering (4:12-5:11)
 
A.  Prescriptions for endurance in suffering, 4:12-19
B.    Prescriptions for right attitudes in suffering, 5:1-11
 
1.     Attitudes of elders, 5:1-4
2.     Attitudes of all believers, 5:5-10
 
VI. Conclusion (5:12-14)
 
VI. CANONICITY (proof of why this book belongs in the Bible)
 
A.  External evidence
 
1.    Irenaeus quotes it (175)
 
2.    Tertullian quotes it (190)
 
3.    Clement (Alexandria) quotes it (195)
 
4.    Clement of Rome quotes it (96)
 
5.    Polycarp quotes it (116)
 
6.    Epistle of Diognetus quotes it (117)
 
7.    Testament of the 12 patriarchs uses it (120)
 
8.    Papias uses it (120)
 
9.    Hermas uses it (130)
 
10.  Unanimously cited as authentic
 
B.    Internal Evidence
 
1.    1:1 – calls himself Peter
 
2.    Acquainted with the life of Christ and his teachings
 
·         5:5 -allusion to Christ girding himself with a towel (John 13:35)
·         5:2 – feed the flock (John 21:15-17)
·         4:14; 5:7,8 – sayings of the Lord
·         5:1 – “witness of the sufferings of Christ” (3:18; 4:1)
·         Lingers over the person of Christ in his sufferings (2:19-24)
 
VII. BACKGROUND
 
A.  Asia Minor was highly heterogeneous
 
B.  Asia Minor was prosperous
 
C.  Religion was eclectic.
 
D.  Jews had privileged position in Asia Minor
 
VIII. PLACE OF WRITING
 
A.  Babylon, 5:13 (the city on the Euphrates [not Rome])
 
B.  Babylon was the center of the Eastern Dispersion
 
IX. OCCASION
 
A.  Ominous shadow of persecution was the occasion for the letter.
 
B.  After Nero’s persecution in Rome, Christians lived in peril of threat for their lives.
 
C.  The Persecution was unofficial and social rather than legal – sporadic (3:17;4:12-19).
 
D.  Nature of the persecutions were slanderous attacks (4:14,15; 4:4,5; 2:13-17,11,12,16; 5:2-3)
 
E.  Suffering mentioned 16 times (cf. 1:6; 2:19; 3:14,17; 4:12-16; 5:9)
 
X.  THEMES
 
A.  Comfort for suffering Christians
 
B.  Hope in time of trial
 
C.  Cf. 1:6,7; 2:12,19,20,21; 3:13,14,16,17; 4:1,4,12,14-16,19; 5:9-10
 
XI. KEY VERSES
 
A.  1:3-7
 
B.    4:12,13
 
XII. KEY WORDS
 
A.  “Hope” (5 times)
 
B.   “Glory” (16 times – with cognates)
 
C.  “Precious” (5 times)
 
D.  “Grace” (10 times)
 
E.   “Suffering” (16 times; implied 6 times)
 
XIII. PECULARITIES
 
A.  Parallelisms with other epistles (especially with Romans and Ephesians)
 
B.  Emphasis on the suffering of Christ (1:11,19-21; 2:21-24; 3:18; 4:13; 5:1)
 
C.  Many Old Testament allusions and quotes
 
D.  Excellent Greek
 
E.  Primarily practical rather than doctrinal epistle
 
XIV. MISCELLANEOUS MATTER
 
A.  Peter’s name occurs 210 times in the New Testament; Paul’s name occurs 162 times; all other apostles occur 142 times.
 
B.  I Peter was copied by Silvanus (5:12). Mark was with Peter.
 
C.  5 chapters; 105 verses
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