Peter’s First Letter
Simon Peter, the apostle of Jesus.
The apostle Peter was a leader of the church in Rome. From there he encouraged and challenged believers in other parts of the empire.
1 Peter is a letter to the believers who had been dispersed throughout the ancient world and were under intense persecution. If anyone understood persecution, it was Peter. He was beaten, threatened, punished and jailed for preaching the Word of God. He knew what it took to endure without bitterness, without losing hope and in great faith living an obedient, victorious life.
These believers had been victims of serious persecution and unjust suffering and they needed to be encouraged not to lose heart. Peter wanted to remind them of a number of important doctrinal truths as well as to help them see that suffering within the plan of God serves his glory. He wrote to urge them to remain faithful to Jesus and to live godly lives, to show their opponents that they were really blameless.
Peter also wanted his readers to understand the grace of God. He wanted every Christian to know what God has done for them.
This letter is very practical. When a person becomes a Christian his life changes. Peter is writing to encourage Christians to live like Jesus.
He first tells his readers to be holy in all you do. This new life is to be lived out specifically in their community— in their relationships with one another.
Live such good lives among the pagans, he writes, that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Finally, Peter comes directly to his purpose for writing. He acknowledges that his readers are suffering for their faith, but he explains that this is only to be expected: do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. The Messiah himself suffered, and their fellow believers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings, so they should bear up patiently and faithfully.
1 Peter 1
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
Some people will suffer for their faith.
1 Peter 2
2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 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.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Be totally accepting of your masters.
Actually, this makes you just like Jesus. He didn’t do anything wrong and the powers that beat and crucified him. He never even retaliated—he just trusted that God would sort it all out.
1 Peter 3
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Suffering for Doing Good
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
If someone does something bad to you, don’t try to get even by seeking revenge. Bless them instead.
Don’t be afraid if someone asks you what you believe. Tell them politely.
1 Peter 4
Living for God
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ
Jesus suffered and died, and that means that you’ve got to be ready to suffer too.
Be serious and disciplined. Pray. Love each other. Don’t complain. Help everyone.
Those who suffer as Christians will be blessed by God.
1 Peter 5
To the Elders and the Flock
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.