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1 Peter Bible Study – Week 1

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Historical and Cultural Background for 1 Peter



In order to truly understand 1 Peter, we must do a little study of its historical and cultural background.

Welcome to your 1 Peter Bible Study Orientation.

1 Peter’s Audience
1 Peter is addressed to Christians living in Asia minor which forms part of modern-day Turkey.

Peter calls his readers:
  1. Elect – They are God’s chosen people.
  2. Resident aliens – Signals a particular social status (see explanations below).
  3. Of the “diaspora” – Describes Jews who were living outside of their homeland (Palestine). Peter now applies this Jewish term to Christians to describe their social and religious displacement of within the Roman Empire.
The Context of Suffering
The traditional view depicted the suffering in 1 Peter as state-wide or empire sanctioned persecution. However, many scholars now believe that the suffering in 1 Peter represents social oppression, marginalization and abuse. Christianity was a peculiar religion that stood out within a pluralistic, decadent and hostile society.

This is important to keep in mind. It would be difficult to connect to an ancient audience whose primary concern was being fed to the lions. This is not the case with believers who suffered mockery, marginalization and verbal abuse for wearing the Christian name. 1 Peter’s context looks very similar to our own.

The Pilgrim Language
1 Peter also utilizes a term that is usually translated as “pilgrim” or “sojourner” (1 Peter 1:1, 2:11). These translations give the impression that Christians are just passing through this earth. This provides believers with a ready made excuse to disengage from this world.

But the term in question is better translated as “resident alien.” Many in 1 Peter’s audience were literally foreigners and were experiencing the displacement, disorientation, and marginalization common to any person living a foreign land.

Even in this difficult situation, Peter did not counsel his audience to disconnect from society. Rather he called for a radical engagement. In so doing, Peter was hopeful that many Gentiles would come to Christ and “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Occasion for The Letter & Main Themes
The occasion for the letter is to provide encouragement, advice and a divine perspective for the societal persecution that the readers are experiencing.

Peter makes several bold claims:
  1. Christians are God’s holy and chosen people in direct continuity with these Old Testament concepts
  2. Christians are to live as a holy people within a hostile society. This provides a witness to the gospel and a contrast to society’s norms
  3. When Christians are persecuted, they identity with Christ who also suffered
These themes are relevant for Christians living in a post-modern culture. We will explore them in greater detail in this 1 Peter Bible study.

A Heavenly Inheritance (1:3-12)

Welcome to Week 1 of your 1 Peter Bible study.

In this lesson, we want to look more closely at 1 Peter 1:3-12 and the heavenly inheritance that God has prepared for his people.

As Christians, we often forget (or maybe take for granted) exactly what Jesus accomplished on our behalf through his death and resurrection.

These initial verses serve as glorious reminders of just how precious that salvation was (and continues to be).

As you read, try to keep the state of 1 Peter’s audience in mind.

It is likely that their initial burst of joy at conversion has now given way to shock, frustration, confusion and even a lack of faith, given that things are probably worse for them since coming to Christ.

Thus, Peter’s first task is to remind his readers about their special status in God, a status which not even the prophets of old understood but which is now applied to all believers.

Read 1 Peter 1:3-12

1 Peter 1:3-12

Praise to God for a Living Hope


3 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, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 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. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.


Let's Engage!
Copy & Paste the below questions and insert your answers in your responses below each one.

Questions to reflect on the passage
  • Verse 1:3 starts out by saying that Christians have been born again. How does that occur according to this verse and what does it mean to be “born again?”
  • Verses 3 and 4 suggest we have been born into a “living hope” and “an inheritance.” What is the meaning of these elements? What words are used to describe the inheritance?
  • Verse 5-6 speak of trials. What is the purpose of trials in these verses?
  • Verses 10-12 speak of the prophets inquiring and diligently seeking to know something. What did they inquire about? What did God reveal to them in their searchings (v. 12)?
Questions to reflect on your life
  • Do you see your salvation in terms of being “born again?” What does that phrase imply in terms of how we are to interact with the world?
  • Why do you suppose Peter describes our inheritance as “incorruptible”, “undefiled”, “reserved in heaven?” What do those words communicate to you about your salvation and how should that impact your faith and trust in God?
  • Do you perceive your sufferings as “trials through fire”? Why or why not? Are you undergoing difficulties at the moment? Explain. How can Peter’s advice to his readers help you in your difficult circumstances?
  • What do you make of the prophets of the Old Testament inquiring about the mysterious salvation that you now possess? How should the fact that you have much more knowledge than the prophets regarding Christ and his mission change your approach to faith and living in that faith?

study resource based from Bible Study Guru
 
Active Member
Historical and Cultural Background for 1 Peter



In order to truly understand 1 Peter, we must do a little study of its historical and cultural background.

Welcome to your 1 Peter Bible Study Orientation.

1 Peter’s Audience
1 Peter is addressed to Christians living in Asia minor which forms part of modern-day Turkey.

Peter calls his readers:
  1. Elect – They are God’s chosen people.
  2. Resident aliens – Signals a particular social status (see explanations below).
  3. Of the “diaspora” – Describes Jews who were living outside of their homeland (Palestine). Peter now applies this Jewish term to Christians to describe their social and religious displacement of within the Roman Empire.
The Context of Suffering
The traditional view depicted the suffering in 1 Peter as state-wide or empire sanctioned persecution. However, many scholars now believe that the suffering in 1 Peter represents social oppression, marginalization and abuse. Christianity was a peculiar religion that stood out within a pluralistic, decadent and hostile society.

This is important to keep in mind. It would be difficult to connect to an ancient audience whose primary concern was being fed to the lions. This is not the case with believers who suffered mockery, marginalization and verbal abuse for wearing the Christian name. 1 Peter’s context looks very similar to our own.

The Pilgrim Language
1 Peter also utilizes a term that is usually translated as “pilgrim” or “sojourner” (1 Peter 1:1, 2:11). These translations give the impression that Christians are just passing through this earth. This provides believers with a ready made excuse to disengage from this world.

But the term in question is better translated as “resident alien.” Many in 1 Peter’s audience were literally foreigners and were experiencing the displacement, disorientation, and marginalization common to any person living a foreign land.

Even in this difficult situation, Peter did not counsel his audience to disconnect from society. Rather he called for a radical engagement. In so doing, Peter was hopeful that many Gentiles would come to Christ and “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Occasion for The Letter & Main Themes
The occasion for the letter is to provide encouragement, advice and a divine perspective for the societal persecution that the readers are experiencing.

Peter makes several bold claims:
  1. Christians are God’s holy and chosen people in direct continuity with these Old Testament concepts
  2. Christians are to live as a holy people within a hostile society. This provides a witness to the gospel and a contrast to society’s norms
  3. When Christians are persecuted, they identity with Christ who also suffered
These themes are relevant for Christians living in a post-modern culture. We will explore them in greater detail in this 1 Peter Bible study.

A Heavenly Inheritance (1:3-12)

Welcome to Week 1 of your 1 Peter Bible study.

In this lesson, we want to look more closely at 1 Peter 1:3-12 and the heavenly inheritance that God has prepared for his people.

As Christians, we often forget (or maybe take for granted) exactly what Jesus accomplished on our behalf through his death and resurrection.

These initial verses serve as glorious reminders of just how precious that salvation was (and continues to be).

[COLOR=#ff4d4d]As you read, try to keep the state of 1 Peter’s audience in mind. [/COLOR]

It is likely that their initial burst of joy at conversion has now given way to shock, frustration, confusion and even a lack of faith, given that things are probably worse for them since coming to Christ.

Thus, Peter’s first task is to remind his readers about their special status in God, a status which not even the prophets of old understood but which is now applied to all believers.

Read 1 Peter 1:3-12

1 Peter 1:3-12

Praise to God for a Living Hope


3 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, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 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. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.


[COLOR=#ff4d4d]Let's Engage! [/COLOR]
Copy & Paste the below questions and insert your answers in your responses below each one.

Questions to reflect on the passage
  • Verse 1:3 starts out by saying that Christians have been born again. How does that occur according to this verse and what does it mean to be “born again?”
  • Verses 3 and 4 suggest we have been born into a “living hope” and “an inheritance.” What is the meaning of these elements? What words are used to describe the inheritance?
  • Verse 5-6 speak of trials. What is the purpose of trials in these verses?
  • Verses 10-12 speak of the prophets inquiring and diligently seeking to know something. What did they inquire about? What did God reveal to them in their searchings (v. 12)?
Questions to reflect on your life
  • Do you see your salvation in terms of being “born again?” What does that phrase imply in terms of how we are to interact with the world?
  • Why do you suppose Peter describes our inheritance as “incorruptible”, “undefiled”, “reserved in heaven?” What do those words communicate to you about your salvation and how should that impact your faith and trust in God?
  • Do you perceive your sufferings as “trials through fire”? Why or why not? Are you undergoing difficulties at the moment? Explain. How can Peter’s advice to his readers help you in your difficult circumstances?
  • What do you make of the prophets of the Old Testament inquiring about the mysterious salvation that you now possess? How should the fact that you have much more knowledge than the prophets regarding Christ and his mission change your approach to faith and living in that faith?
study resource based from Bible Study Guru
Thank you Chad for presenting this study. Presently, I am studying thru 1 & 2 Peter in my morning studies in Psalms and Peter. It was a delight for me to see this study in 1 Peter, because that will certainly add wisdom and knowledge to my studies.

Boy, this really made sense...."
"It is likely that their initial burst of joy at conversion has now given way to shock, frustration, confusion and even a lack of faith, given that things are probably worse for them since coming to Christ."....

Many times, after leading someone to Christ for Salvation, I would warn them that their life could get ugly for a little while because the enemy to their Salvation was upset over their conversion....The folk that Peter was instructing, found out the reality of this for sure!!
 
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