Welcome to 1st Peter!

I’m picking a book I’m not that familiar with, because I’d like to learn about this book, in addition to verse 3:15.

NASB: 1 Peter 1:1-2 – linked, with Strong’s notes included.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Ready? Let’s begin!

Ok, let’s take the first phrase:

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ

So, as he opens his letter, he begins with:

Identification.

He identifies himself by name. “Peter”. The name given to Simon by Jesus – “Petros“, if you don’t mind transliteration – or “petroƟ”, if you do. But, I’m going to use the Strong’s transliteration (and link to words I transliterate, so you can see the originals).

He identifies himself by authority. “Apostle.” From the word”Apostolos“, which, as Strong’s defines it, is a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. Specifically, applied to Jesus’ 12 “apostles”, as well as the other “authoritative” figures of the early church.

So, he’s told us who he is, and under what authority his words should be taken under. Pretty clear thus far.

Next, he Addresses his letter.

To those who reside as aliens

He gives us his Relation to the recipients.
Now, this is one complete phrase. Strong’s tell us that the word used is Parepidemos – which means one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives. It is also used in Hebrews 11:3, in much the same way. So, the recipients are foreigners – on earth! Their home is heaven – with me still?

There’s a song about this, actually. It’s called “Strangers“, by Joel Weldon.

We are strangers in this land
And our home lies far away
When we get there, He’ll take our hand
Say “Welcome home, child. You’re here to stay.”

Hit the link above, to read the rest, or listen to it. It’s a great song.

Next, Peter gives us the Condition of the recipients.

scattered throughout

The word “scattered”, is the word Diaspora – which you may be familiar with. In case you aren’t, it is the word used of the Jewish “dispersion” after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans for the last time. It is being used here to describe how Christians were scattered among the “natives” (because, remember, they are “strangers” – even though they may actually be “physical” natives. Spiritually, they are now strangers…) of the various areas that are listed directly after.

Next, he gives the Location of the recipients.

This, to me, indicates a specific audience. Basically, all of these places are in a specific “region” – surrounding modern-day Turkey, and Asia Minor.

From there, he moves into Recognition.

who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father

Note, we’re still talking about “those” – so, those who are chosen. The word used for “chosen” is Eklektos, the same word Jesus uses in Matthew 22:14, when He says “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The word “foreknowledge” is the word Prognosis, which is the same word used in Acts 2:23, when Peter himself is preaching, and tells the crowd that Jesus’ death was God’s plan all along. Now, let me make a note, here. There are those who say that “predestination” is the rule – and often point to these verses as proof of that. Well, although I agree that God does know everything that was, is, and is to come – I also think that looking at it from only this single angle is a dangerous thing to do. Remember, we are to choose to follow Christ, and pick up our cross, as well. The Spirit leads us, as we are unable to come to Christ in and of ourselves, but the choice to follow our Lord is ours – God’s desire is that “all be saved” – but, the choice to accept that salvation is ours. So, although I agree that there is foreknowledge of our decision, and thus, God accounts for that in His plan; I do not agree that there is no choice on our part. I believe there are two components to salvation. Anyway. Back to the Scripture…

He next identifies the Seal of the Believer.

This seal is the “sanctification” by the Spirit – which Hebrews 12:14 says is required, in order to “see the Lord”. The word used is Hagiasmos, which translates to sanctification of heart and life.

Next, comes theMark of the believer.

to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood

The word “obey”, is upakoe, and means obedience rendered to anyone’s counsels, an obedience shown in observing the requirements of Christianity. The “sprinkled with blood” is the word “Rhantismos” – and refers to the sacrificial ritual of purification, where the blood is sprinkled to render something pure. The sacrifice, of course, is Jesus – so, we are sanctified/purified by the sprinkling of His blood.

Finally, we see Peter’s Benediction for the recipients.

May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Grace – Charis of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues – I do believe this is the root word for the English “charity”.

Peace – eirene of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

Fullest Measure – plequnoto be increased, to multiply.
————————————————
The Bottom Lines:
————————————————
So, what can we take from this?

Peter has authority, and makes it plain.

He tells his recipients that they are strangers to the world, and citizens of heaven.

We are scattered in the world – how did Jesus tell us to interact with the world? To be Salt, which flavors everything it touches, irrevocably. To be leaven, which permeates the entire dough. So, as we are scattered through this foreign land.. what should our effect be?

We are chosen by God, sealed by the spirit, and purified by the blood of Jesus. That… is an excellent message – especially in the first 2 verses of a letter – in the actual greeting!

We are to be blessed, and to bless others accordingly.

Not bad for your first 2 verses, Peter!

No wonder He called you the Rock!