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Getting to Know the Bible: 1 Peter Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on 1 Peter. But before we get to 1 Peter 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of 1 Peter. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.

And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of 1 Peter, as we prepare to behold and discern 1 Peter, beginning with 1 Peter 1 in our next installment of this series.

Book Type: General Epistle; the twenty-first book of the New Testament; the sixtieth book of the Bible.

Authors: Apostle Simon Peter

Date of Writing: ~A.D. 60-65

Audience: Jew & Gentile Christians; exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia

Theme: Christian Life & Duty; Suffering

Original Language: Greek

Genre: Letter

Purpose of Writing: The readers of the apostle Peter's letter were confused and discouraged by the persecution they were encountering because of their faith. Peter exhorted them to stand strong, repeatedly reminding them of Christ's example, the riches of their inheritance in him, and the hope of his returning again to take them to heaven. Peter explained how Christians should respond when they suffer because of their beliefs. Called the apostle of hope, Peter's primary message is to trust the Lord, live obediently no matter what your circumstances, and keep your hope fixed on God's ultimate promise of deliverance. Suffering is to be expected, but it is temporary and yields great blessings for those who remain steadfast.

Summary: Though this time of persecution was desperate, Peter reveals that it was actually a time to rejoice. He says to count it a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ, as their Savior suffered for them. This letter makes reference to Peter’s personal experiences with Jesus and his sermons from the book of Acts. Peter confirms Satan as the great enemy of every Christian but the assurance of Christ's future return gives the incentive of hope.

Overview: The book's five chapters cover three main themes. The first section focuses on salvation (1 Peter 1:1—2:11). Believers are saved and preserved by God's power (1 Peter 1:3–5). God is with us despite persecution as predicted by past prophets (1 Peter 1:6–12). Believers therefore persevere by hope (1 Peter 1:13–21) through the love and power of Christ (1 Peter 1:22—2:10).

The second section discusses Christian living before others (1 Peter 2:11—4:6). This includes a variety of unbelievers such as governing authorities (1 Peter 2:11–17), masters (1 Peter 2:18–25), and family members (1 Peter 3:1–7). Believers are also called to live well among other believers (1 Peter 3:8–12). Suffering poses much difficulty for believers, yet those who follow Jesus must face it well (1 Peter 3:13—4:6).

The third section discusses the future and how Christians are called to live in light of it (1 Peter 4:7—5:11). Since Jesus could return at any time, believers are to live responsibly, not be surprised at trials, and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good (1 Peter 4:7–19). Leaders are specifically addressed (1 Peter 5:1–4). Peter concludes the letter with exhortations for humility, reminders of God's care, and a call to be cautious of Satan's schemes and stand firm in the faith (1 Peter 5:5–9). Peter emphasizes the future triumph of believers through God's restoration (1 Peter 5:10–11) and ends with final greetings (1 Peter 5:12–14).

Application: Endurance, as we share in the sufferings of Christ.

Key Verses (ESV):

1 Peter 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 5:8–9: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

*Note: Though he denied Jesus three times the night He was betrayed, Jesus restored Peter to leadership. Peter was the main speaker at Pentecost (Acts 2), suffered for his faith, and fled Jerusalem after a miraculous escape from Herod around AD 42 (Acts 12). Little is known of his ministry after this time, though he was at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) and in Antioch with Paul near this time (Galatians 2:11–14).

Peter spoke much about persecution, which anticipated the persecution he and other Christians would endure in the final years of Nero’s reign. At the time he wrote, Peter had not yet been arrested, an event that would lead to his martyrdom around AD 66–68. First Peter 5:13 indicates that Peter sent greetings from the local church—calling it Babylon—but it’s most likely that the apostle was writing in a common metaphor there. He used the name of the ancient Mesopotamian city as a stand-in for Rome, the modern city that, like Babylon, gave itself over to idol worship and false gods. While the fact is not recorded in the Bible, Peter has long been thought to have spent his final years serving the church in Rome. Based on the numerous references to suffering and persecution in this letter, Peter likely wrote in AD 64, just as the persecution of Christians under Nero was ramping up.

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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