Summary: If we are called to suffer as Christians, God's grace is more then sufficient to enable us to endure.
1. One man sarcastically writes, “Every Christian shall sit in his flower-bed. He shall find a heaven upon earth and all things shall work together for good to provide him with a garden like life.
Thorns and thistles shall be unknown to him and he shall sit in his flower-decked domain, passing the time of day, reveling in the sunrises and rejoicing in the sunsets. His hours between conversion and the grave shall be marked with sweet repose and uninterrupted pleasantries.
His spirit, freed from the weights and burdens that plague other men, shall soar ever upward until it touches the fleecy clouds of God’s blue heavens. God’s pet he shall be spared suffering, pain, and tension.”
2. Then the writer concludes in his letters, “Heresy! Pure unmitigated heresy!” I don’t know if such a view of the Christian life is actually heresy, but without a doubt it is a fantasy, a bubble which will soon burst when it meets with brutal reality!
3. The background of I Peter.
I. First, the Author of the book.
A. Ultimately – God. 2 Tim. 3:16-17
B. Humanly – the apostle Peter.
his changing character—Jn 1:42; Acts 2:14
followed Jesus' call—Mt 4:18-20
sank when he took his eyes off Jesus—Mt 14:28
confessed Jesus as Lord—Mt 16:13-17
viewed Jesus wrongly—Mk 8:32-33
tried to protect Jesus from suffering—Mt 16:22
why Jesus scolded him—Mk 8:33
at the Transfiguration—Mt 17:4
his reactions to the Transfiguration—Lk 9:33
among inner circle of disciples—Mk 9:2
impulsiveness of—Mt 17:24-27
learned a lesson in service—Jn 13:6-7
his fate contrasted with Judas's—Jn 13:27-38
Jesus encouraged him in his faith—Lk 22:31-32
Jesus predicted his denial—Lk 22:33-34
warned about coming temptations—Mt 26:40-41
cutoff man's ear—Mt 26:51-53; Jn 18:10-11
how he got into high priest's courtyard—Jn 18:15-16
three stages to his denial—Mt 26:69ff
denied Jesus using an oath—Mt 26:72-74
Jesus talked to him about love—Jn 21:15-17(2)
Jesus predicted his death—Jn 21:18-19
importance of his speech at Pentecost—Acts 2:24
healed lame beggar—Acts 3:5-6
why religious leaders felt threatened by—Acts 4:2-3
religious leaders notice change in—Acts 4:13
how people were healed by him—Acts 5:15-16
sent to see Samaritans—Acts 8:14
the breaking down of his prejudice against non-Jews—Acts 9:43
contrasted with Cornelius—Acts 10:45
defended his eating with Gentiles—Acts 11:12ff
arrested by Herod Agrippa I—Acts 12:3-5
rescued from prison by an angel—Acts 12:7
why Paul confronted him—Gal 2:11 -12
his writings contrasted with Paul's—2 Pet 3:15-18
[Life Application Study Bible]
Tozer, “Peter would have made a wonderful American! He usually opened his mouth and talked before he thought and that is a characteristic of many of us…Peter was a man with glaring contradictions and inconsistencies in his life…I wish that from the time I was converted at the age of 17, I had gone straight forward; but I did not and most of us have not. We zig-zag our way to heaven in place of flying a straight course…Well Peter is a bundle of contradictions and I take the position that it glorifies the grace of God, that He could take a weak and vacillating and inconsistent man like Peter and make Saint Peter out of him!”
II. Furthermore, the Addressees of this book.
of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia – at first the word “dispersion” would cause one to assume he is writing to Jewish Christians since it is a technical term used for Jews scattered outside of Palestine; and James uses it concerning believers from “the twelve Tribes of Israel (Ja. 1:1); Also it’s used in Jn. 7:35 for Jews scattered among the Gentiles.
However, there are other indications that he is also writing to Gentile Christians (1:14,18; 2:10; 4:3). They were living in what is today modern Turkey, you can look at the back of your Bible and locate it in the map section.
III. Next, the Assessment of their situation.
Raymer, “Peter wrote this epistle apparently just before or shortly after the beginning of Nero’s persecution of the church in 64 AD…Perhaps Nero’s severe persecution had already begun in Rome and was spreading to the provinces to which Peter was writing…Peter was in Rome during the last decade of his life. His martyrdom is dated about 67 AD.”
She who is in Babylon – this means either (1) Historical Babylon, located on the Euphrates River. (2) A Babylon that is located in Egypt. (3) Symbolic for Rome.
Most believe that Peter was in Rome at the time he wrote this letter. I Pet. 5:13
Why use symbolic language?
One noted, “At the time of the writing of 1 Peter he was not yet in the custody of the Roman officials and evidently wished to conceal his true location..”
Hiebert, “Peter’s entire concluding sentence has a figurative tone. Certainly, the mention of Mark as “my son” is not literal. The expression “she [church] that is in Babylon” is symbolic. Thus, a figurative meaning would be consistent with the rest of Peter’s statement.”