Monday, April 07, 2014

#40daybible Day 31 (1 Peter)

We enter the final two weeks of the 40 Day Bible experience with 1 Peter.

Some highlights:
  • I like what Scot McKnight says about 1 Peter, that its teaching was a defensive strategy in a time of persecution. The introduction to the reading above highlights perhaps the key verse for understanding the letter: "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" (1 Pet. 2:12).
  • It is written to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor. It is written from Rome, which is called Babylon in 5:13. As Babylon had destroyed Jerusalem in 586BC, so Rome would destroy Jerusalem in AD70. Silas, Paul's missionary partner, would seem to have played a significant role in the composition of 1 Peter, which would explain its somewhat Pauline flavor.
  • The audience is primarily Gentile. Once they were not part of God's people, but now they are (2:10).
  • "Be holy for I am holy"  (1:15-16). Christians cannot give in to evil desires.
  • The idea of the priesthood of all believers comes from 1 Peter, although the way Luther took the phrase isn't exactly what 1 Peter meant. 1 Peter doesn't call the audience "priests" as an argument against temple priests. 
  • At the core of the defensive strategy is to submit to the structures of society as aliens and strangers just passing through. So slaves should submit to masters, wives to unbelieving husbands. If believers are to be criticized, may it be that they can only be criticized unfairly.
  • We should be careful not to take the instructions here to slaves and wives as God's ideal for all time but as the way to "live good lives among the pagans" in the context of 1 Peter's situation.
  • 3:15 is the great apologetics verse, but it is not about proving Christian beliefs with logical argument but about confessing Jesus as Lord when you are brought before secular authorities.
  • This bizarre set of verses (3:19-20) probably alludes to the fallen angels of 1 Enoch who sinned in the days before the Flood. 
  • 4:6 may refer to the possibility for OT saints to be freed from death, now that Christ's sacrifice is now accomplished.
Personal take-away:
  • Some great memory verses in 1 Peter. Here are three: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 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" (5:6-8)

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