Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Notes on 1 Peter (1)

Last week I began a Bible study at College Wesleyan on 1 Peter. I don't have time to flesh it out but here are some of my notes from the first week:
  • The greeting tells us this letter is being written to a cross-section of believers scattered throughout what is modern-day Turkey. It has a very large audience.
  • 1 Peter 5:13 has the key for me to 1 Peter. It is being written "in Babylon." This is not the literal Babylon but a code word for Rome. It suggests that, whenever the letter was written, Rome has become a major oppressor of the Jews. Of course Rome destroyed Jerusalem in AD70, just as Babylon did in 586BC.
  • "Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and aliens, stay away from fleshly desires, which war against your soul, having such a good way of life among the Gentiles that, even though they accuse you as a wrongdoer [now], they might glorify God on the Day of Oversight as they see your good works [then in retrospect]” (2:11-12, NRSV).
  • The audience do not see themselves as belonging in the Roman empire. Rather, the empire is a foreign context. 1 Peter is a defensive strategy, how to live in hostile territory when your "host" is watching you and ready to pounce.
  • “For it is time for The Judgment to begin with the with the household of God. And if it is first with us, what will the end of those who are disobeying the gospel of God?” (4:17)
  • Both the church and the Jews are experiencing hard times. It won't end here.

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