I am beginning to work on writing a study of the book of 1 Peter. Below is the “working” introduction to the study. It will change some before the final draft, but thought I would post it here. I plan on posting several things over the coming weeks that are excerpts of the final book. Hope it encourages you in your walk with God.
Think back to your days in high school. Virtually every child in your community attended school, but not everyone was asked to participate in A.P. (advanced placement) classes. These special classes set a segment of the student body apart. The set apart students in A.P. classes got special blessings (advanced subject matter, small class sizes, the best teachers, and possibility of college credit).
Along with these blessings, however, the set apart students also were called to a higher level of scholarship — Calculus was computed in addition to simple arithmetic, and Thoreau was read along with Twain – and students were expected to keep up.
Additionally, the set apart students might receive some ridicule from other students in their school who were not working at such a high level. “Why are you studying all the time? What are you trying to prove?” – these kinds of jeers A.P. students might have to endure from others students.
I go through this analogy today because I believe A.P. students form a rough analogy for Christians in our world today. In 1 Peter, the Apostle Peter writes a letter to Christians scattered throughout the area of modern day Turkey to encourage them to endure in A.P. Living while they live in a world that is failing around them. In 64 AD, the city of Rome burned, and the Roman Emperor Nero wrongly blamed Christians for the problem. Nero’s slander led to the first systematic, government sponsored persecution of Christians the world had ever known. Christians throughout the Empire were experiencing hardship, and Peter writes them a letter to encourage them that this current “course” was indeed a required (and planned) part of God’s curriculum for His people. God has called all Christians into advanced placement living. By being set apart in this way, Christians have the blessings of salvation (1:3-2:12). They also have been set apart for a higher standard of living (2:13-4:11). Finally, Christians have been set apart and will go through suffering and ridicule from the failing world around them.
Peter wrote these words to encourage the first century church. God preserved His words here so that believers today, 20 centuries later, might realize that God’s curriculum has not changed. We have been enrolled in Advanced Placement living that brings with it blessings, responsibilities, and hardships . . . all to the glory of God. It is my prayer that as you read and study the book of 1 Peter, you are as blessed and encouraged as I have been.