- As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- Read 1 Peter 1:1-2
- STUDY NOTE: In America today, it is customary to begin a letter by saying “Dear ______” (to identify who the letter is TO), and to conclude the letter saying “Sincerely, _________” (to identify who the letter is FROM). In letters written in the first century in the Roman Empire, it was customary to begin the letter citing both who the letter was TO, and who the letter was FROM. Therefore, 1:1 lets us know that the letter was written from the Apostle Peter to the “elect exiles of the dispersion.”
- Take a minute and brainstorm all the things you know about the Apostle Peter. Who was he? What was his profession before he began following Jesus? What were some of the significant events of his life? (If you are not sure how to answer this question, take a minute to scan the Gospel of Mark or Luke and the book of Acts. Peter’s name is all over the pages of these books.)
- STUDY NOTE: Peter wrote this letter to the “elect exiles of the dispersion.” This is an odd sounding group. The original audience could also be titled the “selected scattered strangers.” Three ideas are communicated here. 1) This group was “elect” or “selected.” This pointed to God’s gracious initiation in the lives of His people. God is always the first mover with His people. Historically, the Jewish people referred to themselves as the elect of God, however, this letter was not just written to Jewish people (as their geography/ethnicity and chapter 2 will make clear.) Peter’s declaration here is a reminder that God has selected some Gentiles (as well as some Jews) and pursued a special relationship with them. This was true both of the original audience, as well as true of all true Christians today. (2) This group was “of the dispersion” or “scattered.” In Old Testament times, Jews who lived outside of the promised land of Israel due to forced exile by enemy armies were called members of the “dispersion.” Peter here uses the term in a more general sense (as the context of the book reveals) to talk about all followers of Christ who are scattered about the earth, living away from our heavenly home. Though the original audience was scattered across modern day Turkey, the application of this letter is universal for all Christians. (3) This group is also called “exiles” or “strangers.” This word carried with it the notion of being a long way from home, living in a foreign land. All believers in Jesus Christ live out our life on this earth as foreigners on the earth. In Christ, we speak a language of love and forgiveness in a world of retribution and self-centeredness. This causes us to never be fully “at home” on this planet. We are merely journeying here, awaiting the home Jesus has prepared for us in heaven.
- 1 Peter 1:2 is full of descriptive phrases that are true of all Christians. Take a moment and write down what you think Peter means by each of the following phrases:
- according to the foreknowledge of God —
- in the sanctification of the Spirit —
- for obedience to Jesus Christ —
- for sprinkling with His blood —
7. In 1:2, all 3 members of the Trinity are referenced, and it seems the intended meaning of the statement is to encourage Christians to remember that they are in a living and active relationship with the full and holy God of the universe. Warren Wiersbe reflected on this truth when he said, “As far as God the Father is concerned, I was saved when He chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world. As far as the Son is concerned, I was saved when He died for me on the cross. But as far as the Spirit is concerned, I was saved one night in May 1945 when I heard the gospel and received Christ. Then it all came together, but it took all three Persons of the Godhead to bring me to salvation. If we separate these ministries, we will either deny divine sovereignty or human responsibility, and that would lead to heresy.” Can you write a similar summary of your salvation experience? For all who are truly saved the first two points in Wiersbe’s quote are the same, but the time and place of the third portion are different. Share how the Spirit of God led you into an understanding that Jesus is your Savior. (NOTE: If you have not yet trusted in Christ as Savior, reflect on what is keeping you from placing your faith and trust in Him.)
To link to the entire “True Grace” Study of 1 Peter for download, click here.