- As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth. Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24. “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
- Read 1 Peter 2:4-8
- In 1 Peter 2:4-5, Christians are called “living stones.” Literally, this concept makes no sense. Stones are not alive. However, Peter uses this idea here to make a point. What do you think Peter is trying to communicate by calling Christians “living stone”?
- Peter here says that Christians are being built into a “spiritual house.” In most every religion in the world, there are “holy places” where adherents to a particular religion go to worship. For example, Old Testament Jews went to the Temple in Jerusalem to worship . . . a building which was still in existence when Peter’s letter was written. Peter indicates, however, that the new spiritual house for Christ followers is something different. To the best of your understanding, what is the new “spiritual house” and how does it differ from all other places of worship?
- STUDY NOTE: No doubt, you have heard someone refer to a church building as “God’s house” or the “house of the Lord.” However, this is a concept that does not jive with Christian thinking. In Christ, people’s worship of God has radically changed. Instead of being tied to one geographic location, it s mobile, found wherever Christians gather (in a home, in a prison, in a cathedral, or in a beautiful modern church building structure.) The value of the new “spiritual house” is found in the Christians themselves and in their cornerstone Savior Jesus Christ, not in the precious metals used in construction of a building or altar. This is such a tremendous game changer! This passage does NOT teach that it is bad for a church to own a building or for a church to have a place where their main worship services happen. However, this passage DOES teach that it is not the place that is holy . . . it is a redeemed people. Jesus did not die for a building, He died for you and me. Through this one amazing act, it became possible for the church to become the agent to transform the world. No longer were the people of God tethered to a building, a specific language, or a finite number of priests. Instead, the church now became a mobile people on mission, able to take the Gospel and the Spirit the Gospel empowers to the ends of the earth.
- In what way is Peter’s description of Christians as a “spiritual house” (as described above) a new idea for you? What are some of the questions and implications you see related to this idea?
- In 2:6, Peter quotes Isaiah 28:16 referring to the foundation Jesus provides for the church. The cornerstone was the stone on which the entire building was secured . . . its foundation. This implies that the Church has no hope apart from its sustained connection to Jesus Christ. What are some ways in which Christians (and even churches) are tempted to wander away from their intimate connection to their “foundation” in Christ?
- In 2:7, Jesus is also described as a stone that was rejected (quoting Psalm 118:22). Historically, who rejected Jesus? Are there any others in your life today who have rejected the cornerstone of life?
- In 2:8, Jesus is described as a “stone of stumbling and rock of offense” (quoting Isaiah 8:14). Peter is referring to the fact that Jesus can either be the source of growth, or someone that causes judgment to fall. If Jesus is accepted in faith, He gives life and value. If He is rejected, this disobedience leads to judgment. Have you experienced these extremes among your family or friends? (where some have accepted Christ and some rejected Him.) Do these references help you make sense of this dynamic?
To access the entire “True Grace” study of 1 Peter, click here.