Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

1 Peter – Reflections on 1 Peter

1 Peter – Reflections on 1 Peter – 18 of 18


Peter’s personality—his zeal, courage, humility, tenderness, forthrightness, and yes, even his impetuousness—is revealed in the letter we call “First Peter”. Let’s begin with five observations

[1] This sounds obvious, but Peter wrote the letter. Peter, James and John formed the inner circle of confidants to whom Jesus most fully revealed himself (Matthew 17:1-13; 26:36-46). Peter was the leader and spokesman for Jesus’ twelve disciples (Matthew 16:13-16; Acts 2:14-40). Never one to teeter on the fence of indecision, Peter was impulsive, impetuous, and outspoken (Matthew 14:28-29; 17:4; John 18:10). He knew the heights of ecstasy on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13), and the depths of despair on the night of his denial (Matt. 26:69-75). This is a tremendous encouragement to those of us who sometimes fear that our flaws are too numerous or our failures too enormous to be used by God. 

[2] Hurting people were the audience for this letter (1 Peter 1:1b). They were scattered outside their homeland, lonely, frightened, and unsure of their future. But though they were aliens, they were not abandoned; though they were frightened, they were not forgotten (1:1b-2). If you ever feel “alien”, 1 Peter is great reading for you! 

[3] Peter, a rugged, blue-collar Galilean fisherman with little or no schooling sought the help of Silvanus (also called Silas), a cultured, educated Roman citizen, to write this letter (5:12). Peter, as great as he was, needed the help and talents of others to make his ministry successful. 

[4] The letter concludes with (what appears to be) a greeting from a woman (5:13). We don’t know if this was Peter’s wife (who according to Clement of Alexandria died as a martyr for her faith), or if it is a veiled reference to the church and its members, who represent the bride of Christ. 

[5] Peter’s final command is of intimate affection (5:14). Today we might say, “Greet one another with a warm embrace.” It demonstrates love and unity (1 Corinthians 16:20) and was a reminder that all injuries were forgiven. (And we must never imitate Judas’ deceitful kiss!) 

Now let’s consider three major messages Peter conveys: [1] a living hope and how to claim it (1:1—2:10); [2] a pilgrim life and how to live it (2:11—4:11); [3] a fiery trial and how to endure it (4:12—5:11). 

[1] Our “living hope” is claimed by focusing our attention on the Lord (1:2,7,11, 13, 18-20), and by trusting in his Word (1:23-2:2). 

[2] Our “pilgrim life” is lived by submission: in the realm of the government (2:13-17), of our employment (2:18-20), in the home (3:1-7), and in the church (3:8-12). In submitting to God-given authorities, we are submitting to God (2:13-14). 

[3] Our “fiery trials” are endured by trusting the sovereign God who regulates trials God (4:12-19), by cooperating with and submitting to the church leadership God has provided to help us (5:1-5), and by standing firm and resisting the onslaught of the devil (5:6-11). 

Finally, let’s consider now four lasting lessons we can draw from Peter’s teaching. 

[1] When our faith is weak, joy strengthens us (1:6-8; 4:12-13). Trials are God’s tools to strengthen faith and refine character—so we can rejoice! 

[2] When we are mistreated, endurance stabilizes us (2:19-20). Love makes endurance possible (1 Corinthians 13:7), hope makes us steadfast (1 Thessalonians 1:3), and others’ godly examples make endurance easier (2 Timothy 3:1-10). 

[3] When our confidence is shaken, the love of others supports us (1 Peter 4:8), and finally, 

[4] When our adversary attacks, resistance shields us (5:8-9). 


• Complete the Talking Points / Walking Points Bible Study.


Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)

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