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:
 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.
 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!
 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.
 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.
 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:  a living hope and how to claim it (1:1—2:10);  a pilgrim life and how to live it (2:11—4:11);  a fiery trial and how to endure it (4:12—5:11).
 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).
 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).
 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.
 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!
 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).
 When our confidence is shaken, the love of others supports us (1 Peter 4:8), and finally,
 When our adversary attacks, resistance shields us (5:8-9).
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
• Complete the Talking Points / Walking Points Bible Study.
TAKE ONE STEP
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.”)