Bible 120 New Testament Intro: Church struggling with problems in AD60’s 70s

Bible 120 New Testament
Commentary on I Peter
Church struggling with problems in AD60’s 70s
Some material here difficult and hard to assimilate or understand
Text and Commentary:
Addressed to Christians in 5 provinces of Asia Minor
These people were not full citizens of the empire (resident aliens, transients).
1:1-2 Addresses are “homeless” transients who are “elect.” They are Diaspora.
Underscores insecurity and privation (also 1:17, 2:11. See 2:5 for stones
accepted as the spiritual house which were formerly rejected. 4:17 people who
make up household of God)(see 5:13 co-elect lady or element in feminine
gender) Verses 1-2 similar to 5:12-14 “elect,” Diaspora (Babylon), grace, peace,
holiness – cleansing in house of God.
Addresses are vulnerable enduring trials. Nevertheless elect.
1 Peter linked with Hebrew and Apocalypse because of the pressure and
tension of strife. Is this sustained? Probably more privation (lack of status), than
persecution. They were Christians looked down upon. Already aliens, now
”Christ-lackeys.” Addressed as “elect,” for whom God has something further in
store. Not a pilgrim motif – here and hereafter. “Homeless” does not imply that
the home is future heavenly house; the home is here, the household or family of
God built on Jesus, the stone that was rejected and the other stones who were
rejected in the world.
Hermeneutical Problem
How to relate this to today? Today’s Christians are not resident aliens but
the power holders. What kind of home do we provide for the aliens? Those who
take Jesus and gospels seriously find themselves without a house (radical
religious right has captured home or house church). We must provide a home for
the homeless.
The household of God is the house offered here for the homeless.
Bible 120 New Testament
Authorship: 1:1 Peter 5:12 through Silvanus 5:13 Greetings from Mark. A Petrine
group – is Peter alive or is be being kept alive in memory by those who were in
his circle?
“foreknowledge” – God knows us before we know him. Election is not
determination or manipulation by God. He chose us before we chose him. This
is written to a people who were considered despised. They are not despised;
they are elect. Divine initiative, not coercion
Holiness of the spirit – purity
Obedience – cleansing blood of Jesus
Emerging Trinity is functional not doctrine
Model of household/household of God dominates this book. Non-citizen status:
no note, could not hold public office not serve in military, marry under certain
conditions, not make a will as Romans did or be an heir to a Roman will. They
were registered but not given all of these rights. (American Indians became noncitizens when pilgrims came – American Japanese during WWII). There are
people who are not allowed to belong; then there are the power people in politics
and economic. Who are the  today? Who are the homeless? The
power people must take responsibility to provide an  for the . 1
Peter addresses the  and tries to awaken them for their status as
“somebody” in God’s . They have joy, love, holiness and salvation.
God came to bring salvation (liberation to become human beings). “God
see value in you.” What God started, he will finish (eschatology –
The  will have to cope with the reality of privation and suffering
like Christ did. Christ won his glory on the way to the cross.
Strengthen the  of the Christian family. He deals with
relationships to the outside world – social and political order. Have respect for
human structure but reverence God. He only is ultimate.
“Inheritance” they had none legally but this is inheritance invulnerable to
Rejoice in trials and oppressions
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The proving of faith more precious than gold. Depends on resurrection of
Jesus. This depends on the quality of character and relationships.
1:10-12 This salvation which your have is what the prophets longed for and
which the angels want in on. Christ brought it through suffering .
1:13-25 Demand to holy living
1:14 Children of obedience after the manor of the one who saved you; be a
child of God’s. Perfection demanded, imperfection accepted. We live in this
tension of gift and demand.
1:17 God impartial, judge according to work, you trust in him and live
1:22 Sanctify yourself in obedience to truth: brotherly love, no hypocrisy, etc.
Remind them of who they are
Christ the living stone, elect but rejected.
you, powerless people, elected by God but rejected by people are to be
part of the house of God
They are royal priesthood, holy nation, kingdom of priests
2:10 Those “not a people” are now a people”
Before who had no mercy now receive mercy. Don’t forget who you are.
No determinism here. “Unto which also they were put. (not by God)
Personhood, humanity is not to be coerced.
2:11-17 Domestic code: practical applications to home and beyond
Relation to political structure
Committed to principle of ordered society
2:12 live a good manner among pagans so that they might get through to the
2:13 subjecting to human institutions (little people) live unto the Lord
2:16 live as free persons (even though they are legally unfree) spiritually; no evil
or libertinism
2:17 You belong to God
2:18 household servants, nothing addressed to the masters (there were none
among them); submit in reverence to tyrants for the sake of conscience
Bible 120 New Testament
If you’re suffering because you do right, then you are blessed. Live
a quality life even under a mean boss.
2:23 Jesus turned his reviling ones over to the one who judges righteously
2:25 you were wandering sheep but you turned back to the shepherd and
bishop of your soul. Christ’s transforming preserve is the cross. We must die
with him.
No code is eternal, but we need codes. It is a fallacy to absolutize the
codes. Try to humanize or Christianize a code.
3:6-7 In marriage there is no resort to command and obey. Husbands live with
your wives according to knowledge (don’t be stupid)
3:8-4:11 Major unit: suffering
3:18ff difficult passage; Christ has triumphed over life and death and
principalities. In him you do not need to fear. (Material brought from Jubilee and
3:19 Preaching to the spirits in prison
Preaching gospel to the dead
Gen 6:1-6 Son of God married daughters of men. The Nephilin or “giants” were
a result. Jewish understanding of Gen. 6 as expressed in Enoch and Jubilees
was that these were angels who had sex with daughters of men.
Fallen angels go to Tartarus (II Peter 2:4-5)
Jude 6 – angels who disobeyed
1 Cor. 11:10 – women are to wear veils because of angels (who were vulnerable
to the beauty of women, going back to Gen 6)
I Timothy 3:16 “he appeared to angels” – Is this the same trip to Tartarus? This
is the fringe of the NT.
Bible 120 New Testament
3:19 in which (time, condition, circumstance) to the spirits in prison (angels or
people, rarely people, more often angels) (prison is Tartarus). He made a
proclamation he made a proclamation on the fallen angels (?)
3:20 God waited patiently for these spirits during the days of Noah (the Son of
God during evil was the cause of the flood).
Which antitype now saves you, which is baptism. Some parallel seen by
the writer in the flood water of Noah and baptism, but he means standing before
God with a good conscience, through the resurrection of Christ.
“Christ is at the right hand (power) of God,” Don’t be afraid. Christ went
to the cross and even into Tartarus to proclaim judgment and now he reigns with
God. You have one in whom you have a “home” or a hope. Your purpose is not
just to survive, but to preach unafraid to the pagans around you. Be in this world
with a difference.
we belong to one another; compassionate
3:14 Don’t fear their fear
3:15 Sanctify the Lord Christ in your heart – Christ at the center of your being
3:16 Do this with meekness reverence and good conscience (being just what
you are)
3:17 Better to suffer for doing good than for doing bad. You may suffer
anyway; go on
3:18 Don’t complain. Christ suffered the cross. He didn’t seek it; he accepted
it. God didn’t kill him; people did. The difficult passage simply says that from the
cross Christ went to the grave to be raised
4:1ff Arm yourselves with the mind of Christ who suffered in the flesh
Gospel preached to the dead? In 4:5 the living and the dead are
mentioned. In 4:6 this probably means that all the living and the dead will stand
before God.
Love covers a multitude of sins (love has a shielding, sheltering instinct,
not a killer instinct). It’s only those who love knows the benefit.
The firmness is in the sense of the nearness of Christ (4:7)
4:10 Minister according to the gift which is yours received.
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4:12 Expel the fiery trials
4:13 But rejoice therein
4:15 Don’t be bishops meddling in the affairs of others
Elders, bear witness of the sufferings of Christ
Shepherd the flock of God not by compulsion but voluntarily
Christ is chief shepherd. Don’t Lord it over the people
5:12 Peter reckons Silvanus is faithful brother
5:13 “Babylon” is probably Rome. Peter was equally “homeless” as those to
whom he was writing.