1 Peter - Imperishable Salvation: Built for Sanctification, Submission, and Suffering (Nov. 12, 2012 version)

1 Peter is a book written to believers, both Jews and Christians, who were undergoing "trials" in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. (Peter never uses the words persecution or tribulation.) 1 Peter tells us about our imperishable hope of glory in Christ. How do salvation, sanctification, submission, and suffering relate to each other? 1 Peter gives us four answers. First it shows how salvation relates to other things. Then it shows how sanctification (being made holy) relates to the others. Then it looks at these through the lens of submission and finally through suffering.

Dating of 1 Peter: Peter was not mentioned in Paul's Letter to the Romans in 58 A.D. Peter was martyred in Rome 67/68 A.D., 1 Peter is believed to be written after 60 A.D., since Paul's letter to the Romans in 58 A.D. makes no mention of Peter. It appears to have been written during a time of persecution, such as under Nero (54-68 A.D.).

Pre-Nicene Writers who refer to 1 Peter

Clement of Rome 97/98 A.D., though the three places he quotes are also other scriptures.
Ignatius (100-107/116 A.D.) alludes to 1 Peter Tertullian (198-220 A.D.)
To Diognetus (c.130 A.D.) alludes to 1 Peter Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.)
Polycarp (110-155 A.D.) Origen (225-254 A.D.)
Didache (c.125 A.D.) Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.)
Papias (130-150 A.D.) Firmilian of Caesarea (256 A.D.)
2 Clement (c.150 A.D.) Victorinus of Pettau (martyred 304 A.D.)
Shepherd of Hermas (c.160 A.D.) Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) alludes to 1 Peter
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) Athanasius (318 A.D.)
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.)  

Similarities with Peter in Acts and John
Acts 3:6 and 1 Peter 1:18 (silver or gold)
Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:20 (God's purpose/foreknowledge vs. chosen before world's creation)
Acts 10:42 and 1 Peter 4:5 (judge of the living and the dead vs. preached to those now dead)
Acts 4:10-11 and 1 Peter 2:7-8 (Psalm 118:22)
John 21:16 and 1 Peter 5:2 (only use of "shepherds")

The Greek of 1 Peter is very good. Some liberals claim Peter could not have written 1 Peter because Peter [allegedly] could not know Greek. However, there are six things to remember.
Citizens of Galilee could speak Greek; Sepphoris, the Roman-built capital, was mostly Greek and Latin speaking.
Peter, as well as Andrew and Philip, were from Bethsaida, on the middle northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is on the border with the Greek-speaking eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Peter's own mother named her son a Greek name. While Simon Peter's mother named him Simon, an Aramaic name, his brother was named Andrew, which means "manly" in Greek.
Peter ministered to both Jews and Gentiles and he was in Asia Minor for an estimated 20 years. After 20 years among Greek-speaking people, your Greek would greatly improve.
1 Peter was done "With the help of Silas, ... I have written you" according to 1 Peter 5:12.
Everyone who could not read or write any Greek could write a letter in good Greek if they wanted to, by getting a friend or paying a scribe money to do it.
It is interesting to see what is not in 1 Peter. Unlike Peter's speech where he pleaded with the crowd to be saved in Acts 2:40, there is no gospel message or evangelism in 1 Peter; this is a letter to believers telling them about the salvation they already possess.
Silas is the same person as Silvanus, and Silas travelled with Paul. So that might explain some similarities between 1 Peter and Paul's writings. On the other hand, unlike Paul, there is nothing in 1 or 2 Peter about justification, the law, the new Adam, or the flesh.
The ancient land of Lycaonia was split into Galatia and Cappadocia until 72 A.D., when reunited them under a military command. In 72 A.D. Commagene was united with Syria. Hadrian split Lycaonia again into Galatia and Cappadocia in 137 A.D. Since 1 Peter is referred to before 137 A.D., the mention of Galatia and Cappadocia as separate places is an indication that 1 Peter was written prior to 72 A.D.

An Outline of 1 Peter
1:3-12 Glorious Salvation through Christ
1:13-3:12 Sanctification through Christ
1:13-25 Lifestyle in salvation
2:1-10 We are chosen stones
2:11-12 Noble life and God's glory
2:13-3:12 Submission in Christ
2:13-20 Submission to authority
2:13-17 Submission to rulers
2:18-20 Submission to masters
2:21-25 Christ's example of submitting to suffering
3:1-7 Wives and husbands
3:1-6 Wives submit to husbands
3:7 Husbands be considerate of wives
3:8-12 Live in harmony
3:13-5:11 Suffering in Christ
3:13-17 How to witness in suffering for Christ
3:18-22 How Christ witnessed after death
4:1-6 Death to the old life
Or 3:18-4:6 Conduct of Christ or Christ's example
4:7-11 Life for God's glory or Conduct yourself in view of the end of all things
4:12-19 Consolations in suffering or Conduct of those who suffer for Christ
5:1-3 The shepherd's suffering flock
Or 5:1-11 Advice for the old, young, and everyone
5:12-14 Farewell from Peter and Silas

I'd like to thank the men of the Saturday morning men's Bible Study, who went through this material with me, and added many helpful questions and insights.


1 Peter 1:1-12 - Salvation in Christ

1. Asia in 1 Peter 1:1 meant the Roman province of Asia, not the continent. Asia was one of the most cultured provinces in modern-day Turkey, containing about half of the cities there, including Ephesus, Miletus, Pergamum, and Smyrna. Why do you think Peter wrote to these provinces? Why might these be in this order?



2. In 1 Peter 1:1,17 and 1 Peter 2:11 have you ever felt as though you were a stranger or alien?


3. In 1 Pet 1:2a, how do being chosen by the Father, sanctified by the Spirit, for obedience to Christ relate to each other?



4. In 1 Pet 1:2b, since we are believers already have grace and peace, what is the difference between that and having it in abundance?



5. In 1 Pet 1:3 and Eph 1:17, how is the Father the God or Jesus Christ even now?


6. In 1 Pet 1:4 what is the difference between something that perishes, vs. spoils, vs. fades? What are examples of these things and how do they differ from our salvation?



7. Recognizing the perishing vs. the imperishable is important in 1 Peter in 1 Pet 1:4,7,23-25; as well as unfading in 1 Pet 3:4; 5:5b. How can we see what is imperishable and unfading?



8. In 1 Pet 1:5a, how are we shielded by God's power through faith?



9. In 1 Pet 1:5b, how is our salvation ready to be revealed, if we already have it, or are now receiving it in 1 Pet 1:9? In what sense is it an inheritance in 1 Pet 1:4?



10. In 1 Pet 1:6,11 how do our suffering and following glories mirror of Christ's?



11. In 1 Pet 1:7, when is Jesus Christ revealed here?



12. What are three sources of inexpressible and glorious joy mentioned in 1 Pet 1:8?



13. In 1 Pet 1:12a, how did the prophets and other believers preach the gospel to them by the Holy Spirit?



14. In 1 Pet 1:12b, how do angels long to look into "these things"? What things are these? Hebrews 2:9,16 might provide some clues.


15. In 1 Pet 1:13, how do we set our hope "fully" on the grace to be revealed?


1 Peter 1:13-2:3 - Sanctification in Christ

1. Are there any passages in the Bible that tell us to be Christ-controlled, since Jesus is our Lord? Why do 1 Pet 1:13a and other passages all tell us to be self-controlled?



2. In 1 Pet 1:13, what are different aspects of being self-controlled? What are different reasons Christians fail to have self-control in certain areas?



3. In 1 Pet 1:14 how do some Christians, perhaps unwittingly, conform to the evil desires of the world?



4. In 1 Pet 1:15 God is has always been perfectly holy. We are not, and cannot ever be perfectly holy in this life. So how are we called to be holy, just as God is holy? (1 Peter 1:13 quotes from Leviticus 11:44; 11:45; 19:2. There is a similar thought in Leviticus 20:7.)



5. In 1 Pet 1:17, how are we as Christians supposed to live our lives here in fear? In Greek this is the generic word for fear, phobos/phobu, Various Bible translations have "fear" (NKJV, KJV, Green's literal translation), "reverent fear" (NIV), "reverence" (NET), or "wholesome, serious caution" (Wuest)?



6. In 1 Pet 1:18, we were redeemed with something more previous than silver or gold, Christ's blood. In 1 Pet 1:7 our faith is our greater worth than gold. Do you really believe that your salvation, and your faith, are of greater worth than gold? How might a Christian who is serious about believing this live and react in this world, versus who Christian who is not?



7. In 1 Pet 1:18 and Mt 15:9, is tradition always bad?

 

 

8. In 1 Pet 1:20, Eph 1:4; Acts 2:23; and Titus 1:2, was Christ chosen to die for our sins and redeem us by His blood after Adam and Eve sinned or before? Why?



9. What does 1 Pet 1:20-21 say is important about the divinity of Christ?



10. 1 Pet 2:1 says "slander of every kind". What are the different kinds of slander? See Jms 4:11-12.



11. In 1 Pet 2:2 how much does a baby like their milk? What is God's spiritual milk? Do we like God's spiritual milk as much?



12. In 1 Pet 2:3 does everyone who tastes that the Lord is good go to heaven? See Heb 6:4-6.




1 Peter 2:4-2:25 Chosen Stones

1. 1 Peter 2:5 says that God's house is not a building, but us, His church. How might Christians in the U.S. be neglecting to build God's house? Guess what percent, on average, churches give to foreign missions.



2. What are all of the "stones" upon which the church is built? See Ephesians 2:19-22 and Revelation 21:12-14.



3. Different size oblong stones can all be used in a wall. Mortar can fill in small gaps. But if a stone has a long, narrow protrusion, or a hole in the middle, it cannot be. How does God delay with holes and long protrusions in our lives?



4. In 1 Peter 2:6-8, how is Jesus both the cornerstone and the capstone?



5. In 1 Pet 2:9, what is the difference between a holy nation and a royal priesthood?



6. In 1 Pet 2:10, what in the Old Testament mentions not being a people of God and now being a people?



7. In 1 Pet 2:11, in what ways are we aliens and strangers in this world? In what ways are we not? See John 17:9,11,13-19, Philippians 3:18-20 and Colossians 3:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:16; and Romans 12:2.



8. In 1 Pet 2:12 what are five ways pagans accused Christians of doing wrong back then? What are at least five ways non-Christians accuse Christians of doing wrong today?



9. In 1 Pet 2:13,17, how could Christians back then submit to an evil emperor such as Nero? Do you think it was harder to submit and honor the rulers back then or today?



10. In 1 Pet 2:13,17, if a democratic country has a ruler and members of parliament or congress that act hostile towards Christian value, how are we to still respect them? How are we to oppose them?



11. In 1 Pet 2:18, why should a slave submit to their master, especially a harsh master? What reward is promised?



12. In 1 Pet 2:21-26 what are at least two connections between Christ's sufferings and our sufferings?




1 Peter 3 - Submission in Marriage and Suffering

1: In 1 Pet 3:1-7 why is it false to say this teaches we should only preach without words?



2. In 1 Pet 3:1-7, how are unbelieving husbands, or other people for that matter, won over without words?



3. In 1 Pet 3:3-4, what do you think are the limits of how women should decorate themselves in our culture? - how about men?



4. 1 Pet 3:6 tells wives not to give way to fear. It says all of us should not fear what others feat in 1 Peter 3:14b. Given the time and context of the letter, what kind of fear do you think Peter was primarily talking about?



5. In 1 Pet 3:7, how can being inconsiderate of our wives hinder our prayers?



6. In 1 Pet 3:8, what does it mean to live in harmony with one another?



7. In 1 Pet 3:9-11, how is it common in the world to repay evil for evil and insult with insult? Why should we not?



8. In 1 Pet 3:15-16, how are we to always have an answer, but with gentleness and respect?



9. In 1 Pet 3:16-17, how do our sufferings for doing good have anything to do with Christ's sufferings?



10. In 1 Pet 3:18b, some would claim this shows Christ did not physically rise from the dead? How can you prove this false?



11. In 1 Pet 3:18b-20, how do you think Christ preached to the spirits in prison?



12. In 1 Pet 3:20-21, how does the water relate to our salvation?



13. In 1 Pet 3:22 since Jesus is God, how is Jesus at God's right hand?




1 Peter 4 - Prepare Well for the Struggle

1. In 1 Pet 4:1-2, how does suffering make us down with sin?



2. In 1 Pet 4:3, would you feel comfortable being next to a Christian who did these things before they repented and came to Christ? How about someone who killed other Christians, - like Paul? What attitude should we have towards Christians like that?



3. In 1 Pet 4:3-4, what are ways sinful society today sends the message that you are not normal if you do not continue to do these sins?



4. In 1 Pet 4:5-6, how was the gospel preached to the dead? (The word "now" in the NIV translation was added; it is not in the Greek). See also 1 Pet 3:19.



5. In 1 Pet 4:7; 1:13; 5:8 Peter seems to emphasize self-control a lot. How does being self-controlled help you to pray? How does being clear-minded help you to pray?



6. In 1 Pet 4:8 and Jms 5:20, how does love cover over a multitude of sins?



7. In 1 Pet 4:9, why is it important to offer hospitality to one another, - without grumbling? See Heb 13:2 and Jms 2:25.


8. In 1 Pet 4:10 why do you think Peter emphasizes us to use the gifts we have received?


9. In 1 Pet 4:10 it mentions God's grace is "various" forms. It uses the same Greek word (poikilos) for trials, temptations, or evil desires in 1 Peter 1:6, James 1:2, 2 Timothy 3:6; and Titus 3:3. What do you think is the significance of the same Greek word for both?


10. In 1 Pet 4:11a, what is the difference between a Christian speaking for God and one speaking the very words of God? See also Prov 30:6 and 1 Cor 4:6.


11. In 1 Pet 4:11b, what is the difference between a Christian serving God and serving with the strength God provides?


12. In 1 Pet 4:12, what fiery trial was about to occur?

 

13. In 1 Pet 4:13, how do we share in the sufferings of Christ? You might see Col 1:24. Why should we rejoice in that?


14. In 1 Pet 4:14, is the Spirit of glory the same as the Holy Spirit?

 

15. In 1 Pet 4:16, some follower of Jesus have said the word "Christian" only occurs twice in the Bible, here in the context of suffering and in what King Agrippa calls Paul in Acts 26:28. So they say that we do not need to bear the name "Christian" today. How would you respond to that?


16: What does 1 Pet 4:17-18 mean, since Christians do not stand in the Great White Throne Judgment?


1 Peter 5 - Humble and Holy Submission in Suffering in the Faith

1. In 1 Pet 5:1-4 what are the four positive commands and two negative commands Peter gives to elders?



2. In 1 Pet 5:4 we receive an unfading crown/wreath, while the Isthmian games awarded victors a wreath of withered parsley according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.50-251. What is the difference between a fading and unfading crown? What are some fading crowns people have today?



3. In 1 Pet 5:5a what does "in the same way" mean, since they are not said to be over anyone?



4. In 1 Pet 5:5 "clothe yourselves" (Greek egkombosasthe) is a rare word that refers to a slave putting on an apron before serving a master. (This is like what Jesus did in John 13:4-17) See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.251 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.856.



5. In 1 Pet 5:5b and Jms 4:6; Mt 23:12 and Prov 3:34 why do you think God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble?



6. In 1 Pet 5:5b-6 is there any way of being humble, that if God asked you to do, you would have a hard time obeying? Why?


7. In 1 Pet 5:7 How is being anxious a sin of faithlessness?


By the way, in 1 Pet 5:7 "cast" or "throw upon" the Greek word epiripsantes is an aorist which means it is an active thing we choose to do on our part. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.251 for more info.



8. In 1 Pet 5:8, while Satan is often subtle, that is not at all the picture Peter is giving here. Why do you think Peter might compare Satan to a roaring lion?


9. In 1 Pet 5:9 the Greek word for "resist" (antistete) is the same word in James 4:7; Ephesians 6:11-13; and 1 Peter 5:8. What or who exactly are we supposed to resist?



10. In 1 Pet 5:10 the Greek de can be translated as "But" or "And". Which do you think it should be, and why?


11. In 1 Pet 5:13 and Rev 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2-21, who else referred to Babylon as Rome outside of the Bible?


12. In 1 Pet 5:13 those who are in Babylon (i.e. Rome) send greetings. It does not say whether Christians are in "Babylon" by force, because they choose to be, or some each way. When should we choose to be in a spiritually dark place as a light for God, and when should we "flee Babylon" for spiritually more friendly places?



1 Peter 1:1-12 Salvation in Christ - Some Answers

1. In 1 Pet 1:1 the word "Asia" meant the Roman province of Asia, not the continent. Asia was one of the most cultured provinces in modern-day Turkey, containing about half of the cities there, including Ephesus, Miletus, Pergamum, and Smyrna. Why do you think Peter wrote to these provinces? Why might these be in this order?
A: These go in clockwise order by geography. They also start and end with Bithynia-Pontus, which was a more primitive region, to Asia, a very cultured region. In earlier Greek times sailors who were shipwrecked on the shores of Pontus were sacrificed to gods by the locals. In Greek mythology Prometheus was chained in Pontus, and Hercules went to the underworld from there. On the other side, about half of the major cities in Asia Minor were in the province of Asia. Ephesus was a huge city, though not as large as Rome.

2. In 1 Pet 1:1,17 and 1 Pet 2:11 have you ever felt as though you were a stranger or alien?
A: If you are a believer and you have never felt like a stranger or an alien here, then something is wrong. We are strangers in this world. We are citizens of heaven and we really belong there. However, temporarily we are still on the earth. However, Christians sometimes forget this.

3. In 1 Pet 1:2a, how do being chosen by the Father, sanctified by the Spirit, for obedience to Christ relate to each other?
A: This allusion to the Trinity shows something about how they operate. Whenever foreknowledge or predestination are mentioned, they relate to the Father. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies, i.e. sets us apart to make us holy. We are saved to obey our Lord Jesus, who is the Word of God. This is a complementary way of looking at things vs. Paul in Ephesians. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we are saved by grace through faith, in order to do good works. In 1 Peter, we are saved by the foreknowledge of the Father through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Christ. They are different ways of looking at salvation, but both are true.
There are evolutionary evangelistic methods vs. transformative evangelistic methods. There are steps prior to becoming saved in both. But the first is humanistic and the second is God-centric. For transformative methods, think of a transporter in the TV series Star Trek.

4. In 1 Pet 1:2b, since we are believers already have grace and peace, what is the difference between that and having it in abundance?
A: We have already be justified, or declared righteous, and we have already been granted God's grace and peace reconciling us through Christ. We will see the ultimate fulfillment of those in heaven, but not before. However, we are to grow in abundance of God's grace and peace now. We may not remain on earth for a long time, compared to heaven, but while we are here, God has a lot of work to do in us. However, absent from 1 Peter is the idea that once we get saved, we lay back passively waiting for God to do everything. We participate in working out our salvation by our abiding in Christ and obeying Him.

5. In 1 Pet 1:3 and Eph 1:17, how is the Father the God or Jesus Christ even now?
A: While on earth Jesus submitted to the Father, learned obedience, and did not know the hour of His return. Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so Jesus did not "merge back" with God the Father. But even now Jesus is still submissive as the Son, and the Father is still the Father. When everything in Creation is put under the feet of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:27-28, Christ will still be subject to God the Father.

6. In 1 Pet 1:4 what is the difference between something that perishes, vs. spoils, vs. fades? What are examples of these things and how do they differ from our salvation?
A: Something that perishes might be gone, or like a burned-down house still exists, but in a completely ruined state. Something that spoils is not as good as it once was like clothes, or becomes rotten and then even more rotten, like old food. Scents and colors fade, and our sense of smell and sight can fade as people get older. If you had a million radioactive atoms, and a half-life of five years, than after five years, there are only 500,000 radioactive atoms left. After ten years, there are only 250,000 radioactive atoms left. The radioactive atoms never disappear completely, but they fade away as an exponential curve. But our salvation is not at all like these things. Imagine God telling someone they could be in heaven for 500 years (simplistically assuming that time in heaven is like earth). They would be constantly looking over their shoulder, wondering when their time was up, and heaven would not be so good if it was not imperishable. Our time in heaven will never spoil, and when we have been in heaven for a million years, it will be as fresh and exciting as when we first arrived.
A joke goes like this. A man was talking to God in a dream and asked, "Lord to you how long is a million years". God answered, "less than second." He then asked, Lord, "to you how much is all the wealth of this world worth?" God answered, "about a penny". Then the man asked, "Lord, can I have a penny?" God answered, "Sure, just a second."

7. The perishing vs. the imperishable is important in 1 Pet 1:4,7,23-25; as well as unfading in 1 Pet 3:4; 5:5b. How can we see what is imperishable and unfading?
A: Sometimes it is hard for people, because most of what we see if perishable. Some people, teens in particular, might idolize a particular music or movie star. But ten years later, they might almost have forgotten about them. An interesting song, in 2005, was called "1985". It was about a guy's mother who was permanently stuck in the music, personalities, and American culture in 1985, and how strange and odd she looked and acted. Three things the Bible says are eternal are God, the Word of God and human souls. So focus on these, and remember that your achievements, other learning, and goals are all going to pass away.
Boy scouts are taught to use a compass for find their direction, but what if get lost and don't have a compass? If you just walk in a particular direction, you will often find yourself waking in a huge circle. The solution is to fix your goal on something far away that you can see, like a mountain. Then you can be sure you are walking straight in one direction.

8. In 1 Pet 1:5a, how are we shielded by God's power through faith?
A: We are not only saved through the Holy Spirit, our salvation is preserved by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a seal guaranteeing our salvation in Ephesians 1:13-14.

9. In 1 Pet 1:5b, how is our salvation ready to be revealed, if we already have it, or are now receiving it in 1 Pet 1:9? In what sense is it an inheritance in 1 Pet 1:4?
A: Our salvation was promised in God's foreknowledge before the beginning of the world. We received our salvation when we believed. But our complete salvation, where we are living in sinless glory in heaven with Jesus, will not be accomplished until after we die or are raptured.

10. In 1 Pet 1:6,11 how do our suffering and following glories mirror of Christ's?
A: Very patiently, and without complaining Christ suffered unjustly for the glory of God, for our salvation. Very, patiently, and without complaining we likewise should be willing to suffer unjustly for the glory of God, and as a witness to others.

11. In 1 Pet 1:7, when is Jesus Christ revealed here?
A: This refers to Christ's second coming in glory in the clouds of heaven, in Revelation 1:7; 19:11-17; Matthew 24:27-28; and Luke 21:27-28.

12. In 1 Pet 1:8, what are three sources of inexpressible and glorious joy?
A: We can rejoice because God saved us when we first trusted our lives to Him. We can also rejoice because The Spirit of Christ dwells in us day to day. Finally we can rejoice because of the future fulfillment of our salvation in Heaven.

13. In 1 Pet 1:12a, how did the prophets preach the gospel to them by the Holy Spirit?
A: When prophets spoke of the future, they were not only ministering to the people listening to them at that time, but future generations also. In Daniel 12:8-10 for example, Daniel said he did not understand, and God told him the words were not for him, but to be sealed up (made non-understandable) until the time of the end.

14. In 1 Pet 1:12b, how do angels long to look into "these things"? What things are these? Hebrews 2:9,16 might provide some clues.
A: This refers to the salvation of believers. Jesus provided salvation for people, not for angels, so angels will not experience what we experience on salvation. Angels are spirits that minister to us though. This salvation through Christ was abundantly hinted at in the Old Testament but not fully revealed until Christ and the time of the church, according to Ephesians 3:9-11.

15. In 1 Pet 1:13, how do we set our hope "fully" on the grace to be revealed?
A: Sometimes Christians can be despairing and not have enough hope in our future home in heaven; but that is not what it meant here. More often, Christians have too much hope, - too much hope in extra things that are not worth hoping in. Hoping in our wealth, our career, our health, our family and relationships here on earth can all go away, and at any time. It is pitiable when a person hopes in those things, and their hopes get dashed. But we are to hope in the imperishable things, of our salvation and going to our eternal home.


1 Peter 1:13-2:3 Sanctification in Christ - Some Answers

1. Are there any passages in the Bible that tell us to be Christ-controlled, since Jesus is our Lord? Why do 1 Pet 1:13a and other passages all tell us to be self-controlled?
A: There are none telling us to be Christ-controlled; only passages commanding us (but not forcing us) to submit to Jesus as our Lord. Unlike demon possession, where the demon possessed person loses what little freedom they had not to sin, in Christ is perfect freedom. The good news is that a person who is under the Lordship of Jesus is actually more free than a person who is not saved, and in bondage to sin. The bad news is that no Christian on earth ever reaches the state where they no longer have to worry about being tempted or displeasing the Lord.
There are things about being obedient to Christ, and being self-controlled, but unlike demons and sin, there is freedom in Christ. God commands, but on earth He (usually) does not force.

2. In 1 Pet 1:13, what are different aspects of being self-controlled? What are different reasons Christians fail to have self-control in certain areas?
A: Sometimes a person can have a lot of self-controlled in one area, but not in another. But God wants us to have self-control in all areas. For sinful things, we should have self-control and not want to do them at all. But even for non-sinful things, such as food and (lack of) exercise, we are also to have self-control. Sometimes we attempt to excuse our lack of self-control in one area, but pointing to our self-control in another area. Some Christians, very involved in ministry, can sometimes think that can excuse lack of self-control in another area. But Peter does not refer to "some self-control or "partial self-control", but we are to have self-control in all areas, that we can present ourselves, in control to Christ.

3. In 1 Pet 1:14 how do some Christians, perhaps unwittingly, conform to the evil desires of the world?
A: In almost every time and culture, there are explicitly sinful things are culturally acceptable. Whether they be weekly getting drunk, duels in the 16th and 17th centuries, exploiting slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries, prejudice against various peoples, or heterosexual immorality and homosexuality in the 20th and 21st centuries.

4. In 1 Pet 1:15 God is has always been perfectly holy. We are not, and cannot ever be perfectly holy in this life. So how are we called to be holy, just as God is holy? (1 Peter 1:13 quotes from Leviticus 11:44; 11:45; 19:2. There is a similar thought in Leviticus 20:7.)
A: There are two aspects here.

Aim for the stars: While a person who aims for the stars will not reach them, he may still go a lot farther than a person who aims at the ground. While we will never achieve perfect holiness in this life, we are to attempt for perfect holiness now.

Relative perfection/maturity: Right after Paul says even he has not yet been made perfect in Philippians 3:12, he says he was perfect in the sense of being mature in Philippians 3:15. So while we are in this body today, we can expect to achieve maturity and be victorious over besetting sins and addictions.

5. In 1 Pet 1:17, how are we as Christians supposed to live our lives here in fear. In Greek this is the generic word for fear, phobos/phobu, Various Bible translations have "fear" (NKJV, KJV, Green's literal translation), "reverent fear" (NIV), "reverence" (NET), or "wholesome, serious caution" (Wuest)?
A: We are to stand in reverential awe of our Creator and Redeemer. God is the most loving being in the universe, but He is also the most wrathful. Paul did not fear losing his salvation, but he did fear loss of reward if he turned away. We can also be afraid of Hell for our loved ones who do not know the Lord.

6. In 1 Pet 1:18, we were redeemed with something more previous than silver or gold, Christ's blood. In 1 Pet 1:7 our faith is our greater worth than gold. Do you really believe that your salvation and your faith, are of greater worth than gold? How might a Christian who is serious about believing this live and react in this world, versus who Christian who is not?
A: A Christian should be more concerned about their relationship with Christ and the salvation of others than monetary security or success. Both a Christian's checkbook and calendar should reflect more of an interest in the Kingdom of God than in just making money.

7. In 1 Pet 1:18 and Mt 15:9, is tradition always bad?

A: No. Tradition of itself can be good or bad, depending on whether it goes against God's Word or not. However, even godly traditions, if they become more important to a person than God, become an evil idol for that person.

8. In 1 Pet 1:20, Eph 1:4; Acts 2:23; and Titus 1:2, was Christ chosen to die for our sins and redeem us by His blood after Adam and Eve sinned or before? Why?
A: Christ was chosen as a lamb before the foundation of the world. In God's foreknowledge, He knew Adam and Eve would sin, and that we would need a Savior, long before Adam and Eve existed. However, God's knowledge did not result in coercion, the fault and responsibility for Adam and Eve's sins, and ours is the fault of Adam and Eve and us, not God.

9. What does 1 Pet 1:20-21 say is important about the divinity of Christ?
A: Our salvation is totally a work of God, and not in total or in part a work of one who is not God. If Jesus was merely a man, then our faith and hope would be in a man who is not God. Since Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the way, the truth, and the life, would be merely a man, and not God. Salvation is a work of God, because Jesus is God. Jesus is also fully human, but if He were not God, our salvation would not be of God.

10. 1 Pet 2:1 says "slander of every kind". What are the different kinds of slander? See Jms 4:11-12.
A: Slander is saying negative, untrue things about someone or something, while flattery is saying positive untrue things about someone of something. There is explicit slander, simply saying false, bad things about someone, but there is also subtle slander, where you say something that sounds good one the surface, but underneath undermines a person's credibility. One type is called "left-handed compliments", such as "he really appears to be doing a good job, for someone that is so inexperienced and ignorant of what is going on." Slander can be public, but sometimes the worst slander is said behind a persons' back. Slander is often done to build yourself up over someone else, or just to discredit their reputation. It can also be used to discredit their judgment, morality, or attack their credibility in speaking or leading. Which kinds of slander are Christians commanded to avoid? - every kind.
Sometimes there is a proper time and place to say negative things that are true. That is not slander if it is true. However, even if something is true, it is not necessarily always true that God wants us to tell everyone. When we say negative things, we should make sure they are true, helpful, needful, and what God wants you to say.

11. In 1 Pet 2:2 how much does a baby like their milk? What is God's spiritual milk? Do we like God's spiritual milk as much?
A: Milk is everything to an infant, because an infant knows of no other food. Babies recognize milk as the only thing that can satisfy their hunger. Likewise we should recognize that drawing close to God, and reading His Word is the only way we can satisfy our spiritual hunger.

12. In 1 Pet 2:3 does everyone who tastes that the Lord is good go to heaven? See Heb 6:4-6.
A: No. Just as some people can taste but not swallow, people can have an experience and still be doomed to Hell. We are saved be grace through faith. If the gospel someone hears is not combined with faith, then they are not saved and it is of no value to them, as Hebrews 4:2 says. Other verses to show that even churchgoers can fall away permanently are Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31; and 2 Peter 2:20-22.


1 Peter 2:4-2:25 Chosen Stones - Some Answers

1. 1 Pet 2:5 says that God's house is not a building, but us, His church. How might Christians in the U.S. be neglecting to build God's house? Guess what percent, on average, churches give to foreign missions.
A: We might be more concerned about our own finances and time than God's glory. Numbers I have read some years ago are that on average evangelical churches give about 10 to 13 percent to foreign missions. Liberal churches only give a few percent.

2. In 1 Pet 2:5-8 what are all of the "stones" upon which the church is built? See Ephesians 2:19-22 and Revelation 21:12-14.
A: Jesus is the cornerstone, the most important rock upon which the church is built. After that is the foundation stones of the apostles and the prophets.

3. In 1 Pet 2:5-8, different size oblong stones can all be used in a wall. Mortar can fill in small gaps. But if a stone has a long, narrow protrusion, or a hole in the middle, it cannot be. How does God delay with holes and long protrusions in our lives?
A: Sins that we don't want to get rid of in our lives can be like, long, ill-fitting spikes that stick out. If we do not want to remove, them, God can remove them, and sometimes discipline can be painful. Likewise if we have a basic, un-Christian character flaw, that is analogous to a big hole in the center of the stone, that would prevent the stone from serving the purpose of keeping rain out, or cool air in. The Holy Spirit needs to remold us, and plug the holes, and file down our spikes.

4. In 1 Peter 2:6-8, how is Jesus both the cornerstone and the capstone?
A: The cornerstone is the single point of reference for all other parts of the building. The cornerstone is Jesus Christ and no one else. At the same time, Jesus is also the capstone, which is the top stone in an archway. If the capstone is removed, then the arch can fall.

5. In 1 Pet 2:9, what is the difference between a holy nation and a royal priesthood?
A: While a prophet represented God to the people, a priest represented the people before God. A king led the people. While Christians are all priests, we do not need another to represent us before God, because our Mediator is both God and man: Jesus Christ. Uzziah tried to combine being a king and a high priest, but God punished him with leprosy for the rest of his life for offering the most holy sacrifice, when he was not authorized to do so. The Israelites were a holy nation, Christians, of all ethnic groups in every country, are a holy nation today.

6. In 1 Pet 2:10, what in the Old Testament mentions not being a people of God and now being a people?
A: Peter is likely alluding to Hosea 1:9-10; 2:23 where Hosea called his son Lo-Ammi, meaning not my people in verse 9. But in verse 10 Hosea says that those who were called "not my people" will now be called "sons of the living God"..

7. In 1 Pet 2:11, in what ways are we aliens and strangers in this world? In what ways are we not? See John 17:9,11,13-19, Philippians 3:18-20 and Colossians 3:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:16; and Romans 12:2.
A: This is not our home, and we are not citizens of here. We long to reach our home, in heaven. We don't belong here forever, we are only passing through.
A missionary to Africa for 40 years, Henry C. Morrison became sick and had to sail back to America. When the ocean liner landed there was a big parade. Former president Theodore Roosevelt as also on the ship and the big band was for him after his safari. The missionary was glumly thinking that Roosevelt got this big celebration and all he did was shoot elephants, and while he saved souls, why was there was no celebration to meet him? God spoke to him, saying "But you are not home yet." Our home is not here, so don't get too comfortable. Our home and our citizenship is in heaven. We are to be "not of this world". On the other hand, we are currently to be "in the world" and interact with all kinds of people here, versus being an isolationist. We are in enemy territory, because Satan is the one in control of this world, though God can overrule him.

8. In 1 Pet 2:12 what are five ways pagans accused Christians of doing wrong back then? What are at least five ways non-Christians accuse Christians of doing wrong today?
A: Here are the five ways.
1. It sounds strange today, but Roman pagans accused Christians of being "atheists". They were called atheists because they did not believe the Roman gods.
2. Christians spoke of the Lord's Supper, and pagans accused them of cannibalism.
3. Christians said that they loved each other and pagans accused them of promiscuity and incest.
4. When natural calamities and wars occurred, Christians were blamed, because it was said their lack of reverence towards the Greco-Roman gods caused the gods to be angry. Of course, as one early Christian pointed out, calamities and wars occurred before Christ came to earth too.
5. Christians would not worship or sacrifice to the Roman Emperor, so they were considered unpatriotic and disloyal to the Empire.

9. In 1 Pet 2:13,17, how could Christians back then submit to an evil emperor such as Nero? Do you think it was harder to submit and honor the rulers back then or today?
A: Greek-speaking early Christians used a pun to distinguish between "legal laws" which did not conflict with God's commands, and "illegal laws" which did. The scrupulous obeyed the legal laws, but quietly disobeyed the illegal ones, such as sacrificing to the emperor.

10. In 1 Pet 2:13,17, if a democratic country has a ruler and members of parliament or congress that act hostile towards Christian values, how are we to still respect them? How are we to oppose them?
A: We are to respect the office, and not be belittling or insulting for them. But we can also work to protect those persecuted by them, and work and donate time and money to keep them from getting elected again.

11. In 1 Pet 2:18, why should a slave submit to their master, especially a harsh master? What reward is promised?
A: Slaves in Roman society, as well as slaves in other times and in east Africa today, have little recourse against a harsh master. Submitting to them was probably the most prudent course of action in many cases. Bearing up under unjust suffering was one way they could be a witness and glorify God. Finally, as a practical matter, the majority of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire were slaves, and freed slaves did not have many places they could go.

12. In 1 Pet 2:21-26 what are at least two connections between Christ's sufferings and our sufferings?
A: Jesus' sufferings are an example to us. As Christ suffered unjustly, we too should be willing to suffer unjustly. Though Christ's dying on the cross for our sins was a singular event, our suffering can serve to bring the gospel to others, testifying to the truth of the gospel in our own lives.


1 Peter 3 - Submission in Marriage and Suffering - Some Answers

1: In 1 Pet 3:1-7 why is it false to say this teaches we should only preach without words?
A: Once when I had a summer job at a technology company, there was a large cafeteria where people ate. I was talking with a man, and we talked about that I hoped to be a missionary, and the men said, "I knew it, I thought you were a Mormon!" While I quickly explained that I was a Christian, and not a Mormon, if speak of spiritual things but don't show you are a Christian, then who exactly are you a witness for?
I heard of a middle-age man who became a Christian and told his co-workers in his office. A Christian working there congratulated him, and the new Christian looked at him kind of funny. He said, do you know you were the reason that I put off becoming a Christian for many years? The older Christian was shocked and asked why. The younger Christian said that before he came to Christ, he knew his life was a mess. But when he looked at the older Christian, who seemed to have peace, contentment, and his life was together, he did not know he was a Christian, and he thought that if the older Christian could have his life together and not be a Christian, then he did not have to either.
Certainly a husband would certainly know that his wife was a Christian (and vice versa). But the husband, and other people too, can be so far from Christ that they refuse to hear anything about Christ. But if they know that you are a Christian, then your life can be a witness to them, even if they won't listen to your words. It is better to have words also, but even without words your life can be a witness.

2. In 1 Pet 3:1-7, how are unbelieving husbands, or other people for that matter, won over without words?
A: If a person knows that you are a Christian, but wont' accept our words, they can still see your light shine by your life. Things were pretty dark in Roman times. When husbands were away, it would be common for them to be immoral. In fact, even when they were home, if a female slave refused her master's advances, she would be punished by having her nose cut off. But when husbands were away, wives might commit adultery with male slaves. The situation of Joseph and Potiphar's wife was not at all unusual in Roman times. The Roman empire had an estimated population of 70 million, of which 40 to 50 million were slaves.

3. In 1 Pet 3:3-4, what do you think are the limits of how women should decorate themselves in our culture? - how about men?
A: Back then women would wear costly gold earrings and bracelets to show their social status. 1 Peter 3:3-4 applies today, to both men and women, in at least three ways.
Ostentation: Men can buy watches, costing $2,000 (or $1,500 for a cheaper one) just to show potential clients how rich they are. I heard of one engineering consultant who bought a number of fake Rolex watches, costing only a few dollars each. On a cruise with a client, he tapped his wrist, complained that these Rolexes don't tell time well, and took it off and threw it overboard in the ocean. Of course, the client did not know it was a fake. Sometimes wealthy people spend a lot of money on jewelry, clothes, cars, and homes, to show their status. On the other hand, Isaac's servant gave Isaac's future wife Rebecca two gold bracelets and a nose ring. Since wearing a gold nose ring in that culture was OK for God's people, wearing a gold earring is OK today. But the point is not to spend large amounts of money on jewelry.
Being sexy: Women often buy revealing and immodest clothes to make them more attractive. Of course, they are not likely thinking about how faithful a man will be who is attracted to them just because of their clothes. Likewise I heard of a boy who had a fancy car in high school, and his girlfriend loved to go for rides in his nice car. But when he wrecked his car, his girlfriend broke up with him. Some men lift weights, not just for health, or to do well in sports, but to look more attractive to women. Taking time to be healthy is fine, but building up a lot of muscle, when it is not maintained, turns to fat later. Others take steroids, which are very effective at helping build muscle mass, but can lead to health problems, including heart attacks.
Insecure about looks: People are often preoccupied with how they look. Some years ago my Tamil Indian boss (and friend) took me to lunch, and among other topics of conversation, said how Indians have creams they used before they get married to make their skin look lighter. He wanted to ask me why white Americans go to tanning salons to make their skin look darker. I was at a loss for how to answer him. UV radiation ages your skin, and can give skin cancer, and this effect is strongest for light skinned people. In fact, if a light-skinned person gets a bad sunburn more than twice in the same place, they are at increased risk of getting skin cancer there. I suppose the answer is that people naturally are not satisfied with what they have, but tend to think that what someone else has is better. I have been told that a fad is for guys to complain their jaws are not prominent or "square" enough and to want jaw surgery to try to change that. Short people wish they were taller, tall people, especially some girls, wish they were shorter. The proper Christian view is not to go to the opposite extreme, be so concerned about your looks that you want to be as ugly as possible, but rather to not be so concerned about yourself. If you are missing teeth and want them replaced, or you have an accident and want reconstructive surgery, that is fine, but a person does not need to go to extremes.

4. 1 Pet 3:6 tells wives not to give way to fear. It says all of us should not fear what others fear in 1 Peter 3:14b. Given the time and context of the letter, what kind of fear do you think Peter was primarily talking about?
A: The immediate fear was the persecution under Nero and later Emperors. Nero would not just kill Christians, he would have wild animals kill them in public spectacles, burn them to death, and impose other tortures. A person would not only have to be brave themselves, but brave in knowing their loved ones would be tortured too.

5. In 1 Pet 3:7, how can being inconsiderate of our wives hinder our prayers?
A: This could be both a general observation and a specific promise (in a negative way).
General observation: Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24, if you are offering a gift and remember that your brother has something against you, don't offer your gift. Leave the gift at the altar, reconcile with your brother, and then go offer your gift. Certainly this would apply if your sister had something against you as well.
Specific promise: God said he would not hear our prayers if we cherish sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18-19), turn a deaf ear to the poor (Proverbs 21:13), or are wicked (Proverbs 15:29; Isaiah 59:1-2). God does not hear us if we choose not to hear God (Zechariah 7:11-14). Likewise if we act wrongly towards our wives, and choose not to hear them, God might not hear us until we repent of our sins.
6. In 1 Pet 3:8, what does it mean to live in harmony with one another?
A: There are three aspects.
Negative: Find what you doing that annoys other people and stop it. Whatever annoys you in someone else, either learn to live with it, or nicely point it out to them that they might stop. It means getting along with others without friction.
Positive: But harmony does not stop there. Do other people enjoy being around you? Do you enjoy being around others. Different people have different "love languages" to express to them that they are loved, valued, and accepted. For some it might be small gifts; for others being hugged, for others, spending time with them doing an activity. If I were to call your spouse on the telephone, would your spouse tell me they really enjoyed being around you or not? Do your kids enjoy being around you, and you them? Do your family in the Lord (other Christians) enjoy being around you? If not, what can you do to improve?
Basis: There will be more harmony, both removing the negative aspects, and strengthening the positive aspects, if you and they read and follow God's word. If your wills are aligned with God, then they are aligned with each other.

7. In 1 Pet 3:9-11, how is it common in the world to repay evil for evil and insult with insult? Why should we not?
A: The world thinks in terms of "law", of getting people back, of punishing people who do you wrong. Christians should bless those who persecute and insult them, as Jesus commands in Luke 6:26-36.

8. In 1 Pet 3:15-16, how are we always to have an answer, but with gentleness and respect?
A: We should have an answer for any genuine question or objection a non-believer has. But it is OK to answer "I don't know, but I will get back with you." And then find the answer and get back to them. It is somewhat likely the question they ask is among the 8,200+ questions answered on www.BibleQuery.org. Three more points to consider in the answer.
How not to do it: One non-Christian website, in discussing New Age, said, "[New Age] people use crystals to make contact with higher intelligences. People who pay that kind of money for rocks obviously need contact with higher intelligences." The problem if a Christian were to say this is not that it criticizes the New Age movement, but that it demeans the people who are deceived by this movement.
How to do it: Inwardly, our attitude should be one of unselfish love toward the other person. We should want them to come to Christ and live in joy with God, and us, forever. Rather, than trying to be very careful with our words to try to keep a bad attitude from coming out, it is better not to have bad attitudes toward others in the first place, and simply say what is on our heart.
Specifically, you could answer a question such a way that disrespects them, and they do not want to think about Christianity again. Your main point in answering their genuine objection is not "they are to be blamed because they are wrong" but "this is incorrect for these reasons, and the truth is such-and-such for these reasons."
When not to do it: How do you tell if their objection is genuine or not? One way is to ask them, if their question was answered for you, would that bring you closer to accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If their answer is "yes", then find the answer. But if their answer is no, then it is not a sincere objection, and you should ask them, then what would bring you closer to accepting Jesus and your Lord and Savior, and focus your time on that instead.
Respect the people, but do not encourage respect for false religion: 1 Corinthians 10:20 says that the sacrifices of pagans are made to demons. Elijah was certainly less than respectful to Baal in 1 Kings 18:27. Jesus did not respect the Sadducees doctrine in Matthew 22:29-32. Jesus' attitude toward the Pharisee's and their teaching was not any more hospitable in Matthew 23:13-33, calling them whitewashed tombs and a brood of vipers. On the other hand, Jesus was gracious to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, in John 3:3-10.

9. In 1 Pet 3:16-17, how do our sufferings for doing good have anything to do with Christ's sufferings?
A: On one hand, our lives and sufferings can do nothing to add to or subtract from the suffering Christ did for us when He did on the cross for our sins. But on the other hand, our sufferings can open the way for the gospel message to be spread, demonstrate to unbelievers the reality of Christ's peace and strength in our lives, and glorify God as we follow in Christ's footsteps. All of our sufferings are small and of short duration compared to the great joy we will have in heaven eternally.

10. In 1 Pet 3:18b, some would claim this shows Christ did not physically rise from the dead? How can you prove this false?
A: Sometimes people get different answers when they ask different questions. If the question is "can I make this verse mean what I want it to mean" they can get one answer. But if you ask "what did Peter really mean" then you will get a different answer. Some would try to argue that since Christ was made alive by the Spirit, Jesus was not alive in the body too. But Christ was made alive by the Spirit in both body and Spirit. Peter spoke of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead in 1 Peter 1:3. While Jews believed in an afterlife, the Sadducees denied a physical resurrection from the dead, and the Pharisees affirmed that. When Peter used the term resurrection, His Jewish readers would know what he meant. There is no evidence of anyone in ancient history saying, "no the Sadducees are wrong in denying a resurrection, but it is only a spiritual resurrection." 1 Peter 1:21 speaks of "God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God."

This verse says Jesus was made alive by the Holy Spirit. Neither this verse nor any other uses the word "merely" to say Jesus was merely raised in spirit. Jesus' dead corpse was raised to life according to Acts 2:30-32; 13:35-37; 10:39-41; Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.133-136, When Critics Ask p.512-513, 532-533, and When Cultists Ask p.293-294 for more info.

11. In 1 Pet 3:18b-20, how do you think Christ preached to the spirits in prison?
A: Christians disagree on this. This includes people who lived in Noah's time and died in the flood. Some think that after His death and prior to His resurrection Christ declared His message (with no possibility for repentance) to those who died. A second view, which goes back to the early church with Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus, all before 235 A.D., is that Christ preached to those who never had a opportunity to hear the gospel, not to give anyone a second chance, but to give people a "first chance".

12. In 1 Pet 3:20-21, how does the water relate to our salvation?
A: The water around the ark is a metaphor of our baptism. The water did not save Noah, but Noah and the seven other people were saved by God through the water. The physical washing of water does not save us, but our pledge of a good conscience towards God by baptism shows we are saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

13. In 1 Pet 3:22 since Jesus is God, how is Jesus at God's right hand?
A: The Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Spirit is God; and there is only One God. The Three are distinct but inseparable. Now in heaven Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father. Other passages showing Jesus at the right hand of God [the Father] are: Matthew 22:44; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Acts 2:34; 7:56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; and Hebrews 1:3; 10:12.
The word "God" has four meanings in referring to the Trinity. Sometimes God means:
Father: 1 Peter 1:2,3; Ephesians 1:3,17; 3:14; 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 3:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-22; 2:16; Titus 1:4
Jesus: John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:6-9; John 9:38; 2 Corinthians 11:3; John 20:28-29; Revelation 5:8-9; Revelation 22:20
Spirit: Romans 8:9-16; Luke 1:35; 1 John 4:12-16; 1 Corinthians 3:16 vs. 1 Corinthians 6:19; Acts 5:4
The God in Trinity is implied in Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 2:18; 3:14-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:3-5; Revelation 4:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Romans 15:16; Hebrews 9:14; Jude 20,21; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; John 15:26.
The two occurrences of the word "God" in Hebrews 1:6 clearly mean Jesus in the first place and the Father in the second. In 1 Peter 3:22, "God" here means the Father. See also the discussion on Ephesians 1:3,17 for more info.


1 Peter 4 - Prepare Well for the Struggle

1. In 1 Pet 4:1-2, how does suffering make us down with sin?
A: 1 Peter 4:2 indicates that when a person has endured suffering for Christ, they were not cherishing the pleasures of sin. Suffering can focus a person, and remind them of the long-term, eternal perspective.

2. In 1 Pet 4:3, would you feel comfortable being next to a Christian who did these things before they repented and came to Christ? How about someone who killed other Christians, - like Paul? What attitude should we have towards Christians like that?
A: We should feel comfortable, because there, in God's eyes we have no more merit than them. When a perfect, Holy God truly forgives someone for their sins, our forgiveness should not be harder to obtain than God's.

3. In 1 Pet 4:3-4, what are ways sinful society today sends the message that you are not normal if you do not continue to do these sins?
A: Sometimes people are pressured to drink alcohol and get drunk. They are not considered manly, sophisticated, or cool if they do not. Sometimes there is peer pressure to hurt your body in other ways, such as smoking or drugs. Sometimes a girl has sex with her boyfriend, even though she did not want to, but because of fear her boyfriend will drop her otherwise. Stay pure, both for God and for your future husband.

4. In 1 Pet 4:5-6, how was the gospel preached to the dead? (The word "now" in the NIV translation was added; it is not in the Greek). See also 1 Pet 3:19.
A: As discussed in 1 Peter 3:19b-20, Christians disagree on this. One view is reflected in the NIV translation, which has the word "now", meaning Christ was preached to those people while they were still alive.
This must refer to people, not fallen angels, because fallen angels are not considered "dead". There are four possible interpretations.
1. These people are now dead, but they were alive on earth when the Gospel was preached to them. See When Cultists Ask p.296 for more on this view.
2. These people heard the Gospel after they died, and they finally had an opportunity to make the same decision for Christ they would have made if they were alive.
3. These Old Testament believers heard the Gospel after they died, and all of these were saved.
4. They Old Testament period unbelievers were informed of the Gospel they would have rejected anyway. While Difficulties in the Bible p.183-189 incorrectly thinks 1 Peter 4:6 refers to fallen angels, he does correctly point out that there are two words for "preach" in Greek. One word means "preach the Gospel", the second word means "proclaim something", and it is the second word that is used here.
However, the last part of verse 6 says, "judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit." This indicates that interpretations 1 and 4 are incorrect.
The early church taught that the gospel was preached to some after they died.
Shepherd of Hermas
(c.160 A.D.) book 3 similitude 9 ch.16 p.49 (partial) refers to those who died before Christ and before being baptized. It says apostles and teachers [no mention of Christ] preached it to those already asleep.
Irenaeus
Against Heresies (182-188 A.D.) book 4 ch.27.1 p.499 "It was for this reason, too, that the Lord descended into the regions beneath the earth, preaching His advent there also and [declaring] the remission of sins received by those who believe in Him. Now all those believed in Him who had hope towards Him, that is, those who proclaimed His advent, and submitted to his dispensations, the righteous men, the prophets, and the patriarchs,... For 'all men come short of the glory of the God,' and are not justified of themselves, but by the advent of the Lord,"
Irenaeus Against Heresies
(182-188 A.D.) book 2 ch.6.2 p.365 "And on this account all things have been [by general consent] placed under the sway of Him who is styled the Most High, and the Almighty. By calling upon Him, even before the coming of our Lord, men were saved both from most wicked spirits, and from all kinds of demons, and from every sort of apostate power." Irenaeus Against Heresies book 2 ch.6.2 p.365
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) said that Christ preached to those who departed this life before his advent. The Stromata book 6 ch.6 p.492.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) mentions that Christ went to Hades (partial) "that He might there make the patriarchs and prophets partakers of Himself." (It does not say whether or not Jesus preached to them though.) A Treatise on the Soul ch.55 p.231.
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) "He [Jesus] who is become the preacher of the Gospel to the dead, the redeemer of souls, and the resurrection of the buried;" Fragment from Commentary on Psalm 19 or 20 p.170. Also ch.7.14 p.189
Origen (225-254 A.D.) "but also, then when He became a soul, without the covering of the body, He dwelt among those souls which were without bodily covering, converting such of them as were willing to Himself, or those who He saw, for reasons known to Him alone, to be better adapted to such a course." Origen Against Celsus book 2 ch.43 p.448.

5. In 1 Pet 4:7; 1:13; 5:8 Peter seems to emphasize self-control. How does being self-controlled help you to pray? How does being clear-minded help you to pray?
A: Being self-controlled helps in at least three different ways. It gives you discipline to set aside intentional time to pray. It helps you focus in your prayers, both individually and with others when they pray. Finally, God says He does not hear our prayers if we cherish sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18-19), turn a deaf ear to the poor (PRoverbs 21:13), are wicked (Proverbs 15:29; Isaiah 59:1-2), or we choose not to hear God (Zechariah 7:11-14).

6. In 1 Pet 4:8 and Jms 5:20, how does love cover over a multitude of sins?
A: First two things that are not the answer, and then the answer.
Not the answer

Jesus covered our sins in one way by bringing forgiveness for all our sins against God, and thus, God's love covers over a multitude of sins. While Christ's love for us on the cross not only covered, but atoned for our sins, that is not primarily what is intended here.
Second, our love and witness can encourage people, even non-Christians, not to sin. However, this verse does not refer to preventing sin, but rather covering over sins that were committed.
The answer

James speaks in the context of turning someone back to the truth, and 1 Peter speaks in the context of prayer and loving others deeply. Our love "covers" sins in at least four different ways.
For ourselves: Loving God and others makes us less tempted to do things that dishonor God or are not helpful to other people. As we serve others, we are often less self-centered and interested in satisfying sinful desires.
For non-Believers: For both regular non-believers and heretics, helping them come to a true faith in Christ saves their soul from death and their sins are covered over.
Forgiveness: Our willingness to forgive others' sins against us and to restore a person who is fallen covers over their sin, and can make it easier to come to the Lord in repentance.
For others: Our praying that others withstand temptation and turning others back to the truth, repenting of previous sins, and not continuing in sin. Our humility (i.e. having a true picture of ourselves) that we were all dirty and sinful before God, and except for God's grace, we would do even worse, can make it more attractive for a person to leave their sin, and come or come back to Christ. By expressing a deep love for others, we can be an encouragement to them to "carry on" and continue in their pursuit of godliness and love for others.

7. In 1 Pet 4:9, why is it important to offer hospitality to one another, - without grumbling? See Heb 13:2 and Jms 2:25.
A: Regardless of any other reason, it is important just because Scripture commands it. It is practical express our love to others, both Christians and non-Christians. Hebrews 13:2 says that, like Abraham, some who offer hospitality are entertaining angels, though they are not aware that they are doing so.
Hospitality is not just giving someone a place to spend the night, or inviting someone to visit your home. It also includes being generous in letting someone borrow your possessions or your car, or giving someone a ride.
A secondary part of hospitality is having your home, or car, be presentable that you can invite people over or offer them a ride, and give some of your time for somebody else.

8. In 1 Pet 4:10 why do you think Peter emphasizes us to use the gifts we have received?
A: God gives every believer some sort of talents and gifts. But God did not give any believer a gift to be squandered, ignored, or used for selfish or ungodly ends. To whom much is given, much is required. God will hold us accountable, not for not using gifts He never intended us to have, but for the gifts He has given us. The question to ask yourself is not just, "are you using God's gifts", but "are your using God's gifts for His purposes?"

9. 1 Pet 4:10 mentions God's grace is "various" forms. It uses the same Greek word (poikilos), for trials, temptations, or evil desires in 1 Peter 1:6, James 1:2, 2 Timothy 3:6; and Titus 3:3. What do you think is the significance of the same Greek word, which can mean multi-colored, for both?
A: One meaning is that temptations and trials hit the church in various "multi-colored" ways, but God expresses His grace to us in various multi-colored ways also. For every temptation that strikes an individual, God promises to provide a way out, according to 1 Corinthians 10:13. Whenever a trial strikes a body of believers, God can provide a way out for them too.

10. In 1 Pet 4:11a, what is the difference between a Christian speaking for God and one speaking the very words of God? See also Prov 30:6 and 1 Cor 4:6.
A: We can see what this means by observing the similar phrases around this verse. Whatever gift we have we should use as faithfully administering God's grace. Just as anyone who serves should serve with the strength God provides, anyone who speaks should speak with the words God provides. It is OK to share our own opinions as our opinions, but:
1. Don't add - Never go beyond what is written and teach our own opinions as God's word (Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6).
2. Don't lose focus - Be centered on God's word instead of human opinion (1 Corinthians 2:1-2; 1 Timothy 1:3-4,6; Colossians 2:3,8).
3. Don't take away from God's word. Don't either deny or silently choose not to speak on some truth.
4. Don't disrespect God's word, by speaking lightly of it to others.

A Christian can attempt to "help God out" by speaking whatever they think best, to defend God. But Peter is not telling us to do that, but rather to speak the very words of God. We are to defend the faith, but we are to defend the faith God's way, not just our way. Nobody comes to Christ anyway without God moving in their life, so doesn't it make more sense for us to do things God's way? See also Proverbs 30:6 and 1 Corinthians 4:6.

11. In 1 Pet 4:11b, what is the difference between a Christian serving God and serving with the strength God provides?
A: When you serve God in our own strength, it might not be sufficient enough for the moment, and it might give out later. But when you serve God with God's strength, you can always receive more strength from God.

12. In 1 Pet 4:12, what fiery trial was about to occur?
A: The Christians were about to undergo intense persecution by the Roman government, including frequent burning to death. It was written that Nero sometimes covered Christians with wax, and set them on fire as sort of "living candles." However, even dying in that kind of fire is better than perishing forever in the Lake of Fire.
The early church was no stranger to fiery trials. In discussing the trail and subsequent execution of Polycarp, disciple of the apostle John, Evarestus writes "But again the proconsul said to him, 'I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, seeing thou despisest the wild beasts, if thou wilt not repent.' But Polycarp said, 'Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why tarriest thou? Bring forth what thou wilt.'" Martyrdom of Polycarp (c.169 A.D.) ch.11 p.41

13. In 1 Pet 4:13, how do we share in the sufferings of Christ? You might see Col 1:24. Why should we rejoice in that?
A: While Christ alone died to pay the entire penalty for our sins, His great suffering is an example for us to endure the smaller sufferings that we have. Our suffering can serve to glorify God, even if no one on earth is aware of them. Sometimes God uses our sufferings to bring the gospel to people who would otherwise be unable or unwilling to hear.

14. In 1 Pet 4:14, is the Spirit of glory the same as the Holy Spirit?
A: Yes. The Spirit of glory is a description of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.719-720 for more info.

15. In 1 Pet 4:16, some follower of Jesus have said the word "Christian" only occurs twice in the Bible, here in the context of suffering and in what King Agrippa calls Paul in Acts 26:28. So they say that we do not need to bear the name "Christian" today. How would you respond to that?
A: There are three complementary answers.
Once is enough in 1 Peter 4:16 to show that we are to suffer for bearing the name Christian, rather than try to get out of suffering by denying that we are a Christian.
The followers of the apostles and the early church dared to call themselves Christians, and would not deny it even in the face of death.
Some of those who don't want to be known as Christians do not want to identify with Christ's bride, the church.

16: What does 1 Pet 4:17-18 mean, since Christians do not stand in the Great White Throne Judgment?
A: In two different ways: now and later.
In this life, God watches us, tests us, and disciplines us (Hebrews 12:5-13). Christians can be judged in this life, and receive more blessings, or discipline as an example for themselves and others, including an early death.
In Heaven, all believers stand before what is called the "bema-seat judgment" so that they can be given rewards in Heaven for their deeds. Paul describes the judgment of Christians as to rewards or loss of them in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.


1 Peter 5 - Humble and Holy Submission in Suffering in the Faith

1. In 1 Pet 5:1-4 what are the four positive commands and two negative commands Peter gives to elders?
A: Here are the six commands.
Be shepherds of God's flock
Because you are willing
(negative) Not greedy for money
Eager to server
(negative) Not lording over the flock
Be examples
Peter here focuses more on how they serve, than that they are serving. If you are not being a shepherd the way God wants you to be here, then maybe God does not want you to be a shepherd at all. Hebrews 13:17 says that shepherds have to give an account of their leadership before God. On the other hand, if you are a good shepherd, you will receive a reward in heaven for your faithful service according to 1 Peter 5:4.

2. In 1 Pet 5:4 we receive an unfading crown/wreath, while the Isthmian games awarded victors a wreath of withered parsley according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.50-251. What is the difference between a fading and unfading crown? What are some fading crowns people have today?
A: Both kinds of crowns look good at first. But the fading crown looks worse over time, and is eventually cast off and discarded. Our unfading crowns in heaven will still be as good and glorious 10,000 years later as when we first receive them.

On earth there are many temporary crowns: wealth, prestige, honor, social status, but they all fade. Work hard for an unfading crown that will never grow dim.

3. In 1 Pet 5:5a what does "in the same way" mean, since they are not said to be over anyone?
A: Just as the previously mentioned elders were to be eager to serve, not lording over others but being examples, young men are to be that way too. Of course some young men, as they grow more mature, become elders later.

4. In 1 Pet 5:5 "clothe yourselves" (Greek egkombosasthe) is a rare word that refers to a slave putting on an apron before serving a master. (This is like what Jesus did in John 13:4-17) See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.251 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.856. Why would put use this phrase?
A: Besides Peter seeing Jesus Himself setting the example, this refers to being clothed to serve, not being clothed to impress, or draw attention to yourself.

5. In 1 Pet 5:5b and Jms 4:6; Mt 23:12 and Prov 3:34 why do you think God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble?
A: It might be for a couple of reasons.
It offends God, when He sees this sin.
It is bad for the person when they put their own honor or reputation above knowing Him.
It is not good for others, if they see a believer who is proud.

6. In 1 Pet 5:5b-6 is there any way of being humble, that if God asked you to do, you would have a hard time obeying? Why?
A: Some people can be humble in certain ways but not other ways. It is not only wrong, but also foolish to look down on people of a different caste, economic status, race, or ethnic group. Some people are not proud in this way, but they are proud in being reluctant to admit making a mistake, or reluctant to admit when they have sinned.

7. In 1 Pet 5:7 How is being anxious a sin of faithlessness?
A: We can and should cast our cares upon God, because we have faith that He can take care of all of our problems. If we choose not to do so, thinking that we are better off holding on to our anxieties ourselves, then we are not putting our faith in God for this point. Faith in God is not merely believing the right things, but also trusting over our lives to His care.

By the way, in 1 Peter 5:7 "cast" or "throw upon" the Greek word epiripsantes is an aorist which means it is an active thing we choose to do on our part.

8. In 1 Pet 5:8, while Satan is often subtle, that is not at all the picture Peter is giving here. Why do you think Peter might compare Satan to a roaring lion?
A: Like a hungry lion, Satan is relentless and ruthless. Sometimes a young, fast lion might silently stalk the pray, knowing it can win by speed. An older lion roar, both to startle the prey into a panic, and challenge the younger lions to back off. Peter comparing Satan to a roaring lion is also apropos because Nero threw Christians to lions in the Coliseum.

9. In 1 Pet 5:9 the Greek word for "resist" (antistete) is the same word in James 4:7; Ephesians 6:11-13; and 1 Peter 5:8. What or who exactly are we supposed to resist?
A: We are to resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Our enemy is not unbelievers, who themselves are trapped in sin, but Satan and the demons themselves.

10. In 1 Pet 5:10 the Greek de can be translated as "But" or "And". Which do you think it should be, and why?
A: While the Greek word can be translated either way, the many see "but as the closest translation, because the previous verse about Satan prowling like a lion and Christians undergoing suffering is a contrast to the God of all grace and eternal glory.
On the other hand, some would see the best choice as "and", because the previous verse mentions sufferings, and this verse talks about after you have suffered for a little while.
Perhaps the very best way is to understand this word, in this verse, as the Greek is: both "but" and "and". Since God works all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28), the world's "buts" become God's "ands".

11. In 1 Pet 5:13 and Rev 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2-21, who else referred to Babylon as Rome outside of the Bible?
A: While 1 Peter 5:13 does not specify that Babylon was Rome, it is almost universally understood by both early and modern Christians to refer to Rome. Almost all early Christians and many modern Christians also say the Babylon in Revelation refers to Rome. (A second view is that it is literal Babylon.) However, many people are not aware that Peter was not the first to consider Babylon as a code word for Rome. The apocryphal book 4 Ezra 3:1,28,31 refers to Babylon as Rome. The Jewish pseudepigraphal book Apocalypse of Baruch 10:1-3; 11:1; 67:7 does too, as does the Sybilline Oracles 5.153-168; 5:434.
As a side note, Babylon was in Peter's time a desert with only very few people living there according to Diodorus of Sicily (56-36 B.C.) in his work 2.9.9 and Strabo (who died 19 A.D.) in Geography 16.1.5.
See http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1peter.html for more info on Babylon as Rome and 1 Peter.

12. In 1 Pet 5:13 those who are in Babylon (i.e. Rome) send greetings. It does not say whether Christians are in "Babylon" by force, because they choose to be, or some each way. When should we choose to be in a spiritually dark place as a light for God, and when should we "flee Babylon" for spiritually more friendly places?
A: Many Christians are in spiritually dark places in the world today, and they have no opportunity to leave. God calls them to be a light in a dark place, and bloom where they are planted.
But when Christians have a choice, about remaining in a dark church, dark land, or working for a company in a spiritually dark place, here are some things to consider.
Are you being an effective witness where you are? Do people know you are a believer, and are people being drawn closer to Christ and/or coming to Christ? As time goes on, are people getting warmer to the gospel?
Or, as time goes on, are you growing colder towards the gospel? Do you start to think of yourself as pretty good, because you can compare yourself to them?
If you are living in a place with your spouse and family, are they being lights where they are? Or are they growing colder?
Are you a "lone ranger" Christian where you are, or do you have other believers you can fellowship with and minister with? If you are alone, consider "regrouping" to move to a place where there are other co-laborers.


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