1 Peter (1 Pet)

Book 21 of the NT, having 5 chapters. The apostle Peter wrote this letter, about AD 64, to Jewish believers scattered throughout the world of his time. Time to read: 15 mins.

Key people: Peter, Silvanus, Mark.

Outline: It was written to offer encouragement to the suffering Christians who, because of intense persecution, had scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Its message is ‘Let your faith help you to endure; don’t let go because of the trouble you are experiencing.’ Christ is presented as both the hope in the midst of suffering and as the example of how to faithfully endure it.

Main lesson: “Above all, love each other deeply, from the heart, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 1:22, 4:8). This is not being blind to the faults in others but rather it doesn’t accentuate them, looking instead for the best in others.

Key verses and thoughts: * “...you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine...” (1 Pet 1:6,7). Trials refine and are of benefit to faith. Because their lifestyle was in marked contrast to the evil practices of the unbelievers, these Christians were being persecuted.

Peter said that just as gold is not destroyed but refined through intense heat (as the impurities come to the surface and are discarded), so believers who remain faithful and come through the process victorious are prepared for more effective service for Christ. To those who are persecuted and even killed for their steadfast allegiance to Christ their eternal destiny remains intact – everlasting life with God. Is my faith in Christ robust and able to withstand whatever comes against it?       

* “...offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” (1 Pet 2:5). Following the surrendering of ourselves to God is the ongoing responsibility of living it out in daily life by dealing with issues, attitudes and the ever-increasing refinement of purifying of our lives (Rom 12:1; 2 Cor 8:5).  This will continue until the day we die. It will involve our responding as Jesus would have us do, to the adverse treatment from others – by “Not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult, but with a blessing...because to this were you called so that you may inherit a blessing”. So pay attention to each area of your lifestyle “turning from evil to doing good…for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous…He listens to their prayers” (1 Pet 3:9-12).

* By a Godly lifestyle an unbelieving spouse may be won to Christ.  The emphasis is not on outward beauty but rather the inner character. Peter goes on to say, “Live rightly so your prayers are not hindered” (1 Pet 3:1-7). The power and importance of living out the new life is of the utmost significance as actions speak much louder than words. Live quietly and consistently and those close to you will see Christ in you.

* “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1 Pet 5:8,9). Ensure it isn’t you, or those who you are responsible for, who weaken under pressure or fall for his schemes. Lions as a rule attack sick or young animals that are alone and not alert. We are vulnerable when tired, discouraged, alone or solely focused on our troubles. We need the support and company of others especially during these periods. Do I look out for those who are susceptible to attack?

See also: 2 Peter, Peter, suffering, trials.