Book of the Week 60: I Peter

Greek Name: PETROU A

Human Author: Peter (the Apostle)                                    

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 5

Basic Facts

  1. I Peter is the sixtieth book of the Bible.

  2. In terms of literary genre, I Peter is classified as an epistle, or letter.

  3. The Greek name for the book of I Peter is PETROU A which means, “of Peter – one.”

  4. Peter is addressing his letter to the Jewish diaspora in the Roman provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (I Peter 1:1).

  5. This letter was written by Sylvanus under Peter’s dictation (I Peter 5:12).

Story of the Book

Peter begins this letter by greeting his audience among the Jewish diaspora (I Peter 1:1-2). He rejoices over the assurance that believers have in Christ in the midst of persecution (I Peter 1:3-12). Peter calls his audience to a life of holiness, calling them to forsake their former life of sin and to pursue righteousness through the gospel revealed to them in Christ (I Peter 1:13-25). Next, Peter calls his audience to honorable behavior among their neighbors by using the analogy of the temple in which believers are built on the foundation stone (Christ) as living stones being build up into a holy temple in the Lord (I Peter 2:1-12). Peter urges believers to submit to human institutions as a means of witnessing to those around them regarding good behavior in Christ (I Peter 2:13-25). He then applies submissive behavior in Christ to marriages as he calls wives to purity and gentleness, and husbands to understanding (I Peter 3:1-7). Peter urges believers to practice mercy and love toward their neighbors and to refuse to repay evil with evil (I Peter 3:8-17). Peter asserts that Christ purchased salvation once and for all, comparing the work of Christ to Old Testament historical events (I Peter 3:18-22). Peter urges believers to live holy lives and forsaking the company of sinners to live their lives according to the flesh. He calls them to be contrasted with the world by humility, gentleness, and love because the end of all things is at hand (I Peter 4:1-11). He instructs believers not to be surprised by persecution, but rather to trust in Christ through suffering and rejoice in the Lord while doing good deeds (I Peter 4:12-19). Finally, Peter turns his attention to the elders and calls them to shepherd the flock of God well by clothing themselves with humility, eagerness to serve, and gentleness (I Peter 5:1-11). Peter closes with brief greetings for believers by name, acknowledging Silvanus who wrote this letter at Peter’s dictation (I Peter 5:12-14).

Jesus Revealed in I Peter

Peter reveals Jesus as the one who has given new birth and hope to all who believe in Him. Jesus purchased salvation once and for all through His atoning work on the cross (I Peter 3:18-22). Peter reveals Jesus as one who has given believers a living hope through the atoning work of Christ. As a result, believers are to live holy lives of love in the midst of a sinful world (I Peter 4:1-11). The call to holiness that Peter gives to his audience is deeply informed by his belief that the end of all things is at hand, including the return of Jesus. When Jesus returns, He will bring both judgment for the wicked and a welcome into His eternal kingdom for all believers who belong to Him. It is for this reason that Peter reveals Jesus as the one who died for the sins of all believers once and for all, and as the one who will immanently return. Therefore, Peter calls believers to entrust themselves to God the faithful Creator while doing good, believing that God will be merciful to believers on account of Christ (I Peter 4:19).