November 2 - 1 Peter 1:1b-2

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 2 - 1 Peter 1:1b-2

To whom was Peter writing? There's a lot of information in these verses.

God's elect. These are God's chosen people. This is no longer limited to just the Israelites, but now reaches out to Gentiles and Jews alike.

Strangers in the world. This means exactly what it says. Strong's says it is "one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives." We live beside the natives, but we aren't from this world. Phillipians 3:20 tells us that our citizenship is in heaven.

Scattered throughout ... The word 'scattered' is the word 'diaspora' which is a technical term used to describe the Jews who lived outside of Palestine. John used it in John 7:35 and James in James 1:1. Many of the Jews had never returned to Palestine after the Babylonians had taken them into exile. But, the use of this term does not mean that Peter is only writing to Jews. He is writing to Jews scattered throughout Asia and to Christians that have been interspersed into the culture as well.

If you look at Acts 2:9-10, you will find these cities listed there as well. These people had heard Peter speak on the Day of Pentecost. In Peter H. David's commentary he tells us that these are Christians that live in the northwest quadrant of Asia Minor where it borders the Black Sea (See this map). In Acts 16:6-10, Luke tells us that Paul was not allowed to evangelize there. He had established churches in the southern area of Galatia and in the western areas of Asia, but we don't know who was in the north, establishing churches. There is a possibility that it was Peter himself, but we can't know for sure.

Just as the churches in the Revelation of John are listed in the order that a postal messenger would travel, so are these. This would have been a very long trip for the messenger and these communities were in the 'backwoods' of the Roman Empire.

1 Peter 1:2. Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.

Not only are the readers of this letter the 'elect' or 'chosen,' but Peter reminds us that we are chosen before we were born. This transcends any purpose that we feel we have on this earth. God knew us before we were born. Jeremiah was told by the Lord that God had set him apart before he was even formed in the womb.

We also see Peter acknowledge the Trinity in this verse. The doctrine of the early Christian church is being set into place.

1 Peter 1:2b. Grace and peace be yours in abundance. The Greek word for 'grace' is 'charis.' This is very similar to a standard Greek salutation 'chaire' or 'cheers!' Peter knows what he is doing. Then, he offers peace and both of these are offered in abundance or better yet in multiplication ... more than just a little ... abundance.

We are chosen and sanctified for obedience. We are foreigners ... travelers in an alien world. We are intermixed with non believers. Peter is writing to us. He has a lot to say.