- Scripture tells us very little about the Apostle Peter’s later ministry. According to church tradition, he traveled as far as Rome, where he spent the final years of his life (martyred 67 AD).
- This letter is addressed to “those who reside as aliens scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” (1:1) all Roman provinces in modern day Turkey. We do not know what Peter’s connection might have been with these believers, nor do we know whether they were literally displaced from their homes or simply strangers and exiles on this earth.
- According to 5:13, he wrote from “Babylon,” which is probably a veiled reference to Rome. If this is the case, the letter must have been written early to mid 60’s AD.
- His readers were suffering for their faith (perhaps the persecution under Nero). It was not easy to follow Christ in a pagan culture. They found themselves slandered and treated as outcasts by neighbors. Peter encouraged them to remain faithful, holding onto their hope in Christ.
- One of the main themes of the letter is what Christ accomplished for us in His death and resurrection, taking our place so we could be forgiven.
- Believers are to follow in Christ’s example of righteous suffering.
- The purpose of the letter, according to Peter’s words in 5:12, was to urge his readers to stand firm in the grace of God, a word he uses often (8 times) throughout these chapters.
A Living Hope: (1:1-9)
1. The letter opens, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Peter was actually the name given to him by the Lord (John 1:42; Matt. 16:18). Do you remember what it means? Sometimes we don’t feel very solid, or immovable, in ourselves. Where do we find those qualities?
2. Right away, Peter reminds us that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are central to our Christian faith. Because of what Christ accomplished for us, we are able:
- to experience forgiveness, our sins have been sprinkled with His b_________________
- to be b_______________ again
- to have h_______________ for eternity
- to be made holy, living a life of o_______________ to God
3. We hear that phrase often, to be a “born-again Christian.” What does it mean? How does this new birth happen (see 1:23, 2:34-25)? If one is not “born again,” are they really saved? (see also John 3:3)
4. What does Peter say, in verse 4, about the inheritance that has been reserved for God’s people in heaven? Can anyone take this away from us? People spend a great deal of effort storing away an earthly treasures, but why is it much better to focus on the riches of heaven?
5. Believers may find themselves under Satan’s attack, harassed by the world, or even tripped up by our own weaknesses. But what encouragement are we given in verse 5? What protects us in every threat?
6. According verses 6-9, how is the Lord able to use the various trials we face for good? These troubles can be very painful. What do we need to remember, so we will not lose hope?
Righteous Suffering: (2:21-23; 3:13-16; 5:6-10)
7. The apostle points to the example of Jesus, in 2:21-23, to show us how to handle opposition. How was Christ treated by the people He came to save? What kind of attitude did He have for those who hated him? Did He retaliate or call down fire from heaven to consume them?
8. Whatever distress or afflictions we might have, the believer must entrust Himself to God. Why?
9. We live in a culture that is growing increasingly hostile to our biblical worldview. How are we to respond, according to 3:13-16? What does Peter urge us to be ready to do? In what way are we are blessed when suffering for the gospel (see also 4:14-16)?
10. Who is our adversary, prowling around seeking to devour? What are some ways we are able to overcome? Who is always on our side, whatever trials we are facing? How do we find His strength?