1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
Introduction – The Man
The Apostle Peter by the time of this epistle was a seasoned minister and missionary. He was an elder and mentor to the early church. In the beginning it was not so; Peter had a knack for putting his foot in his mouth among other things. He was brash, spontaneous and forceful but at the same time he could be humble, tender and giving. Peter, in the garden where Jesus was captured, picked up a sword ready to fight to the death only to deny his Lord three times later that same day. Such were the early days of Peter.
Now as this epistle opens Peter is two or three years away from martyrdom which he suffered in Rome. (63-64AD) Peter doesn’t speak of this in his 1st epistle but he will make reference to his time being short in 2 Peter.
How old was Peter? I’m not sure, we can get rather close to the time in history, 60-61AD, when the epistle was written but we don’t know when Peter was born. Peter, as well as the other disciples, was paired up by Jesus in groups of two in order to preach the word. In Jewish culture you wouldn’t be given an audience to speak unless you were 30 years of age so if we suppose Peter to be age 30 when Jesus’ ministry started then he would be about 60 years old at this time.
Who is Peter addressing? In this case we have names of provinces. Some of these you will remember as being places where the Apostle Paul visited. Peter was addressing Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike. Some would say wait a minute, it says strangers which must mean Jews in a foreign land. The word stranger here means pilgrim and can also mean Christians whose home is now heaven. In chapter 4:3-4 Peter talks about steering clear of the old Gentile way so I believe Peter is addressing Christians no matter where they come from. Addressing Jews and Gentiles is a change from Peter’s earlier years. Several times as a young disciple Peter hung on to racial prejudices common amongst Jews thinking that non-Jews were inferior. Acts 10 was a huge turning point for Peter when God taught him that all men are equal in God’s eyes. All men are God’s creation; there is no room for bigotry.
Now for the area this epistle was going to: The region is in Asia Minor with the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the north. The places listed by Peter are in the northern section of modern day Turkey and the terrain is mountainous.
A repeating theme throughout the book is “suffering”. As you well know life is not a bed of roses. There are those today who suggest that if you are right with God then life will be easy. Obviously there were people in Peter’s day that said the same thing. The Apostle Peter will address this issue dispelling the notion that bad things only happen to bad people. Why do bad things happen to good people? That’s a big question and as we study through the epistles of Peter we will build an answer to that question.
Closing Remarks: Bithynia
One of the places Peter addresses is Bithynia. This is an answer to a question many have asked about an event that happened during Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys. In Acts 16:7 Paul is told to stay out of Bithynia causing some to wonder why. Was God not going to give them a chance to hear the gospel? Here in the very first verse of 1 Peter we get our answer: Paul was told to bypass Bithynia, God’s plan didn’t rule them out; He had a different time and person for that area. What we can conclude is God wants all to hear the gospel but in a time and place of God’s choosing to maximize their chance to hear and obey the gospel.
March 1, 2014 at 9:48 am
I love Peter. Thank you for educating me more about him!!!!
March 1, 2014 at 9:52 am
Thank you Kate. I enjoyed the Morning Coffee series but my heart is in verse by verse studies. It’s as comfortable to me as when I see you shine telling stories of your past and present adventures.
Thanks for your faithfulness to our site.
A Fellow Servant
March 1, 2014 at 10:06 am
Cool. This is a great birthday present. 😄 I’m really looking forward to this series. Thanks brother.
March 1, 2014 at 10:12 am
Well hold on, foreknowledge and elect are next up. The fur is about to fly.
March 1, 2014 at 10:12 am
Happy birthday brother.
Steven Paul, a Christ follower...
March 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm
This is well laid out! Peter is an interesting servant of God. He was an “all in or all out” type! He did not want Jesus to wash his feet, yet when he was told he could not be a part of the body if he refused, he responded with “wash all of me!”
He also denied Christ just before the cross, but was later restored, of course. Peter was a great example of a man who loved Jesus and brought many to the cause of Christ as an Apostle!
March 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm
Thank you Steven, I am looking forward to the study. I am planning to do at least 2 a week. If I can do 3 I will but I don’t want the content to suffer for it.
Steven Paul, a Christ follower...
March 1, 2014 at 9:07 pm
Very good! I’ll be looking in on you for sure…
March 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm
Nice intro Dennis. Two thoughts come to my mind. The radical change in Peter, and him taking the Gospel to Bithynia. God was working in Peter both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phill. 2:13). Thanks. I’m looking forward to your series.
March 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm
Thanks Levi. I am excited to get back to verse by verse studies. With the time I have I couldn’t do both, that’s one of the two reasons why I asked you to take over Morning Coffee. The other was my job. I felt guilty answering comments at work. We are supposed to be worthy of our hire.
I am also excited for your moderation of Morning Coffee. I hope you get good support and are able to use it as a ministry.
March 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm
I understand. I am still going to write a piece everyday. We will see how it goes. Hopefully The Lord will use it. I had forgotten but this next week I will be working at the Home and Garden show. It is a really big event. The Master Gardeners have a 3000 sq. ft. area. I am in charge of a lot of it. I may be slow on moderating next week.
March 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm
Good intro. Looking forward to this series! =)
March 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm
Thank you brother. Verse two is on deck so the fur is about to fly.