The Epistles of Peter & Jude Lesson 1: Introduction to First Peter The Writer, Recipients & Purpose of First Peter “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1)
The Writer: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” • Peter was called to be a disciple (Matthew 4:18) • He was appointed as an apostle of Christ (Matthew 10:2) • He was entrusted with the keys of the kingdom and with the authority to bind and loose (Matthew 16:19; 18:18) • The authority and significance of the apostles in the church can scarcely be overstated (Ephesians 3:4-5; 2:20; 2 Peter 3:2; 1 Corinthians 12:28)
The Recipients: “Pilgrims of the Dispersion” • The term dispersionwas commonly used to describe Jews who had been dispersed from Palestine to other lands. (John 7:35; cf. James 1:1) • God had scattered the Jews because of their disobedience (Deut. 28:64-66; Psalm 44:11) • Galatians 2:8 shows that Peter’s apostleship was primarily to the Jews (although not exclusively so, cf. Acts 10 & 11) • It is possible that not every recipient of this epistle had been a Jew (2:10; 4:3-4)
The Recipients: “Pilgrims of the Dispersion” Locations Mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1
The Recipients: “Pilgrims of the Dispersion” • The term pilgrims describes those who are foreigners or resident aliens. • Just as the dispersed Israelites had lived as foreigners in the countries they inhabited, so Christians are to live in this world as spiritual foreigners (1 Peter 2:11-12) • Peter is writing to God’s chosen people • To those he identifies as “elect” and “Christians” (1 Peter 1:2; 4:16)
The Purpose: “Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings” • A central theme of 1 Peter is that it is a privilege and blessing to suffer for Christ. (1 Peter 1:11; 2:19-23; 3:14-20; 4:1,12-16, 19; 5:9-10) • Our pilgrimage is full of hardship, but it will lead to stronger faith, holier lives, fuller submission and a greater longing for our heavenly home.