Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
January 11, 2009
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
- I. The Issue of This Introduction on the Authorial Side [It Boils Down To "Transformation" (see the notes of the previous study)<001>].
- II. The Issue(s) of the Introduction on the "Recipient" Side.
- A. Peter calls them "elect sojourners of the Diaspora". [The Focus is Upon the Fundamentals of Transformation (heavenly citizenship by election and subject to trouble as the "dispersed")].
- B. He identifies their geographical locations.
- 1. Pontus is an area of northern Asia Minor that borders the southern boundary of the Black Sea (it is a portion of modern day Turkey). It is only mentioned twice in the New Testament (here and in Acts 2:9 where those who were present to hear the message at Pentecost were listed).
- 2. Galatia, according to the Online Bible, was in central Asia Minor with Bithynia and Paphlagonia on its northern border, Pontus on its eastern border, Phrygia on the western border and Cappadocia and Lycaonia on the southern border.
- 3. Cappadocia is south of Pontus and Galatia and is also mentioned in Acts 2:9.
- 4. Asia is the part of Asia Minor that lay west of the Pontus-Galatia-Cappadocia region (included the Phyrgian region of Acts 2:10 as well as the region of Revelation 1:4 to which the letters of Revelation 2-3 were dispatched).
- 5. Bithynia is west of Pontus on the southern edge of the Black Sea. This was an area into which Paul was planning to go in Acts 16:7 when the Spirit "suffered them not".
- C. That he identified his location as "Babylon" in 5:13 indicates that this letter was written in the last decade of his life while he was in Rome (according to the Ryrie Study Bible notes on 1 Peter). This pretty much eliminates the notion that he was writing to "Jewish" believers as "the apostle to the Jews" as the churches in this region of the world were not predominantly "Jewish", nor was the time frame conducive to a "Jews-only" readership. There is a question as to why the letter went to this geographical area, but that may well be answered by the focus of Revelation 2-3 as an indicator that Christianity had it largest presence here.
- D. He focuses upon the relationship of his readers to the Triune God (Father, Spirit, Son).
- 1. "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father".
- a. The question here is the matter of just "what" was "according to this foreknowledge". The translators of the Authorized Version and NASB both refer it to the adjective "elect" so that the action of divine election was "according to the standard of 'foreknowledge'". However, it might be that Peter had the fact of their "citizenship" in mind rather than their "election". The adjective, "elect" stands in the text as a modifier of the primary noun, "sojourners", which is, in turn modified by the genitive of the word "Diaspora". As an adjective, "elect" focuses the reader's attention upon how they became "sojourners", but the noun is the major issue, not the adjective. In other words, it may well be that Peter had the fact of their citizenship in mind more than their election and, if this be so, it was their status as citizens of heaven that was "according to the foreknowledge of God" rather than their election as well as their status as "sojourners" under fire for their faith and love. It is of far greater "comfort" to know that one's present circumstances are under the long oversight of God than it is to know that one's "election" was under such oversight.
- b. Second is the question of just what the "point" of "foreknowledge" is. The word, as a noun, is only used twice in the New Testament, both by Peter (here and in Acts 2:23). But, in its verbal form it is used five times. In Acts 26:5 Paul used it to refer to people who "knew" him for a significant period of previous time. In Romans 8:29 Paul used it to refer to those who were "foreknown" by God and then were "predestined" by Him. In Romans 11:2 Paul used it to refer to the "inner" group of "Israel" who were specially preserved by God from apostasy so that they were the true Israel to which he referred in his teaching in Romans 9. Peter used the verb in 1 Peter 1:20 to make a distinction between what God planned long ago and when that plan was actually accomplished in human history. And he also used it in 2 Peter 3:17 to refer to things his readers "know before they become historical realities". These uses indicate a significant grasp of particular details in a previous "time" setting that are useful to the one(s) who has/have that grasp when "history" catches up with the knowledge. What one knows makes a difference in how one acts as the situations of the present time unfold. That God knew ahead of time about the developing situation of the "sojourners" is of significant comfort: our situations in life do not "catch God by surprise".
- c. The conclusion of the matter seems to be thus: Peter is intent upon his readers in respect to whether they respond to their circumstances properly. It seems that he sensed that they would do that better if they were clear on the fact that their Father was completely aware of them in those circumstances. This makes more sense to me than the idea that Peter was attempting to get his readers to grasp the basis for their "election".
- 2. In sanctification of the Spirit.
- 3. Unto submission and a sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.