Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
January 25, 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.
- 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".
- 2. In sanctification of the Spirit.
- 3. Unto submission and a sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
- a. The question is raised as to whose "submission" is in view; that of the "believer" or that of Jesus?
- b. Whatever the answer, the "submission" and the "sprinkling" are "by the same person".
- 1) The "sprinkling of the blood" is a reference to the Old Testament sprinkling of the blood upon the people at the time of the initiation of a covenant (Exodus 24:8). This is reinforced in the other references to "sprinkling" in the New Testament -- Hebrews 9:13; 9:19; and 12:24. In that Old Testament setting, God's representative took the blood of a sacrifice and "sprinkled" it upon whatever was to be linked to the covenant. This "linking" was called "sanctifying" (Hebrews 9:13) and it worked effectively in terms of "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" (Hebrews 10:22) and such a linking occurred at the Passover when the blood that was "sprinkled" upon the doorposts "sanctified" those within the house (Hebrews 11:28). Thus, it is difficult to see how the "believer" would be the one who did the sprinkling upon himself. However, the question is whether Peter is attempting to say that a person becomes a citizen of Heaven (and, thus, a sojourner here) by "being sprinkled" or by "believing in the sprinkling that occurred apart from him/her". 1:22 has a direct bearing upon this question as it says "ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth...". But, 4:1 also has a direct bearing upon this question because it sets forth the example of Christ's "submission" as the basis for the believer to "arm yourselves also with the same purpose".
- 2) Thus, it appears that both Christ and the believer are involved in the "submission" and the "sprinkling". Both were accomplished by Jesus as the Great High Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant and particular individuals get to be recipients of that mediation at the point of becoming a citizen of Heaven.
- E. There is a good possibility that Peter was actually giving us a broad outline of his message of "True Grace" in his introduction.
- 1. There is a focus upon the "Father" in the early parts of the letter, most notably the opening words of the first post-intro paragraph (1:3) and then again in 1:17 which is about half of the way through the section that consists of 1:3-2:10. This "section" begins and ends with a clear focus upon the readers' position as the "people of God". At the beginning (1:3), and in the middle (1:23), there is a focus upon "being born again" and at the end (2:10), there is a focus upon those who have become the people of God. Interestingly, all of the references to "election" are contained in this section (1:2; 2:4, 6, and 9).
- 2. There is also a focus upon the sanctifying work of the Spirit in the words of 2:11-12 where the issue of being a "sojourner" is directly tied to "abstaining from fleshly lusts" and "keeping your behavior excellent among the Gentiles". If this is taken as the beginning of a "second" major section of the letter, the question of its "end" arises. It is interesting that 3:8 begins with "To sum up..." and that paragraph ends with 3:12 where "the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous...but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
- 3. Then, immediately into the "third" section that would begin at 3:13 we have a deliberate reference to "sanctifying Christ as Lord in your hearts" (3:15). This is followed by a consistent focus upon Christ's submission to suffering (3:18 and 4:1 and 4:13) that runs up to 4:19.
- 4. Then we have a final section consisting of chapter five where the "elders" are supposed to take the issues of "the sufferings of Christ" and "partaking also of the glory that is to be revealed" and apply them to their leadership of the church under the principle of 5:10 -- "after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory, will ... perfect ... you."