Peter’s Message in His First Epistle

The First Epistle of Peter is attributed to Peter, the apostle of Jesus. He writes his letter to the scattered followers of “the way” located throughout the Asia Minor region. He says the people of these regions (the five Eastern Roman provinces) have been chosen with “foreknowledge” by God to be “obedient” to Jesus. Thus the god of Peter is consistent with YHWH, the uniquely separate and distant God of the Hebrew Bible -a god who predetermines his chosen people.

He reminds the people that their long “suffering” will be turned into joy in the “last days.” The people should live out their time here on earth in “fear” as “strangers” or “foreigners.” Peter calls them a “special” and “holy” people that have been “chosen.” What better to persuade people to rise up in strength, than by claiming they are “unique” and “chosen” as distant from others.

He encourages the Eastern Roman churches to remain strong and reject the Pagan way of life. Peter tells them to remain steadfast in the face of suffering.

Peter instructs wives to “submit” to their husbands (3:1-6) in order that they may be driven closer to Godliness. He rejects outward beauty in favor of inner beauty. He encourages continence (perhaps akin to the kind and quality of Socrates) in standing against the drunkenness, debauchery, orgies, and lust of the Romans.

Peter reminds them to excellent shepherds. Why? So that they may receive rewards when Jesus returns. Unlike the great Athenians who competed merely for virtue and respects, the theological behaves well in order to reap future rewards.

He closes with a greeting from Silas, and a blessing from Babylon from his son, Mark, as well. Peter closes by commanding the people to greet each other with a “kiss of love.”

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