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Reference: Peter, The Epistles Of


FIRST EPISTLE. Genuineness. Attested by 2Pe 3:1. Polycarp (in Eusebius 4:14); who in writing to the Philippians (Philippians 2) quotes 1Pe 1:13,21; 3:9; in Philippians 5; 1Pe 2:11. Eusebius (H. E. 3:39) says of Papins that he too quotes 1 Peter. Irenaeus (Haer. 4:9, section 2) expressly mentions it; in 4:16, section 5, 1Pe 2:16. Clemens Alex. (Strom. 1:3, 544) quotes 1Pe 2:11-12,15-16; and p. 562, 1Pe 1:21-22; and in 4:584, 1Pe 3:14-17; and p. 585, 1Pe 4:12-14. Origen (in Eusebius H. E. 6:25) mentions it; in Homily 7 on Joshua (vol. 2:63), both epistles; and in Commentary on Psalms and John 1Pe 3:18-21. Tertullian (Scorp. 12) quotes 1Pe 2:20-21; and in 14 1Pe 2:13,17. Eusebius calls 1 Peter one of "the universally acknowledged epistles.

The Peshito Syriac has it. Muratori's Fragm. of Canon omits it. The Paulicians alone rejected it. The internal evidence for it is strong. The author calls himself the apostle Peter (1Pe 1:1), "a witness of Christ's sufferings," and "an elder" (1Pe 5:1). The energetic style accords with Peter's character. Erasmus remarks this epistle is full of apostolical dignity and authority, worthy of the leader among the apostles.

PERSONS ADDRESSED. 1Pe 1:1; "to the elect strangers (pilgrims spiritually) of the dispersion," namely, Jewish Christians primarily. 1Pe 1:14. 1Pe 2:9-10; 4:3, prove that Gentile Christians, as grafted into the Christian Jewish stock and so becoming of the true Israel, are secondarily addressed. Thus the apostle of the circumcision seconded the apostle of the uncircumcision in uniting Jew and Gentile in the one Christ. Peter enumerates the provinces in the order from N.E, to S. and W. Pontus was the country of the Christian Jew Aquila.

Paul twice visited Galatia, founding and confirming churches. Crescens, his companion, went there just before Paul's last imprisonment (2Ti 4:10). Men of Cappadocia, as well as of "Pontus" and "Asia" (including Mysia, Lydia, Curia, Phrygia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia), were among Peter's hearers on Pentecost; these brought home to their native lands the first tidings of the gospel. In Lycaonia were the churches of Iconium, founded by Paul and Barnabas; of Lystra, Timothy's birthplace, where Paul was stoned; and of Derbe, the birthplace of Gains or Caius. In Pisidia was Antioch, where Paul preached (Acts 13) so effectively, but from which he was driven out by the Jews. In Caria was Miletus, where Paul convened the Ephesian elders.

In Phrygia Paul preached when visiting twice the neighbouring Galatia. The churches of Laodicea were Hierapolis and Colesse (having as members Philemon and Onesimus, and leaders Archippus and Epaphras). In Lydia was the Philadelphian church favorably noticed Re 3:7; that of Sardis the capital; Thyatira; and Ephesus, founded by Paul, laboured in by Aquila, Priscilla, Apollos, and Paul for three years, censured for leaving its first love (Re 2:4). Smyrna received unqualified praise. In Mysia was Pergamos. Troas was the scene of Paul's preaching, raising Eutychus, and staying with Carpus long subsequently.

Into Bithynia when Paul "assayed to go" the Spirit suffered him not; afterward the Spirit imparted to Bithynia the gospel, as 1Pe 1:1 implies, probably through Peter. These churches were in much the same state (1Pe 5:1-2 "feed") as when Paul addressed the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Ac 20:17,28, "feed".) Presbyter bishops ruled, Peter exercising a general superintendence. The persecutions to which they were exposed were annoyances and reproach for Christ's sake, because of their nut joining pagan neighbours in riotous living; so they needed warning lest they should fall. Ambition and lucre seeking are the evil tendencies against Which Peter warns the presbyters (1Pe 5:2-3), evil thoughts and words, and a lack of mutual sympathy among the members.

OBJECT. By the heavenly prospect before them, and by Christ the example, Peter consoles the partially persecuted, and prepares them for a severer ordeal coming. He exhorts all, husbands, wives, servants, elders, and people, by discharging relative duties to give the foe no handle for reproaching Christianity, rather to attract them to it; so Peter seeks to establish them in "the true grace of God wherein they stand "; but the Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Sinaiticus manuscripts read "stand ye," imperatively (1Pe 5:12), "Grace" is the keynote of Paul's doctrine which Peter confirms (Eph 2:5,8; Ro 5:2). He "exhorts and testifies" in this epistle on the ground of the gospel truths already well known to his readers by Pupil's teaching in those churches. He does not state the details of gospel grace, but takes them for granted (1Pe 1:8,18; 3:15; 2Pe 3:1).


(I) Inscription (1Pe 1:2).

(II) Stirs up believers' pure feeling, as born again of God, by the motive of hope to which God has regenerated us (1Pe 1:3-12), to bring forth faith's holy fruits, seeing that Christ redeemed us from sin at so costly a price (1Pe 1:13-21). Purified by the Spirit unto love of the brethren, as begotten of God's abiding word, spiritual priest-kings, to whom alone Christ is precious (1Pe 1:22-2:10). As Paul is the apostle of faith and John of love, so Peter of hope. After Christ's example in suffering, maintain a good "conversation" (conduct) in every relation (1Pe 2:11-3:14), and a good "profession" of faith, having in view Christ's once offered sacrifice and His future coming to judgment (1Pe 3:15-4:11); showing patience in adversity, as looking for future glorification with Christ

(1) in general as Christians (1Pe 4:12-19),

(2) each in his own relation (1Pe 5:1-11). "Beloved" separates the second part from the first (1Pe 2:11), and the third from the second (1Pe 4:12).

(III) The conclusion. Time and place of writing. It was before the systematic persecution of Christians in Nero's later years. The acquaintance evidenced with Paul's epistles written previous to or during his first imprisonment at Rome (ending A.D. 63) shows it was after them. Compare 1Pe 2:13 with Romans 13; 1Pe 2:18; Eph 6:5; 1Pe 1:2; Eph 1:4-7; 1Pe 1:3; Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:14; Ro 12:2; 1Pe 2:6-10; Ro 9:32-33; 1Pe 2:13; Ro 13:1-4; 1Pe 2:16; Ga 5:13; 1Pe 2:18; Eph 6:5; 1Pe 3:1; Eph 5:22; 1Pe 3:9; Ro 12:17; 1Pe 4:9; Ro 12:13; Php 2:14; Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:10; Ro 12:6-8; 1Pe 5:1; Ro 8:18; 1Pe 5:5; Eph 5:21; Php 2:3-8; 1Pe 5:8; 1Th 5:6; 1Pe 5:14; 1Co 16:20.

In 1Pe 5:13 Mark is mentioned as at Babylon; this must have been after Col 4:10 (A.D. 61-63), when Mark was with Paul at Rome but intending to go to Asia. It was either when he went to Colosse that he proceeded to Peter, thence to Ephesus, from whence (2Ti 4:11) Paul tells Timothy to bring him to Rome (A.D. 67 or 68); or after Paul's second imprisonment and death Peter testified to the same churches, those of Asia Minor, following up Paul's teachings. This is more likely, for Peter would hardly trench on Paul's field of labour during Paul's life. The Gentile as well as the Hebrew Christians would after Paul's removal naturally look to Peter and the spiritual fathers of the Jerusalem church for counsel wherewith to meet Judaizing Christians and heretics; false teachers may have appealed from Paul to James and Peter. Therefore Peter confirms Paul and shows there is no difference between their teachings. Origen's and Eusebius' statement that Peter visited the Asiatic churches in person seems probable.

PLACE. Peter wrote from Babylon (1Pe 5:13). He would never use a mystical name for Rome, found only in prophecy, in a matter of fact letter amidst ordinary salutations. The apostle of the circumcision would naturally be at Chaldaean Babylon where was "a great multitude of Jews" (Josephus, Ant. 15:2, section 2; 3, section 1). Cosmas Indicopleustes (sixth century) understood the Babylon to be outside the Roman empire. The order in which Peter enumerates the countries, from N.E. to S. and W., is such as one writing from Babylon would adopt. Silvanus, Paul's companion, subsequently Peter's, carried the epistle.

STYLE. Fervor and practical exhortation characterize this epistle, as was to be expected from the warm hearted writer. The logical reasoning of Paul is not here; but Paul's gospel, as communicated to Peter by Paul (Ga 1:18; 2

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