First Letter of Peter chapters 01, 02, beginning of 03


Cockerill, Gareth Lee.  The Epistle to the Hebrews.  Part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament edited by Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee.  (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2012).

Harrington, Daniel J., S.J.  Jude and 2 Peter.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Elliott, John H..  1 Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2000).

Harten, Patrick J.  James. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Koester, Craig R.  Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  Part of the Anchor Bible commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2001).

Long, Thomas G.  Hebrews.  Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1997).

Mitchell, Alan C.  Hebrews.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2007).

Perkins, Pheme.   First and Second Peter, James, and Jude.  Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).

Senior, Donald P., C.P.   1 Peter.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Wright, N. T.  Hebrews for Everyone.  Part of the New Testament for Everyone series edited by N. T. Wright.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).



Senior p. 3: “The First Letter of Peter is one of the New Testament’s most eloquent and theologically rich books.  This circular letter was written from Rome in the latter part of the first century C.E. to a series of Christian communities located north of the Taurus Mountains in several Roman Provinces of Asia Minor.  Its stated intent was to give witness to the sustaining beauty and power of the Christian faith and thereby to encourage the recipients who were suffering harassment and verbal abuse from the dominant non-Christian culture.  Purportedly written by the apostle Peter and delivered through his trusted associate Silvanus, the letter may have originated from a “Petrine group” in Rome …”



Senior p. 5:  Why NOT Peter?

  1. The quality of the Greek is too good for a fisherman
  2. Seems to quote the Greek Bible (Septuagint) and not the Hebrew version
  3. No mention of life experiences of Jesus / i.e. not personal relationship
  4. No mention of Paul
  5. Established leadership presumed in the communities – something that happened AFTER the life of Peter



Senior p. 7: written between 75 to 100 AD  (uses Babylon as code for Rome, description of trials / harassment in Turkey / Asia Minor matches what we know)

Senior p. 13: “Apparently many of the Christians n these communities were relatively new converts who had only recently stepped away from their former way of life.  The pressure for conformity may have been sever and could have caused some Christians to distance themselves from the community or even to renounce their faith.”

Senior p. 14: “Achtemeir notes, the “controlling metaphor” the letter applies to the Christians is that of “Israel” itself.  The Christians are the elect community; they are Israel – and therefore the author can rhetorically lavish on the Christians all the biblical imagery and symbols that described Israel and its destiny.”

Senior p. 16: the challenge to maintain Christian identity in a secular world but also to be engaged with it.  Precisely our challenge today.

The address of the Letter  1 Peter 1:1-2

Elect / sojourners = language from OT, chosen people, journey etc.  will be explored through the letter

Senior p. 28: “The Christians in these communities are “sojourners” or “strangers” not primarily because of any legal status but because their Christian faith and the values that flow from it set them apart from the surrounding culture.”

Senior p. 28: “Even through scattered through persecution and exile, the peoples of the diaspora remain one people destined for return and reunion.  1 Peter uses this same concept; although the communities addressed in the letter lead a fragile existence in alien territory and may even face the threat of persecution and suffering, they are nevertheless God’s own people and as such will endure.”

The Foundation of Christian Life  1 Peter 1:3-12

Senior p. 31: “The notion of “inheritance” also draws deeply on Old Testament theology.  The promises to Abraham and succeeding generations include the land of Israel and the experience of “peace” and blessing or prosperity.  Introducing this metaphor here follows through on the notion of new birth; the birthright of the Christian is a “living hope” …”

Senior p. 35: “First of all it roots the experience of salvation in a definitive act of God’s gracious mercy.  In raising Jesus Christ from the dead, God made known his intent to save or “rebeget” the Christian.  God is the center of focus and the object of praise for this act of mercy.”

Senior p. 36: “God’s mercy gives the believer the power to live in an authentic and enduring way that would be utterly impossible apart from God’ grace.  God’s salvation gives new life to the human being who otherwise would be condemned to a futile existence.”

The Call to Holiness  1 Peter 1:13-16

“gird your loins”  /  Passover story

Senior p. 41: “Only after strongly affirming the beauty and power of the Christians’ vocation and the new mode of existence into which they have been drawn does the author proceed to the demands of living out this new mode of existence.”

Fear before a God of Hope  I Peter 1:17-21

Senior p. 45: “Therefore the Christians cannot take their call to holiness casually.  The Christian sojourn in “exile” must be shot through with “fear” of God.  The whole tenor of 1 Peter suggests that the notion of “fear” implied here is not that of anxious or servile fear before an avenging G0od, but a sense of reverence or awe before the mystery of God and the sovereignty of God over all life.  Such an attitude of reverence has marked biblical piety from Moses to Jesus and is not incompatible with confident trust in God’s love.”

By the time of this letter there is a clearly established Christian theology related to redemption through Jesus that uses Passover imagery.




Earnestly Love One another from the Heart   1 Peter 1:22 – 2:3

Isaiah 40: 6-8


A voice says, “Proclaim!”

I answer, “What shall I proclaim?”

“All flesh is grass,

and all their loyalty like the flower of the field.


The grass withers, the flower wilts,

when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.”

“Yes, the people is grass!


The grass withers, the flower wilts,

but the word of our God stands forever.”


Senior p. 50: “Christian life is not solitary, but gives the believer a new identity as part of the people of God bound together in mutual love.  Because this “mutual love” is the consequence of god’s salvation, the vibrant communal life of the Christians is a witness to the world about the reality of God’s grace.”

The Living Stones and the Household of God  1 Peter 2:4-10

An emphasis on living stones indicates to me  that the physical temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed.  How shall we re-create the temple now?  For Jews – become people of the book in the synagogue, for Christians – WE are the temple/ body …  This answer came, at least partly, because it was a familiar thought in the diaspora.

Senior p. 60: “Verses 7 and 8 add a final comment on the stone symbolism.  For the believers Christ is indeed the precious foundation stone on which they base their new life.  But for those who reject Jesus and the gospel, who choose to remain in their lives of futility, this “stone” becomes the “stumbling stone.””

In particular – resurrected body and Jesus as one crucified as a criminal being the Messiah, chosen one of God.


Freedom and Responsibility    1 Peter 2:11-12

Senior p. 65: “The term “of the flesh,” or literally “fleshly,” does not necessarily mean only sexual promiscuity, but all those misguided and unrestrained desires that reflect a life of the flesh as opposed to a life of the Spirit.”    Similar to Paul.

Christian life is to be lived in the world, not in isolation (Qumran) or in battle.  Via engagement we witness to a different set of values and a conviction in the priority of God and Jesus Christ

A Commitment in the World   1 Peter 2:13-17

Senior p. 69: “As seems to be the case throughout the letter, the problems the Christians are encountering are probably not formal legal denunciations, but ridicule and criticism because the Christian code of conduct does not conform to usual customs and practices.”

Senior p. 70: “Reverential fear – often used in the bible to describe one’s homage to God – is reserved solely for God.” … not the king or emperor (who deserve honor and respect)

Senior p. 71: “By referring to political structures as “created” or “human” structures the author subtly subordinates all political structures and authorities to the sovereignty of God, the one who is the source of all creation and will ultimately guide it to its purpose.”

The Christian Witness of Slaves   1 Peter 2:18-25

Senior p. 77: “In 1 Peter the (household code/roles) list concerns Christians’ conduct not within the community but within the context of their societal roles.  The author singles out two groups for special attention: slaves or household servants and wives, especially those married to non-Christian husbands.  … the two groups that were most vulnerable …   The Christian slaves and wives become the prime exemplars of a commitment and struggle that ultimately all Christians had to face in their own settings.”

Within the community both slaves and women were treated as full and equal members.  This becomes the root for future liberation.


The Witness of Christian Wives and the Responsibilities of Christian Husbands 1 Peter 3:1-7

Senior p. 83: “The author is consistent in his expectations of the Christian stance in the world; only God is to be “feared” or given ultimate reverence (2:17) – no husband, however threatening, can require that of the Christian wife.”

Senior p. 84: “While Roman law gave women some degree of autonomy, the basic social mores required a subordinate role for women within the household.  The Christian wife married to a non-Christian husband who not only did not share but may even have been hostile to the Christian way of life was in a difficult position.”

Witness not on the street corners or door to door but by way of life.

Senior p. 88:

This is conformative: it reflects a cultural belief that women were “weaker” and needed a male’s protection; required deference to the husband; expected women to better model the virtues of modesty and gentleness

This is subversive: woman’s right to freely choose to be Christian despite her husband’s wishes; women as full members of the community and co-heirs to the promise; considers modesty and gentleness to be something ALL the community should witness to

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