First Letter of Peter chapters 03, 04, and 05

FALL BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:

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).

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Honorable Conduct 1 Peter 3:8-12

There is much here in common with Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 12 – so much so that Elliott p. 602 suggests that there was a common shared tradition that both drew upon.  Non-retaliation, compassion etc. identifying the Christian and Christian community life.

Psalm 34 is also drawn upon.

 

34:12-18

Come, children, listen to me;

I will teach you fear of the LORD.

Who is the man who delights in life,

who loves to see the good days?

 

Keep your tongue from evil,

your lips from speaking lies.

 

Turn from evil and do good;

seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are directed toward the righteous

and his ears toward their cry.

 

The LORD’s face is against evildoers

to wipe out their memory from the earth.

The righteous cry out, the LORD hears

and he rescues them from all their afflictions.

 

Do what is right despite suffering    1 Peter 3:13-117

Elliott p. 622: “…makes it unlikely that the suffering mentioned here is thought to be the result of state persecution.  Further evidence in the following verses concerning the mode of harassment adds to the conclusion that the suffering is the result of sporadic, local, unorganized assaults of a verbal nature.”

 

A lived-out Christian hope in a subjugated realm would be something that would attract questions from outsiders

 

Christ’s Suffering is the foundation  1 Peter 3:18-22

 

A lot of theology in a few verses.  Atonement for sinners through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Baptism – not so much in the washing away of sins but via faith it requires of us in Jesus which binds us to him and to his resurrection.  It is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus which is the core.

 

Baptismal blessing of the water today begins with Noah and the flood.

 

In an extensive discussion of possible interpretations Elliott proposes (p. 650 and ff) that the following concepts are connected: Jesus gone to heaven / saving of the righteous Noah and family / saving of baptized believers   AND   Jesus gone to “prison” / announcing the condemnation there of the disobedient angels.   1 Enoch traditions are involved.

 

He argues for Jesus NOT descending into hell but ascending through the realm of the dead to the higher heavens where the righteous will dwell.

 

Obedience to God’s Will   1 Peter 4:1-6

 

Elliott p. 711: “The focus on the behavior of both believers (upright conduct in accord with the will of God) and nonbelievers (Gentile vices) as well as the theme of innocent suffering unites this unit with (… previous sections).”

 

Elliott emphasizes that suffering, not death, is envisioned for Christians.  Suffering is disciplining in Israel tradition / wisdom tradition (spare the rod …)

 

Elliott p. 722: “In the NT, as elsewhere, vice lists such as these were often balanced with lists of virtues in order to illustrate acceptable and unacceptable modes of Christian conduct.  Most of the six vices here, all plurals in Greek, involve acts of excess that in actuality were abhorred by Greek and roman moralists as well.”

 

There were public and private associations / clubs / guilds that had banquets, drinking, etc.  and also provided funerals and other services to one another.  To not join or to not take part put one at some disadvantage – same way today women or minorities excluded from certain clubs …

 

Maintaining Solidarity in House of God  1 Peter 4:7-11

 

Without focusing on specific events like the destruction of the Temple or the volcano at Pompeii the author is confident that “this age” is coming to an end.  The confidence is rooted in the belief that Jesus’ death and resurrection are a turning point in history.

 

Elliott p. 761: “1 Peter reflects a period of the Church’s development when, apart from elders, there was no development of specialized ministries, offices, and hierarchical organization.  This points to a date prior to 1 Clement (96) and the letters of Ignatius (110) that presume a hierarchical distinction of single bishop, presbyters, and deacons.”

 

Suffering and Doing What is Right in Solidarity with Christ   1 Peter 4:12-19

 

How does the community relate to the outside world?  Engaged, willing to live by different values, patient with them and confident in the Lord.

 

Not meddling in the affairs of others (within the community, of non-believers) was important to remember.  It ran against the customs and values of Israel and of Greek and Roman society.  Elliott p. 788: “Seen in this light, this proscription of meddling may well have been intended to warn the addressees  to respect the social boundaries distinguishing them from outsiders, to keep their own house in order and beyond reproach, and to focus on attracting others rather than on criticizing them or meddling in their affairs.”   TODAY????

 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining Unity: Elders and subordinates    1 Peter 5:1-5

Through the whole letter the community is treated as if it were one household.  This image is used again now as the letter moves to its conclusion.

 

The elders are not “officials”.  Elliott p. 815: “They are, rather, leaders whose authority is conferred by tradition and exercise traditionally associated roles and functions.”

 

Episkopos / Episcopal – overseer    eventual bishop

 

Presbyter –  elder                              eventual priest

 

Elliott p. 842: “The unit as a whole constitutes a creative blending of a variety of motifs and traditions (people of God as flock, leaders as shepherds and overseers, Jesus’ teaching on Status and humble leadership, tradition concerning Peter as shepherd, and instruction on domestic duties extended to elder – younger roles within the community.)”

 

Mutual Humility of all, Resisting the Devil   1 Peter 5:5-11

Elliott p. 847: “The model for this humility is Jesus Christ, who in 2:18-25 is presented as the humble servant of God, the exemplar for lowly domestic slaves, who in turn are paradigmatic for the entire household of God.”

 

Reversal theme runs through OT and NT.

 

Postscript   1 Peter 5:12-14

Elliott p. 874: “The NT evidence that is available suggests that the Silvanus in 5:12 was the historical Silvanus, a former leading member of the Jerusalem church, and erstwhile colleague of Paul.  Having subsequently joined Peter and Mark in Rome and belonging to the Petrine circle responsible for the composition of 1 Peter, he was the one who brought the letter to the various Christian communities of Asia Minor.”

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