About This Course:
To take this bible study course, first read the introduction below. Then proceed by clicking on the link to Chapter 1. Read the questions concerning that chapter, then read the appropriate chapter of your bible. Then return to the web page to read analysis and answers to the questions. Continue through each chapter at your own pace.
Biographical Notes on Peter:
Peter, of course, was a fisherman as well as "a fisher of men". His parents gave him the name Simon. He was later given the name Cephas, or Peter, by Jesus. The name means "Rock", and with this name Christ bestowed upon Peter the responsibility of being the foundation for the church yet to come.
Peter was the leader of the 12 apostles selected by Jesus as his chief followers. Peter was also among the three who witnessed the transfiguration. His presence there is mentioned in the second letter as well as in the gospels.
Peter, was well known for his promise to support Christ throughout his trials and then having denied Jesus three times on the eve of the Crucifixion. Christ, forgave his weakness and Peter went on to do great things for the church. Indeed, he was a leader of the Church in Jerusalem and later worked to evangelize large areas of Asia Minor. In the early 60s AD he travelled to Rome where it is thought he may have spent some time with Paul before his trial by Nero.
Peter's letters were assumed to have been written about this time to his flock in Asia Minor. Peter himself soon became the object of persecution and while fleeing Rome he is said to have seen an apparition of Christ who convinced him to go back and face his accusers. And so he atoned for his denial of Christ at the Crucifixion. Tradition holds that Peter asked as his punishment to be crucified upside down as a symbolic gesture showing his continued subservience to Christ.
Overview of the Letters of Peter
It seems there are interminable disputes over the authorship of biblical letters and gospels. Sometimes these arguments shed light on the meaning of God's word, and at others they are just so much wind rushing over the pages of history.
The authorship of the First Epistle of Peter actually seems quite clear. There is little doubt about the date of its writing. Because of its lovely style coupled with concise argument it has been argued that Peter, the fisherman, could not possibly have written it. Indeed, the letter itself points out that the letter is from Peter, "through Sylvanus".
This was the same Sylvanus mentioned in Acts as Silas. He was also a prominent churchman much valued by Paul. He was a Roman citizen and well trained in the art of "rhetoric" or communication. It is evident that Peter drafted the letter and Sylvanus polished it up a bit which explains its style as well as its content.
This first letter is sent to Peter's flock in Asia Minor and it directly addresses persecution and how to deal with it. Peter reminds Christians of the imminent coming of Christ and prays that this will help to sustain them through their trials. There is much more in this book that recommends itself to us today, which we will address in more detail in later lessons.
The authorship of the Second Letter of Peter is in more doubt. It makes references to incidents that did not occur until after Peter's untimely death. Yet it was accepted by the church fathers as a valuable document. It does much to sum up ideas about faith, Christ and life. It also authentically conveys the true knowledge of Jesus as passed through his disciples.
Letters of Peter Home
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3