Questions for Chapter 1:
1. Why should we give thanks to God, our Father?
2. What is the purpose of suffering?
3. How should we live our lives as we wait for salvation?
Answers to Questions:
Answer to Question 1:
This letter from Peter was addressed to five churches of Asia Minor. These churches covered a broad area and were comprised of mostly new Christians who had been Gentiles. Peter reminds his readers that they are God's chosen people.
Because we also are God's chosen people, we are heir to the inheritance given to the recipiants this letter...so, in a sense, this letter is also addressed to us. Peter tells us to give thanks to God because "by his great mercy, he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death."
Throughout the history of the Church, there has been much argument about the nature of the Trinity. But there has also been agreement on certain points. First that there are three forces that strongly figure in our theology. These forces are God the Father, Jesus the son and finally the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. Each has a roll to play. The Father in many ways represents the mind - or the logical movement and historical force of Christianity. The Holy Spirit represents the Soul and emotional force of our belief system. And Christ represents the physical presence of God on Earth.
What is so significant about Christ's rising is that it represents for all Christians the promise of our own rising after death. As Peter points out, "And so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people."
Answer to Question 2:
Now in verse 6 Peter reminds us that because of the promise of salvation we should "be glad" even though you "may suffer many trials." And these trials actually have a purpose..."to prove that your faith is genuine". He points out that even gold is tested by fire.
Are we persecuted for being Christians today? In the United States and across Europe we are not persecuted in the same way that Christians were in Rome during the time the letter was written. Yet in such countries as China a great deal of very harsh persecution goes on.
Nevertheless, Christianity, and other morally based religions, have come more and more under assault by mass media and even individuals. Christians are often portrayed as intolerant or inflexible in TV shows and movies. Many Christians in college and high-school are ridiculed for their beliefs. This negative stereotyping and harassments is difficult to compare with the kind of physical torture and death that Christians experienced in the Roman Empire under Nero and Diocletian. However, we can still see how such assaults can erode belief and make us wish to hide our religious affiliations. Some even shun their beliefs so that they can be part of a peer group.
Perhaps our "persecutions and trials" are more insidious, in that they are not so obvious, and for this reason we should be more on our guard in our own hearts. Peter knew all about denying Christ. He was tested on the very eve of the Crucifixion. He knows we will be tested in some manner and encourages us all to remember that those who remain true to their faith will achieve a higher reward.
Answer to Question 3:
Having already reminded us that we should give thanks to God and that we should bear our sufferings gladly, Peter goes on in verses 13-25 to exhort us to Holy Living. He tells us to "keep alert and set your hopes on the return of Christ. Be obedient to God and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. Be holy in what you do."
There is a popular acronym that is circulating, "WWJD". It has become so common that it seems almost trite, "What would Jesus do?" Yet this small phrase, if taken seriously, can be a guiding principle for living. When confronted with a situation we should think on what the Christian response should be. Peter says in no uncertain terms in verse 22, "Love one another earnestly with all your heart." Or as Jesus said in his famous commandment, "Love one another as you love yourself."
Peter points the way to right action and the "good" life.
Letters of Peter Home
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3