Welcome to our online Bible study in 1 Peter. This is an experiment for me, so let’s figure out what works. We’re using Sue Edwards’ study, 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times as a conversation starter, but feel free to weigh in from you own study. What I’d like to do is have a conversation. Share your thoughts about the passage or the comments of others. Just be kind in your comments—they will be moderated.
One thing I like about Sue’s study is that she divides the passage into several “core” sections. Within the section, she asks a nice selection of objective, interpretive, and application questions. She then has “digging deeper” questions that require the use of references (atlas, commentary, etc.) and “summit” questions that grapple with deeper theological issues. You can choose to do just the “core” questions or dig deeper, depending on your interests.
The question that most intrigued me in this passage is in the first verse, the greeting. Peter addresses this letter to the parepidimois, which is translated strangers, exiles, pilgrims, or refugees. She has a note that explains,
Peter wrote this letter to Gentiles, and probably some Jews, living in five Roman provinces (in the region now known as northern Turkey)… The Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) displaced people from their homelands in order to strengthen his empire through colonization. … The immigrants moved around by Emperor Claudius were naturally viewed as foreigners by the native populations. Complex social relationships accompanied by tension and misunderstanding were likely between Roman citizens and noncitizens, free and slave, rich and poor, and people of different ethnic backgrounds. These colonized regions were ripe for local persecution and Christians were a prime target.
As things in our nation change more rapidly than I’m comfortable with, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to being a citizen of another “country.” Paul tells us in Phil. 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven,” The subjects of the faith chapter in Hebrews 11 were “strangers and foreigners on the earth.” And Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:20 that we are “ambassadors” for Christ.” So I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means. It’s so easy to get caught up in the things of this world. What is it like to be an exile from one country and need to make a way in another place? What would it be like to be forcibly removed from my home and sent to a place where I don’t know the language or culture? Where I couldn’t earn a living? What resources would I have from my home country? Where would I need the resources of the host country?
I often wonder if I represent my home country (heaven) effectively now. If I don’t, how would I expect to do so under persecution? That’s who Peter is addressing his letter to. Exiles. Refugees.
What do I need to learn to represent my home country (heaven) now? And what more will I need if/when persecution comes?
I welcome you to weigh in on this question or anything else in 1 Peter 1:1-12.