1 Peter

by Ken Cayce

© Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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1 Peter Explained

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Book of 1 Peter Explained

Title: The letter has always been identified (as are most general epistles, like James, John and Jude), with the name of the author, Peter. And with the notation that it was his first inspired letter.

Author - Date: The opening verse of the epistle claims it was written by Peter, who was clearly the leader among Christ's apostles. The gospel writers emphasize this fact by placing his name at the head of each list of apostles (Matt. chapter 10; Mark chapter 3; Luke chapter 6; Acts chapter 1), and including more information about him in the 4 gospels than any person other than Christ. Originally known as Simon (Greek), or Simeon (Hebrew); compare (Mark 1:16; John 1:40-41). Peter was the son of Jonas (Matt. 16:17), who was also known as John (John 1:42), and a member of a family of fishermen who lived in Bethsaida and later Capernaum. Andrew, Peter's brother, brought him to Christ (John 1:40-42). He was married, and his wife apparently accompanied him in his ministry (Mark 1:29-31; 1 Cor. 9:5).

Peter was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, when he was called to follow Jesus. His brother, Andrew, was a fisherman, as well. Peter was married and had a home in Capernaum. When Jesus called Peter, he left his nets and followed Jesus.

Peter was called to follow Christ in His early ministry (Mark 1:16-17), and was later appointed to apostleship (Matt. 10:2; Mark 3:14-16). Christ renamed him Peter (Greek), or Cephas (Aramaic), both words meaning "stone" or "rock" (John 1:42). The Lord clearly singled out Peter for special lessons throughout the gospels (e.g. Matt. Chapter 10; 16:13-21; 17:1-9; 24:1-7; 26:31-33; John 6:6; 21:3-7; 15-17). He was the spokesman for the 12, articulating their thoughts and questions as well as his own. His triumphs and weaknesses are chronicled (in the gospels and Acts chapters 1-12).

There are many outstanding things about Peter. This is the same Peter, who was chosen with James and John to carry out special tasks for the Lord Jesus. This is the same Peter, who walked on the water. He is the same Peter, who saw the transfiguration. He is the same Peter, who told Jesus who He was, when people were guessing who Jesus was. He said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Because of his unique prominence, there was no shortage in the early church of documents falsely claiming to be written by Peter. That the Apostle Peter is the author of 1 Peter however, is certain. The material in this letters bears definite resemblance to his messages in the book of Acts. The letter teaches, for example, that Christ is the Stone rejected by the builder (2:7-8; Acts 4:10-11), and that Christ is no respecter of persons (1:17; Acts 10:34). Peter teaches his readers to "clothe yourselves with humility" (5:5), an echo of the Lord's girding Himself with a towel and washing the disciples' feet (John 13:3-5). There are other statements in the letter similar to Christ's sayings (4:14; 5:7-8). Moreover, the author claims to have been a witness of the sufferings of Christ (5:1; compare 3:18; 4:1). In addition to these internal evidences, it is noteworthy that the early Christians universally recognized this letter as the work of Peter.

The only significant doubt to be raised about Peter's authorship arises from the rather classical style of Greek employed in the letter. Some have argued that Peter, being an "uneducated" fisherman (Acts 4:13), could not have written in sophisticated Greek, especially in light of the less classical style of Greek (employed in the writing of 2 Peter). However, this argument is not without a good answer. In the first place, that Peter was "uneducated' does not mean that he was illiterate, but only that he was without formal, rabbinical training in the Scriptures. Moreover, though Aramaic may have been Peter's primary language, Greek would have been a widely spoken second language in Palestine. It is also apparent that at least some of the authors of the New Testament, though not highly educated, could read the Greek of the Old Testament Septuagint (see James' use of the LXX in Acts 15:14-18).

Beyond these evidences of Peter's ability in Greek, Peter also explained (5:12), that he wrote this letter "through Silvanus", also known as Silas. Silvanus was likely the messenger designated to take this letter to its intended readers. But more is implied by this statement in that Peter is acknowledging that Silvanus served as his secretary, or amanuensis. Dictation was common in the ancient Roman world (compare Paul and Tertius; Romans 16:22), and secretaries often could aid with syntax and grammar. So Peter, under the superintendence of the Spirit of God, dictated the letter to Silvanus, while Silvanus, who also was a prophet (Acts 15:32), may have aided in some of the composition of the more classical Greek.

1 Peter was most likely written just before or shortly after July, A.D. 64 when the city of Rome burned, thus a writing date of ca. A.D. 64-65.

Background - Setting: When the city of Rome burned, the Romans believed that their emperor, Nero, had set the city on fire, probably because of his incredible lust to build. In order to build more, he had to destroy what already existed.

The Romans were totally devastated. Their culture, in a sense, went down with the city. All the religious elements of their life were destroyed, their great temples, shrines, and even their household idols were burned up. This had great religious implications because it made them believe that their deities had been unable to deal with this conflagration and were also victims of it. The people were homeless and hopeless. Many had been killed. Their bitter resentment was severe, so Nero realized that he had to redirect the hostility.

The emperor's chosen scapegoat was the Christians, who were already hated because they were associated with Jews, and because they were seen as being hostile to the Roman culture. Nero spread the word quickly that the Christians had set the fires. Thus, a vicious persecution against Christians began and soon spread throughout the Roman empire, touching places north of the Taurus mountains, like Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1:1), and impacted the Christians, who Peter call "aliens". These "aliens", who were probably Gentiles, for the most part (1:14, 18; 2:9-10; 4:3), possibly led to Christ by Paul and his associates, and established on Paul's teachings, needed spiritual strengthening because of their sufferings. Thus the Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this epistle to strengthen them.

Peter wrote that he was in "Babylon" when he penned the letter (5:13). Three locations have been suggested for this "Babylon". First, a Roman outpost in northern Egypt was named Babylon; but the place was too obscure, and there are no reasons to think that Peter was ever there. Second, ancient Babylon in Mesopotamia is a possibility; but it would be quite unlikely that Peter, Mark and Silvanus were all at this rather small, distant place at the same time. Third, "Babylon" is an alias for Rome; perhaps even a code word of Rome. In times of persecution, writers exercised unusual care not to endanger Christians by identifying them. Peter, according to some traditions, followed James and Paul and died as a martyr near Rome about two years after he wrote this letter, thus he had written this epistle near the end of his life, probably while staying in the imperial city. He did not want the letter to be found and the church to be persecuted, so he may have hidden its location under the code word, Babylon", which aptly fit because of the city's idolatry (compare Rev. chapters 17-18).

Historical - Theological Themes: This is one of the penman that we all relate to better than to most. Peter was actually two men. Peter, before the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and Peter after the baptism. The Peter, before the baptism of the Holy Ghost denied Jesus as the Christ 3 times. The Peter after the baptism, historians tell us, was pleased to be crucified like his Lord. We can relate the weakness in all of us to Peter's weakness and restoration.

Since the believers addressed were suffering escalating persecution (1:6; 2:12, 19-21; 3:9, 13-18; 4:1, 12-16, 19), the purpose of this letter was to teach them how to live victoriously in the midst of that hostility:

(1) Without losing hope;

(2) Without becoming bitter;

(3) While trusting in their Lord; and

(4) While looking for His second coming.

Peter wished to impress on his readers that by living an obedient, victorious life under duress, a Christian can actually evangelize his hostile world (compare 1:14; 2:1, 12, 15; 3:1-6, 13-17; 4:2; 5:8-9).

Believers are constantly exposed to a world system energized by Satan and his demons. Their effort is to discredit the church and to destroy its credibility and integrity. One way these spirits work is by finding Christians who lives are not consistent with the Word of God, and then parading them before the unbelievers to show what a sham the church is. Christians, however, must stand against the enemy and silence the critics by the power of holy lives.

In this epistle, Peter is rather effusive in reciting two categories of truth. The first category is positive and includes a long list of blessings bestowed on Christians. As he speaks about the identity of Christians and what it means to know Christ, Peter mentions one privilege and blessing after another. Interwoven into this list of privileges is the catalog of suffering. Christians, though most greatly privileged, should also know that the world will treat them unjustly. Their citizenship is in heaven and they are strangers in a hostile, Satan-energized world. Thus the Christian life can be summed up as a call to victory and glory through the path of suffering. So, the basic question that Peter answers in this epistle is: How are Christians to deal with animosity? The answer features practical truths and focuses on Jesus Christ as the model of one who maintained a triumphant attitude in the midst of hostility.

1 Peter also answers other important practical questions about Christian living such as: Do Christians need a priesthood to intercede with God for them (2:5-9)? What should be the Christian's attitude to secular government and civil disobedience (2:13-17)? What should a Christian employee's attitude be toward a hostile employer (2:18)? How should a Christian lady conduct herself (3:3-4)? How can a believing wife win her unsaved husband to Christ (3:1-2)?

Jesus chose Peter to head His church. Jesus said, in Matthew 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Peter saw most of the miracles Jesus did. Peter's mother-in-law had been healed by Jesus. Peter was there when John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God. Peter had been an eye-witness of the Lord.


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1 Peter 1
1 Peter 2
1 Peter 3
1 Peter 4
1 Peter 5

1 Peter 1

1 Peter Chapter 1

1 Peter 1:1   Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 1:2   Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:3   Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:4   To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:5   Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:6   Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

1 Peter 1:7   That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:8   Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

1 Peter 1:9   Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of souls.

1 Peter 1:10   Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace unto you:

1 Peter 1:11   Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

1 Peter 1:12   Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

1 Peter 1:13   Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 1:14   As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

1 Peter 1:15   But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

1 Peter 1:16   Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

1 Peter 1:17   And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every manā€™s work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear:

1 Peter 1:18   Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, silver and gold, from your vain conversation by tradition from your fathers;

1 Peter 1:19   But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 1:20   Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

1 Peter 1:21   Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

1 Peter 1:22   Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 Peter 1:23   Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

1 Peter 1:24   For all flesh as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

1 Peter 1:25   But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

1 Peter 2

1 Peter Chapter 2

1 Peter 2:1   Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

1 Peter 2:2   As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

1 Peter 2:3   If so be ye have tasted that the Lord gracious.

1 Peter 2:4   To whom coming, a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, precious,

1 Peter 2:5   Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:6   Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

1 Peter 2:7   Unto you therefore which believe precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

1 Peter 2:8   And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

1 Peter 2:9   But ye a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

1 Peter 2:10   Which in time past not a people, but now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:11   Dearly beloved, I beseech as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:13   Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lordā€™s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

1 Peter 2:14   Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

1 Peter 2:15   For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

1 Peter 2:16   As free, and not using liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

1 Peter 2:17   Honor all . Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

1 Peter 2:18   Servants, subject to masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

1 Peter 2:19   For this thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

1 Peter 2:20   For what glory , if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer , ye take it patiently, this acceptable with God.

1 Peter 2:21   For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

1 Peter 2:22   Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

1 Peter 2:23   Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed to him that judgeth righteously:

1 Peter 2:24   Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

1 Peter 2:25   For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

1 Peter 3

1 Peter Chapter 3

1 Peter 3:1 "Likewise, ye wives,[be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;"

1 Peter 3:2 "While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear."

1 Peter 3:3 "Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;"

1 Peter 3:4 "But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

1 Peter 3:5 "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:"

1 Peter 3:6 "Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."

1 Peter 3:7 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:"

1 Peter 3:9 "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."

1 Peter 3:10 "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:"

1 Peter 3:11 "Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."

1 Peter 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord [are] over the righteous, and his ears [are open] unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord [is] against them that do evil."

1 Peter 3:13 "And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?"

1 Peter 3:14 "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;"

1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

1 Peter 3:16 "Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."

1 Peter 3:17 "For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."

1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"

1 Peter 3:19-20 "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;" "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

1 Peter 3:21 "The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

1 Peter 3:22 "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

1 Peter 4

1 Peter Chapter 4

1 Peter 4:1 "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;"

1 Peter 4:2 "That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."

1 Peter 4:3 "For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:"

1 Peter 4:4 "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]:"

1 Peter 4:5 "Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."

1 Peter 4:6 "For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

1 Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

1 Peter 4:8 "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."

1 Peter 4:9 "Use hospitality one to another without grudging."

1 Peter 4:10 "As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

1 Peter 4:11 "If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

1 Peter 4:12 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:"

1 Peter 4:13 "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

1 Peter 4:14 "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

1 Peter 4:15 "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."

1 Peter 4:16 "Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."

1 Peter 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?

1 Peter 4:18 "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

1 Peter 4:19 "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

1 Peter 5

1 Peter Chapter 5

1 Peter 5:1   The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

1 Peter 5:2   Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight , not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

1 Peter 5:3   Neither as being lords over heritage, but being examples to the flock.

1 Peter 5:4   And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

1 Peter 5:5   Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the Humble.

1 Peter 5:6   Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1 Peter 5:7   Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:8   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1 Peter 5:9   Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

1 Peter 5:10   But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle .

1 Peter 5:11   To him glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:12   By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

1 Peter 5:13   The at Babylon, elected together with , saluteth you; and Marcus my son.

1 Peter 5:14   Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.