I Peter 1:1-2

Sunday, December 13th, 2015



Peter is a name which is well known to readers of the New Testament. He was a fisherman from Bethsaida near the Sea of Galilee. He was the brother of Andrew who had brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42 ), and Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter.

John 1:40-42 - 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone [i.e. Peter].

Peter was called along with Andrew to become a fisher of men. They were also joined by their fishing partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Mark 1:16-20 ; Luke 5:1-11 ).

Mark 1:16-20 - 16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway [i.e. immediately] they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19 And when he had gone a little further thence [i.e. from there], he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 And straightway [i.e. immediately] he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Luke 5:1-11 - 1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret [i.e. by the Sea of Galilee], 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him [i.e. asked him] that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught [i.e. a catch]. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake [i.e. broke]. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes [i.e. the catch of fish] which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Later Peter was one of twelve men who were appointed to be with Jesus that He might send them forth to preach. They were also given power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. From then on Peter was known as an apostle.

Peter was privileged along with James and John to accompany Jesus on several occasions throughout Jesus' public ministry. These include the raising of Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:54 ), the transfiguration (Luke 9:28 ), and the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37 ).

When Jesus was arrested, Peter drew a sword and cut off an ear of Malchus in a futile attempt to defend his Lord to the death, but Jesus told Peter to put his sword back into its sheath.

As everyone knows, Peter denied the Lord Jesus Christ three times before dawn the morning after Jesus' arrest. Peter was restored in John 21 and became very prominent in the church at Jerusalem.

In A.D. 44 James the son of Zebedee was beheaded, and Peter was also arrested, imprisoned, and scheduled for execution but was delivered by an angel of the Lord in the middle of the night. Peter is no longer found in Jerusalem following this event.

Somewhere along the line Peter ultimately encountered Paul in Antioch where Paul rebuked him for his vacillation (Galatians 2:11-14 ).

Peter wrote the two epistles which are named after him: I and II Peter.

Eventually, Peter found his way to Rome. Tradition teaches that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome during the persecution under Nero not later than A.D. 68 because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ had died.

It must be remembered that, although Peter was in Rome for a period of time (we have no way of knowing how long), there is no indication that Peter founded the church at Rome or that he ever functioned as a pope in spite of Roman Catholic claims to the contrary.

Peter wrote his first epistle in about A.D. 65 to saved Jews dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, all of which are located in present-day Turkey.

Persecution had become commonplace, and Peter was writing in order to instruct believers how they should live in a world which was antagonistic toward them. His purpose was to exhort believers to remain steadfast in times of suffering because of their hope in Christ. They are exhorted throughout this epistle to live godly lives, knowing that God has a very definite purpose in allowing their suffering. Suffering is mentioned sixteen times in the epistle, thus introducing Peter's theme: suffering and glory.

A characteristic feature of Peter's first letter is his use of direct commands approximately thirty-four times throughout the book.

In I Peter 5:13 Peter writes, The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you [i.e. greets you]; and so doth Marcus my son. What did Peter mean by Babylon? Three possibilities have been suggested. There was a town in Egypt named Babylon, but there is no reason to believe that Peter had ever been in this town or that he had ever begun a church there. Secondly, some have suggested that Babylon is the same region known in Old Testament history where a Jewish settlement was actually located and where Peter may have begun a church. However, nothing is known historically which would place Peter in this Babylon. The best suggestion is that Babylon was a special code name Christians used in reference to Rome which would enable believers to speak and/or write about Rome openly. Other believers would know what they were talking about; but if their writings fell into the hands of the Roman authorities, or if their speeches about Babylon were brought to the attention of the Roman authorities, they would not be easily detected. This view that Babylon in I Peter is actually Rome is supported by the fact that, late in his life, Peter is found in Rome.

In I Peter 1:1-2 we see an introduction to I Peter, and we also see the work of the Triune God in salvation.

We see -

I. THE OCCASION - I Peter 1:1

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

In this verse, Peter identifies himself as the writer of this letter.

Peter describes himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ, which indicates that Peter was one of twelve men who had been sent out by Jesus Christ on a particular mission.

Peter writes to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

The word translated elect appears in the English text in verse 2. However, it is actually found in the Greek text in verse 1 and modifies the word translated strangers so that Peter is addressing his epistle to the elect strangers scattered throughout the regions mentioned. We will discuss the meaning of elect when we get to verse 2.

Strangers is used of people staying for a while in a strange place, of those sojourning, of sojourners, or of exiles. It is a word particularly used of Christians who are not at home in this world. This world is not their home; heaven is. They are citizens of heaven, and they are just passing through here.

The elect strangers scattered throughout is literally elect strangers of dispersion. These persons had been scattered or dispersed around the Mediterranean area and Near East. Jews had for various reasons settled in many places throughout the Roman Empire and had eventually been saved. Some may have been scattered due to their businesses; whereas, others may have been forced to flee from their homes because of persecution as Christians.

Peter is writing particularly to the elect strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. These are all territories located in present-day Turkey.

Next, we see -


I Peter 1:2 a - Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. . . .

Elect, which means chosen ones or select ones, actually appears in the Greek text in verse 1 but was translated in verse 2 by the King James translators. It is used especially of those whom God has chosen from the generality of mankind to draw to Himself. Hence, it is used of the Christians in particular, i.e. those whom God has already drawn to Himself.

Elect is used of believers in many places in the New Testament, including Ephesians 1:4 ; I Thessalonians 1:4 ; and II Thessalonians 2:13 .

Ephesians 1:4 - According as he hath chosen us [i.e. elected us] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.

I Thessalonians 1:4 - Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God [i.e. your election by God].

II Thessalonians 2:13 - But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father. The word translated foreknowledge is found in only a few verses in the Greek New Testament, including I Peter 1:2 ; Acts 2:23 ; Romans 8:29-30 ; Romans 11:2 ; I Peter 1:20 (where it is translated foreordained); and II Peter 3:17 . It can mean to know in advance, or it can mean to choose beforehand. The meaning of the word intended by the writer must be determined by the context in which it is used.

II Peter 3:17 - Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

In this verse, know . . . before clearly means know in advance.

In the verses which follow, it seems that choose beforehand fits the context of each passage better than know in advance.

I Peter 1:20 - Who [referring to Jesus] verily was foreordained [i.e. was foreknown] before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

Acts 2:23 - Him [i.e. referring to Jesus], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.

In Acts 2:23 by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God may be understood as two different things: 1) by the determinate counsel of God and 2) by the foreknowledge of God. Or, it may be understood as two ways of saying the same thing, i.e. by the determinate counsel, indeed, the foreknowledge of God.

In this verse it appears to me that foreknowledge is either the equivalent of the determinate counsel or that it accompanies the determinate counsel of God. In some way they are connected. Perhaps the foreknowledge is based upon the determinate counsel of God. To say that the determinate counsel of God was based on His foreknowledge of what would happen makes no sense because God knows everything that will happen anyhow, and this would make God's actions dependent upon the whims of man. God's actions are never dependent upon the whims of man.

Romans 8:29-30 - 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Romans 11:1-2 - 1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not [i.e. you know, don't you?] what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel. . . .

God's foreknowledge is given its definition here: just as He chose Israel to be His people, so He has chosen some to shed His grace upon and has provided for their redemption. Of course, He has also provided for the redemption of all mankind; but only those who believe will be the recipients of His grace. At the same time, those who believe will turn out to be the exact group who were foreknown. Furthermore, none will believe except those who have been foreknown. One may discuss the possibility that others who have not been foreknown will choose to be saved, but this will not happen. It will turn out to be a nil class, i.e. a class with no members, because the wickedness of the human heart will not choose to be saved apart from their being drawn by God the Father. It is not that they cannot come; it is that they will determine or choose not to come.

In John 6:44 Jesus said, No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. Those whom the Father will draw are the ones who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. Were it not for election, no one would be saved.

However, since Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, if one who had not been elected would choose to come, he would be saved just like everyone else: by grace and through faith.

Furthermore, if one who has been elected would refuse to believe, he would be lost; but these things will not happen.

Perhaps someone is concerned whether he is one of these elect persons. If he will simply believe the gospel message and receive Christ as his personal Savior, he will find out that he is.

Foreknowledge has to do with God the Father. It is His responsibility to have exercised this foreknowledge, and He has done His job. It is the responsibility of believers to proclaim the gospel message to every creature. We must carry out our responsibility and not concern ourselves with election. Election actually spurs us on because we know that, as we continue witnessing, some are definitely going to be saved; and this will make all the rejections, insults, and other afflictions worthwhile.

Although some say that God knew in advance who would believe and, therefore, elected or chose them, this does not seem to be Peter's meaning in I Peter 1:2 ; nor does it seem to suit the meaning found in Scripture. Instead, it indicates that, for reasons known only to Himself, God selected some out of the mass of all humanity to whom He would show special grace. Of course, all of these are deserving of spending eternity in hell; and none of them would on his own have chosen to be saved. Now these persons will turn out to be the same ones who trust Christ as Savior. Foreknowledge is thus a work of God in which He selected some for salvation.

It must be pointed out, contrary to what some have taught, that, although the Bible speaks of election, it never speaks of an election to hell. The responsibility for spending eternity in hell rests solely upon the individual's rejection of God's offer of salvation. God has provided for all humanity a means of salvation from sin and its consequences. It's not God's fault if someone chooses to reject His provision. Furthermore, God will hold him accountable for rejecting His provision for salvation because his not coming to Christ will be his own choice.

Acts 13:48 is instructive here.

Acts 13:48 - And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed [i.e. as many as had been ordained to eternal life believed].

In addition to the work of God the Father in redemption, we see -


I Peter 1:2 b - Elect . . . through sanctification of the Spirit. . . .

Sanctification means set apart and suggests for God and His use. It is God the Holy Spirit Who sets believers apart for God's use. Sanctification means holiness or consecration.

Through sanctification of the Spirit indicates the means by which salvation is effected in the believer. It is by means of sanctification of the Holy Spirit.

There is positional sanctification. It is taught in Hebrews 10:10 , 14. It means that at the instant of our salvation, God the Holy Spirit set us apart in Christ.

Hebrews 10:10 - By the which will we are sanctified [i.e. we have been sanctified or we are in a state of having been sanctified] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:14 - For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Regarding their position in Christ, believers have already been completely and forever sanctified. This will never change.

There is also experiential sanctification (or progressive sanctification). It is taught in II Corinthians 3:18 .

II Corinthians 3:18 - But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [i.e. as in a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory [i.e. from one degree of glory to another], even as by the Spirit of the Lord [It is God the Holy Spirit Who gradually changes believers, making them more and more Christlike, as they submit their hearts and minds to the study of the Bible].

The Holy Spirit is presently setting believers apart in Christ. Regarding their practice, believers are being continuously set aside for God and His use. This progressive sanctification will continue for the rest of their lives.

Finally, there is ultimate sanctification. It is taught in I John 3:2 .

I John 3:2 - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Someday God the Holy Spirit will complete the work of sanctification. When He removes that old sin nature at death or at the rapture when the redemption of the body occurs, whichever comes first, at that time believers will be perfectly set apart for God. They will find themselves completely like the Lord Jesus Christ for they shall see him as he is (I John 3:2 ).

Of the Spirit indicates that it is God the Holy Spirit Who does the work of sanctification in believers.

In addition to the work of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in redemption, we see -


I Peter 1:2 c - Elect . . . unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. . . .

Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ indicates the end to which believers have been elected.

In the New Testament the supreme act of obedience was believing the gospel message. Thus, obedience is trusting Christ as Savior.

Not only is the goal of election unto obedience, it is also (unto) sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Of course, His blood was shed on the cross for the sins of the all humanity. However, the blood is not applied to the account of the individual until the time he believes the gospel message.

The sprinkling of the blood is a reminder of the high priest in Old Testament times who would sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement. Similarly, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is applied to the wicked heart of a sinner the instant he personally places His trust in Christ as his own personal Savior.

Of Jesus Christ indicates that it is Jesus Christ's blood in particular which is applied to the sinner. It is not the blood of some animal or of someone else because there is no one else qualified to shed his blood as an atonement for sin, including shedding his blood for his own sin. Jesus is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

Finally, we see -


I Peter 1:2 d - Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Grace is unmerited favor or undeserved favor. These people had already received saving grace when they trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. However, grace is also available for Christian living.

James 4:6 - But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Similarly, the writer to the Hebrews wrote -

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

It is in this sense where God gives more grace to believers that Peter intends this wish for his readers.

Peter also wishes that peace be multiplied to them. Peace also had been received when they placed their faith in Christ. At that time they received peace with God.

Romans 5 :l - Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace is also available to believers throughout their Christian lives as a result of prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7 - 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Peace is also part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which He produces in believers' throughout their Christian lives.

Galatians 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


The Triune God was active in our salvation.

He is also active in keeping us.

Let's learn to live faithfully for Him.