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- 1 Peter
by Gary Hampton
Developing Patient Determination
A Study of 1 & 2 Peter
by Gary C. Hampton
From Peter, To the Scattered Elect
The Author, Peter
This book bears the name of its author, as 1:1 would indicate. Peter is mentioned some 160 times in scripture. His name was Simon, but Jesus said he would be called Cephas, which is a stone ( Joh_1:42 ). Peter is the Greek word for a stone, thus we have his other name. It is interesting to note that he identifies himself as Peter, which is the name the Lord gave him, instead of Simon, which was the name his parents gave him. He further calls himself an apostle, which means "one sent" ( Mat_28:18-20 ; Mar_16:15-16 ; Luk_24:46-48 ; Act_1:7-8 ).
Very little is known about Peter's early or later life. He was the son of Jona, or Jonas ( Mat_16:17 ). His home town appears to have been Bethsaida ( Joh_1:44 ). Later, he evidently moved to Capernaum and lived in a house with his mother-in-law ( Mat_8:5 ; Mat_14:1-36 ; Mat_15:1-39 ). It is impossible to tell when he got married, but Paul said Peter and the Lord's brothers took a wife with them in their travels ( 1Co_9:5 ). Peter did not have the formal schooling some of the Jews thought necessary for one to teach God's word ( Act_4:13 ). We only learn of the end of Peter's life through Jesus' prophecy in Joh_21:18-19 .
Peter was first brought to Jesus by his brother, Andrew ( Joh_1:35-42 ). His name appears first on all four lists of the apostles ( Mat_10:2-4 ; Mar_3:13-19 ; Luk_6:12-16 ; Act_1:13 ). Peter, James and John enjoyed a special closeness with the Lord. They were there when Jesus raised Jarius' daughter from the dead, when Jesus was transfigured and when Jesus went through his deeply moving preparations for the betrayal and crucifixion ( Mar_5:22-24 ; Mar_5:35-43 ; Mat_17:1-9 ; Mat_26:36-46 ).
Many readily identify with Peter because he is such a character of highs and lows. After Jesus taught the multitudes from Simon's boat, Jesus bid him to cast out into the deep and let down his nets. Peter was skeptical because they had fished all night without a catch, but obedient, and the result was a catch so great that it filled Peter's and Andrew's boat and James' and John's boat to the point of sinking. This caused Peter to feel his own unworthiness and ask the Lord to leave ( Luk_5:1-11 ). When Jesus walked across the troubled sea, it was Peter who started to walk to him on the water but sank when he took his eyes off of Jesus and doubted ( Mat_14:24-33 ).
When large numbers of his disciples turned away from following Jesus and he asked the twelve if they would go away too, it was Peter who said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" ( Joh_6:66-69 ).
It was Peter who confessed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Yet, later, Peter was told by Jesus to, "Get behind Me, Satan," when he rebuked Jesus for foretelling his death. Peter went from one extreme to another in the washing of feet matter ( Joh_13:1-10 ). Cephas boasted of his faithfulness when Jesus prophesied the denial ( Luk_22:31-34 ), yet he slept while Jesus prayed ( Mat_26:38-41 ). Perhaps to make up for that and to prove his faithfulness, he cut off the ear of the high priest's servant ( Mat_26:50-52 ). Then, Peter forsook Christ and fled, followed afar off, stayed without in the palace and denied his Lord three times, which caused him to weep bitterly ( Mat_26:56-58 ; Mat_26:69-75 ).
After Jesus' resurrection, Peter ran with John to the empty tomb ( Joh_20:1-10 ). He saw Jesus alive ( 1Co_15:5 ). He swam 100 yards to land to be with Jesus and professed his love for him, but did not boast ( Joh_21:1-17 ). He saw the Lord ascend and took the lead in choosing Matthias to take Judas' place. He preached the first recorded gospel sermon and healed the lame man at the temple. Luke tells us of his boldness before the Sanhedrin and of his second arrest and the beating he received ( Act_1:4-26 ; Act_2:14-40 ; Act_3:1-11 ; Act_4:1-22 ; Act_5:17-42 ).
Through him, God first sent the message of salvation to the Gentiles ( Act_10:1-48 ). He helped defend the Gentiles' rights in the gospel ( Act_11:1-18 ; Act_15:1-11 ), but showed shameful prejudice in Antioch and Paul had to withstand him to the face ( Gal_2:9-21 ). In short, many can identify with him in his mistakes and hope they do half as well in boldness for the Lord.
Coffman, James Burton. Commentary on Jam_1:1-27 & 2Pe_1:1-21 ; 2Pe_2:1-22 & 3 John, Jude. Austin: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1979.
Kelcy, Raymond C. The Letters of Peter and Jude . Austin: R. B. Sweet Co., Inc., 1972.
McGarvey, J. W. A Treatise on the Eldership . Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Dehoff Publications, 1962.
Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament . Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977.
Woods, Guy N. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude . Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1973.
This book is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Zoe Taylor, a fine Christian woman who always exhibited patient determination in serving the Lord. Though she has passed from this life, she lives on in the memories of her children, grandchildren and the many others she encouraged along the way, including this minister.
the Second Week of Advent