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Peter, First Epistle of

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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This was addressed to believing Jews dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. It was apparently sent from Babylon on the Euphrates, where many Jews were located. There is nothing in the epistle itself that fixes its date: but it is generally dated A.D. 60 to 63. The teaching of the epistle is based upon a living hope by the resurrection of Christ, in contrast to the portion of the Jews on earth. Believers are contemplated as strangers and pilgrims, salvation being regarded in its completeness as future, soul salvation being the point of consequence in the present, in contrast to temporal deliverances. The thought of a 'spiritual house' composed of living stones, in 1 Peter 2 connects the epistle with the revelation given to Peter in Matthew 16 — as the reference to the Mount of Transfiguration in the second epistle brings before our minds the vision of the kingdom in Matthew 17 , of which Peter was eye-witness.

The epistle may be briefly summed up as a gracious leading of Christians into the sense and reality of their spiritual privileges, but, at the same time, pressing on them the recognition of their being subjects of God's moral government on earth. They were placed here between the time of Christ's sufferings and the glories that were to follow. They called on God as Father; are viewed as redeemed and born again, and by the sincere milk of the word were to grow up to salvation, having tasted that the Lord is gracious.

And further, though suffering under the government of God, they had, in coming to Christ as the Living Stone (disallowed of men but chosen of God and precious), acquired in a spiritual way privileges which, after a carnal sort, the Jews had lost. They were built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood — were a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. They had thus the means for the service of God and for testimony to man. The calling of Christians is herein fully brought out.

But with all these privileges, Christians had to remember that they had nothing in which to boast after the flesh. They were among the Gentiles as strangers and pilgrims, the subjects of God's moral government, suffering for the state of Israel; and hence had to recognise those to whom God had entrusted honour and power here. But theeyes of the Lord were over the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers: the face of the Lord was against evil-doers. The general bearing of government was in favour of those who did good, and if they suffered for righteousness' sake they were happy. The point of importance was that none of them should suffer as evil-doers.

It is remarkable that, in touching on duties connected with social relationships, the apostle addresses himself to husbands and wives and domestic servants (not slaves), and the peculiar delicacy of his reference to the conduct relatively of the two former classes is a marked feature of beauty in the epistle.

The peculiar character of this moment, in which judgement as the issue of God's moral government is imminent, is marked by the reference to the time of Noah, whose testimony in preparing the ark was that of coming judgement; but at the same time of a way of salvation. Baptism has, in the case of Christians, much of the same character and import. Again, in 1 Peter 4 it is said that the time has come for judgement to begin at the house of God; and if it begin first at us, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

The epistle closes with special and touching admonitions to the elders and the younger, the former being especially exhorted to shepherd the flock of God. This is deeply interesting as coming from one who himself received the charge recorded in John 21 .

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Peter, First Epistle of'. Morrish Bible Dictionary.​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​p/peter-first-epistle-of.html. 1897.