Sunday, January 31, 2010

Exegetical Notes on 1 Peter

I thought it would be good to work through some book of the bible exegetically and look at a bit closer what is being said. So I have chose 1 Peter.

A great resource for 1 Peter which I will be using is 'First Peter - An Expositional Commentary' by D Edmond Hierbert.

Consider 1:1 "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion.."
First we notice how Peter says he is merely an apostle, not the apostle of Jesus Christ. Humility? He mentions both his given name and Title, Jesus "because he will save his people from their sins" and Messiah, the expected prophesied one of the Old Testament, the one who brings God's plan to fruition.

Much debate has been given to the word elect here. It simply means chosen. Is it a seperate noun or an adjective modifying the following noun, Sojourners?
Hiebert suggests the latter and points out arguments that favour this.
Implications then are Peter is focusing here on them being "elect sojourners of the dispersion."
As Hierbert points out "Peter thus fuses heavenward and earthward relationships."
They are chosen "but" sojourners.

If this is so we could put it this way, whilst sojourners or aliens in the land of the disporia, still even in that situation they are chosen by God. He knows it.

Try putting this in context, if the readers of Peters letter were Jewish Christians, then being out of the promised land still is tough for people of the promise. There is some weight to be given that they are Jewish Christians, the use of Old Testament, [ especially concepts ] that Peter is minister of the circumcision Gal 2:10 etc yet even if not they are a people suffering difficulties and perhaps persecution, see the purpose of the letter 1 Peter 5:12 where they are encourgaed by God's grace.

What then about that word election? Should a sermon here expound the doctrine of election? Perhaps it does well to say some things about it, such as how ofter people will pit election against understanding man's "free will" both of which are taught in the Bible. eg God saying through His prophet to the people of Israel "choose this day whom you will server, Baal or YHWH." Yet we do well to point out as some have that this notion of election arises in contexts where it's given as a basis for comfort in extreemely difficult circumstances. If you don't say this then you perhaps have missed the point. Theology must always be contextual, I seem to find these days people who rip a verse out of context and make a theology.
See how here elect is passive, meaning the readers are the objects of God's electing action and as verse 4 tells us, in order that they might be partakers of the heavenly inheritance being reserved for them.
Consider again "elect sojourners", they are resident aliens in a places where they do not belong. We could say, they now belong with Christ, they are God's chosen people heading towards their heavenly home.

Research: does Peter's use of sojourners here conflict with Hebrews use of it to refer to Old Testament saints giving rise to some "replacement theology of Israel? Not likely. Perhaps Peter is merely using it metaphorically?

Don't forget also that we need to continue to look at the idea of elect in regard to Peter's comment of foreknowledge in verse 2.

In Christ,

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