Thus, if we want to know how to think and act biblically in these troubled times, we should ask Pete.
I’m going to use two primary commentaries on the book, one by Karen Jobes and one by Thomas Schreiner.
That way, you won’t be burdened by my lack of exegetical skill…
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”
(1 Peter 1:1–2 ESV)
The key to understanding this book and our place in this “post Christian” culture is to properly identify ourselves.
We are “elect exiles”… as the old hymn goes, this world is not our home.
“The word “strangers” (parepidēmois) introduces a crucial idea in the letter, that is, that God’s people are pilgrims, sojourners, and exiles on Earth. Again, a key theme of the letter is anticipated (cf. 2:11). The church is God’s suffering people, having no place of rest in this world.”
“Believers are exiles because they suffer for their faith in a world that finds their faith off-putting and strange. Goppelt rightly observes that God’s election is what accounts for their being exiles. This interpretation is borne out in that the word “elect” modifies “strangers.” They are not aliens literally; they are sojourners because they are elected by God, because their citizenship is in heaven rather than on earth.“
“Dispersion belongs with the word “strangers” in that it communicates again that believers are distinct from the world.”
“By drawing an analogy between the Jewish Diaspora and the situation of his readers, he implies they should understand themselves as Christians in terms of God’s people of the old covenant who were foreigners in the lands to which they had been scattered.”
“The term parepidēmos (plural, parepidēmoi) was used in the first century to designate someone who did not hold citizenship in the place where he resided and was therefore viewed as a foreigner. The lack of citizenship implied that such people did not enjoy all the rights and privileges of citizens. Moreover, as foreigners, they were not necessarily expected to hold the values and practice the customs of their host culture. Because of such differences, foreigners were often looked upon suspiciously as potentially subversive to the established social order, an attitude not unfamiliar even today.”
“Peter, the apostle associated with Rome, uses their disorienting experience to instruct and encourage them with his insight that all Christians are in a real sense foreigners to their place of residence, regardless of where they are living, whenever Christian values and customs conflict with those of the dominant society.”
Today we looked at what it means to be in exile…tomorrow we’ll add the “elect” part of the equation…