1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 5

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4

Read 1 Peter 3:8-22

Questions to Consider

1.  The word “finally” at the beginning of verse 8 functions in a similar way to the word “therefore” at the beginning of a verse- as a pivot word (see lesson 2, link above). “Therefore” usually indicates, “Because of all that stuff I just told you, now do this.” What does “finally” indicate? Review lesson 4 (link above). What issue was Peter dealing with before pivoting with “finally”?

2. Examine verse 8. Who is “all of you” that Peter is talking to? Recall their circumstances (review lesson 1 if needed, link above). What would each of the phrases…

Unity of mind-

Sympathy-

Brotherly love-

A tender heart-

A humble mind-

…have meant to Peter’s audience in their situation, and why are they important for the church today?

3. Compare verse 9 and 13-17 to these passages. Explain the concept of doing good to your enemies instead of taking revenge, and bearing up in a godly way when you suffer at the hands of evil men. What are the reasons God instructs us to behave this way? How does this paint a picture for unbelievers (especially the one you’re “doing good” to) of Christ’s mercy and grace toward sinners? How might acting this way open a door to share the gospel? Is taking revenge likely to open that same door?

4. Verses 9 and 14 talk about “obtaining a blessing” and “being blessed” due to suffering at the hands of evil people. Many people equate “blessings” with getting rich or with things going really well in your life. Think again about Peter’s audience, their circumstances, and what you know about “blessings” from other passages. Are blessings always monetary or circumstantial? Describe the spiritual blessings someone might receive for suffering in a godly way.

5. Examine verses 10-12. What passage of Scripture is Peter quoting? (Hint: Use your cross references) How do the instructions from this Psalm fit in with the instructions Peter is giving the church? How does pursuing holiness lead to a life with less chaos, drama, enmity, grief, and strife, than pursuing worldliness and debauchery? (Hint: Keep this thought in mind as you read #6 and verse 13.)

6. Carefully read 13-17. Do verses 14-17 contradict verse 13? After all, Peter himself was certainly “zealous for what is good,” as were all the apostles, and we know that all of them were “harmed” and eleven of them were martyred, some gruesomely. Jesus was too, and no one was more “zealous for what is good’ than He was.

7. How does verse 17 refute the Word of Faith (prosperity gospel)/New Apostolic Reformation false teaching that it is never God’s will for Christians to suffer? Let this thought lead you into verse 18. Was it God’s will for Christ to suffer? Why might it be God’s will for someone to suffer?

8. Remember how Peter sometimes uses very long sentences? Verses 18-20 are all one sentence. Read it from beginning to end without stopping at the verse markings. What is the idea Peter is trying to get across? It may help you to read this passage in several trustworthy translations. It may also help you to mentally put a period at the end of verse 18, and to begin verse 19 as a new sentence beginning with “In the spirit” instead of “in which,” and to deal with verse 18 and verses 19-20 as two separate sentences. If you give it your best shot and still have difficulty grasping what Peter is saying (and not saying) here, check out this resource and this resource.

9. Examine verses 21-22. “Baptism corresponds to this” – what is “this”? Go back to the end of verse 20. Peter is teaching us to think of the story of Noah and the ark as symbolic of new life in Christ. Compare the sinfulness of Noah’s society with the sinfulness of our society. Compare God calling Noah out of that sinful world to save him from His wrath to God calling us out of a sinful world to save us from His wrath. Compare Noah being saved out of the world, in God’s ark, through the waters of the flood to us being saved out of the world, in Christ and the cross, through the waters of baptism.

Some people believe verse 21 supports the idea of baptismal regeneration – that the act of baptism is salvific. However, Scripture is abundantly clear that salvation comes only through repentance and belief in the good news of the gospel. That being said, baptism – especially in the first century church, Peter’s audience – was so closely tied to the salvation experience that an unbaptized Christian would have been just as incomprehensible and oxymoronic to the church as an uncircumcised Jewish man would have been to the Jews. The New Testament knows nothing of unbaptized Christians just as the Old Testament knows nothing of uncircumcised Jewish men.

Think back to Old Testament circumcision. The law said Jewish males were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth, no questions, no exceptions. It was as much a given as breathing air. So much so that if an unknown, uncircumcised Jewish man walked up to the temple and said, “Hi, I’m Jewish. I’d like to come in and worship,” no one would have believed him. They would have automatically assumed he was a liar, he would have been treated as a Gentile, and he would not have been given the worship privileges of a Jew. Even if he could have recited his genealogy of Jewish lineage, it wouldn’t have mattered much. People can say anything, and DNA, at that time, wasn’t visible. Circumcision was a man’s outwardly visible “credentials,” his proof of being a Jew.

This is the same type of mindset first century Christians had about Believers and baptism (a mindset we desperately need to recapture today). Believers were  baptized as soon as possible after their new birth, no questions, no exceptions. It was as much a given as breathing air. So much so that if an unbaptized Christian walked up to the church and said, “Hi, I’m a Christian. I’d like to come in and worship,” no one would have believed him. They would have automatically assumed he was a liar, he would have been treated as a Gentile, and he would not have been given the worship privileges of a Christian. A mere verbal profession wouldn’t have mattered much. People can say anything, and regeneration of the heart wasn’t visible. Baptism was a Christian’s outwardly visible “credentials,” his proof of being a Christian. Especially because, at that time in history, baptism publicly identified you with Christ, and that could get you killed.


Homework

Read my article Basic Training: Baptism. Have you been baptized? Why or why not? If you haven’t been baptized, make an appointment with your pastor to discuss being baptized as soon as possible.


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Read 1 Peter 2:13-3:7

Questions to Consider

1. If you had to summarize the theme of this passage in one word, which word would you choose? Which other New Testament passages can you think of that deal with the issue of submission to authority? In lesson 3 (link above), we learned that another theme we often see in the New Testament is growing to maturity in Christ. How can learning to submit to the authorities in your life help you to grow in spiritual maturity? Describe how biblical submission to authority fits with the theme of 1-2 Peter: living holy lives under persecution and before an unholy world.

2. For this lesson, we’re going to break this passage down into three sections and answer some similar questions about each.

Three different groups of people are exhorted to submit to authority in this passage. Identify these three groups of people and the authorities they’re instructed to submit to:

2:13-17-

 

2:18-25-

 

3:1-6-

 

3. God doesn’t always explain why He gives certain instructions, but sometimes He graciously does to help us understand Him and to encourage us to “think His thoughts after Him.”

What are the specific reasons He gives to each group for submitting to their particular authority? Is there a common thread among these reasons? Zoom out and take a “big picture” look at the general principle of Christians submitting to earthly authorities. What is God’s overall reason for this principle? How does our submission to authority paint a picture for unbelievers that there is an Ultimate Authority – Jesus – and that one day every knee will bow to Him?

4. Describe the opposition each group faces from the authorities they’re to submit to. What is the general reason for this opposition? Is it easier for you to submit to a) Christian authority you’re doctrinally aligned with, b) a “Christian” authority who’s doctrinally unsound (or a false convert), or c) a non-Christian authority? Why?

5. Study 2:20b-25. Think back over Jesus’ earthly ministry. In what ways did He suffer unjustly? How does Jesus’ response to unjust suffering set an example to Peter’s first century persecuted and dispersed audience of Christians, and how does it set an example for us to follow today during suffering and persecution? How is bearing up under unjust treatment and responding to it in a godly way a testimony of Christ to the lost around us? How might it open a door to share the gospel with someone?

6. How does it comfort you to know that you, like Jesus, can “entrust yourself to the One who judges justly”(2:23)? Does any act of evil or persecution against God’s children ever escape His notice and go unpunished either in this life or the next?

7. In each of our three sections God addresses those who are to submit, but He only addresses the authority in one section. Which authority is that, in which verse? Why do you think He addresses this particular authority here and not the others? What are the characteristics God instructs this authority to exhibit to the person under him, and how should these characteristics apply generally to all Christians in a position of authority over others? How does a godly, loving demonstration of authority point to God’s loving and benevolent authority?


Homework

Are there any authorities in your life that you have difficulty submitting to? The government/laws (2:13-17), your boss (2:18-25), your husband (3:1-6)? Think about the instructions for submitting to authority in today’s passage, identify one practical way you could better submit to your authority, and put it into practice this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 3

Previous Lessons: 1, 2,

Read 1 Peter 2:1-12

Questions to Consider

1. What word does verse 1 start with? Review lesson 2 (link above) #7. What does the pivot word “so” mean in this verse? You may find it helpful to summarize chapters 1-2 in a “hinge sentence” (chapter 1 on the left, chapter 2:1-12 on the right, and the “So” in 2:1 as the hinge).

2. Peter uses several metaphors in this chapter. Can you identify each of them and explain the point he’s trying to make with each?

3. Read verses 1-3. One of the themes of the New Testament epistles is growing from spiritual immaturity as a new Christian to spiritual maturity in Christ. Consider verses 1-3 in light of these passages. What do verses 1-3 explain to us about growing toward maturity in Christ? What do these verses tell us to do? What does Peter mean by “if indeed you have tasted…” (3)? (hint)

4. Examine verses 4-8, focusing on what these verses say about Jesus. Who is “him” in verse 4a, and how is He described in 4b? If you haven’t already done so in #2, explain the stone/rock metaphor in 4-8. Why would God choose to represent Christ as a “living stone” (4), a “cornerstone” (6,7), and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (8)?

Now focus on what these verses say about Christians and our relationship to Christ. Why are we called living stones in v.4 as Jesus was in v.3? How does “being built up as a spiritual house” (5a) return to the theme of maturing in Christ? What is the purpose (“to be”) of this maturing? (5b)

Use your cross-references and think back to what you know about the Old Testament priesthood. Why does Peter say Believers are a “holy priesthood”? (5) What “spiritual sacrifices” do we offer, how do we offer them “through Jesus Christ,” and why are these sacrifices only acceptable to God when offered through Jesus Christ (e.g. Are things like prayer, praise, and worship acceptable to God if the person offering them isn’t a Believer? Why not?)? (5)

Explain the honor that comes with being a Believer. (7) Explain the unbeliever’s dishonor in rejecting, stumbling over, and taking offense at Christ. (7-8)

5. Study verses 9-10. Which characteristics, attitudes and actions of the Believer, and which attributes of God, would cause Peter to describe us as…

A chosen race-

A royal priesthood (And what’s the difference between a “royal” priesthood and a “holy” priesthood (5)?)-

A people for His own possession-

God’s people-

How do each of these descriptions indicate that Believers are consecrated (“set apart”)? What is the purpose (“that you may” – 9b) for which God sets us apart from the world?

6. Read verses 11-12. Why does Peter address his original audience as literal “sojourners and exiles”? In what way are all Christians spiritual sojourners and exiles?

In Scripture, the word “passion” does not always indicate sexual desire. It can simply mean strong feelings, emotions, or urges about anything, (the way someone today might say, “I am passionate about stamp collecting,” or “Hiking is my passion.”) as it does in verse 11. Bearing this in mind, how do passions of the flesh (about anything) wage war against our souls? How is abstaining from passions of the flesh a “spiritual sacrifice” (5), and why is it spiritually healthy to abstain from these passions? If we do not abstain from these passions of the flesh, but rather indulge them, what impact will that have on our ability to keep our conduct among the Gentiles (unbelievers) honorable? (12) What is the purpose (“so that” – 12) of holy living in an unbelieving world?

7. Explain how verse 1 and verse 12 are similar and serve as “bookends” for this passage (1-12).

8. Explain the connection God makes in this passage between holy living and evangelism.


Homework

Think about the various “spiritual sacrifices” you offer to God as a Christian. What is an additional sacrifice you could offer Him this week?


Suggested Memory Verse

(Every week of our study, you’ll see a suggested memory verse like the one above. You are welcome to grab the memory verse pic to use as your screensaver or wallpaper on your phone or computer, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it frequently, or use it in any other way you wish to help you memorize the verse.)

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 2

Previous Lessons: 1

Read 1 Peter 1

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review the housekeeping/helpful hints section and “Introduction to 1 Peter” section from lesson 1 (link above). Pull up the link to the maps for 1 Peter in that lesson, and locate the areas mentioned in verse 1. Who were “the elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1) and why were they dispersed?

2. Is the end of verse 1 the end of Peter’s sentence? (Take note of where sentences begin and end in this book to make sure you’re understanding what Peter is saying in context. Have you noticed he sometimes uses very long sentences?). Read the remainder of the sentence in verse 2, and examine the phrases “according to,” “in,” and “for”. How is each member of the Trinity (2) connected back to “the elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1)? What do the words “foreknowledge,” “sanctification,” and “sprinkling” mean or signify?

3. A word to watch for: imperishable. Peter uses this word three times in this brief letter, two of which are in chapter 1. Identify the verses in chapter 1 containing the word “imperishable”. What is being described as imperishable, and why does Peter emphasize its imperishability? As we work through 1&2 Peter, be on the lookout for the theme of imperishability.

4. Read verses 3-9. Now let’s take a closer look at verses 3-5 (which is all one sentence). What does the phrase “born again” (3) mean, and how does the rest of 3-5 revolve around this phrase? Who has caused us to be born again? (3) How would you use this verse to explain to someone that salvation is all of God? That we do not “decide” to be saved nor play even the smallest part in saving ourselves? What are we born again “to” (3)? “Through” (3)? “To” (4)?

Now focus on 6-9. What does the word “this” in verse 6 refer back to? What does this passage teach us about trials and testing? (6-7) What is the purpose of trials/testing? (7a) What is the goal or anticipated result of trials/testing? (7b)

How do verses 3-9 encourage Christians to “keep our eyes on the prize,” and what is that “prize”? How does this passage explain that our eternity in Heaven is the culmination or “outcome” (9) of our faith, the fulfillment of our salvation (5,9). What circumstances in the life of his audience would cause Peter to keep directing their focus to eternity? How could focusing on your eternity with Christ help you to endure suffering or persecution?

5. Read verses 10-12, and compare the ideas in these verses to Hebrews 1:1-2 and 2 Timothy 3:16. Who are the prophets Peter refers to in verse 10? Explain in your own words the idea this passage conveys. What does “they were serving not themselves but you” (12) mean?

6. Read verses 13-25. In two words, what is the main idea of this passage? (15)

What does it mean to “prepare your mind for action” and “be sober-minded” (13) with regard to being holy and pursuing holiness?

How are we to “be holy”? Make a list of the ways these verses mention: 13-15, 17, 22

Why are we to “be holy”? List the reasons these verses describe: 16, 18-21, 23-25

7. Verse 13 starts with the pivot word “therefore,” which means, “Because of all that stuff I just told you, here’s what you need to do.” (“So,” or “So then” at the beginning of a passage mean basically the same thing. Always watch for transitional or pivot words at the beginning of a sentence to help you tie the first part of the passage to the subsequent part of the passage.) The old adage, “Whenever you see the word ‘therefore’ in Scripture, you need to find out what it’s ‘there for’,” is a great little hermeneutical rule of thumb.

Summarize chapter 1 in a “hinge sentence”:


Homework

Think about an area of your life in which you need to “be holy.” Spending more time in prayer? Cleaning up your language? Being patient with other drivers? Write out a plan for pursuing holiness in this area of your life this week (and beyond).

1. List 2-3 specific ways you can “prepare your mind for action” and “be sober-minded” (13) to lay a foundation for holy thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

2. How can you “be holy” in this area? Review verses 13-15, 17, 22, think about how they apply to your situation, and list 2-3 specific holy thoughts, attitudes or actions you can employ.

3. Why should you “be holy” in this area? Review verses 16, 18-21, 23-25, and explain why you should pursue holiness in this area of your life.


Suggested Memory Verse

(Every week of our study, you’ll see a suggested memory verse like the one above. You are welcome to grab the memory verse pic to use as your screensaver or wallpaper on your phone or computer, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it frequently, or use it in any other way you wish to help you memorize the verse.)

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 1- Introduction

Welcome to our new study, Living Stones: A Study of 1 &2 Peter!

How can we live lives of holiness as the world, and even the church, become increasingly unholy? For the next several weeks we’ll work our way through the books of 1 & 2 Peter, and learn how Jesus is the Living Stone – our perfect example of holiness – that we are to build our lives and churches upon.

Our lovely title pic for the study was designed by Kati Champlin, who is a pastor’s wife in Montana. Many thanks to all of those who worked so hard on their entries for our title pic contest. You ladies were very creative and did some beautiful work! 

Terri Mobley

 

Lesley Hazen

 

Carey

 

Clare McNaul
 

(Clare pointed out the crosses etched into the rock. Can you see them?)

Debra Gartland

If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:

The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.

My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.

I will post a new lesson on the blog every Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog each week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.

I use hyperlinks liberallyThe Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.

All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.

You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).


Introduction to 1 Peter

Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…

Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.

Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.

What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.

What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?

What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.

When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.

So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of 1 Peter, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.

Read the following overviews of the book of 1 Peter, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:

Bible Introductions: 1 Peter at Grace to You

Overview of the Book of 1 Peter at Reformed Answers

Book of 1 Peter at Got Questions

1. Who wrote the book of 1 Peter? How do we know this?

2. Approximately when was 1 Peter written? What is the geographical setting of the book of 1 Peter? Here are some maps (scroll down to “1 Peter”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of 1 Peter.

3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of 1 Peter? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of 1 Peter.

4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of 1 Peter: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?

5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of 1 Peter?

6. What are some of the major topics of instruction in the book of 1 Peter? How do these topics relate to the theme of 1 Peter?

7. What are some ways 1 Peter points to and connects to Jesus?

8. What else did you learn about 1 Peter or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?

Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to grow you in holiness and in following the example of Christ as we study together Living Stones: A Study of 1&2 Peter.