1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Catch Up Week

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

It’s Catch Up Week!

I’m out of pocket this week, so you get a catch up week!

Catch up on any lessons you might be behind on, go back and do any of the homework you may not have had time for, review your memory verses, or if you’re already caught up, you could even read ahead in 1 Peter a little (we got through the end of 1 Peter 3 in lesson 5). It’s your week to use as you see fit.

Memory verses for review (there was no memory verse for lesson 1):

Lesson 2

 

Lesson 3

 

Lesson 4

 

Lesson 5

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Be Part of the Solution – Preach the Whole Counsel of God

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com, and let’s chat about it.

 

Be Part of the Solution:
Preach the Whole Counsel of God

by Andy de Ganahl

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

An honest assessment of what passes for Evangelicalism today is depressing. Individual Christians are vastly ignorant of the Scriptures, churches that teach verse-by-verse are few and far between, and whole denominations are apostatizing left and right. The reason for this massive downgrade is simple: once a departure from Scripture’s authority has commenced, total destruction is imminent.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4

We are even now living in a time when “Christians” desperately desire to have their ears tickled. They want people to tell them what they want to hear and have no stomach for anything outside of that small circle.

We conservatives are quick to point the finger at men like Joel Osteen or Steven Furtick who deny redemption from sin in favor of redemption of personal circumstances. The damning errors of Beth Moore and Rachel Hollis who preach empowerment instead of submission are easy pickings. These are ear-ticklers who have a vast following. But what are we doing about it?

The cancer of heresy is easy to spot once it manifests, but we must address the source of this sickness rather than only treating the symptoms. Generally speaking, we know the problem. We have departed from the Word of God. When you confuse the gospel of grace with personal wealth and individual independence, you’re clearly off the reservation. But where did this start? How far back do we have to go before we find the root of this problem? At what point did we become those who desire to have our ears tickled? It is my opinion that this sickness has infected many more of us than you may suspect.

What Is The Problem?

If you’re like me, you may associate that phrase “wanting to have their ears tickledwith heresy. Clearly what Paul is talking about is a gross misrepresentation of the gospel that might include things like:

  • Denying Christ’s divinity
  • Denying Christ’s humanity
  • Denying the need of repentance
  • Denying human inability in salvation

We could go on and point out the heresies of various cults and false teachers, but Paul’s point is broader than that. All that the phrase means is that people want to be told what they want to hear at the expense of everything else. This does not mean that the thing that people want to hear is necessarily contrary to Scripture.

Paul contrasts ear-tickling with sound doctrine. The Greek literally means healthy/wholesome teaching. It brings the idea of a complete and filling spiritual and theological diet. There is no room in a whole diet for sweets and fluff. But we also need more than only steak, only bread, only broccoli (Praise Him!).

Christians must hold certain convictions with an iron grip. There are many things that a true Christian will never budge on. But that iron grip must hold the totality of God’s Word and not only those convictions that we personally adore more than others.

Some beloved believers, while holding fast their biblical convictions, are ignorant to other important doctrines. Not only are they ignorant, they’re indifferent. They’ve no time for these matters nor do they desire to submit to them. They only wish to hear about the things that are most concerning to them.

We hot-blooded Protestants are eager to rally to the cry of Sola Scriptura! Yet that slogan means that we stand on the totality of Scripture alone, not that we only stand on our favorite passages and doctrines.

I’ve noticed a trend in the various posts that I write. The majority of my writing reflects a careful exposition of Scripture. I write like I preach, verse by verse. But occasionally it is necessary to address issues and topics in light of current events (case in point). Those topics are still presented and studied under the light of Scripture, but they remain topical in nature. It is these kinds of posts that receive the most attention, views, and shares on social media. This trend follows the trajectory of the larger problem. In general, the people of God are more interested in topical discussions that tickle their ears than enduring wholesome teaching. If I am honest, I find this discouraging.

If I were to write something rather controversial like the clear demonic influence of the Democratic National Convention or the apostasy of the Southern Baptist Convention, these sensational topics would likely be well circulated. But these are crumbs. The truths of these propositions are so utterly basic to the Christian faith. To feast on these things is to ensure spiritual starvation. To prefer sensational topics to steady exposition is the very definition of wanting to have our ears tickled.

Please understand me. I am not suggesting that pastors should not address topics that intersect with our surroundings. The sheep need to hear the clear voice of the Shepherd in all things. But it grieves me that there is a genuine lack of appetite for meat while the crumbs are quickly gobbled up. The true child of God loves all of the Word of God and not only the parts he finds to be sensational.

This is a problem of our own making. It has become the standard operating procedure of most churches to completely avoid vast portions of Scripture. We are grieved when we see churches adopt atheistic presuppositions about the origins of the universe and deny God’s literal creation. We marvel and shake our heads when we hear that churches no longer teach homosexuality is sin in both practice and desire. We are shocked when we see mainstream denominations promote blatant violations of 1 Timothy 2:12. But all of these are only the fruit. The root is much deeper.

We have been giving lip service to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture while practically denying that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and exhortation” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In plain language, the problem is a departure from the totality of Scripture.

What Is The Solution?

The solution is as simple as the problem. We must cling to and submit under the totality of Scripture. But what does that simple solution look like?

As a people, we must soundly reject the false understanding of doctrinal triage. We cannot survive another decade if we continue to treat the church like a 1950’s dinner party where are certain topics are off limits. There is simply no such thing as secondary or tertiary doctrines that pale in significance or even lapse into insignificance when placed alongside “primarydoctrines. The biblical authors never divide the Word of God into degrees of significance and neither should we. The solution to biblical fidelity will never be found in arbitrary divisions of biblical teaching. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.

As a church, our pulpits must proclaim the full counsel of God and not only the portions that are palatable. The teaching must be only the Word and must consist of the totality of the Word. Careful verse-by-verse exposition takes a very, very, very long time. It took John MacArthur almost 50 years to preach through the New Testament. But there are still 39 books in the Old Testament that need to be taught. Precise verse-by-verse exposition is the only way to preach. But that means the church must provide more than only the pulpit ministry. The people need the whole story. Their diet must contain the totality of God’s bounty. The solution to biblical fidelity requires the totality of the Bible to be taught. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.

As an individual, you must feast upon the totality of Scripture on a daily basis. There are many Bible reading programs out there. I have my opinion as to how to make your daily Bible reading and communion with God most profitable, but at the end of the day you must be familiar with your ENTIRE Bible. When is the last time you read through Leviticus, or Habakkuk, or Philemon, or (heaven forbid) Revelation? If you own a Bible and possess the ability to read, there is no excuse to be biblically malnourished. This is akin to starving do death with a full pantry. The solution to biblical fidelity requires that we are familiar with our Bibles. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.

Helpful Suggestions

Find a church: The individual Christian is never truly an individual but a member of a larger body. If you find yourself floating from church to church, or just not going to church, then repent of your sin and attach yourself to a faithful body. But be wise to what you attach yourself. There is only one thing that should look for: does this church teach the Bible? Sequential exposition is not just an effective way to preach, it is the only way to preach. The style of music, the quality of the sound system, and the presence (or lack of) children’s church does not amount to a hill of beans. Does the pastor open up his Bible, read it, explain it, and then exhort obedience to it? Find a church that does this, attach yourself to her, bless her and be blessed by her.

Redeem the time: There are portions of our day when our minds a free to wander. Whether we are driving to work, getting in a work out at the gym, or doing some mindless chore around the house. These are fantastic opportunities to engage the mind as well as the hands. We live in a day when we have countless resources full of sound teaching at our fingertips. Many faithful ministries have apps free to download on your phone (Search for Grace to You and S.L.J Institutes in the app store). Stop wasting your time with pointless and Godless music or simply allowing your mind to wander and feast upon the Word of God.

Be selective: Make a conscious decision between what’s good and what’s best. There are many teaching resources out there that seek to teach biblical truth, but are not necessarily teaching the Bible. Is it good to learn about God’s good creation and the scientific discoveries that assume Genesis 1 is true? Is it good to listen to men discussing current events from a biblical worldview? Absolutely. But what is best is to feast on the Word itself. Why waste your time listing about the Bible when you can hear the Bible being taught?

Conclusion

Apostasy and heresy are running rampant in our land and we are partly to blame. We have the audacity to be shocked at the fruit of unbelief when the root of biblical infidelity has been growing for decades. What did Paul command Timothy before he warned him? Preach the Word! (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

He doesn’t say, preach the primary” doctrines, or when it’s convenient. Preach the whole counsel of God and preach it all the time. There’s no room here for private convictions held within small circles. He says reprove (give correction), rebuke (call out sin), exhort (call for obedience) with great patience (people need to hear it over and over again) and instruction (TEACH IT!).

The problem with the church today is that we have neglected the totality of Scripture. As a result we must be chained to, immersed in, and fully submitted under all of Scripture.

This is our battle cry. This is what Sola Scriptura means. This is the path of fidelity. This is the solution to the problem. But if we’re not part of this solution, then we’re part of the problem.


Andy de Ganahl is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Burley Idaho. Andy’s burning desire is for the people of God to know the Word of God so that they can more accurately worship the God of the Word. You can check out If You’re Not Part of the Solution, Then You’re Part of the Problem (from which this guest post was excerpted), and other articles by Andy, at The Pastor’s Brief

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.)