1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 7

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read 1 Peter 5

Questions to Consider

1. Verse 1 begins with another pivot (transitional) word. (Review lesson 2 if necessary – link above). What is that word? How does the word “so” act as a hinge between what we studied in chapter 4 (and the preceding chapters – links above if you’d like to review) and what Peter says in chapter 5?

2. Peter gave minimal credentials at the beginning of his letter, choosing instead to save the details of his authority until his closing. What credentials does he list supporting his authority to instruct pastors and the church? (1)

3. Who is Peter instructing in verses 1-3? (1) Chart Peter’s instructions to pastors and elders in verses 2-3:

Do this:                                 Not this:                           But this:

Verse 2:

 

Verse 3:

 

Explain how each of these instructions speaks to a pastor’s character and how having a pastor who obeys these instructions is beneficial to a local church. What is a pastor’s reward for obeying these instructions? (4) What is the congregation’s responsibility? (5) Describe the dynamics of a church whose pastors/elders are obeying the instructions in 1-3, and whose members are obeying the instructions in 5. How does the pastor’s obedience make for better church members and vice versa?

4. What topic does verses 6-7 address? Verses 8-10? In each of these verses, Peter gives an instruction to obey and a reason for/explanation of that instruction. Chart these:

Instruction:                                       Reason/Explanation:

Verse 6:

Verse 7:

Verse 8:

Verse 9:

Verse 10:

How are each of these instructions practical in the life of a Believer? How do the reasons/explanations bring comfort and assurance to Believers? How would  these instructions and reassurances have been a perfect fit for the dispersed, persecuted church of Peter’s day?

5. How does God receive dominion and glory (11) from pastors and church members obeying His instructions in verses 1-10? How does a healthy church glorify God?

6. Read verses 12-14. Using your cross-references and footnotes, who are Silvanus and Mark? What task was Silvanus performing for Peter? (12) Was Mark Peter’s biological son or his “son in the faith”? (13). Who is “she who is at Babylon”? (13) (Hint: See 1 Peter 1:1, and review lesson 1, link above) Why would Peter have been careful to speak in “code” like this? Is 14a a literal command to all churches for all time, or was it merely an instruction to the church to greet each other warmly in a culturally acceptable way? How might Peter have instructed Believers today to greet one another?


Homework

Review the instructions to pastors/elders in 2-3. Which of these instructions is your pastor really good at carrying out? Send him a brief note or e-mail thanking him for obeying God and benefiting your church in this regard.


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 6

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

Read 1 Peter 4

Questions to Consider

1. Review lessons 4 and 5 (links above) (1 Peter 2:19-25 and 3:8-22) and read all of 1 Peter 4. What theme do these passages have in common? Compare the ideas and instructions about suffering in these three passages. What are some ideas or instructions that Peter repeats for emphasis? How does Peter placard Jesus as our perfect example of suffering well in these passages?

2. Read verses 1-6 in light of these passages. Do verses 1-2 mean that anyone who has ever been ill or wounded (“suffered in the flesh”) will never sin again? What do these verses actually mean on a spiritual, rather than tangible, level? How do 1-6 describe the transformation of the behavior of someone who has become a new creature in Christ, who has put off the old self and put on the new self? What do all of these passages indicate about the spiritual state of someone who lives in the flesh and makes a practice of sinning versus someone who lives in the spirit and makes a practice of obeying God’s Word from the heart? Take some time to honestly, objectively, and prayerfully evaluate your heart against what these passages teach.

3. How do verses 7-11 describe living in the spirit? Peter gives something of a “bullet point” list in these verses. What are the instructions in each verse? Verses 7,8,11 give an instruction and a reason for the instruction (do this, because…). What are those reasons? How does living out these instructions benefit the individual Christian and the church? How does living out each of these instructions fit with the theme of this epistle: “living lives of holiness under persecution, and before a watching world”?

7-

8-

9-

10-11-

4. Examine verses 12-19.

Compare 12 to 2 Timothy 3:12. What does this teach us about the ubiquity of suffering and persecution for the Christian?

Find the words and phrases in 13, 14, 16, that describe the positive perspective on suffering Christians are to have. Why are we to have a joyful outlook on suffering?

Look at verses 1 and 13 together. What does it mean to share in Christ’s sufferings? How did He suffer? Why did He suffer? At whose hands did He suffer?

What’s the difference between sharing in Christ’s sufferings/suffering for the sake of Christ/suffering as a Christian and suffering as verse 15 describes? Why is the former to be gloried in and rejoiced over and the latter is to be avoided? What does God’s judgment (17-18) have to do with each kind of suffering? Why does God’s judgment begin with Christians ? (17-18)

Tie verse 19 (“while doing good”) back to 7-11. Does suffering give us an excuse to sin or walk away from the church? Why not, according to 19, 7-11?


Homework

Compare and contrast four different types of suffering:

a) Suffering as a result of someone else’s sin (ex: a drunk driver crashes into your car and kills your child)

b) Suffering as a result of living in a fallen world (ex: disease, disability, natural disaster)

c) Suffering as a result of your own sin (ex: you cheat on your husband and he leaves you)

d) Suffering for the sake of Christ (persecution)

Which of these types of suffering is today’s passage mainly dealing with? What are the similarities and differences among these types of suffering? What are some good things God can bring out of each of these types of suffering?

You may wish to read some of my articles on suffering:

True or False: Is Your Theology of Suffering Biblical?

God’s Good Purposes in Suffering

Christ, the Suffering Servant

Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering


Suggested Memory Verse

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

Holidays (Other)

40 Things to Give Up for Lent

Originally published March 3, 2017

40-lent

Although, as a Louisiana girl, I’ve had a decades long love affair with king cake, and I totally support the increased availability of fish entrées at local restaurants and getting a few days off school or work, I’m not a big fan of Mardi Gras and Lent.

The intrinsic philosophy behind Mardi Gras – a day of revelry, indulgence, and debauchery to get it all out of your system before you have to start “being good” for Lent – is patently unbiblical.

The practice of Lent often is, as well. Lent is the forty day period, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter Sunday, observed by Catholics and some Protestants. Originally, it was simply a time of fasting, prayer, and worship in anticipation of Easter, and for Christians who continue to observe it this way, it can be a valuable and meaningful time of respite and renewal with the Lord.

For many, however, Lent – particularly the aspect of giving something up for Lent in an act of self-denial – is nothing more than an empty religious ritual, or worse, works righteousness. Giving something up for Lent because, “I’m Catholic and that’s what good Catholics do,” or to atone for your sins, or to curry favor with God, or to flaunt your self-righteousness flies in the face of grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone biblical Christianity.

If you give something up for Lent, why do you do so? If it’s for one of the aforementioned unbiblical reasons (or others), or even if you don’t observe Lent at all, I’d like to challenge us all to give up the things below for Lent:

1. Give up Lent for Lent.

2. Give up attending any church that requires the observance of Lent in a sacramental way and find a doctrinally sound one.

3. Give up thinking your good behavior earns you right standing with God.

4. Give up the idea that there’s any such thing as truly good behavior.

5. Give up thinking your good deeds could ever outweigh your sins.

6. Give up willfully indulging in sin as long as you “make up for it” later.

7. Give up the notion that penance or self-denial can pay for your sins.

8. Give up thinking that penance or self-denial curries favor with God.

9. Give up the idea that repentance and obedience belong to a certain season on the calendar. We are to walk in repentance every day.

10. Give up the concept that Christmas and Easter are Christian “high holy days.” We celebrate Christ’s incarnation and resurrection every Sunday, and should prepare ourselves all during the week. Every Sunday is a high holy day for the Christian.

11. Give up rote participation in church rituals. Search the Scriptures and see if they’re biblical first.

12. Give up thinking God concerns Himself strictly with your external behavior rather than the condition of your heart.

13. Give up “sounding a trumpet before you” with humblebrags on social media and in real life about giving things up for Lent, fasting, giving offerings, or any other good works you might do. You just lost your reward, baby.

14. Give up approaching church attendance as punching the time clock for God. The Christian’s entire life, our very beings, belong to Christ, not just a couple of hours on Sunday.

15. Give up the delusion that you’re basically a good person. You’re not.

16. Give up biblical ignorance and become a good student of God’s word.

17. Give up forsaking the assembly and become a faithful, serving member of your local church.

18. Give up thinking that everyone and everything that calls itself “Christian” actually is.

19. Give up the desire to have your itching ears scratched and long for the truth of God’s word. Even when it’s hard to hear.

20. Give up neglecting the daily study of God’s word.

21. Give up rejecting parts of the Bible you don’t agree with. We don’t sit in judgment over Scripture. Scripture sits in judgment over us.

22. Give up neglecting your prayer life.

23. Give up making excuses for failing to memorize Scripture. You can do it!

24. Give up being a non-serving member of your church.

25. Give up being a non-giving member of your church.

26. Give up thinking you’re hearing God speak to you. If you want to hear God speak to you, open your Bible and study it. God has spoken in His word and many are largely ignoring what He has already said.

27. Give up following false teachers and be a good Berean.

28. Give up being afraid to share the gospel and just do it.

29. Give up thinking you can please God apart from faith in Christ.

30. Give up basing your doctrine and beliefs on your own (or anyone else’s) opinions, experiences, and feelings, and base them on correctly handled Scripture instead.

31. Give up following your wicked and deceitful heart, take up your cross daily, and follow Christ.

32. Give up thinking you have to do big things for God in order for Him to be pleased with you and “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.”

33. Give up worrying and trust God.

34. Give up neglecting to fear God’s wrath if you don’t know Christ.

35. Give up fearing God’s wrath if you do know Christ.

36. Give up the idea that “God is love” means God is a pushover who won’t judge you.

37. Give up thinking you’ve been so bad that God could never forgive you.

38. Give up thinking you’re so good that you don’t need God to forgive you.

39. Give up refusing to forgive others when Christ has forgiven you so much.

40. Give up everything and be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and walk in His ways, all the days of your life, to the glory of God alone.

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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