October 14, 2015

First Peter: How to Live as Pilgrims in a Hostile World -- A Review

Peter was one of the original disciples who was called to follow Christ during his early ministry. He was eventually called to be one of the twelve Apostles, and as supported by a wide range of well documented evidence, he was also the head of them. “The Gospel writers,” writes Gregory Brown in his Bible Teacher’s Guide on First Peter, “focused on Peter throughout the narratives, as there is more material written about him than anybody else besides Christ. Also in the book of Acts, we see his importance in the establishment of the church. He leads the Apostles in the selection of the replacement for Judas (Acts 1) and he preaches several sermons that led to the salvation of thousands (Acts 2, 3 and 4).”

Peter writes this letter to Christians in order to comfort them—with the reality of their salvation—in the midst of intense persecution by the Roman Empire. He opens his letter with a greeting to “God’s elect” who are scattered in northern Asia Minor. He calls his fellow Christians a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession. Then he explains how God’s people should behave: they have to abstain from sin, live good lives before non-Christians, be respectful—all Christians should respect everyone, especially those in authority...

The message of the First Epistle of Peter—usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter—has been immensely comforting to Christians in Muslim and Communist societies where, as it is well known, they are undergoing constant persecution for their faith. “For them,” writes Brown, “this letter has been a manual on how to live as a Christian amidst persecution. Even in Western societies this letter is becoming more relevant.” At one time, he adds, “being a practicing Christian in society was not just tolerated but honored […] now with new ideas about marriage, the woman’s right to abort her children, and many other aspects of society, persecution is constantly growing.” How true!

Gregory Brown’s Bible Teacher’s Guide: First Peter: How to Live as Pilgrims in a Hostile World is a very useful resource for all those committed to teaching, communicating, pursuing, knowing and living out the truth of God’s word in its entirety as given to us in the Bible. It may be used very profitably by individual for personal devotions, by small bible study group leaders, and by pastors for sermon preparation. Highly recommended.