Peter: The Rock

As we begin our study in I Peter, let us notice some background information about this epistle written by the apostle known as “the rock.” (Matthew 16:13-20).

Acceptance of Peter’s authorship of this letter is virtually unanimous. His letter was written during a time of religious persecution of Christians. Rather than an official edict from the Roman government, the sufferings these first century believers faced were then, and are today, the trials common to all Christians. These include insults (4:4; 14), slanderous accusations of wrongdoing (2:12; 3:16) and beatings (2:20); resulting from social isolation and resulting in mob violence.

The Roman government and culture perceived Christians, like many Jews, as antisocial. Certain stereotypes became common: Christians were “atheists” (like some philosophers, for rejecting the many Roman gods), “cannibals” (for claiming to eat Jesus’ “body” and drink his “blood”), and incestuous (for statements like “I love you, brother,” or “I love you, sister”).

According to some early first century historians, the Roman Emperor Nero burned Christians alive as torches to light his gardens at night. He killed other Christians in equally severe ways such as feeding them to animals for public amusement. In all, it is estimated that Nero must have murdered thousands of Roman Christians, although most Christians escaped his grip. Many Christians saw Nero as a type of antichrist.

Peter intends to instruct and encourage believers who are experiencing the pain of persecution for their faith in Christ. Such encouragement was not only needed then, but also today as Christians are increasingly experiencing the pain of persecution and discrimination because of their faith.

God has much to communicate through the Apostle Peter. Let us begin to listen to what He has to say.

Soli deo Gloria!

4 Replies to “Peter: The Rock”

  1. Persecution of Christian’s today seems to be more sophisticated and subtle at times, with a political overtone. May we be encouraged by our study of 1 Peter from His Word Today. Thank you Pastor Tom

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. It is really relevant in our lives today the way the country and world are right now. We are really going to need this series.

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  3. Those who love the Lord need to become reacquainted with the gift of encouraging others. (I’m speaking to myself as much, if not more, than to others.) “A word fitly spoken…” A cool drink in a parched land… A sister in the Lord undergirds my aching soul with…”All will be well.” The form it takes in becoming…well…isn’t always the way I had imagined, but it is the way God knew it would be, and it is for my benefit and His glory, alone.

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