“12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” (I Peter 5:12-14).
We now come to the conclusion of I Peter. As in keeping with the style of first century letters or epistles, the Apostle Peter saves most of his personal greetings and acknowledgements for the conclusion of his letter.
Silvanus is also known as Silas. This is the same man who traveled with the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys (Acts 15:22; 16:16-34) and who is also mentioned in Paul’s epistles (2 Corinthians 1:19; I Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1). Silvanus was a prophet (Acts 15:32) along with being a Romans citizen (Acts 16:37). Apparently, Silvanus recorded Peter’s words and later took the letter to its intended audience. Peter regards him as a faithful brother. Silvanus is one who Peter could trust, depend upon, could commit to and honor. May this be said of us by our friends.
Peter’s phrase “I have written briefly to you exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God” refers to the content contained in this first epistle bearing his name. The Lord commands those who read the Scriptures to stand firm (ἵστημι; histemi) in what it says. It is one thing to complete a study of a Bible book, but quite another thing to remember what you have studied and to faithfully apply its truths in your life. This is what God commands us to do.
“She who is in Bablyon” may well refer to the church in Rome which biblical scholars believe is where Peter was staying when he wrote I Peter. Rome is often referred to as Babylon (Revelation 17 & 18). This perspective concerning Peter’s location is supported by Peter’s reference to Mark, who he regards as his son. Mark was known to have been in Rome with Paul (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11). Tradition holds that Peter even helped Mark write the Gospel of Mark (Acts 12:12).
Peter’s final words focus on Christian fellowship. The kiss of love was a common form of greeting in the Near East (Matthew 26:48-49; Romans 16:16; I Thessalonians 5:26). It was an outward sign of the believers love and unity toward each other. It is equivalent to today’s practice of shaking another person’s hand. God is so adamant that fellowship be fostered among believers that this directive is a command.
Peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) is freedom from worry, anxiety and inner turmoil. Peter’s statement takes the form of a prayer on behalf of people who have experienced more than their share of outward turmoil. The peace for which Peter prays is not the absence of outward suffering but rather the inner knowledge that one belongs to Christ, the Prince of Peace.
This brings us to the final blog concerning the Epistle of I Peter. I trust you have grown in your walk with Christ because of this study. Remember, it’s not how well you begin that’s important, but how well you finish. Thank you for completing the journey with me through this epistle. Our next topic with be a periodic series I entitled Delighting in Doctrine. We will begin a study entitled Knowing God. This new study will take us right up to, and including, Easter Sunday.
Thank you for your many encouraging words as hiswordtoday.org became a reality for me and a hopefully a blessing to you. I am humbled.
As always, Soli deo Gloria!