Lessons from 1 Peter: Its Timeless Message for the People of God

THE TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCES FOR WRITING

by Duane Warden


Of necessity an author mirrors the time in which he lives. Even if he offers timeless truths, he offers them in the context of a contemporary world. If the document the author produces is a letter, his initial readers will share a common world with him. The first readers will have no need, or at least only a slight need, to study the author's world and experiences. For subsequent readers that will not be the case. The farther readers of a letter are separated in time and space from the world that produced it, the more certain is their need to make a conscious effort to understand the author's world. That is true for any letter, ancient or modern, inspired or non-inspired.

When modern readers approach 1 Peter they read it across accumulated centuries of time and imposing cultural barriers. It follows that our understanding of the letter will be enriched when we come to know its author, when he lived, and what moved him to produce the document at hand. We bring questions such as these to the text: What kind of relationship did the author sustain with those whom he expected to read his words? What circumstances caused the author to write to these particular people at this particular time? What were the prevailing religious beliefs? What were the prevailing social mores and customs of the people? What language did the author and his readers share? How did the people of their world make a living? What kind of governments did they live under? What kinds of social institutions did they share?

If we are to understand any document that has come to us from a remote time and place it is necessary to probe for this kind of information. Because of its personal nature, such probing is especially crucial when the document is a letter. While 1 Peter is more formal, more carefully crafted, than we expect of a casual letter, it is nevertheless is a letter. To the extent that we become thoroughly enmeshed with the world shared by the author of 1 Peter and those whom he addressed, to that degree we will be able to understand what Peter wanted his first readers to understand. When we have understood what the first readers were expected to understand, we will have taken an important step toward understanding how the letter is able to instruct the modern church.

A Letter From Peter

First Peter is a letter, though some have argued otherwise. A case has been made that significant portions of the document were originally written to instruct new converts, or to guide new converts through a baptismal ceremony.1 Later, so the argument goes, some pious Christian adapted the document to letter form, put the apostle Peter's name on it, and distributed it to a wide audience. The viewpoint has found little support among conservative or liberal scholars. Questions of inspiration aside, it is difficult to image what would have motivated anyone to disguise a baptismal document originating in Rome as a letter from Peter and send it to churches spread through Asia Minor. If those who sent it intended for it to be used as a guide for baptismal ceremonies, one wonders why they would want to disguise it as a letter. How would those who sent the letter expect the readers to recognize the baptismal ceremony concealed in it? Those who have advanced this viewpoint have provided no explanations.

The salutation, the exhortations, the comforting words, the reminders, and the conclusion of 1 Peter are all forms commonly found in ancient letters. In addition, the ancient tradition of the church knows nothing of 1 Peter except in the letter form it has come down to us. In fact, it would hardly be worth the time to examine the theory that the bulk of 1 Peter consists of a warmed-over baptismal ceremony were it not for the significant implication of the viewpoint. Those who have advanced the theory have inadvertently drawn attention to the prominent place that baptism has in the letter. Modern interpreters tend to overlook the significance both Peter and his readers attach to their baptism. Reflection on their conversion and baptism continued to afford Peter's readers encouragement in the face of their trials and motivation for faithful, godly living (1:3, 23; 2:1, 2; 3:21). The "washing or regeneration" (in Paul's words, Titus 3:5) has far more to do with Peter's message than modern interpreters have generally recognized. That is true even though there is no evidence that the document originated as a guide through a baptismal procedure.

The baptismal document theory is significant because it brings up another issue. It raises a question about the unity of 1 Peter, i.e., whether it was written by one author for one occasion. Questions raised about the unity of the book usually revolve around 1 Peter 4:12. Immediately before this verse there is a doxology, a statement of praise such as commonly occurs at the end of a letter. In addition, the description of the readers' suffering in 4:12-19 is more extended and perhaps more intense than that found elsewhere in the book. Some have maintained that the only part of 1 Peter that began as a genuine letter is 4:12-5:14. Some time later, so the argument goes, someone attached 4:12-5:14 to the postulated baptismal document described above and sent it in the name of the apostle Peter.

The case that 1 Peter began as fragments and pieces fails when one examines the letter closely. First, there is no rule that a doxology can occur only at the end of a document. Paul wrote one of his most beautiful doxologies in 1 Timothy 6:15-16, and then continued to write his letter. Further, while the description of the suffering in 1 Peter 4:12-19 is intense, it is hardly more intense than the one found in 1:7 where the apostle wrote that his readers' faith had been tested by fire. The supposition that 1 Peter originated as two or more documents, sandwiched together to have the appearance of a letter is based on subjective arguments that there is no reason to accept. There is a possibility that Peter added 4:12ff to his letter after he learned of a new outbreak of suffering among his addressees, but even that is uncertain. Even if 4:12ff is an addendum to an original version of the letter, it hardly detracts from the unity of the work as a whole.

The Occasion of the Letter

There is hardly a more crucial factor for understanding a letter than having a sense of why the author wrote. Why did Peter write? What conditions prevailed among his first readers that caused him to write? How did the news of these conditions reach the apostle? It is only through an examination of the text of 1 Peter that we can hope to answer the questions. Carefully reading the short five chapters leads to an important observation: The suffering of the Christians whom Peter addressed runs like an scarlet thread through the letter. If Peter wrote in the mid-60s, it is likely that some of his readers had been Christians a decade or longer. Over time they had seen some of their number turn back to the world. Worse, those who had remained faithful had not faired well. Some were discouraged. Their faith wavered. Peter wrote to help his readers incorporate suffering into their Christian experience. He had no easy explanation for the suffering they had experienced, but it was important that they realize God was working out His will in the world. They should not have expected Christian living to be easy. The Lord himself had suffered; it is hardly unexpected that his followers suffer. The apostle is bold enough to suggest that in some cases, suffering had proved to be an ally to spirituality. Like fine metal, his readers had been tested by fire and had come out pure and refined (1:7).

The apostle was concerned because his Christian brothers and sisters were paying a heavy price for having confessed Jesus as Lord. There was no question of God's being able to prevent suffering. While God did not cause suffering, He was able to work out His purposes through suffering. God was able to override human rebellion and sin even to the point that suffering served divine purposes. The suffering of Jesus had set an example (2:21; 3:17, 18; 4:13). The common testimony of the New Testament is that those who embrace Jesus of Nazareth may expect to be hounded and belittled for their faith. Jesus had said, "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:11). Reflecting on his own experience, Paul wrote, "...in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's affliction" (Col. 1:24).

There are four times in the course of the letter when Peter directly addressed the suffering of his readers (1:6-9; 3:13-17; 4:12-19; 5:9, 10). The description he offered doesn't appear to suggest that they were being imprisoned and tortured. Rather, they seem to be chaffing under unexpected resentment and intolerance from non-Christian neighbors and families (1:6, 7). Perhaps the letter hints that persecution from governmental officials was on the horizon. When Peter urged his readers to respect rulers (2:13-17), the suggestion is that Christianity had been unfavorably scrutinized by the authorities. Perhaps they found it difficult to market their products or to participate in civic affairs. Peter wrote to give Christians the spiritual resources they needed to deal with the shameful treatment they were experiencing. He wrote to prepare them for even more difficult trials that they could face in the near future.

The reading of 1 Peter reveals another theme that is never far from the author's mind. It is a theme not unrelated to persecution and suffering, one that reverberates throughout the New Testament. The apostle appeals to his readers' faith that the Lord's return and their own glorification was at hand (4:7; 5:10). He renewed their hope (1:13). Confidence in the Lord's return was to give them the strength they needed to deal with the distresses that had accompanied faith (3:14). The two principal concerns of the letter are suffering and the expected return of the Lord. Other matters in the letter grow out of these two. When the Lord returned all their expectations would be realized.

The reason that Peter wrote may be summed up as follows: He wanted to reassure Christians that they were blessed when they were able to share in the suffering of Christ (4:16). Suffering was to be expected. They persevered because they knew something the world did not; namely, Jesus would appear again as Lord and Judge (1:17; 4:17). When he returned they would share in the blessings of the redeemed. As the "outcome of your faith," Peter assured his readers, you will obtain "the salvation of your souls" (1:9; cf. 4:19). Like Paul, for Peter, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom. 8:18). To use the words of James, "Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:8).

Growing out of these two overarching themes, Peter addressed other matters that were central to Christian living. He was concerned that suffering would breed cynicism. Cynicism, in turn, might lead Christians to treat the world the same way the world had treated them. The apostle repeatedly returns to admonitions that they live holy and good lives, never giving in to ungodly behavior (2:12; 3:9; 3:17; 4:3; 4:15). Christians were to meet lies and deceit with open-faced honesty. They were to answer hatred and mockery with gentleness and kindness. If suffering must come, Peter urged, may it never be because the Christian has acted unjustly. Kindness, submission and serving were qualities that the world's hatefulness and intolerance must not snuff from their lives. The apostle wants his readers to remember that they are a holy people (1:14-15), living stones in the temple of God (2:5). Holiness implies that they live as Jesus had taught them to live.

The Author of the Letter

In the Gospels Simon Peter looms large. None of the other apostles, not even, "that disciple whom Jesus loved," holds a place in the story of Jesus that compares to Peter. The name Peter occurs some 73 times in the Gospels. In an additional 19 places, mostly in John's Gospel, the names Simon and Peter occur together. Seventeen times the apostle is called simply Simon, and once in the Gospels he is Cephas (John 1:42). By contrast, the apostle John is spoken of by name only about 18 times. No one outside of Jesus himself has center stage in the Gospels as does Peter. Christians never tire of telling the stories about him recorded in the Gospels, of his ill advised words, his wavering faith, his simple humanity, his repentant trust. It was Peter who had begun to walk to the Lord on water, but whose faith had wavered (Matthew 14:28-33). At Caesarea Philippi, Peter had had the boldness to confess, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16). Peter had been there while they crucified the Lord. When called to confess, he had denied that he had ever known Jesus of Nazareth. The stories of Peter inspire believers today as they have in centuries past. The apostle's impetuous, child-like faith inspires us while his weaknesses encourage us. If the Lord was able to do what he did with the likes of a Simon Peter, perhaps he can do something with me.

We are not finished with Peter when the Gospels have ended. It is a transformed apostle that we encounter in the first chapters of Acts. It is he who leads the way on the day of Pentecost. The first two gospel sermons in Acts belong to him. Among other things, it is he who first opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 10-11). His prominence in the early church, the integrity of his witness, and his courageous confrontation with Jewish opponents remind us of the power Jesus exerted on the lives of his disciples. In Acts we see the wisdom of Jesus in giving this man the name Peter or Cephas, words in Greek and Aramaic respectively meaning "Rock." Over the course of three years Jesus had transformed a vacillating fisherman into a tower of strength. It is not only in the story of Jesus but also in the stories of the early church recorded in Acts that the person of Simon Peter stands prominent in the narrative.

Considering the importance of Peter in the Gospels and Acts, it is strange that the apostle's two letters are sometimes brushed aside, almost forgotten among New Testament documents.2 Sandwiched between Hebrews and Revelation, the Catholic Letters (the General Letters as we alternately call them), James, Peter, John, and Jude, tend to become lost. Perhaps it is the power of Paul's letters and the overwhelming role they have played in defining Christian doctrine that has resulted in the neglect of Peter's letters. Whatever the reason for the neglect, 1 Peter is an important part of our Christian heritage. A prayerful study of the letter will never fail to enrich Christian faith. The message of the letter transcends the first century world that produced it.

The opening words of the letter identify the author as clearly as we might hope. The letter is from Peter, "an apostle of Jesus Christ." On the basis of this testimony and the common witness of the second century church, few have doubted that the same Peter whom we encounter in the Gospels and in Acts is the author of the letter that bears his name.3 As expected, there have been doubters, but the evidence supporting the assertion that Simon Peter is the author is overwhelming.

Those who have doubted the Petrine authorship have argued that the excellent literary quality of the letter is better than we expect from a Galilean fisherman. They have further maintained that the letter reflects a state of development in the church later than the mid-60s when Peter died in Rome.4 In addition, some argue that if the apostle Peter were the author he would surely have punctuated his appeals with allusions to his personal relationship with the Lord.

It is true that the Greek of 1 Peter is some of the best in the New Testament. However, we ought not to overlook the acknowledged role that Silvanus/Silas, his scribe or his amanuensis (5:12), played in the production of the letter. While Silas was a Jewish Christian, his name is thoroughly Greco-Roman. His name may be an indication that he grew to maturity outside the confines of Judea. He may well have been a man of considerable secular learning. Silas is first introduced as a prophet in Acts 15:22 where he played an important role in conveying the sensitive letter from the Jerusalem church to Gentile believers. Later Silas joined Paul as a companion and fellow missionary. He joined Paul in the writing of both Thessalonian letters. It is clear that Silas was no passive player as the gospel spread in the Roman world. That being the case, his part in the writing of 1 Peter would account for the excellent Greek style of the letter.5 If Silas acted as a scribe for Peter, even if he reworded Peter's sentences into good Greek prose, it makes the letter nonetheless Peter's. Silas was a prophet. To affirm inspiration for 1 Peter hardly requires that we suppose Peter transcribed every word personally.

The argument that 1 Peter reflects developments in the early church that postdate the death of the apostle can be dismissed. We hardly know enough about the development of the early church in the lands of Asia Minor during the first century to assert that 1 Peter reflects a period later than the mid-60s. As to why the apostle made no allusion to his personal relationship with the Lord, we cannot say.6 We note, however, that he called himself a witness of the sufferings of Christ (5:1; cf. 2:22-23). That is enough. With the evidence we have at hand, there is no reason to doubt that the letter was written by the apostle Peter.

Peter's Acquaintance with Asia

Excepting Paul's brief allusions to Peter in Galatians and 1 Corinthians, the last reference to Peter in the New Testament is in Acts 15.7 The apostle spoke at the so called Jerusalem conference, approximately A.D. 50. We hear nothing more of him in Acts. What was the apostle doing during the 17 years between A.D. 50 and A.D. 67, the approximate time of his death? There is a tantalizing reference to Peter in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Among the parties at Corinth was a group who claimed to be "of Cephas" (1 Cor. 1:12). Had Peter been in Corinth? Paul doesn't quite say that he had. The Cephas party may have been imported to Corinth from Jerusalem or elsewhere. We observe that there was also a party that claimed to be "of Christ." Jesus clearly had not been to the city.

It is uncertain whether Peter had been to Corinth in person, but Paul's allusion suggests that Peter had been actively working outside the confines of Palestine. The address of 1 Peter justifies our confidence that Peter had spent time in Asia Minor. In Galatians Paul mentioned his confrontation with Peter in Antioch. How we are to fit the incident into the course of events unfolded in Acts is uncertain, but it clearly took place before the Jerusalem conference of Acts 15. When we consider the provinces Peter addressed in the opening verse of his letter, it is hardly unthinkable that the apostle's appearance in Antioch on Onontes was a prelude to his later using the church there as a springboard for extended work in the whole of Asia Minor.8

One would like to think that, in addition to establishing churches, Peter was diligent to correct any misinformation that had been spread in his name. The apostle has nothing directly to say about Jews as such or the Law as such. Still, his words imply that he, like Paul, wanted Christians to know that the Lord had broken down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. To require that Gentiles submit to circumcision and the sacrificial system of the Law would be to deny salvation by grace through faith. To his largely Gentile audience the apostle wrote, "As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:9). He added, "You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot" (1:18-19).

For Peter the community of God's people is the church of Jesus Christ. The ethnic or religious background of a Christian is of such little importance that it deserves no mention. For Peter a Gentile is not a non-Jew, but a non-Christian. It is with good reason that the NIV translates the word "pagan" in 1 Peter 2:12 and 4:3. A non-Jew is a Gentile and a non-Christian is a pagan. Peter contrasts his readers way of life to non-Christians. It is clear that Peter's readers had been non-Jews before they had learned of Christ. Otherwise it is difficult to explain such statements as "the futile ways inherited from your fathers" (1:18) and their formerly having been "no people" (2:10). Peter makes no indictment of the Jews for having rejected Jesus. Rather, he writes of the Christian community as having wholly taken their place as the people of God. Christians, largely of Gentile birth, are the chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, God's own people (2:9).

The Date and Place of Writing

The only hint the letter gives as to where Peter might have been when he wrote the letter is in 5:13 where he says, "She of Babylon greets you." The natural way to take the phrase is that Peter was in a place which he calls Babylon. The meaning seems to be that associates of Peter in Babylon sent their greetings. Babylon was the name of a famous city on the Euphrates River, the center of the empire that had destroyed Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and carried the Jewish people into captivity. The first inclination is to take the word Babylon as a reference to that famous city. But there are problems with taking the name literally.

First, the tradition of the early church is uniform in associating Peter with the western part of the Roman Empire, not the East. Babylon was in the Far East. In addition, while evidence from the ancient world is scarce, it appears that Babylon was no more than a small insignificant village by the time that Peter wrote.9 Diodorus Sicilus, a historian who wrote in the mid-first century B.C., described the foundation of Babylon and its opulence. Afterward he wrote, "But all these were later carried off as spoil by the kings of the Persians, while as for the palaces and other buildings, time has either entirely effaced them or left them in ruins; and in fact of Babylon itself but a small part is inhabited at this time, and most of the area within its walls is given over to agriculture."10 Further in Revelation 18:2, when the apostle John wanted to refer to the downfall of Rome, he used the designation Babylon. Because of their familiarity with the Old Testament, for Christians Babylon was a symbol of enmity, godlessness, sensuality, and oppression.11 Like John in Revelation, Peter apparently finds Rome to be the moral and spiritual equivalent to Babylon. Peter's readers would have identified Babylon with Rome as easily as we identify The Big Apple with New York City.

In passing we might notice that John Calvin in his heated dislike for Roman Catholicism sought to discredit the claim that Peter was the first pope by arguing that Peter had never been to Rome. He took the word Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13 literally, maintaining that Peter's work was in the eastern part of the Empire. Others have followed Calvin in that assertion. However, the evidence is against it. Among other things we notice that Mark and Silas (5:12,13) are names associated with the western church. The common witness of authors in the first four centuries of the church, when they mention the death of Peter at all, is that the apostle died in Rome.

The church historian Eusebius, in the 4th century understood that both Peter and Paul had been martyred at about the same time while Nero was Emperor. Nero committed suicide in A.D. 68. While it is impossible to know how long Peter was in Rome, it would have been necessary for him to be there some time in order to receive information about the suffering Christians in Asia were experiencing. Evidently some time had elapsed since his readers had become Christians, long enough for persecutions to begin to take their toll. There is no indication that the persecutions were generated from Rome. There are no empire-wide persecutions at this early date, but some time is required in order for Christians to begin to feel the ostracism and financial pressure that comes from local intolerance for the new religion. In addition, the churches whom Peter addresses had matured enough that they were served by elders (5:1). While we cannot be certain on the date, it is a good guess to say that Peter wrote his first letter near the year A.D. 65.

The Structure of the Letter

After the opening address (1:1,2), Peter tethered his own mind and the minds of his readers to the redemption, the hope, and the promise that sustained them through the difficulties of the hour. Phrase after phrase brings readers to reflect on the end time, the final hour when hope would be realized: "born again to a living hope" (1:3), "an inheritance which is imperishable" (1:4), "ready to be revealed in the last time" (1:4), "the salvation of your souls" (1:9), "this salvation" (1:10), "the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:13), "the time of your stay on earth" (1:17), "you were not redeemed with perishable things" (1:18), "these last times" (1:20), "your faith and hope are in God" (1:21). The first major portion of the letter is 1:3 through 2:10. Peter wants his readers to know what people they have become, a chosen generation, God's own people. Because they have been born anew, life has a mission, a purpose, an end. Delivered from their former lives of futility, they anticipate union with the Lord.

Having focused attention on the hope of the Lord's return, Peter turns his attention to exhortations which will guide his readers to more complete Christian living. The portion of the letter extending from 2:11 through 4:11 is filled with imperatives, nearly as frequent as the letter of James: "keep your behavior excellent" (2:12), "submit yourselves for the Lord's sake" (2:13), "act as free men" (2:16), "honor all people" (2:17), and so forth. It is not as if the return of the Lord is forgotten in this section (3:18; 4:7). The return of the Lord is the foundation from which Peter offers his exhortations. Nor is it as if Peter neglects the suffering of his readers (3:13,14). Suffering is the basis for a renewed call to faithfulness (3:15).

In the final portion of the letter 4:12 through 5:11, Peter returns to themes he had addressed in 1:3-2:10. Suffering resurfaces with renewed intensity. Since 4:11 finishes with a doxology, typically found at the end of a document, and since the language of 4:12ff indicates extreme suffering, some have suggested that Peter intended to finish his letter at 4:11. One scholar has maintained that there were two versions of 1 Peter. The first version was for Christians who endured relatively mild persecutions. Those Christians received 1 Peter 1:1-4:11. The second version was for believers who endured severe persecutions. They received 1 Peter 1:1,2 and 1 Peter 4:12-5:14.12 Others have argued that after Peter laid the letter aside, he received additional information about a new outbreak of terrible suffering on the part of his readers. With that he returned to his writing and added 4:12-5:11 as a postscript.13 While both suggestions are worth consideration, our knowledge of the circumstances under which Peter wrote are too limited to reach confident conclusions. It is clear that 1 Peter 4:12ff set the suffering of Peter's readers before us with an intensity we had not seen earlier in the letter.

Peter assures his readers that none of them should be ashamed to suffer as a Christian, one of the three occurrences of the word in the New Testament. How are Christians to respond in the face of such external pressures? By entrusting "their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right" (4:19). The apostle inserts helpful words of instructions for elders, exhorts his readers to humility and sobriety, then brings his letter to a close.


References


1This way of interpreting 1 Peter was advanced, among others, by Frank L. Cross, 1 Peter: A Pascal Liturgy(London: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Limited, 1954). He has had a limited number of followers. (return to text)

2 John Elliott entitled an article "The Rehabilitation of an Exegetical Step-Child: 1 Peter in Recent Research," Journal of Biblical Literature 95 (June 1976):243-54. After 1976 several excellent commentaries have been produced on the letter. (return to text)

3 See, for example, J. Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter, Word Biblical Commentary (Waco: Word Books, Publisher, 1988), pp. xxxii for the testimony of the early church. (return to text)

4 The evidence that Peter died in Rome is early and strong. First Clement 5.4 suggests that Peter was martyred in the city. Ignatius Romans 4.2 indicates the same. Eusebius cites Gaius of Rome and Dionysius of Corinth to the same effect, Ecclesiastical History 2.25. (return to text)

5Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988), 23-24 makes a strong case that Silas was the carrier of the letter, not the scribe who took it down. Michaels 1 Peter, concurs that "through Silas" indicates that Silas carried the letter. Similarly, Randolf Richards, "Silvanus Was Not Peter's Secretary: Theological Bias in Interpreting dia Silouanou . . . e[graya," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43 (September 2000):417-432. Edward Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter, Thornapple Commentaries, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan and Company, 1947; reprint Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), 11-16 argues convincingly that Silas was the scribe who took the letter down. The affinities of 1 Peter with high Koiné Greek style intrinsically suggest that the apostle had access to a scribe, whether Silas or some other. It is unlikely that a Galilean fisherman could have found time or resources to have the mastery of language evident in 1 Peter. (return to text)

6 It is of interest that critics take Peter's allusion to the Mount of Transfiguration in 2 Peter 1:16-18 as evidence that Peter could not be the author. They argue that the apostle would not have artificially inserted such an incident from the Gospels. The critics cannot have it both ways. (return to text)

7 Since Paul appears to have written earlier than the author of Acts, in one sense Acts is the last reference to Peter in the New Testament. But in terms of the unfolding story of Acts, the setting of Paul when he referred to Peter in his letters is later than the setting of the narrative in Acts 15. (return to text)

8 Selwyn, First Epistle of St. Peter, pp. 45f speculates that Peter, or perhaps Peter and John, were directly involved in the missionary work of Asia Minor while Paul went elsewhere because it was his intent not to "build upon another man's foundation" (Rom. 15:20). (return to text)

9 Strabo, Geography, 16.1.5 wrote in the early first century, "The greater part of Babylon is so deserted that one would not hesitate to say .... 'The Great City is a great desert.'" (return to text)

10 Diodorus of Silicy, 2.9.9. (return to text)

11 In Zech. 5:5-11, "wickedness" is placed in an ephah and carried off by two winged women to "the land of Shinar." The land of Shinar, i.e., Babylon, was the place for all the wickedness purged from Israel. (return to text)

12 C. F. D. Moule, "The Nature and Purpose of 1 Peter," New Testament Studies 3 (1955):10. (return to text)

13 See, for example, J. W. C. Wand, The General Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude (London: Methuen & Co. LTD, 1934), 13. (return to text)


Lecture delivered on Thursday, September 12, 2002, 7:00 pm
at Inman Forum, Ohio Valley College, Vienna, WV.


Lecture 1: Introduction | Lecture 2: Readers | Lecture 3: Themes | Lecture 4: Passages

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