As with all of our lessons in the New Testament, we will begin our study of Peterâ€™s first letter by examining its structure. First, the author of this letter and his rank is revealed. â€œPeter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.â€ Second, the recipients of this letters are recorded. Many versions reorder this sentence a number of ways, but the literally, word for word translation is: â€œTo the elect pilgrims of the dispersion.â€ Many versions move the word â€œchosenâ€ to the end of verse 1 so that verse 2 becomes a description about how we are chosen. A great example of this movement is found in the NASU: â€œTo those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.â€ This is simply not how the original text records Peterâ€™s words. The ESV seems to be the most literal translation of the text: â€œTo those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.â€ Finally, Peterâ€™s salutation to the chosen pilgrims of the dispersion: â€œMay grace and peace be multiplied to you.â€
Verses 3-5 contain the thanksgiving section as Peter offers praise to God who has brought numerous blessings through his mercy. Peter says we have been born to a living hope of an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance reserved in heaven. This section of thanksgiving leads us into the body of Peterâ€™s letter. Peter is going to write about three important topics: salvation, submission, and suffering.
Peter says that the elect of the dispersion are able to rejoice in their inheritance even though they are suffering for a little while. Peter ties suffering to the perfecting of faith toward salvation. In verse 7 Peter says that what they were suffering was the testing of the genuineness of their faith bringing about the salvation of their souls (verse 10).
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