1 Peter 1

Yesterday, I confessed that I don’t think the illiterate fisher who joined Jesus in Galilee wrote this book. I do acknowledge that it was written with the intention of being in the spirit of Peter! I suggested that the express audience, ’exiles’ or ‘sojourners’ of the ‘Dispersion’ or ‘Diaspora’ (NRSV below, Hart on the audio) were not likely the original groups of humans named by those nouns in Torah and tradition. Nor, on my reading, is it ethnic Judeans bereft of a Temple.

I read the express (and by extension, the implied) audience to be god-fearing gentiles responding to Jesus – like us. Naming ourselves as if we were exiles or non-citizens wherever we are, begs the question ‘from where and from whom have we been exiled’, or ‘where is home, and who is us’? The summary four clues are in verse 2: ‘destined, sanctified, obedient, sprinkled’ in NRSV’s tendentious Trinitarian translation.

So far, it’s good Greek rhetoric: ‘tell them what you’re going to tell them’.

So what’s the message? I read affirmation and encouragement that we belong to something bigger than us, sufficient for us to face challenges. This stuff sounds liturgical and pastoral to me, not academic or bureaucratic, theoretical or legalistic. Can you read that affirmation and encouragement with me?

Closing today’s chapter is an echo of Hebrew scripture, well known from psalms, the ‘hymnary’ of the Tanakh, as echoed in prophets and wisdom. That’s the piety of a people acknowledging our humanity, mortality, and limits, while claiming our participation and identification with the ultimate and divine.

Today ends the ‘tell them what you’re going to tell them’ with a cocky claim that we just read the good news in a nutshell. How did that work for you?

1 Peter 1

Download audio of Hart translation

Text: NRSV

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials,

7so that the genuineness of your faith— being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire— may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.

8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,

9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry,

11inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory.

12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven— things into which angels long to look!

13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.

14Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.

15Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct;

16for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’

17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.

18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,

19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.

21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart

23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God

24For ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,

25 but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’ That word is the good news that was announced to you.