by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 January 4, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
I. The Issue of This Introduction on the Authorial Side.
A. Begins with "Peter". The man is most notable for the transformation effected by God from a "Simon" to a dependable "Rock". As a "Simon" he was heavily involved in aggressively seeking status in the eyes of men as a primary mechanism of "life". He is best known for diametrically opposite issues: on the "Simon" side of things, he is known for his three denials of Jesus on the night He was betrayed after boastfully proclaiming that he would be loyal unto death; and on the "Peter" side of things, he is known for his assumption of the leadership of the Church in the early records of the Acts, and particularly the sermon of Pentecost. The issue of the name (Peter) in regard to this letter seems to be the transformational power of "true grace" (5:12) in the context of painful difficulties.
B. Moves immediately to his "apostleship" in regard to "Jesus Christ". The most fundamental issue of "apostleship" in the New Testament seems to be "authoritative revelation". Paul said of the issue of apostleship that it was the "first" of the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28) and its association with "secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers" focuses upon two comments made by Paul in Ephesians. The first of these is 2:20 where he claims that apostles and prophets laid the "foundation" of the Church; and the second is 3:5 where he declares that truth is "now revealed" unto the apostles and prophets. This means that "authoritative revelation" is a most fundamental issue in the word, "apostle".
1. In line with this primary thesis is the consequent fact that what is revealed is to be understood as absolutely true. This focus is significant as a "transformational" element in the context of the process of existence unto "Life".
2. And, subsequent to the issue of "Truth" is the natural corollary of "faith" as the only legitimate response. This also is a "transformational" element.
3. Thus, "transformation" seems to be the "point" of "Peter, an apostle...".
C. The reference to Jesus Christ is easy to overlook by virtue of His total dominance over all biblical revelation (He is the "forest" that makes the perception of the "trees" a difficulty in the sense that His dominance often clouds the details). The "Jesus" side of the name is a reference to His identity as the Redeemer, and the "Christ" side of the name is a reference to His identity as the Sovereign of the Kingdom. Both of the two major "tasks" of the "Logos" of God are in view: the "qualifying of previously unqualified participants in the Kingdom" and the "elimination of the perpetually unqualified". He came to redeem and He returns to judge. He was to "baptize" with the Holy Spirit and/or with fire. Grace or Judgment. That these twin realities are fundamental to the Name fits Peter's "transformational" thesis as the underpinnings of the most profound motivation for compliance: Grace unto blessedness or Judgment unto destruction.
II. The Issue of the Introduction on the "Recipient" Side.
A. Peter calls them "elect sojourners of the Diaspora".
1. The adjective, "elect", describes the "sojourners". It is a deliberate reference to God's part in their experience. Election signals a preemptive level of decision-making that is prior to, and outside of, man's decision-making. This does not preclude the natural corollary of human response, but it does declare the issue of the most fundamental element in "transformation": God's activity as a "must-be-directed" reality. God does not simply "do things". He has a purpose in everything that He does and His intention to "transform" sinners into saints is expressed by the "election" by Him of those toward whom He acts. Since, in the nature of the case, it is impossible for all to be the objects of His intention to transform (there must be vessels of wrath fitted to destruction -- Romans 9:22), something must determine which will be. God is that "something". Election is the doctrine which establishes this fact. Thus, the adjective sets the tone: transformation is of God.
2. The noun, "sojourners", qualitatively identifies the recipients of Peter's letter as "those who are outside of their 'natural' citizenship". The word is only used three times in the New Testament, but those uses are highly informative. The first is Hebrews 11:13 where everyone who has "believed" has "embraced" the promises and, bythat, has declared himself/herself to be "alien" to this world. The other two uses are Peter's and they are in this letter of our current study. It is instructive that Peter identifies his readers as "sojourners" in this introduction and then appeals to that identity in 2:11 as a basis for an active participation in the process of transformation. Thus, the noun maintains the tone: transformation is God's intention.
3. The genitive noun, "the Dispersion", (translated as a verbal concept by the AV, "scattered") defines the recipients' "setting" in time/history. They are "under the gun". They are being exposed to antagonism as "aliens" and are suffering the consequences of being subject to the alien regulations of opposition to God. This noun identifies the method of the tone: transformation is by "contradiction".