I Peter

 

Author

·         As with some of Paul’s letters, some scholars believe Peter wrote it, and others believe a follower of Peter wrote it. 

·         Like Paul, Peter used an amanuensis:  5:12a = “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly.”

·         Who was Peter?

o    A fisherman before becoming an Apostle

o    The leader of the Apostles

o    The main leader of Christianity from 30-50

o    Present at the Council of Jerusalem

o    Probably died during the time of Nero by being crucified upside down

§  According to the most reliable story, he was condemned to be crucified, and stated that he was not worthy of being crucified like Jesus; therefore he requested the Romans crucify him upside down.

 

Place and Time of Writing

·         Probably Rome

·         Probably after the fire in Rome and during the persecution of Christians by Nero, which occurred in 64; so we will say 64.

 

Unique Characteristic

·         One of the General Epistles

·         A personal letter from an older apostle to the church

 

Audience

·         To all Christians

 

Theme

·         Peter encouraged Christians to remain strong in their faith, even when being persecuted.

 

Opening I Peter Up

 

Why did Peter write I Peter?

By the time of this writing Paul had written all of his letters and, as far as we know, Peter had not written any.  Also, Peter had probably heard about the horrors that surrounded the persecution by Nero of the Christians.  Therefore he decided to write a letter to all Christians in order to encourage them to remain strong in their faith during persecution.  In addition, he also included general instructions as well. 

 

Outline with selected verses

 

Chapters

1:3-12:  Praises to God

·         1:8 = “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

1:13-2:12:  Being made right with God

·         2:9 = “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

2:13-3:7:  Instructions to submit to leaders and for the relationship between husbands and wives.

·         3:8, 9 = “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

3:18 – 5:14 = Concerning Suffering and how to live as Christians

·         4:12 = “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”

 

Timeline so far      Additions are boldfaced     All dates are approximate

 

63BC

Rome Empire conquered Israel without fighting

44BC

Julius Caesar assassinated by Brutus, Cassius, and others.  Mark Antony tries to seize power, and he and Octavian (Caesar’s nephew) fight for power.

40BC

The Roman Empire made Herod the Great king of Israel

37BC

Antony married Cleopatra in Egypt

31BC

Octavian’s forces defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s forces; they committed suicide the next year.

27BC

Octavian is given name of Augustus, becomes Augustus Caesar.  This is the beginning of Pax Romana

4 BC

Jesus born

4 BC

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt because Herod the Great wanted to kill Jesus

4 BC

Herod the Great died

4 BC

After Herod the Great died, the kingdom of the Jews was divided and given to Herod’s three sons:

The northern part, north of Nazareth, went to Philip.

The middle part called Galilee, north of Jerusalem but where Nazareth was located, went to Herod Antipas.  (He is referred to as “Herod” in the Gospels and so this can be confusing.)

The southern part called Judea, where Jerusalem and Bethlehem was located, went to Herod Archelaus. 

AD

All years after this point are AD

Before

6

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to Nazareth instead of moving to Bethlehem

6

Archelaus was removed from power because he was so brutal

6 and after

The Romans did not choose another of Herod’s descendants to control Judea (southern Israel) but instead appointed Roman governors

8

Jesus lost in Jerusalem at age 12; Joseph and Mary found him in the Temple; possible Bar Mitzvah

8-27

Jesus probably worked as a carpenter

26-36

The Roman governor in charge of southern Israel was Pilate

27

Jesus baptized by John the Baptist

27-30

Jesus traveled in Israel and preached, taught, and performed miracles

30

1.  Jesus was crucified under the Roman governor Pilate, raises from the dead three days later and ascends out of sight about a month-and-a-half later

2.  The Apostles return to Jerusalem and pick a replacement for Judas

3.  Day of Pentecost

4.  Over 3000 people become Christian

5.  Christianity spreads outside of Israel

30-50

Peter was the leader of the Christian movement

33

Paul became a Christian

48-50

Paul went on his First Missionary Trip

48

James written around this year

50

Council of Jerusalem

·         Paul, Peter, the Apostle John and James the half-brother of Jesus were present along with many others

51-90

We do not know what John did during this time period

50-55

Paul went on his Second Missionary Trip

·         Paul wrote Galatians, I Thessalonians, and II Thessalonians

54-68

Nero was Roman emperor

55-60

Paul went on his Third Missionary Trip

·         Paul wrote Romans, and I & II Corinthians

60-62

Paul arrested in Jerusalem, taken to Rome, and lived under house arrest

·         Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon

62

James, the author of the book of James, was stoned

63

Paul released from prison and travelled; he may have gone to Spain

  • Paul wrote I Timothy and Titus

64

Fire in Rome.  The emperor Nero blamed, persecuted, and killed many Christians.  This was the first Roman persecution of Christians. 

·         I Peter written around this year

65

1.  Paul back in Rome

2.  Paul wrote II Timothy

3.  Peter and Paul martyred around this year in Rome

·         Peter crucified upside down

·         Paul beheaded

66

Some of the Jews got tired of the Roman rule and killed many Roman soldiers.  They thus took back the land of Israel for the Jews.

66-70

The Romans counter-attacked.  The Romans lost one battle, but won the war.

68

  • Mark written around this year

  • Hebrews written around this year

70

The Romans captured Jerusalem and burned the Temple. 

80

Matthew and Luke written around this year

81-96

Domitian is Roman emperor

90

John and Acts written around this year

95

1.  Persecution of Christians

2.  John was placed on the island of Patmos as a prisoner of Domitian

96

1.  Domitian died

2.  John was probably released from Patmos; he probably traveled to Ephesus where he stayed for the rest of his life

100

John died

367

First listing of the 27 books in a letter written by an Egyptian bishop

390s

Two councils “closed” the NT canon to those 27 books

1200s

NT divided into chapters

1500s

NT divided into verses

 

 

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 Questions/comments, contact Mark at marknickens@gmail.com