1 Peter's initial audience

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Australian Baptist Student, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. Australian Baptist Student

    Australian Baptist Student
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    Jul 11, 2001
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    Hi, Ive just started studying 1 Peter, and the question as to whom the book is
    addressed has come up. "to the chosen exiles of the Diaspora" seems to be the Greek,
    making the recipients similar to those James addresses. The Diaspora is also
    mentioned in John 7:35 as referring especially to the Jewish Diaspora.

    If then it is addressed to the Jewish Diaspora (in keeping with Peters ministry to Jews
    as in Gal 2:7-8) then Peter is truly addressing people who are exiles. He then takes
    this experience of living as exiles and uses their life-experience to teach spiritual
    truths. They know what it is like to be exiles, so he uses this as a starting point. Via
    their new-birth (1:3, 23), they are now exiles from heaven, where their true
    citizenship is. As exiles, they are not to assimilate into this world. 1:17, 2:11. Equally,
    as exiles, they have learnt to obey the laws of their true land as well as those of their
    place of residence. Responsa literature and keeping the Laws of Moses, circumcision
    etc. set them apart from their neighbors, and so too, Peter says they should now, as
    exiles from the Kingdom of Heaven, submit to God's commands re governments,
    employers, husbands and wives, elders and younger men. Peter, the disciple of Jesus,
    knew that the Kingdom of Heaven was a central theme of Jesus, and it was breaking
    in and present where ever people obeyed God (store up treasure in Heaven etc.).

    2:9-10 also speaks to the readership. Here Peter seems to be bouncing off Hosea
    1:8-10, to declare through Jesus, that the curse is ended. The promises of God have
    found their yes and amen through Jesus. They are called, not to go back to Jerusalem,
    but to declare His praises and to live good lives among the pagans, so that they also
    may glorify God. That is, through Jesus, their identity is affirmed and expanded.

    Interestingly, Peter does not mention diet or circumcision or Mosaic laws, but does
    mention the Temple. Here he parallels Hebrews (as does the exile theme in Hebrews
    11:13). 1 Peter 2:5-6 also parallels the Essene Manual of Discipline 8:4-10. This had
    been written to Jews who had been exiled from the Temple in Jerusalem. In affirming
    this, Peter again shows his Jewish Christian readers that their task is not to go back to
    the Temple in Jerusalem, but to become a Temple built on and into Jesus.

    Hebrews 13, 14-15 likewise places living without a lasting city, but seeking the city
    that is to come, with the idea of offering up a sacrifice of praise (based on a Hebrew
    word play also found in the DSS). (The Midrash Rabbah Leviticus IX:7. also states
    that in the Days of Messiah, all sacrifices will be done away with, except the sacrifice
    of praise This is taught on the Midrash on the inauguration of Aaron’s priesthood; “R.
    Phinehas and R. Levi and R. Johanan said in the name of R. Menahem of Gallia: ‘In
    the Time to
    Come all sacrifices will be annulled, but that of thanksgiving will not be annulled,
    and all
    prayers will be annulled, but [that of] Thanksgiving will not be annulled.’” ).

    As Hebrews likewise deals with Jewish Christians who have been banned from the
    Temple, assuring them that in Jesus, they have access to a better sacrifice, priesthood
    and temple), the parallels between Hebrews and 1 Peter again point to a Jewish
    Christian audience.

    For me, seeing 1 Peter as written to Jewish exiles of the Diaspora therefore seems to
    help understand the letter, affirms Peter's primary task, shows Peter relating to real
    people's life experience and reinterpreting it through Jesus, and makes sense of the
    instructions and usage of the temple imagery.

    What do others think?
  2. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Jun 30, 2000
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    Agree that it is primary to the Jewish believers who were scattered throughout the Empire.

    But Peter WAS the apostle to the Gentiles (altho we think of Paul with that title) and so knew his letters would probably be read by Gentile MAJORITIES in each of the churches in the regions of the Empire.
  3. Precepts

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    Dec 27, 2003
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    What better way to bring the Remnant into the New Jerusalem?
  4. KayDee

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    Dec 14, 2001
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    Another possibilty:

    Peter was one of a unique group of men who were personally called (Matt. 10:1–4) and commissioned (John 20:19–23) by Christ, and who ministered with Christ after His resurrection. The church was built upon the foundation of their teaching. pilgrims . These were strangers dispossessed in a land not their own—temporary residents or foreigners. Like all believers, they were residents of an eternal city (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 13:13,14). the Dispersion . With the Gr. definite article, “dispersion” is sometimes a technical term for the scattering of the Jews from Israel throughout the world (John 7:35; James 1:1). But here, without the article, it is used in a non-technical sense referring to spiritual pilgrims, aliens to the earth, whether Jews or Gentiles (cf. v. 17; 2:11), i.e., the church.

    John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

    In His Grace
  5. gb93433

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    Jun 26, 2003
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    In the letter Peter uses both a Greek greeting (grace) and a Jewish greeting (peace) near the end of verse two in chapter one.

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