Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

1 Peter 1: 3-12

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Christ our Redeemer!

Christ our Redeemer!

General idea: We are chosen and given our new birth! We live in hope! As Christians, we have God's abundant mercy, hope, and assurance so we can praise God for His grace and salvation! In our new life, we are set apart, as we have salvation and an eternal inheritance available to us! God makes us holy in His sight and relevant for life here and now as well as for the eternity to come.

This passage is about our God's most abundant mercy, love, and grace, given to us, without merit, before the foundations of matter and time. He loves and cares for us beyond any depth or limit, beyond any human comprehension. This inheritance is given to us so we can declare it to others. We know Christ because He has made Himself known to us so we can make Him known to others.

All this is a result of His sacrifice of redemption, His permanence, and His love for us. He lived, died, and rose again for you and me! All we are to do is trust and obey Him, and as we continue in this endeavor, He gives us even more empowerment for enduring life and performing ministry along with His special favor and peace! Even if we do not see Jesus, He sees us, loves us, and helps us persevere. This may seem unattainable or even unfathomable when we are under stress or the hostile occupation of life. However, we can do this because we have access to His empowerment; we are literally kept by God through faith. As we grow in our faith, we become even more precious to God and He will preserve us through trials and life.

Vs. 3-5: Christ is our living Hope that will never fade away! We are chosen by God and by God alone! The Spirit sets us apart. We are able to hear and receive His Words of grace and life. We need to be reminded of what we have and who we are in Christ. If not, we will soon forget and replace His guidance either with our frailty or with the ways of the world.

· Praise be /Blessed be the God. This word, berakah, comes from Jewish blessings, and means the God Who blesses us. It also means rebirth-that God converts or "re-births" us. It is the theme that, as Christians, we are born again because God adopts and changes our nature as in starting again as new (Jer. 1:11-12; Ezek. 36:24-27; Mic. 1:10-15; John 3; 7:37-39). In Peter's time, this phrase also referred to Gentiles who converted to Judaism. Now, He switches it to those who converted to Christ as their new living Hope, inheritance, security, and God.

· Abundant mercy. This phrase continues from the previous phrase of God's blessing, and refers to how lovingly God goes out of His way to redeem us.

· Begotten us again/given us new birth. It is God who gives us new birth (John 1:12-13, 3:3-8, 16).

· Living hope is one of the main, running themes of this epistle. It does not indicate wishing or thinking positively; rather, it refers to the confidence and conviction we have that our living God keeps His promises and secures us in Him. It is the assurance-and fact-that God has redeemed us, will bless us, and will care for us (1 Peter 1:13, 21; 3:15).

· Inheritance means the "substance" of the hope we have in Christ. It refers to salvation-our deliverance from sin; we are God's children, sealed in Him and joint-heirs with Him by His Work (Rom. 8:16-17; Heb. 1:14). For the Jews, this meant inheriting a future world such as Israel's inheritance of the Promised Land while wandering the desert. It infers redemption and the process God used to redeem us. To the Jews, then, it meant treasures stored up in Heaven for them (4 Ezra-a Jewish apocryphal book). For us, by Jesus' righteousness and our obedience, our treasures are also stored up, while we still have opportunities now.

· Kept/shielded/reserved means that the righteous will be saved and the deeds of the wicked will be known. Salvation produces hope and joy. He is our living Hope that will not fade away! This bond ties us to the responsibility of responding to what our God has done for us. He gives us faith; we are responsible for keeping the faith going and growing because we will be delivered from those who oppose us (Eph. 6:16; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).

· Power of God, a military term to vigilantly defend a fort, means the priority, vigilance, and permanence of God's grace and protection He gives to help us keep our faith going and growing (Rom. 8:23, 30; 13:11; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5).

· Last time refers to Christ's second coming and connects verse 7, the revelation of Jesus Christ and testing. In the End Times, there will be great testing and sufferings.

Vs. 6-9: We are to love Him, even though we cannot see Him or touch Him. This may go against common sense, but the reality of His grace and impact can sometimes be hidden by our desires, circumstances, and feelings. This is the test of faith and trust, if we see no hope, we then must look to our Lord; then the hope is given and can be seen. The reward of our faith far outweighs any endurance or struggle we face. The joy we have is real and significant (John 20:29).

· Tested…be found, refers to a "crucible" for the refining of precious metals resulting in the quality refinement brings. Testing is compared to sufferings as a "crucible" which is a container made from a refractory substance such as graphite or porcelain, used for melting and purifying precious metals (such as gold) at high temperatures to separate impurities so to produce a finer and more valuable material, such as 14 carat gold made into 24 carat gold. We are purified and refined when we go through the effects and substances of life. They have a purpose; nothing happens to us without a reason that is meant to teach and grow us (Job 23:10; Psalm 12:6; Prov. 17:3; Isa. 43:2; Jer. 11:4; 1 Cor. 4:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:5; 4:13; 5:1).

· Receiving. We have received His grace and are called to enjoy our relationship with Christ. This brings us peace, but the fruition of our faith is still to come in eternity. Our deliverance is still to come! Our testing should bring joy and comfort, even with dire stress, because God is still carrying and loving us through it and we will be better, stronger, and purer for it. We will be of better use to Him and to all those around us. The key to get through it is in seeing Christ as the goal and being more like Him in character, rather than focusing on the situations in which we find ourselves. Persecution was the main testing that Peter's readers were facing.

· Souls. This means our self-the core of who we are as an individual person-same as the spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3:20).

Vs. 10-12: Do you realize that the prophets of old desperately desired and sought what we have-that which is free, and that we take for granted? Never take your faith or what Christ has done for you for granted. If you do, your spiritual journey will derail, your faith will stagnate, and the hopeless gloom of the world will be your only "vesper" (a bell that summons monks to pray). You will be seeking what is feeble and worthless and disavow what is real and jubilant. We are to declare our faith internally, see its veracity and application, and then declare it publicly.

· Manner of time/find out the time is a statement meaning the coming of the Messiah, which Christ fulfilled. It means the prophets foretold there would be suffering and that the Messiah would suffer as well as be exalted. Purpose and meaning in life were often considered mysterious to the Jew. However, for us, it has been fully revealed; it is to know Christ and make Him known (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 11:1; Dan. 12:6-9).

· The Spirit of Christ. This is one of the names for the Holy Spirit, meaning Christ sent Him. It does not denote that Jesus is the Spirit; the Trinity is three Persons in one Essence-one God, with three personalities or manifestations. Here, the Spirit intercedes, breaking the sin barrier of our heart to give us redemption. In the O.T., servants of God were given glimpses and parts of the Spirit working in them, empowering them for a specified function (Gen. 41:38; Num. 27:18; Acts 2:33; 16:6-7; Rom. 8:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:45; Gal. 4:6; Phil. 1:19; 1 Pet. 4:14).

· It was revealed refers to the mysteries to which God gave the O.T. prophets a glimpse-of things to come that were to benefit and encourage future generations. We do not know what they were exactly-probably the Gospel message of Christ. However, for us, this refers to the message of the Gospel being infused by the Holy Spirit and then lived out in our lives; it is that Jesus Christ, being fully God, lived in behalf of us, took our place for God's wrath, suffered in our place, and redeemed us. It is a call to us to be the messengers of the Gospel along with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:25-27, 45-47).

· Holy Spirit sent from Heaven refers to the role of the Spirit to inspire and direct-from the books of the Bible to the messages of the Prophets to the hearers of God's Word. It also means that the place of origin, the source of the Gospel message, and that is only from the Holy Spirit. Even though we evangelize, only the Holy Spirit can cause the Word to make sense and allow it to be received by the person (John 3:3-6; Acts1:8; Rom. 8:14; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6).

· Angels desire to look. The celestial beings may seem ominous to us, but they are created beings and have limited knowledge. They have the same emotions and will that we have-the reason 1/3 of them fell-and they are curious and interested in the things of God-the reason 2/3 remained loyal to God. God, who had not told them everything, now made His plan known (Eph. 3:10).

God does not test us to bring us harm nor does He seek to cause us to fail. Rather, He wants to see if our faith and commitment are real and brings us into situations where we can learn and grow in faith and so receive our reward. We can take comfort in trials, as God is still sovereign over them. His purpose is to refine us, form us, mold us, improve us, restore us, grow us, and strengthen us. Testing can also be used to bring us to contemplate our attitude, mindset, and deeds so we can seek repentance and so we will "wake up," see our error, and seek Him. He does this much as a loving parent disciplines a child. Other times, God tests to bring about discipline, justice, and judgment. Jews believe that suffering brings atonement, but this is not what Peter means; rather, that faith is a precious commodity to God (Gen. 11:1-f; Deut. 8:2; 13:3; Judg. 2:22; Job. 23:10; Rom. 5:3; James 1: 2-4, 12-16; 1 Pet. 4:17; 5:1-4, 8).

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Have you ever inherited anything? How did you feel about it? What kind of inheritance would you like to leave your family one day?

2. Think this question through: What does it mean to you that you are personally chosen, given new birth, are able to live in hope, and are given abundant mercy and assurance by God?

3. What can you do to praise God more for His grace and salvation?

4. Even if you do not see Jesus, how can you have the confidence that He sees you, loves you, and helps you persevere?

5. When you are under the stresses and hostile occupations of life, what can you do to move away from stress and seeing only your situation to seeking the improving of your faith?

6. How have you been purified and refined, as you have gone through the trials of life? What would happen to your faith, character, and spiritual formation if you never went through any trials?

7. How can knowing that trials have a purpose and reason help you focus away from anger to being willing to learn and grow from them?

8. Do you feel, deeply, that God literally keeps you through faith? If so, why? If not, why not? What can you do about it?

9. Do you realize that as you grow in your faith, you become even more precious to God and He will preserve you through trials and life? How does this make you feel? How does this strengthen you?

10. Do you realize that what we have free of charge-what Christ has done, and what we may take for granted-the Prophets of Old so desperately desired and sought? So, what can you do to prevent yourself from ever taking for granted your faith or what Christ has done for you?

11. How and why do you need to be reminded of what you have and who you are in Christ? How can this fact give you more confidence, conviction and assurance in your daily life?

12. What can you do to show your love to Christ, even though sometimes we don't see Him or feel Him? How will this help you see Him? How can your faith in Him give you comfort that the reward of your faith far outweighs any struggles you face?

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:11-13
 

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org/

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