Introduction: This week we begin our study of the first letter of
Peter. Those who read the gospel accounts of Peter like him. He is
bold, he has courage, and he knows what it means to let God down. In
our study this week, Peter gives us an overview of the Christian
life. Let’s dive into the Bible and see what wisdom and encouragement
Peter has for us!

  1. The Parties

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:1. Ancient letters start out with the
      author’s name and then the party to whom the letter was
      addressed. Do we still do that today? (Most business
      letters have a letterhead. Most e-mails show from whom
      they are sent at the top. The answer is “yes,” we often do
      it the same way.)

      1. Notice that Peter states his credentials as “an
        apostle of Jesus Christ.” How would you describe
        Peter? (Based on last week’s lesson, you could say
        “the fisherman,” the “one who sometimes is inspired
        by God and sometimes inspired by Satan.”)

        1. Do you put on your best face in church?
          According to Peter, is that a good thing? (Yes.
          Peter gives his best credential for writing to
          fellow believers. It makes sense because he is
          writing as an authority inspired by the Holy

    2. Look again at 1 Peter 1:1. What are the credentials of
      those to whom he is writing? (They are God’s elect.)

      1. What does that mean? God chooses winners and losers?
        (We will discuss this more below.)

      2. Notice that Peter also calls them “strangers in the
        world.” What does this mean? (This world is not their

      3. What does it mean that the recipients of his letter
        are “scattered” throughout these areas of the world?
        (It sounds like something made them go. Perhaps it
        was persecution in Jerusalem. This supports the
        “stranger” idea.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:2. We see three reasons why these people
      have been “elected.” Would you like to be “elected” by
      God? If so, let’s explore all three reasons:

      1. What does “chosen according to the foreknowledge of
        God the Father mean? Are some predestined to be saved
        and others predestined to be lost?

      2. In our last series of lessons we studied Acts 15. The
        early church discussed what should be required of the
        Gentile converts. Let’s revisit the discussion by
        reading Acts 15:14-19. Notice that verse 18 says
        “that have been known for ages.” What does this tell
        us about the “foreknowledge” of God and salvation?
        (God knew what He intended to do in advance – that
        the gospel should go to the Gentiles. It does not
        saying anything about individuals. )

      3. Read Matthew 6:8. What does this say about God’s
        foreknowledge? (God knows what you need before you
        ask Him for it. The fact that He knows does not mean
        we will ask. We have a choice in the matter.)

      4. Read Romans 11:2. Who did God “foreknew?” (Israel!
        Yet, we know from the Bible that they are not all

      5. Read Romans 8:28-30. These verses speak about being
        predestined. What starts this “predestination?”
        (Those who love God. Read the entire chapter of
        Romans 8 and you will come away with the impression
        that being saved is your choice. If you are still not
        convinced, read Romans chapter 9 where Paul says God
        chose Israel, but only a few would follow. The result
        is that God called those who were “not my people” to
        be the sons of the living God. Romans 9:26.)

    4. Let’s get back to the second reason why the recipients of
      the letters are “God’s elect.” Re-read 1 Peter 1:2. What
      role does the Holy Spirit play in the lives of those who
      are God’s elect? (Read Romans 8:5-8. The Holy Spirit is
      central to a life lived in accord with God’s will. He
      guides us to obey and instills in us the attitudes that
      reflect righteousness and sanctification.)

    5. Re-read the last half of 1 Peter 1:2. What is the third
      reason why they are “God’s elect?” (“Sprinkling by His

      1. What does that mean? (This brings to mind the
        sanctuary service. Sin was transferred through the
        blood. This refers to salvation by faith in Jesus’
        sacrifice for us.)

    6. Why should our election bring us “grace and peace” in
      abundance? (We know we are God’s elect. We know we are
      saved by grace. When you let the Holy Spirit lead in your
      life you have peace.)

  2. Our Hope

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:3. Are you born again? (Yes, if you are one
      who has elected Jesus. His resurrection is our “new

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:4. What happens to your new stuff? (It gets
      old, faded, and is eventually discarded.)

      1. How does this compare to your inheritance in heaven?
        (It never gets old!)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:5. What happens to us in the meantime? (We
      are shielded, through faith, by God.)

      1. I regularly hear that we should not be focused on
        heaven. Do you agree? (Everyone looks forward to a
        reward or a gift that is coming their way. God would
        not make this promise if He did not want us to look
        forward to it.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:6. Why do trials on earth (recall these are
      the people who were “scattered”), make heaven even more
      important? (We want an end to difficulties. How
      discouraging it would be if we did not have hope of a
      better time and place.)

  1. Suffering

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:7. What is the positive side of suffering?
      (Our faith is shown to be genuine!)

      1. What do you think of when you read the word “suffer?”
        (I think of physical pain.)

      2. Think about a time when your faith was strengthened?
        Did it involve physical pain? (Not for me. What has
        most strengthened my faith is when God works out the
        pressures and problems in my life. I say, “He did it.
        Why did I worry so much?”)

    2. Look at 1 Peter 1:7 again. Why do we want our faith proven
      to be genuine? (It brings “praise, glory and honor” to

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:8. What else results from suffering?
      (Increased faith in Jesus, which gives us “inexpressible
      and glorious joy.”)

      1. Have you experienced this?

    4. Read 1 Peter 1:9. Are we saved by suffering? (I don’t
      think that is what this is saying. Suffering strengthens
      our faith. Our faith in Jesus is what saves us. By seeing
      how Jesus comes through for us, we increase our trust and
      our love for Him.)

  2. Salvation

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:10-11. Which prophets are being referenced
      by Peter? (Old Testament prophets.)

      1. What primary point do you think Peter is making by
        writing about this intense search? (The coming of
        Jesus was understood by the Old Testament prophets,
        but they wanted to know more.)

      2. The prophets had “the Spirit of Christ in them.” What
        is that Spirit? (The Holy Spirit. Do you see how
        Peter ties the Old Testament to the New Testament?
        The New Testament (that he is writing at that moment)
        is not a departure from the Old Testament.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:12. What is the bad news for the Old
      Testament prophets? (Jesus was not coming in their time.
      They were writing to give us hope and direction.)

      1. What are we to conclude from the statement that not
        even angels understood this?

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:13-16. How can Peter say “when Jesus Christ
      is revealed?” Jesus already came and then returned to
      heaven! (Jesus is coming again!)

    4. Read 1 Peter 1:17-21. If my “faith and hope are in God”
      why does Peter tell me that God the Father “judges each
      man’s work impartially?”

    5. Read 1 Peter 1:22-23. Is this even worse – Peter tells me
      that I “purify” myself? How is that consistent with the
      symbolism of Jesus being the Lamb that takes away our
      sins? (Peter supports salvation by faith alone. But, he
      also exhorts us to holiness – to live in accordance with
      God’s will. Doing so not only makes us better, but it
      causes us to better represent God to the world.)

    6. Friend, walking with Jesus is a serious matter. Will you
      ask the Holy Spirit to continue to direct you on the path
      of holiness!

  3. Next week: A Royal Priesthood.