Lectionary Year A
April 18, 1999
1 Peter 1:17-23

Step IV: Broader Context


This pericope suggests that the addressees are suffering some loneliness, some oppression, some separation from God, maybe. Yet, the lines of communication, at least with God, are open, the author claims in the first phrase of verse 17. Then the author reminds the readers what they have known about Christ's saving them. Next, he or she assures them that they are, at least, coming into trusting God through Christ. Through their new birth, they get led toward purifying their innermost beings/souls on to faithfully loving others. It all transpires in response to God's living and enduring Word. These observations inform us that these early Christians can get discouraged, ill-informed and/or uninformed. This passage seeks to set the record straight.


These verses assume and emphasize Christ fulfills the Old Testament hope for the Messiah. It mentions these New Testament believers' moving beyond their ancestors' relying on animal sacrifices that were thought, in Old Testament times, to appease God. It refers to Jesus' sacrifice as the unblemished and spotless lamb. The Christ event ransoms sinners from their/our futile ways. That event most effectively glorifies God, beyond any attempts by the people of ancient attempts to do so.


Some of those addressed by this epistle might have been suffering persecution from the Hellenists. Their heresies are certainly challenged by this paragraph's contrasts which are many.

(AJ) Supplemental: For more detailed information on the Context see A Commentary on 1 Peter, pp. 112-127, by Leonhard Goppelt.

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