Baptism & the flood
1 Peter 3:18-22 Peter compares the water that ‘saved’ the family inside Noah’s ark to the water of baptism that is a symbol of Jesus’s saving grace (see Genesis 6:9-7:24).
1 Peter 4:1-11 Peter exhorts the believers to live the rest of their lives controlled by God’s will rather than by human desires. They should give up any drunkenness, lust and indecency found in the world around them, and be self-controlled and alert. They should open their homes to each other, and use whatever gifts God has given them for the good of all.
Persecution in the ‘end times’
1 Peter 4:12-17 He tells the believers not to be surprised or ashamed if they have to suffer persecution and anti-Jewish or anti-Christian hatred. Instead, they should be glad that they are suffering in the same way as Christ did, because it shows that the Holy Spirit is living in them.
1 Peter 4:18-19 Peter suggests that persecution proves that the ‘end times’ and the ‘Day of Judgement’ are near, as Christians are becoming the first of God’s people to be judged.
1 Peter 5:1-4 Peter – who is himself a leader of the church and personally witnessed Christ’s sufferings – appeals to the church leaders to be good ‘shepherds’ of the ‘flock’ that God has entrusted to them (see John 21:15-17). They should serve willingly as a good example until the ‘Chief Shepherd’ appears (see John 10:11-16).
1 Peter 5:5-7 The younger men should submit to the older leaders; they should serve one another with humility (see Proverbs 3:34).
1 Peter 5:8-11 Believers should be on their guard against the devil, who roams around like a roaring lion ready to devour the unwary. But evil and persecution will not last for long, and afterwards, believers will share in Christ’s eternal glory.
1 Peter 5:12 Peter acknowledges that he has received help in writing this letter from Silas (Latin ‘Silvanus’), a ‘faithful Christian brother’.
Silas – Paul’s fellow-worker from the church in Jerusalem – probably fled the build-up of violence in Jerusalem at the outbreak of war in 66AD (see Acts 15:22, 32 & 40, 16:16-40, 17:1-16, 18:5, 1 Thessalonians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1).
1 Peter 5:13 Peter sends greetings from John Mark and the other believers in Rome – referred to here, in coded form, as “the church in Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13).
At the end of his First Letter, Peter sends greetings from the believers in Rome, but refers to them in coded language as “the church in Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13).
Rome was well known as a city of adulterers and prostitutes – a reputation it shared with the renowned ‘sin city’ of Babylon. To refer to the immorality of Rome openly in this way during the time of intense Jewish and Christian persecution in 67AD could have been seen as an act of treason by the Roman authorities. So Peter reverts to a ‘code name’, ‘Babylon’, which all the believers would have recognised (see, also, a later use of this same ‘code name’ in Revelation 14:8 & 17:5).
Rome was referred to by
Peter also sends greetings from John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas (see Acts 12:12, 25, 13:5,13) who lodged with Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome in 60-62AD (see Colossians 4:10 & Philemon 1:24). Mark probably travelled with Paul to Ephesus in 62 or 63AD (see 1 Timothy 1:3 and Map 28) before returning to Rome from Colossae in 66 or 67AD (see 2 Timothy 4:11 & Colossians 4:10).
Many modern Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christian scholars believe that ‘Babylon’ in Peter 5:13 refers to the old Roman fortress at Cairo in Egypt, which the Romans called ‘Babylon’. Although tradition states that John Mark embarked on a missionary journey to Egypt and was buried in Alexandria (from where his bones were stolen by Venetian merchants in 828AD), there is no evidence to back up the suggestion that ‘Babylon’ refers to Cairo.
1 Peter 5:14 Peter finishes his letter with a benediction: “Peace to all of you who are in Christ” (1 Peter 5:14).
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