1 Peter Devotions

South African Christians can seem a little disconnected from the message of 1 Peter. Peter wrote to a church audience that was socially exiled from the prevalent culture. They were exiles not only spiritually but also politically. The Christians in Asia Minor, who refused to bow the knee to Caesar, were undergoing immense suffering because of their allegiance to Christ. This affliction worked itself out in politics, in society, in the home, at work, and even, to some degree, in the church. Peter wrote to suffering Christians to offer them hope for perseverance. He wrote to help them understand their identity and to help them live in light of that. As Scot McKnight puts it, “Peter intends his readers to understand who they are before God so that they can be who they are in society.”

South African Christians have longed enjoyed great acceptance, and even privilege, in the society in which they live. It might be argued that it is becoming more and more difficult to live a faithful Christian life in our country, but we are still nowhere close to where the Asian Christians were to whom Peter wrote.

Regardless of our situation, 1 Peter asks important questions about Christian engagement in society. Should we completely withdraw from society? Should we denounce society completely? Should we accommodate society’s godless virtues? Peter offers help in this regard, showing his readers how to live hopefully in an otherwise hopeless world.

Hopeful Steadfastness (1 Peter 5:6–14)

Hopeful Steadfastness (1 Peter 5:6–14)

One of the most frequent New Testament exhortations is for believers to remain “steadfast” in their faith. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). He charged the Colossians to...

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Hopeful Humility (1 Peter 5:1–5)

Hopeful Humility (1 Peter 5:1–5)

Having spent the bulk of his letter exhorting honourable and hopeful behaviour before unbelievers, Peter draws his exhortations to a close by turning his attention inward and challenging his readers to behave honourably and hopefully within the church. In 5:1–5, he...

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Hopeful Shame (1 Peter 4:12–19)

Hopeful Shame (1 Peter 4:12–19)

One challenge in applying Scripture is that we live far removed from the original audience. We have noted repeatedly in 1 Peter that our suffering as South African Christians, in many ways, does not hold a candle to the suffering of Peter’s readers. The COVID-19...

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Hopeful Service (1 Peter 4:7–11)

Hopeful Service (1 Peter 4:7–11)

For several days now, we have considered Peter’s exhortation to honourable behaviour. Each time, he has anchored his exhortation, in part, to the thought of final judgement. He exhorted his readers to behave honourably before unbelievers in light of “the day of...

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Hopeful Sanctification (1 Peter 4:1-6)

Hopeful Sanctification (1 Peter 4:1-6)

We have observed repeatedly in our time in 1 Peter that Peter’s readers were suffering because of their commitment to Christ. Peter was burdened that they respond to suffering in the right way. Suffering had the potential to make them bitterbut he was concerned to...

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Hopeful Vindication (1 Peter 3:18–22)

Hopeful Vindication (1 Peter 3:18–22)

Throughout this letter, Peter has sought to ground his readers’ hope in suffering in the person and work of Christ. He has pointed them to Christ’s example as an encouragement to abstain from the passions of the flesh and to instead live honourably before the...

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