Peter, it is claimed by some, wrote Mark. Having finished his account of the life of Jesus it would now be good to read his pastoral advice to the scattered Christians in northern Asia Minor (modern Turkey). However, did Peter really write the epistles that carry his name? One argument against this is that the style of the two letters is so different that the same person could not have written both. This is solved by the idea that Peter commissioned someone to write the first letter and commissioned someone different for the second letter or wrote it himself. Another objection is that the letters look a lot like they were written by Paul and not be Peter. This is explained by the idea that Paul had just been executed and Peter was commissioning someone who had been with Paul to write a letter on his behalf to those who had been converts of the converts of Paul. A third objection is that Peter was an apostle to the Jews and Paul’s domain was to the Gentiles. Of course, these roles would change upon Paul’s death and so Peter would have stepped up for the interim until his own execution.
The cause for writing this epistle seems to be to encourage and solidify these new converts in northern Turkey. The increased persecution would have caused many to waver in their faith. If an apostle communicated with them, it would help them to feel less forsaken. Also, if the apostle Peter wrote to them in the same way as Paul, they would feel a continuity in the message between their own apostle Paul and the main group of apostles represented by Peter.
The identity and the responsibilities of the people of God are laid out for the establishing of a sound faith. It is a timely message for us today. We need to establish an identity in the faith when the culture tells us that any identity we wish to establish is equally valid. Secondly, we need to know how to act on that faith when we are told that so much that we might call Christian is not welcome in the culture.
Help us to find our identity in Jesus and all that he has obtained for us, Father. Help us to live out the life that such identity demands.
- What arguments are made against Peter’s authorship (Petrine authorship)?
- What is an ‘amanuensis’? Why is one relevant to reading Peter’s epistles?
- What is 1 Peter about?
- How might you benefit from revisiting your identity in Christ?
- How might you benefit from reading Peter’s directions on how to live a godly life?
An “amanuensis” is ‘a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.’ I remember learning in “Bible Intro” that Silvanus was thought to be the one who had this role for Peter in his first epistle. 1st Peter 5:12 says, “Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” According to “The Handy Bible Dictionary & Concordance” that I have, “Silas” was the shortened form of Silvanus, so my Bible dictionary thought anyway, that this Silvanus was the same Silas who went with Paul on his second missionary journey! If that is the case then that would make sense with the above arguments, Silas must have known Paul quite well.
Arguments against Peters authorship are: The same person could not of written both because of very different writing styles. Another is that they look like they were written by Paul. The last argument is that Peter was an apostle to the Jews and Paul was an apostle to the gentiles.
Peter might of not have been as learned to be able to write with good penmanship.
1 Peter seems to be written to encourage and strengthen new believers. Persecution was causing them to waiver in there faith so 1 Peter was just what they needed.
It would help me refocus and show me, am I really finding my identity in Christ like I should? It would also encourage and strengthen me in everyday life and for the future events in store.
It will help me to do a personal check in what i might have let slip into my life without even knowing it.
There are 3 primary objections: a) the literary styles are far too different b) the styles are very similar to Paul c) Peter was not an apostle to the Gentiles, but to the Jews. It is very possible that Peter hired an amanuensis to help him, a fisherman, write this epistle. 1 Peter is a letter sent to encourage the Church to remain faithful in the midst of suffering and persecution. I might benefit by resting in the fact that I know who I am and that nothing can change me or pull me away from Christ in a final sense. I will remember that God accepts me on the merit of His son, and not me in my sin or own goodness.
Reading Peter’s notes on suffering and persecution will prepare me to face trials as they come and remind me to place my full trust in God, especially in times of torment and distress.
Some people argue against Petrine authorship because of the different writing styles in 1 and 2 Peter, some believe Paul’s style of writing is evident rather than Peter, and that Peter’s ministry was to the Jews rather than the Gentiles. A good reason to believe that these are Petrine epistles is because Peter likely used an amanuensis. An amanuensis is a person that writes on behalf of another person. The rebuttal to the previous claims stated is that Peter used an amanuensis for 1 Peter and that he wrote 2 Peter himself.
1 Peter is an encouragement to the persecuted believers. Peter reminds them of Christ’s suffering, and tells them to trust in the Lord, fix their eyes on Him, and remain obedient to Him.
I love reading 1 Peter. He goes through great statements about our identity in Christ as believers and how to live a godly life. I need to remember my identity in Christ during hard circumstances, whether it be external or internal. I would also benefit studying Peter’s directions on godly living because it keeps my standard unchanged in an ever-changing culture around me.
Some argue that the different styles of writing of the two letters indicate Peter was not the author. Others appeal to the fact that the letters have somewhat of a Pauline flavor. It has also been proposed that Peter was an apostle to the Jews, not the gentiles as Paul had been.
An amanuensis is someone who writes for another. It is relevant because this is probably how Peter “wrote” his letters. Different amanuensis would have different writing styles, input, and flavor.
1 Peter is largely about the identity and responsibilities of the believer. This was written to help reestablish the believers who lived (as we do) in a immoral, hostile society. Living in America can be difficult as a believer because it is becoming more and more out of vogue to identify oneself as a Christian. There is always pressure to conform; no one likes to feel “judged” by someone’s words or lifestyle. We live in a world which demands both tolerance and conformity to anything accept a life centered in Christ. We buy into the world more than we realize and it is through God’s transforming and revealing word that we see ourselves most accurately and who we should be in Christ.