v1-2 - Peter's opening sentence is really complex, but it also tells us quite a bit about the rest of the letter, as well as ourselves. It tells us:
WHO IS THIS LETTER WRITTEN TO: To God's elect. This letter is addressed to you.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ELECT: An elect person is one 'who has been chosen' by God to receive His grace that comes through the Holy Spirit who is sanctifying you (making you holy) . For more information on the doctrine of election, watch our two minute video on Romans 9, or our Dig Deeper post on Ephesians 1.
WHEN WERE YOU ELECTED: God chose you to be His own long before you were born or even conceived. He chose you before He created anything, because even at that point He knew (had foreknowledge of) everything about you. This is why sometimes election is referred to as predestination.
WHERE: Peter's original audience included exiled Christians scattered out in the hinterlands of the Roman empire, but the Holy Spirit, who breathed through Peter has he wrote this letter, meant it for people just like you: people who are exiled from their true home and scattered in the world.
WHY DID GOD ELECT ME, AND WHY DID PETER WRITE THIS LETTER: Both of these questions have the same answer: God chose you, and wrote you these words so that you might be sanctified by the Spirit, and would be obedient to Jesus Christ.
v3-9 - This passage is divided up into two components, reminding you why it is you're so often called to give "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (v3)."
You have been re-born. More specifically, you've been reborn into two things:
A living hope, since Christ conquered death;
An inheritance, which unlike the treasure of this world will never spoil, perish or fade.
Therefore you must rejoice, even though your life may be a mess at the moment.
These trials, which come in many forms, are refining you, in the same way that fire refines gold.
Even though you don't see Jesus now, by this refined faith, you believe in Him.
v10-12 - Remember, although the New Testament begins with the book of Matthew, the gospel begins in Genesis 3, and is progressively revealed by prophets until it's fulfilled by Christ.
v13-25 - This passage begins with one of the most important words in the Bible:
This word signals you that all of the the theology and doctrine that's just been laid out has massive implications for how you should be living. The words that come next would make an excellent life motto:
prepare your mind for action (v13 ESV).
In other words, theology and doctrine are the fuel by which you are to live an active life praising God in every way. Here's an overview of what that life looks like:
Set your hope on the grace (v13)
Do not conform to the evil desires... be holy in all you do (v14, 16)
Live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear (v17)
Love one another deeply, from the heart (v22).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Leviticus 11:44–45 (NIV)
I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Which of these substances are not mentioned in this chapter—blood, gold, grass, silver, or water? (See verses 18, 19, and 24.)
Picture in your mind two Christians, one who has learned to obey the command we are given in v17 (Live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear), and one who has not learned how to do it. What practical differences do you see in the way these two persons live?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your Father, who knew you and chose you before creation (v2)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the discipline to prepare your mind for action (v13)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: