Peter addresses Christians in Asia Minor, acknowledging their civil status as exiles.
God their patron purifies them with the blood of Jesus, thus conferring worth on a valueless people. Patrons are high-ranking persons with great resources who enter into
formal agreement with lower-ranking suppliants or clients; patrons bestow protection, food, and the like, while clients maintain
strong loyalty to their patrons and give them praise and honor. Thus the Christian God bestows lavish divine gifts on God's
clients, the Christian communities, but expects from them respect, exclusive allegiance, and praise.
Thanksgiving. Most Christian letters begin with a thanksgiving; this one is Semitic in form (Blessed be the God;
see 2 Cor 1.3–7
). It introduces themes developed later (new birth, inheritance, suffering).
Peter rehearses God's benefaction to these exiles, especially the promise of resurrection.
Loyalty from God's clients in difficult circumstances brings praise, glory, and honor from their patron on judgment day.
Good theology means good morals. Topics from the thanksgiving are developed: inheritance and suffering leading to glory.
confirm that suffering leads to future glory, a pattern applied to Jesus (
2.22; Isa 53
) and his disciples.
Thus they should act like obedient children, avoiding desires and pursuing purity.
Called by the holyGod, they too must be holy, spotless or blameless (Lev 11.44–45
Although blessed, they still face God's impartial judgment.
Jesus' sacrificial death ransomed Christians; thus God works in them the process of death leading to glory.
New birth, new behavior. Conversion to the “holy” God demands a holy life.
The new birth (
) functions as part of the exhortation
to holy living.
In contrast to a mortal world where things die (All flesh is like grass), in God's immortal world, the word of divine promises endures forever (vv. 10–11, 21
The addressees' new birth means death to previous sin, pursuit of spiritual milk which nourishes for endurance, and wisdom for valuing this noble state.
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