Outline of 1 Peter
rev. by Kristofer Phan Coffman (04/2023)
1. Introduction (1 Peter 1:1-2)
The author addresses the letter’s recipients as “exiles of the Dispersion,” names the provinces in Asia Minor(mostly in present-day Turkey) where they live, and describes them as having been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ.
2. Praise for What God Has Done in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3-12)
God is praised in lavish terms for having given both the writer and the readers a new birth and a living hope by raising Jesus from the dead. This hope, promised by the Old Testament prophets, involves an inheritance in heaven as well as divine protection until the end.
3. A Call to Live as God’s Holy is a term that originally meant set apart for the worship or service of God. While the term may refer to people, objects, time, or places, holiness in Judaism and Christianity primarily denotes the realm of the divine More People (1 Peter 1:13-2:3)
A series of exhortations calls on readers to discipline themselves, to set their faith and hope only on Jesus Christ, to be holy as God is holy, and to live in reverent fear of God, because they have been rescued by Christ from the futility of their former life. As new beings they are to love each other and rid themselves of destructive attitudes.
4. The Foundation on Which New Life Is Built (1 Peter 2:4-10)
Jesus Christ is a cornerstone on which the holy people are built into a spiritual house. They are further described in terms reminiscent of the Old Testament: a royal priesthood, a chosen race, a holy nation, and God’s own people.
5. Living Faithfully in a Hostile Society (1 Peter 2:11-4:11)
Readers are to live in their society in constructive and exemplary ways, despite the criticism and rejection they experience for being followers of Christ. Specific instances are described for living faithfully: in relation to the majority population, to the government, to slave masters and superiors, to one’s spouse, and to anyone they encounter.
6. A Final Word of Exhortation and Hope (1 Peter 4:12-5:11)
Readers should not be surprised if persecution increases, for this enables them to share now in Christ’s sufferings even as they soon will share in his glory. Leaders are to care for their congregations; all are to humble themselves before God and resist the devil; and God will restore and establish them at the end.
7. Closing Words (1 Peter 5:12-14)
The author says that the letter is written to encourage its recipients. It expresses greetings from their sister church in Babylon (that is, Rome) as well as from other leaders of the early Christian church, before ending by extending the peace of Christ.