These small group studies of 1 Peter contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
1 Peter 1:1-9 Inductive Bible Study – Questions and Commentary
I. Greetings to God’s chosen ones (1-2)
II. An eternal inheritance in heaven (3-9)
a) A living hope (3)
b) Our inheritance will never fade away (4)
c) Our salvation will be complete at a still future time (5)
d) Trials are meant for good in our lives (6-7)
e) Our faith in Christ whom we do not see (8-9)
I. Greetings to God’s chosen ones (1-2)
- Who wrote this epistle?
- Imagine a new believer asks you “who is Peter?” In two minutes introduce Peter to this person.
- Who was this epistle written to?
- Who is chosen? What does it mean that we are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge? Does it mean that God only knew ahead of time we would believe? Why or why not?
- What is the Spirit’s involvement?
- From verse 2, what did God choose us to do?
Matthew 10:1-2 – Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew.
Deuteronomy 7:6 – For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
Romans 8:33- Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Colossians 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
2 Timothy 2:10 – Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
John 15:16 – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Acts 2:23 – This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[a] put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart: I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Verse by Verse Commentary:
1. Background. This book was written by Peter. Peter was one of the 12 apostles of Christ and many times functioned as their leader. He was a chief leader of the early church. Before he denied Christ three times, but then was given an opportunity by Christ to state his love for Christ three times. Peter was often brash and outspoken, yet he truly loved the Lord and was willing to follow Him anywhere. In 5:13, Peter alludes to the church located in “Babylon.” Very likely this was a code word used for Rome. At that time Nero had stepped up persecution of Christians so Peter may have been trying to protect believers in Rome by not mentioning it directly in his letter. This letter was likely written towards the end of his life, which is said to have ended near Rome as a martyr himself. The great Roman fire was probably a recent event. People suspected that Nero had started the fire out of some personal motivations to build more things (and because he was crazy!). Public opinion was turning against him so Nero instead blamed the Christians for starting the fire. These were popular scapegoats as they were associated with Jews who were already disliked. They were also new and unknown so were perceived as a threat to Roman culture. Because of this, some persecutions began to come to the Christian church. This is why much of 1 Peter discusses trials and how believers ought to respond to said trials.
2. This book was written to aliens scattered throughout much of the Roman Empire. Many Christians at that time had been uprooted either to share the gospel or to escape persecutions. Also, all believers are aliens in this world since our eternal home is in heaven.
3. Peter also identifies his letter as being written to the chosen. This is yet another place in the Bible that supports the doctrine of election and predestination. We did not choose God of our own initiative. We, in fact, are incapable of doing so as is taught in Romans that there is none who does good, there is none who seeks after God. God called us and chose us and saved us. Believers are merely responding to him because of His calling in our lives. There are a number of applications from this. First of all, it means that God is sovereign. It means that God is merciful. It means that we should be grateful to Him since He has done so much for us.
4. We are chosen according to His foreknowledge. This doesn’t mean that God merely knew ahead of time who would believe. That would clearly contradict with the teaching that God chose us. God didn’t just know ahead of time that we would believe, but He planned and predestined it.
5. We see here the three members of the Trinity all involved. The Father chooses us. The Spirit sanctifies us. Christ redeemed us with His blood and we should obey Him.
II. An eternal inheritance in heaven (3-9)
- What does it mean to be born again?
- What is our living hope? Why is it called a “living” hope?
- What made this hope possible?
- What are the unique characteristics mentioned about this inheritance? How does that compare with say the inheritance left behind by an extremely wealthy person for his child?
- In this world, sometimes a child with a big inheritance will grow lazy. Does our heavenly inheritance have the same effect? Why or why not?
- What does it mean that our salvation is going to “be revealed in the last time?” Is our salvation not complete yet? In what way?
- What is our rejoicing (6) based on? Do you greatly rejoice? When do we tend to rejoice more than other times?
- What should our attitude be when we face trials? Have you faced any trials recently? What were they?
- How will knowing we have an inheritance in heaven affect our behavior and attitudes when we face trials?
- What is more precious than gold (7)? Why?
- How can we love God whom we do not see (remember our study in 1 John)?
- Do you have this kind of inexpressible joy mentioned in verse 8? Why or why not? How can we get more of this kind of joy?
Verses on Hope
Psalms 43:5 – Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope.
Romans 15:4 – For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalms 146:5 – Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
Verses on Inheritance
Ephesians 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
Colossians 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Titus 3:7 – So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Act 20:32 – Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Verse by Verse Commentary:
1. God is abundantly merciful. This is one of the themes we can see throughout this passage. God chose us. He redeemed us. He saved us. He has given us an inheritance. This passage is something akin to Ephesians chapter 1 as we see many of the blessings that belong to believers. And NONE of these blessings are deserved. Everything God has given to us, He has given to us because of His kindness. How should God’s mercy affect us? This should be incentive for us to love God and to extend mercy to others as God has to us.
Application: Is there anyone whom you are struggling to extend mercy to? What do you need to do in order to show the same mercy to him that you have received from the Lord?
2. He has given us a living hope. Our hope is placed in Christ and He is alive! Our hope should not be set on anything in this world such as money, people, politics, luck, or fate. All of these things will disappoint. Neither should our hope be set on heaven or eternal life or a guardian angel. Rather, our hope is in Someone.
The disciples were actually disappointed for a couple of days. They placed their hope in Christ. They followed Him for three years. But then he died. They were crushed and couldn’t understand it, thinking that Jesus was the Messiah. But He died.
Illustration: This reminds me of some movies I have seen where the heroes make a promise to their kids or wife. Although they are about to embark on the most dangerous mission in the history of the world they promise, “I will be back for you. Everything will be OK” In real life, those who rely on them are bound to be disappointed.
But Christ did the impossible. He rose again from the dead. If He could defeat death, what can Christ not do? There is nothing impossible for Him (aside from sinning). Therefore put your hope in Him and you will never be disappointed. Do not put your hope on any person or material thing.
When you place your hope in something in this world there are only two possible outcomes. The first outcome is that you will never get what you hope for and be disappointed. The second outcome is that you will get what you hope for and still be disappointed because it does not bring the happiness you expected. Set your hope on Christ because He alone can satisfy.
3. An imperishable inheritance. If we place our hope in things in this world such as materials we may actually get a lot of them. But even if you do, they are temporary. For example, the owner of Myspace was offered 2 billion dollars for his company. At that time, Myspace, was THE place to be on the internet. He declined the offer. That was right before Facebook debuted. Soon Myspace was irrelevant and faded into obscurity. The golden egg that was going to make him, his family, and all of his descendants rich, vanished. Sometimes riches will not fade that quickly, but they longest they will last is until death. Then the person who put their hope in these things will be disappointed. See Luke 12:16-21. As believers, we have an inheritance that will never fade, that will never disappear, and that will never diminish. MacArthur describes this inheritance as “life, righteousness, joy, peace, perfection, God’s presence, Christ’s glorious companionship, rewards, and all else God has planned.” In short, paradise.
a) In the world, if someone has an inheritance like this, it could make them lazy. A biblical example would be the prodigal son. There are real life examples all around us. Kids with rich parents will sometimes rely on their parents’ money. They don’t learn to work or be self-sufficient. They don’t learn to solve their own problems as mommy or daddy is always there to bail them out. In short, they are lazy.
b) However, a believers’ inheritance should not make us lazy. In fact, it is just the opposite. Our inheritance in heaven will grow as we work diligently fulfilling God’s will for us on earth. The harder we work for God now, the better our heavenly inheritance will be. For example we may have a higher position in heaven or have more rewards (which we could give back to Christ, which would give us more joy) if we serve God more faithfully now.
4. We are protected by God’s power. This ties back into the fact that we have a living hope. Our inheritance and our very souls are protected by Christ. This is we can trust in it with confidence. Imagine Christ’s hand as the world’s first unbreakable safe. He holds us in His hand. This means that our heavenly inheritance and all of God’s promises to us are sure.
5. The salvation ready to be revealed. As Christians we are saved right now. See John 5:24 and John 3:36. We have eternal life, present tense. So then what does this mean? Well, although we are saved right now, we have not yet seen all the affects of salvation in our life. We are still trapped in these sinful, fading bodies. We still sin. We have not seen Christ yet. One day, we will receive new glorified bodies. We will actually be living in the mansions Christ has prepared for us. We will actually be able to see Jesus face to face. Here is the classic “already but not yet,” which we can often see in Scripture. We already have eternal life, but it is not yet fully realized.
Illustration: It is like an inheritance in trust. Sometimes when someone passes away, they leave their child the estate in trust. It fully belongs to them, but they can’t “get” all of it right away. Perhaps they get paid every year for twenty years. Then when they are old enough, the limitations are removed and they control all the assets of the estate. This is much like our heavenly inheritance. It belongs to us, but it is in trust. On this earth we will receive part. When we meet God, we will receive the rest.
6. How should this effect us? This should make us rejoice. We should rejoice even we face trials. Peter was writing to believers, many of whom were being persecuted. The world was turning against them. Friends, neighbors, the government, and even family were turning on them. It didn’t seem like a cause for rejoicing. But Peter reminds them that these things are temporary. Joy is not to depend on our circumstances. Joy comes from the hope that we have in Christ and is to be expressed in every circumstance we face.
7. These trials also serve a purpose. Throughout the Bible we see that trials are meant to increase our faith. They make us more dependent on God and more heavenly focused. They make us realize our weaknesses and God’s strength. And when we see that God is faithful to us, even in the middle of the trial, we are reminded to have faith in Him no matter what. Trials sift those who have true faith from those who are pretending.
8. Our relationship with God does require faith. When we face trials we may not understand the reason God is allowing them to happen. And we have not even seen God or Jesus, the object of our faith. See John 20:26-29, Matthew 13:16.
But God will reward those who believe in Him though we have not seen Him. The greatest “reward” is that our souls will be saved. We can have complete joy throughout our entire lives because we know, we KNOW that God is true. We have absolute confidence in His promises. He is our hope and this hope is true. So hold this faith in Christ close to your heart. Don’t let skeptics or persecution shake your faith. Examine your own life and your own faith and consider whether you do have joy inexpressible as Peter describes.
Application: What do you need to do in order to obey what you have learned in this lesson?
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