1 Peter 2:1-12

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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 2:1-12 Inductive Bible Study

I. Be Hungry for the Word because God is good (1-3)

II. Jesus is the rejected cornerstone chosen by God (4-8)

III. Believers are God’s chosen people (9-10)

IV. Live a new life for God’s glory (11-12)

I. Verses 1-3

Discussion Questions

What is the “therefore” there for?

Based on the previous verses, what is the motivation for putting aside these evil things such as malice and slander?

What motivates people to practice deceit and envy and slander?

Why should we be different now?

How much should we desire the word? Why do you think Peter uses the comparison of a baby desiring milk? What can God’s Word do for us?

Do you desire the spiritual food of the Word to this degree? What are some things that keep us from desiring the Word as we should?

How does verse 3 connect with verse 2?

Cross-References:

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Put aside all slander… Be kind to one another…

Craving for the Word – Psalm 1:1-2, Job 23:12, Psalm 19:7-11, Psalm 119: 16, 24, 35, 47, 48, 72, 92.

Acts 20:32 – His Word can build us up.

Teaching Points:

1. Therefore – Knowing that Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice (His own life) to redeem us from sin, this should motivate us in turn to love the people around us. Also, knowing that God’s Word endures whereas the physical materials around us are temporary, also motivates us to love others. In the world, people are selfishly ambitious to try to get ahead. They stab each other in the back and slander others to try to make themselves look better or to further their own career. James calls this demonic wisdom. But the wisdom from above is the opposite. God’s wisdom tells us to treat others how we want to be treated, to speak kindly to others whether they can hear us or not, and to put others’ needs above our own.

2. Malice/deceit/hypocrisy/envy/slander. This is a brief sampling of many of the works of the flesh that Galatians 5 lays out. It is not an exhaustive list of evil attitudes toward others. These demonstrate outright ill will toward others (malice), lack of integrity likely for the sake of getting ahead (deceit), insincerity (hypocrisy), wrong desires (envy), and an unedifying tongue (slander).

3. You may not realize just how powerful of an analogy verse 2 is until you have a baby of your own. Having had two baby boys, I can fully understand this illustration. Hungry babies have one and only one thing on their minds. Eat RIGHT NOW. Sometimes Christy is busy so I will attempt to placate Joe for awhile. I may walk around and bounce him. I may tickle him or sing to him or rock him. I may succeed in distracting him for a few moments, but inevitably before long he will start to scream again because he WANTS MILK NOW AND NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP HIM!!! He screams until his entire face is red. Yet when he starts feeding, he calms down almost instantly. This verse is not necessarily suggesting that we scream until our faces turn red each morning until we read the Bible. As adults we have a little more self control than babies do. But it is showing that we should crave the Bible to this degree. We should want it desperately and allow nothing to get in our way. We should not allow things to distract us from this goal. What are some things that may distract us from reading the Bible?

Phone calls, text messages, television, conversations, our days work, etc. could all distract us. Sometimes we may think I will do this now and later read the Bible, perhaps during my lunch break. Then during our lunch break we are kind of sleepy. We decide to take a short nap and then after our nap read the Bible. After our nap we realize we don’t have time, but will do it when we get home from work. When we get home we have a lot to deal with after the house. Let’s do it after supper. After dinner we decide to take a rest first for a while and do it on our bed before we sleep. When we lay down we start to pick up the Bible, but our eyelids are so heavy, we decide, “What’s the harm? I will just read it tomorrow morning when I wake up and I will read double then to catch up.” Then the next day the cycle begins anew. The problem is not that we are too busy. NO ONE IN THE WORLD is too busy to read the Bible, not one single person. The problem is that we do not crave the Word like a baby craves milk. Imagine how crazy little Joe would get after one day without milk. When it comes to God’s Word, we can have a one-track mind.

4. Once we start to read the Bible, we will see that God is good. We will lean of His character. We will see His fulfilled promises. We start to pray and He will begin to answer. We will learn that if we obey His commands He will keep His promises. We will have more joy. Basically, God’s Word works. It’s like a diet and exercise plan. You start on this plan. After you do it for a few weeks you start to notice a result in your health and energy. This will motivate you to persevere even more. Or another example. Yesterday we went swimming and I took my son. I asked him to jump into my arms from the edge of the pool. He was scared and didn’t want to try. Finally I convinced him to try the first time. I did catch him. He saw that I would not disappoint him. The second time he jumped much faster. By the third and fourth times, h wasn’t afraid anymore, but thought it was fun. This is much like it is with us and God. When we start to read and obey God’s Word, we see that it is true. We see that God is who He says. Our faith in Him is increased step by step and this in turn motivates us to go back for more.

II. Verses 4-8

Discussion Questions

Why is Jesus referred to as a living stone?

And how are we living stones? In what way are we priests? What sacrifices can we offer that are pleasing to God?

What is a cornerstone? Is Christ the cornerstone/foundation of your life? If we want to examine to see what is the foundation of our life, what could we look at?

Why does verse 8 say that Jesus is a rock of offense and a stone of stumbling?

What does it mean “to this doom they were also appointed? What doom? Why do they face this judgment?

Cross-References:

Matthew 7:24-29 – The wise man builds his house on the rock.

God is a rock – 2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 18:2, Psalm 62:1-2, 6-7, 2 Samuel 22:47

Ephesians 4:11-16 – Each member of the body has a gift and is to use his gift for others.

Isaiah 8:14- The Lord is a rock for His enemies to stumble over.

Isaiah 28:15-16 – The cornerstone who would be a refuge to the followers of God is the Messiah.

Teaching Points:

1. A stone. What do you think of when you think of a stone? When Jesus is called a stone, it obviously doesn’t mean really a stone (just as He wasn’t really water when I said “I am the living water” and wasn’t really bread when He said “I am the bread of life.) Rather it is pointing us to some of His qualities. Since He is referred to as a living stone, it makes this clear since most stones are not alive! A stone is something that is hard and solid. They are used for flooring or foundations because they don’t break easily. They provide strong support. They are not at all fragile. Most stones also don’t change very much. Trees, flowers, etc. all change. A stone is about as unchanging as you can get here on earth. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In ancient times, stones were used to build walls and fortresses. Many times God is called a rock and a refuge. Refuges were often made out of rocks. These were the most durable and resistant materials to protect a village or city from its enemies. Arrows and weapons, break against the rock, but cannot penetrate it. Try hitting a rock with a sword and see what happens. A rock is even stronger than metal. A wife might view her husband as a “pillar of strength” and lean on him for support. Emotionally and physically he is tough and can help her to get through difficult situations. Well, that is what Christ is to be like for us. He is to be our unchangeable and unshakeable foundation. He is our protector and shield. He is our safety and security. See cross-references.

2. This stone, what should be the foundation of Israel and all believers, was rejected by men. They rejected the strong foundation of building their lives on Christ and His promises. Instead they opted for the easy way of following their own pleasures and pride. They decided to build their own lives on earthly materials and pursuits such as money, respect, or fame, which pass away and collapse. This rejection of the Messiah should not come as a surprise. Throughout the history of man, people have rebelled against God continually. God wants to hold us to a higher standard and as sinful people, we don’t want to follow this high standard.

3. Although this stone was rejected by men, he is the most precious and valuable in God’s sight. And God’s opinion is the one that matters.

4. In this passage we are also called living stones. Since we are followers of Christ we are to take many of His characteristics as our own. For example, we called lights, and Christ is the light of the World. We are to love others as Christ loved us. So what does it mean that we are living stones? It means we are to be strong in our faith, not like a reed blown and tossed by the wind (James 1). It means that our lives are to be secure and stable because we build them on Christ. We are stones on a stone. It also means that we each are one part (one stone) out of a large building of stones, that is the church. Each one is to fulfill his responsibility of bearing part of the weight. Each one of us is to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. Romans 12 defines the sacrifice we are to make to God as a living sacrifice. We are to give our very lives to Him.

5. The Jews have a tradition about Solomon’s temple. The builders carefully chose every single stone for the project. Some stones were tossed out and not chosen. Each stone was allotted a specific place. The tradition says that one stone was originally discarded. They decided it would not be part of the temple. However, later on they changed their mind. This stone that was first put into the trash heap was later chosen to be the cornerstone of the entire building. This is an apt analogy of Christ as the cornerstone. He was originally rejected, but He is the foundation. One day in the future, the Jewish nation will see their mistake and accept Christ as their King and Savior.

6. This stone, who is our salvation, has another role. That is the rock of offense and the stone of stumbling. Stones can also be used to smash. Christ will “smash” those who rejected Him. He will judge all of those who didn’t believe. After they reject Christ, they are appointed (set aside) for this coming doom. Their actions of rebellion and disbelief seal their fate, much like a criminal who has been found guilty of murder is appointed for the electric chair.

III. Verses 9-10

Discussion Questions

How are believers described in verse 9? How does that make you feel? How does this challenge you? How should we act based on this verse?

What does it mean you once were not a people?

Cross-References:

Exodus 19:6 – Kingly priesthood.

Teaching Points:

1. But – Here is that all important word “but.” We do not have to face this doom. We can be saved from it if we accept Christ as the Messiah. These verses 9-10 apply to all believers including those Peter wrote to and us as well. We have an extremely high position in Christ.

a) Chosen race – We are chosen by God before the foundation of the world. We are a new race, a race not defined by flesh and blood, but by our belief in Christ. Since we are citizens of heaven we could be described as a heavenly race. The most important characteristics of our race are not physical ones, but spiritual ones. These spiritual characteristics (fruit of the spirit) go beyond our color and unite all believers from every tribe, tongue, and nation into one family, the family of God.

b) A royal priesthood. Are you a priest? Each of us is a priest. We can come directly into God’s presence. We can offer sacrifices to Him, our own lives. We can bring God’s message of peace to the world and bring the world’s needs to God through prayer.

c) A people of God’s own possession. We belong to God. He bought and paid for us. Our actions reflect back on Him. Our character should reflect His. We must let God have His way in us.

d) We are to proclaim His excellencies. We are to trumpet God’s message to anyone and everyone who will listen.

e) He has called us from the darkness into the light. Our lives must now be different. We know the truth. We know what we should do. We have direction and guidance.

f) Before we were not even a people. I take that to mean that Gentiles had not position in God’s kingdom. Each nation had their own false gods, their own customs and traditions and their own way of rebelling against God. Yet Christ brought together some people from each of these previously estranged and farflung nations and molded them (red and yellow, black and white) into a new people, a new group, called Christians. Now Christians are united as a people, God’s people. We all have a passport and we all belong to the nation called the UKG “The United Kingdom of God.” We are THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Each of us has received God’s mercy allowing us to be adopted into His great family.

So we see God’s great mercy. We see our high position in Christ. We see how He has completely changed the trajectory of our lives. How does this make you feel? What effect should this have on our lives? What can you do differently tomorrow based on these verses?

IV. Verses 11-12

Discussion Questions

In what ways are we aliens? Where else did we see this in 1 Peter? Why do you think Peter stresses this?

Do you face this battle between the new man and the old man? Do you feel that is a war? Do you want to win? What is your strategy to win?

Why are we called to be a good testimony to unbelievers?

Cross-References

Fleshly lusts – Galatians 5:19-21, 1 John 2:15-17

The battle between the new man the old man – Romans 7:21-25

Teaching Points:

1. Once again Peter here describes believers as aliens/strangers. This is a reminder that the earth is not our home. We are not “earthlings.” We are citizens of heaven. We must realize that we are just passing through the earth on a journey towards our permanent home. Therefore we should not get attached to this world. We should not love it. We should be in the world, but not of the world. Php 3:20.

2. Peter makes an application based on the fact that we are aliens in this world. He says “as aliens… abstain from fleshly lusts…” That means that since we are not of the world, we should not have the same desires as those who are of the world. Also, fleshly lusts, like the world around us can only provide temporary satisfaction. Like the flowers of the grass the pleasure gained from these wrong desires will fade. Remember the example of Amnon? He lusted for his half-sister. The passage in 2 Samuel 13 tells us that he was in love with Tamar. Through deceit and manipulation he fulfilled his lustful desire. After that, he hated Tamar. And though the passage doesn’t say it, he probably hated himself too for what he had done. This is where wrong desires finally lead, disappointment, despair, regret, hate.

3. There is a war between our new man and our old man. How can we ensure victory? If we want to win, we may have to take drastic steps to root out the sin in our lives. We have to take defensive steps by reading the Bible and putting on the spiritual armor. We have to take offensive steps by examining our lives for sinful areas and then mercilessly root it out.

4. Here is another reminder that we are to be a good testimony to the people around us. Our behavior is to be excellent. It is not to be just “good” or “acceptable” or “not bad,” but EXCELLENT! Who in the Bible had an excellent testimony? Daniel and Joseph are two who come to mind. In Daniel’s case, it is documented how his enemies strove to find something, ANYTHING, bad about his life to accuse him about. Imagine a similar investigation into the lives of most political figures. There are probably only a handful of political figures on the planet (if that) who could stand up to that kind of scrutiny without some kind of scandal or corruption being uncovered. Yet Daniel stood up to the scrutiny to the point where his enemies could only say “He prays too much. He is too faithful to God.” Wow. Don’t you want to have this kind of excellent testimony before the world? It is achievable. Remember that God wants us to be holy as He is holy and He gives us the resources to achieve victory over sin.

5. See the motivation for excellent behavior. What is it? It isn’t to get respect. It isn’t to impress other Christians with how spiritual we are. It isn’t to get some kind of earthly rewards. It is to reflect God’s grace to a lost world so that God will be glorified. And what is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Study 1 Peter 2:23-35

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