Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

1 Peter: Aims of our Bible Study

Holy Bible(1) To learn and understand more about the Apostle Peter.

1 Peter was written by the Apostle Peter. I must admit that Peter is a Bible character that I don’t fully relate to. (I identify more with the apostle Paul and his teachings.) So my first aim is that, by the end of our studies, I will understand and appreciate Peter more: who he was and what he taught.

(2) To experience more of “Life”.

There is one incident with Peter, recorded in the Scriptures, that really gels with me. This incident is found in John  6:68-69. In John 6:67 we learn that many of Jesus’ disciples had made the decision to stop following Jesus. Jesus asks his twelve disciples whether they want to leave him also.  Peter replies:

“Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

For about three and a half years, Peter had heard Jesus’ “words of eternal life”.  These words were spoken in a variety of circumstances and settings. These living words were addressed to crowds of thousands and also spoken in intimate settings. Peter, along with James and John, were especially privy to Jesus’ ministry and teaching in intimate settings. In 1 Peter, Peter passes on his own “words of life”; words he had learnt from Jesus. In his letter, Peter speaks about the “living word” (1:23). He also speaks about a “living hope” (1:3), and he refers to Jesus as “the Living Stone” and Christians as “living stones” (2:4-5).

“Life” is one my favourite Christian term. I believe that Christianity is all about life: abundant life. Being a Christian is about spiritual vitality and spiritual renewal. It’s about an eternal life that has already begun. My second aim in these studies on 1 Peter is that we may experience more of the “life”, spiritual vitality and renewal, that God has for us.

(3) To follow Peter’s advice and live by a high standard of moral behaviour.

A lot of 1 Peter is actually practical advice about how to live as Christian believers in a world that is hostile to Christianity. One of the key words in 1 Peter is the Greek word anastrophē (used seven times in this letter), which means “conduct” or “behaviour”.[1] I’m hoping that as we study 1 Peter together we don’t just become smarter because of our increased Bible knowledge. Rather, my hope is that we learn practical lessons about how to live better in our, largely godless, society.

True Christians have been concerned for centuries about how to exhibit excellent and exemplary moral behaviour. Moral behaviour no longer seems to be as important to contemporary Christians. But it is important to God. So my third aim is that we take Peter’s advice and choose to live with high standards of moral and ethical behaviour, behaviour that is infused with grace.

(4) To please God.

As someone who loves God, my hope is that we learn how to please God more, in our thoughts and actions. I believe that as we know God more, we will love God more, seek God more, please God more, and serve God more.

Paul spoke about having a goal, or ambition, to please God: “So we make it our goal to please him . . .” 2 Corinthians 5:9. This is my goal and ambition too, and I hope yours.

When we love someone, we do things that we know will make the other person happy and we avoid doing things that we know the other person doesn’t like. Similarly, when we truly love God we will want to do the things that please him and we will avoid doing things that displease him. The Bible has many instructions about how to live lives, and have thoughts and behaviours, that please God. Jesus repeatedly said if you love me you will obey my commands. I wonder whether this statement was more of an observation rather than an instruction?

If we love God, we’re going to want to please him and put biblical advice into practise, rather than ignoring it or dismissing it. As we read the instructions in 1 Peter, we’re also going to have to use our God-given intelligence and spiritual discernment to work out how to put Peter’s advice, (which was given to particular communities in a distant land in a distant time) into practise in 21st century Australian society. I’m looking forward to our discussions where we will try to work out how to apply Peter’s (almost 2000 years old) instructions, into present day usage.

So my fourth aim is to please God by being obedient to the Scriptures with intelligence and discernment. (My fourth aim follows from my third aim and is really very similar.)

Please pray that God will bless our Bible study and bless our group! And pray that we will meet these aims, and more!


Endnote

[1] Anastrophē is found in 1 Peter 1:15, 17, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16.  BDAG (p73) defines anastrophē as: “conduct expressed according to certain principles way of life, conduct, behaviour. . . “


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Posted March 23rd, 2011 . Categories/Tags: 1 Peter, Bible Study Notes,

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