The Christian Life in Peter’s Theology -- By: Frederic R. Howe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:627 (Jul 2000)
Article: The Christian Life in Peter’s Theology
Author: Frederic R. Howe


The Christian Life in Peter’s Theologya

Frederic R. Howeb

As noted in previous articles in this series,1 the central basis of Peter’s teaching about the Christian life stemmed from the Lord Himself. The blending of the rich experiences Peter had with the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry, and the subsequent years in which he ministered as an apostle and a “fellow elder,” as he described himself in 1 Peter 5:1, produced the mind-set of this veteran leader. One thing should be noticed in introducing Petrine themes about the Christian life: Peter demonstrated the resilience and humility that comes from being able to take correction and benefit from it.

Two simple illustrations forcefully verify this trait in Peter. First, he often heard words of correction, admonition, and even blunt discipline from the Lord Himself. In perhaps a rather inquisitive moment Peter asked Jesus about John’s future (John 21:21). Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” The word for “follow,” ἀκολούθει, implies a continual following, a veritable lifestyle commitment. The epistles of Peter are ample testimony to his lifestyle of positive response to needed admonitions and warnings.

Another case in point is Peter’s interesting statement about the apostle Paul. Peter’s well-known comment about Paul’s writings (2 Pet. 3:15–16) and Peter’s positive and endearing description of Paul (“our beloved brother Paul”) are far more than self-serving statements by someone trying to gain favor with his readers. Peter, after all, had been openly rebuked by Paul (Gal. 2:14). There is no record of Peter’s response to Paul at that time, but the very silence

concerning any retaliatory attitudes or any “pulling of apostolic rank” by Peter suggests that Peter was able to take rebuke, digest it, so to speak, and profit from it, without rancor or bitterness. Peter was the key figure in the apostolic band for the years of Christ’s incarnate ministry. Surely some deference should be given to him, even by Paul. Yet the issue here was one of truth, and Peter admirably took in the lesson. With his words about Paul being a beloved brother, he himself practiced what he taught in 1 Peter 5:5: “And all of you, clothe ...

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