Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 1 -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 097:386 (Apr 1940)
Article: Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 1
Author: Everett F. Harrison

Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
Part 1

Everett F. Harrison


The presence in the canon of the New Testament of a writing from the pen of Peter satisfies our sense of the fitness of things. If anyone of that celebrated company of the Twelve should be designated for such an honor, it would seem right that Peter be named, for he has first mention in every list of the apostles given to us, and his eminence is supported by what the Evangelists tell us of him otherwise. In the wisdom of God it was not appointed to him to be the author of one of the Gospels, though even here tradition and criticism unite in seeing his vigorous personality behind the Gospel according to Mark; however, the two epistles which bear his name constitute a rich legacy to the people of God.

Doubtless the Church would value any message from this prince of apostles, but a document which has the double value of reflecting the life progress of its author and of meeting the spiritual need of the readers at a crucial time, and serving both ends by stressing one theme, must have impressed the early Church as a special treasure. Peter’s career as an apostle has three well-defined stages, which are represented by the Gospels, Acts, and his first Epistle, respectively. In the first, he was puzzled by Jesus’ references to His death and subsequent resurrection, and openly contested with the Master the propriety of entertaining such thoughts of His future. In the second stage, which really began with the resurrection and continued throughout the ministry assigned to Peter in the early chapters of Acts, he learned from the risen Savior through the medium of an illuminated Old Testament the necessity for and the mutual relations of the sufferings and the glory as they applied to the Messiah. He ceased to wonder what the resurrection might mean in reference to Christ, and proclaimed it unceasingly as the vindication of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth and the ground of His heavenly exaltation as Lord and

Christ. In the third stage, Peter has a more fully developed doctrine of Christ’s work in death and resurrection; in addition, he presents the experience of the believer as closely associated with that of Christ in both respects. By His death, the Lord Jesus Christ became not only our Savior, but our Example of endurance under trial; by His resurrection He became the ground of our hope for an everlasting inheritance in glory.

That 1 Peter really belongs to the writer whose name it bears was unquestioned in the early Church. Eusebius included it in his list of undisputed writings, and indicated that prominent churchmen who lived early in the second century received it and used it as a work of Peter. The o...

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