Solidarity In Suffering And Glory: The Unifying Role Of Psalm 34 In 1 Peter 3:10-12 -- By: Sean M. Christensen

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 58:2 (Jun 2015)
Article: Solidarity In Suffering And Glory: The Unifying Role Of Psalm 34 In 1 Peter 3:10-12
Author: Sean M. Christensen


Solidarity In Suffering And Glory:
The Unifying Role Of Psalm 34 In 1 Peter 3:10-12

Sean M. Christensen*

* Sean Christiansen is a Ph.D. student in NT at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015.

I. Introduction

In his thorough study of the use of the OT in 1 Peter, William Schutter establishes the importance of his work for Petrine scholarship at the outset by noting that “few early Christian documents incorporate as much of its [OT] material in proportion with their size.”1 Indeed, readers barely need to scratch the surface of the epistle before being immersed in language that is rooted in the history of Israel, with the concepts of diaspora (διασπορᾶς, 1:1), election (ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις, 1:1), and sacrifice (ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος, 1:2) all established in the opening address of the letter. The experiences of “the prophets who prophesied” (1:10),2 Sarah and Abraham (3:6), and Noah (3:20) are all drawn upon for instruction, and OT quotations and allusions are evident throughout, often applied so seamlessly to the elect in Christ as to invite speculation on Peter’s theological intent for the relationship between the church and Israel.

Given these distinct literary features, scholars have in some ways mirrored the actions of the prophets by “making careful search and inquiry” into use of the OT in the epistle and to proper hermeneutical approaches to its exegesis. Along these lines, many have noted the significance of 1 Pet 1:10-12 for its important salvation-historical implications, often designating it a “hermeneutical key” for the epistle.3 Others have drawn attention to the central importance of the Isaianic texts, given both their frequent occurrence and Christological importance in the letter.4 Yet it is to one other prominent element of 1 Peter that I turn my attention in this paper. Nearly a century has passed since Wilhelm Bornemann suggested that 1 Peter was in fact not a letter but rather a sermon dependent on Psalm 34 directed toward newly baptized believers in Christ.5 While the str...

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