Immigrants In Our Own Land, Citizens Of God -- By: Peter H. Davids
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Immigrants In Our Own Land, Citizens Of God
Peter H. Davids is Visiting Professor of Bible and Applied Theology at Houston Graduate School of Theology and Director of Clergy Formation at the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. He earned his PhD from the University of Manchester, England. He is the author of numerous works including A Biblical Theology of James, Peter, and Jude (Biblical Theology of the NT Series, Zondervan, 2014) The Epistle of James (New International Greek Testament Commentary Series, Eerdmans, 2013), and The Epistle of 1 Peter (New International Commentary of the NT Series, Eerdmans, 1990). Dr. Davids has been married for 50 years with three married children and nine grandchildren.
The letter known as 1 Peter is no longer a New Testament “stepchild,” as John Elliott famously called it,1 but is rather the subject of numerous studies and is rich in theological nuance and implications. This is hardly the place to attempt to fully explore the wealth of this letter,2 but it is the appropriate setting to summarize its instruction and in doing so to highlight its theological perspective and major exegetical issues. That is the limited but still ambitious goal of this article,3 which will in general follow the structure of this circular letter.
The first thing that one notices about 1 Peter is the addressees: those addressed are “immigrants” or “resident aliens” and yet they are “chosen” or “elect.” They are a “diaspora,” but in provinces in which they were once very much at home (1 Pet 4:3-4). And this theme of being “immigrants” is repeated multiple times in the letter, as is the language of being a chosen people. The point of 1 Peter is that there has been a change: chosen by God, those addressed have
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obeyed or submitted to the rule of Jesus the Anointed One and have been made holy by the Spirit, the imagery being that participating in the being set aside as holy that Moses did to the people of Israel, although this time the sprinkling is with the blood of Jesus rather than animals of lesser phyla. The addressees are a new people, a holy people, and yet still live in their original communities, which, as will become clear, is part of the problem.
We learn how this happened in the thanksgiving, 1 Peter 1:3-12. These largely-Gentile men and women have been “born anew,” ...
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