painting of family group

Reflecting on 1 Peter 2 1-10

Apart from laying aside impediments, like “malice, guile, insincerity, and slander,” and drinking in pure spiritual nourishment, what is expected of those called to become a spiritual house, and a holy, royal priesthood? What does this calling seem to entail? And, assuming we ourselves share it, do we seem to be living up to or into it? This seems like one of the big questions raised by 1 Peter 2:1-10, the text we’re studying this week. [The answer is really spelled out in more detail in the rest of the letter, so we might want to read through that, and give some thought to how wholeheartedly we ourselves have embraced that vision of the chosen people. If our own ideals differ, where do they, and why?]

Some notes on the text are here. Here are a couple of additional questions we might want to consider, or discuss in class:

What are our impressions of the images used in the text – the newborn infants, the “living stones,” the priesthood? What in those images appeals to us? Does anything not appeal to us? What is that? How does the author’s use of those images affect us, does it seem?

[more personal] Do we ourselves want to identify with the images in the text? If so, what does that desire inspire us to do?

What do we understand the “spiritual sacrifices” in v5 to include? Do we see ourselves making those? Why, or why not?

[more personal] What would need to change for us to see ourselves in that description?

In verse 9, being “a people” seems to be a condition for “proclaiming the excellence” of the one who “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Why would that be, do we think? [Alternatively: Why would outsiders to that people not be able to proclaim that excellence just as well?]  

What are the implications of our answers here, do we think? Thoughts? Feelings about that? Why?

Overall, the author of this letter is making a concerted appeal to the readers to understand themselves as being members of a single, separate entity. How does that align with the reality of the Christian community today, would we say? If it doesn’t align very well, what do we see as the obstacles to better alignment? What might make the alignment better, do we think?

impressionistic view of family members around a table lit by an oil lamp

Image: “A Family Around a Table,” Julius Paulsen (1919), public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

6 responses to “Reflecting on 1 Peter 2 1-10”

  1. The passage reminds me of St. Paul’s words in the letter we call Ephesians 2. No?

    I notice both letters are dated to nearly the same time frame as each other and right around the time Herod’s temple would have been completed. I expect that great achievement weighed heavy on a lot of imaginations. It certainly seems to have inspired Israel to revolt against Rome.

    It seems clear to me that these Christian letter writers had in mind something other than the revolt of 66AD. Putting it mildly.

    In either case, though, there is a call to be united and to stand with God. The one call intended to fight Rome, the other call to be innocent and pure in the sight of Rome and the world. Both matters of unity.

    As for the church today…

    We are so splintered only God could bring us together now.

    However, the one single bright spot in the faith heritage from which I come, the American Restoration Movement of Stone/Campbell, we actually managed the rejoining of our church with the Baptists. The only reunion in church history I know of, and I think the only one, period.

    It didn’t last, though. But we were, despite ourselves, a unity movement, originally. So, there might be something to study in that…


    • Yes, interesting – once I went and looked up Ephesians 2! But honestly, I think I side with the “late date” folks on both of these letters – so, more in the context of the destruction of said temple, and the aftermath of the revolt – in light of which, a time that the wisdom of not rocking the political boat would be very obvious.

      Our family went to tour Cane Ridge once many years ago, when relatives came to visit from out of state – we live pretty near there, relatively speaking. Campbell’s meeting house is preserved … it’s impressive.

      “With God all things are possible …” – but admittedly, there’s plenty of resistance. I’d be happy to reunite with other Christians, myself – except for the ones I’d have to be coerced to reunite with. They’d probably feel the same about me. 😉


      • Fascinating… the temple connection.

        As for early or late, I think we are talking about two variations on a theme. Either before or after its fall…

        My study on that event is somewhat limited, but I’ve read enough to get a picture of Simon bar Giora, and I expect there were numerous other would-be messiahs on scene whipping up young men of about fightin’ age to stand against the marauding pagan hordes.

        But in the aftermath, there would be so many despairing views flying this way and that. I’m sure I myself, and I really think nearly all of modern, American Christianity cannot appreciate the meaning of that temple and the devestation of its loss.

        But I reckon it features in the backdrop of much of the NT writings.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, absolutely. I read a book last year, Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds, Donald Harman Akenson, that I REALLY liked and keep recommending to people, and his argument is that the Temple was absolutely central to the development of the Biblical text, all the way along. I think he makes a good case, too. The only downside is that it is an extraordinarily long book.

        Liked by 1 person

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