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The Recipients of the Petrine Epistles

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Question:  Hello! Greetings in the name of the Lord!  I just wanted to find out who the recipients were in 1st Peter? I believed it was the people of the area of Asia and around there. But I was searching and I came across your site. What a wonderful site! God bless you ministry immensely!

Response:  Thanks much for your kind words! To get right to your question, yes indeed, when Peter says in his salutation in the first epistle "to those who, though outcasts dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia", he is listing off areas which today are all part of "Asia Minor", specifically, all within the borders of what is today the country of Turkey. The areas listed in the quote above were all provinces/regions of the Roman empire within the land mass of Asia Minor. In addition to Peter, Paul before him and John after him also had significant ministries in the critically important area of the Greco-Roman world (before being ruined by the barbarian invasions, the Moslem invasions, the fall of the Byzantine empire, and the Crusades, this was one of the richest and most heavily populated areas of antiquity). The recipients of these two encyclicals or "circular letters" were all the believers who lived in the midst of this intensely pagan area (a good part of the book of Acts takes place in these same exact provinces). Although some commentators have taken the word "dispersed/dispersion" to refer to believing Jews alone (cf. the transliteration diaspora for "scattered Israel"), Peter is really making a comparison between the Church, presently scattering throughout the world, and previous dispersals of Israel. For we are all "a holy nation" in Jesus Christ (compare 1Pet.2:9). In the world's eyes, we may be nothing, mere "wanderers" upon the earth, but in God's eyes all believers, gentile and Jew alike, are "an elect people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people made for God" (1Pet.2:9). This was true in the first century, in spite of imperial persecution, and it is true now, in spite of the gathering storm of Tribulation and persecution ahead, so that this perspective of faithful pilgrimage through the devil's world is one we all need to keep in mind until we all reach Zion (Ps.84:5-7).

For further study:

On the general historical details of these epistles, see Peter's Epistles: Lesson #1

On the specific meaning of "dispersed outcasts", see Peter's Epistles: Lesson #3

On the union of gentiles and Jews in the Church, see Satan's Rebellion #5: "the Uniqueness of Israel".

You might also want to have a look at the following study:

The Seven Churches of Revelation: The Seven Eras of the Church Age.

Hope you find this helpful.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill


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