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Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

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1Pe 1:1-25. Address to the Elected of the Godhead: Thanksgiving for the Living Hope to Which We Are Begotten, Producing Joy Amidst Sufferings: This Salvation an Object of Deepest Interest to Prophets and to Angels: Its Costly Price a Motive to Holiness and Love, as We Are Born Again of the Ever-abiding Word of God.

1. PeterGreek form of Cephas, man of rock.

an apostle of Jesus Christ—"He who preaches otherwise than as a messenger of Christ, is not to be heard; if he preach as such, then it is all one as if thou didst hear Christ speaking in thy presence" [Luther].

to the strangers scattered—literally, "sojourners of the dispersion"; only in Joh 7:35 and Jas 1:1, in New Testament, and the Septuagint, Ps 147:2, "the outcasts of Israel"; the designation peculiarly given to the Jews in their dispersed state throughout the world ever since the Babylonian captivity. These he, as the apostle of the circumcision, primarily addresses, but not in the limited temporal sense only; he regards their temporal condition as a shadow of their spiritual calling to be strangers and pilgrims on earth, looking for the heavenly Jerusalem as their home. So the Gentile Christians, as the spiritual Israel, are included secondarily, as having the same high calling. He (1Pe 1:14; 2:10; 4:3) plainly refers to Christian Gentiles (compare 1Pe 1:17; 1Pe 2:11). Christians, if they rightly consider their calling, must never settle themselves here, but feel themselves travellers. As the Jews in their dispersion diffused through the nations the knowledge of the one God, preparatory to Christ's first advent, so Christians, by their dispersion among the unconverted, diffuse the knowledge of Christ, preparatory to His second advent. "The children of God scattered abroad" constitute one whole in Christ, who "gathers them together in one," now partially and in Spirit, hereafter perfectly and visibly. "Elect," in the Greek order, comes before "strangers"; elect, in relation to heaven, strangers, in relation to the earth. The election here is that of individuals to eternal life by the sovereign grace of God, as the sequel shows. "While each is certified of his own election by the Spirit, he receives no assurance concerning others, nor are we to be too inquisitive [Joh 21:21, 22]; Peter numbers them among the elect, as they carried the appearance of having been regenerated" [Calvin]. He calls the whole Church by the designation strictly belonging only to the better portion of them [Calvin]. The election to hearing, and that to eternal life, are distinct. Realization of our election is a strong motive to holiness. The minister invites all, yet he does not hide the truth that in none but the elect will the preaching effect eternal blessing. As the chief fruit of exhortations, and even of threatenings, redounds to "the elect"; therefore, at the outset, Peter addresses them. Steiger translates, to "the elect pilgrims who form the dispersion in Pontus.", &c. The order of the provinces is that in which they would be viewed by one writing from the east from Babylon (1Pe 5:13); from northeast southwards to Galatia, southeast to Cappadocia, then Asia, and back to Bithynia, west of Pontus. Contrast the order, Ac 2:9. He now was ministering to those same peoples as he preached to on Pentecost: "Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia and Judea," that is, the Jews now subject to the Parthians, whose capital was Babylon, where he labored in person; "dwellers in Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Bithynia," the Asiatic dispersion derived from Babylon, whom he ministers to by letter.