Bible Classes on the Petrine Epistles | Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 2:4-5

Bible Class

Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 2:4-5

Peter has just told these Christians that they need to grow; here he tells them that they need to allow God to build them into the church.

“Come to him.”

The idea of coming to Christ seems to be based on Psalm 34:5 where the Septuagint reads “Come to him.”

The Revised Standard Version doesn’t accurately translate this phrase—the idea is “as you come” or “as you are coming.” This means that individuals are continually coming to Christ—as individuals come to Christ, they are built into a spiritual house. This pictures the conversion process as a coming to Christ, a phrase we often use today.

Peter does shift his emphasis here from the individual Christian to the believing community. Growth should be a part of the individual Christian’s life. Coming to Christ and being built into a spiritual house emphasizes the entire community.

Christians come to that “living stone.”

The reference to Christ as a “stone” anticipates the biblical quotations found in verses 6-8.

The reference to Christ as a “living” stone could mean several things:

  • “Stone” was a typical metaphor for a lifeless thing—Peter may want to emphasize that Jesus is not a lifeless “thing.”
  • Peter may intend to emphasize Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
  • Peter may intend to draw a contrast with these Christians’ former lives in paganism—Idols were often depicted as being objects of lifeless stone (e.g., Deut 4:28; Deut 38:36, 64; 2 Ki 19:18; Is 37:19; Jer 2:27; Jer 3:9; Ezek 20:32).

This stone has been rejected by men.

The idea of the stone’s being rejected anticipates verse 7.

Throughout the New Testament, we find the idea that Jesus was a stone rejected by the Jewish authorities. Mark 12:10; Matthew 21:42; Lk 20:17. Acts 4:11. However, in this passage, Peter means “people” in a general sense. People of all classes, races, etc., rejected Jesus as the Christ.

The Old Testament often spoke of the Christ (Messiah) in terms of a rock/stone. Isaiah 8:14; 28:16; 51:1; Daniel 2:34; Zechariah12:3. In both Jewish and Christian literature, rock/stone is used as a messianic title.

This rock is precious in God’s sight.

Although this rock may be rejected by men, his ministry was not rejected by his Father.

Jesus is chosen and precious. Christians were designated as “chosen” (v 2). Therefore, Christians are “chosen” because Christ himself is chosen. Precious—God favored him. Jesus played a special role in God’s plan, and he, therefore, is precious and chosen.

These Christians as living stones were to be built into a spiritual house.

As Christ is a living stone, these Christians are living stones. The life of a Christian is based upon Christ’s work. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10)—Jesus gives the Christian life.

As living stones, Christians are to be built into a spiritual house. Each individual Christian is a stone, a part, of the corporate body of believers. The church is often pictured as a building.

  • “On this rock I will build my church” (Matt 16:18).
  • “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it” (1 Cor 3:19—see also the following verses).
  • Ephesians 2:20-22.

Living stones make up this building—these stones are not dead, but they are rather to be living, active.

These living stones make up a spiritual house. “Spiritual house” is defined by the function of those who make up the “spiritual house”—a holy priesthood. A “spiritual house” is a building where God’s Spirit dwells (cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17).

These Christians are to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices through Jesus.

Christians are to be a priesthood. During the Reformation, the Reformers restored the idea of the “priesthood of all believers.” The truth of Scripture concerning the “priesthood of all believers” is that all Christians have access to God through Christ, no one Christian has more access than another. This idea is developed in other passages, as well (Rev 1:6; 5:10).

This priesthood is to offer spiritual sacrifices through Christ. The role of a priesthood is to offer sacrifices.

These priests were to offer “spiritual sacrifices.” This denotes that the sacrifices were not literal. The Old Testament pictures Jews as offering spiritual sacrifices to God.

  • Psalm 50:13-14, 23—a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
  • Psalm 51:17—a penitent heart.
  • Psalm 141:2—prayer.

The New Testament also pictures certain acts as being sacrifices before God.

  • Romans 12:1—Our bodies are to be a living sacrifice.
  • Hebrews 13:15-16—Sacrifice of the fruit of our lips and doing good and sharing that we have are sacrifices.
  • Philippians 2:17—Offering of faith.
  • Philippians 4:18—The gifts sent to Paul were a fragrant offering.
  • Romans 15:16—The conversion of the Gentiles.
  • 2 Timothy 4:6—Paul’s death.

These Christians then were to offer sacrifices, that is, serve God, and please God through their sacrifices.

These sacrifices are acceptable through Christ—Just as Christians have confidence through Christ (1 Pet 1:21), their sacrifices are acceptable to God through him. Only through the redemptive work of Christ are our deeds acceptable before God.

This Bible class was originally taught by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.

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