Strangers And Aliens (24): Stand Firm In The True Grace Of God (1 Peter 5:12–14)

Throughout these notes on 1 Peter I have considered how the suffering of the Christians in Rome might have affects the way the Christians in Asia Minor looked at their Christian faith and life. Martyrdom was not a mere theory. It happened under Nero about the time that Peter wrote his epistles. If the ancient tradition of the church is correct (Luther accepted and Calvin did not), that Peter wrote from Rome, then “Babylon” in v. 13 is figurative. This seems most likely. Placing him in Rome hardly makes him a pope. The evidence for any papal office or authority—or even a monepiscopacy!—in Rome is completely lacking in the 1st century and there is no notion of a papacy in the 2nd century. In the 2nd century the word επσκοπος (episcopos; bishop) means something rather more like “senior pastor” than “regional manager.” Peter is no more permanently “the rock” (Matt 16:18) than he is “anti-Christ” (Matt 16:23). When he confessed Christ, he was the rock. When he denied Christ, he was anti-Christ. Most likely, according to the tradition of the church, Mark was with Peter in Rome and it was to that context that he wrote his gospel, as a summary of the Apostle’s teaching and ministry there. Continue reading →