Overview of this Week’s Reading Week of January 27, 2015 – February 1, 2015
James – 1 and 2 Peter
Overview of James
Written by James, the half-brother of our Lord (Gal. 1:19) and the long time pastor of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15, Gal 2:1-13). There is a wide diversity of opinion on when it was written – likely the early 50’s. It was written to followers of Christ living among the Jewish Diaspora. James challenges believers to endure hardship with joy and patience, as well as to live responsibly, authentically and in harmony. It is a book encouraging a very practical faith lived out in a church community. James has some powerful and vivid words concerning the use of our words, caring for the poor and the power of effectual prayer. The message is that our faith is demonstrated by the way we live.
Overview of 1 Peter
The author of the book is the Apostle Peter. 1 Peter is a letter of encouragement to Christians enduring suffering. The letter was written in 64-65 AD in Rome (Babylon). It was written to Gentile believers in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Peter deals with the reality that suffering for the sake of righteousness should not come as a surprise. Followers of Jesus should respond to unjust suffering the way Jesus did. Peter calls his readers to a holy life. In a Pagan world we can be a witness as we submit to Pagan authorities, though we will be required to endure suffering in doing so (the Bible also makes it clear you can submit without necessarily being obedient to unbiblical requirements). God has a redemptive purpose in our suffering. Peter constantly reminds his reader that we are strangers, pilgrims and aliens in this world. The modern reader needs to remember (as in every book of the Bible) that the author is speaking into situations in the context of the culture of that day. Chapter five provides some helpful and practical instruction to pastors.
Overview of 2 Peter
The author of the book of 2 Peter is again the Apostle Peter and was written in 64 AD. This is a farewell address by Peter before his martyrdom. He urges Christians to continue to grow in Christ, to live a godly life and to endure in the face of false teaching. 2 Peter is set upon the backdrop of false teaching that the Lord is not returning. Peter strongly argues and proclaims that Jesus is coming back and believers must be prepared. Despite opposition, followers of Christ are to grow in godliness. God will judge those who have rejected Him. Their rejection of Christ is witnessed by their ungodly living.