For an explanation of what this post is, see “The ‘How’ and ‘What’ of 1 Peter pt. 1.”
Concluding Words (youth group lesson transcript taught on 11.6.19)
This is our final lesson on the “what” and “how” of 1 Peter. We have been studying this book for a while now, both so that we can understand its content and also how to generally read to understand the Bible on our own.
And if you have been paying attention, you might have realized that 1 Peter really has one overarching theme that runs like a thread throughout the entire book: suffering.
A lot of this text had to do with Peter encouraging his listeners to hang on despite their present circumstances. Even though they were no longer living in their homeland, and even though the wider culture around them didn’t accept their faith, they were supposed to trust in Jesus. Because, in Jesus, they had a great hope.
Question: Have any of you ever written an actual letter to someone before that you had to send through the mail? And I’m not talking about an email or a text, but one that you had to physically write?
If you remember way back to when we first started looking at this book, you might recall that we spent some time just talking about the way people wrote letters back in Bible times.
When we write letters to our friends, we might start off by saying something informally like “Hey Cameron!” Back in the ancient Greco Roman society, they did things a bit more formally, though. They’d have a place where the author was named, the person or people they were writing to were addressed, and some sort of fancy greeting. “Peter, to the elect exiles…grace and peace.”
After the formal introduction came the main body of the book. But when all of that had been written, ancient Greco Roman letters did another kind of unusual thing at their closing.
Instead of just saying “goodbye” or “I love you,” they usually contained a small summary of the previous content of their letter. The author then would conclude by greeting several of his or her friends. Letters were often not private interactions in those days. They would be taken and delivered by a letter carrier who would then read them out loud to an audience as most people were illiterate. That’s why there is usually that “shout out” greeting section in the end.
Peter has both of these things in his letter. He’s got a summary and a “shout out” section. And even though we have now read the book proper, there’s still a lot to learn from his conclusion.
But let’s stop talking about it and instead actually read what Peter’s saying. After that, we will get into our small groups (the small group questions and answers are provided below).
Read: 1 Peter 5:6-14
Small Group Discussion
1. Read 1 Peter 5:6-7. This section begins Peter’s formal conclusion to his letter. Here, he is giving a summary of all that he’s been talking about up until this point. Oddly enough, he starts the list off by talking about humility. What is humility?
Humility is realizing that you aren’t the most important person in existence. It’s the opposite of arrogance. It’s putting others before yourself. And in the Bible, humility is often displayed when someone trusts in God and His plan instead of relying on their own understanding.
2. Peter links humility and anxiety here. What’s the connection? How does humbling yourself before God allow you to give your worries to Him?
Worry, in some senses, is not trusting that God’s got your back. You are anxious because you don’t trust in the plan that the Lord has for your life.
We all have a sinful tendency to lift ourselves up and put the Lord down. We often try to face trials by ourselves, trusting in our own ability to work through life’s difficulties on our own. We will call on God for a little boost now and then, to get us through something especially tough, but we often don’t know what it means to cast all of our anxiety on the Lord until we are confronted with a trial that is way more than we can handle.
It is better to humble ourselves, realize that we really can’t do things on our own, and submit ourselves to the leading of the Lord. He is powerful enough to help us through tough times.
3. Do you struggle with worry? What are some ways that we can “cast our anxieties on the Lord?”
4. Read 1 Peter 5:8-11. What do you think it means to be sober-minded and watchful? Why is that important in relation to the Devil?
God calls us not to worry. Despite suffering, He is there and is willing to help us in tough times. This was true for Peter’s audience and is true for us today.
But God doesn’t want us to be “hippies.” We should learn not to care so much about the life’s worries because Jesus is bringing about a better world for those who trust in Him, but that doesn’t mean we should live carelessly. We should not become too relaxed that we become susceptible to falling into sin.
5. Why do you think it was important for Peter to remind his readers that the suffering they were facing wasn’t unique to them, but “the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by [their] brotherhood throughout the world?”
Peter was writing to a whole lot of churches in this letter. He was writing to people living all over the Greco-Roman world. And these church communities, once together in Jerusalem, were living in isolation. Because of that, it was probably pretty tempting for them to think that they were the only ones in the world going through this tough stuff. They likely thought that they were alone, and this is probably what the Devil was tempting them to think.
But Peter is encouraging them to remember that these others churches around the world were going through similar trials. And if their spiritual brothers and sisters could overcome these hardships in Christ, they could too.
6. Is it comforting to you to know that other Christians have suffered in the same ways that you have? How can we learn from what others have gone through?
7. Read 1 Peter 5:12-14. Right after remind his readers that they aren’t alone, Peter concludes by warmly greeting friends. These were Christians that Peter “stood firm in the faith” with. Do you have Christian friends who are willing to stand firm with you?
8. How might you be an encouragement to younger believers who might need help in their faith?
This was our last lesson in 1 Peter. But I hope it wasn’t the last time that you will use these scripture journals.
I hope that this series has been beneficial to you in helping you read and understand the Bible for yourself. And I hope that you can now take these tools that you’ve learned and apply them to the two other books that are in these journals. There’s 2 Peter and Jude in there. Both are great!
So, don’t leave those journals here tonight. Take them home. And continue to read about the hope that we have in Jesus despite our present suffering.