1 Peter: Paul, Silas, and Peter

August 25, 2009

1 Peter 5:12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it

Peter did not write this letter alone.

Many have remarked at the striking similarity between 1 Peter and some of Paul’s letters. A quick comparison of certain verses demonstrates that similarity:

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 1Pe 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Col 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 1Pe 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 1Pe 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands
1Th 5:6 …let us be alert and self-controlled. 1Pe 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert.
1Co 16:20 …Greet one another with a holy kiss. 1Pe 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Rom 8:18 … the glory that will be revealed in us. 1Pe 5:1 … the glory to be revealed:
Rom 4:24 …for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 1Pe 1:21 … you believe in God, who raised him from the dead …
Rom 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities… Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men
Rom 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
Rom 12:7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
1Pe 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1Pe 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides
1Ti 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 1Pe 3:3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

Beyond the similarity of many verses of Paul and Peter, the overall structure of his plea is the same. Peter introduced the letter by identifying himself as an apostle. He proceeded to identify his intended audience by their location and by the blessings they have received from God. He extends grace and peace. Next he describes in more detail the great blessings they have received from God. Then he proceeds to call for an appropriate response to those blessings. This is all very “Pauline” — compare to Ephesians, Colossians, and Romans. However, Peter seems to go back and forth several times — lavish description of blessings, then calling for a response, then revisiting the blessings, and calling for a response again, etc.

Overall, the similarity to Paul’s letters is unmistakable. And there is a good reason for that similarity. 1 Pet 5:12 tells us that Peter wrote this letter with the help of Silas (Gk Silvanus). There is virtually unanimous agreement that this is the same Silas who accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey (approximately AD 51-54.) Silas was a leading brother in Jerusalem (Acts 15:22) and a prophet (Acts 15:32). He joined Paul first in Jerusalem as one selected to deliver the decision of the council to Antioch and other churches. After visiting Antioch with the letter, he accompanied Paul to Syria, Cilisia, Derbe, Lystra, Phrygia, Galatia, Troas, Macedonia, Philippi (where he was jailed along with Paul), Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth. While on that journey, he assisted Paul in writing both letters to the Thessalonians. Silas had extensive exposure to Paul’s teaching as well as his writing. He was undoubtedly familiar with at least most of Paul’s letters by the time 1 Peter was written (approximately AD 60-64). It is no surprise, therefore, that we see many similarities between 1 Peter and the letters of Paul.

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