Today’s Scripture Focus: I Peter 2:1-10
Today we continue our study in I and II Peter. Remember that letters written in the world of the Bible, called epistles, followed a set formula: greeting, thanksgiving, instructions or body, and conclusion. The instructional portion of I Peter begins in 1:13, and continues in chapter 2. Peter is encouraging his readers in ancient Asia to live a holy life in the midst of difficult circumstances. The churches in this area were experiencing local persecution and division. Peter does this by using several illustrations that aid in knowing what to get rid of and what to seek, including an infant drinking milk, a living stone, a spiritual temple, and a royal priesthood.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk…” (v1) Christians are to forsake the ways of dealing with one another that are common in the world. Gossip, lying, and being two-faced have no place in the church. How are we to overcome these habits of the tongue that seem so automatic? By drinking the “milk” of God’s pure word. In the early centuries of the church, converts were dressed in white robes and given milk to drink as symbols of their new birth. Today, white robes are often used in baptism. If we are struggling with “talking like a Christian”, sometimes going back to the basics of feasting on the word is what is needed.
“As you come to him, the living Stone…” I Peter 1 thanked God for our living hope. Chapter 2 teaches about a living Stone. Peter quotes three Old Testament passages that mention a stone—the only time in scripture all three of these passages occur together (Isaiah 28 and 8, Psalm 118). Peter is making the case that the “cornerstone” of the scriptures is none other than Christ Jesus. The cornerstone at the foundation, or the capstone at the top of an arch, were the most important stones in a structure. If they failed, the entire building failed. Jesus is the chosen and precious stone at the bottom and top of the church that holds us together.
“…you also, like living stones…” Peter says that each of us is a living brick in the spiritual Temple of God. He uses language that in the past had only been used of the nation of Israel—a chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. The royal priesthood consisted of the most honored priests whose job is was to lead the king and royal family in worship. As Christians, we are ministers to the King of Kings. We have been chosen by God to bridge the gap between Heaven and earth—to lead others to the King. We are able to do this because we have been chosen by God to receive mercy. As we work together, we share this mercy with others.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask the discussion questions below*. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
*How have you seen God at work in your life this week?
*How have you struggled to follow God this week?
*Why do you think gossip and complaining are such easy habits to fall into? What can we do to break the habit of negative speech?
*Is there anything about today’s scripture focus or this week’s scripture readings that especially stood out to you, or that you had trouble understanding?
*How can we pray for you this week?