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Bible Study for Jehovah's Witnesses: 1 Peter

How are we to 'Set forth the excellencies' of God?



1:1-2 In what does the salvation of the chosen (NAS) have its source? (also vv.4,5)
This awesome truth was first intimated by Christ himself, no doubt in Peter's hearing (John6:36,37,39,64-71; 10:26-30; 17:2,24). It is ironic that The Watchtower has to do backflips to avoid the force of John 17:2, preceding as it does one of their most notorious mistranslations (and prooftexts). They have inserted a word once more, to substantiate their doctrine that predestination involves only the number of saved. However, even in NWT, Peter has the believers chosen ... for the purpose of their being obedient, not obedient in order to be chosen.

1:3-5 How secure is the salvation of those born again to a living hope (NAS)?
Even NWT has them safeguarded by God's power. Is safe secure?

1:6-12 Despite fierce trials of their faith, why is the salvation of believers the sure end of ... faith (v.9, NWT)?
Stress verse 10. The potentially explosive truth of eternal election displays its most radiant hue when examined under the light of grace.

1:13-17 Is the Christian's election and hope dependent on his activity (v.13, NWT), obedience (v.14), holiness (vv.15,16) or work (v.17)? (see also vv.18,20,21,23)
We are saved not by works, but for works (Eph.2:4-10); God, having begun this work in us without our will, will complete it without our help (Philippians 1:6; 2:12,13; 2 Thess. 2:13-17). As v.17 indicates, however, even saved Christians will be rewarded according to their works (Matthew 25:14-30; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11).

1:18-25 What is the only basis for incorruptible, imperishable life? (esp. vv.18,23)
The new birth is also the basis for the only resurrection hope. In 1 Corinthians 15:35-58, the hope that spurs Paul to diligence in the work of the Lord (v.58) is the hope of incorruption (vv.42,50,52-54). Can a man call himself a Christian and have another hope? Hear Paul: Flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God (v.50), we shall ALL be changed (v.51), this which is corruptible MUST put on incorruption (v.53, NWT). See also Eph. 4:4.

2:1-3 Once one is reborn, by what process does he mature (grow to salvation, NWT)?
When one has tasted the kindness of the Lord, one leaves behind the old nature, or rather the old nature is naturally sloughed off, like dead skin by new growth. NWT lists (v.1) deceitfulness and backbiting (slander, NAS) as among the discarded characteristics of the old life. Note, too, that NWT didn't render kyrios (v.3) as Jehovah, as they are wont to do when a quotation is made from an O.T. text where the Tetragram occurs in the original Hebrew. Why the inconsistency? See v.4 and check the identity of him (NWT) against Psalm 34:8 (and Isaiah 8:13,14) in NWT. See below.

2:4-10 Who may offer acceptable spiritual sacrifices to God, or proclaim his excellencies?
As the Mosaic system illustrated, any approach to God other than through appointed channels (i.e. the Levitical priesthood, the Jerusalem temple) was, and is, illegitimate -- even profane (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:1-5,16-23, where even good king Uzziah learned this principle the hard way). Note also how v.8 reinforces Peter's emphasis on election (cf. 1:1-12). Contrariwise, no one putting faith in Christ will BY ANY MEANS come to disappointment (v.6, NWT -- thank you, Brooklyn!)

2:11-18 By what means, according to Peter's counsel, do Christians proclaim the excellencies (v.9) of God? (esp. vv.12,14,15 in NWT)

2:19-25 Is all suffering a proof of God's approval? (esp. v.20; see 4:15,16,19)
For JWs persecution is a badge of honour, a divine stamp of their exclusive claims. Their chief boasting, ironically, is in their "neutral" record during WWII; ironic, because it was during this very period that The Watchtower overthrew the superior authorities of Romans 13, insisting such authorities were Jehovah and Jesus, alter egos, to be blunt, of J.F. Rutherford (and, after 1942, his successors atop The Watchtower). Might we enquire, with due respect for the courage of many Witnesses who did suffer unjustly during Rutherford's tirade against all authority but his own -- how much of JWs' heroic stubborness was fidelity to God, and how much unnecessary foolishness? (Proverbs 19:3; 27:22) How much was martyrdom, and how much macho posturing not unlike the Jewish zealots defying Rome and choosing suicide, rather than submission, at Masada? Read Rutherford and decide whether those reflecting Rutherford's contempt for governmental authority are suffering in the spirit of Christ's example, He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept trusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (2:25, NAS).

3:1-12 What characteristics of the imitator of Christ will be naturally attractive to unbelievers? (Rom.12; Jam.3)
A fruitful subject for meditation: winning the world for Christ without a word (v.1), by the witness of a gentle and quiet spirit (v.4). Like his compatriot James, Peter singles out the tongue as a particularly dangerous tool in the wrong mouth (v.10); after all, false lips would haunt Peter's conscience always (Luke 22:31-34,54-62).

3:13-17 What is the only appropriate spirit with which to accompany the presentation of the gospel?
It is instructive that Peter contemplates slander as an inevitable device of the enemy (v.16) -- NOT as a method of evangelism! Does The Watchtower follow the example of Christ in not reviling even (perceived) enemies? See the Watchtower’s “Bible study” textbook Revelation Its Grand Climax at Hand!, (1988) which continues Rutherford’s slanderous method of applying “Babylon the Great” references (and almost any other judgmental passages) to ALL other religion, especially “Christendom”.

3:18-20 Can v.18 be understood to mean that Christ was resurrected as a spirit being?
A.T. Robertson, the great Baptist Greek grammarian frequently quoted even by the Watchtower (see the tract Raiding Christendom’s Pantry), does not apply this text to the resurrection, but to Christ’s life between his death and resurrection: “The spirit of Christ did not die when his flesh did, but “was endued with new and greater powers of life’”. Robertson here quotes another famous Greek grammarian and lexicographer, Joseph H. Thayer (see again Pantry). C.A. Bigg, in the International Critical Commentary on 1 Peter, expresses the opinion that Peter is here alluding to the same event he had referred to in his Pentecost speech, namely, when he quoted David’s psalm 16, you will not leave my soul in Hades, and referred it to Christ’s PRE-resurrection state (Acts 2:27).

3:21-22 What is the baptism [that] now saves you?
JWs -- hardly alone -- maintain that only baptized believers, with virtually no exceptions, will be saved through Armageddon.
4:1-6 How can the dead have heard the gospel? (cf. 3:18)

4:7-11 The end is at hand. Yet what is NOT included among the urgent responsibilities of the time?
Prayer, love, forgiveness, hospitality, service to fellow believers -- all are enjoined as essential to Christian life. But it is evident that the gift of speaking is -- first -- not a gift given to all (Eph.4:11), nor is it utilized primarily in evangelizing unbelievers; but rather in ministering to fellow believers (5:1-4).

4:12-16 For what NAME do Christians suffer? (esp. vv. 14,16)
It was in Antioch that believers were first called Christians -- apparently by those who opposed the NAME they called upon (Acts 11:26; cf. Acts 4:7,10,12,17,18,27,30,33; 5:28-32,40-42 -- see notes in Acts: The Apologetics of the Apostles)

4:17-19 Should the suffering of Christians be assumed to be a proof that God is patient with the world? (cf. 2 Peter 3:9 -- How Peter must have reflected on the Lord's patience with him! -- cf. Matt. 16:21-23; 26:31-35; Gal. 2:11,12)

5:1 Of what does Peter remind the elders he is a witness? (Luke 24:46-48)


5:2-4 When can believers expect relief from persecution? (1:7,13; 4:13)
Compare 2 Thess. 1:4-10. How depressingly ironic that the "gospel" JWs are persecuted for is "good news" of Christ's NON-appearance, a persecution that will apparently never end if the PRESENCE (parousia) of Christ is not an appearing (NAS,) See Vine Expository Dictionary, (“appear”, note 4) where Vine makes the point that the Greek word here used, phaneroo, means even more than “appear” in English, having the force of “manifested ... revealed in one’s true character”, as opposed to appearing in disguise (or as the Watchtower would have it, “appearing” by signs). Till that manifestation, elders are to set an example in suffering, not preaching (v.3; cf. 2:21).

5:5-7 Which human failing could only make persecution worse? (Prov. 13:17; 18:12; 21:23,24, NWT)

5:8-11 For what destiny are present trials a preparation? (cf. 1:3-5)

5:12-14 Which good news can bring peace with God? (cf. 1:2,10; 4:17)
Compare the other gospel, which is not another -- the "good news" of Paul's opponents: that man must ADD his works to the finished work of Christ to assure his salvation. Paul does not mince words with these messengers of Satan: I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. (Gal. 2:21; cf. 1:6-9; 2:16-20 and 2 Cor. 11:1-4,12-15)

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