1 Peter 1:1-2 – The Father, the Spirit, and the Son

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POSTED 28 JANUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“Peter, an apostle of Yeshua the Messiah, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Yeshua the Messiah and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”

In discussions which frequently take place between those who hold to a high Christology of Yeshua being God, and integrated into the Divine Identity, and those who hold to a low Christology of Yeshua being a created entity—the latter will frequently claim that the traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely pagan, and foreign to the Scriptures. Notwithstanding the fact that there are various limitations to the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, in that it can be seen as placing limits onto an Eternal God, it is unavoidable that the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity—God made manifest in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is ultimately based upon some reading of the Bible. In the opening greeting of the Epistle of 1 Peter, one encounters how Believers are “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obeying Yeshua the Messiah and for sprinkling with his blood” (1 Peter 1:2, CJB/CJSB). Honest Bible readers cannot dart around the fact that the Apostle Peter has just referenced God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Yeshua the Messiah the Son in 1 Peter 1:2.

While they may use Christian jargon that employs the term “Trinity,” the following thoughts from commentators on 1 Peter cannot go overlooked here, for our deliberations on the nature of Yeshua:

  • Peter H. Davids: “[O]ur author now describes [the] choice of God in terms that…relate it to the three persons of the Trinity.”[1]
  • Wayne Grudem: “[T]he verse mentions the three persons of the Trinity: God the Father…the Spirit…Jesus Christ. Peter specifies them uniting to bring about a common goal, the eternal, full salvation of these ‘chosen sojourners’.”[2]
  • Howard Marshall: “The basic description of…God’s chosen people is developed in a clear trinitarian structure.”[3]
  • Ben Witherington III: “Peter refers to Father, Spirit and Christ, in that order. The implication is clear that all three are in some sense God, and involved in the divine choosing.”[4]

It certainly goes too far so as to suggest that “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, set apart by the Ruach for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Yeshua the Messiah” (1 Peter 1:2, TLV) presents a comprehensive view of the composition of God to Bible readers. Likewise, the order present of Father, Spirit, and Son should prompt readers to recognize that there is no neatly packed formula present in the Holy Scriptures of God revealing Himself to mortals. Indeed, as is immediately seen in what Peter communicates following, the Holy Spirit is actually referred to as “the Spirit of Messiah” (1 Peter 1:11), an indication that the traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity does have various limitations, and there may indeed be more overlap in the functions and roles of the Godhead than is customarily understood or approached.


NOTES

[1] Peter H. Davids, New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle of Peter (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), 47.

[2] Wayne Grudem, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: 1 Peter (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 51.

[3] I. Howard Marshall, IVP New Testament Commentary Series: 1 Peter (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991), 31.

[4] Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1-2 Peter (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007), 68.