Have you ever wondered why Christians do not build temples?
Peter’s 2nd chapter reminds his hearers of their value and status because of who they are
in relation to Jesus. This lesson studies 1 Peter 2:1-12.
Nourishment from the Word
1 Peter 2:1-3 – Peter begins this section as a conclusion of the imperatives (commands) from chapter 1 concerning holy living. In order to come to the word of God, we must leave duplicity and falsehood behind in all of its forms. This is part of the new birth from 1:3. His hearers were to long for pure milk of the word. This suggests his hearers are young in the faith (as opposed to the audience of Hebrews; see Hebrews 5:11-14), and that their new birth (see 1:3) was fairly recent.
Do I create a longing within myself for the Word of God? If I don’t crave it, how might such a longing come about?
The Cornier Stone
1 Peter 2:4-8 – The imagery here is drawn from the building of the sanctuary. It was built of stones quarried some distance away and brought to the temple mount for assembly. Paul in Romans 9:32-33, and Ephesians 2:19-22 share similar imagery of the body of Christ—the assembly or “church”—being a new temple built on a foundation of the apostles (teachings) with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. The cornerstone had to be solid, perfectly square, and was the standard from which all the dimensions were measured and the walls and foundation arranged. Peter quotes from Isaiah 28:16 (see also Psalm 118:22, 23), but vs. 17 adds the importance of justice and righteousness to God’s ideal temple standard of measurement (judgment).
What kind of relationship do Christians share with each other, with the apostles, and with Jesus, as suggested by this temple analogy?
A Royal Priesthood
1 Peter 2:9-10 – Because we are part of a new temple, there must naturally be a new priesthood. Who are its priests? All believers, according to Peter. He alludes to or cites from a number of O.T. sources here, especially Exodus 19:5, 6 (see also Isa 43:20f; Deu 10:15, Isa 61:6; Isa 66:21, Deu 7:6, Exo 19:5; Deu 4:20; Deu 14:2; Isa 9:2; Isa 42:16).
How does the Old Testament temple prefigure the New Testament people of God? What value does it give to all believers?
A Royal Witness
1 Peter 2:11-12 – Because Peter’s dispersed audience are aliens, they are to lives in a way unique among their Greco-Roman neighbors. First, they are to abstain from “fleshly lusts.” Paul’s letter to Romans speaks much about the flesh, that is, the natural inclinations toward sin, and Peter seems to use the phrase in a similar way. Acting on these passions make life a living war. In fact, a chaste life in the face of opposition will result in enemies eventually glorifying God.
Have you ever been falsely accused of wrongdoing? How did you react? How does Peter’s advice fit those situations?
Christians have great value in Christ; we are chosen by Him as His very own royal priesthood. Our life is a living witness to the world around us. And as these verses show, believers in Jesus do not need physical temples; we are now a living temple with Jesus as the primary foundation stone.