The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: 1 Peter: How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: 1 Peter: How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times

by Warren W. Wiersbe

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781434703750
Publisher: David C Cook
Publication date: 10/01/2011
Series: Wiersbe Bible Study Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 942,546
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books, including the popular “BE” series of Bible commentaries, which has sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times

By Warren W. Wiersbe

David C. Cook

Copyright © 2011 Warren W. Wiersbe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0467-2


Lesson 1

Born for Glory (1 PETER 1:1–12; 5:12–14)

Before you begin ...

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read 1 Peter 1:1–12; 5:12–14. This lesson references chapters 1 and 2 in Be Hopeful. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

The writer identified himself as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:1). Some liberals have questioned whether a common fisherman could have penned this letter, especially since Peter and John were both called "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13). However, this phrase only means "laymen without formal schooling"; that is, they were not professional religious leaders. We must never underestimate the training Peter had for three years with the Lord Jesus, nor should we minimize the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Peter is a perfect illustration of the truth expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:26–31.

Be Hopeful, pages 19–20

1. Is it important to know for certain that this letter was written by the disciple Peter? Why or why not? What clues do we have to suggest he was the author? What evidence is there that this might be in question? What role might the Holy Spirit have played in the creation of this letter? How does this answer the critics of Peter's authorship?

More to Consider: Peter's given name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter (John 1:35–42). Why is this change significant?

2. Choose one verse or phrase from 1 Peter 1:1–12; 5:12–14 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

Peter indicated that he wrote this letter "at Babylon" (1 Peter 5:13) where there was an assembly of believers. There is no evidence either from church history or tradition that Peter ministered in ancient Babylon which, at that time, did have a large community of Jews. There was another town called "Babylon" in Egypt, but we have no proof that Peter ever visited it. "Babylon" is probably another name for the city of Rome, and we do have reason to believe that Peter ministered in Rome and was probably martyred there. Rome is called "Babylon" in Revelation 17:5 and 18:10. It was not unusual for persecuted believers during those days to write or speak in "code."

In saying this, however, we must not assign more to Peter than is due him. He did not found the church in Rome nor serve as its first bishop. It was Paul's policy not to minister where any other apostle had gone (Rom. 15:20); so Paul would not have ministered in Rome had Peter arrived there first. Peter probably arrived in Rome after Paul was released from his first imprisonment, about the year AD 62. First Peter was written about the year 63. Paul was martyred about 64, and perhaps that same year, or shortly after, Peter laid down his life for Christ.

Be Hopeful, page 21

3. Why is it important to know where Peter was when he wrote this letter? How might that have affected the tone or message of the letter? How do our circumstances influence what we share with others? How can God use our circumstances to make a positive difference in others?

From the Commentary

Peter called the recipients of this letter "strangers" (1 Peter 1:1), which means "resident aliens, sojourners." They are called "strangers and pilgrims" in 1 Peter 2:11. These people were citizens of heaven through faith in Christ (Phil. 3:20), and therefore were not permanent residents on earth. Like Abraham, they had their eyes of faith centered on the future city of God (Heb. 11:8–16). They were in the world, but not of the world (John 17:16).

Be Hopeful, pages 21–22

4. In what ways were the early Christians "strangers" in their culture? In what ways are Christians today "strangers" in the world? What makes them stand out?

From the History Books

Around the time of Peter's letter, believers were becoming a "scattered" people as well as a "strange" people. The word translated "scattered" (diaspora) was a technical term for the Jews who lived outside of Palestine. The word has since been adopted by historians to refer to a variety of cultures and their dispersion from the place they once called home. Whatever the context or usage, a diaspora is always accompanied by a sense of displacement.

5. What fears might the early Christians have had about their dispersion into the larger world? What excitement might they have had about being spread far and wide? How do both of these issues relate to the church today (both the local church and the church in general)?

From the Commentary

First Peter is a letter of encouragement (1 Peter 5:12). We have noted that the theme of suffering runs throughout the letter, but so also does the theme of glory (see 1 Peter 1:7–8, 11, 21; 2:12; 4:11–16; 5:1, 4, 10–11). One of the encouragements that Peter gives suffering saints is the assurance that their suffering will one day be transformed into glory (1 Peter 1:6–7; 4:13–14; 5:10). This is possible only because the Savior suffered for us and then entered into His glory (1 Peter 1:11; 5:1). The sufferings of Christ are mentioned often in this letter (1 Peter 1:11; 3:18; 4:1, 13; 5:1).

Be Hopeful, page 24

6. What are some examples of encouragement found in 1 Peter 1:1–12? Why is 1 Peter a letter of hope? What reasons for having courage in the midst of trials did Peter give in 1:6–9?

From the Commentary

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, believers have been "begotten again" to a living hope, and that hope includes the glory of God. But, what do we mean by "the glory of God"?

The glory of God means the sum total of all that God is and does. "Glory" is not a separate attribute or characteristic of God, such as His holiness, wisdom, or mercy. Everything that God is and does is characterized by glory. He is glorious in wisdom and power, so that everything He thinks and does is marked by glory. He reveals His glory in creation (Ps. 19), in His dealings with the people of Israel, and especially in His plan of salvation for lost sinners.

When we were born the first time, we were not born for glory. "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass" (1 Peter 1:24, quoted from Isa. 40:6). Whatever feeble glory man has will eventually fade and disappear, but the glory of the Lord is eternal. The works of man done for the glory of God will last and be rewarded (1 John 2:17). But the selfish human achievements of sinners will one day vanish to be seen no more. One reason that we have encyclopedias and the Internet is so that we can learn about the famous people who are now forgotten!

Be Hopeful, page 30

7. How do our lives reveal God's glory? What does it mean to be chosen by the Father (1 Peter 1:2) to participate in God's glory? (See Eph.

1:3–4; Rom. 11:33–36.) What should our response be to this truth?

From the Commentary

A Christian's hope is a living hope because it is grounded on the living Word of God (1 Peter 1:23) and was made possible by the living Son of God who arose from the dead. A "living hope" is one that has life in it and therefore can give life to us. Because it has life, it grows and becomes greater and more beautiful as time goes on. Time destroys most hopes; they fade and then die. But the passing of time only makes a Christian's hope that much more glorious.

Peter called this hope an inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). As the children of the King, we share His inheritance in glory (Rom. 8:17–18; Eph. 1:9–12). We are included in Christ's last will and testament, and we share the glory with Him (John 17:22–24).

Be Hopeful, page 32

8. How does 1 Peter 1:3–4 describe a believer's hope? What is a "living hope"? How is the inheritance God offers unlike any earthly inheritance?

More to Consider: Trials are not easy. Peter didn't suggest that we take a careless attitude toward trials, because that would be deceitful. Trials produce what he called "heaviness" (1 Peter 1:6 KJV). The word means "to experience grief or pain." Read Matthew 26:37 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13. What do these verses teach us about trials?

From the Commentary

Not only is the glory being "reserved" for us, but we are being kept for the glory! In my travels, I have sometimes gone to a hotel or motel, only to discover that the reservations have been confused or cancelled. This will not happen to us when we arrive in heaven, for our future home and inheritance are guaranteed and reserved.

"But suppose we don't make it?" a timid saint might ask. But we will; for all believers are being "kept by the power of God." The word translated "kept" is a military word that means "guarded, shielded." The tense of the verb reveals that we are constantly being guarded by God, assuring us that we shall safely arrive in heaven. This same word is used to describe the soldiers guarding Damascus when Paul made his escape (2 Cor. 11:32). See also Jude 24–25 and Romans 8:28–39.

Be Hopeful, pages 32–33

9. Why is it important to understand that our future home and inheritance are guaranteed? How does that affect the way we live our lives today? In what ways are believers "kept by the power of God"?

From the Commentary

The Christian philosophy of life is not "pie in the sky by and by." It carries with it a present dynamic that can turn suffering into glory today. Peter gave four directions for enjoying the glory now, even in the midst of trials.

(1) Love Christ (1 Peter 1:8). Our love for Christ is not based on physical sight, because we have not seen Him. It is based on our spiritual relationship with Him and what the Word has taught us about Him.

(2) Trust Christ (v. 8). We must live by faith and not by sight.

(3) Rejoice in Christ (v. 8). You may not be able to rejoice over the circumstances, but you can rejoice in them by centering your heart and mind on Jesus Christ.

(4) Receive from Christ (vv. 8–12). "Believing ... receiving" is God's way of meeting our needs. If we love Him, trust Him, and rejoice in Him, then we can receive from Him all that we need to turn trials into triumphs.

Be Hopeful, pages 36–37

10. Review 1 Peter 1:8–12. What does it mean to live by faith and not by sight? How do we do that? How do all our circumstances (whether good or bad) teach us something about Jesus?

Looking Inward

Take a moment to reflect on all that you've explored thus far in this study of 1 Peter 1:1–12; 5:12–14. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.

Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don't press for people to speak if they're uncomfortable doing so.

11. Have you ever felt that sense of "displacement" that the early Christians must have felt as they were dispersed to many nations? What was it like for you? What prompted that feeling? How did it affect the way you lived out your faith?

12. Where do you find hope in your life? What are some areas of life where you could use more hope? How will you seek that out?

13. What does it mean to you that you have already received your inheritance from God? What does that look like in daily life? What are you most looking forward to about the inheritance to come? How can Peter's letter give you hope?

Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you'd like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It's better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don't try).

Do you need to develop hope that is more solid than just positive thinking? Do you need to offer hope to others? Be specific. Go back through 1 Peter 1:1–12; 5:12–14 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.

Real-Life Application Ideas: Peter's message was one of hope for a people who felt like "strangers in a strange land." Think of people you know who may feel out of sorts or anxious about their circumstances. These could be friends or relatives or coworkers or missionaries or soldiers. Then contact these people (a traditional letter will speak loudest) and offer them encouraging words. Be a hope bringer to them.

Seeking Help

15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you've noted above. Be honest about your desires and fears.

Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you've read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read 1 Peter 1:13–21. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapter 3, "Staying Clean in a Polluted World," in Be Hopeful.


Lesson 2

Holiness (1 PETER 1:13–21)

Before you begin ...

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read 1 Peter 1:13–21. This lesson references chapter 3 in Be Hopeful. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

In the first section of 1 Peter 1, Peter emphasized walking in hope, but now his emphasis is walking in holiness. The two go together, for "every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

Be Hopeful, page 43

1. What is holiness? What does it mean to walk in holiness? How do hope and holiness go together?

More to Consider: The root meaning of the word translated "holy" is "different." How does this help us understand what it means to be holy? (See 1 Peter 4:4.)

2. Choose one verse or phrase from 1 Peter 1:13–21 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

"The revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:13) is another expression for the "living hope" and "the appearing of Jesus Christ." Christians live in the future tense; their present actions and decisions are governed by this future hope. Just as an engaged couple makes all their plans in the light of that future wedding, so Christians today live with the expectation of seeing Jesus Christ.

"Gird up the loins of your mind" simply means, "Pull your thoughts together! Have a disciplined mind!" The image is that of a robed man, tucking his skirts under the belt, so he can be free to run.

Be Hopeful, page 44

3. What does it mean to have a disciplined mind? How do Christians develop disciplined minds?

From the Commentary

A Christian who is looking for the glory of God has a greater motivation for present obedience than a Christian who ignores the Lord's return. The contrast is illustrated in the lives of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 12–13; Heb. 11:8–16). Abraham had his eyes of faith on that heavenly city, so he had no interest in the world's real estate. But Lot, who had tasted the pleasures of the world in Egypt, gradually moved toward Sodom. Abraham brought blessing to his home, but Lot brought judgment. Outlook determined outcome.

Not only should we have a disciplined mind, but we should also have a sober mind. The word means "to be calm, steady, controlled; to weigh matters." Unfortunately some people get "carried away" with prophetic studies and lose their spiritual balance. The fact that Christ is coming should encourage us to be calm and collected (1 Peter 4:7). The fact that Satan is on the prowl is another reason to be sober-minded (1 Peter 5:8). Anyone whose mind becomes undisciplined, and whose life "falls apart" because of prophetic studies, is giving evidence that he does not really understand Bible prophecy.

We should also have an optimistic mind. "Hope to the end" means "set your hope fully." Have a hopeful outlook! A friend of mine sent me a note one day that read: "When the outlook is gloomy, try the uplook!" Good advice, indeed! It has to be dark for the stars to appear.

Be Hopeful, pages 44–45

4. In what ways does the phrase "outlook determines outcome; attitude determines action" apply to Peter's message? What does it look like in practical terms to be sober-minded? What is the result of a God-focused mind-set?


Excerpted from The Wiersbe BIBLE STUDY SERIES: 1 PETER by Warren W. Wiersbe. Copyright © 2011 Warren W. Wiersbe. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction to 1 Peter,
How to Use This Study,
Lesson 1 Born for Glory (1 Peter 1:1–12; 5:12–14),
Lesson 2 Holiness (1 Peter 1:13–21),
Lesson 3 Togetherness (1 Peter 1:22—2:10),
Lesson 4 Submission (1 Peter 2:11–25),
Lesson 5 Love and Blessings (1 Peter 3:1–17),
Lesson 6 Lessons from Noah (1 Peter 3:18–22),
Lesson 7 Time and Trials (1 Peter 4),
Lesson 8 A Good Shepherd (1 Peter 5),
Bonus Lesson Summary and Review,

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