“Lesson 144: 1 Peter 1–2,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Lesson 144,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Peter wrote to strengthen the faith of the Saints as they were suffering intense persecution from the Roman Empire. He emphasized that they had been redeemed through the precious blood of Jesus Christ and reminded them of their divine heritage as God’s peculiar people. Peter instructed the Saints to glorify God among men and endure suffering as Jesus Christ did.
Note: See the sidebar “Advance preparation” to prepare for lesson 149.
Display or draw a picture of a crucible, and explain that a crucible is a container in which metals or other substances are refined, which means they are heated and melted in order to remove impurities and strengthen the final product.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“As I travel throughout the Church, I see members being tried in the crucible of affliction” (“Hyrum Smith: ‘Firm As the Pillars of Heaven,’” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 9).
What do you think Elder Ballard meant by the term “crucible of affliction”? (The challenging trials or adversities of life.)
Explain that Peter wrote his First Epistle to strengthen and encourage the Saints as they experienced a crucible of affliction. Explain that until approximately A.D. 64, about the time when Peter wrote this epistle, the Roman government displayed a general tolerance for Christianity. In July of that year a fire destroyed much of Rome. Some prominent Romans accused the Christians of starting the fire. This led to the intense persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. Some of the mistreatment experienced by Christians came from their former friends and neighbors.
Invite students to look for truths as they study 1 Peter 1–2 that can help us remain faithful when we are tried in our crucibles of affliction.
Summarize 1 Peter 1:1–2 by explaining that Peter greeted the Saints in the Roman provinces of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and reminded them that they were an elect people, meaning that they were chosen to receive special blessings as they lived faithfully.
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 1:3–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter reminded Saints that Christ had done and for future blessings promised to the Saints.
What future blessings would the Saints receive if they remained faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 1:6 aloud, and ask the class to look for how the Saints responded to the promise of these future blessings. Explain that the word temptations in verse 6 refers to trials and afflictions (see footnote b).
How did the Saints respond to the promise of these future blessings? (They greatly rejoiced.)
What principle can we learn from verses 3–6? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: Although we experience trials, we can rejoice in Jesus Christ’s Atonement and in the future blessings God has promised to give us.)
How can remembering the future blessings God has promised to give us help us rejoice even when we are experiencing trials?
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 1:7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter taught about the Saints’ trial of faith.
According to 1 Peter 1:7, what did Peter compare the Saints’ tried, or tested, faith to?
In what ways might tried faith be like gold? (Faith that has been tried, like gold, is precious. However, faith is more precious than gold because gold “perisheth” [verse 7] while faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation [see verse 9], which is eternal. In addition, gold is refined by fire. Similarly, our faith in Jesus Christ is tested and refined as we faithfully endure trials. Write this truth on the board.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who explained how we can remain steadfast and immovable during a trial of faith:
“How do you remain ‘steadfast and immovable’ [Alma 1:25] during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others.
“When faced with a trial of faith—whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view” (“Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 40).
What did Elder Andersen encourage us to do in our trials of faith?
Why do you think it is important to do these things when our faith is tested?
Point out that some of the Saints whom Paul wrote to may have been tempted to abandon their faith as they experienced religious persecution. Invite students to read 1 Peter 1:13–17 silently, looking for exhortations Peter gave to help the Saints faithfully endure their trials. Consider inviting students to mark what they find.
What did Peter exhort the Saints to do?
How might Peter’s counsel have helped them faithfully endure their trials?
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 1:18–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional truths Peter taught the Saints to help them faithfully endure their trials rather than abandon their faith.
What truths did Peter teach the Saints in these verses? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify one or more of the following truths: We are redeemed through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, He could offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice for us. Jesus Christ was foreordained to be our Redeemer.)
How might remembering these truths have helped the Saints faithfully endure their trials?
To help students feel the importance of the truths they have identified in 1 Peter 1, invite them to think of a time when they or someone they know chose to endure a trial with faith in Jesus Christ. Ask a few students to share their experiences with the class.
Encourage students to ponder what they will do to remain faithful when they are tested in the crucible of affliction.
Summarize 1 Peter 1:22–25 by explaining that Peter encouraged the Saints to love one another and to remember that they had been born again by embracing the word of God, which endures forever.
What are some ways Church members are different from the world?
What are some challenges we might face because we are different?
Invite students to look for a principle as they study 1 Peter 2 that will strengthen their desire to be different from the world as members of the Lord’s Church.
Summarize 1 Peter 2:1–8 by explaining that Peter taught that the Saints are like living stones and that Jesus Christ is like a cornerstone or foundation to the faithful. But to those who are disobedient, He is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (verse 8), meaning that they are offended by Him.
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 2:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Peter described the faithful Saints.
How did Peter describe the faithful Saints?
Point out that the word peculiar in verse 9 was translated from a Greek word that means purchased or preserved and corresponds with a Hebrew word in Exodus 19:5 indicating God’s covenant people are a special possession or valued treasure to Him (see 1 Peter 2:9, footnote f).
How might the words Peter used to describe the Saints in verses 9–10 have helped them take courage as they experienced religious persecution?
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 2:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter pleaded with the Saints to do as the Lord’s peculiar people. Explain that Peter may have called the Saints “strangers” and “pilgrims” either because they lived among people who were culturally and religiously different from the Saints or because they were away from their heavenly home, living as mortals temporarily.
According to verse 11, what did Peter say that the Saints must do to be separate from the world?
According to verse 12, what influence did Peter say the Saints could have on others as God’s chosen and peculiar people?
What truth do we learn from Peter about what God calls His Saints to do? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: God calls His Saints to be separate and distinct from the world so that others can see their example and glorify Him.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, who served as general president of the Young Women organization:
“If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world” (“Now Is the Time to Arise and Shine!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 124).
How has your choice to be separate and distinct from the world impacted others for good or helped lead them to God?
Encourage students to consider what they can do better to be separate and distinct from the world so they can be an example. Invite them to act upon any impressions they may receive.
Summarize 1 Peter 2:13–18 by explaining that Peter taught the Saints to submit themselves to the laws and civil authorities that governed them (including the Roman emperor who promoted persecution against them; see also D&C 58:21–22). He encouraged those who suffered hardship as servants to bear their suffering with patience and to remember that God was aware of them.
Invite a student to read 1 Peter 2:19–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Peter’s counsel to the Saints on how they should endure sufferings.
What was Peter’s counsel on how the Saints should endure their sufferings?
Ask students to read 1 Peter 2:21–25 silently, looking for Peter’s description of how Jesus Christ responded to persecution.
How did Christ respond to persecution?
According to verse 21, what was one reason the Savior suffered for us?
What truth can we identify from verses 21–25 about enduring trials? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: We can follow the Savior’s example in patiently enduring trials.)
Share your testimony of the Savior, and invite students to consider what they can do better to follow His example in enduring trials patiently.