1 Peter - Lesson 3

By Curt Niccum

1 Peter 1:10-12

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The class can state why Christians are greater than prophets and angels.
  2. The class can explain why, for the Christian, glory must follow suffering.


  1. Bibles for every student
  2. Copies of the worksheet for lesson #3
  3. If devotional period is desired, you may need songbooks and to designate people for singing, praying, and scripture reading.


Concerned about the impact of persecution on the church, Peter writes 1) to assure the Christians of their place in God’s kingdom and 2) to urge them to live as members of that kingdom rather than to capitulate to the surrounding culture. In this passage, Peter adds additional emphasis on the first theme by noting that the reality of the Christian hope is the climax of worldly and heavenly history. Prophets and angels could only long to see and understand what has now been given to God’s people.Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Devotional Period (5-10 minutes)

  1. Read 1 Peter 1:10-12.
  2. Sing at least two songs (you may choose from the following)
    1. Living by Faith
    2. Farther Along
    3. I Want to Know Christ (This will also be sung near the end of class.)
  3. Prayer (some appropriate subjects for prayer are listed below)
    1. Thanksgiving for the promise of glory
    2. Thanksgiving for making believers greater than prophets and angels.
    3. Thanksgiving for those in the congregation who imitateChrist and have proven to be examples of how Christians should face times of trial.

Introduction (2 minutes)

  1. Welcome visitors.
  2. Distribute study sheets.

Review (10 minutes)

  1. Have the class discuss the historical context of 1 Peter. Q:Based on 1 Peter 1:1-9, why do you think Peter wrote this letter? A: To provide hope in the midst of persecution. Q:What effects might persecution have on Christians? A: Two answers will be appropriate here. On the positive side,there is a lot of historical evidence that the church grows stronger in faith as well as numerically when Christians bear up under persecution in a Christ-like manner. On the negative side, religion was and still is often viewed as a means of escaping the evils of this world. Some might lose their faith or at least question the reality and truth ofChristianity. Note also that persecutors oppress the strongerChristians (attacking weak Christians does not have the same effect on the group being harassed, thus Herod, for example, arrested Peter and James [Acts 12]). A church without some or all of its leadership is in a poorer position for “rallying the troops.”
  2. Clearly Peter is addressing the second situation. He fears that some might lose hope. He writes verses 10-12 to buttress further his argument that the Christians’ future cannot be shaken by present agitation. The proof of this future lies in the past. God has been faithful in fulfilling the past promises he made through the prophets. Furthermore,these great heroes of the past longed to see what God’s plan, revealed through Christ, entailed. Even in the present the creatures of the heavenly realms desire to understand the fullness of God’s plan for us.

Learning Experiences (15 minutes)

  1. Our honored position should encourage us. It is easy, because of the daily routine we sometimes fall into, to undervalue the special position we Christians have in terms of the history of salvation. As we struggle to live the Christian life, we could conclude that our lives pale in comparison to those of the great heroes of faith. If compared to the prophets of old and especially to angels we might think that we are somehow inferior. Peter wants to remind his readers that exactly the opposite is true. Instead, both prophets and angels serve us.
    1. Prophets wanted to know what we now know. The prophets, although also given messages important for their day, were granted some oracles that pointed forward to the day when God would create a people forHis own from every nation. Although most prophecies found fulfillment within a generation of the prophet’s proclamation, some pointed further to the future age or awaited a “double fulfillment.” These pointed to the coming of Jesus as the Messiah and the creation of a people for God’s own possession (see 1 Peter 2:9-10 for example). Thus we know what the Old Testament prophets wanted to know. In that sense, the prophets served us and longed as well to participate in the salvation now given to us through Jesus Christ.
      1. “Made careful search and inquiry” ? This phrase reminds us that prophets played an active part in the revelatory process. The prophets were not passive vehicles through which God spoke.God communicated with them, but they also communicated with God. In several instances we have recorded the inquiries of such prophets. Habakkuk, for example, questionsGod (Hab. 1:2-3, 12-13; and 2:1-3). Daniel in particular posed questions about when the last days would arrive but was told the answer was not for him (Dan. 12:8-9). Certainly the prophets did not always understand the full meaning of their prophecies.
      2. The idea of “double fulfillment” may need to be explained. Some prophecies had applications in two different eras. For example, when Isaiah prophesied of a son named “WonderfulCounselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,Prince of Peace,” his immediate reference was to Ahaz’s successor. At the same time, since Ahaz’s successor could not fully fulfill the prophecy, it also awaited another fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 4:15-16 and perhaps Luke 1:32-33).
    2. Angels wanted to know what we know. Angels clearly have access to many things. Their high level of knowledge is made clear in their role in providing some of God’s message to the prophets (Dan. 8:15-17 and Zechariah 1:9). On the other hand, angels have limited knowledge (see Matthew 24:36). The church even proclaims God’s plan to these heavenly beings(Ephesians 3:10). Thus, we know what the angels did not. We also know that angels serve us (Hebrews1:14) and that we will judge ultimately judge them (1Corinthians 6:3). Consider then the privileged position that we have! Certainly the salvation that God has reserved for us (1 Peter 1:4-5) cannot, therefore, be shaken or taken away. No wonder we can have joy even during present suffering (1 Pet. 1:8-9)!
  2. Christ’s glory after suffering should encourage us. In addition to this confirmation of the claims Peter made in 1:3-9, the reference to the suffering of Christ and the glory to follow should encourage the Christian. As Peter will explain later, if we follow Christ in his suffering, we will also follow Christ in his glory
    1. This is made clear later when Peter applies a prophecy about Jesus to those who would follow him.
      1. Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
      2. Q: What specific things in this prophecy do you see pointing to the suffering of Christ? A: Marred appearance (52:14), no desirable appearance(53:2), despised and rejected (53:3), stricken and wounded (53:4-5), “cut off” and buried(53:8-9).
      3. Q: What specific things in this prophecy do you see pointing to the glory to follow? A: Exalted and lifted up (52:13), he shall see his offspring and prolong his days (53:10), makes many righteous (53:11), given a portion with the great(53:12).
  3. Read 1 Peter 2:21-25
  4. Q: What parallels do you see between the passage in 1 Peter and the passage in Isaiah? A:He committed no sin (53:9, 11-12); no deceit was found in his mouth (53:9); he was abused and afflicted (53:3); he did not speak in response(53:7); he bore our sins, his bruises heal us(53:4-5); we should live in righteousness(53:11); we have gone astray like sheep (53:6).vi. Have the class discuss the relationship of suffering and glory in light of 2:21 and the challenge to follow in his footsteps. What does this say about our glory?
    1. Christ’s suffering and glory stand at the climax of human history. We who believe are the most privileged, for we know the answer that God’s prophets could not clearly foresee and the truth that was hidden from His angels.We can therefore face the future with assurance. Our hope helps us to realize that suffering can only be temporary. If we suffer now, because of Christ there is glory to come. Read Romans 8:18 for Paul’s perspective.

Application (15-20 minutes)

  1. Have the class sing “I Want to Know Christ” and then have Philippians 3:10 read.
  2. Have the class discuss how this song and passage fit with 1Peter 2:10-12. What is the value of sharing in Christ’s sufferings.
  3. It would be good for the class to discuss actual examples of the relationship between suffering and glory. Every congregation has stellar examples of Christians enduring suffering because of their strong hope.
    1. Q: Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t know how anyone could have made it through this without being a member of the church.” A: Certainly at least one person in the class will answer in the affirmative. Have the class discuss why Christians say this.
    2. Have members of the class share personal experiences of suffering or the experiences of those with whom they are familiar. Discuss how future hope affected their attitudes during those times of suffering. You might also want to discuss whether or not there were any positive results that developed from the suffering. (In many cases one can find positive results from suffering [see Romans5:1-5 and James 1:2-4], but this is by no means universally applicable. There is some horrible suffering that Christians endure where heaven may be the only positive result seen?. But what a positive result heaven is!)

Assignment (2-5 minutes)

  1. Each member should read 1 Peter 1:13-21.
  2. Suggest that the class view the movies “Annie” or “A LittlePrincess” before the next class period. (Both are clean and would be acceptable for viewing by most children. You may want to have a special showing at someone’s house to make this a time for your class to fellowship during the week.)

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