by J. Gerald Harris

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The Doxology of the Big Fisherman (1 of 18)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
I Peter 1:1-4

About 30-35 years after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, a letter was written to a small group of Christians. It may very well be the most beautiful, warm and flowing piece of literature to be found in the New Testament. That letter is the first Epistle of Peter. It was written by the apostle Peter who was continuing to fulfill the commandment Christ gave him in John 21 -- the commandment to "feed" the sheep and the lambs.

Now, let me give you a little bit of background. Nero began a terrible persecution of Christians in October, AD 64. It was most severe in Rome itself where Nero even burned Christians alive to illuminate his gardens at night. Some students believe that Paul was released in the spring of AD 64 and traveled to Spain, leaving Peter to minister to the believers in the city of Rome. Nero burned Rome in July and started his persecution of the church in October.

Peter knew that the "fiery trial" would spread from Rome to the Roman provinces and he wanted to encourage the saints there. Paul was not on hand to do it, so Peter wrote these two letters, inspired by the Spirit, to the churches Paul had founded in Asia Minor.

The major theme of I Peter is grace. For example, he says in verse 12 of chapter 5, "I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand." Peter's aim is to testify of the sufficiency of God's grace.

As was the custom of those days, this letter began with a salutation. Look at verse 1 (read). There are four important words in this verse that I want you to notice. First of all, notice the name Peter. This indicates the human author of the book. Peter, of course, was a fisherman who became, at the bidding of Jesus, a fisher of men.

This epistle indicates that a great change had taken place in the life of Peter. He had been impetuous, but now he is patient. He was bungling, fumbling and stumb ...

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