4 Major Themes in First Peter and the Story of God
Martin Luther called the letter “one of the grandest of the New Testament.” Early church fathers Clement of Rome and Polycarp of Smyrna were inspired by the letter’s consoling, hopeful words. More recently, Karen Jobes said the five-chapter General Epistle is “significant for the church,” especially the Majority World church.
I’m referring to the first letter of Peter, which has a new guide today to help its readers navigate its major themes: Dennis Edwards’ 1 Peter (The Story of God Bible Commentary series). Of this letter Edwards writes:
First Peter will assist us by affirming our Christian identity, guiding us in our relationships within and without the Christian…
Do We Entrust God with Our Soul or with Everything? (1 Peter 4:19) — Mondays with Mounce 248
Peter concludes a discussion on suffering with these words. “Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust (παρατιθέσθωσαν) themselves (τὰς ψυχὰς αὐτῶν) to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good” (1 Pet 4:19, NRSV).
A friend asked me two questions. The first has to do with the translation of παρατίθημι. While most translations use “entrust,” the NIV uses “commit.” At first I didn’t hear the distinction, which makes a good point. We tend to hear words slightly differently; that’s what makes translation so difficult. But the more I looked at it, I started to hear the difference. “Commit” sounds like a single act of the will, something you do at a point in time. “Entrust” sounds more like an attitude of the will, an attitude of trusting in the midst of difficult circumstances.