Listen To Awaz-e-Haq World Radio

To listen click on the "Play" button:

If you are in Afghanistan, Pakistan or India you may also listen via Medium-wave: Tune to 1467KHz at 14:30UTC. (That's 7:30pm Pakistan Time.)

An Inspired Letter (5:12-14)

In category:

The Apostle Peter closes his first inspired letter with the following words, “Through Silvanus, our faithful brother, as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand [NIV “Stand fast in it”]. She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you; and so does Mark, my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (5:12-14)

Peter mentions the name of Silvanus. This is another name for Silas. He was a man of prominence in the Jerusalem church before being sent to Antioch in order to encourage and strengthen the brothers there. Later he accompanied Paul on one of his evangelistic journeys. He is also named as one of the authors of two inspired letters to the church in Thessalonica which was in Greece. Another measure of this mans’ high standing in the church is that Peter calls him a faithful brother.

But when Peter says that he obtained the help of Silas in writing this letter it raises a question. If Silas’ help was needed to write this letter, then how can it be inspired? To answer this question we must understand the nature of inspiration. In chapter one, verse 11 Peter said that it was through the Spirit of Christ that the prophets of old spoke. This is fitting because one of Jesus’ names is the Word of God. So when we say that a particular book or letter is inspired, we are saying that it contains God’s message given through the Spirit of Christ. But Christ did not merely dictate the message as though the prophets and Apostles were secretaries. He has elevated those to whom he gave God’s message to a much higher level than that. While speaking to the Apostles he said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant doesn’t know what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) The Apostle Paul writes, “We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us...” (2 Corinthians 5:20) So we see that Christ used the talents and abilities of His chosen messengers to express God’s words. The message of this letter was entrusted to Peter. But though Peter undoubtedly spoke Greek, it was not his mother tongue. And so he enlisted Silas to help him with the language. No one should make the mistake however, of thinking that because Christ chose to work through men in delivering God’s message that the words written in the Bible are only the words of men or the interpretation of men. No – the Bible is truly the word of God. The Apostle Peter writes, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

When Peter says that “this is the true grace of God” and instructs his readers to “stand fast in it” he is referring to what he has already said throughout his letter. In particular, he has reminded the followers of Jesus that God will, “...after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (5:10) It is only by holding on to God’s grace that the followers of Christ will be able to endure suffering. Those who let go of it will be overcome by their suffering.

Peter sends greetings from “she who is in Babylon” and his ‘son’ Mark. This Mark is probably the cousin of Barnabas. (See Colossians 4:10) He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on one of their evangelistic journeys. Later he served in Rome while Paul was a prisoner there. He was also a companion of Peter and because he was such a close associate of one of the principle eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry was inspired to write the Gospel of Mark which is thought to be the earliest of the four gospels. Peter calls him his son. It is thought that Peter means this in a spiritual sense rather than physically.

It is most likely that Peter extends greetings from the church in Babylon rather than a particular person. But it is a matter of controversy which Babylon Peter was writing from. Some think that he uses the name Babylon as a hidden reference to Rome as the Apostle John does in the book of Revelation. The problem with this view is that nowhere else in his letter does Peter use allegorical or figurative names for geographical locations. Also, though it is very probable that Peter died in the city of Rome, there is no indication in the Bible that Peter had any part in establishing the church at Rome or that he served there. Others think that Peter was writing from a Roman fort called Babylon which was located in Egypt very near the present city of Cairo. This view is based on the tradition that Mark, whom Peter mentions, was instrumental in founding the church in Egypt. There can be little doubt that Mark evangelized Egypt, but it seems likely that most, if not all, of his ministry there took place after Peter’s death. If this is so, then it is unlikely that Peter could have written his letter from Egypt. Also, if Peter was an elder in the church in Egypt, it seems strange that Mark should be remembered as the one who founded the church there rather than Peter. When these facts are taken into consideration, it seems most likely that Peter wrote his letter from the ancient city of Babylon which is located on the Euphrates River. The tradition of the Eastern Churches also places him there at the time his letter was written.

Peter writes that the followers of Christ should greet one another with a kiss of love. It seems that a kiss was a common way of greeting among the people to whom Peter was writing. Even today in several places in the world people greet one another with a kiss. But whatever our method of greeting may be the attitude of our hearts should be consistent with the expression of our greeting. There are many who express great warmth by their greetings but harbor hatred in their hearts. But for the follower of Christ, the outward greeting should be an expression of the love one has in his heart.

Peter closes his letter with a prayer that the followers of Christ will have peace. This peace is not the absence of trouble or suffering, but rather an inner calm that enables one to face difficulty with in the full assurance that God loves him. This type of peace is something that only the followers of Christ can experience. Throughout his letter Peter has written of the many blessings and the glorious future that God grants to Jesus’ followers. The question is whether we have given our lives to Christ so that these blessings can be ours. If you do not yet follow Jesus, we invite you to do so, so that you too may experience peace and a living hope.