This week marks the final passage of 1 Peter, where Peter gives a few final greetings and closes. You can find it in 1 Peter 5:13-14.
This final passage can be broken into four easy portions for discussion. Each of them provides valuable insight into the early church and those who served as leaders.
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings
The first phrase is the most ambiguous of them all. There are a couple of different possibilities as to what Peter is referring to here. It is worth noting that Peter’s choice of words is almost identical to that of John’s in his final words of 2 John, “The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.” Both John and Peter focus on the fact that we have been chosen by God as a central focus in much of their writings, as Peter did in 1:1-2. This provides a nice set of bookends for Peter’s letter.
One other item in this phrase bears some scrutiny. Peter refers to Babylon. There are a couple of possibilities. It could be the major city that existed in Mesopotamia, the literal Babylon. It could also be a reference to a less well known town of the same name in Egypt. Most likely, Peter uses it like John does in Revelation, as a veiled reference to Rome. With Peter’s historical connection to Rome, this seems the most plausible.
And so does my son Mark
Again, there are a few possibilities as to who Peter may be referring to here. The most likely person is John Mark, who traveled with Paul on his first missionary journey, and caused some conflict when he quit (Acts 15). He later redeemed himself to Paul, and became a valuable leader of the early church. It was to the house of John Mark’s mother that Peter went when he was miraculously released from prison in Acts 12. Early Christian tradition holds a strong connection between Peter and Mark, who wrote the earliest of the four Gospels.
Great one another with a kiss of love
We don’t know much about this practice that Peter refers to here, or how it was carried out in the early church. Many questions arise, such as, was it appropriate to kiss in this fashion with a member of the opposite sex, who was not your spouse? Was it on the cheek, or the lips? Much is unclear. Peter mentions it, and so does Paul, at least four times in his writings, and it was a common practice in the church a couple of centuries later.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Once again, one of Peter’s major themes provide bookends for his letter. Peter expressed a wish for grace and peace in the opening statement of his letter, and he closes with the same. Paul often does a very similar thing, closing his letters with a wish and prayer for grace. In the case of Peter’s readers, in the face of suffering and persecution, peace in their hearts is a definite need, and so Peter closes with a prayerful expression of peace for them. And for us.
And that’s it. That’s the final passage of 1 Peter. This letter has been a major source of encouragement for me over the last several months of studying it in depth. I hope it has been so for you as well.
In 2018, we will begin memorizing another portion of Scripture. I hope you’ll join me again.
Question: What is your favorite passage from 1 Peter? You can leave a comment by clicking here.