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Patterson’s 1 Peter series links biblical text with today’s world

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A 12-part sermon series on 1 Peter is being preached this semester by Paige Patterson in conjunction with the re-release of his commentary on 1 Peter, “A Pilgrim Priesthood: An Exposition of the Epistle of First Peter” from Wipf and Stock Publishing.

Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he hopes to demonstrate “for the benefit of the students how to teach and preach the Word of God in a cogent, adventuresome way that relates the text of antiquity to the circumstance of the present.”

The 1 Peter series began with the Jan. 13 chapel at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus and will conclude April 20.

Patterson said he chose 1 Peter because of its continued relevance and applicability to life in the new millennium.

“First, [1 Peter] is the supreme New Testament text complementing the longer Book of Job in the Old Testament which focuses on the problem of human suffering and more specifically on the problem of Christian suffering,” Patterson said. “Since many of our students, perhaps all of them, will face situations of injustice and even abuse in the ministry, it is imperative that we understand the appropriate way to respond to all of this.”

Patterson explained that he hopes to encourage both experienced and new preachers not to fear basing a message series on a single book of the Bible but to see that one book can repeatedly yield profound, insightful and timely messages.

This was the same goal Patterson had when he wrote his commentary on 1 Peter more than 20 years ago.

“Christian pilgrims are not ‘just a passin’ through’ as the song indicates,” Patterson wrote in the commentary’s introduction. “They constitute a ‘pilgrim priesthood’ on a royal mission, men and women whose loving responses to suffering and hardship will constitute irrefutable proof of a regenerating experience with the Creator-Redeemer of this world. This volume is an attempt to present an exposition of First Peter in the light of the current intellectual, sociological, and theological milieu.”

First Peter contains one passage that Patterson referred to as “the most difficult single text in the New Testament.” First Peter 3:19-21 begins with Jesus preaching to “the spirits in prison” and ends with the statement that “baptism now saves you.”

Meeting such challenging passages head-on is another reason Patterson chose this book for the series.

“First Peter contains some difficult passages such as the ‘spirits in prison’ passage, and I would like to be able to demonstrate how to preach a very difficult text and yet make it come alive to the people,” he said.

During the sermon series, Patterson plans to use the New King James Version for his text but will also depend “heavily” upon his own translation of the Greek New Testament. This is the same approach he took when writing his commentary.

“Keeping in mind the English reader who is not a student of Greek, I have sought to provide some of the insights gained from the Greek New Testament in such a form as to be easily grasped by all,” Patterson noted in his commentary.
Patterson’s commentary may be purchased through Southwestern Seminary President’s Office.

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