The Book of  I PETER
James J. Barker

Lesson 02

Text: I PETER 1:6, 7


  1. I mentioned in my introductory message to this series on I Peter that there is an emphasis on suffering in this epistle.
  2. The Scofield Study Bible says, "The distinctive note of First Peter is preparation for victory over suffering."
  3. The words "suffer, suffering, sufferings, and suffered" occur sixteen times in the epistle.
  4. Scofield says suffering is set in the light of:
              (1) assured salvation (1:2-5)

              (2) the greater glory at Christ's appearing (1:7) 

              (3) Christ's sufferings and coming glories (1:11)

              (4) the believer's association with Him in both (2:20, 21; 3:17, 18; 4:12, 13). 

              (5) the purifying effect of suffering (1:7; 4:1, 2; 5:10).

              (6) that Christ is now glorified in the believer's patient suffering (4:16)

              (7) that suffering is disciplinary (4:17-19; I Cor. 11:31, 32; Heb. 12:5-13)

  5. We are to "greatly rejoice" despite the "heaviness" of "manifold temptations" (1:6).
  6. Our Lord said in His Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:11, 12).
  7. James 1:2 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."
  8. "Manifold temptations" (I Peter 1:6) and "divers temptations" (James 1:2) refer to difficult trials and troubles.
  9. Our Lord said in John 16:33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
  10. The apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 3:12, " Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
  11. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, "Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost" (I Thess. 1:6).
  12. "With joy of the Holy Ghost."  This was not something they could work up on their own.  It was "joy of the Holy Ghost."
  13. That is how Paul and Silas could sing praises to God when they were in the jail at Philippi.  They had the "joy of the Holy Ghost."
  14. They had just been whipped and beaten and put in stocks.   Acts 16:25 says, "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them."



  1. Note the words, "for a season."  Paul and Silas got out of jail.  Daniel got out of the lion's den.  Joseph got out of the prison in Egypt.  Jeremiah got out of the dungeon.   Jonah got out of the belly of the great fish.
  2. Someone here may be thinking, "But what about John the Baptist?"
  3. Well, he went to heaven!  You can't beat that!
  4. There is an expression found 452 times in the Bible: "it came to pass."
  5. Trials and troubles are but for a little while, they are only "for a season." Though they may be painful, they are short and soon pass.
  6. Matthew Henry said, "Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it."
  7. The apostle Paul was frequently imprisoned, and whipped and beaten.
  8. He wrote in II Corinthians 11:25-27, "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
  9. And Paul also wrote these words: "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
  10. "Not worthy to be compared." There is no comparison.
  11. Moses said, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away" (Psalm 90:10).
  12. Not worthy to be compared -- 80 or 90 years of suffering and sorrow compared to eternity in glory.
  13. I like that old song:
    "We'll soon be done with troubles and trials

    Yes, in that home on the other side."
  14. In fact, there are many wonderful songs like that.
              Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
              We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
              But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
              All tears forever over in God's eternal day.

              It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
              Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
              One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
              So bravely run the race till we see Christ.



  1. Note the words, "if need be" (1:6).  There are many examples of this in Scripture.  I have already mentioned the apostle Paul.  You may recall that after Paul's conversion, the Lord said to Ananias, "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake" (Acts 9:15, 16).
  2. Think of Daniel in the lion's den (Dan. 6:16-28).
  3. Think of Daniel's three friends (Daniel 3:13-30).
  4. These men were witnesses for God in heathen Babylon.  Like Joseph in Egypt.  And Mordecai in Persia.
  5. James 1:2-4 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
  6. Romans 5:3-5 says, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
  7. In his book Full Assurance, H.A. Ironside tells the story of a young Christian who sought the counsel and help of an older preacher. “Pray for me,” he asked, “that I may be given more patience.” Down on their knees they dropped and the preacher pleaded with God, “O Lord, send this brother more tribulations and trials!”
    “Hold on,” exclaimed the young man, “I did not ask you to pray that I might have tribulations but patience.”
    “I understood you,” was the reply, “but we are told in the Word that ‘tribulation worketh patience.”
  8. "Every joy or trial falleth from above, Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love" -- Frances Havergal, "Like a River Glorious."



  1. These trials are for our benefit, not God's.  The Lord knows all things.  Trials strengthen us.  Consider Job.  Job 1:1 says Job "was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."
  2. The devil attacked Job (with God's permission), and in the last chapter of the book of Job, Job says to the LORD, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
  3. It was Job who said, "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
  4. Gold is tested in the fire to see if it is genuine, and God sends trials to test our faith (I Peter 1:7).
  5. Ron Hamilton was 27-years-old when his eye doctor found something unusual in his left eye. After several weeks of testing, he was rolled into the operating room for surgery on that eye. As he slowly regained consciousness several hours later, his wife told him, "The doctor found cancer. Your left eye is gone."
  6. Ron Hamilton wrote this song about his experience:
  7. God never moves without purpose or plan
    When trying His servant and molding a man.
    Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
    In darkness He giveth a song.

    I could not see through the shadows ahead;
    So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
    I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
    Then peace came and tears fled away.

    Now I can see testing comes from above;
    God strengthens His children and purges in love.
    My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
    Through purging more fruit I will bear.

    O Rejoice in the LORD
    He makes no mistake,
    He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
    For when I am tried
    And purified,
    I shall come forth as gold.
  8. Remember Abraham's great trial.  When Abram was 99-years-old,  the LORD told him that he and his wife Sarah were going to have a son.  Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" (Genesis 17:17).
  9. "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac" (Genesis 17:19).  "Isaac" means "Laughter."
  10. In Genesis 21, Isaac is born, and in Genesis 22:1, we read, "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (test) Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.  And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."
  11. And Abraham obeyed God.  He rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass and climbed up that mountain. And up on Mount Moriah, just as Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven and told him to put away his knife (22:11, 12).
  12. Abraham was tested and Abraham passed the test (cf. Hebrews 11:17-19).
  13. God sends these trials for our benefit and His glory.   John Vaughn was the pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina.  One night in 1978, he was driving home and saw fire trucks and police cars and an ambulance on his street.  He got out of his car and asked the policeman what had happened.
  14. My family and I heard him give his testimony about what happened that night.  The policeman told him there had been a terrible fire and that his home was destroyed and his wife and daughter had been badly burned.
  15. When I heard Pastor Vaughn tell his testimony, he mentioned that at the time this happened he had been preaching about fiery trials (cf. I Peter 1:7).
  16. The Lord got him through that fiery trial, and a few years later he opened a school for handicapped children called the Hidden Treasure Christian School. In 1994, he published a book entitled More Precious than Gold: The Fiery Trial of a Family’s Faith.



  1. When Peter wrote his two epistles, Nero was the Roman emperor. Nero was the first emperor to persecute Christians.
  2. From The Church in History, by B.K. Kuiper: "In the year 64 A.D. during the reign of Nero, fire broke out in Rome. For six days and nights the fire burned. The greater part of the city was laid in ashes. The rumor got around that Nero himself had caused the city to be set on fire. This aroused great hatred in the people of Rome against the emperor. To turn this hatred away from himself, Nero accused the Christians of having set fire to Rome. The accusation certainly was not true, but large numbers of Christians were arrested and a terrible persecution followed. Many Christians were even crucified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose upon them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After nightfall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s garden. The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot wickedly enjoying the horrible scene."
  3. According to tradition, it was not long after writing these epistles, that Peter was crucified upside down because he felt himself not worthy to die exactly like the Lord Jesus.
  4. The apostle Paul was beheaded under Nero's reign (cf. II Tim. 4:6-8).
  5. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:7).


<< Back                                       Next >>