Notes on 1 Peter 1:1 (part 2)

Apostle_Peter_Georgian_mosaicΠέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας,

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect sojourners of the diaspora in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Some Theological Notes:
1. ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις (“elect sojourners”). “Elect” or “chosen” is an important term that the Bible uses with respect to the people of God in both the OT and the NT. God’s people are his chosen or elect people. “Sojourners” is not so common. The most famous sojourner of the Bible is Abraham. He calls himself a παρεπιδήμος in Genesis 23:4 (see LXX; also see Heb. 11:9, 13). Abraham was God’s chosen sojourner. By implication, Peter addresses Christians here with a term that connects them and their situation with that of Abraham. They are sojourners in this world, but, like Abraham, God has promised them great things, including an inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4).
2. διασπορᾶς. “Diaspora” is somewhat of a technical term by the time of the NT (John 7:35). It refers to all of those places outside of Israel where Jews live. What does the term originally refer to? The term “diaspora” is related to a verb that means “scatter.” It makes reference to the scattering (or dispersion) of God’s people. In the Bible, God disperses (exiles) his people due to their sin. They are scattered among the nations. Due to this scattering, many Jews live outside of Israel. The biblical hope for them is that they will one day be gathered together. Jesus takes up this theme in Matthew 24:31, when he predicts that his angels will one day gather all of the “elect” together at the time of the end. In doing so, Jesus is predicting that the ultimate fulfillment of the OT promises related to gathering the scattered people of God will be a gathering that includes the entire “elect” people of God (both Jews and Gentiles). Similarly, Peter is addressing the people of God who are scattered in many locations. They will one day be gathered together along with the entire people of God. On the dispersion of Israel in the OT, see Deut. 30:1-4 and Isa. 49:6.
3. Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας. The place names here indicate that Peter is writing to believers who are scattered (see “diaspora”) across northern Asia Minor. Notice how he orders the list so that the last four place names end in the same letters (-ίας), which makes them pleasing to read together (an instance of euphony). A number of places mentioned in the NT are in Asia Minor, including the 7 churches of Revelation 2-3.
Coming Up: Notes on 1 Peter 1:2

This post is part of a series of posts on 1 Peter. To read the other posts in the series, click here.

Related Resources:

1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text
Mark Dubis, 1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor Handbook of the Greek New Testament)
1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text
Greg Forbes, 1 Peter (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament)