By Erland Waltner, J. Daryl Charles
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In this passage, the terms hope, inheritance, and salvation become a ''virtual identity" (Achtemeier: 95, quoting Grosheide). The image of inheritance here is intended to emphasize its divine origin and also its eschatological expression. In the OT, inheritance was often associated with the possession of land. Peter, writing mainly to Gentile Christians, uses the term metaphorically to speak of the Christian's possession of the hope of eternal life and of the coming kingdom of God. Clearly, this heavenly inheritance is not only for the individual but "points to the restoration of the community of the righteous and the destruction of evil" (Perkins: 31).
Elliott speaks of them as "homeless strangers," sharpening the contrast between the meanings of oikos (house, household) and paroikos (sojourner, resident alien, refugee). Thus the title of his book on 1 Peter, A Home for the Homeless. While Peter uses the concept of "resident aliens" in a metaphorical sense, their legal and cultural status was complicated and socially marginal. They lived in a truly oppressive and hostile environment. Beyond that, however, their status boundaries were much more limited, much more sharply defined, and more hierarchical than those of so-called democratic societies.
Others affirm it as authentic and apostolic (Marshall, Grudem, Davids, Michaels [with reservations], and earlier scholars Bigg and Selwyn). Kelly appears Page 25 undecided, remaining open to Selwyn's suggestion that Silvanus may indeed have assisted in the drafting of the epistle. Those who object to Petrine authorship present several arguments: (1) The quality of the Greek used in this letter, "some of the best Greek in the whole NT" (Beare), is beyond that which Peter the fisherman would have used.
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