! Peter Background: Peter, the Holy Spirit, and Saul/Paul

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What is the difference between an apostle and disciple?

Every apostle was a disciple, but not every disciple was an apostle.
Every person who believes in Jesus is called His disciple. Matthew 28:19–20
The word disciples simply means “believers” or “Christians” in this context.
The Greek word for “disciple” simply refers to a learner and is used throughout the NT to refer to people who believed in Jesus and followed Him (Luke 14:26–33). Acts 6:1, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing.”
The Greek word for “apostle” literally means “one who is sent” and can refer to an emissary or anyone sent on a mission.
An apostle is given the authority of the one who sent him.
All of the apostles were disciples—they were among the many believers in Jesus—but only a select group of disciples were chosen as the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:14; Acts 26:14–18). Select group of 12 also seen in the foundations of the walls of the New Jerusalem: twelve foundations, each inscribed with a name of an apostle (Revelation 21:14). Other men who are named “apostles” in the NT—although not members of the Twelve—include Matthias (Acts 1:26), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Apollos (1 Corinthians 4:6–9), Timothy and Silas (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), and two unnamed apostles (2 Corinthians 8:23, possibly already included in the previous list). These men were “sent ones” in that they were chosen for specific work on behalf of the church, but they were not part of the Twelve who were hand-picked by Jesus. Jesus is also called an “apostle” in Hebrews 3:1, indicating that He was sent by and had the authority of His Father. Ephesians 4:11–16 speaks of apostles along with other church leaders whose role was to equip the believers for works of service.
The main distinction of apostles appears to have been regarding their authority.
The apostles’ teaching forms the foundation for the truths of our faith (Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:20).
The qualifications for being an apostle included having been with Christ during His ministry, having personally witnessed Jesus after His resurrection, and having been empowered by the Holy Spirit to perform miracles or signs (Acts 1:21–22; 10:41; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
Paul was an exception to part of the qualifications. Although he did not accompany Jesus on His earthly journeys, Jesus made a special appearance to him on the road to Damascus and set him apart as an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 26:14–18). This is why Paul compared his place among the other apostles as “one born at the wrong time” (1 Corinthians 15:8, NET).

What was Peter like after the Holy Spirit?

Peter in Acts:
1st to step up in order to bring number of disciples back to 12 (Acts 1:15-26)
Delegation (Acts 6:1-6)
Gospel Witness:
From dissociating with Christ to boldness in his preaching (Acts 2:14-41; 3:11-26; 4:8-13, 18-20, 31; 5:20-21, 29; 10:34-43)
“We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Behaves Like Christ:
Healing miracles (Acts 3:1-8; 5:12-16; 9:33-35, 40-42)
Willingness to suffer persecution (Acts 4:1-4, 5:17-21, 40-41)
“…rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (Acts 5:41)
Understanding of the sovereignty of God (Acts 4:24-30)
Growing & Protecting the Church:
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven...” (cf. Matt. 16:19, 18:18; Acts 5:3-11)

Does Peter have a falling out with Paul?

Galatians 2:11–14 ESV
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
By this point, chronologically, the church is at least 15 years old if not more. (Galatians 1:18 “Then after three years (post-conversion) I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.” ; Galatians 2:1 “Then after fourteen years (either post-conversion, or post trip to Jerusalem) I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.”)
Peter either doesn’t realize his influence on other believers through his own behavior, or doesn’t see how it could confuse the gospel.
What does this mean for us? What is accountability in the church to be used for? How do we know if we exceed the limits of what we are to be accountable for?

How Does the Gospel Get to Our Audience in Asia Minor?

Through people and suffering.
Before Stephen’s martyrdom, Christianity was concentrated in Jerusalem.
Stephen is martyred, and the gospel multiplies through dispersion of the people thus fulfilling Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””
Acts 8:1 ESV
And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Philip goes to Samaria.
Peter and John visit and participate in the work in Samaria. (Acts 8:14-25; 9:32-43; 10:)
In Samaria, Peter has the vision of eating unclean food (Acts 10:9-16, 28-29, 34-35)
Defense of Gentile Believers to Jerusalem Council (Acts 11:1-18)
Acts 11:17-18 “If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.””

The audience of 1 Peter: The spreading of the gospel through diversity.

Paul faced head-on the diversity challenges of the early church.
How does God use his earlier vision and encounter with Cornelius to help resolve the dispute over circumcision?
Acts 15:7–11 ESV
And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

Persecution & Perseverance: The Message of 1 Peter

Acts 11:19–26 ESV
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Antioch stretches the gospel to the predominantly Greek-speaking world.
Hellenists: Greek-speaking Jews
Men of Cyprus and Cyrene
Saul and Barnabas launch missionary trip from Antioch
James, brother of John, was killed by Herod the king (Acts 12:1-2)
Peter is arrested, but freed (Acts 12:3-17)
Persecutors (Herod & Paul) put down/subdued, but Word of God continues to spread! (Acts 12:24 “But the word of God increased and multiplied.” )
From Acts 13-14, we see Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey that will reach the general area of Asia where the churches of 1 Peter are located.
Peter is writing to churches that were the fruit of another person’s work, Paul’s. How might you be used by the Lord to encourage others in the faith that you might not know?


From 33 AD to 48 AD, gospel is spreading through many “missionary trips” of the apostles.
From AD 61 and on, Paul and Peter are likely in prison/house arrest in Rome. So-called “Apostolic ministry period” is sunsetting in a sense.
Peter was martyred in 64 AD (crucified, “upside down” by tradition)
Paul was executed in 67 AD (beheaded)
How will the church continue to grow?
Who will lead the church in their absence?
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