by Steve Wolfgang
As part of my morning devotional, a recent reading was "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (I Peter 1:1 ESV).
I am fascinated by the geography of the opening verse. It prevents me from blitzing through in order to get to “more important” things.
Find a map. Nearly every print Bible has them, and with good reason. Digital versions offer even greater possibilities.
Have you ever wondered why the Spirit would forbid Paul to preach the word in these regions, as we saw in Acts 16:6-10? Why send him on to Europe when souls much closer needed saving in Asia Minor?
Paying attention to often-overlooked details, we can also recall from reading through Romans (Romans 15:18-21 in particular) that Paul’s defense of his role as an “apostle to Gentiles” was that he was called to preach where Christ had not been named, “lest I should build on another’s foundation.” Here’s our clue: Since Peter evidently already had a relationship with those in Bithynia and neighboring provinces, Paul was instructed to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Peter attends to those in these regions, reminding them, and us today, to “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (I Peter 1:13-16).
What opportunities will God provide for me, and you, to speak a good word for the Lord today? Tomorrow? Are we prepared to share the hope and grace given us by revelation which dispels our former ignorance? And is our conduct holy, reflecting the One who called us?
“This word is the good news that was preached to you” (I Peter 1:25).