Ep 121: Submit to the Authorities? | 1 Peter 2:13-17

Ep 121: Submit to the Authorities? | 1 Peter 2:13-17

In this episode I explore 1 Peter 2:13-17, where Peter exhorts several churches in Asia minor to ”submit for the Lord’s sake to every human institution (2:13)”. While an isolated reading of this particular passage might lead to the conclusion that Christians should never challenge their government, a close reading of the text reveals a much more complex picture. I discuss how every Biblical text must be read it its historical, cultural, and rhetorical context to understand what the original author was attempting to communicate. I then establish that the apostle Peter is the genuine author of 1st Peter. The purpose of the letter is to remind Peter’s audience of their identity in Christ which sets them apart from the non-believers around them and encourage them to remain faithful in the midst of suffering. They are to faithfully testify to the Jesus the Christ through their actions. I explain how Peter’s commentary on government and authorities is a part of a section that reminds women to submit to their husbands and slaves to their masters (2:13-3:8) and that by doing so they are faithfully testifying to the cross, not legitimizing the power of human government, patriarchal marriages, and slavery. I also explore Peter’s messianic theology, where he explicitly states that Christ has dominion over all creation (4:11, 5:11) and refers to Rome as ‘Babylon’ (5:13). This passage is the ‘Romans 13’ of the Catholic epistles and deserves the detailed exegetical treatment it receives here. Enjoy!

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