For the average Christian who grows up in the South, church is typically seen as a place you go
or a thing you do as part of your weekly routine. For many Christians, church is one of the
favorite parts of our routine, but it is still only something we do part of the time.
One of the great deficiencies in the lives of many Christians is that they never get to see the
church from the perspective of Jesus. We seldom understand that we are a part of the most
important body that God created. We don’t see that we have been formed into a structure that
literally spans the entire world, taking in men and women from every tribe, nation, and walk of
life. We don’t usually contemplate the very existence of the worldwide church is the greatest
miracle that God has brought into existence in the modern world.
Peter in chapter 2 verses 4-10 moves into one of the most powerful passages in all of Scripture
to describe who we are in Christ. This passage is unique because it takes some of the great
imagery of the Old Testament and applies it to those who have placed their hope and trust in
Peter takes the foundation of some tangible things….temples, priests, nations….from the Old
Testament and gives them their spiritual meaning in the age after Pentecost. Much of what Old
Testament Israel thought God was seeking to accomplish through a physical nation we are told
he is actually accomplishing through a corporate body that is not confined by space, time, or
ethnicity. This worldwide body is what we call the Church.
As Americans, we don’t typically think of this passage as a passage about identity because it is
not referring to us as individuals, but as a group of people. While the Bible has much to say
about who we are as individuals in Christ, the picture even more grand when we look at how
we belong to Jesus as body of multitudes of people who have been redeemed collectively by
- Name all of the Old Testament imagery that Peter uses in 1 Peter 2:4-10. If you have time, look up some of the OT Scriptures where it is written about.
- How does Peter view the church differently than the world views the church?
- How is the idea of church misunderstood in the world today?
- In what ways does the church function in the role of a priest helping to lead the world to Jesus Christ? (v. 5)
- What are the characteristics that define who is a part of the church (vv. 6-8)?
- How does the universal church resemble its own nation?
- In what ways are the church like Israel in the Old Testament (ex. the nations of the world could come to Israel and meet and worship God)?
- Why do Americans tend to think of themselves as individual Christians rather than as part of a global body?
- What function do you think that we play in the context of a global body?