March 16 | Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 26–27; Mark 14:27–53
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.
1 Peter 2:9
READ 1 Peter 2:4–10
Decades ago, Dr. Jerry Motto discovered the power of a “caring letter.” His research found that simply sending a letter expressing care to discharged patients who had previously attempted suicide reduced the rate of recurrence by half. Recently, health care providers have rediscovered this power when sending “caring” texts, postcards, and even social media memes as follow-up treatment for the severely depressed.
Twenty-one “books” in the Bible are actually letters—epistles—caringly written to first-century believers who struggled for a variety of reasons. Paul, James, and John wrote letters to explain the basics of faith and worship, and how to resolve conflict and build unity.
The apostle Peter, however, specifically wrote to believers who were being persecuted by the Roman emperor, Nero. Peter reminded them of their intrinsic value to God, describing them this way in 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” This lifted their gaze to God’s great purpose for them in their world: “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Our great God Himself wrote a book filled with caring letters to us—inspired Scripture—that we might always have a record of the value He assigns us as His own. May we read His letters daily and share them with others who need the hope Jesus offers.
By Elisa Morgan
REFLECT & PRAY
Loving God, thank You for the caring letters in the Bible!
How does reading the Epistles as caring letters help you receive God’s encouragement? How will you share the hope of God’s caring letters today?
In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter gives four characteristics of the church followed by a purpose statement. The apostle tells members of the church what and who they are and then tells them what their identity is meant to do. The description of the church in 1 Peter is similar to the description of the people of Israel found in the Old Testament. The church is a chosen people (compare Deuteronomy 7:6), a royal priesthood and a holy nation (compare Exodus 19:6), and God’s special possession (compare Exodus 19:5). These qualities allow the church to fulfill its mission: to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).