Apostle Peter

To the churches in the Anatolian provinces of

Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, Bithynia

 

I PETER 1:1-2; II PETER 1:1; 3:1 ~ Greetings from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.  To God’s chosen a people who are away from their homes—people scattered all over the areas [Roman provinces] of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia….– Greetings from Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ….My friends, this is the second letter I have written to you. I wrote both letters to you to help your honest minds.= بطرس الفصل 1 – بطرس الفصل 1 – بطرس الفصل 3

1  بُطْرُسُ، رَسُولُ يَسُوعَ الْمَسِيحِ، إِلَى الْمُتَغَرِّبِينَ مِنْ شَتَاتِ بُنْتُسَ وَغَلاَطِيَّةَ وَكَبَّدُوكِيَّةَ وَأَسِيَّا وَبِيثِينِيَّةَ، الْمُخْتَارِينَ
2  بِمُقْتَضَى عِلْمِ اللهِ الآبِ السَّابِقِ، فِي تَقْدِيسِ الرُّوحِ لِلطَّاعَةِ، وَرَشِّ دَمِ يَسُوعَ الْمَسِيحِ. لِتُكْثَرْ لَكُمُ النِّعْمَةُ وَالسَّلاَمُ.

1  سِمْعَانُ بُطْرُسُ عَبْدُ يَسُوعَ الْمَسِيحِ وَرَسُولُهُ، إِلَى الَّذِينَ نَالُوا مَعَنَا إِيمَاناً ثَمِيناً مُسَاوِياً لَنَا، بِبِرِّ إِلَهِنَا وَالْمُخَلِّصِ يَسُوعَ الْمَسِيحِ.

1  هَذِهِ أَكْتُبُهَا الآنَ إِلَيْكُمْ رِسَالَةً ثَانِيَةً أَيُّهَا الأَحِبَّاءُ، فِيهِمَا أُنْهِضُ بِالتَّذْكِرَةِ ذِهْنَكُمُ النَّقِيَّ،

map-peter's letter

PONTUS – Roman province in purple on map.  Pontus is Greek for Sea, referring to the Black Sea on the north coast of this province.  It was first mentioned in  Xenophon’s Anabasis.  The kingdom of Pontus was founded by the Persians, taken over by the Greeks and finally taken over by the Roman Empire.  the capital city was always Amasya.  Today, you can still see the tombs of the ancient kings carved into the mountains behind the city.

Peter-MountainTombsKingsPontus
Mountain Tombs of Pontus Kings

GALATIA – Roman province in Green on map.  Galatia’s capital was Ancyra, which is the same as today’s Ankara which is the capital of Turkey.  It was named after the Gauls who came down from Europe and took over the land.  (Some of the Gauls split off before they arrived in Anatolia and went to today’s France, called Gaul at that time.)  Augustus Caesar conquered Galatia for Rome in  25 BC, and built a marble temple to himself and the goddess Roma in Ancyra.   More pictures of Galatia above with the letter written
only to the church in Galatia.

Peter-TempleAugustusGalatia
Temple to Augustus Caesar in Ancyra

CAPPADOCIA – Roman province in Brown on map.  Ancient historian Herodotus said Cappadocia covered most of the Taurus Mountains from the Mediterranean Sea in the south to the Black Sea in the north.  It is mentioned by both Darius and Xerxes of Persia and included most of the ancient Hittite Empire.  Hattusa was the capital city.  It was an independent kingdom until Tiberius Caesar conquered it and made it a Roman province.  Göreme was settled during the Roman period and it was then that the conical houses were carved out of stone.

Peter-ConicalRockHomes-Capadocia
Conical Rock Houses in Cappadocia
Peter-UndergroundCities-Cappadocia
Underground cities in Cappadocia

ASIA – Roman province in Yellow on map. Asia province originally consisted of the “counties” of Mysia, the Troad, Aeolis, Lydia, Ionia, Caria, and the land corridor through Pisidia to Pamphylia. Aegean islands except Crete.

Peter-Atallus-Asia-Berlin
Attalus III, King of Asia who willed his kingdom to Rome.

Emperor worship was prevalent in provincial communities during the Roman empire. Soon after Augustus came to power, temples erected in his honor sprang up across Asia province. The establishment of provincial centers of emperor worship further spawned local cults. These sites served as models followed by other provinces throughout the empire.

Emperor worship served as a way for subjects of Asia province to come to terms with imperial rule within the framework of their communities. Religious practices were very much a public affair and involved citizens in all its aspects including prayer, sacrifice, and processions. Rituals held in honor of a particular emperor frequently outnumbered those of other gods.

See writings to Ephesians and Colossians above, both of which were in the province of Asia.

BITHYNIA – Roman province in purple on map.  Although Pontus and Bithynia were together for administrative purposes, Bithynia was at the west end of the province and Pontus at the east end.  Nicea and Nicodemia were the most important cities, and founded by Alexander the Great.   It was settled mostly by Thracians, a country just north of Macedonia between Greece and today’s Turkey.   During the time it was under Persian and Grecian control, it maintained much independence, even having its own king.
When the Romans finally took over, the senate allowed the king to remain.

Peter-Jupiter-Bithinya
Statue of Jupiter found in Nicomedia,  BYTHYNIA

I PETER 3:9; 14–18 ~ Don’t do wrong to a person to pay him back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t something bad to a person to pay him back for saying something bad to you. But {ask God to} bless that person….14But you may suffer for doing right. If that happens, then you are blessed (happy). “Don’t be afraid of those people {that make you suffer}; don’t be worried.”* 15But you should keep the  Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer every person who asks you to explain about the hope you have. 16But answer those people in a gentle way with respect. Always be able to feel that you are doing right. When you do that, the people who say bad things about you will be made ashamed….17It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong. Yes, it is better if that is what God wants. 18Christ himself died for you. And that one death paid for your sins. He was not guilty, but he died for people who are guilty. He did this to bring you all to God. His body was killed, but he was made alive in the spirit…. = بطرس الفصل 3

9  غَيْرَ مُجَازِينَ عَنْ شَرٍّ بِشَرٍّ أَوْ عَنْ شَتِيمَةٍ بِشَتِيمَةٍ، بَلْ بِالْعَكْسِ مُبَارِكِينَ، عَالِمِينَ أَنَّكُمْ لِهَذَا دُعِيتُمْ لِكَيْ تَرِثُوا بَرَكَةً.

14  وَلَكِنْ وَإِنْ تَأَلَّمْتُمْ مِنْ أَجْلِ الْبِرِّ فَطُوبَاكُمْ. وَأَمَّا خَوْفَهُمْ فَلاَ تَخَافُوهُ وَلاَ تَضْطَرِبُوا،
15  بَلْ قَدِّسُوا الرَّبَّ الإِلَهَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ، مُسْتَعِدِّينَ دَائِماً لِمُجَاوَبَةِ كُلِّ مَنْ يَسْأَلُكُمْ عَنْ سَبَبِ الرَّجَاءِ الَّذِي فِيكُمْ بِوَدَاعَةٍ وَخَوْفٍ،
16  وَلَكُمْ ضَمِيرٌ صَالِحٌ، لِكَيْ يَكُونَ الَّذِينَ يَشْتِمُونَ سِيرَتَكُمُ الصَّالِحَةَ فِي الْمَسِيحِ يُخْزَوْنَ فِي مَا يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفَاعِلِي شَرٍّ.
17 لأَنَّ تَأَلُّمَكُمْ إِنْ شَاءَتْ مَشِيئَةُ اللهِ وَأَنْتُمْ صَانِعُونَ خَيْراً، أَفْضَلُ مِنْهُ وَأَنْتُمْ صَانِعُونَ شَرّاً.
18 فَإِنَّ الْمَسِيحَ أَيْضاً تَأَلَّمَ مَرَّةً وَاحِدَةً مِنْ أَجْلِ الْخَطَايَا، الْبَارُّ مِنْ أَجْلِ الأَثَمَةِ، لِكَيْ يُقَرِّبَنَا إِلَى اللهِ، مُمَاتاً فِي الْجَسَدِ وَلَكِنْ مُحْيىً فِي الرُّوحِ،

THE APOSTLE PHILIP laboured diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterward crucified, A. D. 54. (Some accounts say he was pierced through the thighs and hung upside down to die.)

I PETER  4:1, 12-16; 5:9 ~ 1Christ suffered while he was in his body. So you should strengthen yourselves with the same kind of thinking Christ had. The person who has suffered in his body is finished with sin….12My friends, don’t be surprised at the painful things that you are now suffering. Those things are testing your faith. Don’t think that something strange is happening to you. 13But you should be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings. You will be happy and full of joy when Christ shows his glory. 14When people say bad things to you because you follow Christ, then you are blessed (happy). You are blessed because the Spirit of glory is with you. That is the Spirit of God….suffer because you are a Christian, then don’t be ashamed. You should praise (thank) God for that name (Christian)….Stand strong in your faith. You know that your brothers and sisters all over the world are having the same sufferings that you have. = بطرس الفصل 4 – بطرس الفصل 5

1  فَإِذْ قَدْ تَأَلَّمَ الْمَسِيحُ لأَجْلِنَا بِالْجَسَدِ، تَسَلَّحُوا أَنْتُمْ أَيْضاً بِهَذِهِ النِّيَّةِ. فَإِنَّ مَنْ تَأَلَّمَ فِي الْجَسَدِ كُفَّ عَنِ الْخَطِيَّةِ،

12  أَيُّهَا الأَحِبَّاءُ، لاَ تَسْتَغْرِبُوا الْبَلْوَى الْمُحْرِقَةَ الَّتِي بَيْنَكُمْ حَادِثَةٌ، لأَجْلِ امْتِحَانِكُمْ، كَأَنَّهُ أَصَابَكُمْ أَمْرٌ غَرِيبٌ،
13  بَلْ كَمَا اشْتَرَكْتُمْ فِي آلاَمِ الْمَسِيحِ افْرَحُوا لِكَيْ تَفْرَحُوا فِي اسْتِعْلاَنِ مَجْدِهِ أَيْضاً مُبْتَهِجِينَ.
14  إِنْ عُيِّرْتُمْ بِاسْمِ الْمَسِيحِ فَطُوبَى لَكُمْ، لأَنَّ رُوحَ الْمَجْدِ وَاللهِ يَحِلُّ عَلَيْكُمْ. أَمَّا مِنْ جِهَتِهِمْ فَيُجَدَّفُ عَلَيْهِ، وَأَمَّا مِنْ جِهَتِكُمْ فَيُمَجَّدُ.
15  فَلاَ يَتَأَلَّمْ أَحَدُكُمْ كَقَاتِلٍ، أَوْ سَارِقٍ، أَوْ فَاعِلِ شَرٍّ، أَوْ مُتَدَاخِلٍ فِي أُمُورِ غَيْرِهِ.
16  وَلَكِنْ إِنْ كَانَ كَمَسِيحِيٍّ فَلاَ يَخْجَلْ، بَلْ يُمَجِّدُ اللهَ مِنْ هَذَا الْقَبِيلِ.

9  فَقَاوِمُوهُ رَاسِخِينَ فِي الإِيمَانِ، عَالِمِينَ أَنَّ نَفْسَ هَذِهِ الآلاَمِ تُجْرَى عَلَى إِخْوَتِكُمُ الَّذِينَ فِي الْعَالَمِ.

The suffering predicted by the Apostle Peter did grow.  The following is from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

“67 AD UNDER NERO CAESAR:  “Nero even refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments for the Christians that the most infernal imagination could design.  In particular, he had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts, and then worried by dogs until they expired; and other dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, filed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them.”

Peter-Nero
Bust of Nero at National Archaeological Museum, Tarragona

“81 AD UNDER DOMITIAN AND 108 UNDER TRAJAN & HADRIAN   Christians were blamed for all natural disasters or refused to worship Caesar or any local idols.  Some were beaten to death, others fed to wild animals, crucified, boiled in oil, burned at the stake, but they never retaliated, never cursed, rather preferring to accept quietly and bless.  “A pagan, beholding them, was struck with such admiration and exclaimed, “Great is the God of the Christians!” for which he suffered a similar fate.”

Peter-Domitian-Trajan-Hadrian

DOMITIAN at the Louvre, Paris – TRAJAN at Amphitheater of Colonia Ulpia Traiana in the Xanten Archaeological Park – HADRIAN at the Louvre, Paris

“162 AD UNDER MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONIUS:  The cruelties used in this persecution were such that many of the spectators shuddered with horror at the sight, and were astonished at the patience of the sufferers.  Some of the martyrs were passed with their already wounded feet over thorns, ails, sharp shells, etc. upon their points; others were scourged until their sinews and veins lay bare, and after suffering the most excruciating tortures that could be devised, they were destroyed by the most terrible deaths….

Peter-Marcus Aurelius at the Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse, France.jpg
Marcus Aurelius at the Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse, France

“….a young man but a true Christian, being delivered to the wild beasts on account of his faith, behaved with such astonishing courage that several pagans became converts to a faith which inspired such fortitude.”  Others were pressed to  death with weight, some had their brains dashed out with clubs, or thrown from cliffs, or beheaded.  

“Persecution spread to France.  A young lady and three others were “taken to the amphitheater, suspended on a piece of wood fixed in the ground, and exposed as food for the wild beasts.  Her earnest prayers encouraged others and none of the wild beasts would touch her….again accompanied by a youth of 15…exposed to all manner of punishments and tortures.  Being strengthened by her, he persevered unto death and she, at length, was slain with the sword.”

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Roman amphitheater at Arles, France

“192 AD UNDER SEVERUS:  Persecution extended to Africa.  Some were put on display at an amphitheater and gored to death by bulls, others tied to horses and dragged to death.  

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Bust of Septimius Severus- Munich Glyptotek

EVERY CENTURY SINCE THEN, CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN PERSECUTED, BUT NEVER RETALIATED; INSTEAD, THEY DID WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS; THEY FORGAVE THOSE WHO WERE TORTURING THEM TO DEATH.  Gradually, pagan temples closed down and more and more people became Christians.

(Quotes are from Fox’s Book of Martyrs written in England during the time many were being burned at the stake.)