First published as Word Biblical Themes: 1 Peter (Word Publishing, 1989), this volume explores Peter's effort to build a sense of identity and responsibility among the Christians to whom he wrote, scattered through several Roman provinces in Asia Minor. Their past is a biblical past, he tells them, rooted in the history of the Jews as the people of God. Consequently, they are called to live as strangers in a strange land, never fully at home in Roman society. Their present journey is a journey in the footsteps of Jesus, in paths of servanthood, and undeserved suffering. Their future is the completion of this journey to heaven, wrapped in a hope of victory over death and the devil and issuing at last in ""joy unspeakable and full of glory"" when their Lord Jesus Christ is revealed. Because these distant Gentile Christians are not personally known to Peter in Rome (which he calls ""Babylon,"" reminding them that he is as much a stranger as they are), he deals in the great universals of Christian experience: faith, baptism, and doing good; love, suffering and the hope of salvation. These universals make 1 Peter a letter for twentieth (or twenty-first) century American Christians no less than for his first century readers. The concluding chapter, ""The Message of 1 Peter Today,"" begins to explore certain parallels between Peter's readers in the Roman Empire and Christians in America, where we, no less than they in the provinces and Peter himself in ""Babylon"" are not fully at home either. This is even more the case now than it was in 1989 when the book first appeared, so that we need to listen ever more closely to ""The News from Babylon"" that 1 Peter sent so long ago. To this end a postscript has been added, addressing candidly the difficulties of being Christian in America in a new millennium. J. Ramsey Michaels, now living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield. He is the author of a major commentary on First Peter in the Word Biblical Commentary series (1988) and a much shorter one in the one-volume Mercer Commentary on the Bible (1994). He has also written commentaries on Revelation, on Hebrews, and most notably the Gospel of John in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (2010). In a different vein, he recently published Passing by the Dragon: The Biblical Tales of Flannery O'Connor (Wipf & Stock, 2013), marking a crossover into American literary criticism. n
The News From Babylon was published by Wipf and Stock in January 2018. The ISBN for The News From Babylon is 9781532641596.