Today we started a new sermon series at Living Word Fellowship. If you are in the Dickinson area, this is a great time to come check us out if you’re looking for a church home.
By way of introduction, I gave some brief historical geographical information to help you have a sense of the people to whom this letter was written. As I mentioned, the letter was intended to be a “circular letter” and passed around from congregation to congregation for the purpose of encouragement and instruction.
Peter addressed his letter to:
These were ancient provinces in Asia Minor, extending from the Aegean Sea on the west, the Black Sea on the North, the Mediterranean Sea on the South, The Caucasus region on the NorthEast, and the Middle East on the Southeastern corner.
In the time of the writing of this letter, there were two major roads that ran across the region. The first was established somewhere around 133 BC. These roads brought tremendous diversity, knowledge, and culture to these otherwise out of the way provinces. These ancient highways became the infrastructure or backbone of Gospel advancement throughout the known world.
Here’s a breakdown of the provinces:
Asia - This is referring to the western-most province of Asia minor, not the continental region that we know today. It was the most “Hellenized” (or bearing Greek influence) province in the region. It was also the most populated and was home to Ephesus, Colossae, and the seven churches mentioned by the Apostle John in Revelation 2 and 3. The inhabitants were highly educated according to 1st century standards.
Bithynia and Pontus began as separate provinces but were joined together (at least officially) by about 65 BC. As I mentioned in my sermon, Pontus was the location of Julius Caesar’s victory, of which he said “I came, I saw, I conquered” in 47 BC. Bithynia is home to Byzantium, AKA Constantinople, AKA Istanbul, as well as to Nicaea.
Galatia became a Roman province in 25 BC, and, unlike some of the other provinces, was never unified in culture or language. It was quite possibly the most significant of the provinces in the eyes of Rome because it was used as a place to resettle Roman soldiers.
Cappadocia was incredibly sparsely populated, with only about four towns of noticeable size in the entire province.
Below is a map that shows the approximate location of each of these provinces. I hope this helps give you some context and perspective on the recipients of the letter.
Looking forward to next week!
- Pastor Scott