Identify the Key Words
One of the difficulties in studying passages in the epistles is that the sentences can be so long and contain complicated ideas with big words. This makes it very difficult to wrap your head around what is being said, and so it helps to simply pull out the key words to simplify it.
The key words in the text act as ‘pillars’ of the text – they carry a lot of the weight and meaning. So looking at the combination of key words helps identify the overall meaning and structure of the passage.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,1 Peter 1:1-2
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”
This can seem like quite a complicated way to start an epistle and contains a few big ideas, so lets just identify the key words to simplify it.
We can see that we have been chosen, that we are being sanctified, and that these are for obedience and for our sprinkling (cleansing). Not only that but we also see the work of the whole God-head here:
- The Father chooses
- The Spirit sanctifies
- For obedience to and being cleansed by the Son
So we can God’s method and motive in our salvation here, that all of the God-head are involved in our salvation, for the purpose of our obedience and cleansing.