When Peter Was Demoted

In digging around the letters by the apostle Peter lately I noticed a rather striking change in his introduction when comparing 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

1 Peter 1:1

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ”

2 Peter 1:1

“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ”

In the NLT,which I happened to be reading, the word “servant” was “slave,” which gives a stronger sense of Peter’s change. So what exactly happened? Was Peter demoted?

In a sense, I wonder if Peter demoted himself, realizing what it meant to be a true apostle. Perhaps I make too much of this, but notice that servant/slave comes before apostle. Something radical has happened to Peter in between the writing of these two letters and he makes a huge change in how he thinks of himself.

These words of Peter embody the message of Jesus that the greatest must be the servant (Matthew 23:11).

2 thoughts on “When Peter Was Demoted

  1. grace

    Great observation. Reflective of the downward nature of advancement in the kingdom, where promotion is demotion and demotion is promotion.

  2. ed Post author

    Grace, you’ve really hit it. I can’t quite get this out in the right way, and I never want to sound critical of pastors or leaders, but it seems like Christianity leads best from the margins. I don’t know how that works out exactly, only that I really have a hard time finding the way to do this. Perhaps it’s enough to say that we are most effectively when we are identified with and associate with the margins of society. I’m still working on that one.

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