Culture is the same as behavior, and I am explaining in this series implications from the New Testament based on that idea. Here are the previous implications:
- New Testament authors explain cultural differences between various people groups as differences of belief and value.
- New Testament authors identify people groups (ethnicities, tribes, nations, etc.) as those of common ancestral heritage who share common culture flowing from common values.
- New Testament authors demand that the culture of Christians be holy, pure, and distinct from the culture of unbelievers.
The fourth implication is that New Testament authors proclaim Christianity as a new and distinct people group that shares new values and thus new culture. Peter in particular identifies Christians as a “chosen race,” a “holy nation,” and a “people for [God’s] own possession” distinct from other races, nations, and peoples. Howe summarizes the important relationship between terms related to ethnicity and behavior in Peter’s writing:
The word anastrophēs, “way of life,” is a key word in Petrine theology, for it occurs eight times in Peter’s epistles (1 Pet. 1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; 2 Pet. 2:7; 3:11). The contrast of lifestyles of believers before and after they trusted Christ as their Redeemer is vividly displayed by seeing how the same word is used to describe their former way of life (“your futile way of life [anastrophēs],” 1:18) and their new life in Christ (“be holy yourselves also in all your behavior [anastrophē],” 1:15).
This contrast serves as evidence that Peter sought to relate the theological significance of the death of Christ to the ethical dimension of the lives of those who trusted his finished work for their salvation.1
- Howe, “The Christian Life in Peter’s Theology,” 194. [↩]