Explaining 1 Peter 5:13

Q. Re: 1st Peter 5:13 (Contemporary English Version). First of all may God continue to bless you always. Secondly, I have a question about 1st Peter 5:13, Who is Babylon here? I thought God had no favorites. Please explain to me.

A. In the CEV 1 Peter 5:13 reads,

Greetings from the Lord’s followers in Babylon. They are God’s chosen ones. Mark, who is like a son to me, sends his greetings too.

There are two schools of thought concerning Peter’s use of Babylon. One is that he was referring to the literal city of Babylon in modern day Iraq. Proponents of this view say there’s no justification for applying a symbolic meaning to the passage, and there was still a small population there even though Baghdad had replaced Babylon as the major commercial center of the region following the death of Alexander the Great.

The other is that he was referring to Rome. Although some scholars argue that Rome was not referred to as Babylon before the Book of Revelation was written (30 years later) others say that Peter was likely in Rome at the time the letter was written in the early 60’s AD. Most agree the phrase translated God’s chosen ones refers to the Church and is not meant to elevate the believers in Babylon above other believers.

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