Covenant, Mission, and Worship: A Reuse of Exodus 19 and Isaiah 43 in 1 Peter 2:9

Co-author: Leonardo Godinho Nunes

The Scriptures emphasize the importance of remaining faithful to God’s covenant by following its requirements and stipulations. 1 Peter 2:9a reverberates the Sinaitic covenant made with the Israelites in Exod 19:5–6, while 1Pet 2:9b, introduced by the telic conjunction ὅπως (“in order that”), expresses the implication of this covenant. This way, 1 Pet 2:9 seems to underscore a vital dimension, emphasizing that the goal and essence of God making a covenant with His people is mission. Furthermore, considering Exod 19, the expression “royal priesthood” in 1 Pet 2:9 is inextricably linked with Israel’s worship of the Lord and Israel’s role as mediators and representatives of Yahweh toward the other nations. It seems that the ultimate purpose of mission is for the elect to worship God, bringing other nations to worship Him, as well.
Besides alluding to Exod 19, 1 Peter 2:9 also appears to echo Isa 43:20–21. Developing on Exod 19 and elaborating the New Exodus motif, Isa 43:20–21 explores the ideas of race, election, people, possession, virtue, deliverance, and worship, which has an eschatological extent beyond Babylonian captivity. Through an exegetical analysis of 1 Pet 2:9–10, this investigation aims to expand the understanding of the missional and worship aspects of the new covenant in light of its reuse of Exodus 19 and Isaiah 43, employing criteria such as verbal coherence and thematic, structural, and contextual correspondence. This study concludes by presenting some ethical implications of the covenant’s missional and worship aspects to the believer’s life in the 21st century.