Introduction to 1 Peter
Author, Date, and Recipients
The apostle Peter wrote this letter (1:1). He was once a fisherman but now was a disciple, a “witness of the sufferings of Christ” (5:1). He probably wrote the letter from Rome (see 5:13; “Babylon” almost certainly refers to Rome) around a.d. 62–63 during Nero’s reign. The letter is addressed to Christians scattered in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1:1). This is an area north of the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). These territories had been impacted by Greco-Roman culture and had been under Roman control from the mid-first century b.c.
Those who persevere in faith while suffering persecution should be full of hope. They will certainly enjoy end-time salvation, since they already enjoy God’s saving promises through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Peter is writing to encourage his readers to endure suffering and persecution (1:6–7; 2:18–20; 3:9, 13–17; 4:1–4, 12–19; 5:9) by giving themselves entirely to God (4:19). They are to remain faithful in times of distress, knowing that God will vindicate them and that they will certainly enjoy the salvation that the Lord has promised. Christ’s death and resurrection are the model for believers. Just as Christ suffered and then entered into glory, so too his followers will suffer before being exalted.
- Those who suffer as Christians will be proven faithful when Christ returns (1:6–9; 2:18–25; 3:13–22; 4:12–19).
- The church is the new temple, the new Israel, the new people of God (1:1–2; 2:4–10).
- Believers should set their hope on their end-time inheritance (1:3–9, 13–16).
- Christ died as a substitute for sinners. His death is the basis for their new life (1:17–21; 2:24; 3:13–22).
- Christ’s suffering is an example to his disciples (2:21–23).
- At his resurrection, Christ triumphed over his enemies (3:18–22).
- Christians should live righteously in their homes and in society (2:11–3:7).
- New life in Christ is the basis for a life of love and holiness (1:3; 1:13–2:3).
- Opening (1:1–2)
- Called to Salvation as Exiles (1:3–2:10)
- Living as Strangers to Bring Glory to God in a Hostile World (2:11–4:11)
- Enduring Suffering (4:12–5:11)
- Concluding Words (5:12–14)