1 Peter

Reading 0,16 - 5 Chapters - 105 verses - 2,482 words


Vital Statistics

 Purpose:  To offer encouragement to suffering Christians 
 Author:  Peter
 Original audience:  Jewish Christians driver out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Asia Minor  
 Date written:  Approximately A.D. 62-64 possibly from Rome
 Setting:  Peter was probably in Rome when the great persecution under Emperor Nero began. (Eventually Peter was executed during this persecution.) Throughout the Roman Empire, Christians were being tortured and killed for their faith, and the church in Jerusalem was being scattered  
 Key verse:   These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1:7)
 Key people:  Peter, Silas, Mark 
 Key places:  Jerusalem, Rome, and the regions of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, ASia Minor, and Bithynia 
 Special features:  Peter used several images that were very special to him because Jesus  had used them when he had revealed certain truths to Peter. Peter's name (which means "rock") had been given to him by Jesus. Peter's conception of the church - a spiritual house composed of living stones built upon Christ as the foundation - had come from Christ. Jesus had encouraged Peter to care for the church as a shepherd tending the flock. Thus, it is not surprising to see Peter using living stones (2:5-9) and shepherds and sheep (2:25; 5:2, 4) to describe the church. 

Author and Date

    The author identifies himself as the apostle Peter (1:1), and the contents and character of the letter support his authorship (see notes on 1:12; 4:13; 5:1-2,5,13). Moreover, the letter reflects the history and terminology of the Gospels and Acts (notably Peter's speeches). its themes and concepts reflect Peter's experiences and his associations in the period of our Lord's earthly ministry and in the apostolic age.That he was acquainted, e.g., with Paul and his letters is made clear in 2Pe 3:15-16 (see notes there); Gal 1:18; 2:1-21 and elsewhere. Coincidences in thought and expression with Paul's writings are therefore not surprising. 

    From the beginning, 1 Peter was recognized as authoritative and as the work of the apostle Peter.The earliest reference to it may be 2Pe 3:1 (see note there), where Peter himself refers to a former letter he had written. 1 Clement (A.D. 95) seems to indicate acquaintance with 1 Peter. Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John, makes use of 1 Pete; in his letter to the Philippians. The author of the Gospel of Truth (140-150) was acquainted with 1 Peter. Eusebius (fourth century) indicated that it was universally received. 

    The letter was explicitly ascribed to Peter by that group of church fathers whose testimonies appear in the attestation of so many of the genuine NT writings, namely, Irenaeus (A.D. 140-203), Tertullian (150-222), Clement of Alexandria (155-215) and Origen (185-253). It is thus clear that Peter's authorship of the book has early and strong support. 

    Nevertheless some claim that the idiomatic Greek of this letter is beyond Peter's competence. But in his time Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek were used in the Holy Land, and he may well have been acquainted with more than one language.That he was not a professionally trained scribe (Ac 4:13) does not mean that he was unacquainted with Greek; in fact, as a Galilean fisherman he in all likelihood did use it. Even if he had not known it in the earliest days of the church, he may have acquired it as an important aid to his apostolic ministry in the decades that intervened between then and the writing of 1 Peter. 

    It is true, however, that the Greek of 1 Peter is good literary Greek, and even though Peter could no doubt speak Greek, as so many in the Mediterranean world could, it is unlikely that he would write such polished Greek. But it is at this point that Peter's remark in 5:12 (see note there) concerning Silas may be significant. Here the apostle claims that he wrote "with the help of" (more lit."through" or "by means of") Silas. This phrase cannot refer merely to Silas as a letter carrier. Thus Silas was the intermediate agent in writing. Some have claimed that Silas's qualifications for recording Peter's letter in literary Greek are found in Ac 15:22-29. It is known that a secretary in those days often composed documents in good Greek for those who did not have the language facility to do so. Thus in 1 Peter Silas's Greek may be seen, while in 2 Peter it may be Peter's rough Greek that appears. 

    Some also maintain that the book reflects a situation that did not exist until after Peter's death, suggesting that the persecution referred to in 4:14-16; 5:8-9 is descriptive of Domitian's reign (A.D. 81-96). However, the situation that was developing in Nero's time (54-68) is d ,t as adequately described by those verses.  

    The book can be satisfactorily dated in the early 60s. It cannot be placed earlier than 60s. it shows familiarity with Paul's Prison Letters (e.g., Colossians and Ephesians, which are ' be dated no earlier than 60): Compare 1:1-3 with Eph 1:1-3; 2:18 with Col 3:22; 3:1-6 with Eph 5:22-24. Furthermore, it cannot be dated later than 67/68, since Peter was martyred during Nero's reign. 

Place of Writing

    In 5:13 Peter indicates that he was "in Babylon" when he wrote 1 Peter. Among the interpretations that have been suggested are that he was writing from (1) Egyptian Babylon, which as a military post, (2) Mesopotamian Babylon, (3) Jerusalem and (4) Rome. Peter may well be using the name Babylon symbolically, as it seems to be used is, the book of Revelation (see Rev 14:8; 17:9-10 and notes). Tradition connects him in the latter part of his life with Rome, and certain early writers held that 1 Peter was written there. On the other hand, it is pointed out by some that (1) Babylon is known to have existed in the first century as a small town on the Euphrates; (2) there is no evidence that the term Babylon was used figuratively to refer to Rome until Revelation was written (c. A.D. 95): (3) the context of 5:13 does not appear to be 'curative or cryptic. 


    Although 1 Peter is a short letter, it touches on various doctrines and has much to say about Christian life and duties. It is not surprising that different readers have found it to have different principal themes. For example, it has been characterized as a letter of separation, of suffering and persecution, of suffering and glory, of hope, of pilgrimage, of courage, and as a letter dealing with the true grace of God. Peter says that he has written "encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God" (5:12).This is a definitive general description of the letter, but it does not exclude the recognition of numerous subordinate and contributory themes. The letter includes a series of exhortations (imperatives) that run from 1:13 to 5:11. 

How to read 1 Peter

    Where do you find your hope in times of crises? Where can you find the strength to carry on in hard times? What will help you grow in faith when difficulties abound? The answer? Jesus! Because of what he has done you have been given a new identity. You now belong to God, and form part of a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1Pe 2:9).

    So what about those tough times? God can and will use difficulties to strengthen us. Discover how faith, refined by suffering, can help you see the Lord more clearly and get to know him more dearly. The words of this letter encourage us to hold firm in difficult times.

But Peter did not stop there. It’s not just a matter of survival. As we learn to embrace our royal identity, we can see the kingdom of God grow—even in the face of adversity. Peter urges us to adopt an on-the-offensive attitude in the midst of difficulty, and “proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1Pe 2:9).

1 Peter Interpretive Challenges

1 Peter 3:18-22 stands as one of the most difficult NT texts to translate and then interpret. For example, does “Spirit” in 3:18 refer to the Holy Spirit, or to Christ’s Spirit? Did Christ preach through Noah before the Flood, or did He preach Himself after the crucifixión (3:19)? Was the audience to this preaching composed of the humans in Noah’s day, or demons in the abyss (3:19)? Does 3:20, 21 teach baptismal regeneration (salvation), or salvation by faith alone in Christ?  


I. Greetings (1:1-2)

II. Praise to God for His Grace and Salvation (1:3-12)

III. Exhortations to Holiness of Life (1:13-5:11)

A. The Requirement of Holiness (1:13-2:3)

B. The Position of Believers (2:4-12)

  1. A spiritual house (2:4-8)

  2. A chosen people (2:9-10)

  3. Aliens and strangers (2:11-12)

C. Submission to Authority (2:13-3:7)

  1. Submission to rulers (2:13-17)

  2. Submission to masters (2:18-20)

  3. Christ’s example of submission (2:21-25)

  4. Submission of wives to husbands (3:1-6)

  5. The corresponding duty of husbands (3:7)

D. Duties of All (3:8-17)

E. Christ’s Example (3:18-4:6)

F. Conduct in View of the End of All Things (4:7-11)

G. Conduct of Those Who Suffer for Christ (4:12-19)

H. Conduct of Elders (5:1-4)

I.   Conduct of the Young (5:5-11)

IV. The Purpose of the Letter (5:12)

V. Final Greetings and Benediction (5:13-14)


1 Pedro Horizontal

1:1 - Peter - to exiles

1:2 - GRace, peace

A living

1:3 - A living hope


1:10 - Prophets prophesied grace

1:13 - Be holy in conduct

1:22 - Perishable/imperishable


2:1 - Long for spiritual milk


2:4 - Living stone

Called to  

2:9 - You are chosen race

Holy Living

2:11 - Maintain good conduct

2:13 - Honor all men

2:18 - Christ suffered-example follow


3:1 - Wives


3:7 - Husbands


3:8 - All of you

3:13 - Suffer-righteousness sake

4:1 - Live flesh no longer

Living and Suffering

4:7 - In everything-God glorified

for God

4:12 - Rejoice-share Christ’s sufferings

5:1 - Elders-tend flock

5:6 - Devil seeking-devour-resist


5:12 - Stand fast

Glory is coming

5:14b Peace

God's character in 1 Peter

  1. God is accessible - 1:17; 3:18
  2. God is faithful - 4:19
  3. God is holy - 1:15, 16
  4. God is just - 1:17
  5. God is long-suffering - 3:20
  6. God is merciful - 1:3
  7. God is righteous - 2:23

Christ in 1 Peter

    Since the christians addressed in 1 Peter lived in the midst of great persecution, Peter directs them to identify with the sufferings of Christ (1:10-12; 2:24; 4:12, 13). First Peter balances this message with reminders of the numerous blessings bestowed on Christians for their perseverance (1:13-16). Christ remains the believer's "living hope" in a hostile world (1:3, 4).