First Peter – Encouraging Christians

first peter

In the Epistle of First Peter, Peter wrote to Jewish Christians who were experiencing persecution for their faith.  He wrote to comfort them with the hope of eternal life and to challenge them to continue living holy lives.  Those who suffer for being Christians become partners with Christ in his suffering.  As we suffer, we must remember that Christ is both our hope in the midst of suffering and our example of how to endure suffering faithfully.

When you suffer for doing what is right, remember that following Christ is a costly commitment. When persecuted for your faith, rejoice that you have been counted worthy to suffer for Christ. He suffered for us; as his followers, we should expect nothing less. As you read First Peter, remember that trials will come to refine your faith. When they come, remain faithful to God.

In addition to giving several exhortations for faithful living in an ungodly society, Peter discusses the salvation promised in the gospel. The future salvation that awaits believers at the revelation of Christ us especially prominent at the outset of the letter (1:3-13). This is the “hope” of the Christian referred to in 1:3, 13, 21; 3:15. Even as Christ suffered and then was glorified, so Christians should anticipate the glory ahead, though they may be persecuted for their faith in this life (1:6-7; 4:12-13). Patience in the midst of unjust suffering in “commendable before God” (2:20).

As you read First Peter, remember that trials will come to refine your faith. When they come, remain faithful to God!!

Writer of First Peter

Written by Peter, “an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:1), having been commissioned of God with an apostleship (job) in the dispensation of grace to write a book. Peter wrote in the company of Sylvanus (Silas) (1 Peter 5:12).

Date Written

The letter probably should be dated during the reign of Nero (A.D. 54-68). The reference to Babylon in 5:13 is almost certainly a reference to Rome, leading one to conclude that Peter wrote the letter from Rome. He probably wrote before the Neronian persecution in Rome, and thus the date of the letter is likely A. D. 62-63.

To Whom Written

The letter is addressed to Christians dispersed in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1:1), an area north of the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). These provinces were ethnically diverse, yet all these territories had been impacted by Greco-Roman culture and were firmly under Roman control from the mid-first century B.C.

Purpose of First Peter

The purpose of the book of First Peter is to inform Jewish believers living in the dispensation of grace as to how God would have them live as Jews in this dispensation. They are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9), the Jewish company of dispensation of grace believers. While living outside the land, they were once not a people, but now are the people of God. They are destined to represent God’s grace in Israel in the kingdom to come, while Gentile believers from this dispensation will represent Him to other nations. Yet first, they needed to know how to live worthily as Jews in this dispensation, with the law no longer being the rule of life for any Israelite. Peter offered them instruction in this, much as Paul did in 1 Timothy.

Historical Setting

First Peter is addressed to Christians living in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” – places in the northern and western parts of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The readers appear to have been Gentiles, although they probably had not been evangelized by Peter himself.

Theological Contribution

First Peter was written by one who sensed the triumphant outcome of God’s, purpose for the world. The triumph of the future depends in no way on what we have done but on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because God has raised Jesus from the dead, God is deserving of praise; for “His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope.”



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