This epistle or letter was most likely written by the apostle Peter as was 2 Peter. There is some modern criticism that Peter did not write the letters that bear his name. The evidence, both internal and external, indicate that indeed Peter is the author of both. It was written to the churches in Asia Minor ( modern Turkey). Peter wrote this letter to offer hope to the Christians that were suffering severe persecution under Nero. There are two different thoughts on where Peter was when he wrote this letter. One school of thought is that Peter was in Babylon based on the last verse of this epistle. 1 Peter 5:13 opens with these words,” She who is in Babylon…..” Babylon was located on the Euphrates where modern Iraq is located. The other school of thought is that Peter was using Babylon as a code word for Rome. The persecutions were severe enough that “codes” had to be developed so outsiders would not understand, but the churches would understand. Peter probably wrote this letter shortly after the execution of Paul and shortly before his own martyrdom, which would place the date of the writing around ad 67 or 68. The church as a whole would be about 35 years old at this time. This letter was to comfort Christians and to remind them that Christ did His work by suffering so not to think it strange that they had to suffer. This letter contains instructions how the Christian is to respond to the suffering and persecution in a Christ-like manner. The key element of this letter is the salvation that will be revealed at the last day.
There are five themes that come alive in this letter:
Christians can expect to suffer as a part of a life dedicated to Christ.
Christians are to live righteousness and holy lives even in the face of evil. Never returning evil for evil.
That no matter how much or how severe the suffering under
persecution became they did not deserve it. Their suffering was a part of their service to God and His kingdom.
Christians are to submit themselves to others for the sake of the gospel and for harmonious relationships with other peoples.
Finally, Peter stressed in this letter the central truth of the gospel, that Jesus endured the agony on the cross to save us from bondage to sin and that we are to follow Jesus example of quiet endurance of suffering, be committed to the Truth, and that the actions and attitudes of Jesus should be reflected in the way in which we handle the difficulties that we face.
Peter opens his letter with a salutation in which he identifies himself as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
An apostle is one that received a special commission from the Lord to act with official authority as a representative of God among believers in order to carry God’s message to them.
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
This letter is addressed to the “dispersion of pilgrims”
As Christians we not “of this world” but we are of a “heavenly world” The term dispersion conveys the idea of being scattered among strangers.
Sanctification is the process or result of being made holy. Holy means to be set apart for the use of God. We are to live out holy lives and we can only do that by the power that we have through the Holy Spirit. We are to be obedient to God in that of serving Him as that is one of the reasons that He chose to make us holy. The sprinkling of the blood bring to mind three time in the OT that the Israelites were sprinkled with the blood of animals:
Moses sprinkling blood on the Israelites on Mt Sinai as an intiation to the covenat with God.
The sprinkling of Aaron and his sons to be preists.
The preists sprinkling blood over healed lepers to symbolize their healing.
Peter could be thinking of any of these three cases here as he wrote this epistle.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,7that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,8whom having not seenyou love. Though now you do not see Him,yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,9receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
10Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,11searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.12To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to usthey were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
Verse 3 “according to His abundant mercy”- Even though we are full of sin, God has compassion for us and our salvation is not of any works that we do, but is dependent upon God’s mercy granted through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.
“Begotten us again” We , as believers have the capabiltiy to live a spiritual life that is far beyond what our fleshly bodies will allow. This is what Jesus meant we He said “you must be born again” He was talking about a spiritual birth.
“to a living hope” Hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit and is an essential characteristic of the Christian. Hope here is not mere expectation but includes confidence, trust, and safety. Hope is closely related to faith- A good defintion of both faith and hope would be “ the assurance of things not yet seen or revealed.” And this hope is not temporary but is eternal.
“Through the resurrection” The resurrection is the means of our salvation but not the means of our hope.
Verse 4- The word translated inheritance from the Greek indicates that this is both something in the present and in the future. God has already set aside an inheritance in heaven that is even now waiting for us.
Verse 5- We do fully realize or fully understand our salvation, but one day, we will fully understand this mystery.