By the time we finish this first week of study, we should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who is writing?
- Who is the audience?
- What was the purpose of the letter?
- When was it written and what was going on at the time?
We can get some of these answers from the text itself. Here is some other information that scholars have provided to try and fill in the blanks:
This is a map of the region and time in which Peter wrote:
Verse 5:13 seems to indicate that Peter was writing from Rome (Babylon was often used as a way of referring to Rome). He was writing to believers in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia–areas in the modern-day country of Turkey.
Verse 5:12 says that Peter’s purpose was to exhort them, which means to come alongside someone in order to instruct, teach, encourage, console, or strengthen them. Some of the other verses (1:6; 2:12,19-21; 3:9, 13-17; 4:1,12,16,19) suggest that these Christians were suffering from hostility and persecution, so this could be why Peter wanted to encourage them.
While it is hard to know for sure, a likely date for writing is in the early to mid 60s AD. This was a time when persecution of Christians was really starting to ramp up.
This then is one of the letters of the New Testament especially helpful to anybody who is going through some difficulty. If you are facing the problem of suffering of any kind, I would urge you to read First Peter. If you are wondering what God is doing in the world of our day and what is going to happen in the face of all the tensions and pressures and possibilities of terror that await us in the future, this is an excellent letter to read because it was written to Christians under similar circumstances. -Ray Stedman, pastor and biblical expositor
Weekend challenge: Share something you’ve learned this week with someone else and invite them to join us! It’s not too late.