Imagine going to your mailbox. Among the bills and advertisements, you find a special letter written by Peter, a friend and follower of Jesus. Peter was one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection and preached a powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost. He also wrote two epistles (letters) to believers scattered throughout western Asia.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1 Peter 1:1
Knowing that Peter is the author should encourage us. Although he stumbled badly, denying Christ three times (Mark 14:27–31, 66–72), Peter had been fully restored and forgiven (John 21:15–19) by Christ. He went on to become a key leader in the early church, as we see in the book of Acts. God even chose this flawed disciple to write two books of the New Testament!
Peter’s first epistle was probably written from Rome—symbolically referred to as “Babylon” (5:13)—in about 64 A.D. The original audience would have included both Jewish and Gentile believers. He addressed these believers as “exiles,” a word which has been translated “strangers” and “pilgrims,” in part because as believers our ultimate citizenship is in heaven (v. 1; Phil. 3:20).
Here we are introduced to the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (v. 2). The readers of this letter, including us, have been chosen by the Father and are undergoing the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. We have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood, an image of atonement that indicates we are called to obey Him.
Like other New Testament epistles, it begins with a salutation and ends with personal greetings. Doctrine is featured early in the letter, followed by how to put that doctrine into practice. We will learn about salvation, suffering, standing firm, holiness, submission, hope, and the return of Christ.