Who wrote it?
1 Peter 1:1 identifies the author of the book as the apostle Peter.
When(ish) was it written?
1 Peter was likely written between AD 60 and 65.
Why was it written?
The book of 1 Peter is a letter from Peter to the believers who had been dispersed throughout the ancient world and were under intense persecution. If anyone understood persecution, it was Peter. He was beaten, threatened, punished, and jailed for preaching the Word of God. He knew what it took to endure without bitterness, without losing hope and in great faith living an obedient, victorious life. This knowledge of living hope in Jesus was the message and Christ’s example was the one to follow.
Some Key Verses
[quote] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
– 1 Peter 1:3 [/quote]
[quote] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
– 1 Peter 2:9 [/quote]
[quote] He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
– 1 Peter 2:24 [/quote]
[quote] Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
– 1 Peter 5:8-9 [/quote]
A Quick Summary
Though this time of persecution was desperate, Peter reveals that it was actually a time to rejoice. He says to count it a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ, as their Savior suffered for them. This letter makes reference to Peter’s personal experiences with Jesus, and his sermons from the book of Acts. Peter confirms Satan as the great enemy of every Christian, but the assurance of Christ’s future return gives the incentive of hope.
Old Testament Ties
Peter’s familiarity with the Old Testament law and prophets enabled him to explain various Old Testament passages in light of the life and work of Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:16, he quotes Leviticus 11:44: “Be holy, for I am holy.” But he prefaces it by explaining that holiness is not achieved by keeping the Law, but by the grace bestowed upon all who believe in Christ (1 Peter 1:13). Further, Peter explains the reference to the “cornerstone” in Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22 as Christ, who was rejected by the Jews through their disobedience and unbelief. Additional Old Testament references include the sinless Christ (1 Peter 2:22/Isaiah 53:9) and admonitions to holy living through the power of God which yields blessings (1 Peter 3:10:12; Psalm 34:12-16; 1 Peter 5:5; Proverbs 3:34).
What does this mean?
The assurance of eternal life is given to all Christians. One way to identify with Christ is to share in His suffering. We have been saved by the imperishable grace of Christ into a new life in Him. Sometimes life seems unbearably hard, yet we have an unfading hope in Christ that strengthens us in the midst of it all. This letter to the exiled early church encourages us to remember what Christ has done for us, and that no matter what our circumstances, we are positionally in Him.
- Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from 1 Peter 1:23-25, 2:1-12. What verses or ideas stand out to you from this passage? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
- Peter was impulsive, inconsistent, and often “got it wrong,” and yet Jesus chose him. In what ways can you relate to Peter?
- How has following Jesus been counterintuitive for you? What choices do you find yourself facing that go against the momentum of our culture? Consider how an eternal focus and perspective will encourage you when you face challenges in your present circumstances.
- Are you a Bible person? How can you increase your desire for the “pure milk of the Word?”
- Have you been “born again?” When and how did that happen? Have you been baptized? Have each person in your Life Group share a bit of their faith story.