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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The First Letter of Peter - Introduction

This letter is directed to congregations of predominantly Gentile Christians scattered throughout several Roman provinces in Asia Minor. It is an appeal to Christians to “stand fast” in the gospel ( 5.12 ) and to rejoice in whatever sufferings they are called upon to endure for their faith ( 4.12–16 ).

Following the salutation ( 1.1–2 ) a prefatory section focuses on the reality and responsibilities of the new life in Christ ( 1.3–2.10 ). Subsequently, a number of specific exhortations are issued which deal with the conduct of Christians in their daily affairs ( 2.11–4.6 ) and with their relationships to others in the church itself ( 4.7–11 ). Finally, the writer summarizes the meaning of suffering as a Christian ( 4.12–19 ) and concludes with some specific matters ( 5.1–14 ).

If Peter himself wrote this letter, or caused it to be written by Silvanus ( 5.12 ), it perhaps reflects Nero's persecution of Christians about 64 C.E. Some scholars, however, believe the good Greek style and the theological point of view preclude Petrine authorship or sponsorship. In this case the author would be an anonymous Christian concerned for the church's tribulations during the reign either of Domitian (81–96 C.E.) or of Trajan (98–117 C.E.), and would perhaps be using some traditional liturgical and catechetical materials ( 1.3–4.11 ).

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