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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for 1 Peter

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WRITER: Simon Peter (1 Peter 1:1). Peter has been called the ignorant fisherman, but no man who had spent three years in the school of Jesus could be called ignorant, and the epistles of Peter confirm this.
A great change is seen in the life of Peter from these epistles. He had been impetuous, but now he is patient. The transforming power of the gospel has wrought this change in his life.

DATE: A.D. 64-67. Peter wrote his two epistles and was put to death sometime during this period. First Peter was written, evidently, around A.D. 64 and 2 Peter a short time later.

PLACE: Although the place from which it was written has been the preeminent problem of this epistle, it is given as Babylon (1 Peter 5:13). Many treat this in a metaphorical sense as meaning Rome. However, the legend that Peter was in Rome for 25 years preceding his martyrdom is grounded in the apocryphal writings of the heretical Ebionites.
The list of countries in 1 Peter 1:1 is from east to west, which suggests that the writer was in the East at the time of writing. Furthermore, Babylon is directly mentioned as the origin, and this epistle was written before Rome was called Babylon in a symbolic way in the Book of Revelation. Also, the direct manner of Peter’s writing, to the extent of bluntness, contradicts the theory that he used Babylon in a symbolic way. If Peter had meant Rome, the chances are that he would have said Rome. There was at this time a large colony of Jews in ancient Babylon who had fled Rome due to severe persecution under Claudius, and at the time of writing bloody Nero was on the throne. This is in harmony with the theme of the epistle. In spite of the fact that Papias mentions the death of Peter as occurring in Rome, there is no substantial historical basis for this supposition.

THEME: Christian hope in the time of trial.
Peter deals with doctrine and handles weighty subjects. This is seen in his treatment of the great words of the gospel, many of which are gathered together at the outset (1 Peter 1:2) — elect, foreknowledge, sanctification, obedience, blood, and the Trinity. He used some of these words several times. Added to these are: salvation (used three times), revelation (with cognate words, used five times), glory (with cognate words, used sixteen times), faith (five times), and hope (four times).
Peter has been called the apostle of hope; Paul, the apostle of faith; John, the apostle of love.
The word that conveys the theme, however, is suffering (which, with cognate words, occurs sixteen times). The word hope is tied to it — the Christian hope in the time of trial.

Outline for James ← Prior Section
Outline for 1 Peter Next Section →
General Epistles ← Prior Book
Notes for 2 Peter Next Book →
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