Peter First Epistle of
Peter, First Epistle of. The external evidence of authenticity of this epistle is of the strongest kind; and the internal is equally strong. It was addressed to the churches of Asia Minor, which had for the most part been founded by Paul and his companions. Supposing it to have been written at Babylon, 1 Pet. 5:13, it is a probable conjecture that Silvanus, by whom it was transmitted to those churches, had joined Peter after a tour of visitation, and that his account of the condition of the Christians in those districts determined the apostle to write the epistle. (On the question of this epistle having been written at Babylon commentators differ. “Some refer it to the famous Babylon in Asia, which after its destruction was still inhabited by a Jewish colony; others refer it to Babylon in Egypt, now called Old Cairo; still others understand it mystically of heathen Rome, in which sense ‘Babylon’ is certainly used in the Apocalypse of John.”—Schaff.) The objects of the epistle were—
1. To comfort and strengthen the Christians in a season of severe trial. 2. To enforce the practical and spiritual duties involved in their calling. 3. To warn them against special temptations attached to their position. 4. To remove all doubt as to the soundness and completeness of the religious system which they had already received. Such an attestation was especially needed by the Hebrew Christians, who were wont to appeal from Paul’s authority to that of the elder apostles, and above all to that of Peter. The last, which is perhaps the very principal object, is kept in view throughout the epistle, and is distinctly stated ch. 5:12. The harmony of such teaching with that of Paul is sufficiently obvious. Peter belongs to the school, or, to speak more correctly, is the leader of the school, which at once vindicates the unity of the law and the gospel, and puts the superiority of the latter on its true basis—that of spiritual development. The date of this epistle is uncertain, but Alford believes it to have been written between a.d. 63 and 67.