The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as
First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New
Testament. It has traditionally been held to have been written
by Saint Peter the apostle during his time as bishop of Rome
or Bishop of Antioch, though neither title is used in the
epistle. The letter is addressed to various churches in Asia
Minor suffering religious persecution...
Simon Peter was a native of Galilee. He was brought to the
Saviour early in His ministry by his brother Andrew (Jn
1:40,41). His call to the office of apostle is recorded in
Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:13-16.
He occupied a distinguished place among the Lord's
disciples. In the four lists of the apostles found in the
New Testament his name stands first (Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19;
Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). He is the chief figure in the first
twelve chapters of the Acts. It is Peter that preaches the
first Christian sermon (Acts 2), he that opens the door of
the gospel to the Gentileworld in the house of the Roman
soldier, Cornelius, and has the exquisite delight of
witnessing scenes closely akin to those of Pentecost at
Jerusalem (Acts 10:44-47). It was given him to pronounce the
solemn sentence on the guilty pair, Ananias and Sapphira,
and to rebuke in the power of the Spirit the profane Simon
Magus (Acts 5:1-11; 8:18-23). In these and the like
instances Peter exhibited the authority with which Christ
had invested him (Mt 16:19)--an authority bestowed upon all
the disciples (Jn 20:22,23)--the power to bind and to loose.
Two Epistles are ascribed to Peter. Of the Second doubt and
uncertainty have existed from the early ages to the present.
The genuineness and authenticity of the First are above
I. Canonicity of 1 Peter.
1. External Evidence:
The proof of its integrity and trustworthiness is ample and
altogether satisfactory. It falls into parts: external and
internal. The historical attestation to its authority as an
apostolic document is abundant. Polycarp, disciple of the
apostle John, martyed in 156 AD at 86 or more years of age,
refers to the Epistle in unmistakable terms. Irenaeus, a man
who may well be said to represent both the East and the
West, who was a disciple of Polycarp, quotes it copiously,
we are assured. Clement of Alexandria, born circa 150 AD,
died circa 216 AD, cites it many times in his Stromata, one
passage (1 Pet 4:8) being quoted five times by actual count.
"The testimony of the early-church is summed up by Eusebius
(Historia Ecclesiastica, III, xxiii, 3). He places it among
those writings about which no question was ever raised, no
doubt ever entertained by any portion of the catholic
church" (Professor Lumby in Bible Comm.).
2. Internal Evidence:
The internal evidence in favor of the Epistle is as
conclusive as the external. The writer is well acquainted
with our Lord's teaching, and he makes use of it to
illustrate and enforce his own. The references he makes to
that teaching are many, and they include the four Gospels.
He is familiar...
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, 1Pe 5:13 it ia
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 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 1Pe 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.
This epistle is addressed to "the strangers scattered
i.e., to the Jews of the Dispersion (the Diaspora).
Its object is to confirm its readers in the
doctrines they had
been already taught. Peter has been called "the
hope," because this epistle abounds with words of
encouragement fitted to sustain a "lively hope." It
about thirty-five references to the Old Testament.
It was written from Babylon, on the Euphrates, which
this time one of the chief seats of Jewish learning,
fitting centre for labour among the Jews. It has
that in the beginning of his epistle Peter names the
of Asia Minor in the order in which they would
to one writing from Babylon. He counsels (1) to
and perseverance under persecution (1-2:10); (2) to
practical duties of a holy life (2:11-3:13); (3) he
example of Christ and other motives to patience and
(3:14-4:19); and (4) concludes with counsels to
people (ch. 5).
FIRST EPISTLE. Genuineness. Attested by 2 Peter 3:1. Polycarp (in
Eusebius 4:14); who in writing to the Philippians (Philippians 2)
quotes 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 3:9; in Philippians 5; 1
Peter 2:11. Eusebius (H. E. 3:39) says of Papins that he too quotes 1
Peter. Irenaeus (Haer. 4:9, section 2) expressly mentions it; in
4:16, section 5, 1 Peter 2:16. Clemens Alex. (Strom. 1:3, 544) quotes
1 Peter 2:11-12; 1 Peter 2:15-16; and p. 562, 1 Peter 1:21-22; and in
4:584, 1 Peter 3:14-17; and p. 585, 1 Peter 4:12-14. Origen (in
Eusebius H. E. 6:25) mentions it; in Homily 7 on Joshua (vol. 2:63),
both epistles; and in Commentary on Psalms and John 1 Peter 3:18-21.
Tertullian (Scorp. 12) quotes 1 Peter 2:20-21; and in 14 1 Peter
2:13; 1 Peter 2:17. Eusebius calls 1 Peter one of "the universally
The Peshito Syriac has it. Muratori's Fragm. of Canon omits
it. The Paulicians alone rejected it. The internal evidence for it is
strong. The author calls himself the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:1), "a
witness of Christ's sufferings," and "an elder" (1 Peter 5:1). The
energetic style accords with Peter's character. Erasmus remarks this
epistle is full of apostolical dignity and authority, worthy of the
leader among the apostles.
PERSONS ADDRESSED. 1 Peter 1:1; "to the elect strangers
(pilgrims spiritually) of the dispersion," namely, Jewish Christians
primarily. 1 Peter 1:14. 1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 Peter 4:3, prove that
Gentile Christians, as grafted into the Christian Jewish stock and so
becoming of the true Israel, are secondarily addressed. Thus the
apostle of the circumcision seconded the apostle of the
uncircumcision in uniting Jew and Gentile in the one Christ. Peter
enumerates the provinces in the order from N.E, to S. and W. Pontus
was the country of the Christian Jew Aquila.
Paul twice visited Galatia, founding and confirming churches.
Crescens, his companion, went there just before Paul's last
imprisonment (2 Timothy 4:10). Men of Cappadocia, as well as of
"Pontus" and "Asia" (including Mysia, Lydia, Curia, Phrygia, Pisidia,
and Lycaonia), were among Peter's hearers on Pentecost; these brought
home to their native lands the first tidings of the gospel. In
Lycaonia were the churches of Iconium, founded by Paul and Barnabas;
of Lystra, Timothy's birthplace, where Paul was stoned; and of Derbe,
the birthplace of Gains or Caius. In Pisidia was Antioch, where Paul
preached (Acts 13) so effectively, but from which he was driven out
by the Jews. In Caria was Miletus, where Paul convened the Ephesian
In Phrygia Paul preached when visiting twice the neighbouring
Galatia. The churches of Laodicea were Hierapolis and Colesse (having
as members Philemon and Onesimus, and leaders Archippus and
Epaphras). In Lydia was the Philadelphian church favorably noticed
Revelation 3:7; that of Sardis the capital; Thyatira; and Ephesus,
founded by Paul, laboured in by Aquila, Priscilla, Apollos, and Paul
for three years, censured for leaving its first love (Revelation
2:4). Smyrna received unqualified praise. In Mysia was Pergamos.
Troas was the scene of Paul's preaching, raising Eutychus, and
staying with Carpus long subsequently...