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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

The First Letter of Peter - Introduction

The author presents himself as the apostle * whom Jesus commissioned, “Peter,” thus establishing his authority to speak (Mt 16.16–19; John 21.15–19 ). The addressees reside in no particular cities, as is the case with Paul's letters; they live throughout ancient Asia Minor, the region we now call Turkey. If the letter was composed at the outbreak in Rome of anti-Christian hatred associated with Nero, then it is possible that the historical “Peter” might be dictating this document in Rome to his secretary Sylvanus ( 5.12 ). But outside of Rome, there was no official persecution of Christians until much later. Nevertheless, the author seems to be speaking as though he were a high-ranking person in the church of Rome, which is called “Babylon” in 5.13 . Current scholarship, however, thinks that the author writes on the occasion of the persecution in the provinces, which began under the emperor Trajan (97–117) and for which we have evidence in the letters of Pliny, the Roman governor of Asia Minor (Letters 10.96 ). As is the case with 2 Peter, Jude, and James, a later writer writes in the name, spirit, and teaching of an earlier authority. The addressees, moreover, are often called “exiles,” indicating that the majority of them are peoples forced to leave their own lands and so lose any citizenship or benefit from being a native or local inhabitant. The author often refers to their “suffering,” most probably meaning the social and economic hostility against Christians who could no longer support local deities or participate in civic festivals because of their Christian beliefs.

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