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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Purpose.

The purpose of the letter is not to convey doctrinal information or specific ethical instruction, but rather to urge the recipients to hold fast to their faith in the face of hostility (so Elliott 1982; cf. Thurén 1995; Achtemeier 1996 ). This, indeed, is roughly what the letter itself states ( 5:12 ). It achieves this aim by the threefold strategy of reminding the recipients of the enormous value of what they have already received as Christians (e.g. 1:3, 10–12, 18–21; 2:9–10 ), by assuring them of their future vindication and reward (e.g. 1:4–5, 13; 4:13; 5:4, 6, 10 ), and by emphasizing the example of the blameless suffering of Christ (e.g. 2:21–3; 3:18; 4:13 ). If Peter was known to the recipients to have been martyred for his faith, this may have provided a further reason for writing in his name. However, the sufferings envisaged in the letter appear to be not martyrdom arising from state persecution but verbal and physical abuse from hostile neighbours (e.g. 2:12, 15, 19–20; 3:9, 16; 4:4, 14 ). The hard-pressed believers are urged to give no needless cause for offence, even under provocation, but to excel in good conduct motivated by their loyalty and obedience to God.

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