The author of this letter was a fisherman before Andrew, his brother, brought him to meet Christ (John 1:40-42). Peter was the son of Jonah(s) and was also known as Simon (Greek) or Simeon (Hebrew). Jesus changed his name to Cephas (Aramaic), meaning stone or rock
, which signified how Jesus would use him in the future to establish the church. Some of the details we know about Peter is that he was married, he was an apostle, and seemed to be the leader of the apostles. Most of his ministry is documented in the first twelve chapters of Acts. Peter’s life ended in martyrdom when he was crucified upside down (AD 67-68). This first letter of Peter was written a couple years before his death during a time of severe persecution of Christians. The emperor Nero was ruling over Rome (AD 64-65) and he had an uncontrollable desire to build. When he ran out of room, he purposely set fire to the city in order to be able to build again. The Roman citizens were furious as they had lost everything. Nero quickly realized the mess he had created so he blamed the fire on the Christians. Followers of Christ lived in fear each day as the Roman citizens sought revenge upon them. It was under these circumstances which Peter wrote this letter to encourage the Christians to be strong and holy amidst persecution. Themes such as hope and trust in God make their way to the surface as Peter seeks to comfort those who are being persecuted.
Dear God, provide understanding as I read through 1 Peter. Help me to apply what I read to my own life.