First Peter is a circular letter intended for Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor. Suffering is clearly a major theme of the letter and suggests that its recipients were subject to some type of mistreatment or persecution. Peter writes to give these Christians hope and encouragement on their journey.
Many scholars dispute that Peter, the disciple of Christ, wrote this letter. Peter was an uneducated fisherman, but this letter was written in a sophisticated style of Greek. Others suggest that the letter may have been composed by a secretary under Peter’s direction—perhaps Silas mentioned in 5:12.
Peter praises God for the hope he shares with the recipients of this letter. Such Christian hope remains despite trials. In fact, these Christians’ faith is made more genuine for having passed through the purifying fires of persecution. These Christians are also living in a privileged time, for they see what the Old Testament prophets foreshadowed and what angels longed to see. With that privilege comes responsibility, and so they are also exhorted to be holy in their actions, just as God is holy. Holy living will be an example to others, especially their oppressors, so that they too will be able to see the gospel at work in their midst.
Peter gives instructions to wives and husbands that closely resemble those given in 1 Timothy, and instructions to elders and young men that closely resemble those given in Titus 2. His direction that the people submit to rulers and slaves submit to masters echoes such passages as Romans 13 and other household codes (Colossians 3, Ephesians 5). Amid these exhortations, he returns twice to the central topic of Christian suffering, saying that they should be sure to suffer for doing good, counting it a privilege to suffer along with Christ.
– Peter Enns