The letter addresses social suffering and social ostracism, and not government-led persecution. Probably written around 60 AD however if it is pseudapigraphical then it could have been written around 89 AD. Major Themes: Suffering abuse for Christ: Again, thought to be social and verbal persecution. Not physical, though it could have led to a few instances of physical. The letter identifies its readers as aliens and exiles, probably because that is how they feel in their homes. Peter gives them several points of advice: 1.)Jesus predicted this suffering 2.) suffering may accord with God’s will, but it is not allowed by God, and is done by unrighteous people 3.) God cares for those who suffer 4.) Times of suffering will be short 5.) those who have caused suffering will be defeated and punished. 6.) those who have endured unjust suffering will receive an award in heaven. In addition, they should adopt a few perspectives: 1.)Their suffering is refining their faith, and acts as a proving ground. 2.)They are suffering with Christ3.)The church should become its own community, “household of God”4.)They should not act out against them, but show them through their deeds, their faith, and be ready to defend the gospel when asked. Christians as the New Israel: Peter describes the new believers as drafted in the relationship that God has with the Jews through Jesus Christ. Anyone can have salvation and a good relationship with God through Jesus as the sacrifice. The letter doesn’t explicitly state the transfer of privileges from Jew to Christian, but some scholars think it is implied, thus 1stPeter becomes the key text to support of supersessionsim, the doctrine that Christians have replaced or superseded Jews as the chosen people. This is debated, however, it is clear in the letter that Peter is calling them to be like the chosen people of Israel, holy and set apart. The letter clearly calls them in dispersion, or Israel-in-the-Diaspora. Israel may be God’s elect, and chosen people,but they are in exile. The metaphor works practically in two ways: 1.) a primary danger is that readers face assimilation to the surrounding culture 2.) the return from exile to the homeland (in this case the Christian pilgrimage from earth to heaven) involves a journey of faith accompanied by many trials.
Baptism and Spiritual Growth: Here the readers are seen as baby Christians not yet old enough to handle real food, and needing to grow into their salvation. A key word for such people is hope the readers can look back on futile and dubious pasts, and can look foreword with hope.Submission to Earthly Authorities: Haustafel- household table: The table has an emphasis on submission to non-Christian authorities. There is nothing said about Christians in power, only Christians who are under submission, this tells us a lot about the composition of the societies addressed in this letter. Some scholars feel that this is actually because they wanted to show that Christianity didn’t cause insubordination.