Historical Background: In Peter’s day the Roman government displayed a general tolerance for all religions, including Christianity. The Church was under a divine commission to preach the gospel unto “all the world” (Mark 16:15), and it began by circulating the gospel message throughout the Roman Empire. Although the gospel was spread by peaceful means, the message proclaiming the coming of the risen Christ as the King of Kings was not a favorable message to the Roman monarchs.
In A.D. 64 a fire destroyed much of Rome. The emperor Nero was implicated in the tragedy despite his efforts to help those who became homeless because of it. In an effort to divert the blame, Nero pointed an accusing finger at the Christians. Soon the Saints throughout the empire were persecuted because of hatred and misunderstandings. This change from tolerance to hostility provoked great anxiety among the Saints. About the same time, Peter wrote to encourage the Saints in their sufferings and to remind them of the eternal reward for their faithfulness. Peter wrote this letter from “Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13), which probably means Rome (see Bible Dictionary, (“Babylon,” p. 618).
Unique Features: In this Epistle, Peter included some of the most revealing statements in the Bible about salvation for the dead.
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