First Epistle of Peter

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First Epistle of Peter

Codex Sinaiticus - 1 Peter.jpg

I Peter in the Codex Sinaiticus, c. 350 CE.

Author Anonymous
Type Ancient writing
Genre Epistle
Themes Religion
Age Group Adult

The First Epistle of Peter, often named simply, I Peter is the twenty-first book of the New Testament. It is a letter written in ancient Greek around 80-90 CE to early Christians. The author identifies himself as Peter, but most historians don't believe Peter wrote this letter. The letter explains how the followers of this religion should expect unfair mistreatment and suffering which is good because it brings them closer to Jesus, and extols the importance of blind obedience. This letter is in the public domain.


Own?Several translations.
Read?NIV translation.

I read this letter to increase my understanding of Christianity.

Authorship and Dating

The author identifies himself as "Peter an Apostle of Jesus Christ." While church tradition holds that the author is Peter, one of Jesus' 12 disciples, the majority of New Testament scholars are in agreement that Peter did not write the letter. They give several reasons:

  • Peter is described as an uneducated fisherman in the Gospels. At this place and this time in history, such a person would be illiterate, yet the letter is expertly written.
  • Peter, being from Galilee, most likely spoke Aramaic or Hebrew, but the letter is written in scholarly Greek, a language that would be inaccessible to a fisherman.
  • When quoting the Tanakh, Peter would probably use the source he was familiar with (a Hebrew manuscript), instead, all quotes of the Tanakh come from the Greek Septuagint, which he probably couldn't read or even speak.
  • In the Gospels, Peter is described as having been a close friend of Jesus, but this author doesn't mention even a single event or anecdote from his supposed travels with Jesus.
  • Historians date Peter's death to 64 or 67 CE, but they date the letter to be written around 80-90 CE.

There are no known original manuscripts. The oldest fragment is Papyrus 125 dated to around 200-400 CE.

In addition to Peter not being the author of this epistle, historians don't believe he authored the Second Epistle of Peter either, and, in fact, the letter carries such a different message and style than the second, that many New Testament scholars don't believe the two letters were written by the same person.


There is a very popular verse among Christian apologists, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (I Peter 3:15), which is usually interpreted to mean that the believer should be able to argue in defense of God. However, they often forget the remainder of the verse, "But do this with gentleness and respect."

Another interesting verse is (3:18-20) which describes Jesus, after dying, going to a prison for spirits and preaching to them. Some denominations of Christianity use this and other verses to claim that after Jesus dies, he was briefly in Hell prior to his resurrection.





  • Nothing.


  • Over all, I found the letter to be pretty masochistic. While I admire the honor in suffering for what you believe to be true, it doesn't mean much to me when it's tainted with sexism and bigotry.


  • The letter praises people for blindly believing in things without evidence (1:7-9).
  • The author demands people submit themselves to all forms of worldly authority (2:13-14)!
  • The author tells slaves to submit themselves to their masters, even if they are cruel, because it will make you more godly (2:18)!
  • The author tells wives to submit to their husband's every desire, and that beauty doesn't come from braided hair, but from being quiet, which is what God desires. He also says women are the weaker partner (3:1-7).
  • The flood that killed everyone on earth except eight people is described as being a saving baptism (3:20-21).


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