First Epistle of Peter

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The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch, though neither title is used in the epistle. The letter is addressed to various churches in Asia Minor suffering religious persecution.



See Also Authorship of the Petrine epistles The author identifies himself in the opening verse as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus".


This epistle is addressed “to the strangers dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, elect,” (five provinces of Asia Minor) though it otherwise appears to be addressed to Gentiles rather than to the Jews of the Diaspora.

The author counsels (1) to steadfastness and perseverance under persecution (1–2:10); (2) to the practical duties of a holy life (2:11–3:13); (3) he adduces the example of Christ and other motives to patience and holiness (3:14–4:19); and (4) concludes with counsels to pastors and people (chap. 5).


The principal divisions of the First Letter of Peter are the following:

  • Address (1 Peter 1:1-2)
  • The Gift and Call of God in Baptism (1 Peter 1:3-2:10)
  • The Christian in a Hostile World (1 Peter 2:11-4:11)
  • Advice to the Persecuted (1 Peter 4:12-5:11)
  • Conclusion (1 Peter 5:12-14) 1 Peter 1:1-2

The "Harrowing of Hell"

See Also Harrowing of Hell

The author refers to Jesus, after his death, proclaiming to spirits in prison (3:18-20). This passage, and a few others (such as Matthew 27:52 and Luke 23:43), are the basis of the Christian belief in the descent of Christ into hell, or the harrowing of hell. Though interpretations vary, most theologians see this passage as referring to Jesus, after his death, going to a place (neither heaven nor hell in the ultimate sense) where the souls of pre-Christian people waited for the Gospel.

The first creeds to mention the harrowing of hell were Arian formularies of Sirmium (359), Nike (360), and Constantinople (360).

See also


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