1 Peter was written in a pre-Christian era: before the conversion of Constantine and the acceptance and elevation of Christians in politics and society.
Peter’s letter was addressed to first century Christians living on the Anatolian peninsula called ‘Asia Minor’, today known as western Turkey. It was ruled politically and influenced culturally by the Romans and the early Christians were marginalized, disadvantaged and persecuted.
We live today in a post-Christian era: after the deposing of Christians in politics and society. We also are increasingly marginalized and disadvantaged and grieve the loss of honour. Globally, many Christians suffer a worse fate, but even in the west today’s Christian has to endure various trials. As the Commentator Karen Jobes observed “Wherever Christians are a minority, the message of 1 Peter takes on renewed relevance.”
Like Peter’s recipients we need to know how to live winsomely in such a political and social context.
1 Peter addresses our need, not only by instructing us how to live but also by reminding us of who we are in Christ and showing us how our life as believers is inseparable from Christ’s life. The letter does this so thoroughly that Luther called it a ‘paragon of excellence’ on par with the book of Romans and John’s Gospel .