Peter’s First Letter

Discovery for Teachers

Peter’s First Letter


1 Peter 1:1 through 5:14

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)


The Book of 1 Peter is a letter written by Peter around A.D. 62-64, to the saints who had been scattered throughout Asia minor because of the rampant persecution of the time. Emperor Nero had come into power in Rome and great persecution followed in his wake. History tells us that Peter was later executed during this same period of oppression.

The purpose of Peter’s letter was to comfort and encourage the saints who were suffering. Before He ascended, Jesus had told Peter to “strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32) and to “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Peter was fulfilling this charge by encouraging believers in their time of intense persecution. He offered concluding thoughts when he said, “I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand” (1 Peter 5:12). Peter was describing their ability to stand as “the true grace of God.”

Peter started the epistle by giving thanks for salvation, and pointed out the hope there is in the Gospel. He reminded the saints that adversity would come — in fact, it should be expected — but these trials would work to strengthen their faith. Peter admonished the saints to live holy lives, reminding them of Christ who suffered for them and had redeemed them. They were encouraged to react with love in the face of persecution, just as Jesus did when He faced the Cross.

Beginning with chapter 2 verse 11, Peter advised the believers on how to conduct themselves in many aspects of their lives. He spoke of submission to civil authority, to their masters, within the family, and among each other. He wanted them to live in God’s will, with prayer, love, hospitality, and service.

Peter drew this epistle to a close by reminding the saints to be vigilant and to resist the devil, who as a roaring lion would try to devour them. He let them know that God’s grace would be available to make them perfect, established, strengthened, and settled in the faith.


  1. The saints Peter was addressing were suffering great persecution. He encouraged them by stating that there are benefits in suffering. What purpose might suffering accomplish in God’s people? What should be our attitude when we go through trials? 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12-13

    The saints will be tried in the fire, but their faith, which is more precious than gold, will bring them praise, honor, and glory. Suffering makes individual believers and the church as a whole stronger and more dependent on God. When we go through temptations, trials, or persecution, it can be a time of refining for us. As we seek the Lord, embrace the promises in His Word, and fasten our eyes on the goal that awaits us, we will find our strength grows from day to day.

    We should not think it strange, or become discouraged, when we are tried, but we should rejoice that, as Jesus suffered for us, we are given the privilege to suffer for Him. Discuss with your class other ways we can be encouraged when we face trials or temptations.

  2. In 1 Peter 1:15-16, we are admonished to be holy as God is holy. How is this possible when we are born with a sinful nature, and we live in a world where sin is all around us? How can we maintain our hearts in a manner so God’s holiness can shine out through us?

    Christ has provided a remedy for sin through His Blood. When we are saved, we are given power to have victory over sin. When we are sanctified, a deep work of holiness is accomplished within us because the root of sin that we are born with is taken out. This results when we set ourselves apart to be separated unto God.

    It takes effort to maintain a heart that reflects God’s holiness. Remind your students that God in Heaven is holy, and that Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came down as man and maintained a holy life on earth. He understands our temptations, and He was victorious over sin. Therefore, we can be also. Ask your class how we can maintain our hearts in holiness. They may suggest the following: we need to study God’s Word, commune with Him in prayer, keep our eyes focused on eternal values rather than earthly cares, and gather with the saints in worship whenever possible.

  3. The saints were instructed to “love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22) and to “have fervent charity among yourselves” (1 Peter 4:8). What does it mean to love with a pure heart? How do we love a brother or sister in Christ fervently?

    To have pure love would be to love others as God loves us. God’s love is unconditional. He loved us while we were yet sinners. The love of this world is usually conditional — people love those who love them, those who can meet their needs, or who can make them feel good.

    God commissions us to love even our enemies. We are to love those who do not treat us right (despitefully use us) and those who may not return our love. We can only do this if we have God’s love in our hearts. If we are to love our enemies, surely it should be easy to love those who are in the household of faith.

    To love fervently is to put effort into our love. If someone is hungry, feed him. If someone needs a helping hand, supply it. If someone needs a hug or a smile, be there for him. Discuss with your class the meaning of the statement “charity [love] shall cover the multitude of sins.” Bring out that when we love as we should, we will not be easily offended by little things another person does or says.

  4. The epistle of 1 Peter has practical advice for families, and sets guidelines and rules for conduct in the home. Peter indicated that wives are to be subordinate to their husbands, winning unbelievers by their holy conduct (1 Peter 3:1-6). Husbands are to tenderly honor their wives, lest their prayers be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). What are ways women can show submission and respect to their husbands? How can men show love and honor to their wives?

    The Bible establishes family structure. God ordained that the husband is to be the head of the house, and the wife is to submit, or be under, his God-given authority. The point should be made that a subordinate role is not an inferior one.

    Ask your class to help you make lists of how women can show submission and respect to their husbands, and how men can show love and honor to their wives. Suggestions may include: a gentle attitude, kindness, being polite, making an effort to please him, not complaining about him behind his back, abiding by his decisions, praying for him.

    Suggestions for husbands may include: listening to her thoughts and suggestions, protecting her, remembering she has less physical strength, being polite (saying thank you), praying for her.

  5. In 1 Peter 3:15, we are told to always be ready to answer anyone who questions us about our faith. The next verse says that our lives need to be above reproach in the sight of others. How do these two verses tie together concerning our witness for the Lord?

    An old saying states that our actions speak so loudly people can’t hear what we say. Verse 15 tells us to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. In verse 16 we are admonished to have a good conscience before others. If we owe someone an apology or restitution, and do not do it, our testimony will be marred. As we strive every day to live a Christ-like life before others, they will be much more likely to receive what we say.

    Discuss with your class other ways we can prepare so we will be ready to answer people when they ask about the hope we have in Jesus.

  6. Peter instructed the early believers to be good stewards of the talents and gifts God had given them (1 Peter 4:10-11). Often we think of stewardship in terms of money. While it is important to use our financial resources carefully for God’s glory, good stewardship also encompasses time and talents. What are some excuses we might be tempted to make when we are called to use our talents for the Lord? What are ways to overcome in this area?

    Class discussion will likely bring up a number of different excuses. We may be tempted to think developing a talent will take too much time or effort. If we do work to develop a talent, we may be tempted to use it for things other than the glory of God. (A talent used to earn a living could still be to God’s glory.) Feelings of inadequacy or fear of failure might prompt us to hide our talents.

    Your students’ suggestions for how to overcome may include: asking God for a burden for lost souls, meditating on the value of a soul and reaching out for the lost, making daily consecration a part of our lives, seeking to please God more than ourselves, asking for God’s perfect will in our lives, remembering that God will give “grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

  7. In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to cast our cares on God, “for he careth for you.” Life is not always easy. We will most likely face separation from someone we care about, sickness, pain, weakness, death, or other difficulties during our lifetime. How wonderful to know there is Someone to help us carry the burden! How can we cast our burdens on Him and leave them there, without picking them up again by worry or doubt?

    Class discussion will bring out that this is not always easy. The mental image of “casting” our burdens on God is a good one. As we seek God in faith and abandon our worries to His care, we will find release and victory. We will remember that God does all things well, and that He will take care of the situation. As we focus on that victory, and not the problem, we will continue to have peace. Keeping our hearts focused on God and His grace will enable us to leave our burdens with Him. Asking others to pray with us for God’s help and grace brings comfort because we know others are beseeching God on our behalf.

    With the thought of helping each other pray, have the class share requests or burdens they may have. It helps in difficult times to know the family of God is standing with you.

  8. We read in 1 Peter 5:8, “The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” It is important to know one’s enemy. We realize Satan has power and experience, and he may seem a fearsome foe. He may put up a fierce fight at times. Why can we feel peaceful in the face of such a terrible adversary? What can we do to assure ourselves of victory?

    We can feel at peace because we know Jesus defeated the devil at Calvary. Through Christ we will always be on the winning side. Verse 8 of chapter 5 tells us to be sober and vigilant, so we must not take the battle lightly. However, as we begin to resist the devil (verse 9) with steadfast faith, we will have victory.


The Book of 1 Peter encourages us that although our commitment to Christ may bring suffering and persecution at times, we can rejoice because we are following Jesus, who suffered for us. When our faith is tried, the process will refine us, and that is more precious than gold.