First and Second Peter are grouped in what are called the General Epistles, written to the church at large. The theme of First Peter is the refining and growth potential in our sufferings, 1PE 1:3, 1PE 1:6; 1PE 2:2. This epistle was written to believers scattered by persecution throughout Asia Minor (1PE 1:1). The date was circa 64-65A.D., the beginning of Nero’s persecutions.
First Peter is the best known and loved of these epistles, called by E.J. Goodspeed, “One of the most moving pieces of persecution literature.” This epistle is written to suffering believers, and is styled by Isaac Walton as, “affectionate, loving, lowly, and humble”.
The recipients were undergoing persecution, which began with Saul of Tarsus (ACT 8:1-4) and gained steam under Rome; Christians being accused of cannibalism (the Lord’s table), incest (couples called brother and sister”), treason (refusal to say “Caesar is Lord”), and sex orgies (the love feasts).