1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
The inspired writer of this letter, whose original name was Simon, received the Aramaic name of Cephas as a descriptive title of what he would some day be like (John 1:42). The A.V. translates, “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.” The word “stone” is from the Greek word petros which means “a detached but large fragment of rock,” and is used here metaphorically to describe Peter as a man like a rock by reason of his firmness and strength of soul. The name “Peter” is the English spelling of the Greek petros which is the word chosen by the Holy Spirit that would adequately translate the meaning of the Aramaic “Cephas.” In answering Peter’s great confession of His deity, the Lord Jesus says, “Thou are Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). … Petros and petra [are] synonyms, petros meaning “a detached but large fragment of rock,” petra “the massive living rock.” The foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ is that massive living rock, the Son of God seen in His deity, acknowledged as such by Peter. Peter is but a fragment of that massive rock in the sense in which he speak so believers as “lively stones,” deriving their eternal life from the great Living Stone Himself (2:4-5). — Wuest, page 13.
apostle (v.1) = lit. one sent on a mission from someone else with credentials.
While the opening words of 1 Peter clearly identify Peter as the one who penned this letter, it is not until the closing passages that we learn it was written from Babylon. “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you” (1 Peter 5:13). Tradition dismisses a literal interpretation of this passage. It claims Peter lived in the West and was crucified upside-down at Rome. But … first century church history is an uncertain guide. Those who hold the traditional view must resort to an allegorical meaning. Thus, the allege Babylon is actually Rom.
Whether or not Peter was martyred at Rome after he ministered the gospel at Babylon is immaterial. The fact of the matter is, according to the Scriptures, he wrote this epistle (probably 60 AD) from Babylon, on the Euphrates where a large community of Jews resided at the time. …
Further evidence that Peter was ministering in the East is found in chapter one: “peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Peter naturally addresses the regions in eastern Asia Minor: Pontus, Galatia, and Cappadocia first because they were the closest to him geographically. As he worked his way westward he concluded with Asia and Bithynia, the farthest away from the point of origin. … It should also be remembered that while Paul’s gospel had its greatest realm of influence in the West, the kingdom gospel was the most influential in the East at that time. So it was quite natural for Peter to be ministering in Babylon since he was a minister of the circumcision (Galatians 2:7-8). — Sadler, pages26-27.
Dispersion (scattered) (v.1) — This word is found in the LXX where Moses says of Israel, “Thous shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:25), and is probably the earliest example of its use as a technical designation of the Jews who for whatever reason lived outside of Palestine. The word is used in John 7:35 and James 1:1, in both places referring to those Jews who were living outside of Palestine. — Wuest, page 14.
Clearly Peter was writing to his own countrymen who were strangers scattered, that is, “sojourners of the dispersion” … The phrase “of the dispersion” is distinctly Jewish (John 7:35). It refers to the Jews who were living in other nations outside the Promised Land. … Perhaps the most notable dispersion came when the followers of Messiah were driven from their homeland after the stoning of Steven … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word … to none but unto Jews only” (Acts 8:4 cf. 11:19). Apparently it was these brethren, not Peter, who established the kingdom assemblies in the regions of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Peter adds an interesting comment in this regard when he speaks to his hearers about the message of the prophets: “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven” (1 Peter 1:12).
The phrase “by them that have preached the gospel unto you” plainly indicates that others had led them to the truth that Christ was the Messiah of Israel. — Sadler, page 28.
elect (v.2) = to pick out, to select out of a number.
The word “foreknowledge” refers to that counsel of God in which after deliberative judgment, the Lord Jesus was to be delivered into human hands to be crucified. In 1 Peter 1:20, He is the One who was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be the Lamb who was to take away the sins of lost humanity. Thus, in 1 Peter 1:2, the word “foreknowledge” refers to that counsel of God in which after deliberative judgment certain from among mankind were designated to a certain position, that position being defined by the context. — Wuest, page 16.
In keeping with the Prophetic Scriptures, Israel was a chosen nation according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. God chose her from among the nations … Foreknowledge does not have so much to do with God’s prior knowledge of the nation’s conduct, although this is included,as it does with what He would graciously do for her. …
But simply because one was of the seed of Abraham did not guarantee that he was of believing Israel. … [Peter’s readers’] obedience as the covenant people of God had brought them into a new relationship with the Redeemer.” — Sadler, pages 37-38.
The Greek word “sanctify” means “to set apart.” the word “through”… literally means “in.” It was in the sphere of the setting apart work of the Spirit that the sinner was chosen. That is, God the Father chose the sinner out from among mankind to be the recipient of the setting-apart work of the Spirit, in which work the Holy Spirit sets the sinner apart from his unbelief to the act of faith in the Lord Jesus. The act of faith is spoken of here by the word “obedience,” which is not the obedience of the saint, but that of the sinner to the Faith, for this act is answered by his being cleansed in the precious blood of Jesus. — Wuest, pages 16-17.
[God] ordained these elect Hebrews unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, as in Exodus 12. The elect on that night were saved by obeying the command to sprinkle the blood of the Paschal Lamb upon the doors of their houses. — Williams, page 998.
Grace (v.2) — the enabling grace for daily living which is given to the saint yielded to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit. (Wuest)