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It appears that the first epistle of Peter was written by the Apostle from Rome sometime around AD 62–63, immediately before severe persecution began under Nero. The letter was written to Christians in Asia Minor (1:1) who were already suffering for their Christian faith. Peter writes to encourage these embattled believers. John Calvin argues that the letter is written to a primarily Jewish-Christian audience, and despite the difficulties with this theory, it seems very likely. There are a number of helpful commentaries available. I recommend Dr. Sproul’s volume on 1-2 Peter in addition to the following commentaries on 1 Peter.

1. Edmund Clowney — The Message of 1 Peter (The Bible Speaks Today, 1988).

Clowney’s commentary is not the most technical, nor the most exhaustive work on 1 Peter by any stretch. In fact, it is an introductory-level work, accessible to any reader, but page for page, it is by far the most helpful commentary on 1 Peter. Clowney packs more insight into one page than many commentaries pack into an entire chapter. This one is a must-have.

2. Karen H. Jobes — 1 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2005).

Those needing in-depth exegetical analysis will not want to pass up the BECNT volume on 1 Peter by Jobes. It is a good companion to the work mentioned above by Clowney. If you have a limited budget, pick up the volumes by Clowney and Jobes, and they will serve you well.

3. Thomas Schreiner — 1, 2 Peter, Jude (New American Commentary, 2003).

Thomas Schreiner’s work is always worth consulting. He has written some very good works on New Testament theology, and his strengths in this area shine through in this commentary. Very helpful.

4. Peter Davids — The First Epistle of Peter (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1990).

Peter Davids’ commentary has been somewhat overshadowed by the more recent work of Jobes, but it is still worth consulting. Like most of the NICNT volumes, it is solid and thorough without becoming inaccessible.

5. J. Ramsey Michaels — 1 Peter (Word Biblical Commentary, 1988).

For students doing in-depth research into 1 Peter, this volume by Michaels should be added to the list. Although somewhat dated, it interacts with a good deal of the previous generations’ scholarly work on this epistle.


There are a number of other helpful commentaries on the book of 1 Peter. Among them are the works by Craig Keener, Daniel Doriani, I. Howard Marshall, J. Ramsey Michaels, John Brown, J.N.D. Kelly, Joel Green, and C.E.B. Cranfield.

Helpful Related Works

Brandon Crowe’s The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption is a helpful work for those studying 1 Peter. Readers should also consider Peter Davids’ A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude.

This article is part of the Top 5 Commentaries collection.