This epistle is addressed to "the strangers scattered abroad", i.e., to the Jews of the Dispersion (the Diaspora).
Its object is to confirm its readers in the doctrines they had been already taught. Peter has been called "the apostle of hope," because this epistle abounds with words of comfort and encouragement fitted to sustain a "lively hope." It contains about thirty-five references to the Old Testament.
It was written from Babylon, on the Euphrates, which was at this time one of the chief seats of Jewish learning, and a fitting centre for labour among the Jews. It has been noticed that in the beginning of his epistle Peter names the provinces of Asia Minor in the order in which they would naturally occur to one writing from Babylon. He counsels (1) to steadfastness and perseverance under persecution (1-2:10); (2) to the practical duties of a holy life (2:11-3:13); (3) he adduces the example of Christ and other motives to patience and holiness (3:14-4:19); and (4) concludes with counsels to pastors and people (ch. 5).