In our study, we look at the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. The letter can help to remind us of who we are in Christ and prepare us for our journey in this world. The journey through this world can be really tough but, because of the hope that we have, we know that it is a journey from here to our real home. We are merely passing through on our way to a much better place!
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia," NIV translation
This introduction is just packed with teaching.
First, Peter introduces himself as an apostle so they would know who he was and so we know who wrote it. This is the same Peter who denied Jesus three times and at one point was called Satan and told to get behind Jesus. He has been restored and in fact Jesus told him that he was a rock and on him Jesus would build the church.
This should give us hope in that Jesus forgave and restored him to a position of authority and Jesus will do the same for us. Because of our relationship with Jesus, we do not have to let anyone beat us down or tell us we are unworthy of anything. Peter preaches out of the experience of suffering so when we look at what he says about suffering we can remember that he's been there and done that. (It's easy to tell someone else to stand up for Jesus when you are sitting down on the job but it is more effective to say it when you are actually standing up yourself.) The letter is written to Christians in what were parts of Asia Minor and today would be the country of Turkey. We find out much about their identity in Christ (as well as ours) in this introduction. First they were referred to as "God's elect" and we are the same if we are in Christ. That is we are chosen by God to be able to receive and accept the message of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you are in Christ, you are chosen but you cannot be the elect without Jesus Christ as there is no other way by which we can be saved. Peter also refers to them as "strangers in the world" another word for that would be sojourners or travelers as this is not our home and we are just passing through. (If you are at home in this world, you need to take a look at your faith.) The third reference was to the "scattered" this applied to the Jewish people that had been scattered in this area as they fled persecution. They are also known as the diaspora.