Right now I lean towards a gentile audience, but the mixed congregation is looking better. More after some reading and thinking. UPDATE 4/10: The mixed-audience view is winning--the the caveat that ethnicity does not seem to be a priority for Peter; rather identity in Christ is the priority.

Resources (not yet read):
First Peter: Introduction, Argument, and Outline, see "D. Addressees"
By: Daniel B. Wallace , Th.M., Ph.D.
Wallace seems to hold the mixed-audience view, as he offers short refutations of both the Jewish- and Gentile-audience views and offers only a description of the mixed view. While I agree the audience was likely mixed, the question of ethnicity does not seem to be a priority in the text of 1 Peter (see my comments under Seland).
To Whom was First Peter Written?
By: Peter Nathan
Peter Nathan has an intriguing--and possibly convincing--take on the original audience of 1 Peter.
  • The notion of distinct Jewish and Gentile church cultures is an assumption not explicit in the text of the NT.
  • The very early church was composed of Jewish and God-fearer converts; both groups knew and followed the TaNaKh.
  • Subsequent Gentile converts would likely follow the example of the Gentile converts who went before them.
  • THEREFORE, the particular ethnicity of Peter's readers is irrelevant, for the church had one basic culture.
Peter to Jewish Christians? Surely not.
By: Doug Chaplin
In this post, Chaplin is responding to those who hold that 1 Peter was written to Jewish Christians. Chaplin holds to a Gentile audience.

Chaplin refers (and I have referred) to 1 Peter 2:10 in support of a Gentile audience, but this verse is a quote from Hosea 1:9 where the statement is applied to the Jews. I must wonder, if the prophet Hosea can apply it to the Jews, why is Peter disallowed?

One question brought up by the Jewish-audience claim: Assuming 1 Peter is written to Jewish Christians, is there evidence for such a dismal assessment of 1st century Judaism in the New Testament?
Research Notes on 1 Peter--readers tag
By: Torrey Seland
What we have in the text is 1 Peter's description of his readers, not their self-description. Peter describes them, not in terms of ethnicity, but as "elect exiles...according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood" (1 Pet 1:1-2). Further, a goodly portion of the letter seems to focus on telling them who they are and how to live accordingly.

On the other hand, while ethnicity seems rather irrelevant to Peter's discussion, the historical-cultural setting seems quite relevant (note the specific places mentioned in 1:1). Rather than squabbling over the ethnicity of the audience, maybe we ought to spend time on the cultural and historical setting of the region.

Sanctify is studying 1 Peter.


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