At this point in the letter Peter would have taken Silas’ stylus (pen) in his own hand to write the part of the letter that we call the salutation and signature. Silas was the scribe who wrote the letter for Peter. A scribe could provide good penmanship, correct spelling, proper grammar and the professional appearance that official documents would have been expected to have (even margins, vertically aligned columns, consistent size and formation of letters, etc.). Many of the letters that make up the New Testament where written this way. In fact, in the closing of the book of Romans the scribe who wrote the letter for Paul identifies himself as Tertius (Romans 16:22). Silas may also have been the one to carry the letter and to answer any questions the recipients would have had, so it was important for Paul to recognize Silas’ credibility as an interpreter of the document. (Silas is a believing Jewish prophet from Jerusalem, Acts 15:22, 27, 34-33, who has experience in church leadership and replaced Barnabas, Acts 15:40, as Paul’s traveling companion, Acts 16:19, 25, 29; 17:4, 10, 14-15; 18:5.)
Ancient letters were to be brief and to the point, so Peter identifies his letter as such. Of course, even the author of the 13 chapter in the book of Hebrews calls his book “brief.” (Hebrews 13:22).
Peter states his purpose of the book:
- Encourage the readers (which he also said in 2:11 and 5:1), which was to live righteously even in the face of persecution.
- Testify to what is the “true grace of God” (identified three times in 1:13, 5:5, 5:10 as God’s grace) which, in this letter deals with the future reward when Christ returns and the present fellowship with God if we continue to grow and produce.
This letter has been Peter’s words of encouragement and Peter’s testimony of God’s grace that promises to strengthen these believers with the truth and, then, reward them for their production. Peter closes his purpose statement with a command, “Stand fast in it.” In other words, with this encouragement and this grace of strength and reward, now is no time to give up!