Peter’s emphasis on evangelism early in the letter centers on a clear and articulate presentation of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the announcement of the gospel that brought about genuine change and transformation in the lives of these early Christians in Asia Minor. Second, Peter highlights the ongoing need and expectation for Christians to continually proclaim the gospel in the world.
The emphasis on good conduct and “witness without a word,” in 1 Peter might lead some to assume that verbal witness was not a priority for Peter and the witness of early Christians in Asia Minor. On the contrary, Peter, the apostle who preached the gospel to thousands on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), demonstrates in his first letter that verbal proclamation of the gospel is central to Christian witness and mission in the world. Tom Schreiner writes, “The declaration of God’s praises includes both worship and evangelism, spreading the good news of God’s saving wonders to all peoples.”
It is imperative for Christians around the world to rightly understand not only the missional nature of their identity and lifestyle, but also the critical gospel message that they must explain while living in the midst of a non-Christian world. Dean Flemming writes, “We have seen that Peter focuses on bearing witness through ethical living . . . This does not mean, however, that verbal testimony plays no role in Christian mission. Indeed, the witness of word and life are inseparable in 1 Peter.
In other words, Peter emphasizes at strategic points throughout this letter that those who have been born again to a living hope cannot be silent.
The role of verbal proclamation: 3 mentions
Peter makes at least three explicit mentions regarding the nature and role of verbal proclamation in Christian mission in his letter.
First, Peter refers to the initial explanation of the gospel that the original readers of this letter received that led to their own salvation.