Quote (Henry H. Halley)”Some church historians think there is not sufficient evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. Most of them, however, agree that it is probable that, about the last year of his life, Peter did go to Rome, either by order of Nero or of his own accord to steady the Christians under the terrific blows of Nero’s persecution.
‘Babylon’ (5:13) Some take this to be literal Babylon of the Euphrates. But quite generally it is thought to mean Rome. In those times of persecution, for prudence sake Christians had to be careful how they spoke of the ruling power, and had a name for it that they, but not an outsider, would understand.
Nero’s persecution of Christians AD64-67 was very severe in and around Rome but was not general over the empire. However the example of the emperor encouraged the enemies of Christians everywhere to take the slightest pretext to persecute. It was a trying time, the Church was about 35 years old. It had suffered persecutions in various localities at the hands of local authorities. But now Imperial Rome, which had hitherto been indifferent, even in some cases friendly, had accused the church of a terrible crime and was undertaking to punish it.
The Church was undergoing a world trial(5:9). It seemed as if the end had come. It was literally a ‘fiery trial’(4:12). Christians were being burned nightly in Nero’s gardens. It did look as though the devil, as a ‘roaring lion’(5:8) was about to devour the Church.
It is thought possible that Peter may have written this letter immediately after Paul’s martyrdom, about 66AD, and sent it by Silas (5:12), who had been one of Paul’s helpers, to those churches that Paul had founded, to encourage them to bear up under suffering.
Thus the epistle was born in the atmosphere of suffering, shortly before Peter’s own martyrdom, exhorting Christians not to think it strange that they had to suffer, reminding them that Christ did His Work by suffering.