Employing a narratological approach Abson Joseph links the structure of 1 Peter with God's actions on behalf of Israel. Using a three-layered distinction of narrative - fabula ('raw material'), story, and text - Joseph studies the text of 1 Peter and shows the presence of a fabula that comprises four main elements: election, suffering, steadfastness, and vindication. Joseph asserts that this fabula is common to the experiences of Israel, Jesus, and the epistle's audience and thus shapes the narrative substructure of the epistle and constitutes the lens through which the author urges his audience to make sense of its situation.
Joseph argues the author of 1 Peter urges the audience to view suffering only as a temporary experience that befalls the elect. Suffering is to be met with faithful response for God vindicates the righteous sufferer. The narrative substructure provides evidence of God's vindication of righteous sufferers, serves as basis for the author's exhortations to the audience, and substantiates his claims about God's ability to vindicate those who remain steadfast in the face of suffering.