Daily Devotion Text

September 15, 2017

2 Peter 1

By carmenhsu In 2 Peter, Devotion Text with Comments Off on 2 Peter 1

A Study Through the Book of 2 Peter

Within 2 Peter itself there is strong evidence for authorship by the apostle Peter. In 1:1 the author claims to be “Simeon Peter … apostle of Jesus Christ.” Moreover, he claims to have been an eyewitness of the transfiguration (1:16–18; cf. Matt. 17:1–8), an event where Peter is featured prominently in the Gospel accounts. If someone other than Peter wrote the letter under his name, as some scholars have claimed, it would be a case of deliberate deception, especially given the author’s claims to have witnessed the transfiguration. But there is no historical evidence in support of such a theory. Furthermore, writing in another person’s name was condemned among early Christians (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2; 3:17; see Introduction to 1 Timothy: Author and Title).

Some have suggested that the literary style of 2 Peter, which differs from that of 1 Peter, indicates an author other than Peter. But Peter may have used a secretary to help write this second letter, which would not affect the genuineness of his authorship if he ultimately approved what was written.

Scholars have also questioned Petrine authorship of 2 Peter because of the similarities between chapter 2 of this letter and the book of Jude. But this is not a problem for apostolic authorship, since Peter may have included in his letter elements from Jude that he thought would be helpful for his readers. It also could have worked the other way, with Jude using Peter’s letter as his source. The parallels are close but almost never exact, so it is difficult to sort out the relationship between 2 Peter and Jude with any degree of certainty.

It is reasonable in light of all the evidence, and clearly supported by the claims of the letter itself, to conclude that the apostle Peter wrote 2 Peter.[1]

The letter is in four parts that focus on godly living in light of the certainty of the Lord’s coming, against the backdrop of those who deny the latter, with its concomitant judgments, and who thus live like pagans. Part 1 (1:3-11) is an exhortation to growth in godliness, thus confirming their “calling and election” (v. 10) so as to “receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom” (v. 11).

Part 2 (1:12-21) is Peter’s testament about the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 16), an event that both the transfiguration (vv. 16-18), which Peter witnessed, and the reliable word of prophecy (vv. 19-21) argue for.

All of this is set (in part 3) in the context of the greed and licentiousness of the false teachers, whose condemnation is certain (2:1-22). The main thrust of this section is to reaffirm the certainty of divine judgment on those who reject God by rejecting holy living; thus several Old Testament examples are brought forward by way of illustration. You may want to read Jude 4-18 alongside this passage, since it reflects similar conceptions and uses some of the same examples from the Old Testament and Jewish apocalyptic. These teachers “promise freedom” but are themselves “slaves of depravity” (2 Pet 2:19), who would finally have been better off never having followed Christ than to have followed and then rejected him (vv. 20-22).

The false teaching itself is exposed and argued against in 3:1-18 (part 4). Against those who deny the second coming (vv. 3-4) is the certainty of God’s word, and thus the certainty of coming judgment, and a biblical view both of “time” and of God’s patience (vv. 5-10); the conclusion urges readiness, in obvious contrast to the recklessness of the false teachers (vv. 11-18). [2]

[1] ESV: Study Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles, 2008. 2415.

[2] Fee, Gordon D, and Douglas K. Stuart. How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2002. 407-408.

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