THE NEW TESTAMENT
Second Epistle from Peter
Introduction and chapter one
Taken from the NKJV "Personal Study Bible," Nelson Publishers,
The second of two New Testament letters that bear the name
of Simon Peter. The two have little in common with each other, 2
Peter being briefer and written in a different style than I
AUTHOR AND DATE
Some scholars have doubted that Peter was the author of 2
Peter. They usually point to differences in style, vocabulary,
and theology between 1 and 2 Peter, as well as to 2 Peter's
dependence on Jude. Some further maintain that Peter would never
have implied that Paul's writings were equal to "the rest of the
However, these arguments can be countered.
One cannot deny that the Greek of I Peter is much more
polished than that of 2 Peter. But this difference could be
accounted for if Peter used a different secretary to write the
second epistle. Differences in vocabulary can also be explained
by the differing subject matter discussed in each letter.
First Peter says that the coming of Christ is near, while 2
Peter explains why. He has not already come. This difference is
explained by the differing situations of the readers. The readers
of 1 Peter were facing persecution and needed to be encouraged to
believe that Christ could return at any time. When the second
letter was written, Peter had to explain the seeming delay of
Christ's return because false teachers had been telling his
readers that Christ was not going to come and, that there would
be no judgment.
Second Peter 2:1-3:4 appears to quote word for word from
Jude 4-19. (For a discussion of this issue see Introduction to
Jude: Date). But Paul often quotes hymns, confessions or other
pieces of literature in his epistles. Why should Peter not do the
same? It is possible that Peter and Jude used a common source or
even that Jude copied Peter.
It is entirely appropriate for Peter to imply that Paul's
writings had divine authority (see 3:15,16). The apostles wrote
with the consciousness that they had this authority. Their
writings were regularly read in church services along with the
Old Testament Scripture.
The author of 2 Peter identifies himself as Peter in many
subtle ways throughout his work. It would have taken a very
skilled forger to imitate these unconscious footprints of the
apostle. A number of second-century books were falsely attributed
to Peter. When compared with the artificiality of these writings,
the genuineness of 2 Peter becomes apparent. Peter probably wrote
in the early sixties, not long before his death.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Second Peter 3:1 seems to imply that 2 Peter was written to
the same churches in Asia Minor to which 1 Peter had been
written. Certain people were teaching that salvation freed
Christians from the necessity of living a holy life. They twisted
Paul's doctrine of salvation by grace to support their position
(3:16). Since they believed it was all right to sin, they
naturally mocked at the idea of Christ's return in judgment. For
their own personal gain they lured people by promising them that
they could be Christians and still live immoral fives.
Peter writes out of pastoral concern to counter these false
teachings and their influence on the lives of early Christians.
He is concerned that there be a check against this false teaching
and immoral living even after he is gone (see 1:12-15).
The contents of 2 Peter are fully in line with the apostle's
purpose. In chapter 1 he exhorts believers to grow in the life of
holiness. Chapter 2 attacks the false teachers' deceptive methods
and immoral life-style. In chapter 3 Peter challenges all who
deny that Christ will return to judge sin.
OUTLINE OF 2 PETER
1. Exhortation to spiritual growth 1:1-21
A. Introduction 1:1,2
B. Grow in holiness 1:3-11
C. Corrupt conduct judged 2:12-17
D. Be certain of Christ's return 1:16-21
2. Wanting against false teachers. 2:1-22
A. The false teachers 2:1-3
B. God condemns falsehood 2:4-11
C. Corrupt conduct judged 2:12-17
D. Deceptive methods punished 2:18-22
C. Remember the truth. 1:12-15
3. Preparation for the last days 3:1-18
A. Be certain of the judgment 3:1-9
B. Be prepared for the judgment 3:10.18
Peter begins his second epistle by saying he is not only a
servant (bond slave) of Jesus Christ, but also an "apostle" - one
who is sent, it the word means. He was sent to those who had
obtained like PRECIOUS faith with us (probably meaning other
apostles or other Christians in different parts of the Roman
Empire). This precious faith came through the righteousness of
God and our savior Jesus Christ.
He bids them grace multiplied through the KNOWLEDGE of God,
and Jesus our Lord.
It was through the DIVINE POWER of God, who gives all things
pertaining to godliness, and through the knowledge of Him who has
called us to GLORY and VIRTUE.
It is indeed the power of God's Spirit that works with our
mind to call us to His truths and knowledge, that we have
salvation, and it surely is GLORY and VIRTUE that we are to
called to partake in.
It is by all this that we are given EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND
PRECIOUS PROMISES: to partake of the DIVINE NATURE of God, having
now escaped the corruption that is in the world (verses 1-4).
Partaking of the DIVINE NATURE is FAR MORE than what people
ever think. As called Christians we are given the very SEED of
the NATURE of God the Father. We are BEGOTTEN AGAIN! But this
time begotten of God Himself. We are not just "adopted" children,
we are the very LITERAL children of the Father. What most
Christian people do not realize and are not taught by their
ministers, is that God the Father is REPRODUCING Himself through
mankind! Reproducing to have literal children BORN into His
family! We have seen the apostle Paul teach in Hebrews chapter
two, that Jesus is not ashamed to call US His BROTHERS!
There is throughout the New Testament story, a Father and
Son relationship mentioned over and over again. Jesus is called
the FIRSTBORN from the dead, the firstborn from human to DIVINE.
This GREAT MYSTERY (now Paul says is being revealed to us)
is what the angels desire to look into. They ponder it, they
marvel at it, that god the Father can take physical clay, dirt,
earth, and make man in His own image, then call them through the
power of His Spirit, and through the ONE great sin forgiving
sacrifice of Christ Jesus, and start the process, of making men
and women into His VERY LIKENESS. Yes ABOVE the likeness of
angels, above anything ever created by God, taking human kind and
making them eventually into the God kind.
God the Father will ALWAYS be the MOST HOLY ONE, the SUPREME
one. Jesus Christ will ALWAYS be our ELDER brother, next to the
Father, on His right hand, but under Christ there will be
thousands if not millions of brothers and sisters to Jesus, all
with the very DIVINE NATURE of God within them, fully perfect,
fully sinless, fully never even being able to be tempted by sin
any more. Oh, what GLORY indeed that shall be!!
You need to KNOW what the heavenly Father teaches on this
matter in His holy word. You will find on this Website an in-
depth study called "A CHRISTIAN'S DESTINY." Make sure you read
it, study it, meditate on it, come to see the GLORIOUS MYSTERY of
the GOSPEL that is NOW revealed to us in the pages of the Bible
and especially the New Testament.
Knowing this wonderful truth of complete salvation - the
full end result of our salvation - we are to ADD to our faith, be
diligent in adding to our faith, "virtue (excellence, resolution,
Christian energy) and in exercising) virtue (develop) knowledge
(intelligence), And in (exercising) knowledge (develop) self-
control, and in (exercising) self-control (develop) steadfastness
(patience and endurance), and in (exercising) steadfastness
(develop) godliness (piety), and in (exercising) godliness
(develop) brotherly affection, and in (exercising) brotherly
affection (develop) Christian love" (Amplified Bible).
Is it important that a Christian adds these attributes to
their basic faith? Can a saved Christian just sit back, relax,
put up their feet, and go through life cat-napping their time
away, until they are called home in death. Peter goes on to give
us the answer:
"For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in
you, they will keep (you) from being idle or unfruitful unto the
(full personal) knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah,
the Anointed One). FOR whoever LACKS these qualities is BLIND,
(spiritually) SHORTSIGHTED, seeing only what is near to him, and
has become oblivious (to the fact) that he was cleansed from his
old sins. because of this brethren, be all the more solicitous
and eager to make SURE (to RATIFY, to STRENGTHEN, to make
STEADFAST) your calling and election; for if you DO THIS, you
will NEVER STUMBLE or FALL. Thus there will be a richly and
abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (Amplified Bible, capital words are
If you are reading carefully you will see again the teaching
of the New Testament, that it IS possible to FALL AWAY from
Christian faith, there is no such teaching in the Bible as "once
saved always saved." A Christian must STICK WITH IT, but not only
stick with it, a Christian must be adding to their faith, and
here Peter lists what to add.
Jesus clearly taught during His ministry that "he that shall
endure to the end, the same shall be saved."
A forgiven Christian, through faith and grace, must live a
different life-style than their old way of sin, doing whatever
they wanted, when they wanted. They must be CONVERTED, turned up-
side-down, turned in-side-out, be willing to be led by the Holy
Spirit of God into walking the pathway of righteousness, walking
down the straight and narrow road of the will and mind attitude
of God. A Christian must as Paul said, "Let this MIND be IN you,
that was IN Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). And a Christian must
live and walk this holy pathway, living by every word of God (as
Jesus taught in Matthew 4:4) to the end of their life, until they
sleep in death.
Peter said if we DO the things he listed we will make our
calling and election SURE (verses 5-11).
Peter knew the people he was writing to, knew all that he
was saying was correct, but he told them he still needed to state
it again, to give emphasis once more to them of this basic
foundational truth of salvation.
He also knew that his time to put off this physical
tabernacle was near. He knew (from the situation and from the
Holy Spirit through Christ) his death was close at hand.
He was writing this all down, so even after his death,
Christians would still have this truth.
He also told them that he and others like him, were not
teaching cunningly deceitful fables, but they had made known the
very POWER and the COMING (because He lives) of the Lord Jesus
Christ, but were EYE-WITNESSES of His glorified majesty.
Yes, we have people who lived with, walked with, talked with
Jesus, after He was raised from the dead. We today can have a
faith that is SURE, founded upon SOLID facts. God is REAL, He
DOES exist, His Son Jesus Christ DID walk this earth, did die for
the sins of the world, was dead for three days and three nights,
was resurrected to GLORIFIED IMMORTAL LIFE! Did ascend to heaven
in the sight of some of His disciples, does live today at the
Father's right hand, and will COME again to establish the Kingdom
of God on earth for a 1,000 years, and will then turn it all over
to the Father, when the Father and the heavenly Jerusalem comes
to this earth for eternity.
Peter knew personally that Jesus did receive from God the
Father HONOR and GLORY, when a voice came from heaven saying,
"This IS MY BELOVED SON, in whom I am well pleased."
This voice from heaven, Peter says, he and James and John
HEARD when in the holy mount (Matthew 17). That was the time that
has been popularly called "The Transfiguration."
Not only that, Peter declares we have also a more sure word
of prophecy. More sure because that word is STILL WITH US, in the
pages of the Bible. The transfiguration is no longer seen, it was
for a one time only, for Peter, James and John, to see and record
for us as having seen, but PROPHECY .... that is for ALL TIME and
all ages. The prophets wrote about end time events, and their
writing are preserved still, for us to continually read, and as
we read we see the day approaching. We can see the events coming
to pass, taking shape, moving forward to the very end times of
the last 42 months, 1260 days, the times and time and half a
time, spoken about in the book of Revelation and Daniel.
We are to take heed of prophecy, as like a light that shines
in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star (Jesus)
arises in our hearts, when we shall be raised from the dead or
changed in the blink of an eye (the wonderful 1 Corinthians,
chapter 15), and meet Jesus in the air, the clouds (1 Thess.4:13-
18), and proceed down to the Mount of Olives (prophet Zachariah,
chapter 14) to reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation,
19 and 20).
No prophecy Peter says is for PRIVATE interpretation. The
prophet spoke not by the imagination of men, but spoke as they
were inspired by the Holy Spirit (verses 12-21).
To understand prophecy correctly, you must let the Bible
INTERPRET the Bible. Prophecy CAN be understood. The time has
come for God's prophets to be understood. The Lord still has the
function of "prophets" in His church (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Prophecy will only be understood by those who are humble and who
serve the Lord with fearful respect, who will live according to
His will, who will grow in grace and knowledge, who will be
corrected, who will love the Lord God with all their heart, mind,
On this Website you will find the answers to Bible prophecy.
You will know what to watch for in world events, and you will
know when it is near for the Lord Jesus to return.
Written May 2007