Who wrote it?
2 Peter 1:1 specifically states that the apostle Peter was the author. Peter’s authorship of 2 Peter has been challenged more than that of any other book in the New Testament. However, we find no good reason to reject Peter’s authorship of 2 Peter.
When(ish) was it written?
2 Peter was written toward the end of Peter’s life. Since Peter was martyred in Rome during the reign of Nero, his death must have occurred prior to AD 68. He very likely wrote 2 Peter between AD 65-68.
Why was it written?
Peter was alarmed that false teachers were beginning to infiltrate the churches. He called on Christians to grow and become strong in their faith so that they could detect and combat the spreading abandonment of faith. He strongly stressed the authenticity of the Word of God and the sure return of the Lord Jesus.
Some Key Verses
[quote] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
– 2 Peter 1:3-4 [/quote]
[quote] The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
– 2 Peter 3:9 [/quote]
[quote] But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
– 2 Peter 3:18 [/quote]
A Quick Summary
Knowing that his time was short (2 Peter 1:13-15) and these churches faced immediate danger (2 Peter 2:1-3), Peter called upon the readers to refresh their memories (2 Peter 1:13) and stimulate their thinking (2 Peter 3:1-2) so that they would remember his teaching (2 Peter 1:15). He challenged the believers to become more mature in their faith by adding to it specific Christians virtues, thereby becoming effective and productive in their knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-9). The Old and New Testament writers were set forth as their authority for their faith (2 Peter 1:12-21, 3:2, 3:15-16). Peter desired they become strong in their faith to withstand the false teachers that had crept in and adversely affected the churches. In his denunciation of them, he described their conduct, their condemnation, and their characteristics (2 Peter chapter 2), and also that they ridiculed the Lord’s Second Coming (2 Peter 3:3-7). For the Christians, Peter taught that the Second Coming is the incentive for holy living (2 Peter 3:14). After a final warning, Peter again encouraged them to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He concluded with a word of praise to his Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18).
Old Testament Ties
In his denunciation of false prophets, Peter repeats a prevalent Old Testament theme that must have been very familiar to his readers. Many of the early Christians were converted Jews who had been well taught in the Law and the prophets. When Peter referred to the “the prophetic word” of the Old Testament in 2 Peter 1:19-21, he at one time denounced false prophets and affirmed that true prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit who spoke through them (2 Samuel 23:2). Jeremiah was equally forceful in his criticism of false prophets, asking, “How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart?” (Jeremiah 23:26). Clearly, the same deluded false teachers who plagued God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments are still with us, making Peter’s second letter as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.
What does this mean?
Certainly, as Christians in the 21st century, we are nearer our Lord’s return than the first-century Christians to whom this epistle was written. Through television and other means of mass communications, mature Christians are aware that many false teachers are out there parading as true Christian leaders, and that immature Christians have been “taken in” by their rhetoric and false interpretation of Scriptures. It behooves all born-again Christians to be so grounded in the Word that we will be able to discern truth from error.
The same prescription for growth in faith that Peter gave (2 Peter 1:5-11), when applied to our lives, will assure us “an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). The foundation for our faith is and always will be the same Word of God that Peter preached.
- Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from 2 Peter 1:1-11 and Hebrews 11:1. What verses or ideas stand out to you from this passage? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
- Think about your life as a follower of Jesus. What was it like when you were new in your faith? Have you ever experienced a “slow drift?” When did that happen for you?
- We often become more aware of our sin as we grow in our Christian life. What sinful attitudes or actions are you more aware of now that you have matured in your faith?
- Many of us often feel stuck when it comes to living out our faith. In what areas can you put your faith in action? Where can your faith in Jesus lead to movement?
- Read 1 Peter 1:5-7. Are there any areas of your spiritual life where you need to grow in self-control? Share your answers with one another and spend time praying together.