2 Peter

by Ken Cayce

© Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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2 Peter Explained

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Book of 2 Peter Explained

Title: The clear claim to authorship in 1:1 by the Apostle Peter gives the epistle its title. To distinguish it from Peter's first epistle, it was given the Greek title   Petrou B¯, or 2 Peter.

Author " Date : The author of 2 Peter is the Apostle Peter (see introduction to 1 Peter). In 1:1, he makes that claim; in 3:1, he refers to his first letter; in 1:14, he refers to the Lord's prediction of his death (John 21:18-19); and in 1:16-18), he claims to have been at the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-4). However, critics have generated more controversy over 2 Peter's authorship and rightful place in the canon of Scripture than over any other New Testament book. The church fathers were slow in giving it their acceptance. No church father refers to 2 Peter by name until Origen near the beginning of the third century. The ancient church historian, Eusebius, only included 2 Peter in his list of disputed books, along with James, Jude, 2 John, and 3 John. Even the leading Reformers only hesitatingly accepted it.

The question about differences in Greek style between the two letters has been satisfactorily answered. Peter wrote that he used an amanuensis, Silvanus, in 1 Peter (compare 1 Peter 5:12). In 2 Peter, Peter either used a different amanuensis or wrote the letter by himself. The differences in vocabulary between the two letters can be explained by the differences in theme. 1 Peter was written to help suffering Christians, 2 Peter was written to expose false teachers. On the other hand, there are remarkable similarities in the vocabulary of the two books. The salutation,    grace and peace be multiplied to you¯, is essentially the same in each book. The author uses such words as   precious¯,    virtue¯,    putting off¯, and   eyewitness¯, to name just a few examples, in both letters. Certain rather unusual words found in 2 Peter are also found in Peter's speeches in the Acts of the Apostles. These include   received¯ (1:1; Acts 1:17);   godliness¯ or   piety¯ (1:3, 6-7; 3:11; Acts 3:12); and   price¯ or   wages¯ of wickedness or unrighteousness (2:13, 15; Acts 1:18). Both letters also refer to the same Old Testament event (2:5; 1 Peter 3:18-20). Some scholars have pointed out that there are as many similarities in vocabulary between 1 and 2 Peter as there are between 1 Timothy and Titus, two letters almost universally believed to have been written by Paul.

The differences in themes also explain certain emphases, such as why one letter teaches that the second coming is near, and one deals with its delay. 1 Peter, ministering especially to suffering Christians, focuses on the immanency of Christ as a means of encouraging the Christians. 2 Peter, dealing with scoffers, emphasizes the reasons why that imminent return of Christ has not yet occurred. Other proposed differences invented by the critics, such as the contradiction between including the resurrection of Christ in one letter and the Transfiguration of Christ in the other, seem to be contrived.

Moreover, it is seemingly irrational that a false teacher would spuriously write a letter against false teachers. No unusual, new, or false doctrines appear in 2 Peter. So, if 2 Peter were a forgery, it would be a forgery written by a fool for no reason at all. This is too much to believe. The conclusion to the question of authorship is that, when the writer introduced the letter and referred to himself as Peter, he was writing the truth.

Nero died in A.D. 68, and tradition says Peter died in Nero's persecution. The epistle may have been written just before his death (1:14; ca. A.D. 67-68).

Background " Setting: Since the time of the writing and sending his first letter, Peter had become increasingly concerned about false teachers who were infiltrating the churches in Asia Minor. Though these false teachers had already caused trouble, Peter expected that their heretical doctrines and immoral life-styles would result in more damage in the future. Thus Peter, in an almost last will and testament (1:13-15), wrote to warn the beloved believers in Christ about the doctrinal dangers they were facing.

Peter does not explicitly say where he was when he wrote this letter, as he does in 1 Peter (1 Peter 5:13). But the consensus seems to be that Peter wrote this letter from prison in Rome, where he was facing imminent death. Shortly after this letter was written, Peter was martyred, according to reliable tradition, by being crucified upside down (see note on John 21;18-19).

Peter says nothing in the salutation about the recipients of this letter. But according to 3:1, Peter was writing another epistle to the same people to whom he wrote 1 Peter. In his first letter, he spelled out that he was writing   to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Peter 1:1). These provinces were located in an area of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey. The Christians to whom Peter wrote were mostly Gentiles (see note on 1:1).

Historical " Theological Themes: 2 Peter was written for the purpose of exposing, thwarting, and defeating the invasion of false teachers into the church. Peter intended to instruct Christians in how to defend themselves against these false teachers and their deceptive lies. This book is the most graphic and penetrating expose of false teachers in Scripture, comparable only to Jude.

The description of the false teachers is somewhat generic. Peter does not identify some specific false religion, cult, or system of teaching. In a general characterization of false teachers, he informs that they teach destructive heresies. They deny Christ and twist the Scriptures. They bring true faith into disrepute. And they mock the second coming of Christ. But Peter was just as concerned to show the immoral character of these teachers as he was to expose their teaching. Thus, he describes them in more detail than he describes their doctrines. Wickedness is not the product of sound doctrine, but of   destructive heresies¯ (2:1).

Other themes for this letter can be discerned in the midst of Peter's polemic against the false teachers. He wanted to motivate his readers to continue to develop their Christian character (1:5-11). In so doing, he explains wonderfully how a believer can have assurance of his salvation. Peter also wanted to persuade his readers of the divine character of the apostolic writings (1:12-21). Near the end of the letter, he presents reasons for the delay in Christ' second coming (3:1-13).

Another recurring theme is the importance of knowledge. The word,    knowledge¯, appears in some form 16 times in these 3 short chapters. It is not too much to say that Peter's primary solution to false teaching is knowledge of true doctrine. Other distinctive features of 2 Peter include a precise statement on the divine origin of Scripture (1:20-21); the future destruction of the world by fire (3:8-13); and the recognition of Paul's letters as inspired Scripture (3:15-16).


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2 Peter 1
2 Peter 2
2 Peter 3

2 Peter 1

2 Peter Chapter 1

2 Peter 1:1 "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:"

2 Peter 1:2 "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,"

2 Peter 1:3 "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"

2 Peter 1:4 "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

2 Peter 1:5 "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;"

2 Peter 1:6 "And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;"

2 Peter 1:7 "And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."

2 Peter 1:8 "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Peter 1:9 "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

2 Peter 1:10 "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

2 Peter 1:11 "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

2 Peter 1:12 "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth."

2 Peter 1:13 "Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance;"

2 Peter 1:14 "Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me."

2 Peter 1:15 "Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."

2 Peter 1:16 "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

2 Peter 1:17 "For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

2 Peter 1:18 "And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount."

2 Peter 1:19 "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:"

2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."

2 Peter 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost."

2 Peter 2

2 Peter Chapter 2

2 Peter 2:1   But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.¯

2 Peter 2:2   And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.¯

2 Peter 2:3   And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.¯

2 Peter 2:4   For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;¯

2 Peter 2:5   And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth , a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;¯

2 Peter 2:6   And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned with an overthrow, making an example unto those that after should live ungodly;¯

2 Peter 2:7   And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:¯

2 Peter 2:8   (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed righteous soul from day to day with unlawful deeds;)¯

2 Peter 2:9   The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:¯

2 Peter 2:10   But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous , self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.¯

2 Peter 2:11   Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.¯

2 Peter 2:12   But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;¯

2 Peter 2:13   And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;¯

2 Peter 2:14   Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: a heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:¯

2 Peter 2:15   Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;¯

2 Peter 2:16   But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.¯

2 Peter 2:17   These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.¯

2 Peter 2:18   For when they speak great swelling of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.¯

2 Peter 2:19   While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.¯

2 Peter 2:20   For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.¯

2 Peter 2:21   For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known , to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.¯

2 Peter 2:22   But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.¯

2 Peter 3

2 Peter Chapter 3

2 Peter 3:1   This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:¯

2 Peter 3:2   That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior:¯

2 Peter 3:3   Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,¯

2 Peter 3:4   And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as from the beginning of the creation.¯

2 Peter 3:5   For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:¯

2 Peter 3:6   Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:¯

2 Peter 3:7   But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.¯

2 Peter 3:8   But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.¯

2 Peter 3:9   The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.¯

2 Peter 3:10   But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.¯

2 Peter 3:11    then all these things shall be dissolved, what manner ought ye to be in holy conversation and godliness,¯

2 Peter 3:12   Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?¯

2 Peter 3:13   Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.¯

2 Peter 3:14   Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.¯

2 Peter 3:15   And account the longsuffering of our Lord salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;¯

2 Peter 3:16   As also in all epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.¯

2 Peter 3:17   Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.¯

2 Peter 3:18   But grow in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him glory both now and for ever. Amen.¯