Introduction to 2 Peter

The authorship of this epistle has been questioned more than any other NT book. The internal evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Peter authorship.

1. The writer claims to be an apostle (1:1—3:2). This narrows the authorship to one of the twelve apostles.

2. The writer claims to have been on the Mount of Transfiguration with the Lord Jesus (1:16-18). This narrows the authorship to one of three men.

3. The writer states that this is his second epistle to the people addressed (3:1).

4. The writer had seen Christ in person (1:16).

5. The writer refers to the Lord’s prediction of His death (1:14).

Purpose in Writing

The second epistle was written for a different purpose than the first epistle. The first was designed to encourage and comfort believers under severe persecution. The second was the warn them against false teachers and their doctrine. The Lord’s suffering is not mentioned in the second. The first was written to console. The second to warn. In the first we have much about suffering. In the second there is much about error. In the first epistle Peter was concerned about presentation that came from without. In the second epistle his is concerned about errors within.

All second epistles have a special bearing on the last days and instruct true believers how they should stand in the face of increased apostasy and departure. 2 Timothy is a good example of this.

Time of Writing

Peter was an old man and was thinking of death as predicted by the Lord. John 21:18-19.

v. 1—Simon Peter mentions his two offices. A servant—bondslave; an apostle—sent one. He was a gift of the ascended Christ to the Church.

Most tenderly he addresses his readers, the same to whom he sent his first epistle. He mentioned their precious possession: faith. This they received at their conversion “through the righteousness of God,” etc. Through the value of the work of Christ.

v. 2—This benediction of grace and peace would come through the full knowledge of God, etc. The word grace here denotes blessing. Peace is that which is produced through communion with God the Father and Son Jesus Christ. See Phil 4.

v. 3—In intimate “knowledge of God” produces blessing and peace, Peter also says that through “divine power” we have life and the expression of that life is practical godliness. God has called us to holy living by glory and virtue. We should be in life what He is by nature.

v. 4—Not only have we received divine power and full knowledge, but we also have been given exceeding great and precious promises. The reason for having received these promises is because we have become “partakers of the divine nature.” So then, we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness, etc. See 2 Corinthians 3:18.

That is the positive side. The negative side is that we escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. A consideration of these things shows us the wonderful legacy that has been given to the believers.

v. 5-7—Show us the development of the divine life received: the abundant life. Because of who and what we are we should make every effort to add to our faith the following virtues:

1. Faith is basic to all relationship and fellowship with God. All virtues issue from faith. Each of these elements is the sod in which the others grow.

2. From faith comes virtue. The qualities of Christ demonstrated from cleansed lives.

3. Knowledge. Read the Bible to acquire knowledge.

4. Temperance—self-control. Self-control over the body and mind. Temperate in all things.

5. Patience. Self-control is power over that which is within. Patience is power over that which is without.

6. Godliness. This embraces reverence and god-likeness of life.

7. Brotherly kindness.

8. Love. This is the climax: Love for God and love for our brethren.

The thought here is not that as time goes by the believer should add one of these qualities and them sometime later add another. All these virtues should be constantly present in each life. Peter lays great stress on Christian living.

v. 8—The believer who shows these virtues in their life will bear fruit and will never be idle nor unfruitful. In seeking after Christ, He in turn will produce this life in us.

v. 9—Those who lack these qualities are spiritually blind and oblivious to the fact that He has been cleansed from his sins.