Introduction to the book of 2 Peter.
The apostle Peter, as stated in the salutation (1:1). The writer claims to have had special revelation from the Lord concerning his demise (1:14; cf. Jn 21:18-19), and to have been present when the Lord was transfigured on the mountain (1:16-18; cf. Mt 17:1-9). He also alludes to the first epistle (3:1), and acknowledges acquaintance with the apostle Paul (3:15). Ether Peter wrote it, or it is a blatant forgery.
The external evidence reveals that this epistle was slow to be accepted by many in the church. Eusebius (300 A.D.) considered it among doubtful books, but Clement of Alexandria (200 A.D.) accepted it, and Robertson's Word Pictures notes that those who alluded to it in their writings include Justin Martyr (165 A.D.), Irenaeus (185 A.D.), Ignatius (107 A.D.), and Clement of Rome (96 A.D.)
The letter is addressed to those "who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (1:1). The author notes this is the second epistle he has written to them (3:1). If it is indeed the second epistle written to the same audience as First Peter, then the recipients were those Christian "pilgrims" (cf. 1Pe 1:1; 2:11) who were living in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, provinces in what is now Turkey.
TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
Peter makes reference to his imminent death (1:14). It is generally accepted that Peter died during the reign of Nero. Since Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D., the epistle must be dated before then. The epistle was therefore probably written sometime during 67 A.D. The place of writing is uncertain, though if written while imprisoned shortly before his death, it would have been from Rome.
PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE
Peter states His purpose very clearly in writing this epistle:
* To stir up his brethren by way of reminder (1:12-15; 3:1)
Knowing his death is imminent (1:13-14), Peter wanted to ensure that his readers remain established in the truth (1:12), and be mindful of both the words spoken before by the prophets and the commandments given by the apostles, especially in regards to the promise of the Lord's return (3:1-4).
THEME OF THE EPISTLE
The theme of 2nd Peter can be gleaned from its last two verses (3:17-18), and stated as:
"BEWARE, BUT GROW"
He warns Christians to beware lest they fall from their steadfastness, being led away by error. At the same time, he exhorts them to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. After the opening salutation, virtually every verse of the epistle is either an encouragement to grow or a warning against false teachers (including those who scoff at the idea of the Lord returning).
2 Peter 3:17-18 "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."
1. From Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ (1:1a)
2. To those who have obtained like precious faith (1:1b)
3. Grace and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and Jesus (1:2)
I. GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE (1:3-21)
A. WITH PRECIOUS GIFTS FROM GOD (1:3-4)
1. All things that pertain to life and godliness (1:3)
2. Exceedingly great and precious promises (1:4)
B. ABOUNDING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST (1:5-11)
1. Supplying our faith with Christ-like graces (1:5-7)
2. Making our call and election sure (1:8-11)
C. STIRRED UP BY CAREFUL REMINDER (1:12-21)
1. By one who knows his death is imminent (1:12-15)
2. Whose eyewitness testimony along with the prophetic Word we should heed (1:16-21)
II. BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS (2:1-22)
A. THEIR DESTRUCTIVENESS (2:1-3)
1. Their destructive heresies (2:1-2)
2. Their destructive methods (2:1,3)
3. Their destructive end (2:1,3)
B. THEIR DOOM (2:4-9)
1. The example of the angels who sinned (2:4)
2. The example of the flood (2:5)
3. The example of Sodom and Gomorrah (2:6-8)
4. God will deliver the godly, and punish the unjust (2:9)
C. THEIR DEPRAVITY (2:10-17)
1. Reviling against authority (2:10-12)
2. Reveling with great pleasure (2:13-14)
3. Revolting against the right way (2:15-17)
D. THEIR DECEPTIONS (2:18-22)
1. Deceptive in their methods (2:18)
2. Deceptive in their promises (2:19)
3. Whose latter end is worse than the beginning (2:20-22)
III. LOOK FOR THE LORD'S RETURN (3:1-18)
A. THOUGH SCOFFERS WILL COME (3:1-9)
1. Who forget the world was destroyed by water (3:1-7)
2. Do not forget that the Lord is not bound by time, and is longsuffering (3:8-9)
B. FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME (3:10-18)
1. As a thief in the night, with cataclysmic destruction (3:10,12)
2. For which we should be ready, with holy conduct, looking for the promise of new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (3:11,13-14)
3. Remembering that the Lord's longsuffering is salvation, as Paul wrote (3:15-16)
4. So beware lest you fall, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (3:17-18)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION
1) To whom was this second epistle of Peter written? (1:1; 3:1)
- To those who had obtained a like precious faith
- To those who had received the first epistle
2) What region of the world did they live in?
- Modern day Turkey
3) When was this epistle possibly written?
- 67 A.D.
4) Where was Peter when he wrote this epistle?
- In Rome
5) What purpose did Peter have in writing this epistle? (1:12-15; 3:1)
- To stir up his brethren by way reminder
6) What is suggested as the theme of this epistle?
- Beware, but grow
7) What is suggested as the key verses in this epistle?
- 1 Peter 3:17-18
8) According to the outline above, what are main divisions of this epistle?
- Grow in grace and knowledge
- Beware of false teachers
- Look for the Lord's return