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Introduction to the Books of the Bible

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Peter's Second Letter







BOOK : 2 Peter

Description : A follow-up letter (see 3:1) to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

Author: Clearly the apostle Peter

Date written : Probably between AD65 and AD69

Chapters : 3



Brief Synopsis:

•  Peter's purpose is threefold:

•  to stimulate Christian growth (ch. 1),  
•  to combat false teaching (ch. 2) and
•  to encourage watchfulness in view of the Lord's certain return (ch. 3)
•  It was also a follow-up letter to his previous one (see 1 Peter)



Outline :


1:1-2 Introduction
1:3-11 Exhortation to Growth in Christian Virtues

1:3-4 The Divine Provision: What God has done

1:5-7 The Call for Growth: What we can do

1:8-11 The Value of Such Growth

1:12-21 The Purpose and Authentication of Peter's Message

1:12-15 His Aim in Writing

1:16-21 The Basis of His Authority

2:1-22 Warning against False Teachers

2:1-3a Their Coming Predicted

2:3b-9 Their Judgment Assured

2:10-22 Their Characteristics Set Forth

3:1-16 Warning against those who deny Christ's Return

3:1-2 Peter's Purpose in Writing Restated

3:3-7 The Coming of Scoffers

3:8-10 The Certainty of Christ's Return

3:11-16 Exhortations Based on the Fact of Christ's Return

3:17-18 Concluding Remarks



Some Key Verses:


His testimony: Peter's aim in writing for he has not long left on this earth

1:13-15 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.


His testimony: Both letters are to keep them on track

3:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking


His testimony: Why they can trust him he is one of the remaining eye witnesses

1:16-18 we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.


His teaching: What God has done

1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.


His teaching: What we can do

1:5-7 make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.


His teaching: And the end result

1:10,11 For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


First warning: watch out for false teachers

2:1,2 there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.


First warning: the nature of these backslidden false teachers

2:18-21 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.


Second warning: against those who deny the 2 nd Coming

3:3,4 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this `coming' he promised?


Second warning: remain faithful until he comes

3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.



Concluding Comments


Thus we have a second letter to encourage, build up and challenge the believers. The emphasis of this one is not so much on persecution and suffering but Peter is aware he may not be around much longer and so wants to encourage the believers on, and warn them against false teachers and those who would deny Christ's return. In focusing on the certainty of Christ's return he is providing an additional motivation to remain faithful and true to the gospel.



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