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INTRODUCTION TO 2 PETER | Bible Exposition Commentary
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INTRODUCTION TO 2 PETER

 

 
 
I.              AUTHOR
 
A.   Peter (2 Pe 1:1)
 
1.    Peter’s given name was Simon.
 
2.    Jesus gave him the name Cephas (John 1:42).
 
·         Cephas means stone or rock.
 
·         The Greek translation of the Aramaic word Cephas is petros, which also means stone or rock.
 
·         Peter is the only man in the New Testament called by this name.
 
3.    Peter occupied a favored place among the apostles.
 
4.    He occupied a central place in the book of Acts (first 12 chapters).
 
5.    He married and lived in Capernaum.
 
6.    He worked in the fishing business with his brother Andrew.
 
7.    The Lord came to him in a special appearance after the resurrection (Luke 24:34; 1 Co. 15:5).
 
8.    God used Peter to win 3,000 souls to Christ on Pentecost.
 
9.    Peter had an important part in the first Church council in Acts 15 (AD 50; Peter is not mentioned after this in the book of Acts).
 
10.  Paul refers to Peter in Galatians 1:18; 2:11; 1 Cor. 1-4; 9:5.
 
B.   Peter was literate but unschooled.
 
1.     Called from his trade as a fisherman.
 
2.     Called to be a fisher of men (Luke 5:1-11).
 
C.   Peter’s public ministry spanned 30 years and stretched from Jerusalem to Rome.
 
D.    Martyred by Nero (Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius; Clement of Rome, Dionysius of Corinth tell us Peter suffered martyrdom).
 
·         Origin said Peter was crucified with his head downwards.
 
·         He died AD 67-68.
 
II. DATE
 
A.   Probably just before Peter’s death and just after the writing of 1 Peter (2 Pe 1:12-15).
 
B.   Written after a collection of Paul’s epistles (2 Pe 3:15-16).
 
C.   Since 2 Peter 3:1 probably refers to 1 Peter, this letter was probably written after AD 62.
 
D.   Eusebius places Peter’s martyrdom in Rome during Nero’s persecution (AD 64-68).
 
E.   Date: AD 67-68
 
III. DESTINATION
 
A.   Second Peter may have been written to the same crowd as 1 Peter (2 Pe 3:1).
 
B.   This epistle is written to believers (2 Pet. 1:1). 
 
IV. PURPOSES
 
A.    Knowing that his time on earth is short, he warns God’s people of apostasy (2 Pe 1:13-14; 2:1-3). 
 
B.    Peter wants them to remember the fundamentals of the faith (2 Pe 1:12-21). 
 
C.    The main purpose is to help believers grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ that they may be established in the faith (2 Pe 3:18).
 
D.   Peter wants Christians to expect the return of the Lord (2 Pe 3:1-14)
 
E.   To stir their minds to remember (2 Pe 3:1).
 
V. CANONICITY (proof of why 2 Peter belongs in the Bible)
 
More people have challenged Second Peter as authentic than any other book of the New Testament (Antilegomena, not Homologoumena).
 
A.   External Evidence
 
1.     The Church Fathers: None of the early Fathers definitely quotes Second Peter. Eusebius, the great church historian of the fourth century, listed 2 Peter, along with 2 and 3 John and James as Antilegomena (books spoken against as belonging in the Bible)
 
a.    Cited or alluded to by Pseudo-Barnabas (c. 70-130), Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho (c. 100-165), and Shepherd of Hermas (c. early second century)
 
b.    Cited or alluded to by Clement of Rome (c. 95-96)
 
c.    Named as disputed by Origin (c. 185-254)
 
d.    Bodmer papyrus 72 ({\mathfrak {P}}72) accepts 2 Peter as canonical (3rd or 4th century)
 
e.    Gospel of Truth (c. 140-180) and the Apocryphon of John (around c. 180) contain allusions to 2 Peter.
 
f.     Named as authentic by Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-86)
 
g.    Named as disputed by Eusebius (c. 325-40)
 
h.    Named as authentic by Jerome (c. 340-420)
 
i.     Named as authentic by Augustine (c. 400)
 
2.      Canons:
 
a.    This epistle is omitted in the Muratorian Canon (c. 200), but it also omits 1 Peter, and its present text is almost certainly incomplete
 
b.    Named as authentic by the Codex Barococcio (c. 206)
 
c.    Named as authentic by Apostolic (c. 300)
 
d.    Named as disputed by Cheltenham (c. 360)
 
e.    Named as authentic by Athanasius (c. 367)
 
3.      Translations
 
·         Second Peter was not included in the Tatian Diatessaron (c. 170)
 
·         Old Latin (c. 200) or the Old Syriac14 (c. 400) translations.
 
4.    Councils:
 
               a.   Named as disputed by the council of Nicea (325-340)
 
               b.   Named as authentic by the council of Hippo (393)
 
               c.   Named as authentic by the first council of Carthage (397)
 
               d.   Named as authentic by another council of Carthage (491)
 
B.   Internal Evidence (best support for 2 Peter)
 
1.    Calls himself Peter (2 Pe 1:1,14,16-18; 3:1,15).
 
2.    Acquainted with the life of Christ and his teachings.
 
3.    Peter used a different amanuensis than 1 Peter, thus there is a different style of writing.
 
4.    Book claims to be Peter’s second epistle (2 Pe 3:1).
 
5.    The author claims to be Paul’s brother in Christ (2 Pe 3:15).
 
6.    The letter gives no hint of influence from the second century, which the critics claim. 
 
7.    Peter was at the Transfiguration, and 2 Peter refers to the Transfiguration in 2 Pe 1:16-18.
 
8.    No allusions to second-century Gnosticism.
 
9.    Doctrine is consistent with Peter’s theology.
 
10.  Similarity to Peter’s speeches,
 
11.  Superiority of 2 Peter over spurious books.
 
C.   B. B. Warfield
 
“It cannot be denied, therefore, that it was a part of the Church Canon of the early third century; and the evidence goes further and proves that it was naturally in the Canon at this time – that the men of the early third Century did not put it in, but found it in the Canon. It was, therefore, in the Canon of the later years of the second Century … but it was commented on by Clement of Alexandria, and has a place in both the Egyptian versions and in the early form of Peshito (Syriac), all of which date from the second Century – known all over the church at this period and securely fixed in the Canon, we find it quoted here and there back to the very earliest in writers; nay, Justin Martyr, before 147 A.D., quotes it in such a way as to prove that he esteemed it authoritative.”
 
VI. PLACE OF WRITING
 
It is not possible to know the place of writing since Peter did not mention the place, and he traveled widely from Palestine to Rome, but the highest possibility is Rome.
 
VII. OCCASION
 
A.   New outbreak of heresy.
 
B.   Design of Second Peter is 2 fold:
 
1.    To warn against false teachers.
 
2.    To exhort to progress in grace.
 
C.   There is an air of urgency in the epistle.
 
D.   Two heresies in particular:
 
1.    Incipient Gnosticism
 
2.    Antinomianism.
 
VIII. THEME: Knowledge of Christ
 
IX. KEY VERSE – 2 Pe 3:18
 
X. KEYWORDS
 
A.   Know” and “knowledge
 
·         16 times in various cognates
 
·         6 times in the intense form
 
B.   Knowledge is the antidote to false teaching.
 
·         It is through Christ that the great promises of God become available to men.
 
·         The best method for combating error is to learn the truth, rather than study error
 
C. Occurrences of the word “knowledge:” 1 Pe 1:2,3,5,6,8; 2:20; 3:18
 
XI.  MISCELLANEOUS MATTER
 
A.   Written to the same people as 1 Peter (2 Pe 3:1).
 
B.   Written just before the death of Peter (2 Pe1:14).
 
C.   All second epistles deal with apostasy.
 
D.   No one mentioned with Peter in writing.
 
E.   3 chapters, 61 verses, 1,559 words in KJV. 
 
F.    Peter’s name occurs 210 times in the New Testament, Paul’s name 162 times, and all other apostles 142 times.
 
G.   Old Testament quotes: 2 Pe 2:22 (Proverbs 26:11); 2 Pe 3:8 (Ps. 90:4); 2 Pe 3:9 (Ez. 33:11)
 
H.   Character: general epistle. 
 
I.     2 Peter is Peter’s last words. 
 
J.    Elliptical Greek because of Peter’s passion against false teachers.
 
XII. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JUDE AND 2 PETER:
 
A.   Nature: both have the same literary style. 
 
1.    Most of 2 Peter and Jude are parallel
 
2.    Content of 15 out of 25 verses in Jude appears in 2 Peter
 
B.   Differences:
 
1.    The groups of false teachers are similar but not identical to Jude.
 
2.    Jude is harsher and 2 Peter more positive.
 
3.    Jude uses apocryphal books, and 2 Peter does not.
 
XIII. DISTINCTIVE: Polemical
 
XIV.   OUTLINE
I. EXHORTATION TO GROW BASED ON TRUE KNOWLEDGE (1:3-11)
A. God’s provision (1:3-4)
B. Our responsibility (1:5-11)
II. BASIS FOR GROWTH — CERTAINTY OF KNOWLEDGE (1:12-21)
A. Experience of the apostles (1:12-18)
B. Ground for certainty (1:19-21)
III. WARNING AGAINST FALSE KNOWLEDGE (2:1-22)
A. Incursion of false teachers (2:1-3)
B. Judgment of false teachers (2:4-19)
C. Danger of false teachers (2:20-22)
IV. REMINDER OF THE CHRISTIAN’S HOPE (3:1-13)
A. The mockers (3:1-7)
B. The character of the day (3:8-13)
CONCLUSION (3:14-18)
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