November 29

2 Peter

Probably written by Peter in 66 A.D., just before he was martyred in 67 A.D.  It is a reminder of the truths of Christian faith as opposed to the heresies of false teachers.

 

Peter, Second Epistle Of:

The following is a brief outline of the contents of this epistle: The customary opening salutation is followed by an enumeration of Christian blessings and exhortation to Christian duties (2 Peter 1:1-13). Referring then to his approaching death, the apostle assigns as grounds of assurance for believers his own personal testimony as eye-witness of the transfiguration and the sure word of prophecy that is the testimony of the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:14-21). The danger of being misled by false prophets is dwelt upon with great earnestness throughout the second chapter, which is almost identical in language and subject with the Epistle of Jude. The overthrow of all opponents of Christian truth is predicted in connection with prophecies touching the second advent of Christ, the destruction of the world by fire, and the promise of new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. 3. This epistle of Peter presents questions of difficulty. Doubts as to its genuineness were entertained by the early Church; in the time of Eusebius it was reckoned among the disputed books, and was not formally admitted into the canon until the year 393, at the Council of Hippo. These difficulties, however, are insufficient to justify more than hesitation in admitting its genuineness. A majority of names may be quoted in support of the genuineness and authenticity of this epistle (It is very uncertain as to the time when it was written. It was written near the close of Peter's life- perhaps about A.D. 68- from Rome or somewhere on the journey thither from the East-Alford.)

Smith's Bible Dictionary,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=ET0002913,BT0003334

 

2 Peter 1

The Introduction 1:1-2

The Identification of the Sender (1:1)

Peter identifies himself as a “bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ”.  He is about to address the fact that there are false teachers present.  So, he speaks of himself, first as a “bondservant”.  In other words, he does not belong to himself and he does not make decisions for himself.  He is a servant, a slave to Jesus Christ.  Jesus is literally his master.  He is about to explain rather extensively that these false teachers also have a master…their own desires and flesh (2:2-3,10-22).  So, he wants his readers to be aware of the different sources of his teachings and their teachings.  He also wants them to be aware of the source of authority that each of them appeals to.  Peter speaks of himself as an “apostle”.  Everyone understood that an apostle was a person who had been personally and individually called by Jesus.  Because of this calling…the apostles had a level of authority when they spoke that came directly from Jesus.  These false teachers could not claim that calling, nor that authority.

 

Bondman, Bondmaid:

from deo, "to bind," "a slave," originally the lowest term in the scale of servitude, came also to mean "one who gives himself up to the will of another," e.g., 1Cr 7:23; Rom 6:17, 20, and became the most common and general word for "servant," as in Mat 8:9, without any idea of bondage. In calling himself, however, a "bondslave of Jesus Christ," e.g., Rom 1:1, the Apostle Paul intimates

(1) that he had been formerly a "bondslave" of Satan, and

(2) that, having been bought by Christ, he was now a willing slave, bound to his new Master.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1401&t=NASB

 

The Credentials of the Recipients (1:1-2)

Peter addresses his letter to people who have “a faith of the same kind as ours".  He is telling them immediately that the faith he will write about is the faith that they should have.  They should not deter from it in any manner.  The words “of the same kind” mean “of the same value”.  These false prophets would try to convince people that their faith was of greater value than theirs.  It had more knowledge and power.  But Peter tells them that they already have the kind of faith that they need because it was the same kind of faith that he had and look how the Lord had blessed and used him.

 

The Qualities of True Faith 1:3-11

It has Comprehensive Coverage (1:3)

Continuing with the thought that their faith has the same value as his…Peter then tells them that they don’t need anything else, or more.  The faith that they have already received is all-comprehensive…seeing that it has come from God, Himself.  Peter tells them about the source of this faith when he writes, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…”  If God has granted to them everything that they need in the faith that He gives that is necessary for “life and godliness”…what else is necessary, what else would they have to offer…and who would dare to say that something more is needed?  Who could offer more than God can offer through His “divine power”?  What power do you suggest to back up your claims?  These false prophets are proposing a false faith.

 

It has Transforming Power (1:4)

The faith that God offers is life changing.  It isn’t just a philosophy of life, or a set of rules to guide an existing life…it is a new life.  We have been made "partakers of the divine nature"...and now we share in the life of God because of what Christ has done and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; Galatians 2:20).  Peter is not saying that we become God...but, that because of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life we are “partakers in the divine nature”.  The word “partaker” speaks of someone that has become a beneficiary, or partner.  By virtue of the fact that we have been born again and have received the Holy Spirit…we now benefit from that relationship in that we have the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Partake, Partaker:

an adjective, signifying "having in common" (koinos, "common"), is used as a noun, denoting "a companion, partner, partaker," translated "partakers" in Mat 23:30; 1Cr 10:18, AV (see COMMUNION, B); 2Cr 1:7; Hbr 10:33, RV (see COMPANION, No. 2); 2Pe 1:4; "partaker" in 1Pe 5:1.

Vine’s Expository of New Testament Words,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2844&t=NASB

 

As a result...we have escaped the corruption that is the result of the lust of the world.  The false prophets, at best, could only offer an approach to life that might help to regulate and manage the effects of life in a fallen, sinful world.  But the faith that God offers totally transforms us in such a way that we literally escape the power of the corruption (the destruction caused by sin) of this fallen world.

 

It has Practical Application (1:5-11)

Peter lists qualities of the Christian faith that are absolutely indispensible and are to be practiced with “all diligence”.  If you do so, you will never “stumble”  (:10) and "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (:11).  If you do not, you are "blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins" (:9).  Someone has suggested that there is a sequential spiritual development that is shown in the order of these words.  This may, or may not, be true.  However, at the very least, there is a definite interrelatedness between these qualities…each affects the other.

  • moral excellence…A life that is consistent in its practice of a high standard of morals and ethics…a virtuous course of thought, feeling, and action/

 

moral excellence

Virtue:

properly denotes whatever procures pre-eminent estimation for a person or thing; hence, "intrinsic eminence, moral goodness, virtue,"

(a) of God, 1Pe 2:9, "excellencies" (AV, "praises"); here the original and general sense seems to be blended with the impression made on others, i.e., renown, excellence or praise (Hort); in 2Pe 1:3, "(by His own glory and) virtue," RV (instrumental dative), i.e., the manifestation of His Divine power; this significance is frequently illustrated in the papyri and was evidently common in current Greek speech;

(b) of any particular moral excellence, Phl 4:8; 2Pe 1:5 (twice), where virtue is enjoined as an essential quality in the exercise of faith, RV, "(in your faith supply) virtue."

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G703&t=NASB

 

  • knowledge…The continuous application of a growing understanding of what the Christian faith is about and a deepening desire to live a moral life that is a reflection of the holiness of God.
  • self-control…Putting into practice the knowledge that we have of the Christian faith.

 

Self-control

Temperance, Temperate:

from kratos, "strength," occurs in Act 24:25; Gal 5:23; 2Pe 1:6 (twice), in all of which it is rendered "temperance;" the RV marg., "self-control" is the preferable rendering, as "temperance" is now limited to one form of self-control; the various powers bestowed by God upon man are capable of abuse; the right use demands the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God; in Act 24:25 the word follows "righteousness," which represents God's claims, self-control being man's response thereto; in 2Pe 1:6, it follows "knowledge," suggesting that what is learned requires to be put into practice.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1466&t=NASB

 

  • perseverance…It is one thing to practice these qualities when there is support by other people and the environment is conducive…but entirely another when there is persecution by people and temptation from the world.

 

In the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5281&t=NASB

 

  • godliness…A devotedness of life that is specifically aligned with the nature and character of God…not just a set of moral platitudes, or ethical standards.

 

Godliness, Godly:

from eu, "well," and sebomai, "to be devout," denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him. This and the corresponding verb and adverb (see below) are frequent in the Pastoral Epistles, but do not occur in previous Epistles of Paul. The Apostle Peter has the noun four times in his 2nd Epistle, 1:3, 6, 7; 3:11. Elsewhere it occurs in Act 3:12; 1Ti 2:2; 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 5, 6, 11; 2Ti 3:5; Tts 1:1. In 1Ti 6:3 "the doctrine which is according to godliness" signifies that which is consistent with "godliness," in contrast to false teachings; in Tts 1:1, "the truth which is according to godliness" is that which is productive of "godliness" in 1Ti 3:16, "the mystery of godliness" is "godliness" as embodied in, and communicated through, the truths of the faith concerning Christ; in 2Pe 3:11, the word is in the plural, signifying acts of "godliness."

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2150&t=NASB

 

  • brotherly kindness…Here there is a change. The previous words all spoke of a believer’s attitudes and actions that related to himself.  Now, the essence and product of those attitudes and actions are to be extended to others.  This the Greek word “Philadelphia”…which is love between brothers.

 

  • love…Finally, it is as if we arrive at the pinnacle of these qualities of faith. The very love of God should be manifested in and through us.  This is the Greek word “agape” which is generally characterized as love that places the other person as a priority over yourself and which has no strings attached.

 

The Foundation of True Faith 1:12-21

The Witness of the Apostles (1:12-18)

Peter says that he will always be "ready to remind you of these things...to stir up by way of reminder...to be diligent" (:12,13,15)...as long as he is alive (:13), whether he is with them, or not (:15).  These qualities of the Christian faith are so important that Peter says we should be reminded of them over and over.

Evidently, there were some false teachers who had developed "cleverly devised tales" about their relationship to Christ (:16)…trying to establish authority for their teaching.  Peter said that they had no such tales...they were simply eyewitnesses of Him when He was on earth.  In fact, Peter was there on the mountain of transfiguration (:17, Matthew 17:5).  This authenticates what they have to say...since they have not received it second-hand.  If someone is looking for the highest level of authentication of authority…they need look no further than that.

 

The Witness of the Scripture (1:19-21)

Prophecy is not something that you interpret on your own...but, "men moved by the Holy Spirit" spoke as God led them.  "Moved" (plural, present, passive, participle)...means "to carry, to bear".  These false prophets could not claim that experience…and hence, they could not claim that authority.  The Scripture is superior to all of their teachings.  Peter is saying that everything they teach is in alignment with what has been previously stated in Scripture.  To be at odds with his teaching is to be at odds with the Scripture.

Prayer: Lord, please always stir up the truth in me.  Don't ever let me become careless or complacent in matters of the truth and Your revelation.

 

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