Though personal greetings are dispensed with in this letter, the writer – whose name is recorded in varying manuscripts as either “Simeon Peter” or “Simon Peter” – addresses it “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Pay close attention to how this introduction is reinforced by Peter’s instructions throughout the letter.
The letter’s central purpose emerges at the end of chapter 1: For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses to His majesty. And not only were they privileged as witnesses, but they were given “something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.”
Notice throughout the letter how the concept of “knowledge” is discussed and employed as a defense against false witness. Most of chapter 2 is devoted to equipping the reader to identify these false prophets, and connecting them with the false prophets of the Old Testament: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
This sermon culminates in discussion of the return of Christ in chapter 3. Even though there is a break at the beginning of the last chapter, this discussion is not an addendum; it’s both a significant issue for his readers and yet another refutation of false prophets who say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” Peter’s readers are reminded that the Lord’s patience is their salvation. This is Peter's hammer: when Jesus returns, will they “be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace?”
This letter is different from 1 Peter in many ways. There is neither a stated point of origin nor a destination. There are no personal greetings, save the author’s introduction. Furthermore, the style and tone are different from its predecessor, looking backward and forward in ways foreign to the first letter. However, as Peter could easily have dictated this letter to a different hand than the first, and as the situation in Rome certainly deteriorated while Peter was there, these differences can be reconciled. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…” may be among the final words this Apostle composed. “…To him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.”
Our verse for this week is Luke 2:52: And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
The Epistle of 2 Peter. Now let’s read it!
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.