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!
2 Peter -
1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.