Courses

The Book of 2 Peter

I. Title

       The title comes from the name of the author, Peter; it is the second of two letters written by Peter.

II. Author and Setting

       The letter was written by Peter according to 1:1:

       Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
       To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

       The authorship of 2 Peter has been widely questioned in scholarly circles, and the majority consensus is that the letter, though claiming to have been written by Peter, actually was not.
       Arguments in favor of Peterine authorship are as follows:

1. 2 Peter 1:1 claims authorship for Peter; to reject Peter's authorship would necessitate rejecting the letter as scripture, since it would, with the first two words, be lying.
2. There were pseudonymous works circulating in the early church that claimed to be written by Peter (The Apocalypse of Peter, The Gospel of Peter, The Acts of Peter, The Teaching of Peter, The Letter of Peter to James, The Preaching of Peter) but they were never accepted by the church as authoritative. 2 Peter does not resemble these clearly pseudopigraphic works either in style or content -- that is, it lacks Gnostic and Montanist influence, either as polemic for or against.
3. Differences in style between 1 and 2 Peter can be explained by noting that Silas helped Peter with 1 Peter (1 Peter 5:12), while no such help is indicated in this second letter.

       There are many similarities between 2 Peter and Jude, especially the description and denunciation of false teachers. This has lead to the conclusion that there is probably some kind of literary or oral dependence, with 2 Peter most likely making use of Jude, rather than the other way around. It is also a possibility that both Jude and 2 Peter make use of a third, unknown source.
       Like the first letter, the second was probably written from Rome, sometime between AD 64 and 68.

III. An Outline of 2 Peter

I. Salutation 1:1-2
II. Growth 1:3-11
III. Prophets 1:12-21
IV. False Prophets 2:1-22
V. The Second Coming 3:1-18

IV. Questions on 2 Peter

1. Discuss the authorship of 2 Peter.
2. Comment on 2 Peter 1:3-9.
3. Explain 2 Peter 1:19-21.
4. What does Peter have to say about false teachers?
5. Explain 2 Peter 2:4. Who are these angels who sinned?
6. Compare 2 Peter 2:7-8 with Genesis 19. How is it that Lot can be characterized as "righteous"?
7. What does Peter have to say about the day of the Lord?
8. What implications has the coming of Christ for how Christians live their lives?
9. Comment on 2 Peter 3:8-9.