The Second Epistle of Peter is, like First Peter, pseudonymous. But unlike First Peter, it is the latest New Testament book; most likely written around the year 150 AD. By that time the first generation of Christians were gone, and many of the second and third generation were dead as well. This caused many to doubt the promise of the second coming of Christ, which according to Jesus’ own word, would take place "before this generation passes away". When not only that generation died, but a couple of others, some doubted. Thus, this brief letter was composed in order, simply, to encourage belief in the second coming of Jesus. The place of writing and those to whom the letter was written are unknown and unknowable.
The structure of the letter is this:
1- Grow in Virtue (1:3-21)
2- Condemnation of False Teachers (borrowed in whole from Jude)(2:1-22)
3- Why Jesus Has not Yet Come (3:1-16)
4- Exhortation (3:17-18)
The third division of the letter is the heart and soul. In this section "Peter" declares that though delayed, Jesus will come. His delay is an opportunity for their repentance. Though brief, and often overlooked, this letter has been the major source for continued belief in the Parousia (second coming) of Jesus -- for "with the Lord a day is as a 1000 years, and a 1000 years are as a day".
ASSIGNMENT: Read Jude, and Brown’s Introduction, chapter 35.
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