In his second letter, Peter uses his standard form of opening, identifying himself in this case as Simeon Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. In the opening chapter, he also declares his witnessing of the transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18), which was recorded in Matthew 17:1-8. It is evident that Peter knows that his death is eminent, as we can see from 2 Peter 1:12-15. Many scholars believe that he wrote this second letter during the Roman persecution which occurred before Nero’s death in 68 A.D. This would make for a date of the writing of this letter from 64-67 A.D.
It is a shorter letter, and a passionate one, as Peter probably knows that it will be his last communication to these churches. He is addressing the same churches that he wrote to in the first epistle (Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia), as we can see from 2 Peter 3:1. The second chapter may be the source of Peter’s urgency in writing this letter before his martyrdom. In that chapter, he warns of false prophets and teachers that have already been a problem in other churches. And there is a reference to some sort of sensual activity that is being held up as an acceptable lifestyle for Christianity.
Most of the rest of the letter deals with the requirement for the Christian to endure in their godly lives, and to reassure them that “the day of the Lord” will come. He reminds them also in the first chapter of his eyewitness account of the things they have been taught; and that he and his fellow apostles can be trusted to have delivered to them the truth – not the myths of man.
He reminds them also of the precious gift of godliness that has allowed them an escape “from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” In verses 5-9 of the first chapter, Peter gives a most beautiful summary of the timeless advice for Christian living:
“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.”
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.