2nd Peter Concise Study
2nd Peter 1:1: Peter asserts no papal authority in his epistles. Here, even though he mentions being an Apostle of Jesus Christ, he mentions being a servant of Jesus Christ first.
An authentic Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ is just as precious as the faith of His authentic apostles in the first century. That faith is a right response to the call of Christ’s Gospel, a call which would not be made at all if Christ had not suffered to live a perfect life as a man which culminated in Him giving Himself on the cross as the perfect Lamb of God. Apart from that, there would be no hope of anyone ever being justified in God’s sight.
The word “righteousness” here is “dikayosyne” in the Greek and it refers to justification. The phrase in 2 Peter 1:1 would have been better translated “through the justification of God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” It is not a reference to God looking at Jesus’ personal righteousness when He looks at a Christian (this has been explained in several ways in some of our other studies).
1:2: The word for “knowledge” here is “epignosis” in Greek. It is a reference to experiential, intimate knowledge. All people have knowledge of God (whether they admit or not). But this is something deeper, and it is used in regards to knowing God in the sense of fellowship. Note this since it is important and it will come up again in this book.
1:3: We’ve seen this same basic thought communicated in Ephesians chapter one and 1 Peter chapter one.
1:4: An authentic Christian has already escaped (or turned from or fled from in fleeing to God from the wrath to come) the corruption that is in the world through lust. There is the need to grow as a Christian and the need to be purified as a Christian after that. Peter is talking about it right here. Yet he is speaking of these things in the context of having already escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. When many speak of these things, they don’t speak of them in this context. They rather make it sound like wallowing in sin is normal Christianity from God’s perspective as they teach their damnable “progressive sanctification” doctrine. They lead their hearers to damnation. Peter is working up to rebuking those who teach such things and working up to exposing their damnable doctrines. He therefore emphasizes that authentic Christianity and true Christian growth are in the realm of having already escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, though we’ll also see that Peter is at odds with many since he also makes it clear that a Christian who has already escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust can return to it, become ensnared in it, and end up in a worse spiritual state than he or she was in before their conversion to Jesus Christ. He will make it clear that many who teach in Christ’s name teach doctrine which naturally leads their hearers to this state and the damnation which accompanies it.
1:5: Note that he is talking about adding these things to one’s faith. The sin has already been utterly disregarded, renounced, and forsaken to the fullest possible extent. And yet note how that point is not the end of the Christian life; it is the very beginning. It is the entrance into school of Christ where the narrow gate has been passed through, the narrow way to life in Jesus Christ has been entered, that person has entered the school of true discipleship, and all diligence is required going forward.
1:5-7: “Knowledge” here is “gnosis” not “epignosis”, signifying more general knowledge. One with epignosis of Jesus Christ must add gnosis of Jesus Christ to their faith. True disciples of His ask lots and lots of questions to understand the Bible and more specifically apply it to their life.
The things listed here are not steps of Christianity, as if you attain one and then attain the next. These things are all aspects of Christian stability and diligence. They are things which one must add to their faith as they continue on walking in the light of God’s Word and resisting temptation through Jesus Christ. You could do a study seeing how the faithful people of Scripture took on and demonstrated these things as they went forward in faith, doing what was pleasing to God in the particular circumstances which they encountered.
1:8: Now we’re back to epignosis as the Greek word translated as “knowledge” in verse eight.
Remember here what Jesus said in John 15:4-6: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
1:9: Peter is speaking of a Christian who has repented and entered Jesus Christ’s narrow way, but they didn’t continue thereon faithfully. They are therefore spiritually blind, they lack significant insight into practically living out Christianity, and they are no longer alienated from their sinful lives before their conversion to Jesus Christ. And that puts them in a perilous place- or else Peter’s following words would be pointless; and the rest of his epistle would be pointless as well.
1:10-11: Remember here what Peter said in his previous epistle. 1 Peter 4:12-18: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Though the way to eternal life is narrow, and the righteous are only saved narrowly through faithfully enduring tribulation in the Lord, those who so endure the refiner’s fire will indeed doubtlessly enter Jesus Christ’s everlasting kingdom. Yet not those who don’t so cooperate with the refiner’s fire, let alone those who never repent so that they escape the corruption that is in the world through lust and enter that fire to begin with. That fire molds the characters of those who endure it ,and cooperate with it by walking in Jesus Christ’s Word faithfully, according to Jesus Christ’s image. Peter had also emphasized as he closed his previous epistle that this is the grace of God wherein ye (referring to authentic Christians) stand.
No one will enter the everlasting kingdom of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who does not submit to His Lordship and practically walk therein on earth to the realization of His goals for man regarding the salvation which He has purchased for man through His death on the cross and resurrection.
1:12: Note Peter’s prime audience. Authentic, already faithful Christians. Even these need real warnings about sin leading to damnation.
1:13-14: And we read about that in John chapter 21. It seems that by the time John wrote his gospel Peter had already died. There should be no doubt that Peter was crucified, because Jesus’ words to Peter clearly implied that he would die by crucifixion. Many believe though that Peter was crucified upside down though, and there is not solid evidence of that to trust in to be able to factually state that.
1:15: That is an important consideration indeed.
1:16-18: This is a reference to the transfiguration (recorded in the Gospel accounts). Note that Biblical Christianity is either true or it is based upon a boldfaced lie. There is no ground to think that it is anything of less importance than the way to God and eternal life preached by holy men who witnessed the events of the life of God incarnate or to think that it is any less wicked and vain than an utter lie concocted by people who thrust the worst scheme and greatest hoax upon the world. Many people think of Christianity in more neutral terms. The Apostle’s own testimony means that you have to think of it to either extreme in order to simply be logical. These same men suffered a lot for what they claimed and didn’t get rich in their lifetime nor even become that famous in their lifetime (though they are famous now).
The Apostles cited the Scriptures, the established Scriptures among the Jews already, what we know as the Old Testament, to be the basis for the things they witnessed and the claims they made (we have many studies related to this). And they regarded the Scriptures as even more reliable than what they saw and heard with their own eyes and ears. If the Scriptures didn’t corroborate what they saw and heard, they would have distrusted their own eyes and ears.
1:19-21:Peter is thus rebuking here those who claim to have understanding of what the Bible means, which is supposedly a secret to the “common person”, which the commoner needs to trust the private interpretation of another for. If a concept can’t be found in the Bible, and demonstrated to others from the Bible, we shouldn’t believe it. We should also discern that the one trying to promote the unbiblical concept is a false teacher. That surely applies to all groups and people which give any amount of authority to extra-biblical tradition, and that would include the church and alleged authority figure who claim the Apostle Peter as their foundation, as well as any group whose founders and/or leaders have allegedly received instruction from God which puts extra-biblical writings equal to or above the Bible in authority; and not rather to be scrutinized and judged in accordance with the Bible. These surely deny the Biblical holiness which is consistent with Christ’s Lordship.
2 Peter 2:1: “Among you”- among Apostolic Christian assemblies. And they will turn that assembly away from its faithfulness if they are heeded. Remember Paul’s warning to the Ephesian elders in Acts chapter 20 and the Risen Jesus’ message to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
Swift destruction= Sudden when it hits; not that it will necessarily come swiftly by man’s estimation in terms of really soon.
In exposing the most subtle false teachers who could creep into a faithful Christian assembly and be very hard to spot even for the faithful who were taught by Christ’s very own Apostles, Peter is also exposing those who are (or should be) obvious; those who would be called out for falsehood quickly if it were possible to bring them back time to have a chance to preach what they preach in a first century Christian assembly (such as virtually everyone on so-called Christian radio and television).
And where does this leave those who blatantly deny Lordship salvation, those who say that sinning can’t affect a Christian’s salvation, and those who just blatantly say we don’t need to what the Bible actually commands us?
2:2: Even though they are not really adhering to Christianity, the way of truth. They are sinning in Christ’s name due to the influence of these subtle teachers of lawlessness. Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares. Hear now Jesus’ explanation of that parable.
Matthew 13:36-43: “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity (lawlessness- the word in the Greek is anomia); And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
2:3: They’re wolves with their own agenda. But don’t limit these to those who get rich preaching. The agenda of many is more subtle. And even if they are seeking to get rich, they can fail at that and still succeed in leading many to damnation.
The damnation of those who live ungodly and work lawlessness in God’s sight has already been delineated and certified by what God has demonstrated already in His Word (even in Peter’s time had already demonstrated in the Hebrew Scriptures) combined with what He has warned is to come (including what he is warning through Peter here).
2:4-6: You can know a false teacher for sure when they insist that how we actually live isn’t the issue regarding our salvation. Peter rebukes that lie as clear as day here. Our lives must demonstrate that we’ve embraced the entire package of Christian doctrine and prescribed living; that we are in line with Jesus Christ’s Lordship. See our concise study on James, especially as chapter two is examined in that study.
2:7-8: I see no reason to believe that Peter is saying that Lot remained just in God’s sight after his deliverance from Sodom. We know the filthy thing he did afterwards, and then there is nothing in the Bible said of what became of him after that. It is possible that his time in Sodom set him up and conditioned him for a great fall from grace, but that that fall hadn’t quite happened yet as of the moment he was delivered from Sodom.
2:9-11: Even if they might look and sound holy in general, don’t ignore red flags. You may notice they have a bad attitude with police officers who really didn’t do anything majorly wrong to them or anyone else in their presence. You may note that they are quick to throw unfounded accusations at those who contend with them and won’t even really apologize if they come to understand that they were in error (or at least are obviously proven to be in error). You might notice that they don’t really regard certain people, not due to their evidently poor character, but due to their low social status. They won’t go out of their way for them like they’d do with certain others. Things like that are just as morally filthy as using pornography or encounters with prostitutes. Yet the subtle false teachers won’t do things like that openly (if they do them you won’t know about it), and they’d not be teaching in the assembly of the faithful anymore if they were to be caught.
False teachers typically want people to be extra fearful of speaking against them (though not always since there are many variations of them). Yet people like this typically aren’t as careful as they ought to be about falsely accusing those who come against them and/or those in higher positions. Jude talks about how even extremely powerful good angels are very careful about what they say to, and in regard to, fallen angels. Rebuke, negativity, name calling- there is a righteous place for these things in Christianity- but only within the boundaries of God’s Law. The Apostle Paul called one of his enemies a whited wall in Acts chapter 23- but he apologized when he found out that was the High Priest due to what the Law of God says about speaking evil of the ruler of your people. False teachers, especially the most subtle ones, tend to expose themselves in this way even though they may be very hard to spot in general. They are more zealous for their own honor than they are to give the honor which they ought to give to others (though they will still give much honor to others in a feigned way for their own covetous purposes). They discern opportunities for good publicity; and they discern when doing what they’d normally do would make them look bad and prove them for what they are. Private correspondence is a much more telling indicator.
And by the way: It’s notable that Peter says what he says knowing that himself, and the Apostles in general, had enemies who would be looking for an opportunity to use these things against him and against them.
2:12-14: Eyes full of adultery isn’t necessarily a reference for a chance to commit adultery sexually. It could be a reference to looking to mix their ministry, which is supposedly for God, with their own gain.
2:15-16: That is, the donkey who could not have spoken without supernatural intervention.
2:17-18: They allure true Christians who have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust and turned to Jesus Christ. They allure them through the allowance for sin in their doctrine and/or through their subtle sensuality in their preaching and conduct which practically reconciles Christianity with living after the flesh to those who are under their influence.
Those who give into this allurement return to corruption. They can end up hardened in this state with a spiritual delusion and false security as they live after the flesh which is a worse spiritual state than they were in before they had been converted to Jesus Christ.
2:19-20: There it is again. That word translated as “knowledge” is epignosis which was talked about earlier. Peter is talking about true Christians being led astray into a worse spiritual state than those who never knew Christ at all are typically in. The unconditional eternal security teachers are being exposed for what they are and their doctrine is simultaneously being proven false.
2:21: In both instances here “known”= epiginosko; a variation of epignosis.
If these were still in God’s grace and heirs of salvation anyways, Peter would not say what he said here. These have fallen from the grace of God.
2:22: In a true conversion to Jesus Christ, people indeed stop acting like dogs and pigs in a spiritual sense. Yet when people who were truly converted revert to living after the flesh, the illustrations which Peter gives here are appropriate. To see them otherwise would require twisting and nullifying the rest of the book, making the one who does this the very type of teacher whom Peter is warning us to beware of and not give heed to.
2 Peter 3:1-2: We see here that to be faithful to the Lord and ready for Judgment Day we must give heed to both the Old and the New Testaments. Those who say they only need one practically reject both.
3:3-4: We can be sure that those who say such things don’t want to live in light of God’s coming judgment themselves because they are walking after their own lusts and seeking to justify that. It is possible that Peter is shifting now to opposition to Christianity from without after he had been speaking about opposition to Christianity within. Yet those who preach a salvation which allows people to walk after their own lusts and still allegedly be safe when the Lord returns are no better and much more dangerous than blatant unbelievers.
3:5-6: One word from God changed everything and flooded the world to destruction which had been going on as normal up until that point.
3:7: There were about 1,656 years between the Creation in Genesis and the flood in Noah’s time. If you think that the Bible is old and outdated, consider that there have been about 1,930 years since the last books of the Bible, in terms of chronology, were written. When the flood hit in Noah’s time there had only been about 270 some less years that had passed from the Creation until the flood than the years which have passed since the latest books of the Bible were written until today.
Another thing that is obvious by reading through the Bible, and looking through a decent timeline of Bible events, is that God tends to wait long, sometimes incredibly long, amounts of time before He drastically reveals Himself to mankind. It’s also obvious that such moments are reminders and reinforcements of truths which the people affected should have known already by the words which God has already spoken and by the great things which He has already done.
God judged Sodom and Gomorrah approximately 450 years after the flood. Do you think that the people in Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t calling the stories of the flood old tales? And do you think they were not calling the ways of men whom God deemed righteous who had lived beforehand, such as Noah, outdated, backwards, regressive, etc. Of course, they were saying such things. Things like this have always happened. And it is madness to think that this has also not been happening over the past 2,000 years in deceitful dealing by mankind regarding God’s full revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ. We are living in a very wicked, perilous time when such thoughts are reigning in society and even prevailing throughout the professing Christian churches. You want to claim the Bible is outdated and you don’t really need to heed everything in it, that you don’t really need to listen carefully to God’s instructions there, that you don’t really have to live by every word of God? You think that hell is old-fashioned, and God isn’t taking note of and recording everything still, with the certainty of bringing every work into judgment and rendering to every man according to His deeds? There is a long list of groups and individuals in the Bible itself who said such things who got horribly reproved, put in their place, and proven to be fools.
3:8-9: Including born-again Christians who have perhaps have not followed the teachers of lawlessness to the point that their current state is worse than it was before their conversion, yet who have at least been impacted by the bad influence of these, and the bad influence of the world in general, so that they have not exercised the Christian diligence which Peter is commending here in doing all the good they know God requires of them in their circumstances and perhaps allowing the corruption of the world to attach itself to them without doing all in their power to resist it in the Lord.
3:10-12: With the term “hasting unto”, think of someone whose business could be visited by a government auditor anytime. Think of such a person doing all in their power to make sure they were operating according to the law and demonstrating that they were doing all in their power to meet the expectations so they would be able to show the auditor around without shame whenever they came and be able to explain to them with confidence why things were like they were at their facility.
3:13-14: The lesson here is, by the grace of God (remember 1 Peter 5:12) make sure you are consistent with, and fitting for, that new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness- the everlasting kingdom of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21:7-8: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful (cowardly in regard to righteousness), and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Revelation 21:26-27: “And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Revelation 22:14-15: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”
2 Peter 3:15-16: If you’re interpreting anything the Apostle Paul wrote, or anything else in the Bible contrary to these things which Peter is writing, you missed something. Some things in the Bible are indeed hard to understand and unwarranted conclusions can be reached by those who are not careful to interpret the more obscure, harder things consistent with the the more emphasized obvious things- especially those with sin in their lives- and even more especially those with a personal agenda who are looking to God’s Word for something which seems on the surface to support that agenda (and that’s especially wicked). All of Scripture does indeed fit together consistently when each statement is taken in light of the rest. These studies overall are intended to give a sample of how that can indeed be demonstrated.
2 Peter 3:17: You (authentically born-again Christians)! Peter is emphasizing this so that there is no mistake that it is possible for true Christians to be led away from Jesus Christ to ultimately condemned with the wicked. If we heed Apostolic counsel in its entirety, we won’t be. And that includes acknowledging the danger which the Apostles said that Christians are in is real and must be guarded against; and doing what they counseled to do to guard against that danger.
2 Peter 3:18a: As opposed to being led away with the error of the wicked. Many wrongly think they can do what verse eighteen prescribes while holding onto wickedness and refusing to submit to the Lord.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]