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Introduction to 2 Peter


Summary of the Book of 2 Peter

This summary of the book of 2 Peter provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Book of 2 Peter.


The author identifies himself as Simon Peter (1:1). He uses the first person singular pronoun in a highly personal passage (1:12-15) and claims to be an eyewitness of the transfiguration (1:16-18 [see note on 1:16]; cf. Mt 17:1-5). He asserts that this is his second letter to the readers (3:1) and refers to Paul as "our dear brother" (3:15; see note there). In short, the letter claims to be Peter's, and its character is compatible with that claim.

Although 2 Peter was not as widely known and recognized in the early church as 1 Peter, some may have used and accepted it as authoritative as early as the second century and perhaps even in the latter part of the first century (1 Clement [a.d. 95] may allude to it). It was not ascribed to Peter until Origen's time (185-253), and he seems to reflect some doubt concerning it. Eusebius (265-340) placed it among the questioned books, though he admits that most accept it as from Peter. After Eusebius's time, it seems to have been quite generally accepted as canonical.

In recent centuries, however, its genuineness has been challenged by a considerable number of interpreters. One of the objections that has been raised is the difference in style from that of 1 Peter. But the difference is not absolute; there are noteworthy similarities in vocabulary and in other matters. In fact, no other known writing is as much like 1 Peter as 2 Peter. The differences that do exist may be accounted for by variations in subject matter, in the form and purpose of the letters, in the time and circumstances of writing, in sources used or models followed, and in scribes who may have been employed. Perhaps most significant is the statement in 1Pe 5:12 that Silas assisted in the writing of 1 Peter. No such statement is made concerning 2 Peter, which may explain its noticeable difference in style (see Introduction to 1 Peter: Author and Date).

Other objections arise from a secular reconstruction of early Christian history or misunderstandings or misconstructions of the available data. For example, some argue that the reference to Paul's letters in 3:15-16 indicates an advanced date for this book -- beyond Peter's lifetime. But it is quite possible that Paul's letters were gathered at an early date, since some of them had been in existence and perhaps in circulation for more than ten years (Thessalonians by as much as 15 years) prior to Peter's death. Besides, what Peter says may only indicate that he was acquainted with some of Paul's letters (communication in the Roman world and in the early church was good), not that there was a formal, ecclesiastical collection of them.


2 Peter was written toward the end of Peter's life (cf. 1:12-15), after he had written a prior letter (3:1) to the same readers (probably 1 Peter). Since Peter was martyred during the reign of Nero, his death must have occurred prior to a.d. 68; so it is very likely that he wrote 2 Peter between 65 and 68.

Some have argued that this date is too early for the writing of 2 Peter, but nothing in the book requires a later date. The error combated is comparable to the kind of heresy present in the first century. To insist that the second chapter was directed against second-century Gnosticism is to assume more than the contents of the chapter warrant. While the heretics referred to in 2 Peter may well have been among the forerunners of second-century Gnostics, nothing is said of them that would not fit into the later years of Peter's life.

Some have suggested a later date because they interpret the reference to the fathers in 3:4 to mean an earlier Christian generation. However, the word is most naturally interpreted as the OT patriarchs (cf. Jn 6:31, "forefathers"; Ac 3:13; Heb 1:1). Similarly, reference to Paul and his letters (3:15-16; see Author) does not require a date beyond Peter's lifetime.

2 Peter and Jude

There are conspicuous similarities between 2 Peter and Jude (compare 2Pe 2 with Jude 4-18), but there are also significant differences. It has been suggested that one borrowed from the other or that they both drew on a common source. If there is borrowing, it is not a slavish borrowing but one that adapts to suit the writer's purpose. While many have insisted that Jude used Peter, it is more reasonable to assume that the longer letter (Peter) incorporated much of the shorter (Jude). Such borrowing is fairly common in ancient writings. For example, many believe that Paul used parts of early hymns in Php 2:6-11 and 1Ti 3:16.


In his first letter Peter feeds Christ's sheep by instructing them how to deal with persecution from outside the church (see 1Pe 4:12); in this second letter he teaches them how to deal with false teachers and evildoers who have come into the church (see 2:1; 3:3-4 and notes). While the particular situations naturally call for variations in content and emphasis, in both letters Peter as a pastor ("shepherd") of Christ's sheep (Jn 21:15-17) seeks to commend to his readers a wholesome combination of Christian faith and practice. More specifically, his purpose is threefold: (1) to stimulate Christian growth (ch. 1), (2) to combat false teaching (ch. 2) and (3) to encourage watchfulness in view of the Lord's certain return (ch. 3).


I.           Greetings (1:1-2)

  1. Exhortation to Growth in Christian Virtues (1:3-11)

A.   The Divine Enablement (1:3-4)

                   III.        The Purpose and Authentication of Peter's Message (1:12-21)

                  IV.        Warning against False Teachers (ch. 2)

V.           The Fact of Christ's Return (3:1-16)

VI.           Conclusion and Doxology (3:17-18)

──New International Version


Introduction to 2 Peter

This epistle clearly is connected with the former epistle of Peter. The apostle having stated the blessings to which God has called Christians, exhorts those who had received these precious gifts, to endeavour to improve in graces and virtues. They are urged to this from the wickedness of false teachers. They are guarded against impostors and scoffers, by disproving their false assertions, ch. 3:1-7, and by showing why the great day of Christ's coming was delayed, with a description of its awful circumstances and consequences; and suitable exhortations to diligence and holiness are given.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 2 Peter

2 Peter General Review
1. The Second Epistle of Peter is a short but significant part of the
   New Testament...
   a. It was written by Peter, who identifies himself as "a servant and
      apostle of Jesus Christ" - 2 Pe 1:1
   b. It was written to those who received his first epistle - cf. 2 Pe
      3:1; cf. 1 Pe 1:1
   c. It was written shortly before his death - 2 Pe 1:12-15
2. The "theme" of the epistle can be stated as "Beware, But Grow"
   - 2 Pe 3:17-18
   a. "Beware" lest you fall, being led away with error - 17
   b. "But Grow" in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior - 18
   -- Virtually every verse of this epistle falls into one of these two
3. In this lesson, the first in a series of expository outlines based 
   upon 2nd Peter, we shall consider Peter's salutation - 2 Pe 1:1-4
4. In his greeting, Peter refers to several blessings or "gifts" that 
   we have received from God and Jesus Christ
5. In describing them, I am going to use a word that was a favorite of 
   Peter:  "precious"
   a. It is found twice in this passage:  "precious faith" (1:1) and 
      "precious promises" (1:4)
   b. Peter used it six times in his earlier epistle as well - 1 Pe 
      1:7,19; 2:4,6,7; 3:4
   c. The Greek word is timios {tim'-ee-os}, and it means:
      1) As of great price, precious
      2) Held in honor, esteemed, especially dear
[This word is most befitting the four "gifts" referred to in our text, 
the first of which Peter actually uses "precious" to describe...]


--《Executable Outlines


2 Peter Compared and Contrasted with 1 Peter

This Epistle was written by Peter shortly before his martyrdom (2 Pet.1.14), as 2 Timothy was written by Paul shortly before his (2 Tim.4.6).

1 Peter and 2 Peter both begin with ‘Grace and Peace’.

1 Peter                                                        2 Peter

I. Ends with ‘Love and Peace’                Ends with ‘Grace and knowledge’

II. The sufferings of Christ and        The knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ


III. Triumph in Trial                                    Triumph over corruption

IV. Christ’s Precious blood shed for      Our Precious Faith obtained through

  Our Redemption                                   God’s Righteousness

── Archibald NaismithOutlines for Sermons


2 Peter—

I. Chapter 1—Give Diligence

II. Chapter 2—Get Deliverance

III. Chapter 3—Grow and Develop

── Archibald NaismithOutlines for Sermons