Summary: To face & overcome the problems within & without the Christian needs to grow spiritually. Peter would have believers learn the lesson of faithful living in difficult times through his insightful letter.
2 PETER 1: 1-2 [Our Precious Faith Series]
OUR PRECIOUS FAITH
The apostle opens and closes 2 Peter with the theme of victory. It opens with how to gain the victory of grace and peace and then closes with the victory of the ages for those who have grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (3:18). But within the epistle we find Christianity being besieged by problems from without and eroded by problems from within. So 2 Peter focuses primarily on how to grow when surrounded by problems and perplexities. That emphasis fits well with the situation and need of the Church in America today [proving the essential character of the world and the church has not changed].
Three main thoughts dominate this letter. First, the writer has not long to live in this world, and has a pastoral concern that believers should keep on growing in their discipleship. Second, false teaching that could prevent spiritual grow was spreading like a weed, and third, people must be ready for the certain return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To face and overcome the problems within and without the Christian needs to grow spiritually. Peter would have believers learn the lesson of faithful living in difficult times through his insightful letter. [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, 858]
I. Some BACKGROUND.
II. THE AUTHOR (1:1a).
III. THE AUDIENCE (1:1b).
IV. THE BLESSING (1:2).
Before we dig into the text let’s look at some background that influenced the writing of 2 Peter.
Two references in 2 Peter give some indication of THE DATE of the epistle. In 2 Peter 1:13-15, Peter indicated that the time of his death was near. The traditional date for Peter’s death is late a.d. 67 or early a.d. 68. [The reference to Paul’s epistles in 3:16 would seem to indicate a date some time after a.d. 60.] Since 1 Peter is normally dated around a.d. 64, 2 Peter should be placed some time after the writing of 1 Peter and before Peter’s death, between a.d. 64 and 68. This places the book during the latter part of the reign of the infamous Nero as the persecution of Christians was beginning to intensify.
The text of 2 Peter suggests no specific PLACE for its composition. However, since 1 Peter was written in Rome [symbolized by Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13] and Rome is traditionally held to be the place of Peter’s crucifixion, it is reasonable to assume that 2 Peter was written in Rome as well. [Walvoord & Zuck, p. 862]
The PURPOSE of 2 Peter is to call Christians to spiritual growth. Christians needed to mature so that they can combat apostasy [falling away] from the church and immoral practices within the Church. Such persistence in faithfulness to the Word will be rewarded at the Lord’s return.
II. THE AUTHOR (1:1a).
The opening of 2 Peter is along the conventional line of a New Testament letter, giving author, recepients and greeting. THE AUTHOR identifies himself as Simon Peter. Simon (Gk. Symeon) is a straight transliteration of the Hebrew name [as used in Acts 15:14]. “Peter,” the Greek translation of “Cephas” and the name given to Simon by Jesus. The use of Simon and Peter together (as in e.g. Mt. 16:16) reminds us of the change grace had brought about in the apostle’s life. [Peter’s combining these distinctly Hebrew and Greek names may also be an indication of the mixed audience (Hebrew and Greek Christians) he addressed.]