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Getting to Know the Bible: 2 Peter Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on 2 Peter. But before we get to 2 Peter 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of 2 Peter. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.

And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of 2 Peter, as we prepare to behold and discern 2 Peter, beginning with 2 Peter 1 in our next installment of this series.

Book Type: General Epistle; the twenty-second book of the New Testament; the sixty-first book of the Bible.

Author: Apostle Simon Peter

Date of Writing: ~A.D. 65-68

Audience: Gentile and Jewish believers

Theme: Pursue Spiritual Maturity

Original Language: Greek

Genre: Letter

Purpose of Writing: In this second letter, Peter describes (chapter 2) some twisted versions of Christian truth being taught. Recalling his experience of Christ's glory at the transfiguration (1:17-18), Peter explains the more sure truth of the gospel as an antidote to heresy. The gospel is like a lamp shining in a dark place (1:19). In chapter 3 Peter focuses on those who scoff at the idea of Christ's triumphant return and the final judgment. Just as God once destroyed the world with water, he will one day bring his fire to it. In light of this, we should live in holiness and godliness as we await his return and the salvation he has promised to all believers.

Summary: Knowing that his time was short (2 Peter 1:13-15) and these churches faced immediate danger (2 Peter 2:1-3), Peter called upon the readers to refresh their memories (2 Peter 1:13) and stimulate their thinking (2 Peter 3:1-2) so that they would remember his teaching (2 Peter 1:15). He challenged the believers to become more mature in their faith by adding to it specific Christians virtues, thereby becoming effective and productive in their knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-9). The Old and New Testament writers were set forth as their authority for their faith (2 Peter 1:12-21, 3:2, 3:15-16). Peter desired they become strong in their faith to withstand the false teachers that had crept in and adversely affected the churches. In his denunciation of them, he described their conduct, their condemnation, and their characteristics (2 Peter chapter 2), and also that they ridiculed the Lord’s Second Coming (2 Peter 3:3-7). For the Christians, Peter taught that the Second Coming is the incentive for holy living (2 Peter 3:14). After a final warning, Peter again encouraged them to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He concluded with a word of praise to his Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18)

Overview: Peter's focus in this letter is on false teaching and the dangers which it presents. The letter can be divided into three sections, corresponding to its three chapters.

The first chapter encourages the reader with a reminder that they are already equipped, by Christ, to lead the life God intended of them. The emphasis here is on living out a vibrant Christian faith, adding the characteristics of Christ to one's example to the world (2 Peter 1:1–15). Peter then adds to this encouragement with a reminder about evidence of fulfilled prophecy. Chief among these, for Peter, was his first-hand eyewitness of Jesus Christ's transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16–21).

The second chapter warns against the influence of false teachers. These deceptive voices draw people away from Christ, and into sin, by speaking about issues which they do not understand. Peter delivers a dire warning for these teachers, who will be judged harshly by God (2 Peter 2:1–9). Those who fall for these schemes are enslaved to sin, something they prove by continually returning to their own moral filth (2 Peter 2:10–22).

The third chapter directly counters the claims of the false teachers. Peter again states that those who pervert the message of God will be subject to extreme judgment. Everything which is not preserved by Christ will be utterly destroyed (2 Peter 3:1–13). Peter concludes the letter with a final reminder that saved Christians can set aside sin and focus on preparing to live in peace with God. Notably, Peter also refers to the writings of the apostle Paul as Scripture, supporting the doctrine of divine inspiration (2 Peter 3:14–18).

Application: As Christians we should be grounded in the Word so we will be able to discern truth from error. As Peter wrote: “Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men . . . but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17–18).

Key Verses (ESV):

2 Peter 1:3–4: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:16: For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

2 Peter 2:2: And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.

2 Peter 2:9: then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

2 Peter 2:19: They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

2 Peter 3:18: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

*Note: Peter encouraged his readers to apply themselves to acquiring the true knowledge of God and living out the life of faith with all diligence, so that they may “be found by [Jesus] in peace, spotless and blameless” (1:5; 3:14). And if believers did not follow his advice, they would be giving their Christian community over to the heretics, people who look to “exploit . . . with false words” (2:3).

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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