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Bible Studies

2 Peter


Together with the letters of James, John and Jude, the two letters of Peter belong to the 'general epistles'. We have already indicated that this name was invented by people and in fact does not do justice to these letters. The content shows that these letters are not just written to Christians in general, but to readers with a Jewish / Israelite background.

Writer, origin and destination

Obviously this letter was written by Peter; this is immediately apparent from the opening verse of the letter. What we may also conclude, however, is that this letter is a kind of supplement to the first and, in addition to the same reason for writing, also has the same readers. See for this what Peter writes in chapter 3:1. First he says: "This is already the second letter, beloved, that I am writing you ...". So the apostle is addressing the same readers. Then he writes: "...in both I try to keep your pure consciousness awake by memory...", summarizing the purpose of writing both letters. Much of what is stated in the previous section about the first letter of Peter under the heading 'Writer, origin and destination' therefore also broadly applies to this second letter.

Apart from the fact that the two Peter Epistles correspond in content and target group, they are also close to each other with regard to the time of writing. Both were probably written around AD 60. It is possible that Peter wrote the second letter from Babylon just like the first (see 1 Pet. 5:13).

Whole letter structure

A.1:1-4 Introduction, praise.
B. 1:5-11 Exhortation.
C. 1:12-15 Something about Peter himself.
D. 1:16-21 Apostles and prophets.
E. 2:1-22 Characteristics of false prophets.
C. 3:1 Something about Peter himself.
D. 3:2 Prophets and apostles.
E. 3:3-13 Attitude towards false prophets.
B. 3:14-18a Exhortation.
A. 3:18b Closing, praise.

Purpose and content

Peter mentions the reason for writing this letter twice: in chapter 1:13 and in 3:1. He wants to "wake up" his readers by reminding them of what really matters. In addition, Peter foresees that his death is imminent. See chapter 1:14 where he talks about putting down his tent, which he then describes as his "going out." In the original language there is the word exodus, exodus. Thus he saw his impending death; like an exodus. Just as in the past the people of Israel were redeemed to go to the promised land.

In fact, the latter was really coming for the people. Israel, who lived in the dispersion, could at the time of writing this letter look forward to the exodus from the world to participate in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (chap. 1:11) as it would be established on earth. This letter was written just before the then expected imminent revelation of the King Himself. People really lived in the end times. And, as before in Israel's history, false prophets had arisen, including some who had come to "the confession of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," yet were again entangled in destruction (chap. 2:19, 20). . The whole of chapter 2 is devoted to these false prophets and also the words in chapter 3:3 et seq. are in this line, when Peter writes about the scoffers and their unbelief in God's Word. Contrasted with this is the unshakable confidence of Peter himself. In chapter 1:16-21 he writes that he did not follow fictions (literally: myths), but the trustworthy Word of God, which was spoken by people who were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is not a fantasy or a fairy tale, but it is reliable in every way because the Bible is the Word of God.

The time in which Peter wrote this will be repeated in the near future, because the coming of the King has been delayed because of Israel's unbelief. At that time - then and in the future - it comes down to what is believed: the word of false prophets or the Word of God Himself. But in fact this is something that is always paramount; also in our day, when we see so much unbelief in God's Word; often also among believers themselves!

core text

"Knowing this above all, that no prophecy of scripture is of any arbitrary interpretation: for prophecy never proceeded from the will of man, but, moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke of God" (ch. 1:20, p. 21).