Book of the Week 61: II Peter

Greek Name: PETROU B

Human Author: Peter                                                          

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 3

Basic Facts

  1. II Peter is the sixty-first book of the Bible.

  2. In terms of literary genre, II Peter is classified as an epistle, or letter.

  3. The Greek name for the book of II Peter is PETROU B which means “of Peter – Two.”

  4. The book of II Peter was written to combat false teachers in the church.

  5. Peter likely wrote this letter while in Rome shortly before his death.

Story of the Book

Peter opens this letter with a short greeting in which he addresses his general believing audience, referring to himself as both a servant and an apostle (II Peter 1:1-2). He calls his audience to depend upon the promises of God in order to participate in God’s divine nature, and escape corruption in the world. Based on God’s promises, Peter calls his audience to supplement their faith with a series of virtues which will ensure the spiritual growth and fruitfulness of believers who practice them (II Peter 1:3-11). Peter tells his audience that he will soon be martyred, therefore he is intentionally reminding his audience about intentional growth in virtue in the Christian life (II Peter 1:12-15). Peter insists upon the authenticity of his testimony, stating that his prophetic word was confirmed, and that all prophetic words come from the Holy Spirit and not from private interpretation (II Peter 1:16-21). He warns his audience about the dangers of false prophets and heretics who deceive believers (II Peter 2:1-3). Peter then reviews a list of historical events in which God judged the unrighteous in the past but spared those who are righteous (II Peter 2:4-22). In the last days, Peter warns that people will abandon sound teaching and will inherit the judgment of God in which God will destroy the world by fire (II Peter 3:1-7). He warns his audience that the Lord’s return will come at a time in which they do not expect Him, and therefore believers should strive all the more to live lives of holiness while awaiting His return (II Peter 3:8-13). The letter closes as Peter urges his audience to wait patiently for their salvation. He acknowledges that Paul had also written to the same audience. Peter states that Paul had taught some things that are difficult to understand, which will be twisted by those who are ignorant (II Peter 3:14-16). Peter concludes with a call for believers to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ in order to glorify Him forever (II Peter 3:17-18).

Jesus Revealed in II Peter

In II Peter, Peter reveals Jesus as the one who will judge the world and bring it to an end. In light of God’s coming judgment, Peter urges believers to live holy lives in the sight of God, knowing ahead of time that God’s righteous judgment is coming with the return of Christ (II Peter 3:11-14). Therefore, as believers trust in Christ, Peter urges them to trust in the promises of God and to grow into maturity in Christ (II Peter 1:3-11). Growth into maturity in Christ through knowledge and virtue, Peter argues, will prevent believers from being ineffective and unproductive in living the Christian life (II Peter 1:8-11), and will allow believers to be on guard against false teachers who might otherwise lead them astray (II Peter 2:1-10). In the same way, believers today should seek to trust in God’s promises which have been given to us in Christ: seeking to grow into full spiritual maturity in Christ while remaining on the lookout for false teachers. In this way, we can avoid being deceived while awaiting Christ’s return.