2 Peter

Although there is some dispute over who wrote 1 Peter, there is strong agreement that 2 Peter was not written by the same person who wrote 1 Peter or by the disciple Peter. Like 1 Peter, 2 Peter’s Greek style is sophisticated, but yet it also departs from some of the stylistic features found in 1 Peter.

Much of 2 Peter 2 is also very similar to Jude 4-18, which indicates that they had similar concerns to address false teachers. Most scholars argue that 2 Peter makes use of Jude.

The central theme of the book is how to deal with false teachers within the church. The book opens with the call for Christians to focus on their knowledge of Christ and to be certain of their calling in Him. That knowledge is made all the more certain by paying attention to the prophetic word of the Old Testament that points toward the gospel, since the Old Testament is not merely human speech but inspired by God’s Spirit.

Having armed his recipients with confidence in their faith, the author moves to a stern warning about false teachers. They are arrogant and heretical, and God will not spare them—just as he did not spare the people of Noah’s time or of Sodom and Gomorrah. That punishment will come at the Day of the Lord. Although delayed, it will come like a thief bringing cosmic destruction—the heavens will disappear, and the elements and the earth will burn (3:10). This is an example of apocalyptic language where cosmic upheaval is used to describe God’s appearing on earth’s stage.

Peter Enns