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2 Peter

2 Peter Bible Study Notes

Second Peter was written to fortify Church members against persecution and to warn against false doctrine that was entering the Church and teachers leading members astray, and to help Christians obtain a divine nature.

 

Overview of Second Peter

Jesus foretold (in John 21:18John 21:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  

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) the manner in which Peter would die saying: “when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” Early church tradition says Peter was crucified at following the Great Fire of Rome in July A.D. 64. Margherita Guarducci, who led the research leading to the rediscovery of Peter’s tomb in its last stages (1963–1968), concludes Peter died on 13 October A.D. 64 during the festivities on the occasion of the “dies imperii” (regnal day anniversary) of the Roman Emperor Nero. This took place three months after the disastrous fire that destroyed Rome for which the emperor blamed the Christians. This “dies imperii” was an important one, exactly ten years after Nero ascended to the throne and it was, as usual, accompanied by much bloodshed. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter he was crucified head down because he said he was unworthy the die the same death that Jesus died. (The Romans were known to execute people in what Romans would have seen as a whimsical manner so there is an internal consistency in this tradition.) Tradition also locates his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly beneath the Basilica’s high altar.

As I wrote in my notes about First Peter, some scholars discard the traditional date for Peter’s death in A.D. 64 believing he died in A.D. 67 or 68. This is based on a tradition that Peter and Paul were martyred on the same day and the writings of Jerome that says Paul was slain in the fourteenth year of Nero’s reign (which would be A.D. 67 to 68). This author feels, however, the tradition may mean Peter and Paul died on the same day (say October 13th) but in different years. The author knows a mother and daughter who speak about being born on the same day and having the same birthday. Both were born on May 31st, but obviously the mother was born many years before her daughter. In like manner it is possible the tradition means Peter and Paul died on the same day of the year, but in different years.

Of the final days of the apostle Peter in Rome, Jowett (a respected Christian scholar) wrote that Peter was cast into a horrible prison called the Mamertine. For nine months, in absolute darkness, he endured monstrous torture manacled to a post. In spite of all the suffering Peter was subjected to he converted his jailers, Processus, Martinianus, and forty-seven others.

Concerning the last hours of his life, it is said that Peter, when seeing his own wife led out to die, (tradition holds she was among Christians feed to the lions in the collosium) rejoiced because of her summons and her return home. He called to her very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, and saying, “O thou, remember the Lord.”

There are similarities between Peter’s Second Epistle and the Epistle of Jude. Most scholars believe one copied the other. This author believes that Jude copied Peter. The reasons for my conclusion are explained in my notes about the Epistle of Jude.

Some scholars believe that somebody other than Peter wrote Second Peter because of the linguistic and stylistic differences between First Peter and Second Peter. The Greek in First Peter is very refined and cultured, that in Second Peter is not. In contrast to First Peter, Second Peter appears to have been written by somebody whose knowledge of Greek was limited.

There is, however, a simple explanation for the differences in language and style between First Peter and Second Peter. First Peter 5:12 indicates that Peter used Silias as his amanuensis (scribe or secretary) when writing his first Epistle. In contrast Peter probably wrote is second Epistle himself, without the aid of an amanuensis. If this is correct then one would expect linguistic and stylistic differences to exist in First Peter and Second Peter. Consequently, this author’s believes that both First Peter and Second Peter were written by Peter.

This author agrees with the prevailing view that Second Peter (2nd Peter, 2 Peter, 2 Pet) was written in Rome shortly before Peter was put to death. If the traditional date for Peter’s death of A.D. 64 is correct then Second Peter was written in A.D 64. If the revised date for Peter’s death is correct then Second Peter was written in A.D 67 or 68. This author is inclined to accept the traditional date of 13 October A.D. 64 as the date of Peter’s crucifixion.

This author sees Peter has being motivated by the following when writing Second Peter:

  • To fortify Church members against persecution
  • To help Church members gain exaltation (and make their calling and election sure)
  • To warn against false doctrine that was entering the Church and teachers leading members astray

This author advises the reader to give extra attention of Peter’s remarks in Second Peter regarding charity.

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