Epistle of 2nd Peter
2nd Peter was written somewhere around 67 AD, shortly before Peter's martyrdom in Rome. It is the most controversial book of the New Testament because a wide variety of scholars deny its authenticity. There is no real mention of it before the early 3rd century and Origen, though some believe that Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr allude to it in their writings.
Ultimately, Christians can rely on the epistle as a matter of faith, for in a biblical worldview it is unthinkable that God could not protect the New Testament sufficiently to avoid a spurious epistle's inclusion.
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:1
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,2
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:3
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature4, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.5
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.6
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
Shimon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to (the Gentiles) who
have obtained the same precious faith as us through the righteousness of
God, and our Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
3 Through Christs divine power, he has given us all we need to walk in life and godliness through our ever-increasing knowledge of Him who called us to glory and goodness.
4 Through that power, you also have been given very great and precious promises, so that through them you might be conformed to his divine nature, having escaped the (soul-polluting) corruption of the world and the deceitful desires those in it yearn for.
5 Besides this, be diligent to add a high moral standard to your faith along with (Gods sort of) knowledge.
6 To (Gods sort of) knowledge, add self-control. And to self-control, add patience. And to patience, add godliness.
7 To godliness, add compassion for your brethren. And to compassion for your brethren, add a self-sacrificing sort of love.
8 For if these traits abound in you, they will place you in position to never be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But the person who lacks these qualities is (spiritually) blind, and cannot see past his own nose, for he has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 So dont be like that, brethren. Instead, make every effort to secure your calling and election by pursuing these things, and you will never fall--
11 And a warm welcome will await you in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Thus, I will not neglect constantly reiterating these things to you, though youve heard them before and are standing in the truth even now.
13 Indeed, I think it good, so long as I am alive in the tent of this earthly body, to re-ignite the fire of zeal in you by reminding you of these things.
14 For I know that shortly I will leave this body behind, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me.
15 I want to make sure that after my departure you will never forget these things.
16 For we were not following cunningly designed myths when we proclaimed the power and incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ--we were actually eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice issued forth from His incomprehensible radiance that said: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!
18 And this Bat Kol (--heavenly voice--) we heard with our own ears when we were with him in the Holy Mount.
19 We thus have a more certain verification of the prophetic word found in the Scriptures, which you are doing well to heed as a light that shines in the darkness until the day dawns and the daystar arises in your hearts.
19 (Alternate reading): But we have a more certain word than that, which you are doing well to heed as a light that shines in the darkness until the day dawns and the daystar arises in your hearts. (That word is the Scriptures.)
20 First, know this: No prophecy in the Scriptures ever unraveled through the prophets own private (understanding, speculation, or intention).
21 For prophecy did not, in the olden days, come forth by human will. Instead, holy men of God spoke as the Holy Spirit moved them to speak.
1. That this epistle is written to Gentiles is indicated by use of the word them in verse 1, and Peters acknowledgment that both he and the group he writes to have precisely the same faith.
2. As is so often the case, it is by knowing God more fully and intimately--typically through study and prayer--that both grace and peace are produced in the life of the believer.
3. Here, Peter expounds on the notion that in Christ is the fullness of the Christian experience, and through imitation of His ways we become what God means for us to be.
4. There have been some debates on just what the divine nature of God is with respect to humans partaking of it. The practical impartation of that nature is primarily the fruit of the Spirit Paul deals with in Gal. 5:22.
5. Much as it is frustrating to us, these traits of the Spirit, while present in the believer, must be yielded to. In other words, God empowers us to walk in these things, but it is almost always by choice.
6. This verse is hard to render into English, and is not meaning to say that a person cannot receive a revelation about a Scripture on his own; its point, based on a word about untying a knot, is to declare that the prophets of old had no part in bringing forth prophecy, or in determining what those prophecies foretold, which is confirmed in the following verse.
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.1
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.2
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;3
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:4
8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities5.
11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them6 before the Lord.
12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.7
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.8
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
But there were false prophets in those days among the people, as there will
be false teachers among you today--who will slip in damnable heresies, including
even a denial of the Lord who purchased them (with his blood), bringing upon
themselves swift destruction!
2 Many will imitate their licentious behavior, and because of this, The Way of Truth will be blasphemed (by outsiders).
3 In their greed, they will speak with lying tongues of flattery, and strip you of all your goods. But their judgment and condemnation has been decreed from long ago, and will not be put off.
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned (by cohabiting with humans), but cast them down into Tartarus, where they are chained in utter darkness until their time of judgment...
5 And if God did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, the eighth person on the Ark--who was a preacher of righteousness--while sending the flood upon the world of the ungodly...
6 And if He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning and overthrowing them, thus making them an example to those who afterward would live in an ungodly manner...
7-9 And if He delivered only Lot, a just man who was grieved at the debauched lifestyle of the wicked there, for that righteous man who dwelt among them, seeing and hearing what was going on, was grieved in his righteous soul as he watched their evil deeds day after day...then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trials while appointing the unjust to receive punishment on the Day of Judgment!
10 And the ones who will be especially punished are those who walk after the flesh in unclean sexual lust, and despise any rule over them. They are arrogant, self-willed, and have no fear of mocking the angels (who oversee church propriety).
11 But even the angels, who are greater in power and might (than mere humans), dont make any railing accusations against these people before the Lord.
12 But these people, like dumb animals acting on instinct alone--fit only to be taken and destroyed--disrespect and criticize what they dont understand, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.
13 They will reap the reward of unrighteousness (just as freely) as they think nothing of debauchery in broad daylight. They are spotted and wrinkled (like unclean sacrifices not fit for God), glorying in their deception while they feast alongside you.
14 Their eyes are ever open to sexual sin, and they cannot turn from unrighteousness. They deceive unstable people, and are cursed children with hearts of greed,
15 Who have forsaken the right way and gone off path, walking down the road of Balaam, son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.
16 But he was rebuked for his iniquity when his mute donkey spoke with a mans voice to criticize this prophets madness.
17 These people are empty wells. They are waterless clouds (--looking good but offering nothing--) blown about in a storm, to whom everlasting darkness awaits.
18 For when they speak their arrogant words of vanity, they entice back into sin those who have just escaped such error and become clean, by appealing to the wanton lust of their flesh.
19 While they promise them freedom, these men are nothing more than slaves of corruption, for a man is enslaved by what he lets overcome him.
20 And if, after someone has escaped the pollution of the (unsaved) world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his ultimate end is far worse than he was when he started if he becomes entangled in unrighteousness again.
21 It is better for such people to have never known the path of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn from the holy commandment (--to repent, and be holy as He is holy--) that was delivered to them.
22 In their case, the proverbs are true that: The dog is turned to his own vomit again. And: The sow that was washed, (returned) to her wallowing in the mire.
1. A modern-day example of these two verses would be the way some liberal Christian denominations have endorsed Gay marriage, and actually persecuted affiliated churches taking a biblical stand against the leaderships new take on the subject.
2. The verse is better paraphrased as: In their greed, they will speak with lying tongues of flattery, and strip you of all your goods. But their judgment and condemnation has been decreed from long ago, and will not be put off.
3. The reason angels are being brought into the mix is that Gods Law was delivered to the people through the angels (Acts 7:53, Gal. 3:19), and since those angels who rebelled and perverted Gods ways and plan in Genesis 6 were consigned to the Pit, so the false teachers perverting the people will not escape their own judgment.
Starting with a theory by Julius Africanus created to make Christianity palatable to pagan critics (while Judaism got the view from an insane rabbi of the 2nd century who lived in a cave), some sages attempted to redefine the events of Genesis 6 to the popular Godly line of Seth* teaching that has taken root today. However, both Peter and Jude make reference to the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which affirms the traditional understanding up to Africanus and the rabbi, that angels, not the descendants of Seth, bred with humans, and were judged for it.
* An attempt by some to claim the doctrine was taught in the first century by an appeal to a scrap of the DSS falls apart under scrutiny in that the parchment says nothing about the line of Seth producing offspring with the line of Cain (the name Seth technically isnt even in the parchment, by the way); and such a doctrine would contradict the official doctrine of the Essenes taught in their Book of the Giants. Likewise, an appeal to the spurious book of pseudo Philo, arbitrarily dated to the first century only because it speaks of the Temple in the present tense--which it naturally would since it represents itself as being written by a man who died in 50 AD!--is persuasively dated to the second century by professor Howard Jacobson and other scholars who point out there is no 1st century parchment or witness attestation for it whatever--all witnesses for the document appear after the 1st century.
Secondly, the concept that the line of Seth was ever godly to start with is open to debate! First, the portion of Scripture in Gen. 4:24 ( then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.) may be a mistranslation! Some of the ancient Jewish sages--Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, and Maimonides--together with the Aramaic Targums understood it along the lines of, profane the name of the Lord! This is what would have set the stage for the Flood, and demolishes the notion that Seths line was especially godly to start with! Credence for this notion can be found in the undisputed fact that Cain and Abel--the generation right before Seth--are both shown to be worshipping and sacrificing to God, so there is nothing new about calling on the name of the Lord with Seths arrival!
Patristic sources on whether or not the Sons of God were fallen angels:
Clement of Rome: Yes.
Justin Martyr: Yes.
Iraneous of Lyons: Yes.
Clement of Alexandria: Yes.
Julius Africanus: Probably not, but maybe.
Athenagoras of Alexandria: Yes.
Lactantius : Yes.
Eusebius of Caesarea: Yes.
Ephraim the Syrian: No.
Hilary of Poitiers: Yes.
John Chrysostom: No.
Sulpicius Severus: Yes.
4. It is interesting that Peter extols Lots righteousness, considering how he commits incest with his daughters after getting drunk.
5. The dignities refers to the angels themselves, who in Jewish thought were prepared to judge impropriety in the church (1 Cor. 11:10).
6. The them is debatable. Many would say it refers to making accusations against fallen angels (Jude 9). A less-popular view would be that which is expressed here: That it refers to the human mockers Peter is denouncing.
7. Peters whole point in these passages has been to criticize the heresy of liberal theology and liberal theologians who express tolerance for unrighteousness by teaching that the Scriptures support sins like sexual freedom.
8. What a sad commentary on the Christian experience for some. The problem arises when a man seeks to justify his sin, rather than being grieved by it. From this point, he can receive a spirit of deception that causes him to sincerely believe a lie he knew was wrong when he started out, and the end result is a man who thinks he is walking in truth when in fact he has surrendered to the powers of darkness.
1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.1
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.2
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.3
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting4 unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood,5 which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures6, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
This second letter, beloved, I now write, hoping to again stir up your pure
minds to remember the words spoken of in the past by the holy prophets; and
to recall the commandment given by we apostles of the Lord and Savior:
3-4 First, be aware that in the last days scoffers, walking in their own lusts, will arise, saying: Where is the promise of his second coming? Since our ancestors died, nothing has changed since the world began--its always the same!
5 But they choose to willingly be ignorant that by Gods command, the universe was created in the olden times, and the earth itself was formed out of water and by water--
6 And through an inundation of water, the older world was destroyed (in Noahs time).
7 But the present heavens and the earth, by the same spoken command of God, are being reserved for the eventual fate of being consumed by fire in the Day of Judgment, when ungodly men will go down to perdition.
8 But, beloved, dont be ignorant of the fact that, from Gods perspective, One day to Him is as a thousand years to us, and a thousand years to us is like one day to Him.
9 The Lord is not slow regarding His promise as some men count slowness. But He is patient to humanity, not wanting any to be lost, but desiring that all men should repent.
10 But when the Lord does come, that day will come like a thief in the night! On that day the cosmos will pass away with a great roar as the building blocks of the universe melt with tremendous heat. The earth also, and everything in it, will be consumed in that fire.
11-12 So, given the fact that all we see will dissolve in destruction, what sort of person should you be with respect to living a godly lifestyle as you look for and eagerly await the Day of God, when the skies of the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved in great heat along with building blocks of the universe?
11-12 (Alternate reading): So, given the fact that all we see will dissolve in destruction, what sort of person should you be with respect to living a godly lifestyle as you look for and hasten the Day of God, when the skies of the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved in great heat along with building blocks of the universe?
13 Even so we, according to the promise Christ made, look forward to a new universe and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.
14 Because of your looking forward to this, beloved, be diligent to maintain your lifestyle in such a way that he can find you in peace, being spotless and blameless.
15 And consider that the forbearance of the Lord in returning is for the purpose of saving people, even as our beloved brother Paul, using the wisdom given him, has written to you as well,
16 Speaking of things like this in all his
epistles, though some things he says are hard to understand, and the unlearned and non-committed twist his words--as they do the other Scriptures--to their own destruction.
17 Beloved, since you have always known these things, beware, lest you also--being led away by the error of the wicked--abandon your own perseverance.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
1. A very appropriate warning for today.
2. Peter, in the last few verses, is basically saying: God created everything with a word--and He can destroy it just as easily. The point is, when judgment comes, it can come with no warning.
3. Some have wondered just why it has taken so long for Christs return. The reason is twofold: 1--God wants to bear with fallen humanity for as long as possible to reach out to sinners. And 2--He isnt in a hurry, for time means nothing to Him.
4. There are a couple of different ways of understanding this verse: Either that the people of God hasten Christs return, or else eagerly await it. The author has given both paraphrases, but the variant paraphrase seems less likely than the first rendering.
5. Dont feel bad if some of Pauls teachings and phraseology seem confusing--Peter had problems with his writings too!
6. Its very important to note that Peter here affirms Pauls writings are to be treated as Scripture. This is very important because some fools--often on the subject of homosexuality--will say something stupid like, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality! (Actually, He did in Revelation.) Jesus words carry no more or less weight than the most insignificant prophet of the Old Testament, the words of God on Mount Sinai--or the words of Paul. Any word of Scripture affirmed in the New covenant is as authoritative and binding as any word that ever came from the mouth of Christ--and, in fact, is directly inspired by Christ Himself no matter who wrote it!