2 Peter

The Author. As in the first epistle, so in the second, the author makes his identity known in the first verse; “Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ”. Peter, whose given name was Simon the son of Jonas, or “Simon bar Jona”, was probably born around the time of Christ’s birth, perhaps around A.D. 1. He lived in Galilee, and the city of Bethsaida, and was a fisherman by trade. Simon’s name was changed to Peter by Jesus, and he was converted on his own fishing boat after the miracle of the fishes. Peter was a prominent figure among the Lord’s twelve apostles, and his life is characterized by highs and lows, and by forgiveness and restoration. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, “the gospel of the circumcision” was committed to Peter as that of the uncircumcision was to Paul (Gal. 2:7), and he was numbered with James and John as three pillars of the church in Jerusalem. The Lord’s words to Peter, “establish thy brethren” (Luke 22:32), and finally “Feed my sheep”, were taken seriously by Peter, who ministered to the Jewish believers scattered throughout the Roman empire. Peter penned two epistles under Divine inspiration that unfold wonderful truth for us as Christians, and also show us something of the work God accomplished in Peter’s heart. Read more…
Overview of the Epistle. The second epistle is addressed to the same group as the first epistle; “This second epistle, beloved, I write unto you” (2 Pet. 3:1); i.e. the Jews of the dispersion. Psalm 71:17-18
Matthew 16 and 17.The events of Matthew 16 and 17 form the basis for Peter’s first and second epistles, respectively. In his first epistle, Peter brings out that we are living stones built upon Christ the cornerstone into a spiritual house, as we have been “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3). This directly correlates to the Lord’s words in response to Peter’s confession in Matt. 16. In his second epistle, Peter recounts the kingdom glory of Christ on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17) as a proof that the outcome of prophecy is sure.Gnosticism.

The word Gnostic comes from the Greek word ‘gnosis’, which means knowledge. The word is used by historians to describe a school of thought. Gnosticism arose from a group of evil workers who claimed to have higher light, special spiritual knowledge, or “secret wisdom”. This movement began in the days of the apostles, and continued into the 5th century. Before John died the seeds of Gnosticism had been sown; perhaps even before Paul's death (1 Tim. 6:20). John’s epistles are written to defend against the inroads of Gnosticism (2 John 1:7,9). Peter warns of their false teaching, and Jude warns of its moral effect on the Christian testimony. Gnosticism is responsible for not just one heresy, but seven or eight. What is it? In this mystical system, the spiritual world was good, and material world was evil. They rejected the incarnation, because it connects the human with the divine. The Gnostics would try to separate “Jesus” from “Christ”, by making Christ an emanation (a shining out from a source) from God that never truly became flesh, or else was united to a mere man named Jesus at his baptism, but returned to God before Jesus’ death on the cross. In doing so, this evil system annulled the incarnation, the atonement, and the resurrection. The doctrine of the New Testament anticipates this irreverent and wicked system of doctrine by stating the simple truth of Christ's Person and work. Church fathers who defended against Gnosticism were Ignatius of Antioch ('Seven Epistles'), and Irenaeus of Lyons ('Against Heresies').

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