About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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My Commentary On 2 Peter


This commentary is based on the 1994 edition of the New International Version of the Bible.  The chapter titles in my commentary are the same as the NIV chapter titles which makes for easy comparison.





2 Peter was probably written around 66 or 67 AD, just before Peter was executed for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Most scholars say that he was probably executed in and around 68 A. D..  Peter's second letter was written to the same people that 1 Peter was written to as seen in chapter 3, verse 1.  They lived in what is now known as north west Turkey.  


The authorship of 2 Peter has been in much dispute over the centuries.  This letter was not accepted into the Canon of Scripture until the Council of Carthage in 397 A. D.  Many scholars have said that because of its very poor writing style, especially compared to the writing style from Peterís first letter, that he most likely did not write this letter.  We know from 1 Peter 5:12 that Silas penned Peter's first letter for him.  Silas penned many of Paul's letters as well.  He was a very scholarly man, which is seen in his writing style. It's clear to me and to most people that Silas did not help Peter write his second letter.  Peter might well have written it himself.  That being said, it has been recently learned that the poor writing style we see in 2 Peter was a writing style that was used by many in the region in which Peter was writing to.  This writing style has been called Asianism. This being the case, we should not make too big of a deal over the poor writing style.


As late as the Reformation period people debated the canonicity of 2 Peter.  Martin Luther kept it in the canon of Scripture while John Calvin thought it shouldn't be part of the canon.


2 Peter is the most disputed New Testament book.  The earliest known list of New Testament canonized books was in and around 145 A. D..  The Marsian listing did not include 2 Peter in the canon of Scripture, although that's not a real big deal because it didn't include other books in the list that we would include.  The "Muratorian Fragments", around 170 to 200 A.D. did not include 2 Peter as being in the canon of Scripture neither.  Origen, in and around 225 A.D. questioned 2 Peter.  In 325 A. D., Eusebius mentioned that 2 Peter was a disputable book.  The fifth century Syriac translation of the Bible, translated from Aramaic to English, did not include 2 Peter in its version of the Bible.   


Another so-called problem that some point out concerning 2 Peter is its quotes from non-canonical writings as if they were inspired by God.  Much could be said on this point, but I will leave it at this.


Another problem is that 2 Peter and Jude have phrases that are exactly the same.  The suggestion is that one of these men plagiarized the other.  This may be the result of both letters being penned by the same scribe, who wasn't Silas. 


Part of the reason for this letter is to dispute false teaching.  Many say that Peter was addressing what is known as Antinomianism Gnosticism".  The word "Antinomian" means "no law".  Those holding to this view believed that all things physical was sinful and all things spiritual and mental were not sinful.  So, they stressed the importance of knowledge.  Such knowledge was seen as the means to salvation.  Those holding to this view believed they were very special.  They viewed themselves as being the elite.  These Gnostics tended to be immoral because of their view of the body.  They didn't think their bodies could experience any kind of salvation so they simply gave into their sinful lust, thus the word "Antinomian", or, "no law" attached to the word "Gnostic".  Gnosticism is a general term that includes sub groups within Gnostic thinking, which was basically a part of Greek philosophy.       


When it comes to Peter's second letter I have a basic presupposition, and that is I believe Peter wrote second Peter and I believe it should be part of the canon of Scripture.     





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