2 Peter


Audience, Occasion, and Background

Peter warns that danger was approaching from false teachers, who would spread impious inventions, as well as from the despisers of God, who would mock all religion; and he did this, lest they expect that the course of truth in the kingdom Of Christ would be tranquil and peaceable, and free from all contention. He afterwards, as on a tablet, describes the character and manners of those who would, by their corruptions, pollute Christianity. But the description which he presents, especially suits the present age, as it will be more evident by a comparison. For he especially draws his pen against Lucianic men, who abandon themselves to every wickedness, and take a profane license to show contempt to God, and treat with ridicule the hope of a better life; and at this day we see that the world is everywhere full of such rabble.

Purpose and Message

The design is to show, that those who have once professed the true faith of Christ, ought to respond to their calling to the last. After having then extolled, in high terms, the grace of God, he recommends to them holiness of life, because God usually punishes in hypocrites a false profession of his name, with dreadful blindness, and on the other hand he increases his gifts to those who truly and from the heart embrace the doctrine of religion. He, therefore, exhorts them to prove their calling by a holy life. And, to give a greater weight to his admonitions, he says that he is already near his end, and at the same time, excuses himself that he so often repeated the same things, his object being that they who should remain alive on the earth after his death, might have what he, when alive, wrote, more deeply fixed in their minds.

Key Themes

Historicity of the Gospel: As the foundation of true religion is the certainty and truth of the gospel, he shows, first, how indubitable is its truth by this fact, that he himself had been an eyewitness of all things which it contains, and especially that he had heard Christ proclaimed from heaven to be the Son of God; and, in the second place, it was God's will that it should be borne witness to, and approved by the oracles of the prophets.

Inspiration: The infallibility and divine authority of the Scriptures are due to the fact that they are the word of God; and they are the word of God because they were given by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost: "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet 1:21). It is God speaking to man, God speaking by man, God speaking as man, God speaking for man!

Second coming: He exhorts the faithful, not only to look always for the coming of Christ with suspended and expectant minds, but also to regard that day as present before their eyes, and in the meantime to keep themselves unpolluted for the Lord: in which doctrine he makes Paul as his associate and approver; and to defend his writings from the calumnies of the ungodly, he severely reproves all those who pervert them.

Repentance: The covenant of works allowed no repentance; there it was: sin and die. Repentance came in by the gospel. Christ has purchased us with his blood so that repenting sinners shall be saved. The law required personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience. It cursed all who could not come up to this: “Cursed is everyone that does not continue to do all things which are written in the book of the law” (Gal 3:10). It does not say, “He that does not obey all things, let him repent;” instead, it says “let him be cursed.” Thus repentance is a doctrine that has been brought to light only by the gospel.

Structure and Outline

I. Greeting (1:1-2)
II. God’s Grace: Foundation for Godliness (1:3-11)
III. Peter’s Apostolic Reminder (1:12-21)
IV. On False Teachers (2:1-22)
V. Reminder: The Day of the Lord (3:1-18)

I. Greeting (1:1-2)
II. God’s Grace: Foundation for Godliness (1:3-11)
A. Divine Provision (1:3-4)
B. Purse a Godly Life Diligently (1:5-7)
C. Godly Virtues are Necessary (1:8-11)
III. Peter’s Apostolic Reminder (1:12-21)
A. To Stir Them for Action (1:12-15)
B. The Return: Eyewitness Testimony (1:16-18)
C. The Return: Prophetic Word (1:19-21)
IV. On False Teachers (2:1-22)
A. The Impact of False Teachers (2:1-3)
B. Judgment and Preservation (2:4-10a)
C. Rebellion and Sensuality (2:10b-16)
D. Impact of the False Teachers (2:17-22)
V. Reminder: The Day of the Lord (3:1-18)
A. Scoffers Doubt the Coming Day (3:1-7)
B. God's Timing Is Different than Ours (3:8-10)
C. Righteous Living due to that Day (3:11-18)