Introduction
That this is a letter written to a general audience of churches is clear from the lack of anything specific or personal in the opening and closing verses. The Second Epistle General of Peter is addressed to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us” (1.1). This declaration is intended to affirm that all Christians, no matter who or where they are, have the same faith as the original apostles, for whom Peter was the spokesperson. The main purpose of the letter is to warn and work against false teachings in the churches and against the lax morals and ethics that have resulted from these teachings. The writer is particularly concerned about false teachers who deny or ridicule the expectation of Christ's return. To combat their deceptions, all of chapter 3 is devoted to setting forth the right teaching about the return. Skillfully quoting Psalm 90.4, that “a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday” to show that God is beyond timetables (3.8), the author then alludes to Jesus' own warning that the day of the Lord will come, not according to anyone's calculations, but as a complete surprise, like a thief in the night (Luke 12.39,40). He then adds the intriguing perspective that the Lord is not really being slow about the return, but instead is being patient and allowing time for people to turn away from sin (3.9).
Second Peter offers a few clues that suggest it was authored by someone writing in Peter's name twenty or more years after the apostle's death. Most interestingly, the letter speaks of Paul's epistles as though they were Scripture on the same level as the Hebrew Bible (3.15,16), a status they would not have likely achieved during that apostle's lifetime.
Outline
Introduction (1.1,2)
The Calling Christians Have to the Faithful Life (1.3-15)
The True Prophetic Message and the False Prophets (1.16-21)
False Teachers and Their Deceitful Ways (2.1-22)
The Promise of the Lord's Return (3.1-18)
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