Apostle Peter (transcribed by Silas – 5.13) writes from Rome, AD 64-65, not long before his execution.
This letter is written to “God’s elect… scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” (1.1). In other words, Gentile believers living in modern day Turkey.
Christians experienced an upsurge of persecution in the decade following AD 64. Christians were blamed for burning Rome in the fire of July, 64. The Jewish temple was destroyed in AD 70.
To bring proper doctrine and practice together in facing persecution and receiving salvation.
How to Read it
Use I Peter to discern the place of persecution/suffering in God’s saving purposes. Note how eternal hope and blessings to the pagans are used to inspire perseverance. To understand 2.18-3.7, note the male household hierarchy of the context – the rest of the household followed suit when the male head determined his faith.
I. Overview of Themes to be Addressed (salvation, hope, suffering, faith & practice) (1.3-12)
II. Call to Holy Living (1.13-2.10) – read 2.1 unholy list
III. Holy Living in Pagan Settings (2.11-4.11) – read 2.13a submit to authorities, 3.15 ready to answer, 4.7-8 pray & love
IV. Holy Living under Persecution (4.12-5.11) – read 4.12-13 persecuted like Jesus
The Apostle Peter’s authorship of II Peter is more debated than any other NT Book.
Evidence against Peter’s Authorship
1. Language is different from I Peter (R.J. Bauckham).
2. Peter would not work off of a non-apostle such as Jude (Kummel).
3. Paul’s letters being considered Scripture (3.15-16) points to a date later than Peter’s life span.
4. Reference to “apostles of the past” (3.2) and “our fathers who have died” (3.4) also point to a date later than Peter – he would have been considered a part of this class.
Evidence for Peter’s Authorship
1. The author claims to be Peter (1.1).
2. The early Church gave no indication of an alternate author (Carson, Moo, Morris, 434).
3. Language and style differences may be attributed to the use of different secretaries.
4. It is unlikely that a pseudonymous writer would refer to Peter as “Simon” (1.1) or clam to be witness to the transfiguration (1.16-18).
5. Paul’s words may be considered from God even thought they were yet to be canonized (Carson, Moo, Morris, 435).
6. There is no definitive reason to conclude that Peter would not use the writing of a non-apostle such as Jude (Carson, Moo, Morris, 436).
Conclusion: Best to assume the stated Apostle Peter authorship (1.1) is true unless there is conclusive evidence otherwise. His anticipated death (1.14) presumably places the book in Rome, before AD 68 (year & location of his death.
Assuming that I Peter is the mentioned “previous letter” in 3.1, this letter is written to “God’s elect… scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” (I Peter 1.1). II Peter expresses the recipients as “those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours,” (1.1).
The influence of “false teachers” is the chief problem held in common between the recipients.
The whole letter is written as a “reminder.” The author reminds them about false teachers condemnation (2), the second coming (3.3-13), and virtuous living (1.4-11).
How to Read it
Observe the complimentary messages: grow in God’s knowledge and reject false teachers. You should not exit this book without an increased understanding of 1) how to respond to false teaching, and 2) the second coming of Jesus. Read these words as the farewell of a soon to be executed apostle and church founder.
I. Growth in Godliness (1.1-15) – read 1.13-14 “reminders” before his execution
II. Condemning False Teachers (1.16-2.22) – read 2.22
III. Second Coming (3) – read 3.8-9 patient expectation
I & II Peter bring proper doctrine and practice together in the midst of facing persecution and false teachers. Great during times when your faith is opposed.