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The Writer: The apostle Simon Peter is the author of this letter (2Pet 1:1). The internal evidence for his authorship include:
Probably no character other than Jesus himself is better known to New Testament readers than Peter. He, his brother Andrew, James, and John were partners in a fishing business; Jesus called them to be "fishers of men" (Luke 5:9-11). When the Lord chose twelve apostles, these four men were in that select group, and in all four lists of the apostles, Peter's name comes first (Mat 10:2-4).
Although his name means "a rock" he was sometimes more like shifting sand in his early career (Mat 14:28-31, 16:21-23, 26:69-75). After the establishment of the church he was known as one of the "pillars" of the church at Jerusalem (Gal 2:9).
Time: Peter thought that his death was near when he wrote the letter (cf. 2Pet 1:12-14). If that is so we should date the epistle about AD 66-67. At this time there is great hostility between the Jews and the Romans and war is building between the Jews and the Gentiles in Palestine and Christians (especially Jewish Christians) are being persecuted mercilessly by Nero.
Paul may have been put to death already in Rome about the time of Peter's writing and Peter is shortly to be put to death there also by Nero. This letter is written about AD 67 just shortly before Peter's death and the likely place of its origin is Rome.
The Readers: No specific church or location of churches are named in the letter and so it is generally regarded as a "catholic" or "universal" epistle. However, 2Pet 3:1 mentions that this is his second letter to them. If the reference is to I Peter then the recipients would be the churches of Asia-Minor and the date would be subsequent to Peter's other letter to them. The first letter is address to Christians scattered among the Roman provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia ( 1Peter 1:1 ).
He mentions that Paul had also written to them. His reference to Paul is in glowing terms which assures us that any riff between Peter and Paul exists only in the minds of the critics. True, Paul had once rebuked Peter openly, but Peter is not one to hold resentment, especially when he has been wrong. In fact, he speaks of Paul's writing and puts it into the classification of "scripture."
Style of Second Peter: While this is Peter's second epistle we notice that the style of 2 Peter is quite different than that of his first epistle. This is explained on the basis that the subject matter and the purpose of this second letter is vastly different than the first. The same man might write a love note to his wife one minute and then write a memo to his boss and we would expect the styles and contents of those to be quite different.
In 2 Peter the emotional factor is different. In his first letter Peter wrote to comfort and strengthen a persecuted church while in this letter he is bent on warning those churches of false teachers which can be more disastrous than persecution.
The similarities between 2 Peter and the book of Jude are very obvious. The two epistles apparently were not widely separated in time. They are both writing about the same problem facing Christians at the same time and that would account for much similarly. But yet the books are still so parallel that it may well be that one of them is familiar with the other's writing and is making reference to it in his own letter. If that is the case, our question is, which one wrote first? It is very difficult to tell but there are certain points which tend to favor the priority of 2 Peter over Jude.
Example: Peter's principal statement relative to the false teachers is in the future tense, 2:1-3, while Jude refers to them as having already come. Jude admonishes his readers to remember what the apostles had said concerning the coming "scoffers." The only time the identical word "scoffers" appear is in 2Pet 3:3.
The Writer: Several men in the NT bear the name "Jude" for it was common among the Jews. Among the twelve there are two (Luke 6:16; John 14:22).
Jude calls himself the "brother of James." At the time of this writing no James other than the Lord's brother was so well known (Acts 15:13f; Gal 1:19, 1Cor 15:7). Jesus has four half-brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude (Mat 13:55; Mark 6:3).
The brothers of the Lord were not disciples during his earthly ministry (John 7:5). Jude was present in Jerusalem with the disciples in Acts 1:14 which indicates that the resurrection of Jesus made his brothers believers-- and strong ones. Jude and his wife must have done some evangelistic traveling, 1Cor 9:5. (Eusebius quotes the father of church history, Hegesippus, c. 150 AD concerning the grandchildren of Jude and their persecution by the Roman Emperor Domitian.)
Strong external evidence exists showing that the book was accepted by the early church as written by Jude the brother of the Lord.
When Written: It was written late in the decade of the 60s for by the late 70s and 80s these false teachers had already separated themselves from the church.
The Readers: Many people believe they were the same people to whom 2 Peter is addressed.
Contents: True doctrine is importance because it is the basis for "right living." Perversion of doctrine brings immorality.
1. Out world is in a state of change. Aircraft and missiles are outmoded before they are off the assembly line. Textbooks and technologies are outdated by the time they are in print. It is "change" that sells automobiles, etc., year by year.
2. The opinion is widespread that our modern age demands an updated religion. Science has made old beliefs taboo. Society rebels against traditional and obsolete modes of worship and service.
I. The Realm Of The Changeable
A. There have been vast changes in Physical Expedients from the first to the 21 centuries. Transportation; communication (Eph. 6:21,22); conveniences.
B. Social customs have changed considerably in 20 centuries. Slavery (cf. Philemon and Onesimus, Eph. 6:5-9); dress has radically changed (Acts 21:11; 1 Cor. 11); methods of greeting (Rom. 16:16).
C. There were temporary necessities in the early church that were to pass away because they would no longer be needed when the faith was established. Inspiration of apostles and prophets, Eph.4:11; miracles to confirm the spoken word (Mark 16:17, 20; Heb. 2:3,4); community of goods (Acts 2:44ff).
II. The Realm of the Unchangeable A. The Godhead is the same today as ever. God changes not (Mal. 3:6); Christ remains the same (Heb. 13:8), His word is sure and his promises certain; the Holy Spirit abides forever (John 14:26).
B. Satan and sin have remained unchanged. Satan has the same nature, and uses the same avenues of temptation (1 John 2:16). The same works of the flesh are practiced (Gal. 5:19-21). The same type of people live, such as Ananias and Sapphira, Demas, Diotrophes, et al..
C. Man is basically the same today as always. He is still body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). He stills needs a four -fold development (physical, mental, spiritual and social, Luke 2:52). His choice are still two masters to serve, two roads to travel, two destinies to live eternally.
D. Principles of faith and right have not and cannot change. (cf. Jude 3).
III. Changing the Unchangeable
A. There are efforts to change the unchangeable.
1. New theology -- "God is dead," and humanism. But this is not new (Ps. 14:1);
2. New Christology - Christ's deity, miracles and resurrection denied (Matt. 22:42; 2 Pet. 2:1) .
3. New soteriology -- saved by knowledge (science cf. Gnostics) 1 Tim. 6:20
4. New morality - situation ethics.
B. There are efforts within the church to change the unchangeable. New hermeneutics; new rapport with error. These are not new, but centuries old.
1. Change is permissible only in the area of expedients. ( I Cor. 9:19 f)
2. In matters of faith and doctrinal truth we much preach the unchanging gospel ( Gal 1:6-9 ) and stand for the old paths ( Jer. 6:16 ).