Introduction to the Book of 2 Peter Index
Research Material

TITLE:

  • In the earliest Greek manuscripts this epistle is entitled simply Petron B ("Of Peter II"). (7BC 593)

AUTHORSHIP:

  • Since early times there has been considerable discussion with respect to the authorship of 2nd Peter. Origen (A.D. 185-254), the earliest writer who names the epistle, expresses doubt as to its authenticity (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History vi. 25). Jerome (A.D. 340-420) says that questions had been raised about the style of the epistle. Other Church Fathers either felt doubts about it or rejected it outright. Eusebius (ibid. iii. 3; Loed ed., vol. 1, pp. 191, 193) says: "of Peter, one epistle, that which is called his first, is admitted, and the ancient presbyters used this in their own writings as unquestioned, but the so-called second epistle we have not received as canonical, but nevertheless it has appeared useful to many, and has been studied with other Scriptures." There are apparently no direct quotations from 2 Peter in the Christian writings of the first two centuries, but only scattered allusions that suggest an acquaintance with it. Doubt with respect to this epistle was most forcefully expressed in the church at Antioch, chiefly because of the absence of 2 Peter, together with 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and the Revelation, from the Peshitta. This commentary holds that though these objections are impressive, they are more than offset by the evidence in behalf of the claim that the apostle Peter was the author of 2 Peter. (7BC 593)

HISTORICAL SETTING:

  • 2 Peter is addressed to "them that have obtained like precious faith with us" (2 Peter 1:1), presumably referring to the readers of the first epistle (1 Peter). This appears to be confirmed by (2 Peter 3:1). Peter must have been martyred no later than A.D. 67. His second epistle is thought to have been written before this date. There is no evidence to determine where the epistle was written; most probably it was Rome. (7BC 593)

THEME:

  • As with (1 Peter), the theme is pastoral. The writer exhorts his readers to continue growth in grace and in spiritual knowledge, that God's design in their calling and election might be fulfilled. In (2 Peter 1) he encourages them by reference to his own experience and to the prophetic word. In (2 Peter 2) he warns against false teachers. In (2 Peter 3) a discussion of the scoffers' rejection of the promise of Christ's return leads to an affirmation of the certainty of the second coming and an exhortation to be ready for the great event. (7BC 593)