(2 Peter 1:1) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
(2 Peter 1:2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
(2 Peter 1:3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
(2 Peter 1:4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
There is within human nature an aspect which is divine. This is why Jesus, as second person of the Trinity, was able to take on human form. In doing so, he "deified" human nature. This is how we will be able one day to live in the new heavens and new earth, in God's direct presence.
This verse is devastating to the teaching of total depravity of humankind which provides the foundation of Protestant doctrine.
Becoming divine is the goal of humans. God wants to give us more than we already have. He wants to bless us with the best of what he is. Just as Jesus brought human nature into the Trinity at his resurrection, so also we will partake of God's Divine Nature at our resurrection. This does not mean we become deity; we will forever remain created, but blessed, creatures.
(2 Peter 1:5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
Peter right away dives in to the topic of works...
(2 Peter 1:6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
The list continues...
(2 Peter 1:7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [love].
The list continues...
Brotherly kindness comes first, then love. Brotherly kindness leads to love. Those without brotherly kindness certainly don't have love. And those without love are not true Christians, not true followers of Christ. Rage is certainly not an expression of brotherly kindness.
Notice that charity is above faith. Until we achieve charity, we are not redeemed, our faith is not activated; it is useless. When we come into the presence of Jesus at death we will reject him if we spent our lives self-centered, looking only inward upon ourselves.
As we should look at church history we should reject people and institutions not having brotherly kindness
(2 Peter 1:8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
(2 Peter 1:10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Even though they are saved because they are the elect, they must still work to ensure they don't lose this calling and election. In other words, they can lose their salvation. Peter has just listed the various works and virtues they must adhere to in order to qualify for redemption.
(2 Peter 1:11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:12) Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
(2 Peter 1:13) Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
(2 Peter 1:14) Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
(2 Peter 1:15) Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
(2 Peter 1:16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(2 Peter 1:17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(2 Peter 1:18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
(2 Peter 1:19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto [toward what end] ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day [morning] star arise in your hearts:
Peter is about to discuss at length false teachers and has just remarked on his hearing the voice of the Father during the transfiguration of Jesus. The prophecy of the Old Testament and of the apostles is trustworthy and true. People should take the gospel seriously since their very salvation depends on it.
The light of the gospel is a light for us today, but one day Jesus will return and we will see his full glory — the day will dawn. At this time a light bright enough to be seen even when the sun is brightly shining, such a light as this will begin shining in each of the redeemed (it will arise just as the sun, moon, and stars arise each morning). Probably this refers to receiving our resurrected body. These images are expressed as figures of speech as indicated by the use of the word "as". Unless the passage itself has clear indicators it is figurative, I prefer to interpret them as strictly literal.
We shine our light when heeding God's word in mind, heart, and action.
(2 Peter 1:20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
With any word from God, there is the danger that people will interpret it incorrectly and thereby use God's true and holy word as a basis for false teaching. Therefore, all interpretation of God's revealed word should be public, that is to say, endorsed by the apostles. Public interpretation is apostolic teaching; private interpretation is any other teaching, often false or at least having the wrong emphasis.
The Catholic Church is fond of claiming that all its teachings are apostolic. I reject this claim. How is it possible for the apostles to have taught something that they didn't even know they were teaching?
The Catholic Church uses the phrase "private interpretation" as a tag to apply to any teaching at odds with Catholic teaching.
Notice that Peter refers to prophecy of scripture, that is to say, Old Testament prophecy. (The writings of the New Testament were not readily available to all yet and it was not clear which writings were canonical — many popular writings were later rejected as non-canonical. In the early church, the Old Testament was used extensively as scripture; the truth of the gospel was often demonstrated via Old Testament prophecy. But early heretics interpreted these same prophecies and others to support their false claims. Thus, in a sense, the early church was based on prophecy.)
(2 Peter 1:21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
(2 Peter 2:1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily [secretly] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
In Old Testment times there were false prophets as well as prophets of the Lord. The same is true in the Church, there are false teachings blended-in with the true. The apostles never intended that unholy and unorthodox teachers become leaders in the Church, yet this happened. We are to reject such unqualified leaders. We must judge our Church leaders and reject those who do not pass the test.
Heretics will be quickly destroyed. But during most of Church history they passed-on their heresies for generations, so how can we call their destruction swift? The answer is that from the perspective of each person's soul, they are judged at death, and each person's death comes quickly in the grand scheme of things; we only live but a short while.
Note that God doesn't judge them, rather, their own sin judges them. When we come before God, his holiness shines upon us and reveals our true nature. If we have sin that we are clinging to, we will be repulsed by God as if by a magnet. Only those who have confessed their sin and repented of it will run toward God's holy fire of judgment.
Peter is probably referring to an early Christological heresy such as Docetism which denied that Jesus Christ had a physical body, teaching instead he was like a phantom or apparition. They taught this because of their false view that the physical universe is bad having tornados and such — therefore, the God of the Old Testament who created it must also be bad. As a consequence (or so they say in error), Christ can't be physical but is only a phantom or apparition.
Notice that throughout his letters, Peter speaks to Gentiles about Gentile topics; he never discusses whether or not Jesus was the Messiah, a topic of interest to Jews. I find it odd that people ignore this and claim Peter was the apostle to the Jews while Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Certainly Paul was sent off to Gentile lands to minister to both Jews and Gentiles, but I doubt if Peter would agree with the sharp distinction between these two apostles' ministries.
(2 Peter 2:2) And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
(2 Peter 2:3) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you [exploit you]: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
Peter may be referring to false teachers who are trying to make a profit from their false teachings, or who wish to establish their own following of disciples without having to plug-in and conform to the Church structure — who want to be independent. I think many false teachers and heretics are not in this category; they sincerely believe they are teaching truth. But even these are guilty of the same error as Satan; of wanting to be above God, of presenting their teachings as if they were God's. Of course, they may not be fully aware that they are covetousness in this way since they are blinded to the truth and think their errors are actually true.
False teaching is a form of exploitation.
Why is the judgment of these at hand? Because they are judged at their death, the same as believers. Some might wonder why such as these prosper, as if evil should be instantly judged. In fact, in the Old Testament there is often a correlation in people's thinking that evil will be judged right away. Only slowly when they noticed that they themselves, who were holy and righteous, were being persecuted, did they finally understand that God allows evil and wickedness to persist in the world for his own purposes. The only thing we can be certain of is that evil and wickedness will one day finally be destroyed forever.
(2 Peter 2:4) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
Yikes! What is going on here? Two possibilities of who is referred to...
Only option 2 makes sense, otherwise there would be no discussion needed at all since all wicked angels would be ineffectual.
(2 Peter 2:5) And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
The horrible activities of the fallen angels resulted in God's destroying of the world by flood. Most were destroyed because they were ungodly. But God offered them all salvation; all they had to do was believe Noah's preaching and be invited to board the ark. They probably tried to get on once the rains started, but it was too late since they were not acting in faith but, rather, in desperation. Whether some of these changed their mind and believed Noah's tale of God's redemption for wicked humanity is unknown. Possibly some of these will one day end up in the new heavens and new earth.
(2 Peter 2:6) And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample [example] unto those that after should live ungodly;
(2 Peter 2:7) And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation [way of life, behavior] of the wicked:
How can we consider Lot as righteous? he did a heinous deed. I suppose the same question applies to King David who murdered to cover up adultery yet was referred to as a man after God's own heart. (Note: he was called this only before his famous sins involving Bathsheba and Uriah.) Perhaps the answer is that they were righteous at some moments even if unrighteous at others.
(2 Peter 2:8) (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
Apparently, being disturbed by the immorality of the culture around you qualifies you as being righteous — you are righteous if you hate sin. I think this is why it is so important to kick out your TV and boycott movies. (Also must boycott raunchy books, music, comedy, video games, video, ads, anything.)
(2 Peter 2:9) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.
Believers are judged.
(2 Peter 2:10) But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government [authority]. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities [angels].
Apparently there was some false teaching going around about the role of angels, about whether they sin, about man's relationship to these. The book of Enoch has some references of this sort. Humans are to respect angels, being a little lower than them.
(2 Peter 2:11) Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
(2 Peter 2:12) But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
(2 Peter 2:13) And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
(2 Peter 2:14) Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
(2 Peter 2:15) Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
(2 Peter 2:16) But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass [donkey] speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
(2 Peter 2:17) These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
(2 Peter 2:18) For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
(2 Peter 2:19) While they promise them liberty [freedom], they themselves are the servants [slaves] of corruption [depravity]: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
You are only free when you choose to not sin. Choosing to sin is not freedom but bondage. Those who teach otherwise are deceivers.
(2 Peter 2:20) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
(2 Peter 2:21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
(2 Peter 2:22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
(2 Peter 3:1) This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
(2 Peter 3:2) That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Our authority is those called by God to deliver his message, his word. The Old Testament prophets and the apostles are the primary people in this category. We should look to the writings of the early church fathers primarily to confirm and clarify apostolic teaching. We should look to the Old Testament as pointing to the new covenant; this is what Jesus and the apostles teach. In the early church, heretics used the Old Testament to support their various heretical teachings. We are to use apostolic teaching as our guide, as a framework within which we properly interpret Old Testament teaching. Notice that all this knowing of what is true requires an authoritative teaching authority; this is the apostles who were trained and taught by Jesus. Thus, Christianity is apostolic. The Bible, including the New Testament, is certainly the main source for apostolic teaching but it has also been used to teach heresy and other crazy things. The Bible must be interpreted in the context of apostolic authority which is found within the Bible and confirmed by the writings of the early church fathers and church history itself. In looking at church history we can see which interpretations were not of God.
(2 Peter 3:3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts [desire to sin],
It appears Peter is referring to the time when he wrote his letter as the "last days".
(2 Peter 3:4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
These scoffers expected Jesus to have come back by now. Since he didn't, they were claiming he never would and that Christianity was therefore a total fraud. Perhaps something like this is what was going on with the Thessalonians too; an extreme impatience. Therefore, they could sin with impunity since their sins will not be judged at Christ's 2nd coming.
Skeptics deny there will be a final day of judgment in the future, a day of reckoning. Their evidence: the world has been static from the time of creation, from long before their distant ancestors lived and died. Since it has not changed for these long generations, it will certainly not change in the future. Of course, we now know that geologically, the earth was quite different in the past.
Peter assumes the second coming will occur at some indeterminate future time. Many theologians and preterists assume the apostles believed Jesus would come back within a generation or two but this verse demonstrates Peter didn't believe this.
(2 Peter 3:5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Peter reminds them of the way the universe was created: First the heavens (space), then the earth mingled with water as it still is today. Continents and mountains stand out of the water; the islands stand in the water. These skeptics don't seem to know about this topic nor do they care to learn about it. They don't want to know about anything if it was revealed by God; they prefer to believe myths and such.
(2 Peter 3:6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
(2 Peter 3:7) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against [for] the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men.
The day of judgment referred to is the 2nd coming of Christ. Notice it is referred to as a "day".
(2 Peter 3:8) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
People commonly use this verse to replace the word "day" in various passages with the phrase "1,000 years". I think this is misguided. Peter is merely saying that these centuries-long time periods mean nothing to God, they are to him as short time periods of time are to us.
(2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing [wishing] that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
We must properly identify which promise of God Peter refers to. He does not refer to the promise given to Noah which was merely that there would never again be a global judgment by water. Rather, Peter refers to final judgment when God destroys all wickedness and evil from the world and ushers in the new heavens and new earth. This promise does not appear in the Old Testament until the prophets.
God wishes all would become redeemed. This refutes Calvinism which insists that God only chooses some. God wishes all would become redeemed yet some do not receive the gift of redemption. Apparently God does not always get his wishes fulfilled when dealing with the free-will creatures he created, angels and humans.
To solve problems such this, whether a God of love would allow someone to spend eternity suffering in hell, some teach Universalism, that everyone will ultimately be redeemed. Several ways this could work...
(2 Peter 3:10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The second coming of Christ will result in the destruction of the earth and the universe. There will be no 1,000 year worldly millennial kingdom in which Christ rules on the earth. The people Peter is refuting claim there will be no end of the world since everything continues on in the same way from day to day, year to year. But one day it will be different, the unexpected will occur, just a thief in the night is unexpected. In my Creative Frames theory this destruction of the universe will be no different than the end of the cycle of any other creative frame.
(2 Peter 3:11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [way of life, behavior] and godliness,
The skeptics and mockers don't think they need to live moral lives if there is no 2nd coming of Christ for judgment. But even Atheistic philosophers believing we are snuffed-out at death don't believe this; many derive meaning in life by moral and ethical living.
(2 Peter 3:12) Looking for and hasting [hastening] unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
How is it possible to speed up the arrival of the 2nd coming of Christ? Actually the verse doesn't say this. What is says is, that they are: (1) looking for the 2nd coming, (2) hastening the thing Peter has in mind, (3) until the 2nd coming. The thing Peter has in mind is becoming holy and worthy of eternal redemption.
(2 Peter 3:13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
(2 Peter 3:14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Believers are judged. How could we be found without spot and blameless unless God were judging us to see whether were without spot and blameless?
(2 Peter 3:15) And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
(2 Peter 3:16) As also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
In his letters, Paul wrote the same things Peter is writing. Peter may be referring specifically to the topic of end times, but on this topic, I'm not sure Peter's writings are any more clear than those of Paul in 2 Thessalonians.
Peter admits that some sections of Paul's letters are hard to understand. I wonder if Peter has trouble understanding them? I wonder if we should also have trouble understanding them? Perhaps the writing is not so clear. This fact doesn't bode well for Sola Scriptura.
People often say that, here, Peter refers to Paul's letters as scripture, equal to the Old Testament. I'm not convinced Peter is saying this — it seems, rather, he is saying that people twist all authoritative writings including both Paul's letters and the Old Testament. Of course, we now know Paul's letters to be scripture, but only because the Church discerned this later. Presumably, Peter is not limiting his lofty view of certain writings to only Paul's letters; he views the gospels, for example, in the same vein, as completely trustworthy and true — in short, inspired of God.
Paul's letters were considered authoritative because Paul was an apostle, in fact, he spent quite a few words in his letters establishing his apostolic credentials. Apostolic teaching provides the basis for Christianity; the apostles wrote the New Testament and passed on the teachings to subsequent generations.
False teachers and heretics interpret the scriptures improperly. This illustrates that the Bible is not all that is needed; a trustworthy interpretation authority is also required. The false teachers and heretics are not properly educated and they are unstable. But how are us poor hapless Christians to know which Church leaders are trustworthy and which are not? We have the advantage today of 2,000 years of church history, but even still, each Church group claims to have the truth and that others have error. Who are we to believe? Imagine the plight of the early Christians who were likely to have had an Arian bishop with no internet available to research the topic to find out the truth?
False teachers and heretics are in big trouble; they may not be included among the redeemed.
What if one day we discover some additional letters of Paul? would these automatically become scripture based Peter's statement? If we follow Sola Scriptura we would be forced to answer "yes" since this verse is used to "prove" Sola Scriptura. But in actuality, it was the Church after the apostolic era which determined the canon of scripture and declared it to be the inspired word of God. The Church also declared that the canon of scripture is now closed; Peter never said this nor does the New Testament.
(2 Peter 3:17) Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
(2 Peter 3:18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
King James Version