2 Peter 1
Live this way if you want to last
Hello again1 From: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
To: Everyone with a faith that’s just as precious as mine. You have this faith because God and our savior Jesus Christ treat everyone fairly. 2 As you grow in your knowledge about God and Jesus our leader, may you continue to experience kindness and peace.
Spiritual to-do list3 God in all his power invited us into a relationship. We know him now. Because we know him, we have everything we need to live the kind of life he wants us to live. 4 Incredibly, God has promised to change our human nature. He’s allowing us to share his divine nature. This way we can resist the world’s pressure to dive into sin and let our desires run wild. 5 Because God did this for you, I’d like you to do this:
To your faith, add good morals.
To morals, add some knowledge.
6 To knowledge, add self-control.
To self-control, add patience.
To patience, add respect for God.
7 To respect for God, add respect for people.
To respect for people, add love.
8 Build these qualities into your life and nurture them. If you do, you’ll get to know our leader Jesus Christ better. And you’ll accomplish more for him. 9 If you don’t have these qualities in your life, you can’t see where you’re going and you don’t remember where you’ve been. You’re spiritually blind and you’ve forgotten your sins were washed away. 10 Dear family, stay true to the God who chose you and invited you. Do as I’ve said and you’ll not trip and fall on your face. 11 Instead, you’ll be led into the eternal kingdom of our leader and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter’s wish before he dies12 Everything I’ve just told you is important. It’s so important that I’m going to keep on telling it to you, even though you already know it. 13 I know it’s the right thing to do. So, as long as I’m in this body I’m going to keep refreshing your memory. 14 It won’t be much longer. My body is going to get set aside. Our leader Jesus Christ told me this would happen. 15 But while I’m still here, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that even after I’m dead you don’t forget what I taught you.
We’re eyewitnesses to Jesus16 We didn’t come to you with wild stories and conspiracy theories about the power of Jesus Christ and his promise to return. We saw Jesus with our own eyes. It was glorious. 17 We were there when God the Father honored him by saying, “This is my Son. He is well loved. I’m delighted with him.” 18 We heard God say this to Jesus on the sacred mountain. 19 Because of what we’ve seen, we trust the prophets. You should, too. Follow their advice. It’s a light leading you out of darkness. Follow it till dawn, when the morning star rises in your heart. 20 Let me assure you, the meaning of a prophecy isn’t up for grabs. You can’t interpret it any way you want. 21 Prophecies aren’t made on earth. The Holy Spirit inspires prophets to speak for God.
The letter is signed from “Simon Peter…an apostle of Jesus Christ.” But there are two main reasons some scholars say someone else wrote the letter in Peter’s name, perhaps to honor him. The letter seems to address problems that didn’t develop until late into the first century and into the second, long after Peter likely died in the mid-60s. Also, the writer stamps the letters of Paul as “sacred writings” (2 Peter 3:16); “Scriptures” in some translations (New American Standard Bible, New Century Version). Scholars who say Peter wrote the letter say the problems he addressed were the beginnings of problems that blew up later in the church. As for Paul’s letters tagged as scripture, some scholars say he had been writing over a dozen years by the time he and Peter died, long enough for the Christian movement to recognize God’s inspiration in those words.
Apostle means “official messenger,” such as a delegate or an ambassador sent to deliver a message. The title “apostle” came to mean disciples hand-picked by Jesus to tell his story and spread his teachings. The title usually referred to the 12 original disciples of Jesus and to Paul, who met Jesus in a miraculous encounter while Paul was traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians (Acts 9:5).
Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35.
“Morning star” was Jewish code for the Messiah. The idea seems to have come from Numbers 24:17, and the promise that a star will rise from among the Jewish people. Some associate the morning star with Venus, which rises in the sky a few hours before the sun. Some Roman armies carried emblems of Venus on their banners, to symbolize their strength. Julius Caesar claimed to descend from the goddess Venus. His banners called her the goddess “who conquers.”
Peter says God invited us into a relationship and that because of that, “We know him now. And because we know him, we have everything we need to live the kind of life he wants us to live” (1:3). How should we respond to someone who says we have never met God, we never shook his hand, we don’t know what he looks like, so we have no idea how he wants us to live?
Peter gives his readers a checklist of characteristics he expects to see in a Christian. If you had to rate them, which one would you put at the top of the list for Christians today? Let’s take love out of the mix, since it is the underlying quality behind most of the characteristics.
- respect for God
- respect for people
Peter says if we don’t have the characteristics he listed in 1:5-7, “You can’t see where you’re going and you don’t remember where you’ve been” (1:9). That sounds like an odd thing to say. What do you think he meant by that?
Peter told his readers he did not just hear about Jesus, he saw Jesus with his own eyes. “It was glorious. We were there when God the Father honored him by saying, ‘This is my Son. He is well loved. I’m delighted with him’” (1:16-17). We are now 2,000 years removed from Peter. Do you think it diminishes the case for faith, since we don’t have anyone we can turn to who was an eyewitness of Jesus?
LIFE APPLICATION. Peter says he knows he’s going to die soon, but that as long as he’s alive “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that even after I’m dead you don’t forget what I taught you” (1:15). Have you seen people who are approaching death do the same kind of thing? If so, how did they go about it?