Apostle (2 Peter 1:1-3)

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

The second epistle of Peter is different in tone and style from all of the other epistles except Jude. It is beset by many difficult problems of interpretation and contains obscure and disconnected allusions to other writings. Since it includes no historical or geographical references unattainable elsewhere, there is little evidence of its precise place in the apostolic literature. Few New Testament documents have been a center of so much persistent controversy over the authenticity and authorship as 2 Peter. This epistle is a personal message from the aged apostle who was about to finish his career. He warned the young churches under his charge about his own approaching death and the imminence of Christ’s return. In the face of these eventualities, Christians were exhorted against being corrupted by heretical teachings and falling into error. The chief concern of this epistle, not unlike the latter epistles of Paul and those of James and Jude, was heresy. In critical discussions the basic coherence of the epistle often is questioned. A variety of ancient texts have been proposed as possible sources of the teachings of the book. Attempts have been made to determine by internal evidence certain subordinate documents within the whole. These are said to be a Petrine tradition called P, and a collection of later additions denoted E. This is the same sort of methodology that long has been associated with unsuccessful attempts to isolate the origins of the Old Testament. Any efforts to locate such sources within an epistle of such short length and compactness are subjective and specious from the beginning. The works Clement of Rome, Second Clement, The Apocalypse of Peter, The Gospel of Peter and even the writings of Josephus and Philo all have had their adherents as influences on 2 Peter. If it is remembered that the epistle is an intensely personal reminder by the apostle to his converts, then its reiterative and disorganized style is easily explained.

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