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Introduction to 2 Peter

Part 1: General Introduction

Outline of the Book of 2 Peter

  1. Introduction (1:1-2)
  2. Reminder to live good lives because God has enabled us to (1:3-21)
  3. Warning against false teachers (2:1-22)
  4. Encouragement to prepare for the second coming of Jesus (3:1-17)

Who wrote the Book of 2 Peter?

The author identified himself as Simon Peter. Simon Peter was an apostle. He also wrote 1 Peter. Peter probably wrote this letter while in a prison in Rome just before he died. Peter called this letter his second letter, so we can date it after 1 Peter. He addressed the letter to the same audience as his first letter. The audience probably was Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor.

What is the Book of 2 Peter about?

Peter wrote this letter to encourage believers to live good lives. He warned them about false teachers who were saying Jesus was taking too long to return. He told them that Jesus was not slow in returning. Instead, God was giving people time to repent so that they would be saved.

How should the title of this book be translated?

Translators may choose to call this book by its traditional title, “2 Peter” or “Second Peter.” Or they may choose a clearer title, such as “The Second Letter from Peter” or “The Second Letter Peter Wrote.” (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/translate-names)

Part 2: Important Religious and Cultural Concepts

Who were the people Peter spoke against?

It is possible that the people Peter spoke against were those who would become known as Gnostics. These teachers distorted the teachings of scripture for their own gain. They lived in immoral ways and taught others to do the same.

What does it mean that God inspired Scripture?

The doctrine of scripture is a very important one. 2 Peter helps readers to understand that while each writer of scripture had his own distinct way of writing, God is the true author of scripture (1:20-21).

Part 3: Important Translation Issues

Singular and plural “you”

In this book, the word “I” refers to Peter. Also, the word “you” is always plural and refers to Peter’s audience. (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-exclusive and rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-you)

What are the major issues in the text of the Book of 2 Peter?

The following are the most significant textual issues in the Book of 2 Peter:

  • “to be kept in chains of lower darkness until the judgment.” (2:4) The ULB, UDB, and many versions read this way. Other versions have, “to be kept in pits of lower darkness until the judgment.” If other versions exist in the translators’ region, they might consider following those versions’ reading in this passage.
  • “They enjoy their deceitful actions while they are feasting with you.” (2:13) The ULB, UDB, and many versions read this way. Other versions have, “They enjoy their actions while they are feasting with you in love feasts.”
  • “Beor” (2:15). The ULB, UDB, and many other modern versions read this way. Some other versions read, “Bosor.”
  • “The elements will be burned with fire, and the earth and the deeds in it will be revealed.” (3:10) The ULB, UDB, and many versions read this way. Other versions have, “The elements will be burned with fire, and the earth and the deeds in it will be burned up.” If other versions exist in the translators’ region, they might consider following those versions’ readings in this passage.

(See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/translate-textvariants)