Daily Bible Study Tips: 2 Peter

Comments on 1 Peter

2 Peter 1:1-11, Call to Christian living.
2 Peter 1:12-21, Authenticity of the faith.
2 Peter 2:1-22, Warning against false teachers.
2 Peter 3:1-18, The Day of the Lord.

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2 Peter 1:1-11, Call to Christian living. (7/20/2010)

I absolutely love vss. 5-7.  A very large part of the teachings of the New Testament is devoted to behavior.  Before Jesus' public ministry began, John preached the necessity of a baptism of repentance.  The synoptic gospels record Jesus' earliest message as "Repent."  Contrary to popular opinion, repentance isn't being sorry.  Repentance is changing your behavior.  So it's good to know what behavior I should be changing to, as well as what I should be changing from.  Peter gives us a great list of Christian behaviors to embrace and tells us in what order to tackle them. 
2 Peter 1:12-21, Authenticity of the faith. (7/21/2010)

I’ve been a genealogist and family historian for a long time. One of the questions that genealogists ask about everything they learn is, "How do I know this?"  Christians and Jews should ask the same question, and fortunately there's a good answer.  Peter talks about some of the tests for determining that what you have learned is true.  We have seen over and over again during our studies of the period of the kings of Israel and Judah that the writers were working from contemporary records - mostly the Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah (e.g., 1 Kings 14:19, 29), but also from quite a few others.  In many cases, the person who had the experience was the one who wrote it down. 

"We were eyewitnesses," Peter says.  The eyewitnesses wanted to be sure that non-eyewitnesses were informed:  Peter is writing "so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things."  A day or two ago Peter referred to the letter of Paul, so we have Peter's testimony that Paul was a real and reliable person.  The Judeo-Christian Bible is not a cleverly devised myth.  It is a historical record that was carefully documented and compiled by witnesses of God's glory over a period of about 2000 years.
2 Peter 2:1-22, Warning against false teachers. (7/22/2010)

We are so lucky to have the scriptures readily available to us!  We can buy a Bible in any bookstore; we can find one in any hotel room; we can check one out of the library; we can download one onto our Kindle (whatever that is) or Blackberry or iPod; or we can read one on line.  
The early Christians were not so lucky.  Christianity spread like wildfire, and many of the new believers were not fortunate enough to have been regular attendees at their local synagogue, so they didn't know the scriptures.  They had no idea how to behave.  Worse yet, some of them went around misleading other new Christians about what was acceptable.  Peter (and several other New Testament writers) come down hard on these false teachers.  If today's reading sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's because the books of 2 Peter and Jude, which we read a couple weeks ago, are similar in content. 
2 Peter 3:1-18, The Day of the Lord. (7/23/2010)

There is constant tension in the New Testament between the expectation that the Lord is going to return immediately and the fact that he hasn't returned yet.  We see this even today, as various groups calculate that the world will end on such and such a day, and the rest of the world doesn't do anything to get ready, having noticed that it didn't end on the last 17 (or 1700) days it was scheduled to do so.
So what happens?  We get lazy.  There appears to be no hurry for repentance, no rush to change our ways.  Tomorrow, or even the day after, should be soon enough.  Peter says, yes, the Lord is gracious enough to give us plenty of time to repent, but never confuse graciousness toward sinners with indifference toward sin.  The day of the Lord will come when you least expect it, so you better be ready.

Copyright 2010 by Regina L. Hunter.  All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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