The book of Second Peter is one of the most contested and neglected books of the New Testament.
Many commentators through the ages have questioned the authorship of Peter the Apostle. In so doing, they question its authority and right to be in the Canon of Scripture.
Among the objections raised is the fact that there are 369 words used in First Peter that are not found in the second epistle, in which are found 230 words not found in First Peter. The total aggregate of word contrasts is 599, an amazing number for two small books.
There are also great differences in style. However, both of these objections could be due to the use of a different amanuensis, or scribe, in each book. The first epistle is very polished Greek, written by Silvanus (1PE 5:12). The second is quite rough, possibly that of Peter’s own hand. Bishop Chase wrote, “The author appears to be ambitious of writing in a style which is beyond his literary power.”
Just to show how foolish intellectual (theoretical) theologians can be, one argument raised against this book being authored by Peter is the reference to his impending death. 2PE 1:14-15 seems to refer to the incident in JOH 21:18-19, where Jesus prophesied Peter’s death by crucifixion. Since the Gospel of John was not written until around 95 AD, the argument is that whoever wrote Second Peter must have lived at a later date, which Peter of course did not. I assume these “brains” forget that Peter was there on the shore of Galilee, to hear the words of Jesus himself, and did not need to read John’s report of it!
Others of the “brain trust” of higher (lower) critics, suggest that Peter would never have held the writings of Paul to be equal to the accepted Scriptures of the Old Testament (2PE 3:15-16). Pray tell, why not? Since Paul did (1CO 2:12-13).
We will not deal with these objections, as we accept its authority and validity as a work of Peter the Apostle.
The theme of the book is the great need for personal spiritual growth in a time when false teachers and teachings were infiltrating the early church (2PE 1:5 with 2PE 3:18).
Key words/phrases relevant to spiritual growth are “grace and peace,” which can be “multiplied” as we grow in the “knowledge” of our Lord, and exercise due “diligence” in the practice of spiritual “love.” As a method of instruction, Peter emphasizes the necessity of reminder and repetition (2PE 1:12-15; 2PE 3:1-2).
Peter refers to his earlier epistle (2PE 3:1), and the second was probably written within a short time, between 64 and 66 AD. Whereas his first epistle was written to encourage the “pilgrims” suffering persecution and is filled with the promise of Jesus’ return, this second epistle is written to combat false teachers, who perverted grace and denied the return of Christ.