2 Peter 1

1 Despite the internal evidence, some have doubted that Peter actually wrote this letter. Most cite differences in style from the first letter, its similarity to Jude, the lack of a strong tradition regarding the author, and the fact that some other writings attributed to Peter during that time had proven to be false. However, none of these present specific evidence against the authorship of this letter by Peter. It would be ironic if this were a pseudonym letter considering that false teachers are strongly decried. Differences between 1 and 2 Peter could easily be accounted for due to different subject matter, circumstances, purpose, and possibly a secretary other than Silas. Both 1 and 2 Peter contain the highest proportion of unique words for any of the books in the New Testament. This could argue for a common author with a very rich vocabulary. Some have noted the similarity of some of the phrases in this letter with Peter's sermons in Acts.

In this greeting, Peter uses his original name, Simon, to indicate who he was. The older versions have the Hebrew transliteration to Greek, "Simeon," which would tend to lend more credibility to the idea that the author was indeed the apostle Peter. He may have used both names to reach out to Jew and Gentile believers. He describes himself as both a slave and an apostle, indicating the importance of his position, but recognizing that such authority leads to a lifetime of humble service, not domination.

Who the letter is to is not completely spelled out, but most assume it was to the same churches as the first epistle. However, he appears to address all Christians. The adjective for faith use here is the word for "valuable," indicating both the costly nature of salvation in Jesus' sacrifice, and its worth for attaining eternal favor with God. The "faith like ours" might refer to either the local body of believers he was associated with at that time, or the faith of the Jewish converts to Christianity. We also notice that it is a faith made possible by Jesus' righteousness, not our own.

Peter makes no distinction in the reverence given to Christ and the Father, in keeping with the doctrine of the Trinity. To address Jesus is the same as addressing the Father (or the Spirit).

2 This phrase combines both Greek and Hebrew traditional greetings into a salutation suitable for all Christians. As we gain "full knowledge" of God through a personal relationship with Him, our inner peace increases exponentially. Grace is the unmerited favor God gives those who believe the Gospel and seek Him.
3 When Adam and Eve sinned, the human race was condemned. God had created them to establish an eternal kingdom that would bring glory to Him, but they had made themselves unfit. God did not have to do anything to save people, but because He had the ability to do so, His good character compelled Him to act. He made salvation possible through the work of Jesus and calls all people to believe in Him. As our relationships with Him grow deeper, He gives us everything we need in regards to life and godliness. In other words, He has the power to help us through any situation we encounter and live in a way that pleases Him.
4 Through this, God has bestowed on us many valuable promises. Believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, giving us a taste for and understanding of the Divine nature. He promises to forgive us, cleanse us, and make us fit for heaven where we will experience His eternal glory and perfect love. We will be resurrected into immortal bodies, having escaped the corrupt and mortal flesh we live in now. The corruption in this world is caused by various lusts, which include pride, greed, power, promiscuity, etc.
5 As we follow God, we continually build the godly virtues that He desires that we have. This takes much effort and determination. Peter lists several virtues here that interact with one another. This is not intended to specify a particular order of growth, but it does indicate that the virtues are interrelated and work together. The first virtue is faith in Christ. It is the foundation of faith and the source of salvation. Without faith in Christ, no other virtues will be considered favorably before God. From faith stems moral excellence, which is the ability to distinguish right from wrong and choose what is right. While one is practicing moral excellence, he should be increasing in knowledge, most importantly the spiritual knowledge of God.
6 While increasing in knowledge, a believer should learn self-control, specifically, the taming of his evil desires. When we are new believers, we generally do not understand why so many behavioral exhortations. With time, the importance of the connections between faith and actions becomes clearer. As one's faith increases, perseverance becomes easier because one begins to see more of the "big picture." This life is temporary and often difficult, but an eternal reward waits in heaven that will more than make up for any suffering we experience on earth. In all areas, we need to have our reverence for God reflected in every aspect of our lives.
7 In Jesus' teachings, it was not possible to separate love for God from love for people (Mat 22:36-40). Especially among Christians, we are to develop family-like affection for one another. Of course, we are to take practical steps to show that we care for each other. This includes taking a caring interest in both the physical and spiritual welfare of others.

Finally, we are to develop the all-important characteristic of love. We are to care for others, even when it might mean personal loss for the sake of someone else's spiritual benefit. This is not exclusive to other Christians. After all, Jesus suffered torture and death for the doomed human race to give us the opportunity to be saved from our hopeless state. Most of us will have the much easier opportunity to share our time, talents, and money to help those with various physical and spiritual needs. When a person experiences God's love demonstrated through Christ, he can likewise learn how to share this kind of love with those around him - both believer and unbeliever.

8 As we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus, these virtues become stronger in our character. They are the attitudes and behaviors that help us to be active and effective participants in the church and God's eternal kingdom.
9 If a believer is lacking in these qualities, he is spiritually blind. The Greek word, which is often translated as "nearsighted," literally means "to close the eyes." In other words, such a believer willfully forgets that he has been purified from his sins and continues as if he were still an unregenerated person. This does not indicate that he has lost his salvation, but in contrast to the practicing believer, he is likely to be unfruitful spiritually, and "useless" in the kingdom work that is to be done on earth.
10 When we practice these virtues, there is little reason to question in our own minds that Jesus has called us or doubt that He has chosen us to go to heaven because of our faith in Him. When we earnestly follow good doctrine and are confident that we are doing what God wants us to, we are unlikely to suffer setbacks in our spiritual lives.
11 In those days, the Roman emperor would provide a lavish parade for those soldiers who proved themselves outstanding in the field of battle, and even today, we honor victorious athletes and national heroes in the same way. In a far better manner, God will give His people a far richer and triumphant entry into the eternal kingdom. The assurance of such a reception should make us even more willing and eager to display the virtues God wants us to.
12 Because of the importance of these things, Peter wanted to continually remind Christians about them. Even though they had been taught these things already, people have a tendency to forget even important things under the pressure of persecution, or the busyness of day-to-day living. Peter wanted to assure them that he was not criticizing or accusing them of forgetting, but to make sure that these things remained foremost in their minds. He also wanted to remind them in light of the fact that false teachers were abounding and misleading believers into behaviors and belief systems that were spiritually destructive. When one is constantly aware of the truth, they will see the contrast when presented with something false.
13 Peter was going to encourage their spiritual diligence as long as he lived, as is appropriate for a spiritual leader. Today, if someone reminds you of your purposes in Jesus, do not take offense as if the other person thinks you have strayed. Instead, be grateful that you have someone concerned about your progress before you are tempted and do something wrong.
14 Peter was likely old at this point, and believed the words that Jesus had spoken to him regarding his death as recorded in John 21:18-19 were soon to take place.
15 In light of this, he was even more eager to remind them of how to live as Christians, hoping to drive these messages into their hearts and minds before he departed and could no longer teach or guide them. Obviously, he would leave his letters behind as written reminders to them. Some suggest he might also be alluding to the Gospel that Mark is believed to have written at Peter's dictation, but this verse is not that specific.

Peter referred to his body as a tent, and his death as an "exodus." The idea is that we are mere travelers in this life, and our permanent home is in heaven.

16 True faith is based on historical facts and the eyewitness accounts of Jesus' ministry, not myths devised by people wanting to draw attention to themselves, redefine God to their own liking, or explain phenomena in mystical terms. Peter's eagerness was based on the facts of his witnessing of the miracles, teachings, and majesty of Jesus. His testimony is corroborated with the many others who saw these things. The events were astonishing, but not made up. Because of their spiritual significance for all people, Peter wanted everyone to know the truth about Jesus, His ministry, and the salvation that comes through Him.
17 Peter here alludes to Jesus' transfiguration, which he witnessed along with James and John (Mat 17:1-8). This was undoubtedly a revelation of Him as the Messiah. The confirmation of Jesus' identity and authority came with God's voice proclaiming from the cloud of glory that Jesus was His Son.
18 Just as Moses had heard God from the cloud and fire on Mt Sinai, so too did Peter, James, and John hear His voice from the cloud when Jesus was transfigured before them. This event obviously had a profound effect on Peter.

The name of the mountain is unknown, but for that brief time it was considered sacred, as Mt Sinai was while God's glory settled on it.

19 The Transfiguration serves to make the words of prophecy more certain and believable. Jesus' life and ministry fulfilled many prophecies found in the Old Testament, yet there are many more to be fulfilled. With the evidence we have about those that have come true, we can be assured that God will accomplish the rest. In the mean time, we can use the prophecies as a view into the future, similar to how a lantern can light up a small area in a dark room, making some things visible that would have otherwise remain hidden. These prophecies will sustain our hopes until the "dawn" of the Kingdom of God being established on earth. At that time, the "light bearer," most likely referring to Christ, will shine on our hearts, making everything clear.
20 Peter reminds his audience that the most important thing to remember when studying the Old Testament prophecies is that they were not revealed by people. Those predictions that were made up or incorrectly attributed as revelations from God are clearly pointed out and denounced (e.g., 1 Ki 22:1-38).

Note that there are many interpretations of this verse because the word commonly translated as "interpretation" is not exactly understood, although its roots seem to come from the word that means "let loose" or "disclose." This apparently was the verse used by the early Catholic Church to justify restricting access to the Bible. Their interpretation was along the lines that no one should attempt to interpret Scripture for themselves, so only the priestly hierarchy was qualified to explain the Bible's meaning to others. Perhaps unwittingly, this prohibition went against the context of the verse, which encourages study towards correct interpretation so that people will not be fooled by false doctrines, as is expounded on in the next chapter.

21 Prophecies do not come about from wishful thinking, fortune telling, personal suggestions, extrapolations, or well thought out predictions. Instead, God speaks through people through interactions with the Holy Spirit. The phrase literally means "carried along," which can be pictured as the wind moving leaves on the ground.