The Way - Day 179 (2 Peter 1)

Daily Reading:
2 Peter 1
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
In verses 17-27 Peter, who heard the audible voice of God the Father when Jesus was on earth, says there is something more "sure" or trustworthy than audible voices. What is it? Why is it especially important for us to esteem the written word of God above the words of our teachers and prophets or even what we believe to be God's personal direction to us?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 84:10
OPTION 2: Proverbs 21:15
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:29-30
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 2 Peter 1 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Introduction to 2 Peter
While Peter's first letter was mainly addressed to suffering Christians, his second letter was written to combat false teaching. Since the time of his first writing, Peter was obviously alarmed by the increase of false doctrine which had made its way into the churches in Asia Minor. As a faithful minister of the gospel, he felt that he had a great responsibility to warn the church about the dangers of accepting erroneous teachings. Peter knew that his time on earth was coming to an end as he wrote this letter from a Roman prison, so this was his way of challenging the church to stay pure in its beliefs. It appears this writing occurred somewhere around AD 67-68, just before Peter's martyrdom by crucifixion. Although he never specifically states to whom this letter is written, we can surmise that he was writing to the same persecuted Christians who received 1 Peter (2 Peter 3:1).

The main theme of 2 Peter is exposing and combating false teaching; however, he never mentions the specific heresy which is being taught. At the heart of all wrong doctrine is misinterpreting and even twisting Scripture, which Peter alludes to in 2 Peter 2. Not only does Peter expose the false teachings, but also the evildoing of the teachers. The New Testament writers often equate false doctrine with evil works. Those who have a wrong belief system will reveal the error of their ways through a sinful lifestyle. Overall, Peter's second letter is doctrinal in nature but is careful to provide practical outlets to defend the authority of Scripture and live a life of faithfulness to God's ways.

2 Peter 1:1-11
Peter welcomes his readers as "those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (1:1). Immediately he draws their attention to the fact that their faith and resulting righteousness is only given through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (1:3-4). Jesus Christ has given us the promise of eternal life in His presence and the privilege of being His child. When a person becomes His child, they are immediately given the Holy Spirit and a new, righteous nature (new creation) which enables the believer to overcome the power of sin. Having established the foundation for faith, Peter now reveals the potential for fruitfulness in the Christian life (1:5-8). We must remember that God has already equipped us with every spiritual blessings, but there must be "diligence" on our part to be effective for Him. Peter lists seven things which we must add to our faith so we can "abound" and not be "barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1:8). Here is the progression which should result from our faith:

Add to faith virtue (doing good deeds)
To virtue knowledge (understanding and obeying God's truth)
To knowledge self-control (controlling our desires)
To self-control perseverance (refusing to quit in the face of danger)
To perseverance godliness (living out the character of Christ)
To godliness brotherly kindness (willingness to sacrifice for someone else)
To brotherly kindness love (genuine care for the well-being of another)

These characteristics should be the aim of those who follow Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit, all believers can reach their potential. The faith given to us by God is meant to grow and we must be diligent in every attitude and action.

2 Peter 1:12-21
Peter did not want to be "negligent" of reminding his readers about the truth - Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith and the Holy Spirit enables fruitfulness in the Christian life. Although Peter was nearing the end of his life his passion was to challenge the believers in following the truth without compromise. He had penned the words of this letter in order to leave a permanent record and specific reminders to those whom he loved. His greatest fear seemed to be that Christians would abandon their faith through either persecution or false teaching. Peter had been faithful throughout his life and he expected others to do the same (1:12-15).

Peter quickly turns his attention to the main reason he is writing. It appears that the false teachers who had entered the church were now attempting to undermine Peter's authority by claiming that his doctrine was devised of his own will; however, the apostle was quick to defend his teaching. He proclaimed, "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (1:16). 2 Peter 1:17-18 reveals that Peter was referring to the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-7), when he was able to see Jesus Christ in all His glory, which all the world will see at His second coming. This event was a preview of what was to come in the future. In essence, Peter was telling his readers that he was not teaching something which came from him, but that which came directly from God. Apparently the false teachers who had infiltrated the church also denied the future glory of Christ. Since Peter had personally witnessed what the future held, he knew these teachers were evil. One thing is very clear in Peter's opening words - that which comes from God is truth and that which is devised by man is false. Peter writes "no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (1:20-21). Scripture never originated with man, but with God. The Holy Spirit was the author and men only wrote that which was given to them by God, therefore we can trust every word as truth. Peter wanted to reinforce the importance of believing God's word over the teachings of men. This upfront understanding would help Peter's readers think through the rest of his letter.

Dear God, may I always evaluate truth based on Scripture. Help me never to accept teachings which may be devised by men and presented as truth. Protect me from accepting that which is false.