By Joseph Ametepe
The imprint of Peter upon the early church was stronger than that of the other original Twelve Apostles. He was the most important disciple during Jesus' lifetime, and the first twelve chapters of Acts are devoted to his ministry and to that of the church in the East, where he was still the dominant figure. The most important theological contribution of Peter's second epistle is that it gives one of the most detailed Biblical discussions on the end of the world as we know it today. Sharing a poignant insight on Second Peter, Bible Commentator William MacDonald writes: "Amid the encroaching darkness of apostasy this short Letter is looking forward to our Lord's coming. It is personally reminiscent of Peter's life and personality, yet does indeed breathe Christ to those who will let the little Letter speak for itself." Also, author, Bible teacher, and pastor Chuck Swindoll shares this thought provoking insight about Peter's second letter: "While Peter's first letter shows his concern for Christians who were undergoing suffering from external enemies, his second letter teaches Christians how to deal with internal enemies such as false teachers and other evildoers who infiltrated the church. Of special interest to Peter is the return of the Lord Jesus and our watchfulness in view of His return. Peter encourages a life of service and purity as we await that epochal event...It urges all readers to beware...to be ready...to be alert, so that we don't fall into the trap of indifference and aimlessness at a time when we desperately need to be salt and light in this world."
Clearly, these two quotations show how relevant the message of Second Peter is for our times. Just as the first century believers to whom Peter wrote were warned to beware of false teachers and their false teachings, so also believers today be must beware of false teachers and their false teachings. You see, the danger of false teaching is a serious matter to God. As such, He would want His believing people to be discerning of it and committed to denouncing it within His Church. Also, the message of Second Peter is appropriate and applicable in our day because of our need for our watchfulness for Christ's sure and soon return. Mockers will disdainfully and delightfully mock the promise of Christ's return as they did in Peter's day. But just as the Christians of the first century were exhorted to be ready and watchful for Jesus' return, so it is expected of present day believers to be ever watchful and ready for that great and glorious event. Finally, just as the the readers of Second Peter were urged to live a life of service and purity as they await the return of Christ, so Christians living in the twenty first century are to do-that is, pursue a life of service and holiness as they patiently and purposefully wait for His return.
The prominent doctrines taught in Second Peter include: the person of God, the people of God, the peace of God, the power of God, the promise of God, the patience of God, the prophecy of God, the punishment of God, purification from sins, practice of God's truths, perdition of man, and personal growth in Christ.
Although Second Peter comprises of only sixty one verses, yet it contains several major spiritual lessons for God's believing people today. It is therefore our prayer that the Holy Spirit will enable us to pay closer attention to its timeless principles and precepts for our own spiritual growth and good. And that, in doing so, He will change and conform us more into the blessed image of our Lord Jesus Christ in such a time as this. May our Lord and Savior richly bless you as you listen to the verse by verse exposition of the rich and relevant book of Second Peter!
Although the recipients of Second Peter were not specified geographically, yet Peter knew them well enough to call them repeatedly, "beloved" (2 Peter 3:1, 8, 14, 17) and to have written to them a previous letter (2 Peter 3:1). If this refers to First Peter, then the letter is addressed to Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, which is modern-day Turkey. The map below illustrates that.