Bible Query from
Q: In 2 Pet, why are there similarities between the books of 2 Peter and Jude? (For example, 2 Pet 2:17 and Jude 13, 2 Pet 2:1-18 and Jde 4-16)
A: They addressed similar topics, and perhaps Jude and Peter discussed these things together. Also, the Holy Spirit burdened them both similarly. It is further possible that Jude had read 2 Peter or that Peter had read Jude. Sometimes differences and further highlight similarities; for example, 2 Peter 1 discusses our salvation, and Jude does not, but Jude says he would have rather discussed our common salvation, but the things he was writings about were more pressing.
A deeper issue is, just how was the Bible inspired? Mechanical dictation would be the theory that God verbally told the human writers each letter of each word to write down. The Bible does not claim to be mechanically dictated. Rather, God chose the people who would write the Bible, and give gave them the experiences and knowledge. In some but not all cases, God gave them the exact words to use. In all cases, those who hold the Bible to be inerrant believe that no words got in the original manuscripts that God did not intend to be there. See the question on 2 Peter 1:21 for more discussion on the inspiration of the Scriptures.
Q: In 2 Pet, why is the style of 1 Peter and 2 Peter different?
A: Two reasons.
1 Peter written down by a scribe: 1 Peter 5:12 Peter indicates that Peter spoke this to a scribe named Silvanus (Silas), who was likely to have more proper Greek grammar. Jerome (c.404 A.D.) first pointed out this issue and answered this as 1 Peter was written down by the scribe Silvanus.
Different subjects: 1 Peter speaks primarily about persevering under pressure as God's holy people, and 2 Peter warns against false teachers. However, though the subjects of the two letters are different the contents have subtle similarities. For example, in all the Bible only Peter (1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5) count exactly eight souls saved in Noah's ark.
See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.30 for more info and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.859-861 for more extensive discussions.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:2 how is our faith precious?
A: Our faith is precious to us now, for it the source of our hope and joy, and strength for living today, doing what we know we are supposed to do, and refraining from what we know we are not supposed to do. Our faith is precious to us in the future, as our salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:6) gives us eternal life. The faith of other believers is previous to us, as we see their character, and rejoice in God for their life and salvation. Our faith is previous to God, because it glorifies Him and Hebrews 11:5 says it is a prerequisite for us pleasing God.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:2 one atheist thought it very strange that the main thing God asks of us is to believe in Him. Why should He care? What did the atheist not understand?
A: Faith is much more than just believing certain facts or theories. Faith is trusting our lives over to God. On a lesser scale, we have faith that our spouse loves us, even when we are not watching them, and faith that continuing to love our spouse, through good times and bad, is what we want to do.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:3, how does God gives us everything we need for life and godliness?
A: God has given us all of the knowledge we need for coming to Christ, and living a life of obedience pleasing to our Lord. But God has also given us His Holy Spirit, dwelling in us, to guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit strengthens us, and comforts us, as Jesus taught He would in John 14:15-16; 25-26.
Not only might God possibly not give us everything we desire, He almost always does not give us everything we desire. As someone once said, a string on a stringed instrument plays much better when it is in tension. A totally loose string can play no music at all. Likewise, we might never be fully satisfied with life on this earth, - nor should we be. We are just passing through, on the journey to our destination of heaven.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:4, What do you think are the most precious promises God has given us?
A: Many believers would say salvation through Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, because without that we are doomed with no hope of eternal life. But what an eternal life it is! Our salvation is not just living OK forever on earth, or on our own somewhere, but living forever in eternal bliss with God. So others would say it is eternal life in Christ, of which our salvation is the first step of that. So the greatest promise is both; both the start of never-ending joy, and the greatness of the never-ending joy itself.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:4, since we partake of the divine nature, do we become gods?
A: No. We do not become all-powerful, create angels, rightfully receive worship, or have many other attributes of God. This verse means God gives and continues to sustain in us some aspects of divine nature, such as eternal life, holiness, and being able to dwell with Him. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.723-724 for more info.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:4, how do we partake of the divine nature?
A: Jesus has called us brothers and sisters (Mark 3:35), and we are co-seated with Christ on His throne (Ephesians 2:6). We do not become either little gods, or the One, True God ourselves, but we partake of the divine nature because Christ lives in side of us through His Holy Spirit (John 14:23; 1 John 4:12,15; Romans 9:10-18; 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Q: In 2 Pet 1:4, how does the world corrupt people?
A: The world corrupts our mind in that people believe lies and can no longer see what is true and false. We all have a conscience that serves as a basic guide of what is right and wrong, and the world deadens people's conscience. The world corrupts our heart, in that we no longer desire what is right, and we no longer want the best way.
As a metaphor, consider the drug addict in the most severe stage of addition. At first he thought the drug was exciting, and then rationalizes it does not hurt him at all, and finally, even though he can clearly see that it has ruined his life, does not even care anymore.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:6, one secret of self-control is that it comes in part from knowledge. How does self-control come from knowledge?
A: Of course knowledge tells you what you should and should not do, but that is not what is referred to here, because self-control is not figuring out what to do, but choosing to be self-disciplined and doing what you know is right. Knowledge gives vision. With knowledge you can see consequences of being self-controlled, and you can often see the potential consequences of not being self-controlled. Sometimes when you have a temptation to be dishonest, or do some other sin, you can decide not to sin for the sole reason that you don't ant to. You don't want to because you can see the consequences of doing it, in the lives of others and yourself.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:6, how does perseverance relate to self-control?
A: If you compare the Christian life to a race, it is more like a marathon than a short sprint. Self-control is not so useful if it does not last. It is good to say "I will not sin today", but if you really mean "I will revisit this again tomorrow", that is not as good as saying "I never want to do this sin ever again. Delaying potential defeat is not as good as getting victory over a sin.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:6, how does godliness come from perseverance?
A: Godliness presupposes steadfastness. If a person might be honest, might be pure, or might refrain from some sin, that is nowhere close to as good as being someone who can be counted to do these things.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:7 how does brotherly kindness come from true godliness? Why do some forms of religiousness not lead to brotherly kindness at all?
A: God wants us to love others as we love ourselves. We are serious about being godly, that means obeying God's commands, and God commands us to love others. Now we might not have the love to do so, in and of ourselves. But we God's love flowing through us, we can love others.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:8 one can see how love leads to brotherly kindness, but how does brotherly kindness lead to love?
A: If we are intentional about expressing kindness to others, it makes it easy for us to love them. In a sense, choosing to be kind to them is similar to choosing to love them.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:9, how can people forget they were cleansed from their past sins?
A: How can young children forget they just took a bath and go out and play in the dirt? -They can. Unfortunately, as God's children, we can be just as foolish.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:10, how can we make our election sure?
A: A person's election (or non-election) cannot be made any more certain in the eyes of a timeless God. However, it can be made more sure in our eyes.
Since obeying Jesus is a mark of a saved person, if a believer is not living a life obedient to Christ, the mark is (at least for a time) not there, and there is a legitimate question as to whether that person is really saved or not. They might not be going to Heaven, as 2 Peter 2:19-22 show. Or, they might be a disobedient Christian. There is not this ambiguity though for someone who is living obediently in Christ. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.724-726 for more info.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:11, how is having a rich/abundant welcome compatible with a fiery, painful suffering of Christians in purgatory?
A: It is not very compatible. Purgatory is a Catholic doctrine totally absent from the Bible, and there is no need for us to believe this. See the discussion on 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 for more info.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:12-15, why do we need "reminders" in our Christian life?
A: Peter saw a need to spend a lot of time reminding his flock back then of things they had heard before. We need the same kinds of reminders today. We need reminders for a couple of different reasons. Our mind might be forgetful of some of the information we learned, but that is not the main reason. More often, even though we might remember the facts, we need to again ponder the importance and impact of what we were taught. We do not want to forsake our first love, as the Ephesian church did in Revelation 2:4-5. Finally, we need reminders of the goal to strengthen us in our resolve to do what is right.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:16 and 1 Jn 1:1-2, why is it so important that the apostles were eyewitnesses?
A: The apostles and prophets are the foundation of our faith, according to Ephesians 2:20, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. It is important they saw Jesus firsthand.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:17, when did the Father say this to Jesus in Peter's hearing?
A: This was said at Jesus' baptism in Matthew 3:17. It is also possible that Peter heard this at the transfiguration or other times not recorded in scripture too.
Q: Does 2 Pet 1:19 imply that some scripture is more certain than other scripture?
A: No. Something that is completely true cannot be made more true. However, additional eyewitnesses can make something more certain in the eyes of people by providing more evidence. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.726-727 also mentions that "made more certain" is not necessarily the best translation, because this is a Greek idiom meaning "we place very firm (or firmer) reliance on...".
Q: In 2 Pet 1:20-21, since scripture is not of private interpretation, why do people seem so eager to privately interpret it?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Private interpretation should not be confused with individual study. All believers are to individually study God's word. We need to test what we hear with Scripture as the noble Bereans did in Acts 17:11-12.
2. However, each of us needs the other believers in the church, to learn from and correct each other. Proverbs 27:17 says that as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.
3. Those who consciously isolate themselves from other believers sometimes fall prey to rejecting the plain meaning of scripture in favor of exquisitely obtuse meanings that were completely foreign to all the native New Testament Greek-speaking Christians. If your theology requires you to postulate that God apparently failed to succeed in communicating the key meaning to any Christian prior to 400 A.D., perhaps that key interpretation was not so key after all.
Q: Does 2 Pet 1:20-21 show that the church should do all the interpreting?
A: No. Given the past track record of the Catholic Church, here were some of their teachings.
They justified torture, even of genuine Christians.
All intimate relations, even within marriage, are sinful.
Kill those who do not submit to the church.
Pay the church money when you sin (indulgences).
In the Eucharist, the laity should not have the cup, only the clergy.
People should be killed if they are not clergy and own a Bible.
Clergy who get married should be killed.
Clergy who have girlfriends and children should pay a tax, and then it is OK.
2 Peter 1:20-21 speaks about two subjects: prophets and the Holy Spirit. It addressed prophesying, not reading or interpreting the Bible.
Q: In 2 Pet 1:21, exactly how were the writers of the Bible carried along by the Holy Spirit?
A: The word for carried along is used in Acts 27:15,17 of a ship carried by the wind. Here are four points concerning the inspiration of the Bible.
1. Gods Words Through Men
1a. Most revelation is through the ideas and thoughts of men the Lord especially chose. Revelation 1:19 gives one example. None of it was just man's word, though (2 Peter 1:19-21).
1b. Some revelation was the direct words, such as in John 12:28, Isaiah 6; Exodus 3:4,5, and so forth.
1c. God used the individual style of the human authors in writing. Nothing was written as God's Word that God did not want written or was not true.
1d. The Bible is not a secret code book. The meanings of words are not whatever modern definitions we feel like giving them, but are the normative meanings understood by the native speakers of the languages at that time.
2. God's Ability to Communicate to Us
2a. We cannot understand everything about an infinite God who is transcendent and "other" than us. Nevertheless, we have the responsibility to learn and understand what God has revealed to us.
2b. God communicates in ways we understand. He is free to move us with poetry, explain things to us with analogies, and simplify things with anthropomorphic expressions. God can use idioms, like "sunset", and God can use our categories of things, like classifying a rabbit with the Hebrew classification of animals that chew the cud, because a rabbit appears to do so.
2c. God's Word contains both propositional truth and a presentation of Himself. It contains both positive language about what things are true, and negative language about what things are false.
2d. The human writers could refer to non-Biblical sources, such as Jewish history books (Book of Jasher in Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18, etc.), and even Greek poets where they spoke what is true (Acts 17:23,28; Titus 1:12).
See Philosophy of Religion by Norman L. Geisler p.211-291 for more info on God and human language.
3. God's Word is All True
3a. All scripture is from God. God's word is all true on everything upon which all it speaks. Truth is not contradictory. Scripture does not merely contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God (Romans 3:1-2; John 10:35; Proverbs 30:5-6; 2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 33:4; Psalm 119:151).
3b. Scripture is not only accurate, it has the precision required for us to know God's meaning. The precision extends even down to tenses and number of words, as in Psalm 82:6 and Matthew 22:32. However, scripture often uses approximations, especially of time and quantity.
3c. God does not lie. However, not telling us everything on a subject is not lying. For example, if at least three women were at Jesus' tomb in Mark 16:1, Matthew 28:1 is still true in only mentioning two of the women. The New Testament has the exact substance of Jesus' teaching, but not always the exact words (Matthew 22:37; Matthew 13:22; Mark 12:30; Mark 4:19).
3d. Scripture is complete, in telling us all we need to know for salvation and for growing in faith. Scripture is not an encyclopedia, nor does it claim to tell us everything about everything.
3e. God allowed some transmittal errors, but His Word stands forever. Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 119:89. His Word is preserved infallibly (without significant error) up through today (Isaiah 55:11; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Psalm 119:89,91,144,160).
4. Our Response
4a. We should cherish and love Scripture as precious to us (Psalm 56:10; Psalm 119:72,97,105,120). We are not to worship scripture, but praise God who gave us Scripture (Psalm 119:12). We should delight in God's law (Psalm 119:16,35,47) and "tremble" at God's word (Isaiah 66:5). Our hope is in God's word (Psalm 119:74,81).
4b. We realize that we are saved by Jesus, not by studying Scripture (John 5:39-40; James 1:22-25; 1 Corinthians 13:2).
4c. Value Scripture (Acts 13:48; Colossians 3:16) for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and for help in temptation (Psalm 119:10).
4d. We should diligently read and study Scripture (Acts 17:11; Revelation 1:3). We should interpret it honestly and accurately, not twist or misinterpret it (2 Peter 3:16). We must not add to or go beyond God's Word (Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6-7; Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19; Ecclesiastes 12:12; Mark 7:13).
4e. Some Old Testament commands have been fulfilled and are not to be done, such as eating pork, sacrifices, etc. (Acts 10:9-16; 15:1,5-29; Mark 7:19; Galatians 5:2-4; Hebrews 9:9-10; 10:18).
4f. Scripture is not just suggestions for life, but it is authoritative in our lives (Psalm 119:33-34; John 8:37; John 12:48-50; John 14:23). We should believe all God teaches and obey all of God's commands (John 14:23-24).
For Mormon readers, this differs from Mormon teaching on the inspiration of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith allegedly supernaturally translated the Book of Mormon word by word and letter by letter, by looking at a seerstone in a black hat.
For Muslim readers, a Christian's view of the inspiration of the Bible differs from a Muslim's view of the inspiration of the Qur'an. Most Muslims believe the Qur'an on earth is an exact, "mechanical dictation" copy of a Qur'an on tablets in Heaven.
See the discussion on the Bible for the difference between inerrancy and hyper-literalness. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.16 for more info and seven incorrect views and why they are wrong. For a very extensive discussion, see Christian Theology by Millard Erickson p.175-259.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:1, what kind of false teachers was Peter warning them about? Were they saved people (2 Pet 2:1b,3b)?
A: Peter describes these people in more detail in 2 Peter 2:10-22. He says "they are born only to be caught and destroyed" (verse 12, blackest darkness is reserved for them" (verse 17), and "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them" (verse 21). So obvious the false teachers Peter was talking about are bound for Hell. Christians who believe you can lose your salvation think these were once-saved people who lost their salvation and are now going to Hell (unless they repent.) Christians who believe once-saved-always-saved say that while these false teachers have known the way of truth (verse 21), but they never were saved in the first place.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:1 is Peter saying we should be surprised at these false teachers?
A: 2 Peter 2 gives us so many historical examples to suggest we should not be surprised at what are merely additional examples. Just as you had evil people around godly believers back then, so there are evil people among godly believers now. In fact, some of them are inside the church, teaching evil things.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:1, who is the "Lord" who bought them?
A: The Greek word despotes is only found ten times in the Bible. Five times is to the Master of a house, three times to God the Father (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24 (despota); Revelation 6:10) and one to Jesus Christ in Jude 4, where it says "only Master [God] and Lord of us, Jesus Christ denying."
Hyper-Calvinists (such as John Gill), and some other Calvinists stress that "Lord" here is not just Christ, but either the Father or the Triune God. This does not refer to any atoning work, but God's "buying" the Israelites in the Exodus through the drowning of the Egyptian army. Clark is one commentator who has this view.
Non-Calvinists, and some other Calvinists say that "Lord" here, refers to Christ, as it does in Jude 4. The commentator Blum says this is Christ because of the identity of the "them", and the noun "the people" is too distant compared to the preceding noun "the false teachers. The commentator Edmond Hiebert in Second Peter and Jude says it is Christ. The commentator Alford in The Greek New Testament, declares "no assertion of universal redemption can be plainer than this."
The Calvinist New Geneva Study Bible p.1981, has an interesting view that is the exact opposite of Alford's. It accepts that this refers to Christ, but says that "Peter's concern here is to highlight the responsibility of the false teachers rather than to advance a theory of the Atonement. With their claim to be redeemed by Christ, their 'destructive ways' (v.2) bring particular dishonor on Christ and His sacrifice for sin."
Regardless, all have to admit, that at least in some respect, God "purchased" some of the reprobate for Himself. So the question is not if God in any way purchases the reprobate, but rather how.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:1, and Jde 5 did Christ die for them? If so, then how?
A: Jesus graciously died on the cross to give all an opportunity to be saved. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God..." (Ephesians 2:8). However, all will not have faith. Hebrews 4:2 says, "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith."
Five-point Calvinists would disagree, saying Jesus did not die for those who would never accept it, and they had no opportunity to escape Hell. Why would God, who is all-powerful and sovereign over all, permit Himself to have "lost causes", or attempts to bring people to Him that were unsuccessful?
The answer lies in Jesus' sorrowful cry. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together , as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37).
God is in control of everything; He can even choose to control Himself. Thank goodness for that, or all everything sinful could be destroyed this second. Calvinists might say there are no lost causes, but in the words of one non-Calvinist, named Jonah, "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." (Jonah 2:8) There has to be something they forfeited.
How could someone reject God's purpose, and God's purpose be thwarted? Nobody could go against the all-powerful God's purpose, - unless God choose to allow it. Another non-Calvinist, Luke, wrote "But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John." (Luke 7:30).
It is not that God wanted people to reject Him, and perish, but God is able to permit it if He wants to, - and He did. Ezekiel 33:11 says, "Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live...."
"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time." (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
Jesus did not just die for some of the world in 1 John 2:2, but either that verse misled all the Greek-speaking early Christians or Jesus died for the whole world. There is also a particular, definite aspect to Christ's atonement, but we must place the two side by side, as Jesus "is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe." (1Timothy 4:10)
1 John 2:2 "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
Romans 5:18 "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." Now if the second all does not mean all people, why does the first all mean all people? The words are the same in the Greek and in the understanding of the early Christians.
(Bible quotes are from the NIV)
Q: In 2 Pet 2:2, since some people are trying to find the truth, why would God allow the way of truth to be blasphemed?
A: God gives us enough freedom to be able to abuse it and hurt ourselves. God even gives us enough freedom to hurt others, too.
1. At least some of God's truth can always be found (Romans 1:19-20; Psalm 19:1-3).
2. God is eager to reveal more truth to those who seek Him (Matthew 7:11; Romans 2:7)
3. God is just, and He judges people based on what they know (Romans 4:15; 5:13, Deuteronomy 1:39).
4. However, for those who do not seek God, God is not reluctant to permit them to believe a lie and be confused in utter foolishness (Romans 11:8-10).
Q: In 2 Pet 2:3, why is it that people are fascinated by stories that are made up?
A: People want to hear fascinating stories, and a story is more fascinating if it is actually true. So, by a leap of logic, it seem true of human nature that sometimes people want more fascinating stories to be true, and so they are more prone to view them as true. Whether the stories of the ancient Hindus and Gnostics, or Mormonism or scientology today, people have made up fascinating stories that many have believed.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:4 and Jude 6, are fallen angels bound, or are they free as Rev 16:14 and other verses say?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Some demons are bound.
2. Others are free, as Matthew 12:22; 17:14-18; and Acts 16:16-18 show.
3. Some demons were free, but were afraid of being bound by Jesus' words in Luke 8:28-32.
See When Critics Ask p.538 and Milliard J. Erickson's Christian Theology p.447 for more info.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:5, since God only saved eight "souls" in the ark, what about sea-animals that have "souls" in Rev 16:3?
A: While the Greek word is the same, the context is different. In 2 Peter 2:5, the context is human souls. The Greek word can also mean life, as in Revelation 16:3. So only humans have human souls that need saving as in 2 Peter 2:5, but animals have life too, as in Revelation 16:3.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:7-8, how could Lot be a righteous man, given what he did in Gen 19:30-38?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Lot was tricked into committing incest by too much drink after just losing his wife.
2. The continued suggestion and temptation of the unrighteous can drag down even a righteous man.
3. Lot's sin was after the events 2 Peter 2:7-8 was referencing.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:8, how is it proper for somebody's righteous soul be tormented by ungodly actions of others? How should it not be?
A: Lot tried to live a righteous life among an extremely ungodly people. It not only distressed him on the outside, but it put him in physical danger when the three visitors came. Even worse, his wife's disobedience caused her death. But even worse, the ungodly people around him affected his character, getting drunk. And worst of all, it affect not only his own character, but also the character of his children. There is a point at which a person should ask if God wants him to really live there.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:9, since Lot committed incest, how was Lot an example of how God delivered the godly from temptation?
A: Lot is a useful example of both what God does do and what God does not do. Lot lived a godly life. God delivered every individual in his family, except that Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. However, Lot's daughters, after Lot had too much to drink, committed incest with him. God delivered Lot, but God never took away Lot's responsibility to watch his life and strive for godliness.
Another unfortunate example of a godly man, God's great deliverance, and the man's later falling away was Gideon in Judges 8:24-28.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:9-10, what is the difference between the "unrighteous" and those who especially follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority?
A: Following the corrupt desire of the sinful nature, and despising authority, are two more extreme forms of unrighteousness.
There is a difference between passive unrighteousness, and active unrighteousness. There is a difference between people who frequently fall when any temptation comes around, and people who are hunting for ways to fall. Sometimes people seem "perpetually sorry" for their sin, but they keep on doing it. Other people don't even pretend to be sorry, but just do what feels natural for them. And still others seem to take a defiant pride in their sin. What good is there in being "the best drinker" in a drinking contest, having the most "scores" of people they slept with (and then abandoned). There are movies glorifying how good thieves some people are, or how good of assassins they are. Perhaps there would be fewer "glorifiers" in their own sin if there were fewer "glorifie-ees" who were impressed by their sinful acts.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:10 and Jde 8-10, how would people slander celestial beings?
A: There are different aspects to slander. Slander can mean to makeup lies about something. Do angels look like cute little babies with wings? How about Michael, and the angel that destroyed the Assyrian army? Do demons all have horns and pitchforks? Actually the Bible says Lucifer was very beautiful in appearance. Later Gnostics had very elaborate fictions they made up about angels and semi-divine beings. We should not go making up things about angels or about demons.
Slander can mean to ridicule or make light of something. I don't think Job would ever think about making light of Satan.
Slander in 2 Peter 2:10 and Jud 8-10 means to make an accusation against someone, on your own authority. So even Michael did not rebuke Satan directly, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."
Q: In 2 Pet 2:10, what authority is referred to here?
A: The word for authority can refer to authority of God, church leaders, government rulers, parents, or just authority in general. Often people who despise one kind of authority have a problem submitting to any authority in general. There is nothing that indicates Peter is referring to only one kind of authority and not another.
As 2 Peter 2:10 suggests, despising authority and corrupt desires can go hand in hand. The Believer's Bible Commentary p.2297 says, "It is no secret that false religious leaders, posing as ministers of Christ, are often characterized by low moral standards. They not only indulge in illicit sexual activities themselves, but they openly advocate libertinism. The Episcopal chaplain of a girls' school in Baltimore, Maryland, wrote: 'We all ought to relax and stop feeling guilty about our sexual activities, thoughts and desires. And I mean this, whether those thoughts are heterosexual, homosexual or autosexual .... Sex is fun ... and this means that there are no laws attached which you ought to do or not to do. There are no rules of the game, so to speak." (quoted from Pageant Magazine, October, 1965.)
Q: In 2 Pet 2:10-11, where else is the Greek word for glorious/mighty ones used?
A: It is used in a wide variety of contexts. Here are some of them.
God's Shekinah glory: Lk 2:9; Acts 7:55
God's glory, or us glorifying God: Mt 24:30; Mk 13:26; Lk 2:14; 19:38; 21:27; Jn 7:18; 11:4; Rom 1:23; 3:7,23; 4:20; 15:7; 16:27; 1 Cor 10:31; 2 Cor 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; 8:19; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:21; Php 1:11; 4:19; Col 1:17; 1 Tim 1:17; Tt 2:13; Heb 1:3; 1 Pet 4:13,14; 2 Pet 1:17; Revelation 4:9,11; 19:7 Jer 13:16 (Septuagint); 1 Sam 6:5 (Septuagint)
Glory be to the Lord: 2 Tim 4:18
Glorifying God: Revelation 11:13; 14:7; various forms of doxa in Miriam's son in Ex 15:1-6 in the Septuagint
Give glory to God [by telling the truth]: Jn 9:24; Josh 7:19 in the Septuagint
Honor God: The apocryphal book 4 Maccabees 1:12
Failing to give glory to God: Acts 12:23; Revelation 16:9
Majesty of God's grace: Rom 9:23; Eph 1:12,14,18; 3:16; 1 Tim 1:11; 2 Pet 1:3; Eph 1:6
Deeds of power: Jn 11:40; Rom 6:4 (= Isa 12:2; 45:24 Sept.)
The Father: Jn 8:49; Eph 1:17; Php 2:11; 4:20
Father glorifying Christ: Jn 8:54
Majesty of Christ: Mk 10:37; Mt 16:27; Mk 8;38; Lk 9:26; 24:26; Jn 17:5,22,24; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:7,9; 13:21; 1 Pet 1:11,21 Php 3:21; Revelation 5:12
Father/God glorified the Son: Jn 11:4; 2 Pet 1:17
Jesus has greater honor than Moses: Heb 3:3
Christ in the transfiguration: Lk 9:32
When angels appeared: Lk 9:31; Revelation 18:1
People are the glory of Christ: 2 Cor 8:23
We are to glorify Christ: 2 Pet 3:18
God praises us: Jn 5:44
One person honoring/praising another: Lk 14:10; Jn 5:44
Not looking for praise from men: 1 Th 2:6
The face of Moses: 2 Cor 3:7
To our glory: 1 Cor 2:7; 2 Cor 6:8; Eph 3:13
The Thessalonians were Paul's glory: 1 Th 2:20
We will receive a crown of glory: 1 Pet 5:4
Their glory is in their shame: Php 3:19
Gaining honor for yourself: Jn 7:18; 8:50,54
Dual: Loved the glory of men more than the glory of God. Jn 12:43
Sun, moon, and stars: Acts 22:11; 1 Cor 15:40
Other places: 1 Pet 1:17
According to Thayer's Lexicon, in classical Greek the word doxa ranges in meaning from one's private opinion/fancy to public renown.
In the apocryphal book 4 Maccabees 5:17 it means opinion, judgment or view, according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon of the New Testament p.155.
Thayer's Lexicon goes on to say that while it does not mean splendor, or brightness in Greek writing, it was used as such in the Bible as a translation of the Hebrew word.
As you can see, glory is a very important concept in the Bible. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we are to reflect the Lord's glory. You might be focused on how much you love others for God, how much you know, and how much you do, but are you also focused on how you are reflecting God's glory?
Q: In 2 Pet 2:10-11 who are the glorious/mighty ones here?
A: The Greek word doxas is literally "glories" (Strong's 1391). In classical Greek it was used of having an opinion, a high opinion, or honor. According to Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament p.168 it was used of the sun, in describing women and ships, and in an astrological papyrus. Greek-speaking Christians used this word for the glory or majesty of God, and angels, and God glorifying us in the New Testament and Septuagint translation of the Old Testament.
Much of the time when you see the term "glory" in the New Testament it is this word. Since the word for "glory" a range of meaning, it has been interpreted to mean the following:
Government/imperial authority (John Calvin), "probably human rulers" Believer's Bible Commentary p.2297
Church leaders (Bigg)
Possibly fallen angels (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament p.872)
"angelic majesties" (uNASB) "angelic beings" New International Bible Commentary p.1567
"celestial beings" [i.e. either good and/or fallen angels] (NIV, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1174), The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.12 p.280 says that most interpreters interpret it this way
"Dignitaries" (this is the broadest meaning) (NKJV), "Dignities" (KJV), "those in exalted positions" (Wuest's Expanded Translation), "glorious ones" (Holman translation, NRSV)
There are similarities between 2 Peter and Jude, and Jude. Jude 8 says these wicked men reject authority and slander celestial beings (doxa, the same Greek word). Jude 9 goes on to give the example of Michael not directly rebuking Satan but instead saying, "the Lord rebuke you."
Two Conclusions: The similarities with Jude show that it refers to slandering celestial beings. However, nothing in the word restricts it from also applying to slandering other "dignitaries" too, whether they be church or government leaders.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:12, how are some people like brute beasts?
A: Some animals are only capable of thinking about safety, eating, mating, pleasure, and fighting and domination. Some people are very similar.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:13, how would you explain to an unbeliever why it is not good to live to party?
A: As Jeremiah 5:31b asks, "what will you do in the end?" What if you had gone to the "ultimate" party some years ago. How would that make you any happier today? Seek joy that lasts, not temporary pleasure that turns to pain.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:14, what else does the Bible say about eyes and adultery? How do they relate?
A: Often temptations for adultery come through the eyes. Perhaps that is why Jesus mentioned metaphorically gouging out your eye rather than committing adultery in Mathew 5:27-30. Job said he "made a covenant with his eyes" not to look lustfully at a girl I Job 31:1.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:15, how could people, even believers today, wander off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor?
A: Balaam never rejected God directly; rather, he compromised for the sake of money. Money is not bad, and making money is not bad. But because of this, it is often too easy to rationalized compromising your faith for the love of money, as Balaam did.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:16, how could a true prophet of God like Balaam son of Beor, be mad?
A: Balaam was not mad in the sense of insane, but Balaam was mad in the sense of doing foolish things and trying to push the limits of what God allowed in order to make some money. It is madness to try to push the outer limits of God's will for the sake of money, pleasure, or security, but people still do it today.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:17-19, how are some teachers like springs without water? Does this relate to Prov 25:14?
A: A spring both looks attractive and has water to use. But with the water the spring offers the mirage of being useful, without being so. Sometimes teachers appear to some to be good, but they are not teaching truth, only their own opinions. Other teachers might have knowledge, but their teaching has no life, because they are not sharing the living water of Christ.
Q: Does 2 Pet 2:19-22 teach people can lose their salvation?
A: The Greek word for "knowing" here means "recognition" or "acknowledgement". Some Christians use this to show that believers can lose their salvation. Other Christians disagree, because sows and dogs represent unclean animals. Notice that the sow was only washed on the outside, and both the sow and the dog were never changed from being a sow and a dog.
All Christians can agree that there are those in the church who appear to others, at least for a time, to be Christian, but they will go to Hell when they die. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.87 points out this is a dire warning for those who know the way of salvation and still reject it. See also the discussion on Hebrews 6:4-8.
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.729-730 discusses how people can become apostate and be worse off and go to Hell, and those people were "converted", though it does not say they were born again.
Q: In 2 Pet 2:19-22, playing devil's advocate here, if a pig is promiscuous, or a dog kills other dogs, and that does not offend God, then why does it offend God when humans do the same?
A: Even a pig or dog does not forget what he is, but some humans apparently forget they were made for something better than to just live like an animal.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:1, what exactly are the purposes of God giving us prophecy?
A: We can see at least three reasons why God has blessed us with His prophetic words.
a) Sometimes there are specific things we are to do when we see a prophetic situation. For example, for the Babylon referred to in Revelation, we are commanded to "Flee Babylon". When the Messiah came, the Jews were supposed to recognize and follow Him.
b) When dismaying, evil things happen, God often tells us in advance so we can see that yes, God knew about this, and even these things will not thwart God's plan. A couple examples of this are in Daniel 7:28 and Daniel 11.
c) To strengthen our faith, as we see God fulfill what He has promised.
Q: What is the claim of 2 Peter 3:1-2?
A: Peter is claiming that his words and the words of the other apostles are on equal level with the authority of the Old Testament. Peter also explicitly affirms Paul's writings as scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:3 what exactly is a scoffer?
A: First what a scoffer is not, and then what it is.
Everyone is skeptical about some things, - or at least they should be. It is not good to be gullible about anything; rather we should be skeptical about things that either have no evidence or have a lot of evidence to the contrary.
But a scoffer is openly skeptical about things either for which he has not examined the evidence, or has ignored the evidence for something. Often a scoffer looks foolish, because he openly ridicules something that others know is true.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:3 how do scoffing and following their own evil desires often go together?
A: Many times the ultimate, though unstated reason for scoffing, is to provide a justification for following their own desires instead of God. If they don't believe in God, they would not feel guilty for not following Him.
Q: Does 2 Pet 3:4-7 refer to uniformitarianism?
A: Perhaps so. Uniformitarianism is the popular secular geological viewpoint that current processes plus time are all that is needed to explain all past events in the earth's history.
However, the Uniformitarian view is losing ground today. More and more geologists are adopting a different view, advocated by Stephen Jay Gould, called punctuated equilibrium, because geologic evidence provides better support for it. While Gould was a confirmed atheist, some of the evidence that supports punctuated equilibrium over uniformitarianism also supports Creationism (either Old earth or Young earth).
As an aside, people have been known to say everything is the same and miss big events. For example, in the diary of England's King George III he wrote for July 4, 1776: "Nothing of importance happened today." July 4, 1776 is the day when the United States declared its independence from England.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:5-8, why do you think the world was destroyed in flood and fire?
A: It was destroyed by Noah's flood in Genesis 6-8. But God promised in Genesis 9:11 God promised not t destroy the earth with a flood again. So God promised not to use a flood to destroy the earth in the future.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:7, does "destruction" or "perdition" mean that unbelievers are annihilated?
A: No. Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Hell is eternal punishment in Matthew 25:41,46. Satan and others will be tormented forever in Revelation 20:10.
2. It is perishing in Luke 13:3; John 3:15, 16, 10:28 and others. It is everlasting destruction in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and unbelievers will be destroyed in 1 Corinthians 6:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 11:18; and other verses.
3. No verse in the Bible says people are annihilated.
How can both 1 and 2 be true? It could be in two possible ways, or it could be both.
1. Ruins: Since many earthly things can be destroyed and still exist. These provide crude examples of how people can be destroyed and still exist forever. Cars can be destroyed and then sent to the junkyard. A house can be destroyed by fire, and then the charred remains bulldozed and hauled away. Finally, the ungodly still exist, even after their bodies are destroyed.
2. Asymptotes: Something can be in the process of being made non-existent, and yet the thing can still be eternal because the process takes forever. For example, say that every year the size of a thing decreases by one-half. How many years will there be until the size is exactly zero? The answer is an infinite number of years. I have not seen anything in the Bible that either supports or contradicts this speculation about asymptotes.
Some who teach what is essentially the asymptote view present it as an alternative to the traditional view (ruins). However, these views complement each other, and showing the reasonableness of the asymptote view does nothing to detract from the traditional view.
See When Critics Ask p.493-494, When Cultists Ask p.297, and the next question.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:7,10-12, Rev 21:1; and Zeph 1:2-3, how is the earth destroyed, when Ecc 1:4 says the earth will endure forever?
A: To answer this, let's see how the earth was destroyed by flood. Genesis 9:11 says the flood "destroyed" the earth. Now the foundation and rocks were still there, but all life, and everything else, was wiped from the face of the earth by the flood. So when the earth was destroyed in Noah's time, it did not become non-existent, but the surface was wiped clean.
The Hebrew word for earth had a range of meaning, as does the word for earth in English. Earth can mean soil, the land, this world, or what is on this world. God has chosen to make what is under the surface survive forever, but God will wipe the surface as clean as He says in Zephaniah 1:2-3. The new earth in Revelation 21:1 will be based on what is left of the old earth.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:8, what does the 1,000 years mean?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this.
1. Some think it of it almost as an equation: 1 day in Genesis = 1,000 of our years. The Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) chapter 15 p.146 says, "Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, 'He finished in six days.' This implies that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifies, saying, "Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years." Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. And He rested on the seventh day."
2. Others see the word "like" and the fact that both 1 is like 1,000 and 1,000 is like one to merely mean that what God calls one of His days can be very long or very short compared to our time. One example where the Hebrew word yom means more than 24 hours is when they were predicted to cross the Jordan River in Deuteronomy 7:1. Also, in both the Old and New Testaments, the "Day of the Lord" is more than a 24 hour period.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:8-9, why do you think God took so long after the creation of the world to send Jesus Christ, the first time?
A: The short answer is that Jesus came exactly when He did because in Daniel 9:20-27 that is when God prophesied that Jesus would come. However, that begs the question of why wouldn't God have prophesied some other time instead, and have Jesus come at that time?
Romans 5:6 says, "You see, at just the right time, ... Christ died for the ungodly." Scripture does not directly answer why this was the right time, but it is fun to speculate.
90% of the population after: We guess there have been about 32 billion (+/- 6 billion) people who have ever lived on the earth. Over 90% of them have lived after the time of Christ.
Fair to the ones before: God looks at people based on the truth that they have; sin is not counted where there is no law (Romans 4:15; 5:13). So people who lived before Christ, such as Abraham, David, etc. could be saved through Christ, even though Christ had not come yet.
More peaceful time: At the time of Christ was a period of relative peace compared to the times before with the Roman conquests, and the times after, with Roman and Parthian wars, and the European barbarians invading the Roman Empire. See www.BibleQuery.org/History/Calamities/Wars.html for more on the wars of those times if you are interested.
Best time for expansion: During Roman times, one key reason for the rapid spread of Christianity was the excellent roads the Romans built that enabled extensive and rapid travel. If Jesus had come prior to this time, it would have been much more difficult to spread the gospel to different lands.
Preservation of materials: If it had been a lot earlier, we might have a lot fewer manuscripts showing the reliability of the New Testament. If it had been centuries later we might have more, but even so we have over 10,000 Greek manuscripts and fragments of the New Testament. The earliest by the way is the John Rylands papyrus, dated from 110-138 A.D.. Here are other manuscripts we have.
|110/117-125/138 A.D.||p52 (=John Rylands papyrus)||John 18:31-33, reverse 18:37-38 -4 verses|
|100-150 A.D.||p104||Matthew 21:34-37,43,45(?) -5.5 verses|
|100-150 A.D.||p46 (=Chester Beatty II)||70% of Paul and Hebrews -1,680 verses|
|c.125 A.D.||p87 - handwriting like p46.||Philemon 13-15,24 (part),25b with gaps-4 verses|
|2nd century||Magdalen papyri||Mt 26:7-8, 10, 14-15, 22-23, 31-33 -10 verses|
|100/125-150/175 A.D.||p66(=Bodmer II) p14/15,p75||92% of the Gospel of John -808.5 verses|
|125-150 A.D.||p64, p67 (same manuscript)||(p67) Mt 3:9,15; 5:20-22,25-28 -19 verses (p64) Mt 26:7-8,10,14-15,22-23,31-33|
|Early to mid 2nd century||p4 - handwriting like p64, p67||Luke 1:58-59; 1:62-2:1,6-7, etc. -95 verses|
|c.170 A.D.||Uncial 0212||Diatessaron pieces: Mt 27; Mk15; Lk23; Jn19|
|c.175 A.D.||p90||John 18:36-19:7 -12 verses|
|177 A.D. - 97% (855/878) of the Gospel of John, 70% of Paul and Hebrews (persecution of Aurelius)|
Q: In 2 Pet 3:8-9, why does God take so long before sending Jesus the second time?
A: God graciously delays. We do not know all of the factors God considered when He set the timetable. Acts 1:7 says that it is not for us to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But 2 Peter 3:8-9 says that God did not want anyone to perish who would have accepted Him; so God's delay is gracious.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:10, does a thief come expectedly or unexpectedly? When a thief comes is it practically invisible or visible?
A: A thief is unexpected, and His coming is not visible. However, after the thief leaves, the result is certainly visible. The Day of the Lord will likewise be unexpected, but when Jesus comes every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7). His coming will be the same way Jesus left, on clouds (Acts 1:9-11).
Q: In 2 Pet 3:11, exactly how should knowledge of prophecy encourage us to live a holy and godly life?
A: We know that God see and knows everything. We know people will have to give an account for every idle word they speak (Matthew 12:36-37). As believers we will have to give an account before the bema seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). We know that whatever sinful pleasures we can have for a season do not compare t the eternal joy with God.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:11-12, how can believers appear to "speed up" the coming of Christ?
A: Christians have been told to pray for God's Kingdom to come since Jesus gave the Lord's prayer, (also called the "Our Father" by some). Jesus did not tell us to pray a little prayer "just for fun", but our prayers do work.
It is awesome to think that the Almighty God has chosen our prayer as one type of instrument that He uses to accomplish His will.
Also, since 2 Peter 3:9 says that God deliberately delays so that none will perish that would otherwise be saved, our telling the whole world about the good news of Jesus Christ is also a way to speed the coming of Christ.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.731-732 for more info.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:16, how do the ignorant and unstable distort scriptures? What are some examples of unbelievers and heretics twisting Scripture?
A: First note that Peter did not use the words stupid, or unintelligent here. A person can still be quite clever and intelligent, and yet be ignorant. Ultimately is boils down to exegesis vs. eisegesis. Exegesis is trying to get out of scripture the meaning it is trying to convey. Isogesis is reading into scripture the meaning you want it to have. Stan wants to deny scripture, but if he cannot accomplish that, he wants to cast doubt on scripture. And if he cannot do that, he wants to twist scripture. Twisting scripture can be affirming what is false, or it can be casting doubt that we can ever now exactly what it meant.
Proverbs 30:5-6 says we should be careful not to add to scripture. When we put our reasonings and interpretations on the same level as scripture, then we are disobeying Proverbs 30:4-5. This is even if our reasonings and interpretation are correct.
Examples of scripture twisting are as follows.
Rev. Moon, who denies Christ literally appearing in the clouds, interprets all such references as clouds being groups of people, since Hebrews 12:1 saying we [not Jesus] are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses [not just cloud].
Jehovah's Witnesses, who deny consciousness after death, interpret in Luke 16:19-31, the suffering of rich man who ignored Lazarus, merely as "the Pharisee class feeling shamed by the faithful servant class".
The Divine Light Mission teaches that since Christ comes back in the clouds and Guru Maharajah flew to America in an airplane that went through clouds, therefore he fulfilled that verse.
Mormons, who believe that God is a glorified man, sometimes interpret Numbers 23:19: "God is not a man that He should lie" (KJV) as "God is not the kind of man that He should lie.
These previous interpretation here have a "strange logic". As the plain meaning of God's word goes against their theology, they must substitute another meaning for the plain meaning.
A different kind of scripture twisting is to teach that we cannot know the meaning of a particular passage, when in fact we can and do know it. We should not be hesitant to affirm what we know is true. You cannot pick and choose some verses, and ignore other verses. For example, evangelicals, Rev. Moon, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, New Age'ers, liberals, and so many others have given so many different views on Jesus resurrection, that "therefore" we cannot know what the Bible meant when it says that Jesus rose from the dead. So rather than believe the wrong thing, let's just not believe anything about it. A different way of looking at this same thing is asking, how many different lies does Satan have to come up with before you tell Satan, "OK, I throw in the towel and succumb. I won't believe anything God says about that anymore." Christians don't need to ever listen to Satan, and we should not care how many lies are told about a passage, or how much doubt Satan throws up. It was clear and obvious and clear what "resurrection" meant to both Bible writers and early Christians, and based on 1 Corinthians 15, we need to recognize that those who deny the physical resurrection of Jesus are outside the flock, and, unless they are later converted, have no part in God's salvation.
Some symptoms of scripture twisting are
1) If you require the verse to have a "deeper meaning" that goes contrary to the plain meaning everyone would understand that the author intended. If this was tolerated, then every verse that commands or says something a person does not like, just might have an alleged "real meaning" contrary to what God plainly is saying. When someone looks too hard for a deep meaning, and it contradicts the plain meaning, then the alleged deeper meaning is wrong.
2) Similarly, to over-allegorize scripture: Some passages of scripture are said in scripture to be allegorical, but most passages are not.
3) You are required to say that the Greek or Hebrew has a particular meaning that no native speaker of Greek or Hebrew would recognize. If you have to give strange or unusual meanings to words that the typical reader would not have seen at all, then you are twisting scripture by redefining it.
4) If the meaning you want to give a scripture goes against other scriptures and the general tone of the rest of the Bible.
5) if you are more concerned with explaining away a scripture than explaining a scripture. In contrast, it is better if your theology not only explains [away] a scripture, but requires the truth of that scripture. If your interpretation makes certain passages of scripture meaningless, then your interpretation is wrong.
6) In the extreme, your interpretation means that God kept hidden from every believer for almost 2,000 years a special, secret meaning that he has now revealed to you.
Even genuine Christians unknowingly can twist Scripture on occasion. James Sire has an excellent book on this subject called simply, Scripture Twisting (IVP). We should ask the Holy Spirit for guidance when we study scripture.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:16, what are some examples of genuine believers distorting scripture?
A: Here are historical examples, that all Christians today should agree are wrong. The point of bringing this up is not to look down on people who have said these errors, but to make sure we don't make other mistakes for the same reason.
Lack of attention to detail: Justin Martyr (138-165 A.D.) said that the high priest had 12 bells on the bottom of his robe. Actually there were 12 gemstones in the ephod, but an unspecified number of bells at the bottom of his robe. Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.42 p.215
Mixing up names: John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.) mentions the murder of Mephibosheth when he should have said Ishbosh. Commentary on Philippians Homily 5 verse 3 p.206
Confusing what Scripture says a non-believer said with what God says: Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) says that Jesus was almost 50 when he began His ministry. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 2 ch.22.6 p.392
Not taking into account other scriptures: Shepherd of Hermas (c.160 A.D.) in book 2 commandment 10 ch.2 p.27 says that grief drives out the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is a cheerful spirit. What about repentance, and the Book of Lamentations? Is the Holy Spirit really driven out of Christians every time we grieve?
Over-allegorizing scripture: Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) says that the Old Testament command not to eat camel means that it condemns life crooked with crimes. On the Jewish Meats ch.3 p.647
Really over-allegorizing scripture: Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) "Now the high priest's robe is the symbol of the world of sense. The seven planets are represented by five stones and the two carbuncles, for Saturn and the Moon. The former is southwestern, and moist, and earthy, and heavy; the latter arial, whence she is called by some Artemis, as if Aerotomos (cutting the air); and the air is cloudy." Stromata book 4 ch.6 p.453
Misreading the translated words: Theodotus the probable Montanist (ca.240 A.D.) "'God set His tabernacle in the sun' to be understood thus? God 'set in the sun,' that is, in the God who is beside Him, as in the Gospel, Eli, Eli, instead of my God, my God." The footnote says Theodotus confused Eli, Eli, with Helios, Helios. Excerpts of Theodotus ch.57 p.50 5:2,8
Restricting beyond what scripture says: The Anabaptist Conrad Grebel (1498-1526 A.D.) believed that no singing was allowed in church. Colossians 3:16 says "...sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." However, Conrad interpreted "in your hearts" to mean you were not supposed to sing out loud.
Extrapolating from what scripture modestly states: Athanasius (326-373 A.D.) taught that Jeremiah and John the Baptist were born with no sinful nature.
Projecting your feelings on God: God is free from all wrath, according to Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) (1 Clement ch.19 p.10) and To Diognetus (130-150 A.D.) ch.8 p.28.
Equating your views with Scripture: Cyprian of Carthage (c.248-256 A.D.) (Letters of Cyprian Letter 58.2 p.353), Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.), Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.), and Prosper of Aquitaine (c.390-455) (On Forgiveness of Sin 5:25,26-28-29, and Baptism ch.26-30, 33-35) all taught that baptized babies who die definitely go to heaven, and unbaptized babies who die definitely go to Hell.
Adding your spiritual views into Scripture: Origen (225-254 A.D.) believed in the pre-existence of souls in de Principiis. (He did not believe in reincarnation though.)
Bringing your own view of nature into scripture: Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) taught the earth is flat. It is silly to think it is a ball and there are people at the antipodes who walk upside down. The Divine Institutes book 3 ch.24 p.94.
Adding superstition to God's word: The Lutheran Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) believed in the usefulness of astrology and palm-reading. (Luther rejected those things though.)
Putting your prejudices in God's Word: Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) calls men strong and more robust, and women weaker and more feeble. The Divine Institutes book 1 ch.16 p.29. Athanasius (318 A.D.) wrote: "For even women, whom it is not safe to admit to deliberation about public affairs, they worship and serve with the honor due to God, such as those enjoined by Theseus as above stated," Athanasius Against the Heathen ch.10.2 p.9. John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.) was anti-Semitic; he wrote an entire work against the Jews. It was not just critical of the Jewish religion, but against the Jews themselves.
Lack of Forgiveness: Novatian (250/254-256/257 A.D.) started a schism within the church. Novatianists believed just like other Christians, except that if a person ever denied the faith, even under duress, Novatianists taught that they had lost their salvation forever and could never get it back.
Lack of Charity: Martin Luther believed that all Anabaptists should be killed. (He changed his view in the last sermon he gave though.). Augustine supported the torture of heretics, such as Priscillian.
But genuine Christians can still have errors of the same magnitude as above. We need to have right doctrine as well as be in tune with the Spirit. As one modern Christian writer quipped: "If you have doctrine without the Spirit you dry up, if you have the Spirit without doctrine you blow up, and if you have both you grow up."
Q: In 2 Pet 3:16-17 (RSV), is the warning against "losing their own stability" or is it against "ignorant and unstable people ... to their own destruction" as other translations say?
A: The Greek word is apuleian (Strong's 684). The NRSV, KJV, NKJV, NIV, Wuest, Jay P. Green's literal translation, Revised Standard Version - Catholic edition, and NASB all say the latter. The NET Bible also implies the latter with "the ignorant and unstable." Among paraphrases, the Good News for Modern Man paraphrase says destruction, and the International Children's Bible says "destroying themselves." Williams Translation has "ignorant and unsteady." The pre-Nicene Christians did not reference 2 Peter 3:16. The RSV is apparently unique in giving this translation to these words.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:17, how can genuine believers be carried away by the error of lawless men?
A: It is sad to say, but it can happen. I personally know a Christian who converted to Mormonism. He later left and returned to Christianity.
I also read the story of a woman who left Christianity and converted to Islam. After 15 years in Islam, she said "Yesterday I came to the realization that I've been trying to ignore, mostly out of pride. I've always been a Christian, even though I converted to Islam. There's always been a part of me that just couldn't believe as other Muslims did. A little voice that said: "would God want people stoned to
death?", "would God want women singled out to wear a head covering?", "if Islam is better, why do they treat each other so badly?". Yesterday, I felt
a longing for the redemption and real compassion of Christianity.
So 2 Peter is giving genuine believers a strict warning to be on our guard; it can happen to us. Falling from their secure position can refer not only to loss of reward, but also loss of assurance of salvation. However, if we have an enduring faith, we will return back to God.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:17, why do genuine Christians, who are already saved, need to be on their guard?
A: God commands us to examine ourselves in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 to make sure we are in fact saved. Also, we need to ask God to examine us for the purpose of showing us if we are doing anything offensive to God, as Psalms 139:24 says.
Q: In 2 Pet 3:17, how can believers fall from their secure position?
A: Some Christians think that genuine believers can lose their salvation; other believers do not. But regardless, Matthew 7:22-23 will occur, whether you call it losing your salvation or counterfeit conversion. We are commanded to examine ourselves, to see that we are in the faith, in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7.
Even genuine Christians can for a period of time be deceived. I knew of a Mormon who left Mormonism and came to Christ. Later he went back to Mormonism. Then some other ex-Mormon Christians talked with him, and he left again and came back to Christ.
Even genuine Christians can fall into sin. But they can come back, and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 indicate.
In addition, Christians can suffer loss of reward as 1 Corinthians 3:5-15 and 2 John 8 show. We do not want to stand ashamed before Christ for what we have done (1 John 2:28).
Q: In 2 Pet 3:18, since grace was already given to us in Jesus at the cross, how can we grow in grace?
A: We can grow in grace in multiple ways, and here are a few of them.
1. Each can grow in showing forth God's grace in our lives. Our monetary gifts are acts of grace (2 Corinthians 8:6), and we are to work out the salvation within us in Philippians 2:12-13.
2. Each can grow in our knowledge and trusting of God's grace. In 2 Timothy 2:1, Timothy is to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
3. God's grace can reach more and more people in our area (2 Corinthians 4:15).
4. We will receive the incomparable riches of God's grace according to Ephesians 2:6-7.
Q: When was 2 Pet written?
A: Since 2 Peter 1:13-15 says that God showed Peter that his death was near, the simplest explanation is that it was written shortly before his death in 67-68 A.D. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament gives the following support:
Firmilian (256 A.D.) refers to Peter's warning against false teachers.
Methodius of Olympus and Patara (270-311/312 A.D.) quotes 2 Peter 3:8 as from Peter in On the Resurrection.
For a non-Christian view, Asimov's Guide to the Bible (p.1165) says, "it is possible that 2 Peter, like 1 Peter and James, may date to the Domitianic persecution" (started 90 A.D.) Various commentators say this because,
a. It mentions Paul's epistles as though they were already collected, or at least written.
b. It has a focus indicating Christians were under persecution.
c. 2 Peter is similar to Jude, so perhaps the two were written close in time to each other.
However, since Paul's letters were written before Peter's death, very heavy persecution started three to four years before Peter's death, and Jude could easily have been written before Peter's death, there is no problem here saying 2 Peter was written before 67-68 A.D. See also the discussion on when 1 Peter was written.
Q: In 2 Pet, how do we know the book of 2 Peter was written by Peter, especially since the style and Greek of 1 Peter and 2 Peter are different?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. 2 Peter 1:1 says so, and the early church accepted this. The only exception is Origen, who said he second letter of Peter was doubtful. After Nicea Eusebius says that 2 Peter is disputed.
2. The style (but not Greek grammar) of the two is different because the topics are different. As Gleason Archer (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.425-426) points out, comparing word lists no more proves they are of different authors than word lists would "prove" John Milton's poems were by a different person than Paradise Lost, and everyone acknowledges that Milton wrote all of them.
3. The Greek grammar of 2 Peter is rougher, because, as 1 Peter 5:12 indicates, Silas helped Peter write down 1 Peter. We do not know if Peter told Silas what to write in Aramaic or Greek though.
Q: In 2 Pet, how could Peter write this book, since Peter [allegedly] did not know Greek (Bart Ehrman makes this argument)
A: Ehrman assumes that Peter could not know Greek because he was both ethnically and culturally a Jew in Palestine who practiced Jewish culture. However, Peter's own parents named their son a Greek name! While Peter's name given at birth was Simon (which is Hebrew and Aramaic) his brother was named Andrew, which means "manly" in Greek. Furthermore, they were fro Bethsaida, which was close to the border of Nazareth and the Greek-speaking regions on the eastern half of the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Philip, yet another Greek name, was also from Bethsaida. It makes as much sense as guessing that an American citizen born and raised in a Texas border town of El Paso, with a brother named Manuel, or Jose, could not know any Spanish because they were American.
Q: In 2 Pet, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Here are the writers who referred to 2 Peter or verses in it.
Clement of Rome (97/98 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 2:5 in 1 Clement ch.7 vol.1 p.7 vol.9 p.231
Justin Martyr refers to both Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 when he says, "The day of the Lord is as a thousand years."
Epistle of Barnabas ch.15 p.146 (100-150 A.D), Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) and Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.). say a day with the Lord is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). However, these could refer to Psalm 90:4 as well as 2 Peter 3:8. 2 Peter is the least attested book of the New Testament.
2 Clement (c.150 A.D.) ch.2 p.517 alludes to 2 Peter 3:9 "For it is indeed a great and admirable thing to establish, not the thing which are standing, but those that are falling. Thus also did Christ desire to save the things which were perishing,..."
2 Clement (c.150 A.D.) ch.16 p.522 alludes to 2 Peter. "But ye know that the day of judgment even now 'cometh as a burning oven,' and some 'of the heavens shall melt,' and all the earth shall be as lead melting on the fire, and then the hidden and open works of men shall appear."
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes 1/3 of 2 Peter 3:8m "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years". This exact phrasing is found only in 2 Peter 3:8m and Psalm 90:4. Irenaeus Against Heresies p.551. He quotes the same in Irenaeus Against Heresies p.557.
As a side note, the Muratorian Canon (c.170 A.D.) did not include James, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, or the third letter of John.
Clement of Alexandria quotes the middle part of 2 Peter 2:5 in Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 1 ch.21 p.331 "Noah preached repentance". This exact thought, which Clement apparently assumes his readers had heard before, is not in scripture except for 2 Peter 2:5. (3 words, including one long word) out of 15 words)
Hippolytus (222-235/246 A.D.) quotes ¼ of 2 Peter 2:22. "but after a little, wallow once again in the same mire." The Refutation of All Heresies book 9 ch.1 p.125
Hippolytus (225-235/246 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 1:18,19 The Refutation of All Heresies book 10 ch.24 p.151
Hippolytus (222-235/246 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 1:21. Treatise on Christ and Antichrist ch.2 p.204
Hippolytus (225-235/246 A.D.) probably alludes to 2 Peter 1:18,19 The Refutation of All Heresies book 10 ch.24 p.151
X Origen (225-254 A.D.) says that Peter left "only one epistle of acknowledged genuineness. Suppose we allow that he left a second; for this is doubtful." Origen's Commentary on John from the Fifth book ch.3 p.346
Origen (225-254 A.D.) says "our Lord Jesus Christ, who is 'the light true' and 'rising in our hearts'". Rising in our hearts is an allusion to 2 Peter 1:19.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions "The Epistle of Peter" and quotes 2 Peter 2:11,12 in Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 - the third book Testimonies ch.11 p.536.
Firmilian (256 A.D.) refers to Peter's warning against false teachers, which is an allusion to 2 Peter.
Adamantius (300 A.D.) quotes 2 Peter 3:15b as by Peter. "then by the Apostle Peter when he wrote, 'according to the wisdom given to my brother Paul.'"
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) quotes with scripture authority 2 Peter 2:19b. He says he is quoting a scriptural passage when he says, 'By whom each man is overcome, of him also he is he slave.'"
Methodius of Olympus and Patara (270-311/312 A.D.) quotes 2 Peter 3:8 as from Peter in On the Resurrection.
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 2:22 "The Cyrenaics say that virtue itself is to be praised on this account, because it is productive of pleasure. True, says the filthy dog, or the swine wallowing in the mire." The Divine Institutes book 3 ch.8 p.75
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 2:22 "immerse themselves in foul lusts, as the sow, which wallows in the mire; for they do bedaub themselves with mud who worship gods, that is, who worship mud and earth." The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.17 p.119
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 2:11 which is also Psalm 90:4. The Divine Institutes book 7 ch.14 p.211
Many quoted the day of the Lord as 1,000 years.
Council of Nicea (May-June 325 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 2:22 (dogs and sows) in canon 12 p.27.
? Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (323-326 A.D.) book 3 ch.3 p.133-135 discusses the books of the New Testament. He says 1 Peter is genuine. He says that Paul's 14 letters are well-known, though the church in Rome doubted that Paul wrote Hebrews. He says that 2 Peter is disputed. The so-called Acts of Paul, [Shepherd of] Hermas, Acts of Peter, and Gospel of Peter and Preaching of Peter, and the Apocalypse are not genuine. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.1233-145
Firmicus (4th century) refers to 2 Peter 2:11
Athanasius (367 A.D.) does not refer to any specific verses in 2 Peter, but he lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions two books of Peter as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of 2 Peter 1:1.
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) "And again, though he be aware that he is partake of the Divine nature, as the holy apostle Peter says in his second Epistle, yet he must not measure the Divine nature by the limitations of his own,..." On the Trinity book 1 ch.18 p.45
Ephraem the Syrian (373 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) (implied) mentions the seven epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude. Catechetical Lectures Lecture 4 ch.36 p.27-28
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 1:19 in Lecture 10.15 p.61
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 1:21. "so too the Holy Spirit is one, who energized in the prophets,"
Third Council of Carthage (397 A.D.)
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari (370/371 A.D.)
Didymus the Blind (398 A.D.)
Julius Firmicus Maternus (4th century) The Error of Pagan Religions
Jerome (404 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 1:4; 2:13; 3:10
Jerome says, "The apostles James, Peter, John, and Jude have published seven epistles at once spiritual and to the point, short and long, short that is in words but lengthy in substance so that there are few indeed who do not find themselves in the dark when they read them." Letter 53 (To Paulinus) vol.6 p.102.
Jerome noticed that the style of 1 Peter and 2 Peter are different though. He said it was because Silvanus wrote down 1 Peter as a scribe.
Augustine of Hippo (416-430 A.D.) mentions 2 Peter 1:4 as being by the Apostle Peter in On the Proceedings of Pelagius ch.42 p.202 (vol.5). He also refers to 2 Peter 1:2,17,21; 2:4,15,20; 3:9,11,18
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) alludes to 2 Peter 2:19 in the Institutes of John Cassian book 5.8 p.238
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 2:4; 3:11
Speculum (fifth century) refers to 2 Peter 1:2 (3), 5; 2:11,13; 3:9,10,11
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 1:21; 2:4
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 1:21
John of Damascus (706-749 A.D.) "...seven Catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude..." Exposition of the Orthodox Faith book 4 ch.17 p.90
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
The heretic Priscillian refers to 2 Peter 2:2
Pseudo-Hippolytus (after 235/246 A.D.) references 2 Peter 3:3 as by Peter. Section 10 p.244
Pseudo-Cyprian (after 358 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 2:13
Pseudo-Methodius (after 312 A.D.) has a quote that can be half of 1 Peter 2:6, Psalm 118:22; or Isaiah 28:16. Oration Concerning Simeon and Anna ch.6 p.387
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 2:20; 3:9,10,11
The Pelagian heretic Julian of Eclanum (c.454 A.D.) refers to 2 Peter 3:11
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of 2 Peter show there are small manuscript variations, but no theologically significant errors.
p72 Bodmer 7 & 8 Papyrii 1 Peter 1:1-5:14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18 and Jude 1-25. c.300 A.D. A photograph of part of this manuscript (showing 2 Peter 1:16-2:2) is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.468. It says the handwriting is written "in a documentary hand."
p74 (=Bodmer 17) Acts 1:2-5,7-11,13-15,18-19,22-25; 2:2-4; 2:6-3:26; 4:2-6,8-27; 4:29-27:25; 27:27-28:31; James 1:1-6,8-19,21-23,25,27; 2:1-3,5-15; 18-22, 25-26; 3:1,5-6,10-12,14,17-18; 4:8,11-14; 5:1-3,7-9,12-14,19-20; 1 Peter 1:1-2,7-8,13,19-20,25; 2:6-7,11-12,18,24; 3:4-5; 2 Peter 2:21; 3:4,11,16; 1 John 1:1,6; 2:1-2,7,13-14,18-19,25-26; 3:1-2,8,14,19-20; 4:1,6-7,12,16-17;5:3-4,9-10,17; 2 John 1,6-7,13; 3 John 6,12; Jude 3,7,12,18,24 (7th century)
7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament has James 2:4 and 1 Peter 1:12
7th century - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition
6th century - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
Vaticanus [B] (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus [Si] (340-350 A.D.), and Alexandrinus [A] (c.450 A.D) have all of 2 Peter.
Clementine Vulgate 4th to 5th centuries refers to 2 Peter 1:1; 2:14
Wordsworth-White Vulgate 4th to 5th centuries refers to 2 Peter 1:1-2; 3:9
Stuttgart Vulgate 4th to 5th centuries refers to 2 Peter 1:1-2; 3:9
048 5th century
0209 (7th century)
Italic (h) 5th century
Italic (j) 5th century
Italic (q) 6th/7th century
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
Peshitta Syriac [SyrP] Over 350 manuscripts, the earliest are 411-435 A.D. (2 Peter 3:18 per Bruce Metzger in A Textual Commentary on the New Testament p.633.)
Harclean Syriac [SyrH] 3rd/4th century or 616 A.D. refers to 2 Peter 1:3-5,10,17,19,21; 2:4,6,9-13,15,20; 3:9-11,18
Philoxenian Syriac [SyrPh] 507/508 A.D. refers to 2 Peter 1:3,10,14,17; 2:4,6,11-13,15,17,20; 3:9-11,18
Palestinian Syriac [SyrPal] 6th century refers to 2 Peter 1:1-5,10; 3:10-11,18
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Gothic 493-555 A.D.
See www.BibleQuery.org/2petMss.html for more on early manuscripts of 2 Peter.
For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714. www.BibleQuery.org