2 Peter 1:12-21, Peter’s Testimony

For tonight, please read 2 Peter 1:12-21 and Mark 9.

Peter’s Testimony

According to those who know Greek better than I do, there is a noticeable difference in the style of the Greek we find in vv.12-21 than we find in the first part of this letter. The florid, long convoluted sentence structure in vv.3-11 gives way to a simpler style, which can be seen even in the English translations. This simpler style and even the words used in vv.12-21 have more in common with 1 Peter than much of the remainder of this letter. Therefore, it appears that in these verses, the writer of the letter is most likely quoting Peter rather than simply passing along Peter’s teachings in the writer’s own words.

Departing Words:

Within these verses, and particularly within vv.12-15, we have Peter’s departing instructions.  This introductory farewell is similar to Paul’s introductory farewell in Philippians 1:12-26. Here, Peter is (or at least believes he is) facing his impending death. He knows that “the putting off of his body will be soon.” His ministry and apostleship are rapidly coming to an end, and he sees certain problems with false teachers coming within those churches that have looked to Peter as their leader. He sees a need for correction.

The Context:

The issue that Peter is addressing in v.12-21, and later in 2 Peter 3 is the delayed second coming of Jesus. (The technical theological term is parousia.) One of the common beliefs in the early church, as it is in many churches today, is that Jesus’ return in glory is just around the corner. See, Mark 9:1, 1 Thess. 4:15, 1 Peter 4:7. But what happens when tomorrow arrives, and Jesus still has not returned? This is the great theme of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians and is echoed in the Gospels. See, 2 Thess. 2:2, Mark 13:22. Like Paut in Second Thessalonians, our writer in Second Peter is attempting to tamp down the teaching and the expectation that Jesus is definitely returning tomorrow.

The Message:

When we read through vv.12-21, Peter gives his audience three points on this issue: remembrance, the transfiguration, and the Holy Spirit. First, Peter reminds (v.12) his audience by way of a reminder (v.13) to recall (v.14) his teachings. They are to remember the totality of what he told them, not just the end. If the end is coming tomorrow, then nothing in this world really matters, yet the writer of the epistle does tell us that virtue, self-control, and love are important. We simply cannot quit this world in the expectation that this world will soon come to an end. Rather, we must live into our calling within the world in which we live. This is the reminder that Peter gives us.

Second, Peter tells us that he was an eyewitness to the honor, glory, and majesty of Jesus. He tells us that he himself heard the voice from heaven proclaim that “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” v.17, Mark 9:2-8. The false teaching was that Jesus’ return was just a myth since Jesus had not yet returned. v.16. But Peter reminds his audience that he was there when the divinity of Jesus was clearly shown through. The return of Jesus in glory is not a “cleverly devised myth” because Peter has personally experienced that glory the first time around.

Finally, Peter appeals to the Holy Spirit. In vv. 20-21, Peter reminds us the fulfillment of God’s promise is not up to us, but to the Spirit. God fulfilled his promises to Abraham and Isaiah and Joel in ways different that what was expected. Gal.3, Acts 8:32, Acts 2:17. And it is the same way for the church. Peter is telling us that we will know from our own experience beyond any doubt when Jesus returns in glory because Peter experienced beyond any doubt when Jesus was shown to him in glory. Peter’s message is to be patient in our expectations and not to jump to the wrong conclusion because that is what we desire.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is shrimp boil. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here.

Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:23-24

2 thoughts on “2 Peter 1:12-21, Peter’s Testimony”

  1. Pingback: 2 Peter 2, pt.1 – Ancient Anglican

  2. Pingback: 2 Peter 2 – Last Things – Ancient Anglican

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