Book of 2 Peter, part one

Wrapping up my current look at Peter, this will be my first impressions of the book of 2 Peter.

If you’d like some praise music to listen to while you read, I’m linking a youtube video that I’ve fallen in love with.  It’s from a praise and worship session.  CLICK HERE to listen.

HISTORY OF 2 PETER

This was written by Peter (if you want to know more about him, you can read my study of him HERE and then HERE) to fellow believers.  The main focus of the book is about false prophets and false teachers, something that was becoming a problem.  the book was written in 66 or 67 AD, shortly before Peter’s death.

VERSES THAT JUMPED

Fair warning here.  Several of things in this book jumped out at me in large groupings.  So here first is a piece of chapter 1.  Peter is addressing this statement to believers who have seized upon God’s promises and as such have escaped from the corruption in the world.

2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

I love this so much because Peter is showing that yes, faith is awesome, but it’s not the stopping point.  Being saved by Jesus is the most incredible thing, it really is.  But following Jesus, accepting his lordship in his life, that’s when we’re walking in the full force of godliness.  Faith, yes, absolutely, but Peter says to supplement it!  Build upon it, continue to grow more and more like Jesus!  How do we do that?  Add to our faith.  With virtue (high moral standards).  With knowledge.  With self-control.  With steadfastness (unwavering in our purpose).  With godliness (defined as “conforming to the laws and wishes of God”).  With brotherly affection.  And lastly, the oh so powerful one.  With love.

Peter’s telling us, don’t just have great faith, but add to that faith!  Keep growing, keep moving forward!  Be a good person, show restraint and self control, stay steady in your purpose, keep God’s laws and wishes, have fondness for those around us, and lastly, love people.  What will happen if we have these qualities and work on them and they are increasing in our lives?  It protects us from being ineffective or unfruitful.

There’s something else that having these qualities will do that I love.  It comes directly after the above verses in 2 Peter.

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

Peter says in the very next sentence, if you practice that list of qualities we just went ever, that YOU WILL NEVER FALL.  Think of the power in that sentence.  Verse 10 is saying to hold true to the fact that you were elected by God to be one of His people and that he called you to Him and you accepted, hold true to that fact and practice the qualities we just covered and YOU WILL NEVER FALL.

This whole section of 2 Peter makes me want to jump for joy!  Because let’s look at that list of qualities.  It’s not like he’s saying to be poor or to live in a cave or to only eat once a week.  This isn’t some punishing list of character traits we’re to have.  It’s essentially telling us to be good people.  Not only to be people of faith, but to be people of high moral character.  Back up your confession of loving God by working to live a godly life.  Supplement your faith with these qualities and you will never fall.  If that’s not a good reason to try to build that list of qualities in your life then I don’t know what is!

These next few things really hit close to home for me because they touch upon something that’s been huge in my walk with God.

2 Peter 1:16  For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  

For my entire life, I looked at the bible like it was God’s spell book.  It was a mystical, magical tome filled with stories about Jesus and about miracles.  I had respect for it, and I believed in it, but I never read it.  One of the key factors in my newfound love and hunger for the bible is a change in the way I viewed it.  Yes, it is a magical book, but it’s also a history book.  Like Peter wrote in the above verse, it’s a book written by people who were eyewitnesses.  It is a history book, chronicling 1400 – 1800 years of our past.

I cannot even begin to fully describe to you the magnitude of the change this realization made for me.  It’s one reason I like to study the history and author of a book of the bible before I dive into that book of the bible.  Who wrote it, why they wrote it, when they wrote it, these are all factors that help me on several levels.  They help put the book into context.  Different books are written for different purposes, and understanding the purpose of a book helps me really connect with it.  Also, viewing the bible as a historical document helps make it feel more real to me.  I still view it with reverence, and I still believe it to have power, but I can now picture it more clearly.  I picture Peter, older now and sitting somewhere in Rome.  He knew his death was approaching, but he also knew that the church was under attack by false prophets and false teachers.  Maybe it’s strange, but I can picture it so clearly.  In my mind I see him in a plain room, hunched over a slanted desk, writing away.  I even see a window beside him that looks out on the city of Rome where he was at the time.  Picturing this very real man writing these very real divinely inspired words brings it all into focus for me.  I know the bible in my hands is not his original writing, but this is a copy of a 1,950 year old writing by a guy named Peter.  A guy who followed Jesus, a guy who Jesus loved, a guy who Jesus forgave even after Peter denied him three times, a guy who Jesus gave a mighty and clear mission to after Jesus’ resurrection, a guy who went on to work to establish the early church.

That realness, that tangible connection between myself and the word of God, that’s what unlocked the bible for me.  However, it’s important to also keep in mind that while it is written by the hand of man, the bible is a divinely inspired document.  This is something Peter addresses in 2 Peter.

2 Peter 1:20-21 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.   

The bible is a book written by the hand of man, but that hand and those minds and those hearts were guided by God.  What an incredible book it is, too!  It amazes me every time I open it.  As someone who has a limited biblical knowledge, I’m amazed at the mysteries the bible presents me with.  I find great joy when this happens, because it pulls me even deeper into the word.  It encourages me to pursue deeper knowledge and deeper understanding of His word.  And understanding more about God’s word means you understand more about God.  You get to know Him better.  And man, I can’t even stress how amazing He is.  Every new thing I learn, every new lesson, every new mystery, it just makes me happier to know that He is my father and that He is the one in control of all things.  He is an awesome God, all powerful and all knowing, controller and creator of every star, every planet, and yet He still takes the time to know me, and to converse with me in prayer, and to commune with me through His word.  There’s not a word in existence that can fully encompass how amazing and wonderful this is.

Well, that’s it for part one.  Peter and his writings bring me so much joy.  They’re full of knowledge and guidance and it’s been a lot of fun digging through them.

One final thought.  I know everyone is different, but if you’re like me and you struggled to connect with the bible, maybe you need to come at it from a different angle.  I want to encourage you to get some study books, and really explore the historical aspect of the bible.  Deepen your knowledge of the time periods and the people and their circumstances, and then partner that with God’s word.  It was absolutely the key for me, and maybe it will be for someone else out there as well.

For prayers this time, I ask that you pray for a hunger for God’s word.  The more time I spend with the bible, the less time I spend sinning.  The deeper I understand the bible, the deeper I fall in love with God.  So let’s make that our prayer together, that we can all just have a hunger for God’s word.

I thank you to anyone who read this far.  I pray this above prayer with you in agreement for both myself and for you, and I love you.

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