Introducing the New Testament, 2nd Edition

A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey


27. 2 Peter

Video Introduction


This chapter offers a brief overview of the contents of 2 Peter, followed by discussion of historical background and major themes.

In terms of historical background, 2 Peter is widely considered to be a pseudepigraphical testament, using the device of “a letter from the apostle Peter” as a literary fiction for addressing false teaching in the late first or early second century. The letter also appears to have been heavily influenced by the New Testament letter of Jude.

The letter seeks to refute skepticism with regard to Christ’s parousia and God’s judgment, which, though it seems delayed, will come. Thus, there will be accountability for all, including the false teachers, who seem to be presenting ideas similar to what is associated with Gnosticism and/or Epicureanism. The letter also encourages its readers to grow in godliness by recognizing that they too will face God’s judgment and by remembering what God has done for them and intends for them.

Study Questions

  1. What is a testament, and why is 2 Peter often ascribed to this genre of literature? In what way is this book not typical of the testament genre, and how might that factor have influenced its interpretation and reception in the church?

  2. What do scholars usually assume to be the relationship between 2 Peter and Jude?

  3. Cite two allegations 2 Peter makes against false teachers that go beyond what was said of troublemakers in the letter of Jude. What two groups have scholars suggested might fit the bill for identification with the teachers condemned in 2 Peter?

  4. What three points does 2 Peter make in response to those who scoff at the notion of Christ’s parousia?

  5. How does 2 Peter regard “knowledge” as significant for growth in godliness? Cite two areas of knowledge that are held to be particularly significant.