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“ THE SECOND EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER.”
THE genuineness of this epistle has been more questioned than that of any other book in the New Testament. The external evidence for it is comparatively meagre.
We seem to hear echoes of its language in some of the earliest post-apostolic works, but the first writer to make express and unmistakable mention of it is Origen (230 A.D.), and in one passage he does so in such a manner as to show that he has doubts about its genuineness. A century later it is classed by Eusebius among the disputed books of the New Testament.5
The difficulty of accepting it as a genuine writing of Peter has chiefly arisen both in ancient and in modern times from its differing so greatly in tone and substance
1 On the connection between these two epistles, see pp. 253-4:
2 The question of genuineness really carries with it that of canonicity, as the Epistle is written throughout in the name and with the authority of the apostle Peter, and would cease to have any title to reverence if it could be proved to be a forgery. In this respect it stands on a different footing from the Epistle to the Hebrews.
3 Clement, Hermas, and Polycarp ; but with more certainty in later writers of the second and third centuries-viz., Melito of Sardis, Theophilus of Antioch, Hippolytus of Portus, Firmilian of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, and Clementine Recognitions, - whose use of the Epistle is all the more significant as they represent so many different parts of Christendom. We have it on the authority of
Eusebius that Clement of Alexandria wrote on "the Epistle of Jude and the remaining Catholic Epistles."
4" Peter has left one epistle generally accepted. Grant also second, for it is a matter of question (αμφιβάλλεται γάρ).-Euseb. vi. 25.
5 i That which is in circulation as the second of Peter, we have been given to understand is not canonical : (oủk èvdiánkov), nevertheless as it appeared useful to many, it has been diligently studied along with the other Scriptures (iii. 3)
Against this statement of Eusebi we may put the fact that the Epistle is contained in the two earliest MSS. that have come down to us (X and B) which were probably written in Eusebius' own lifetime.
from the First Epistle, written, as we have seen, near the close of Peter's life. There is scarcely any reference in it to our Saviour's sufferings or resurrection, which figure so largely in the First Epistle ; and what it chiefly inculcates is knowledge rather than hope.
But, apart from the versatility of Peter's mind, this difference in the character of the two Epistles may to a large extent be accounted for by the different circumstances under which they were written. While the First was evidently designed to encourage and support Christians under persecution, this later one was intended to warn them against false teachers who were spreading corruption in the Church. At the same time this epistle, like the First, is eminently practical, insisting on the necessity of Christian duty for the perfecting of Christian knowledge, emphasising the danger of knowledge without practice, and giving a practical turn to the argument. Moreover, amid the general difference of style, a close examination of the language
i Referring to the two Epistles of Peter, Jerome (De. V. 1. i.) says: quarum secunda
plerisque ejus esse negatur propter styli
priore dissonantiam (“the second of which is held by a great many not to be his, owing to the want of harmony between its style and that of the first"). Jerome thought the difference might be accounted for by Peter's having had the assistance of two different interpreters ; and similarly Calvin and Erasmus regarded the peculiarities of this Epistle as due to its having been written, not by Peter himself, but by one of his disciples under his directions.
2 i. 5-11: “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue ; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge temperance; and in your temperance patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness love of the brethren; and in your love of the brethren love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Wherefore, brethren, give the
more diligence to make your calling
3 Dr Salmon mentions five features in which this epistle differs from the First : (1) Repetition of words and phrases, e.g.
(δωρέομαι), “ destruction” (åruela), ii. 1, 3; iii. 7, 16; “right" or ' righteous
i. 3, 4;
and thought in this Epistle brings out many points of resemblance between it and Peter's language elsewhere. likeness to the First Epistle will be found on a comparison of the undernoted passages. It may also be seen in the frequent use of twofold expressions, and in the marked recurrence in both epistles of the word "holy.” ? A number of verbal coincidences have also been observed between this epistle and the Gospel of Mark, as well as Peter's speeches in the Book of Acts. They are for the most part such as can only be fully appreciated by a student of the original.3
(dikalos), i. 13; ii. 7, 8. (2) Rarity of such connecting particles as ίνα, ότι, 0ův, uév. (3) A different formation of subordinate clauses, by the use of the preposition èv and a substantive (e.g. της εν επιθυμία φθοράς, i. 4), while there is a common use of us in the First Epistle (i. 13, 19; ii. 2, &c.), which is rare in the Second. (4) Comparative paucity of Old Testament quotations (thirty-one in 1 Peter but only five at most in 2 Peter), which may be paralleled, however, by comparing the Fourth Gospel (which has many such quotations, with 1 John which has none). (5) The frequent use of the words “Saviour"
(owrp), “coming" (παρουσία), “knowledge” (επίγνωσις), which do not occur in i Peter, but are found in Paul's writings. Instead of παρουσία we find αποκάλυψις (“revelation") in the First Epistle (i. 7, 13; iv. 13), which was a more appropriate word to use in addressing those who were waiting for Christ's appearing.
1i. 2: “Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord"; cf. i Peter i. 2: 'Grace to you and peace be multiplied." i. 3: “through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue”; cf. 1 Peter v. 10: " And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ." i. 7: “and in your godliness love of the brethren; and in your love of the brethren love"; cf. i Peter i. 22 :
Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently"; and iii. 8:“Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humbleminded.” The word piladelpia (“ love of the brethren ”) only occurs three times elsewhere in the New Testament. i. 19, 21 : have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts : . . . For no prophecy ever came by the will of man : but men spake from God, being moved
by the Holy Ghost"; cf. 1 Peter i. 1012: “Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them. To whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, did they minister these things, which now have been announced unto you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the Holy Ghost sent forth from heaven ; which things angels desire to look into." i. : “denying even the Master that bought them"; cf. 1 Peter i. 18, 19:“knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ." ii. 5: “and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly”; iii. 6: “ by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished" ; cf. 1 Peter iii. 20:“... when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.'
promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage”; cf. 1 Peter ii. 16: "as free, and not using your freedom for a cloke of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.” iii. 14: “ without spot and blameless” (đotilo kai kuvuntol); cf. 1 Peter i. 19:"without blemish and without spot” (αμώμου και ασπίλου); cf. 2 Peter ii. 13 (σπίλοι και μώμοι). The word απόθεσις (“putting off” or “away”) is also peculiar to these epistles (1 Peter iii. 21 ; 2 Peter i. 14); so is êmótTNS ("eye-witness ") with its verb (1 Peter ii. 12; iii. 2; 2 Peter i. 16).
It has also been found that this epistle, like the First, is distinguished by the use of rare words of a striking and pictorial character, after the manner of Peter, but not borrowed from the First : ė.g. "whose sentence now from of old lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not,” “ turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes," “enticing unstedfast souls" (the word translated “entice” meaning literally to take with a bait, being such a word as a fisherman would naturally use)," which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures the Greek word for "wrest” meaning to put on the rack, like a criminal, for the purpose of extorting a desired confession.
It is worthy of remark as a note of genuineness that
“precious and exceeding great,
not idle nor unfruitful," &c., i. 4, 8, 9, 19; ii. 3, 10, 13, &c.
dylos applied in 1 Peter to priesto hood (ii. 5); “nation" (ii. 9);
women (iii. 5); and in 2 Peter to " mount (i. 18); “commandment (ii. 21); “prophets" (iii. 2); “living' (iii. 11).
3 The following are peculiar to this epistle and the Gospel of Mark: dwpé oual =“grant" (i. 3 and xv. 45); Baoavišw in a metaphorical sense="vex," tress (ii. 8 and vi. 48); laîlay=
storm” (ii. 17 and iv. 37). The word TPÉmely="tremble,” which is uncommon in the New Testament, occurs in 2 Peter ii. 10 and Mark v. 33. The coincidences with Peter's speeches, or with narratives closely related to him, in the Book of Acts are still more numerous : e.g. layxávely in the sense of “obtain or “receive" is found in 2 Peter (i. 1) and Acts (i. 17), and nowhere else in the New Testament. So with laleiv= “speak' as applied to God's word
(i. 21 and iii. 21); Eugeßńs="godly "devout”
(ii. 9 and x. 2, 7).; poényeola="speak" or (ii. 16, 18 and iv. 18); uloods (ras) å diklas="reward of (his) iniquity” or “hire of wrong-doing" (ii. 13, 15 and Acts i. 18); KoláŠELV="to punish' (ii. 9 and iv. 21). For full information on this and other aspects of the subject, see Dr Lumby's articles in the Expositor, Vol. IV., and in the Speaker's Commentary, Vol. IV. ; also Dr Salmon's Introduction, Chap. XXV., where Abbot's theory of indebtedness on the part of this epistle to Josephus is refuted.
4 ii. 3 (ουκ αργεί, ου νυστάζει), 6 (τεφρώσας), 14, 18 (δελεάζοντες); iii. 16 (στρεβλούσιν); cf. μυωπάζων, "seeing only what is near," literally, having the eyes shut (i. 9) i owo pópos, "day-star,” literally, light-bearer (i. 19); alacroîs, "feigned,” literally, that can be moulded (ii
. 3); poišndov, “with a great noise" (iii. 10).
although the writer was evidently acquainted with the First Epistle, he does not copy its designation of the apostle, as a forger might have been expected to do, nor does he attach the same address to the epistle, nor conclude with the same doxology. Similarly, when he mentions the words spoken by the voice from heaven at the Transfiguration, he does not give them exactly as they are reported in the Gospels; and, in immediate connection with the Transfiguration, he makes use of two words, namely "tabernacle” and “decease," that would naturally be associated in Peter's mind with the memory of that great incident.4 In his use of the expression in the same passage, “even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me,” we may trace an allusion to our Lord's prophecy of Peter's death recorded by John ;5 and in the recurrence of the word "stablish,” under a variety of forms, we have an illustration of the same retrospective tendency, which may be discerned also in the First
“This is now, beloved, the the excellent glory, This is my beloved second epistle that I write unto you; Son, in whom I am well pleased : and and in both of them I stir up your this voice we ourselves heard come out sincere mind by putting you in re- of heaven, when we were with him in membrance."
the holy mount"; cf. Luke ix. 30-35: 2 i. I: “Simon Peter, a servant and “And behold, there talked with him apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that two
were Moses and have obtained a like precious faith with Elijah; who appeared in glory, and us in the righteousness of our God and spake of his decease which he was Saviour Jesus Christ "; 1 Peter i. 1: about to accomplish at Jerusalem. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to Now Peter and they that were with the elect who are sojourners of the Dis- him were heavy with sleep: but when persion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, they were fully awake, they saw his Asia, and Bithynia."
glory, and the two men that stood 3 iii. 18: “To him be the glory both with him. And it came to pass, as now and for ever”; cf. 1 Peter v. II : they were parting from him, Peter " To him be the dominion for ever and said unto Jesus, Master, it is good ever."
for us to be here: and let us make 4 σκηνώματος και έξοδον. i. 14-18: three tabernacles; one for thee, and “knowing that the putting off of my one for Moses, and one for Elijah : tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our not knowing what he said. And while Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me. he said these things, there came a Yea, I will give diligence that at every
cloud, and overshadowed them: and time ye may be able after my decease they feared as they entered into the to call these things to remembrance.
cloud. And a voice came out of the For we did not follow cunningly devised cloud, saying, This is my Son, my fables, when we made known unto you chosen : hear ye him”; Matt. xvii. 5: the
power and coming of our Lord Jesus “This is my beloved Son, in whom Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his I am well pleased; hear ye him majesty. For he received from God Mark ix. 7: “This is my beloved the Father honour and glory, when
Son : hear him." there came such a voice to him from 5 John xxi. 18, 19.
1 iii. 1: