Our main focus should be to apply diligence to grow in the grace and true knowledge and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have the sufficient resource of the Word of God to ground us in truth and protect us against the destructive heresies of false teachers. Truth needs constant reinforcement and diligent application because of the devious assaults by false teachers who attack from inside the church and follow a path of sensuality and greed and exploitation. But the Lord is powerful and faithful to protect His own and to render retribution upon the ungodly. Even though it seems from a human perspective that the Lord’s return has been delayed too long (giving rise to mockers and scoffers), we can be assured that the day of the Lord is coming soon to fulfill all the promises of God – including that of a “new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
Diligent Growth in the True Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Through the Sufficiency of the Word of God):
• Protects Us Against the Destructive Heresies of False Teachers
• Prepares Us to Persevere in Godliness As We Await His Promised Return
2 Peter 1:3 “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
2 Peter 3:18“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
(1:1-2) INTRODUCTION — TRUE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION (THE FOUNDATION FOR GROWTH IN THE KNOWLEDGE AND POWER OF GOD) REMAINS THE SAME FOR US AS FOR THE APOSTLES
(1:3-4) THESIS STATEMENT — GOD HAS CALLED US AND EQUIPPED US FOR GROWTH IN THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST
I. (:5-11) THE RECIPE FOR DILIGENT GROWTH IN KNOWING CHRIST
II. (:12-21) SPIRITUAL LEADERS MUST CONTINUALLY REINFORCE THE TRUTH — THE FOUNDATION OF TRUTH NEEDS CONSTANT REINFORCEMENT SO THAT WE CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
III. (2:1-22) DILIGENT GROWTH IN THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST PROTECTS US AGAINST THE DESTRUCTIVE HERESIES OF FALSE TEACHERS
IV. (3:1-18) DILIGENT GROWTH IN THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST PREPARES US TO PERSEVERE IN HOLINESS AS WE AWAIT HIS PROMISED RETURN
(3:18) CONCLUSION — SUMMARY OF THE THESIS STATEMENT – GROW AND GLORIFY
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• To encourage believers to grow in the true knowledge (in the experiential, relational knowledge) of the Lord Jesus Christ
• To understand that we have been equipped with the same faith as the apostles and granted all that is sufficient for spiritual maturity and godliness; but we are still responsible to apply diligence and make every effort to grow
• To understand the urgency of these last days when false teaching abounds and time grows short to purse godliness; we need to be circumspect
• To understand the coming wrath of God upon those who persist in ungodliness and false teaching
• To live in hope as we look forward to the return of Christ, despite the mockers and the scoffers
David Malick: Peter writes to exhort his readers not to be influenced by the coming false teachers who deny that the Lord will return to judge those who do evil but to grow in God’s provision and the apostolic truth of Jesus Christ’s future coming.
John Piper: The message of 2 Peter is that the joy of hope is the power of godliness. The knowledge of God’s promises is the pathway of his power (1:3,4). And the promises, the power, the hope and the godliness are all because of his grace. And so the book ends — and with these words we take our leave: “To him be glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
Daniel Wallace: The main emphasis of 2 Peter is found in chapters 2 and 3, where the author writes preemptively against the coming heretics. These false teachers will imbibe in antinomianism and a denial of eschatological truths. Thus, the theme might be simply put, “Beware of false teachers who skew grace and deny the Lord’s return” (cf. 3:17).
Bob Deffinbaugh: In 2 Peter, the apostle holds forth the Word of God and its teaching as our defense against false teachers, who are dominated by fleshly lusts and who appeal to these lusts in their followers. He turns us to Old Testament examples of God’s divine intervention in history to deliver His holy ones and to bring judgment upon those who are disobedient and unbelieving. . .
The principle problem underlying 2 Peter is the seductive heresies of false teachers who pervert the gospel, distort the Scriptures, downplay eternity, and seek to entice followers who will join with them in their addiction to fleshly lusts. We are to overcome these men and their errors by standing firmly on the promises of God’s sure and certain Word, by personal growth and maturity in our faith, by taking note of God’s dealings with the righteous and the rebels in Old Testament times, by looking for our Lord’s return, and by taking heed to the inspired epistles of other apostles such as Paul.
Initially, I believed the principle theme of 2 Peter was false teachers, and that theme is indeed prominent. But this is a negative truth. If we are to carry out Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4:8 and 9, we must set our minds on what is true and wholesome and edifying-not on what is false. When one searches for the positive theme of 2 Peter in this light, the theme becomes very obvious. The sufficiency of the Scriptures is the principle theme of 2 Peter. False teachers are the dominant topic in chapter 2, and the first few verses of chapter 3, but the truths of the Word of God dominate every chapter.
Ray Stedman: In ratio to its size 2 Peter speaks more relevantly to the modern issues of sexual permissiveness, tolerance for pluralistic doctrines, the nature of authority, and the basis for Christian hope than any other letter of the New Testament. Yet it is one of the most neglected and least read books of Scripture. It has been attacked by critics on grounds of its authorship and unity and from the earliest times subject to suspicion and uncertainty as to its canonicity. Even the Reformers, Luther and Calvin, looked at it somewhat askance. . .
Years ago, I ran across this expression, and it has been an encouragement to my own heart ever since: “Even the weakest believer holds in his hands all that the mightiest saint ever possessed.” That is the theme of Peter’s opening chapter. Listen to these words: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” (2 Pet. 1:3)
All the necessities both for handling life and for manifesting righteousness, or godliness–godlikeness—in this world are ours. That means that everyone who has genuinely come to Jesus Christ, without exception, has all that it takes to handle all that life can throw at him
Gil Rugh: The key theme is knowledge — the true knowledge of God. In chapter 1, it’s the true knowledge of God and the maturing of God’s people. In chapter 2, it’s the true knowledge of God and the danger to God’s people because of false teachers. In chapter 3, it’s the true knowledge of God and coming judgment — the impact of that judgment on false teachers and what its impact should be on us as believers. Again, underlying it all is the matter of knowledge — knowing God and His truth, being shaped by it. Chapter 2 is the pivotal chapter. Chapter 1 lays a foundation for chapter 2. Chapter 3 gives the consciousness or ultimate end of what is discussed in chapter 2. The book, such a very pertinent letter, is about the true knowledge of God in dealing with false doctrine and false teaching.
Ron Ritchie: We can see that nothing has changed during the two thousand years that have passed since Peter wrote this letter. Every Christian struggles with the temptation to unfaithfulness in this corrupt world. Believers are tempted to believe the false teachers who promise freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; and they are tempted to doubt the second coming of Jesus as the voices of the mockers grow louder and louder. The question facing Christians who desire to remain faithful, therefore, is, “How can we survive in a corrupt world?”
I. The Development of Faith (1:3-21)
A. The Growth of Faith (1:3-11)
B. The Ground of Faith (1:12-21)
II. The Denouncing of False Teachers (2:1-22)
A. Their Conduct (2:1-3)
B. Their Condemnation (2:4-9)
C. Their Characteristics (2:10-22)
III. The Design of the Future (3:1-18)
A. Derision (3:1-7)
B. Delay (3:8-9)
C. Dissolution (3:10-13)
D. Diligence (3:14-18)