1 Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ: 2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. 4 Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, 7 devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. 8 If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 Anyone who lacks them is blind and shortsighted, forgetful of the cleansing of his past sins.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more eager to make your call and election firm, for, in doing so, you will never stumble. 11 For, in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

12 Therefore, I will always remind you of these things, even though you already know them and are established in the truth you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this "tent," to stir you up by a reminder, 14 since I know that I will soon have to put it aside, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me. 15 I shall also make every effort to enable you always to remember these things after my departure.

16 We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19 Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, 21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.  Version: New American Bible



  • 2 Peter resembles a testament, similar in function of Paul's letter of 2 Timothy, and with several parallels between these letters.
  • Every letter in the N.T. has a theme. Whereas 1 Peter focuses on suffering, 2 Peter focuses on knowledge (1:2,3,5,6,8,12,14,16; 2:9,20,21; 3:18). We must continue to grow in knowledge, or stagnate; and hold to true knowledge, or risk being misled by false teachers. Of course Peter is not emphasizing mere intellectual growth, though this is of great value. It is knowledge of God (v.2) that is paramount.
  • Peter introduces himself (vv.1-2).
    • He uses both his names, Hebrew and Greek. One is named after the patriarch Simeon (Genesis 29:33; Exodus 1:2; etc). The other means "stone." Is he reaching out to all believers, whether from Jewish or Gentile backgrounds?
    • He is unashamed to call himself slave first, messenger (apostle) second. Peter knows his worth and his weakness.
    • Like Paul, he wishes grace and peace to all his fellow Christians. And as with Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6ff, the end is near (1:14). This his last chance to influence the saints. What will he say?
  • God's power gives us all we need (vv.3-4).
    • Our resources are unlimited because they are his resources.
    • We participate in God's nature as we escape the corruption of the world.
    • This happens through knowing God.
  • As a result, we continue to grow (vv.5-11)! We must continue to build, to increase in spiritiruality:
    • Pistis: faith, which is the basis of all that follows.
    • Arete: Goodness, or better, (moral) excellence or strength
    • Gnosis: knowledge -- though not the heretical "gnosis" of the Gnostics!
    • Engkratiea: self-control
    • Hupomone: endurance, mentioned 32x in the N.T. (e.g. Titus 2:2; Revelation 14:12...)
    • Eusebeia: devotion, godliness -- 18x in the N.T., 5 of them in 2 Peter.
    • Philadelphia: mutual affection or brotherly love, 5x in the N.T.
    • Agape:love.
    • Note: These eight areas are not necessarily a sequence, any more than the nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are acquired in order.
  • Peter is determined to remind the Christians of this important point (vv.12-15).
    • Sometimes we need to be reminded of things we already know, because of mental and moral failings.
    • He is all the more eager to fortify them as he knows he will soon die (v.14).
    • The apostle's concern does not end at his death. He wants to ensure the faith continues, for posterity.
    • The faith is built on fact, not fiction (vv.16-18)!
      • Peter was an eyewitness of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9). He and others were also "ear-witnesses."
      • As at Jesus' baptism, the Father uniquely identified the Son.
      • Sometimes unbelievers make as though the early Christians didn't know the difference between fact and fantasy. Peter assures us that they did, and were willing to stake their lives on the facts (v.16).
  • Yet Christians have more than mere recollections and reminiscences to go on. We have the word of God (vv.19-21).
    • The prophets point to the truth, and we should hold to their words "until the dawns" -- either the world comes to an end, and faith becomes sight.
    • We are as bound to follow the word as the prophets were, not selecting according to our convenience (2:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:1-5).
    • The apostle does not say that interpretation is wrong. In fact, it is an essential part of understanding the will of God. However, we are not at liberty to interpret according to our own whims. We must respect the intention of the Spirit of God, striving to understand his revealed will!
    • Not everyone heeds this advice. The false prophets change the message, twisting the word of God, for their own agenda and advantage (chapter 2)...


  • Notice the alternate name Symeon (Simeon) in v.1. This is a more Semitic form of Peter's Jewish name than Simon, though both appear in the N.T.  He was named after the tribe of Simeon (Hebrew Shim'on).
  • Notice also that Peter explicitly calls Jesus God (v.1). There are a handful of N.T. where Jesus is called God (e.g. Titus 2:13; John 1:1,14), though many more where his deity is implied (e.g. Mark 2:5,7,10; John 10:33).
  • The "tent" (v.13) is a temporary shelter.
    • This does not mean our bodies will be rejected, for the scriptures tell us they will be transformed (1 Corinthians 15:50; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2).
    • For another passage comparing the body to a tent, see 2 Corinthians 5:1,4. And in Acts 15:16, the church itself is compared to the O.T. Tabernacle.
  • Click to learn about epoptai (eyewitnesses) in v.16. See also Richard Bauckham's excellent work, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.
  • 2 Peter takes over 19 of the 25 verses in the epistle of Jude—although a minority of scholars see Jude as a distillation of 2 Peter.
  • For more on this letter, please see my book, James, Peter, John, Jude.

Thought questions:

  • In what areas have I grown spiritually this year?
  • Am I spiritually myopic? Have I forgotten the excitement and freshness (and appreciation) of my salvation?
  • How do I know I am not merely interpreting the word of God for my own purposes? Do I "play fast and loose" with the scriptures, or am I a faithful and disciplined student?