Letter of Peter Overview

From Peter Kreeft’s You Can Understand the Bible:

Peter’s two letters are full of sound advice and exhortations for daily Christian living. Peter’s letters, like James’, are practical.

Peter had taken the centre of Church authority to the centre of the world, Rome. He spent the last decade of his life there.

1st Peter – Stand Fast in Persecution

How to deal with suffering and persecution. As anyone knows who has seriously attempted it, living the whole gospel in a fallen world can be harder than dying for it. Yet Peter does not blame the state as an institution for its mistreatment of Christians.

Peter tells his flock 4 essential practical truths about Christian suffering:

[1] We should not be surprised at it (4:12).

[2] Because of our real incorporation into His Body, suffering can become joy (4:13).

[3] There is an eschatological dimension to understand suffering (5:10). (Eschatological = a belief concerning the end of the world). Suffering does not weaken us but strengthens us in the long run.

[4] In order to transform suffering into joy by its incorporation into Christ, our sufferings must be for good, not for evil.

 

The charter of Christian apologetics: “Always be prepared to make a defines to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.” (3:15).

“Be sober, be watchful. Your opponent the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.” (5:8-9).

 

2nd Peter – Stand Fast against Heresy and Sin

This letter was written just before Peter’s anticipated death by martyrdom (1:14-15), between AD 62 – 66, from Rome. This short letter is Peter’s “reminder” (1:12) of the familiar, essential gospel truth and of its solid foundation in two public facts.

The two facts are [1] the disciples’ and Peter’s own eyewitness experience of Jesus (1:16-18) and [2] the written prophecies of Scripture that Jesus fulfilled (1:19-21).

Peter’s first letter dealt with external dangers to the Church: persecution and sufferings. His second letter deals with internal dangers: heresies and sin.

Peter points out the connection between false doctrine and false practice. The saints are always orthodox.

The best antidote for Christians against heresies is the positive one: understanding the truth; and Peter as the Rock reminds us of this truth.

 

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