Mar 17, 2019 2 Peter Overview*


Peter identifies himself as an “apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1). He specifically mentions that he was an eyewitness of the transfiguration (1:16–18; see Matt. 17:1–8). Peter probably wrote this letter from prison in Rome (see 2 Pet. 1:12–15) not too long before his death by execution, sometime during A.D. 64–67. It is difficult to identify with certainty the churches Peter addresses.


In his first letter, the apostle Peter writes largely about the relationship between holiness and hardship. In this letter, a follow-up to the previous one (3:1), he writes about the relationship between holiness and heresy—a “hardship” in its own right in the early church as well as in the church today. Similar to Paul in his letter to the Galatians, or Jude (who likely used 2 Peter as a reference point), Peter provides an abundant and unequivocal warning to believers about those who will infiltrate the church and teach seductive blasphemy. He cautions that some will even use the words of Scripture to support their perverted doctrines and lives (3:16).

Peter urges resistance to such distortions of grace. He reminds us about the importance of accurate knowledge of the truth (1:2, 3, 5–6, 8, 12; 2:2, 20; 3:18). And he shows us once more, as throughout the New Testament, that the faithfulness needed to combat such wickedness requires: an experience of God’s powerful grace in the gospel (1:1–20); a diligence in repentant living (1:5–8; 3:14); a sober-minded awareness of and resistance to heresy (2:1–22; 3:1–4, 15–17); and a hopeful expectation of God’s patience and faithfulness (3:8–18).


  1. Initial Greeting (1:1–2)
  2. God’s Grace in Christ Is the Source of Godly Living (1:3–11)
  3. God’s power exercised on our behalf (1:3–4)
  4. Making every effort to live a godly life (1:5–7)
  5. Living an effective life for Christ (1:8–11)
  6. Peter’s Reminder to the Churches (1:12–21)
    1. Stirring up Christians to holiness (1:12–15)
    1. Peter’s preaching results from his own eyewitness experience (1:16–18)
    1. Truth about Jesus Christ anchored in the prophetic word of Scripture (1:19–21)
  7. Evaluation of False Teachers (2:1–22)
    1. Influence of false teachers (2:1–3)
    1. Judgment of false teachers (2:4–10a)
    1. Character of false teachers (2:10b–16)
    1. Influence of false teachers revisited (2:17–22)
  8. The Day of the Lord Will Surely Come (3:1–13)
    1. Scoffers challenge the truth of Scripture concerning the coming of the Lord (3:1–7)
    1. The Lord’s patience determines the timing of his return (3:8–10)
    1. Living effectively in view of the Lord’s return (3:11–13)
  9. Concluding Exhortations (3:14–18)
  10. Concerning diligence (3:14)
  11. Concerning the distortion of Paul’s teaching (3:15–16)
  12. Concerning the proper response to Paul’s teaching (3:17–18)

* Taken from ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.