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The Book of 2 Peter - Summary

The second letter from Peter is found in the New Testament of the Bible. Peter was a leader of the church. He sent this letter to all believers.

Peter told the Christians how they could grow as Christians. He explained that God himself directed the authors of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21). Peter warned the Christians about evil teachers. These teachers were teaching false ideas. And their behaviour was very evil. God will punish such teachers. And he will also punish the people who follow them.

Peter also explained about Jesus' return to this earth. Some people might suppose that Jesus will never return. But Peter explained that they are wrong. God made the earth. And God will also destroy the earth. God is not slow; but God is patient. And, because God is patient, we have the opportunity to trust God now. Then, we will enjoy the things that God promises: a new heaven, and a new earth.

Listen Download Introduction to Book of 2Peter
Listen Download Chapter 1 Greeting; Growth in the Faith; The Trustworth Prophetic Word.
Listen Download Chapter 2 The Judgement of False Teachers.
Listen Download Chapter 3 The Day of the Lord; Conclusion.

Book of 2Peter Outlines by J.Vernon McGee PDF format <Link>


About Peter’s second letter

Simon Peter was one of Jesus’ special workers. He had lived and worked with Jesus himself. We can read a lot about Simon Peter in the books called Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts.

This is the second letter that Peter wrote. Almost certainly, he wrote this letter between 35 and 38 years after Jesus returned to heaven (God’s home). That was at some time between the years *AD 65 and 68. Peter died soon after he wrote this letter.

Peter wrote this letter to Christians, who wanted to obey God. Some false teachers were teaching wrong ideas about Jesus and God. The false teachers wanted the Christians to believe those wrong ideas. So Peter wrote this letter to help the Christians. He wanted them to believe God, Christ and the Bible more strongly. He told them not to believe the false teachers. God would destroy the false teachers because they were so bad.

Also, Peter told the Christians to be like people who are watching carefully. They should be ready for Jesus, because he would certainly come back to the earth.

Chapter 1

God has given to us everything that we need to be his people

v1 This letter is from me, Simon Peter. I am Jesus Christ’s servant. He sent me to be a special worker and teacher on his behalf. I am writing this letter to you people who, like us, believe Christ. He has given the same valuable gift to all of us. He has caused us to believe him. He has done this because he is always completely right and fair. Jesus Christ is God. And he is the person who saves us.

v2 I pray that God will be good to you more and more. I pray that he will cause you to be without trouble inside yourselves more and more. These things will happen because you know God and Jesus, our *Lord.

v3 God is very powerful because he is God. So he has given to us everything that we need to live always. We can do good things that make God happy. This is possible because we know him. God has chosen us to be his people because he is so very great and so very good. v4 Also, because of this, God has promised that he will do very great and valuable things on our behalf. As a result, you can become good like God. So, you can be free from wanting bad things that will destroy you. The people who belong to this world want to do bad things. And those bad things are destroying them.

v5 God has done all this on your behalf. So you should not only believe Christ. You must also try very much to do always what is good. And you must try very much to know God more and more. v6 You must not only know God, but you must rule yourselves properly also. You must not only rule yourselves, but you must continue to be patient and brave also. And you must not only be patient and brave, but you must always make God happy. You must do what God wants. v7 You must not only make God happy, but you must be kind to each other also. You must love other Christians, as you would love your own brothers and sisters. And you must not only love other Christians, but you must love all people also.

v8 You should do all of these things. You should continue to do them more and more. These things will show that you really know our *Lord Jesus Christ. And, because you know him, you will work well on his behalf. And your work will have good results. v9 But some people do not do these things. They do not think that these things are important. They are like people who cannot see clearly. They cannot really see anything. They have forgotten that God made them clean inside themselves. God made them free from all the wrong things that they did before. But they have forgotten that.

v10 So, my friends, try even more to do all these good things. Do them, because God has chosen you to be his own people. And these good things will show that you really are God’s people. If you do these things, you will never turn away from God. v11 Also, God will be very happy. He will bring you into that place where Jesus Christ will rule always. You will live always with our *Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us.

v12 So, I will continue to tell you about these things again and again. You already know these things. And you are continuing to believe strongly that these things are true. But still, I will continue to tell you about them. v13 I will tell you about them while I am still alive on earth. I think that it is right to continue telling you. You should think about these things. So then you will not forget them. v14 I know that I will die soon. I know that because our *Lord Jesus Christ has shown that to me. v15 So I will do everything that I can to tell you about these things now. So then, after I have died, you will be able to remember them always.

Peter himself saw how great Christ is

v16 We told you that our *Lord Jesus Christ is powerful. We told you that he will come to earth again. We were not telling you false stories that came from people’s clever ideas. Instead, we were telling you what we ourselves had seen. We ourselves saw how very great Christ is. v17-18 We were with Jesus on the mountain that God visited. God, the Father, showed us how very great and powerful Jesus is. God, who is greater than everything, spoke about Jesus. God said: ‘This is my son. I love him. He makes me very happy.’ And we ourselves heard God’s voice when he spoke from *heaven.

Verses 16-18 Peter, James and John saw Jesus when he shone brightly. And they heard God speak to them. See Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28-36.

God’s messages in the Bible are very important

v19 Also, we have the *prophets’ messages. They show us even more certainly that these things are true. It is good that you should remember those messages carefully. The *prophets’ words are like a light that shines in a dark place. That light continues to shine in the dark until the dawn comes. Then the morning star will rise and it will bring light deep inside you. v20 None of the *prophets’ messages in the Bible came just from the *prophets’ own ideas. It is most important that you should understand this. v21 None of the *prophets’ messages came from what a human person wanted to say. Instead, God’s Spirit caused people to speak words that came from God.

Verses 19-21 Prophets are people who speak messages from God. Peter was talking about the prophets’ messages that are in the Old Testament. That is the first part of the Bible. It describes events before Jesus came to live on earth.

Verse 19 The morning star appears in the sky just before the sunrise. It is very bright. It shows us that the day is coming. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus says that he is the morning star.

Chapter 2

False teachers are bad and dangerous

v1 Many years ago, there were false *prophets (people who did not speak God’s true messages) among God’s people. In the same way, there will also be false teachers among you. They will teach wrong ideas that will destroy people. But they will say that those wrong ideas are true. Those false teachers will even refuse the Master, who bought them. And so they will cause God to destroy them quickly. v2 Many people will believe and copy the false teachers. So, those people will do very wrong things, like the false teachers. And, as a result, other people will say bad things about the true way that God wants us to live.

v3 The false teachers only want your money. So, they will tell things to you that are not true. They will tell those false things to you so that you will give money to them. A long time ago, God decided that he must *punish them. And he is ready to do that. Certainly, he will destroy them.

God *punishes bad people but he helps good people

v4 Remember that God did not let the bad *angels go free. A long, long time ago, some *angels refused to obey God. And God *punished them because of what they had done. He threw them down into the deep hole where he sends all bad persons. And he will keep them in that dark prison until the day when he will decide about them. He will decide what should happen to them in the end.

Verse 4 Many, many years ago, some of the *angels who lived in *heaven with God did not obey him. So God sent them far away from him. See Genesis 6:1-4 and Jude 6.

v5 Also, a long, long time ago, God *punished all the bad people who lived in the world. God sent water over all the earth. So all those people who refused to obey him drowned in the water. But Noah was telling the people that they should do right things. He was telling them that they should obey God. So God saved Noah, and 7 other people.

v6 Also, God *punished the people who lived in the cities called Sodom and Gomorrah. God saw that the people there were doing very bad things. So, he decided that he must *punish them. And he burned those cities completely, so that only ashes remained. And so God showed what will happen to all bad people. He will *punish people who refuse to obey him. v7 Also, God saved Lot, who was a good man. Lot was very sad because the people in Sodom did not obey God’s rules. They did many, very wrong things. v8 Lot lived among those bad people. Every day, he saw the bad things that they did. Every day, he heard the bad things that they said. As a result of all these bad things, Lot became very sad, because he was a good man.

Verse 5 The story about Noah is in Genesis 6:5-7:24.

Verses 6-8 The stories about Sodom and Gomorrah, and about Lot, are in Genesis 18:16-19:29. Peter is showing that God will destroy bad people. But God will help people who obey him.

v9 We know that the *Lord has done all these things in past times. And these things show us certainly that he knows how to save his people. He will help those people who obey him. He will save them from troubles and difficulties. But he will *punish the bad people, who refuse to obey him. He will continue to *punish them. And he will keep them until that day when he will decide about all people. He will decide what should happen to them. v10 God will *punish very much those people who continue to have wrong sex. They do the wrong things that their bodies want to do. And those wrong things make those people even worse. Those bad people think that they do not have to obey anyone’s authority.

The false teachers are like animals

These false teachers are not afraid to do what they want to do. They think that they themselves are very clever and important. They do not listen to what anyone else says. They are not afraid to say bad things about the beautiful *beings. v11 The *angels are stronger and more powerful than the false teachers are. But even *angels will not say bad things against them when the *Lord is present. v12 But these false teachers say bad things against anything that they do not understand. They are like wild animals, that cannot think. They do what their nature causes them to do. Wild animals are born so that people can catch them and kill them. And, as people kill wild animals, God will destroy the false teachers.

Verse 10 The word for ‘beautiful *beings’ could mean *angels. Or, instead, the word could mean very important people, who have great authority.

v13 The false teachers have done bad things to other people. So God will do bad things to them. They enjoy eating and drinking too much, even during the day. They enjoy doing the wrong things that they want to do. They enjoy those things while they are eating meals with you. So, like dirty marks on something that is clean, they cause people to be ashamed about you. v14 All the time, they are looking for women who will have sex with them. They never stop wanting to do bad things. They lead away people who do not believe Christ strongly. They cause those people to believe wrong things and to do wrong things. They have learned to want more and more money and other things for themselves. Certainly, God will *punish these people, because they are so bad.

v15 These false teachers have left the right way and they have gone the wrong way. They have done the same kind of wrong things that Balaam, Beor’s son, did. Balaam wanted money so much that he did wrong things to get it. v16 But a *donkey told Balaam that he was not obeying God. *Donkeys cannot talk. But that *donkey spoke as a human person speaks. So, the *donkey stopped that *prophet, Balaam, from doing any more crazy things.

Verses 15-16 A donkey is an animal like a small horse. People use donkeys to carry heavy things. We can read about Balaam and the donkey in the book called Numbers. Balaam caused Israel’s people to do bad things. (See Numbers chapters 22-25, Deuteronomy 23:4-5 and Revelation 2:14.)

God will *punish the false teachers

v17 These false teachers are like places in the ground where water should come up. But there is no water. They are like clouds in a storm. The strong wind blows those clouds away quickly so that they bring no rain. God has kept a completely black, dark place where these false teachers will have to stay.

v18 The words that these teachers speak seem very important. But their words mean nothing. They tell people that it is not wrong to do bad things. People may do the bad things that their bodies strongly want to do. The false teachers say that it does not matter. So they lead people away from God. They lead away people who have only just stopped doing wrong things. Those people have just begun to be free from the wrong things that other people do. v19 The false teachers promise that these people will be free. But the false teachers themselves are not free. Instead, they are like slaves. They cannot stop doing the bad things that will destroy them. If anything has power over a person, then that person is its slave.

v20 These false teachers knew our *Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us. So they had become free from the power of the bad things that belong to this world. They had stopped doing those bad things, which make people even worse. But now they have started to do those bad things again, and those things have power over them. So, these false teachers are worse at the end than they were at the beginning. They are worse than before they knew the *Lord.

v21 It would have been better for them if they had never known God’s right way. But they have known the right things that God wants us to do. So it is worse that they have stopped doing those things. They have stopped obeying God’s rules, that people taught them. v22 People often say these true words: ‘After a dog has been sick, it returns to that same place, to eat that food again.’ And: ‘A pig that someone has washed returns, to roll on the dirty, wet ground.’ These words describe what has happened to these false teachers.

Verse 22 The words about the dog come from Proverbs 26:11.

Chapter 3

Remember that the *Lord will certainly come back to earth

v1 My friends, this is the second letter that I have written to you. I have written both these letters so that I can help you to remember certain things. I want you to think correctly and honestly about these things. v2 I want you to remember the words that God’s own *prophets spoke a long time ago. Also, I want you to remember what our *Lord told you to do. Our *Lord, who saves us, taught you by his special workers. His special workers, that he sent to you, told you about these things.

v3 The first thing that you should understand is this. In the last days, some people will think that God and God’s rules are not important. They will say that you are silly. They will call you fools because you believe God. These people will do whatever bad things they want to do. v4 They will say: ‘Christ promised that he would return! But he has not returned! Our early Christian leaders have died, but still all things continue. Since God made the world, all things continue in the same way.’

v5 These people choose to forget the facts that they know. They forget that God made the sky and the earth a long, long time ago. God spoke his word, and so he made the sky. Also, by his word, God made the land separate from the water. He brought the land out through the water. v6 Also, it was water that God used to destroy that world a long time ago. v7 But, by God’s same word, the sky and the earth that we see now are continuing. They will continue until that time when fire will burn them. God is keeping them until that time when he will decide about all people. He will decide what should happen to all people. And he will destroy the bad people who have not obeyed him.

Verse 3 The ‘last days’ is the time before Jesus will return to the earth.

Verse 5 See Genesis 1:1-10.

Verse 6 See Genesis 6:9-7:24.

v8 But, my friends, there is one thing that you must not forget. The *Lord thinks that one day is like 1000 years. And he thinks that 1000 years are like one day. v9 The *Lord is not being slow to do what he has promised to do. Some people think that he is being slow to do it. But instead, he is being patient with you people. He does not want to destroy anyone. He wants all people to turn away from wrong things because they have decided to obey him.

v10 But the day when the *Lord will come back will surprise people. It will surprise people as when someone comes to rob them. The sky will go away with a very loud noise and it will not be there any more. Fire will burn the sun, the moon and the stars and it will destroy them. The earth and everything that is on it will not be there any more.

Verse 10 ‘The earth and everything that is on it will not be there any more’ could also mean something else. It could mean this: ‘God will show everything that people have done on the earth. And God will decide what should happen to the people. He will decide about them because of what they have done.’

v11 Certainly, God will destroy everything in this way. So, you ought to be the kind of people that God is happy about. You should give yourselves to God completely and you should obey him always. v12 You should obey God while you are waiting for Christ to return. God has chosen that day when he will return. You should be wanting that day to come very much. On that day, fire will burn the sky and the fire will destroy it. The heat will destroy the sun, the moon and the stars also. v13 But we are waiting for what God has promised. He has promised that there will be a new sky and a new earth. There, everything will always be good. And everyone will do only what is right.

Verse 13 We can be sure that God will make a new earth and a new sky. The Bible tells us about them. See, for example, Revelation chapters 21 and 22.

v14 So, my friends, because you are waiting for these things to happen, try very much to do only good things. Then God will see that you have done nothing wrong. He will see that there is no trouble between you yourselves, or between you and him. v15 Remember why our *Lord is waiting before he will return. He is being patient because he wants to save people. Paul, whom we love like a brother, has written to you also about these things. He wrote about them because God caused him to understand them. v16 Paul writes like this about these things in all his letters. But some of the things that Paul has written in his letters are difficult to understand. And people who do not know much about God explain these things wrongly. Those people are not sure about what they believe. And they explain other things in the Bible wrongly also. As a result, those people themselves cause God to destroy them.

v17 But you, my friends, know these things already. So, be very careful that you do not believe false teachers. They do not obey God’s rules and they teach wrong things. Do not let those people lead you away from God. If you listen to them, you could stop being sure about the true things. So you will be like people who have moved away from a safe, strong place. v18 Instead, continue to do what is good. So then our *Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us, will be good to you more and more. Also, continue to know him better and better. Everyone should say how very great and good he is! Everyone should say that, both now and always!

Word List

AD ~ AD 50 means the year that was 50 years after Jesus came, and so on.

angel ~ *spirit *being. Good angels come from God’s home above the earth. They are God’s servants and they bring messages from God to people.

being ~ a person or animal that is alive.

donkey ~ an animal like a small horse. It carries things or people.

heaven ~ the place above the earth where God and Jesus Christ live.

Lord ~ master. Another name for God which means that he is greater than everyone else.

prophet ~ someone who speaks messages (from God), sometimes about future events.

punish ~ to hurt someone, or to cause trouble for them, because they have done bad things.

spirit ~ a *being that is always alive, even without a body. A person’s spirit is the part of them that will always be alive. It will be alive even after their body is dead. There are good spirits, like God’s Spirit and his *angels. And there are bad spirits, like Satan (God’s enemy) and his *angels.

Book List

D. D. Arichea and H. A. Hatton ~ A Handbook on the Letter from Jude and the Second Letter from Peter ~ United Bible Societies

E. Johnson ~ Semantic Structure Analysis of 2 Peter ~ SIL

E. Thomas ~ Translator’s Notes on 2 Peter ~ SIL

A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament

Various Bible versions

Book 61 2 Peter
King James Version
001:001 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
001:002 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
001:003 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
001:004 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
001:005 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
001:006 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
001:007 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
001:008 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
001:009 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
001:010 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
001:011 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
001:012 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
001:013 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
001:014 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
001:015 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
001:016 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
001:017 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
001:018 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
001:019 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
001:020 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
001:021 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

002:001 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
002:002 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
002:003 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
002:004 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
002:005 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
002:006 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
002:007 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
002:008 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
002:009 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
002:010 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
002:011 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
002:012 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
002:013 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
002:014 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
002:015 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
002:016 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
002:017 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
002:018 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
002:019 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
002:020 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
002:021 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
002:022 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

003:001 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
003:002 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
003:003 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
003:004 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
003:005 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
003:006 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
003:007 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
003:008 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
003:009 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
003:010 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
003:011 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
003:012 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
003:013 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
003:014 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
003:015 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
003:016 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
003:017 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
003:018 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.


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