BIBLE STUDY The Book of
This study notes provide the core content of a group of bible studies on the Book of 2 Peter. While the core message of the study has been captured for you to read, written text can not fully express the sense of anointing upon the discussion of the word or the joy of corporate fellowship. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.
2 Peter chapter 1
A letter specifically for us Read verses 1&2
Peter makes it clear that he is writing to gentiles (non-Jews) when he uses the phrase “a faith as precious as ours”. It is through God’s grace that we are also his chosen people. But Peter goes on to tell us to make sure of our position in Christ. How we are to respond to God’s Promise Read verses 3-11 Peter instructs us to be sure of God’s provision in our Christian walk, and that we should make every effort to please Him. Our journey starts with faith in the promises.
Q. What 7 things does Peter say we should add to faith? (v 5-7) These are a mixture of what the Holy Spirit can give us and what we can do ourselves. Goodness, godliness and love are fruits of the Spirit. Knowledge, self-control, perseverance and kindness are the result of us having a disciplined life. The results can only be positive: a) They will keep us from falling away (v10) b) There will be eternal rewards (v11) The foundations of our faith Read verses 12-21 a) The testimony of the Apostles (v 12-18) Peter walked with Jesus. He knew his time to die was near (inferred in verse14) but he knew that in a way, he had a unique calling, along with James and John. They were Jesus’ 3 closest friends. They had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountain, they had seen him suffer, and Peter especially had experienced Forgiveness and Restoration. And so Peter is able to say that our faith is not built on stories, because he was an eye witness to all that Jesus did. b) The writings of the Prophets (v 19-21) Prophecy is the Word of God spoken through man (v 21). Jesus, the light was prophesied in Isaiah 9v2; Isaiah 42v6; Psalm 112v4 But there are those who will deny the Sovereignty of Jesus and will mislead people – even Christians who are not watchful.
2 Peter chapter 2 False teachers Read chapter 2 Verses 1-3: False teachers will water down the truth or obscure the truth or warp the truth so that people are led astray. Q. In these verses, how can we identify false teaching? Anything that is destructive or divisive, anything that departs from the Bible, anything that glorifies man rather than the Sovereign Lord is false teaching. In our “anything goes” and tolerant culture we need to be more aware than ever. Verses 4-10: Satan’s angel followers; the people in the Flood; those in Sodom and Gomorrah; Lot’s contemporaries - These are all examples of how God knows how to judge the unrighteous, and how to rescue the righteous.
Q. What was the sin that brought about their judgment? Rebellion; disbelief; immorality – When men falsely teach that it is ok to live according to their own standards and not God’s, they pay the penalty of that sin. Those who walk God’s way and trust in Jesus (as in chapter 1v5-7) are freed from the penalty of sin. Verses 11-16: Boldness, arrogance, brazenly advertising black as white, and wrong as right – and not heeding God’s Word, will result in punishment. These are not ‘politically correct’ things to say – but this is the Word of God. The way of Balaam – means using our spiritual gifts to make personal gain. Verses 17-22: How do false teachers achieve their aim? They appeal to the lustful desires of sinful nature, promising freedom, whilst actually making people slaves. “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him”. It is very sad when false teachers started out as Christians, because they go back to their unclean state (v2022). All teachers have a huge responsibility.
2 Peter chapter 3 Recall God’s Word Read verses 1-7 A placard with the words “The End is Nigh” is only ever seen in cartoon form as a joke – and people who talk about the end of the world are scoffed at and ridiculed, proving the truth of these words in 2 Peter. This is one of the signs that we are indeed in the End Times. And sometimes it is easy even for Christians to get accustomed to God’s word and become complacent. Peter reminds us about deliberately ignoring past judgment, by water in The Flood (v5). Verse 2 tells us that God’s Word was written for a purpose – first by the prophets; and then from the mouth of Jesus (See Matthew 24 & 25). There will be a final judgment and a period of tribulation – I believe that those who trust in Jesus will be saved from this in the same way that Noah and his family were saved. (Others believe we will experience some or all of the tribulation – the times of events in Revelation are all open to debate, so that no-one actually knows for certain.) A Judgment of Fire Read verses 8-10 We now understand how it is possible for atomic energy to destroy the whole world by fire. Whether it be man or God who “pushes the button” it will not happen until God’s appointed time. God lives outside the constraints of time (a thousand years is as a day) and he cannot be accused of lateness. His time is always the right time. Verse 9 says that the reason judgment has not been passed before is because God is waiting for people to turn to him. He does not want anyone to perish – he has no pleasure from the judgment he must one day give, wishing rather to show mercy. Peter’s listeners (the scoffers) rejected God words and warning purely so that they could continue in their sinful way of living. These false prophets and teachers chose to change the Word of God to suit their own lifestyle. Live right and be on your guard Read verses 11-14 Expect Jesus to come at any time (like a thief in the night – v10). We are to live as if it is our last day on earth (v14 – “found spotless and blameless”). By doing God’s will, we will “speed the day of his coming” (v12). And eventually we will have the privilege of seeing the new Heaven and the Hew Earth which are promised to all believers as our inheritance. Q. Will there be those who professed to be Christians who will miss out because they led others astray? Only God will judge. However, history shows us that the scoffers were judged in the Flood; and a whole generation of Israelites missed out on entering into the Promised Land because of unbelief (Only Joshua and Caleb took possession of the inheritance). Conversely, because they repented, the people of Jonah’s day in Nineveh were saved from judgment. 3
Be a good witness Read verses 15-18 God does not want to judge – he wants to save. Our part is to speak the truth of the gospel to others and not give them false or distorted (v16) information or false hope – it is a serious responsibility. Peter tells us to do 2 things: a) Be on your guard. Know the Scriptures. Know what God says he will do. Be expecting his return. Do not accept false teaching. Stay secure by reading the Word of God. b) Grow in the grace of Christ. We are saved by grace and by grace we develop the traits of Jesus Christ in us. As we grow in grace we get to know more of Jesus and vice versa. As we get to know more of Jesus we grow in grace. A life of grace will speak into the lives of others as much as a life of knowledge – but we are told to have both (v18).
Anne O'Brien's Bible Study on the Book of 2 Peter