II Peter

 

Author

·         Peter, although, like in I Peter, some scholars dispute this

 

Place and Time of Writing

·         Probably in Rome

·         Peter died in the mid-60s, so I will say he wrote this letter in 65

 

Unique Characteristics

·         One of the General Epistles

·         A personal letter from an older apostle to the church

 

Audience

·         To all Christians

 

Theme

·         Warning about false teachers and teachings

 

Opening II Peter Up

 

Why did Peter write II Peter?

After Peter wrote I Peter, which focused on suffering during persecution, he probably realized another issue among Christians:  false teachings.  [You might want to look back at Colossians, which had a similar theme.]  Therefore, before he died, Peter decided to write one more letter and warn Christians against heresies.  Just like I Peter, he also discussed other issues (see the Outline below; chapter 2 is the longest chapter), but the main issue was warning against false teachings.  He does not mention any specific heresies, but we do know that by this time false teachings had developed.  [Colossians, written in the early 60s, also shows this.]

 

Outline with selected verses

 

Chapters

1:  Be certain of your salvation and of Scripture

·         1:16:  “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

2:  Warning about false teachers

·         2:1, 2:  “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bring swift destruction on themselves.”

3:  Discussion about the return of Jesus

·         3:4:  [Concerning false teachers who are mocking the Christians because Jesus has not come back yet]  “They are saying, ‘where is this ‘coming’ he promised?  Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’”

·         3:8:  “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

·         3:10a: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”

 

Timeline so far      Additions are boldfaced     All dates are approximate

 

63BC

Rome Empire conquered Israel without fighting

44BC

Julius Caesar assassinated by Brutus, Cassius, and others.  Mark Antony tries to seize power, and he and Octavian (Caesar’s nephew) fight for power.

40BC

The Roman Empire made Herod the Great king of Israel

37BC

Antony married Cleopatra in Egypt

31BC

Octavian’s forces defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s forces; they committed suicide the next year.

27BC

Octavian is given name of Augustus, becomes Augustus Caesar.  This is the beginning of Pax Romana

4 BC

Jesus born

4 BC

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt because Herod the Great wanted to kill Jesus

4 BC

Herod the Great died

4 BC

After Herod the Great died, the kingdom of the Jews was divided and given to Herod’s three sons:

The northern part, north of Nazareth, went to Philip.

The middle part called Galilee, north of Jerusalem but where Nazareth was located, went to Herod Antipas.  (He is referred to as “Herod” in the Gospels and so this can be confusing.)

The southern part called Judea, where Jerusalem and Bethlehem was located, went to Herod Archelaus. 

AD

All years after this point are AD

Before

6

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to Nazareth instead of moving to Bethlehem

6

Archelaus was removed from power because he was so brutal

6 and after

The Romans did not choose another of Herod’s descendants to control Judea (southern Israel) but instead appointed Roman governors

8

Jesus lost in Jerusalem at age 12; Joseph and Mary found him in the Temple; possible Bar Mitzvah

8-27

Jesus probably worked as a carpenter

26-36

The Roman governor in charge of southern Israel was Pilate

27

Jesus baptized by John the Baptist

27-30

Jesus traveled in Israel and preached, taught, and performed miracles

30

1.  Jesus was crucified under the Roman governor Pilate, raises from the dead three days later and ascends out of sight about a month-and-a-half later

2.  The Apostles return to Jerusalem and pick a replacement for Judas

3.  Day of Pentecost

4.  Over 3000 people become Christian

5.  Christianity spreads outside of Israel

30-50

Peter was the leader of the Christian movement

33

Paul became a Christian

48-50

Paul went on his First Missionary Trip

48

James written around this year

50

Council of Jerusalem

·         Paul, Peter, the Apostle John and James the half-brother of Jesus were present along with many others

51-90

We do not know what John did during this time period

50-55

Paul went on his Second Missionary Trip

·         Paul wrote Galatians, I Thessalonians, and II Thessalonians

54-68

Nero was Roman emperor

55-60

Paul went on his Third Missionary Trip

·         Paul wrote Romans, and I & II Corinthians

60-62

Paul arrested in Jerusalem, taken to Rome, and lived under house arrest

·         Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon

62

James, the author of the book of James, was stoned

63

Paul released from prison and travelled; he may have gone to Spain

  • Paul wrote I Timothy and Titus

64

Fire in Rome.  The emperor Nero blamed, persecuted, and killed many Christians.  This was the first Roman persecution of Christians. 

·         I Peter written around this year

65

1.  Paul back in Rome

2.  Paul wrote II Timothy

3.  Peter wrote II Peter

4.  Peter and Paul martyred around this year in Rome

·         Peter crucified upside down

·         Paul beheaded

66

Some of the Jews got tired of the Roman rule and killed many Roman soldiers.  They thus took back the land of Israel for the Jews.

66-70

The Romans counter-attacked.  The Romans lost one battle, but won the war.

68

  • Mark written around this year

  • Hebrews written around this year

70

The Romans captured Jerusalem and burned the Temple. 

80

Matthew and Luke written around this year

81-96

Domitian is Roman emperor

90

John and Acts written around this year

95

1.  Persecution of Christians

2.  John was placed on the island of Patmos as a prisoner of Domitian

96

1.  Domitian died

2.  John was probably released from Patmos; he probably traveled to Ephesus where he stayed for the rest of his life

100

John died

367

First listing of the 27 books in a letter written by an Egyptian bishop

390s

Two councils “closed” the NT canon to those 27 books

1200s

NT divided into chapters

1500s

NT divided into verses

 

 

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