Where the world comes to study the Bible

Is 2 Peter Peter’s?

Related Media


Of all the epistles accepted into the New Testament canon, the book of 2 Peter remains the most difficult. Understanding with certainty the epistle’s complex issues feels like trying to untie a tightly woven knot—only to find more little knots to untie. However, if the issue of authorship can be reasonably determined, most of the knots considerably loosen themselves.

The rejection of Peter as the writer of 2 Peter is by far the most common opinion today. In fact, the view of the pseudonymity of the epistle is almost universal.1 The term pseudonymity refers to an author assuming the name of another, writing supposedly on his or her behalf—or in his or her name. The prefix pseudo means “false.” “Scarcely anyone nowadays doubts that 2 Peter is pseudonymous, although it must be admitted of the few who do that they defend their case with an impressive combination of learning and ingenuity.”2 Bauckman’s view is characteristic of those who reject authenticity:

The evidence which really rules out composition during Peter’s lifetime is that of literary genre and that of date. Either of these might be fatal for any degree of Petrine authorship. Together they must be regarded as entirely conclusive against Petrine authorship.3

Guthrie comments on the essential problem of authorship:

The choice seems to lie between two fairly well defined alternatives. Either the epistle is genuinely Petrine (with or without the use of an amanuensis [secretary]), in which case the main problem is the delay in its reception. Or it is pseudepigraphic, in which case the main difficulties are lack of an adequate motive and the problem of the epistle’s ultimate acceptance.4

This article seeks to show the evidence for a credible position that the apostle Peter is the author of 2 Peter, as the epistle claims, considering the problems and plausible solutions to the problems on both sides.

Second Peter and the New Testament Canon

The history of the acceptance of 2 Peter into the New Testament canon has all the grace of a college hazing event. This epistle was examined, prayed over, considered, and debated more than any other New Testament book—including Revelation:

2 Peter was recognized as canonical by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage in the fourth century, and this is the more significant because these Councils rejected the Epistle of Barnabas and 1 Clement, because they were not of apostolic origin. . . . At the Reformation it was regarded as second-class Scripture by Luther, rejected by Erasmus, and regarded with hesitancy by Calvin.5

Bauckham speculates that the reason for the hesitancy of 2 Peter’s acceptance is that:

Quite probably the churches which originally received it, knowing it not to be Peter’s own work, would not have granted it the same status in their own use as they did, e.g., to the Pauline letters. . . . Whatever the reasons for its lack of wide use in the second century, this seems to have contributed to its very slow progress toward general acceptance into the canon.”6

The early church hesitated to accept 2 Peter possibly because Peter’s name was used in many Gnostic writings, and both Peter and Jude allude to Enoch, an apocryphal book.7 However, as White says:

The involved problem of the canonical position of 2 Peter is dependent first of all on the concept of canon espoused. If the principle of divine providence in the preservation and acceptance of the Biblical books is rejected, then the canonization of any specific text becomes a mere problem in historiography. If, on the other hand, a belief in the sovereign work of God through the Church’s responsible agency in producing the canon is maintained then the fact is established in history.8

The External Evidence

The external evidence regarding 2 Peter is not conclusive, but it is noteworthy. The common view by those who hold to pseudonymity is that 2 Peter was not written until the second century because of its late attestation in the writings of the early church fathers. However, Green notes significant manuscript evidence which would suggest an even earlier date for 2 Peter:

The recent discovery of the third-century Papyrus 72, including both Epistles of Peter and Jude, sheds light on the use of this Epistle in Egypt. The Coptic mother tongue of the scribes concerned, together with the variant text types embodied in the MS [manuscripts] indicate a considerable history of the use of these letters in Egypt before the third-century papyrus in which they are embodied.9

In addition, the 2nd century Sahidic and the 4th century Bohairic versions of the Bible included it, as did Clement of Alexandria’s Bible (ca. 200). The Apocalypse of Peter, which most scholars hold as later than 2 Peter, makes use of 2 Peter.10

The struggle over 2 Peter began early in church history. “II Peter was disputed up to the time of Eusebius. It was quoted less and discussed more by the Church Fathers than any other single book of the New Testament.”11

The earliest certain reference to ii Peter is in Origen, whom Eusebius (H.E. vi. 25) refers to as having said that Peter left one acknowledge epistle, and ‘perhaps also a second, for it is disputed… .’ Farther back than Origen it is not easy to trace.12

Robert Picirilli has shown that 2 Peter is clearly a possible source for several allusions by the early church fathers. If and when the similarities between 2 Peter and the Fathers are a possible twenty-two times, “the level of likelihood ranging from merely possible to highly probable”13 is high that 2 Peter is Peter’s. He summarizes the external evidence well, by saying that:

One cannot dogmatically affirm that there are certainly no allusions to 2 Peter in the Apostolic Fathers; the common material is too obviously there… . [The] authenticity of 2 Peter will have to be debated on grounds other than whether the Apostolic Fathers knew it and alluded to it.14

The Internal Evidence

The internal evidence for the authenticity of 2 Peter is plentiful and powerful, and yet, not without its problems. The book clearly intends its readers to believe Peter to be its author, for it includes personal references to Peter’s life.

The epistle opens with the name “Simon Peter” as the author (1:1), it mentions the immanency of his death foretold by the Lord (1:14), and the author claims to have been an eyewitness to the Transfiguration (1:16–18). However, some see these references as evidence against authenticity under the guise of pseudonymity. Barnett is an example of such opinions: “This zeal of the epistle for its own authenticity creates more doubt than confidence and other data fail to support its claim.”15 Strachan agrees: “They do not nearly amount to evidence that the writer is the Apostle himself.”16 Perhaps a more balanced approach is suggested by Tenney, who says: “While the external evidence for the genuineness of II Peter is not so clear and convincing as it is for other books of the New Testament, the internal evidence creates at least a presumption of authenticity.”17

The assertion seems unfounded that the use of the names Simon, along with Peter (in 2 Peter 1:1), is an attempt by a pseudepigrapher to verify his “authenticity.” Any attempt by a pseudepigrapher to emulate Peter’s writing would not have differed from 1 Peter’s salutation where the name “Simon” is absent.18 Neither would the writer have adopted a primitive Hebrew form of the word.19

Many assume that the statement in 2 Peter 1:14, of the immanency of Peter’s death, is dependent upon the narrative recorded in John 21, where Jesus tells Peter how he will die. If it can be shown that 2 Peter used John 21, it would require too late a date for the epistle to be genuine because the gospel was written after Peter’s death. However, this assumption is unnecessary. There is no basis to Bauckham’s remark that “Second Peter is fictionally represented as written shortly before Peter’s death” (emphasis added).20 Peter himself heard the remark made by the Lord (as did John) and was only commenting on it in 2 Peter, as John did in John 21.

When it is remarked in 2 Peter 1:15 that the author will make every effort after his departure to ensure their remembering, some critics see here an attempt by “pseudo-Peter” to make 2 Peter a part of the testamentary genre. If so, the readers would have allegedly expected that 2 Peter is pseudepigraphal. Bauckham agrees and then ups the ante:

In Jewish usage the testament was a fictional literary genre… . Second Peter bears so many marks of the testament genre that readers familiar with the genre must have expected it to be fictional, like other examples they knew. If they knew that it came from the Petrine circle in Rome, then they might trust its author to have made a good job of reporting the essence of Peter’s teaching, but they would not expect Peter to have written it. At any rate the presumption would be that he did not… . [In 2 Peter] Petrine authorship was intended to be an entirely transparent fiction.21

The problem is that the statement can be explained without such hypotheses. Moreover, as Guthrie states, “It is difficult, if not impossible, to state what such readers would expect… . [If] such knowledge was widespread and the practice was acceptable, it still does not explain the long delay in attestation (emphasis added).”22 Some have thought Peter’s desire to preserve “these things” for their remembrance to be a reference to the gospel of Mark, to a lost letter, or to perhaps a letter never written,23 but this seems unlikely. It is not necessary to go outside 2 Peter for the letter in question. Kelly gives the best solution:

Almost certainly the reference is to the epistle itself. The [future] tense is admittedly difficult … [but] in employing the future the writer is either looking forward to the sections he is about to draft or (more probably) placing himself in the position of his readers when they receive and study his tract.24

One of the clearest personal allusions to Peter in 2 Peter is his reference to his presence on the Mount of Transfiguration (1:16–18) as validation of his eyewitness authority. To Peter the mount was “sacred,” for he was one of the few who got to witness the event. Green observes how:

It is interesting that the roots of both skenoma (tabernacle) and exodus (decease, verse 15) should occur in the Lucan account of the transfiguration, to which Peter goes on to refer. If 2 Peter is a pseudepigraph, its author must have been sophisticated in the extreme to produce so delicate a touch.25

It is remarkable to note Bauckham’s response to these personal allusions: “Apart from the Transfiguration tradition and other Gospel traditions, there is little material in 2 Peter which could plausibly be regarded as specifically Petrine tradition deriving from the historical Peter.”26 But this does not deal with the fact that this material is present in 2 Peter, giving evidence of the historical Peter! What else must the author do to validate himself? What could Peter have done that he did not do if he were to have written 2 Peter? There is nothing in these personal allusions that deny authenticity.

Second Peter’s reference to the death of the fathers (3:4) is asserted to be a reference to New Testament fathers—the apostles. Thus it is concluded that Peter could not have written it himself because all the apostles would not yet have died. The problem is that the phrase the fathers is consistently used in the New Testament to refer to Old Testament fathers alone,27 “and it is clear from the context (Genesis and the flood) that this is what is meant here.”28 The fact is that “Nowhere else in the New Testament nor the Apostolic Fathers is [the Greek word for fathers] used of Christian ‘patriarchs’ and the more natural interpretation would be to take it as denoting Jewish patriarchs,”29

When 2 Peter refers to all of Paul’s writings as being on par with “other Scriptures,” it is seen by some to clinch pseudonymity, because all of Paul’s letters were not written by the time of Peter’s death. However “all” need not be taken this way, for it could simply mean “all he has written so far.” Mayor disagrees: “A collection of later writings known to the writer as Scripture, of which St. Paul’s epistles formed a part … can hardly be conceived as possible before the middle of the second century.”30 Guthrie provides a more lucid view: “Is it not more reasonable to suggest that in the apostolic period Peter may have recognized the value of Paul’s epistles even more fully than the later sub-apostolic Fathers? These latter do not speak of Paul as ‘our beloved brother’, but in [even] more exalted ways.”31 Mayor, almost contradicting himself, states as a concession perhaps: “There are many difficulties in the way of accepting the genuineness of this Epistle, but the manner in which St. Paul is spoken of seems to me just what we should have expected from his brother apostle.”32

The “second letter,” to which 2 Peter refers in 3:1, is most naturally taken to be the letter following 1 Peter.333While 2 Peter could be the “second letter,” it does not seem to be a reminder of the first, as it claims. This leads Green to the conclusion that the epistle referred to was lost.34 Many scholars tend to agree with Bauckham on this issue of a lost letter: “It is obviously impossible to rule out this possibility… . But if there is a known document which meets the requirements of the reference we should not resort to the hypothesis of a lost document.”35 This “second letter” could indeed be 2 Peter, with 1 Peter being the intimated first letter. “2 Peter does not absolutely demand that both epistles should say the same thing and it may be possible to make 1 Peter fill the bill by appealing to the frequent allusions to prophetic words within that epistle.”36

When Peter quoted from Psalm 90:4 that “a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8 NIV), there is no mention of the doctrine of chiliasm (the thousand-year reign of Christ) which was a major doctrine in the second century, the very time it is alleged that 2 Peter was pseudepigraphically written. Green explains:

It would have been almost impossible for any second-century writer to use this verse, as 2 Peter does without commenting on it at all either in favor of or against the chiliast hope. This in itself suggests the antiquity of our Epistle.37

The style between 1 and 2 Peter is very different, and on this basis many have doubted that Peter wrote 2 Peter. For example, 1 Peter’s Greek is cultured and written well, while 2 Peter is “rather like baroque art, almost vulgar in its pretentiousness and effusiveness.”38 Bauckham states: “The relationship of 1 and 2 Peter is ambiguous in its relevance to the question of Petrine authorship, but certainly Peter cannot be the real author of both letters.”39 Wand agrees: “Thus the writer takes every pains to let us know that he is the Apostle Peter. But if he is S. Peter, it is certainly not the Peter that we know… . The two Epistles indeed show a contrast at nearly every point.”40

How does one account for this difference in style if they have the same author? In comparing the letters we find that Peter used a secretary, or an amanuensis, to compose 1 Peter,41 while no such mention of one is made in 2 Peter. This would explain why 1 Peter’s Greek is so polished, and why 2 Peter, written by the rugged fisherman himself, is more rough. It should be noted that Paul also used an amanuenses.42

Another objection arises in that Peter could not have written both letters because their content is so different. However, the nature of the circumstances determines the nature of the content, and different purposes in writing would be a simple solution to the epistles’ different themes. First Peter is an admonishment to stand strong in tribulation,43 and 2 Peter is a stirring up to remember the basics of the faith (a fitting theme for Peter to emphasize at the end of his life).44

While it is the popular opinion Peter could not have written both 1 and 2 Peter, it is universally agreed that the same author wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. However, when one compares the ratio of common words between the pairs of books, it suggests a consistency, not a contradiction, of authors (see figure 1).45

Figure 1

1 Timothy—537 words

Titus—399 words

161 common words

1 Peter—543 words

2 Peter—399 words

153 common words

After comparing the remarkable similarities in language between 1 and 2 Peter, Weiss concludes: “From a biblical and theological point of view therefore, the second epistle of Peter is allied to no New Testament writing more closely than to his first.”46

Because the major themes of 1 and 2 Peter are so different, it is often held as evidence against Petrine authorship. Yet “it should be noted that much of the evidence brought forward in support is due to subjective assessments which naturally appeal differently to different minds.”47 As previously stated, the difference in doctrinal emphasis between the two letters can clearly be attributed to purpose, as can other New Testament books by the same writer (such as Paul’s Romans and Philemon, and John’s gospel and Revelation). While there are marked similarities, there must also be some differences, or why write another letter? Even 2 Peter’s desire to “remind them” included some things he (and others) said verbally and yet did not include in 1 Peter.48

Even a casual reading in the English text shows a dependence of 2 Peter upon Jude or Jude upon 2 Peter (or less likely, both dependent on some lost document). It is the common assumption that 2 Peter borrowed from Jude. Along with that assumption, usually there comes a later date for the writing of Jude; therefore, Peter is again ruled out as the author of 2 Peter by virtue of a composition date past his death. Meade assumes that, “Literarily the work is dependent on the Epistle of Jude… . The problem is that, authentic or not, Jude is usually dated after the lifetime of Peter.”49

But there exists no compelling evidence to show a late date for Jude, or for that matter, Jude’s primacy over Peter. But even if Jude was Peter’s source, there is no reason Peter could not have used Jude’s material in his letter.50 “The ancients had no law of copyright. In short, the question of the relationship of 2 Peter to Jude has no bearing whatever on the authenticity of 2 Peter.”51

Second Peter and Pseudonymity

As stated at the outset, 2 Peter is commonly held to be pseudepigraphal in nature. Pseudonymity is the practice of writing under someone else’s name; this is not simply a “pen name,” as we have today, but it is the deliberate taking of a real person’s name for the purpose of influence in publication. The basis by which modern scholarship justifies the use of pseudonymity is that it was a “common usage” in the ancient world, and for a New Testament writer to adopt the style would have been perfectly legitimate and understood.52 This is the view of Moffat, who states that: “The literary device [of pseudonymity] was recognized in these days … and the author evidently felt no scruples about adopting this literary device in order to win a hearing.”53 However, it must be mentioned that the fact the writer felt “no scruples” about using the name of Simon Peter could also be attributed to the fact that it was his name. Like Moffat, Bauckham supports pseudonymity:

The pseudepigraphal device is therefore not a fraudulent means of claiming apostolic authority, but embodies a claim to be a faithful mediator of the apostolic message. Recognizing the canonicity of 2 Peter means recognizing the validity of that claim, and it is not clear that this is so alien to the early church’s criteria of canonicity as is sometimes alleged.54

Quite the opposite is shown in an outstanding work by Roger Beckwith:

The only convention of pseudonymity that does seem to have been acknowledged in Hellenistic Jewish circles was one which involved no pretense, as when the author of wisdom wrote his book ‘in honor of Solomon’ (i.e. in imitation of Proverbs), the use of Solomon’s name being merely a literary device on his part, and no secret being made of the book’s pseudonymous character, which was still remembered in the second century AD (emphasis added).55

The only Jewish examples of pseudonymity, in an attempt at epistolary form, were the Epistle of Jeremy and the Letter of Aristeas.56 Pfeiffer describes the latter as an attempt to give “an account of the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek. In reality, all the details of this narrative are fictitious… . This fanciful story of the origin of the Septuagint is merely a pretext for defending Judaism against its heathen denigrators.”57 Because there are no examples of epistolary pseudonymity during the time of the early church, we must be wary of “a too facile admittance of the practice in New Testament times.”58 Wand ignores such a position, and he states that:

[Second Peter] provides us with the one clear example of pseudepigraphic material that we have in the New Testament. This does not mean necessarily that it is a deliberate and unabashed forgery. If we judge by the literary standards of the time, we might say that it is as much and as little a forgery as the Pilgrim’s Progress or any historical novel that is written in the first person. It was the established custom.59

While a forgery is not required by this single, alleged attestation to pseudonymity, it is not necessarily precluded either. In fact, if it is indeed the one “clear example,” the burden of proof would lie with showing it not to be genuine, for the consistent manner in Scripture—regardless of “established,” non-scriptural “customs”—was for the author to be who he claimed. “In other words, pseudonymous hypotheses are at a discount when compared with authentic works and require for that reason the most convincing grounds for their substantiation.”60

Because of the difference in the style and the theological emphases between 1 and 2 Peter, Kelly asserts: “We must therefore conclude that 2 Peter belongs to the luxuriant crop of pseudo-Petrine literature which sprang up around the memory of the Prince of the apostles.”61 If this is true, why does 2 Peter not attempt to contribute anything new to our understanding of Peter as do all the other pseudepigraphs?62 In addition, Guthrie points out that lumping 2 Peter with the spurious Petrine books ignores the quality of the epistle:

For spiritual quality is not a matter of skill, but of inspiration. In spite of all the doubts regarding the epistle, the discernment of the Christian church decided in its favor because the quality of its message suggested its authenticity. It was the same discernment which confidently rejected the spurious Petrine literature… . The fact that it ultimately gained acceptance in spite of the pseudo-Petrine literature is an evidence more favorable to its authenticity than against it.”63

In comparing 2 Peter with other so-called Petrine material, Bauckham speaks of 2 Peter’s alleged pseudepigraphal author:

His disregard for 1 Peter, which is mentioned because the readers knew it but on which, by contrast with later pseudepigraphal practice, the author conspicuously fails to model 2 Peter, may indicate a confidence … to speak on behalf of the dead Peter without recourse to other Petrine writings.64

Or it may be that it contrasts “with later pseudepigraphal practice” because it was not a pseudepigraphal work, and Peter felt no need to copy 1 Peter’s style because his purpose was entirely different for 2 Peter. Guthrie explains how “no author ever considers what impression a different style will have upon critical recipients, whereas in the nature of the case an imitator cannot fail to give some attention to this.”65

Was the literary use of pseudonymity questionable or accepted? While there does appear to be an initial acceptance of pseudonymity in the early church, it was extremely short-lived. The attitude toward pseudonymity had almost universally changed by the time 2 Peter was admitted into the canon, and its admittance suggests it was not taken to be pseudonymous. One example of the attitude of the early church toward pseudonymity is seen in the document entitled the Acts of Paul. But Bauckham disagrees:

The example of Tertullians’s defrocking of a presbyter for writing the Acts of Paul seems to be a much clearer expression of disapproval of a pseudonymity. Yet here too there are theological concerns… . Once again, then, it is doctrine, not authenticity, that is of paramount concern.66

But Tertullian does not mention an acceptance of the pseudonymity, while at the same time rejecting the heresy, and “such a distinction cannot reasonably be maintained.”67 Beckwith elucidates further the short acceptance of pseudonymity:

Even Clement of Alexandria, who uses it [pseudonymity] so freely, seems to admit that its use is confined to ‘initiates’, and Tertullian, in his treatise On Women’s Dress 1.3, has to defend at length his use of 1 Enoch against those who, he acknowledges, rejected it as uncanonical and spurious. By the mid third century, Origen is only using this literature with caution… . From this date, the decline of the apocalyptic and prophetic Pseudepigrapha could only be rapid. By the fifth or sixth century, works like pseudo-Athanasius, Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae … were listing them in a separate category as not just uncanonical but harmful.68

Green reduces the problem of pseudonymity to a basic issue when he says:

The only a priori [deductive] argument against such an apparently reasonable hypothesis [of pseudonymity] is the moral one. How is it that writers who urge the highest moral standards in their letters should stoop to deceit of this type? In this case, the author not only claims to be Peter; he constantly implies it… . It seems rather that pseudepigraphy was not so leniently viewed in Christian circles. Thus Paul inveighed against the practice in the Thessalonian correspondence (2 Thes. ii. 2, iii. 17).69

The crux of the matter is—based on the attitude of the early church toward pseudonymity—that if pseudepigraphal writings entered into the canon of the New Testament, they crept in without the councils’ awareness of its pseudonymity. Even James, who holds to pseudonymity, says: “If there were an element of conscious deceit connected with the writing, it must have laid principally in the manner in which the Epistle was introduced into the Church.”70 Summarizing the problem well, Guthrie states:

If this is a valid conclusion the charge of deliberate deception can scarcely be avoided… . Pseudepigraphic hypotheses must assume that the author’s notion of the truth contained nothing inconsistent with a literary method which he must have known would deceive many if not [eventually] all his readers… . Yet such deception is difficult to reconcile with the high spiritual quality of the New Testament writings concerned… . It is a fatal objection to all attempts to make pseudepigraphy respectable in early Christianity that the external evidence from our extant sources can supply no positive support for it.”71

Summary and Conclusion

It may be conclusively stated that there is no definitive evidence against the authenticity of 2 Peter in spite of the fact that the majority of scholarship today rejects apostolic authorship. The external evidence, while not proving authenticity, neither disproves it, for the evidence provides twenty-two possible usages of 2 Peter. The internal evidence, particularly the personal allusions to Peter’s life, clearly means to communicate that the author is Peter. The issues regarding history, doctrine, and style are, again, not conclusively against Petrine authorship, but on the contrary, may be used to support it. Each historical problem has a viable solution which harmonizes with Peter’s hand, and the issues of doctrine and style can be attributed naturally to purpose and Peter’s use of an amanuensis.

The more difficult position to defend is for the adherents of pseudonymity, not for the traditional authorship view. At the time of 2 Peter’s canonization, the practice of pseudonymity was scorned and had not one example of New Testament usage, while the canonical books were only admitted after careful scrutiny of genuineness. That 2 Peter was admitted validates both its authenticity and its non-pseudonymity.

In conclusion, it may be stated that a denial of Petrine authorship cuts to the very heart of the biblical doctrine of inerrancy. How can one accept the verbal, plenary inspiration—which would demand Petrine authorship at verse one—and still call 2 Peter canonical?72 Regardless of its late acceptance, it was accepted into the canon of Scripture. And if 2 Peter is Scripture, and if Scripture is inerrant, then the author must be the one whom the word of God says he is: “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.”73

1 Ferngren states accurately, that in spite of its own claims, “a majority of informed scholars regard 2 Peter as pseudonymous, and this view is taken by many as a proven fact… . A strong case can be made for Peter’s authorship of the second epistle attributed to him. Yet such arguments are for the most part ignored in modern discussions and one may be permitted to wonder how many minds are influenced less by the evidence against Petrine authorship than by the fact that the opinio communis of modern scholarship regards the evidence against it as decisive.” (Gary B. Ferngren, “Internal Criticism as a Criterion for Authorship in the New Testament,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 134 #536 [October–December 1977], 341.)

2 J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and of Jude (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 245.

3 Richard Bauckham, Word Biblical Commentary: Jude, 2 Peter (Waco: Word Books, 1983), 159. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

4 Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, 4th ed. (Leicester, Eng.: Apollos; Downers Grove, Ill., InterVarsity, 1990), 840–841. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press.

5 Michael Green, The Second Epistle General of Peter, and the General Epistle of Jude: An Introduction and Commentary, The Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1968), 15, 13. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press.

6 Bauckham, 163.

7 See Green, 14–15.

8 W. White Jr., “Second Epistle of Peter,” in Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 729.

9 Green, 13 (footnote).

10 Harold Hoehner, “New Testament Introduction 200” (unpublished notes, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Tex., Spring 1997), 72.

11 Merrill C. Tenney, New Testament Survey (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1961), 412.

12 J. W. C. Wand, The General Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude (London: Methuen, 1934), 140–141. Donald Guthrie remarks: “In many respects Origen shares the broad approach of Clement toward the New Testament. He knows and uses all the canonical books of the New Testament, although he does mention doubts about some of them… . [He did not] question 1 Peter as apostolic, and he acknowledged the possibility that 2 Peter was genuine” (Donald Guthrie, “Canon of the New Testament,” in Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 1 [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975, 1976], 737.)

13 Picirilli, 74. He asserts also: “The strongest possibilities have been found in 1 Clement, Pseudo-Clement, Barnabas, and Hermas.”

14 Picirilli, 74, 76.

15 Albert E. Barnett, introduction to “The Second Epistle of Peter,” in The Interpreter’s Bible (New York: Abingdon, 1957), 164.

16 R. H. Strachan, “The Second Epistle General of Peter,” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, vol. V (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967), 97.

17 Tenney, 367.

18 1 Peter 1:1: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

19 See Guthrie, NTI, 820.

20 Bauckham, 159.

21 Bauckham, 134.

22 Guthrie, NTI, 822 (footnote), 842.

23 Guthrie, NTI, 822.

24 Kelly, 314.

25 Green, 79.

26 Bauckham, 160.

27 Cf. John 6:58; 7:22; Acts 13:32; Romans 9:5; 11:28; 15:8; Hebrews 1:1. Bauckham both admits this usage and still rejects it: “However, in spite of this consistent usage, there are difficulties in the way of supposing 2 Peter to refer to the OT fathers, and almost all commentators understand (‘the fathers’) to be the first Christian generation. This view is weak because of an eschatological presumption that the ‘coming’ of the Lord, as prophesied in the OT, was fulfilled in Christ’s first advent. The context of 2 Peter has clearly in mind the second advent” (Bauckham, 290).

28 Green, 26.

29 Guthrie, NTI, 829.

30 Joseph B. Mayor, The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter: Greek Text with Introduction Notes and Comments (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 168.

31 Guthrie, NTI, 826.

32 Mayor, 166.

33 Lenski gives an interesting interpretation to this issue: “This epistle [2 Peter] was not written after but before the one we call First Peter, and the two were not sent to the same readers… . Those who suppose that Second Peter was written after First Peter and was sent to the same churches as a second encyclical create an insoluble problem for themselves: why, then, was Second Peter not received everywhere on the same basis as First Peter?” And yet Lenski comments on 1:14 that “this letter must be dated shortly before Peter’s end.” How could Peter have written 2 Peter at the end of his life if he still had 1 Peter to write? (Richard Charles Henry Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961], 237, 241, 282.)

34 Green, 123–124.

35 Bauckham, 285–286. Incidentally, we may use Bauckman’s own logic on this issue against his claim of pseudepigraphal authorship. Hence, “If there is a known” author who “meets the requirements of” authenticity “we should not resort to the hypothesis of” pseudonymity. Indeed, we should give 2 Peter the benefit of the doubt!

36 Guthrie, NTI, 828.

37 Green, 34 (footnote).

38 Green, 16.

39 Bauckham, 159. He also feels his view is substantiated by pointing out that: “2 Peter has the highest proportion of hapax legomena any New Testament book. Thirty-two of these are not found in the LXX either.” 135.

40 Wand, 143.

41 1 Peter 5:12: “Through [Dia;] Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly.”

42 Romans 16:22 (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; Philemon 19).

43 1 Peter 4:12–13: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

44 2 Peter 3:1–2: “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.”

45 The information on this chart is credited to Harold Hoehner’s unpublished notes: (Hoehner, 74).

46 Bernhard Weiss, A Manual of Introduction to the New Testament, trans. A. J. K. Davidson, 2 vols. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1889), 2:165. Observe also Weiss’ “long series of very striking resemblances” on p. 166, elucidating both the common usages of words and the grammatical congruity between the two epistles.

47 Guthrie, NTI, 819.

48 He reminded them to “remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2).

49 David G. Meade, Pseudonymity and Canon: An Investigation into the Relationship of Authorship and Authority in Jewish and Earliest Christian Tradition (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), 179. Kelly agrees when he says: “Its exact date is not easy to determine. It is obviously later than Jude, but not necessarily much later … and while the writer evidently regards Jude with respect, he does not mention it by name in spite of its claim to be by ‘the brother of James’ or treat it as Scripture” (Kelly, 236).

50 Green concedes the possibility of Peter’s use of Jude: “If Paul was not averse to adapting to his own purposes the writings of the heathen poets, lists of Stoic virtues, fragments of hymns, for the dubious war cries of his opponents, is there any reason to suppose that Peter would have been unwilling to draw from the work of a brother of his Master? (Green, 23). Plumptre asserts that Peter employed Jude’s letter because, “It would not be enough merely to pass on the letter of St. Jude. His own name was better known, and would carry greater weight with it” (E. H. Plumptre, The General Epistles of St. Peter & St. Jude [Cambridge: The University Press, 1899], 80). However, this may reduce one’s view of Jude considerably, as Johnson states: “Most scholars think that there is a direct literary dependence, with the direction going from Jude to 2 Peter 2. Once that is said, little is learned there [from] either writing. Each has its own voice, and Jude in particular is done a disservice by being reduced to the level of a source for 2 Peter.” (Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986], 443.)

51 Green, 23.

52 Guthrie, NTI, 1011.

53 Moffat, 174.

54 Bauckham, 161–162.

55 Roger Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985), 350.

56 Guthrie, NTI, 1014.

57 Robert Henry Pfeiffer, History of New Testament Times, with an Introduction to the Apocrypha (New York: Harper, 1949), 224, 225.

58 Guthrie, NTI, 1017.

59 Wand, 144.

60 Guthrie, NTI, 1018.

61 Kelly, 236.

62 Green makes a good point when he says that: “2 Peter has little in common with any of these undoubted forgeries. It has no heretical ax to grind… . As a pseudepigraph it has no satisfactory raison-d’etre” (Green, 31 [footnote]).

63 Guthrie, NTI, 838, 809.

64 Bauckham, 160.

65 Guthrie, NTI, 1022.

66 Meade, 205.

67 Guthrie, NTI, 1019, 1028.

68 Beckwith, 397–398.

69 Green, 31–32. (2 Thessalonians 2:1–2 says: “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” And 3:17 says: “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.”)

70 James, xxxiv.

71 Guthrie, NTI, 1020–1021, 1028. With this conclusion, Green agrees: “I remain unconvinced by the arguments brought against it, because I have yet to see a convincing pseudepigraph from the early days of Christianity” (Green, 33).

72 Payne states that: “One’s choice between Petrine authenticity and pseudepigraphic fraud rests once again on the limits that are recognized as legitimate for criticism of the inerrant Word of God” (J. Barton Payne, “Higher Criticism and Biblical Inerrancy,” in Inerrancy [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980], 106).

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

Report Inappropriate Ad