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1 and 2 Peter

A Daily Bible Study in 7-Day Sections with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and Daily Application

Sunday (1 Peter 1:1-2:3)

Salutation

1:1 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen

1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!

New Birth to Joy and Holiness

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1:4 that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you,

1:5 who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1:6 This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials.

1:7 Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1:8 You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,

1:9 because you are attaining the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls.

1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully.

1:11 They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory.

1:12 They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things angels long to catch a glimpse of.

1:13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1:14 Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance,

1:15 but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct,

1:16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”

1:17 And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.

1:18 You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold,

1:19 but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.

1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake.

1:21 Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

1:22 You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart.

1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

1:24 For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off,

1:25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.

2:1 So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

2:2 And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation,

2:3 if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness.

Prayer

Lord, You made Heaven possible for us through the holiness of the One Who died and rose and ascended for us, and Who will return for us. May I seek-after the holiness that He modeled so as to honor His great sacrifice and wonderful gift.

Summary & Commentary

Peter began by addressing the immediate intended recipients as “.... those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia)”. as well as noting that his audience is believers. He also included a benediction “May grace and peace be yours in full measure!”

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1:4 that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, 1:5 who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

[Note: Peter reaffirmed the assurance of our salvation. Once truly saved one is eternally saved.]

1:6a This brings you great joy,

[Note: This is not the same thing as “happiness” which depends upon momentary earthly circumstances but is a more soul-level spiritually-discerned joy, certain of our salvation to an eternity in perfection with God’s family.]

1:6b ... although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. 1:7 Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

[Note: The Lord God, through Peter, again used an illustration which would be familiar, readily comprehended, and powerful among his audience.]

1:8 You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 1:9 because you are attaining the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls.

[Note: Faith is ultimately a soul-level trust in the unseen, perhaps even the un-seeable; while some “believed” as a result of meeting Jesus and observing His miracles, others did not, the difference occurred at a soul-level rather than merely in their emotions and intellects. Peter also affirmed the singularity of the relationship between faith and salvation.]

1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. 1:11 They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory. 1:12 They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things angels long to catch a glimpse of.

[Note: We are to recognize the Lord God’s consistent message and His reliability; He said through His prophets that Jesus the Christ - The Messiah - would come and He made it so.]

1:13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

[Note: This is not about being free of alcohol or other toxic substances, though it surely includes that, but instead refers to clear thinking and to an actively-reflective mind-set in pursuit of truth - or rephrased - poised to recognize and to accept it. It also is intended to ward-off the efforts of the Judaisers to re-impose legalism and works.]

1:14 Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, 1:15 but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, 1:16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” 1:17 And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.

[Note: Peter exhorted his readers to step-up to their new identity in-Christ. He also reminded them that they have a new “home address” in Heaven and they are now only visitors here - transforming their perspective.]

1:18a You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors

[Note: Peter recollected Ecclesiastes and other NT teachings re. the futility of a life of works and a life in the world.]

1:18 but you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, 1:19 but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. 1:21 Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

[Note: Peter re-affirmed the deity of Christ as a member of the eternal Trinity, that He “... was manifested in these last times” - Jesus came at CHRISTmas to fulfill His promise to provide a pathway to redemption, and that He would suffer-die-be resurrected in the Easter season, and therefore “... your faith and hope in God” is legitimate.]

1:22 You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

[Note: The “soul” of a human is guaranteed purification at the gates of Heaven; however, one is expected to engage the process of purification while on earth. Peter re-affirmed our “born-again” status and the assurance of our salvation.]

1:24 For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off,

[Note: Peter reminded his readers of the temporary nature of our earthly existence.]

1:25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.

2:1 So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2:2 And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation, 2:3 if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness.

[Note: “... if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness” refers to the efforts of God through believers and other interventions in your life to present the gospel and to issue an invitation to choose salvation. It is, according to the NET translator’s notes, in part quoting Psalms 34:8 which paints a word picture of God as like tasty food to the soul. Peter revisited Paul’s exhortation for believers to intentionally pursue maturity.]

Interaction

Consider

Peter's exhortation was that we step-up to our identity in-Christ and that since we have a new "home address" in Heaven and are now only visitors here - our perspective must be transformed.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to engage the process of purification while on earth?

Reflect

Peter's rephrased the essentials of the Gospel message, with the reminder that because of Who Jesus is we therefore are who we are due to our intimate relationship with Him, thus we have cause to be confident.

Share

What is an example from your experience of a modern illustration, similar to the purification of gold in the fire, which would accurately illustrate the soul-purifying value of worldly troubles rightly-handled by a Biblical-Christian?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you one area of your life where He has been prompting you to take a step toward greater soul-purity.

Action:

Today I am choosing to partner with the Holy Spirit as He leads me toward greater-holiness. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement and to also serve as my encourager and accountability partner.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Monday (1 Peter 2:4-25)

A Living Stone, a Chosen People

2:4 So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight,

2:5 you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

2:6 For it says in scripture, “Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.

2:7 So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,

2:8 and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

2:10 You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.

2:11 Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul,

2:12 and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.

Submission to Authorities

2:13 Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme

2:14 or to governors as those he commissions to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do good.

2:15 For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.

2:16 Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves.

2:17 Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.

2:18 Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse.

2:19 For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly.

2:20 For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God.

2:21 For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps.

2:22 He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth.

2:23 When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.

2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed.

2:25 For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Prayer

Lord, You sacrificed Yourself through Jesus to redeem Your creation, and Your expectation is that we will live with our eyes on You rather than the world. May I continue to surrender more and more of myself so that You may pour Yourself out through me.

Summary & Commentary

"2:4 So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, "

This is a quote from Psa 118:22 "The stone which the builders discarded has become the cornerstone." and is an echo of Acts 4:11 "This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone."

"2:5 you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

[Note: Peter drew a parallel between the role of Jesus as the "cornerstone" of His eternal "spiritual house", made up of believers, and every believer who now becomes a part of the complete "spiritual house".]

"2:6 For it says in scripture, “Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.” " A quote from Isaiah 28:16.

[Note: Peter drew the reader's attention to the sovereign salvation power of Christ, choosing the term "never" when qualifying "be put to shame".]

"2:7 So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, 2:8 and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do."

[Note: Peter brought his readers back to the purpose of the OT Law, it challenged and convicted those who were bent upon rebellion, and now Jesus becomes the fulfillment of the law and his offer of salvation becomes the new stumbling block for the rebellious."]

"2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 2:10 You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy."

[Note: This fascinating text really should be read beginning at 2:10a "You once were not a people ...", meaning that the new covenant to the new "Church which is the body of believers is a unique family or "people". When one then reads the words Peter applied to them, words that had previously been reserved for the Hebrew nation/the Jewish people. one discovers that Peter was redefining from the OT meanings to new NT meanings when using these terms.]

"2:11 Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, 2:12 and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears."

[Note: We need to defend ourselves against the sin of the world since we are now eternal residents of Heaven and mere "foreigners and exiles" here. The testimony of our daily walk is considered worthy of special attention by Peter as the truth of Jesus is being judged by its impact upon us.]

"2:13 Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme 2:14 or to governors as those he commissions to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do good. 2:15 For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good."

[Note: Continuing his theme of a positive witness Peter exhorted believers to be good citizens. It is, however, never acceptable for a believer to condone, encourage, facilitate, or participate in a sin against the Lord God for the sake of being "subject to every human institution". God's calling is always superior to any other.]

"2:16 Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves."

[Note: Believers are freed from slavery to sin - as defined by the law - and to the valueless priorities of the world. As we enjoy the freedom of grace we must remember that we owe honor in all that we do to our self-selected Master, the Lord God.]

"2:17 Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king."

[Note: Peter reaffirmed the teaching of Christ that we "Honor all people", not in the secular sense of fake or ritual honor but in treating them with respect, regardless of worldly standing. He also reaffirmed the importance of believers loving one another. Peter reiterated the Lord God's standing as the first and most important authority. And finally he affirmed the consistent teaching that believers, like all humans, need a government system to maintain civilization - so without sinning against God we must "honor the king" - giving respect to authority which God has permitted to exist.]

"2:18 Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse. 2:19 For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. 2:20 For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God."

[Note: This is another of the sections of text which need to be read out of order to best be understood. The key is that if a “slave” was mistreated it must be because of their faithfulness to the Lord God and not because of their laziness or rebellion.]

"2:21 For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. 2:22 He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. 2:23 When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly. 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed."

[Note: Peter continued on his theme, that we are to live honorably in the world and when abused for our faith to continue to live honorably, not reacting as the world would react, and not selling-out our faith for comfort.]

"2:25 For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls." A quote from Isaiah 53:6

[Note: This referred to all people, those who were astray and thus condemned by the law, then as believers returning to the only One Who could keep them safe - or more precisely their souls safe - for eternity.]

Interaction

Consider

The emphasis that Peter placed on the rebellious as equally offended/convicted by the requirements of the law and now of Jesus. Choosing sin in rebellion against the Lordship of Christ is the same as choosing sin in rebellion against the OT law.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to that we may be a positive witness for Christ as good citizens yet not dishonor or disobey Christ by condoning, encouraging, facilitating, or participating in a sin against God for the sake of being "subject to every human institution"?

Reflect

The probability is that the more we live openly as Christians, even when acting honorably, we will come under attack; therefore, we need to be prepared to bear-up.

Share

What is an example from your life when you have chosen to "Honor all people", not in the secular sense of fake or ritual honor but in treating them with respect, regardless of worldly standing?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your walk where you have misunderstood your obligations to be a good witness to Him, perhaps by failing to honor certain people, by failing to love the family of believers, or by failing to honor the non-sinful expectations of a legitimate authority.

Action:

Today I will acknowledge my error and will ask a fellow believer to be my accountability and prayer-partner as I mature toward a more-right standing with the teaching of the Word of the Lord God.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Tuesday (1 Peter 3)

Wives and Husbands

3:1 In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word, they will be won over without a word by the way you live, 3:2 when they see your pure and reverent conduct.

3:3 Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – 3:4 but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.

3:5 For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, 3:6 like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.

3:7 Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers.

Suffering for Doing Good

3:8 Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble.

3:9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing.

3:10 For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit.

3:11 And he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lords face is against those who do evil.

3:13 For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good?

3:14 But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken.

3:15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.

3:16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.

3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil.

3:18 Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit.

3:19 In it he went and preached to the spirits in prison,

3:20 after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water.

3:21 And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

3:22 who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him.

Prayer

Lord, You ask that we be ready to tell our story of Your rescue of us, and to keep “a good conscience”. May I avoid that which may compromise Your story in my life and seek the fruits of the Holy Spirit so that Your presence in me will be appealing.

Summary & Commentary

"3:1 In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word, they will be won over without a word by the way you live, 3:2 when they see your pure and reverent conduct."

[Note: Peter did not say that the believing wife is to engage in sinful conduct, he is clear that hers must be "pure and reverent conduct", the only one in the relationship who may "disobedient" in his instruction is the husband – one who needs to be "won over to the Word." It is worth prayerful-contemplation for perspective that the Word teaches that a believer is not to spend a great deal of time among unbelievers as they will be badly-influenced, and also that a spouse is not to force their unbelieving spouse to remain if they choose to leave.]

"3:3 Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – 3:4 but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight."

[Note: Peter was not forbidding "... the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes", he was teaching that believing women should not imagine external appearance to be their true beauty.]

"3:5 For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, 3:6 like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so."

[Note: It was obvious in the OT that the wives of Abraham and Isaac were beautiful as they were the object of the affections of kings in lands through which they traveled such that they were kidnapped. While this is not definitive as to their hair styles, jewelry, or fashion, such have always been part of the initial attraction to men (and the OT-context was often an attraction from a distance, not the result of conversation or close observation). The key here is that the believing wife treat her husband with honor - which would include not being obsessed about her external appearance nor presenting herself before other men in a provocative manner - such is reserved only for her husband.]

"3:7 Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers."

[Note: Believing husbands are to treat their wives, believing wives or not, with honor - if they want the Lord God to honor their prayers. With the rare exception of the OT judge Deborah the males were responsible for leadership and the conduct of warfare, therefore held superior roles of power and would have tended to be physiologically more powerful as well. It is helpful to recall that Christians are called to be "meek", a term which meant power under control; more precisely, power under the control of God.]

"3:8 Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. 3:9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. 3:10 For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit."

"3:11a And he must turn away from evil and do good;"

"3:11b ... he must seek peace and pursue it."

"3:12a For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer."

"3:12b But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil."

"3:13 For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good?"

[Note: This was a rhetorical statement which intent was to refer to the Lord God, rather than evil men who will harm Christians and non-Christians alike, regardless of their faith; sometimes merely because they can and for no other reason.]

"3:14 But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken."

[Note: "Terror" and "shaken" generally refer to a faith-level fear as relates to ones eternal circumstances - so Peter warned believers to not be terrified of those who cause them "to suffer for doing what is right" because that only affirmed that they were "blessed" with assured salvation.]

"3:15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 3:16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you."

[Note: There are several elements to observe here:

"...set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts" - This is an intentional submission.

"... always be ready to give an answer" for "... the hope you possess" - Know your testimony.

"... to anyone who asks" - Don't force the conversation, wait for the Holy Spirit to prepare and prompt them. There is no point in a testimony to one whose "ears" are closed.

"... do it with courtesy and respect" - Your story is yours, it should not include attacks or pejoratives about others, and it should not be designed to manipulate others. Leave the heart-level work to the Holy Spirit of God whose motivations are pure. This does not mean that your testimony may not be passionate - it should be.

"... keeping a good conscience" - Generally speaking your hypocrisy will neutralize your otherwise good testimony.

"... so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ" - They will not be slandering your hypocrisy, that testifies for itself, the meaning of slander is falsehoods about what you do to honor Christ which serves as a "stumbling block" to those who are in rebellion.

"... may be put to shame when they accuse you." - If your testimony for good conduct is not neutralized by hypocrisy then when you are attacked most who observe the attack will recognize that the accuser is in the wrong.

"3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil."

[Note: Sometimes the Lord God allows us to function in the role of martyr, suffering before a watching people, falsely accused and mistreated. Not only is the one who attacks seen as doing wrong but your right-response to the false treatment will create an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to bring the gospel to the lost.]

"3:18a Because Christ also suffered once for sins,"

[Note: Our role model is Christ.]

"3:18b ... the just for the unjust,"

[Note: He had no sin, thus He was clearly unjustly mistreated, yet He was used more powerfully to the benefit of others that any martyr in history.]

"3:18c ... to bring you to God,"

[Note: He did so for the same reason, but in our cases to a lesser degree, that He now asks us to bear suffering.]

"3:18d ... by being put to death in the flesh"

[Note: Some of our suffering will separate us from things of the flesh that we value but which are either impediments to our well-being or are necessary sacrifices for the greater good of others though our testimony in our suffering.]

"3:18e ... but by being made alive in the spirit."

[Note: Just as Jesus was "... made alive in the Spirit" as a result of the death of His flesh in the world, so are we “... being made alive in the spirit" when our flesh is sacrificed for the cause of Christ.]

"3:19 In it he went and preached to the spirits in prison,

[Note: While Jesus was dead in the flesh, yet alive in the Spirit, He preached to a subset of the dead - see following for a further discussion.]

3:20a after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. "

[Note: Two alternative understandings are greatly debated; I am more comfortable with the NET translator's preference for the reading that Jesus brought the Gospel to those who were in Hell due to their pre-Noadic sin, and who died in it, rather than the suggestion that Peter intended that Jesus preached to the unredeemable fallen angels, since such would appear to be unproductive gloating.

There is a powerful debate about the specifics of this text within the scholarly community of Bible students that swirls around the recitation of the Apostles Creed.
In the 16th century "hell" meant hades as such, rather than the final state of the lost....as it generally is used today. We also have the varying understanding of the impact of linear time and timelessness as well as the "hades" construct that these are "asleep" prior to the judgment.

If one insists upon a timeline of immediate judgment at the moment of death then one still must allow that this is a pre-judgment preaching of Jesus to those who are "on hold" in hades prior to the Great White Throne Judgment.
This, of course, begs the question "Is there any other example of Jesus preaching to those "who are asleep" as a post-physical death/pre-judgment form of evangelism or is this an historically-exclusive event with a unique purpose?
Or does one take Peter's text as purely rhetorical and not at all intended to be literal?

This text, not carefully considered (which tends to be beyond the scope of our current survey-type studies), does create an opportunity for theological mischief in the form of a "third reality of consciousness" between the flesh and eternity - purgatory.]

"3:20b In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. 3:21 And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 3:22 who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him."

[Note: The saving "baptism" of Jesus is the result of ".. the pledge of a good conscience to God" and nothing related to the physical water. This is a valuable illustration as one notes the linkage to Noah and the other eight, who never even touched the water, nor were they below the waters - what we know as Biblical baptism is a purely symbolic act.]

Interaction

Consider

The persistent theme of Peter throughout these verses is the importance of our "good conduct"; the testimony of our faith which is viewed by the world through our daily walk.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to always have a ready testimony? Also, if married, discuss some practical ways to honor your spouse.

Reflect

The Lord God's expectation is that we be prepared to handle suffering for our faith and that we trust Him to redeem good from what the enemy intends for evil.

Share

What is an example of your testimony, or that of someone you know personally, where their response to suffering has been used by God to lead others to salvation or a believer to greater maturity?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone whom He has prepared and prompted to ask you to share it for His purpose in their life.

Action:

Today I am choosing to review my testimony, do I have one that is brief and clear, courteous and respectful to the listener? I will share my testimony with a fellow believer and ask them to prayerfully reflect with me how it may be heard by a not-yet-saved person. If there is anything about it that may be improved to make it a more useful tool for the Lord, especially anything that draws more attention to me than to the Lord, I will humbly modify it.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Wednesday (1 Peter 4-5)

4:1 So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, 4:2 in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.

4:3 For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking bouts, and wanton idolatries.

4:4 So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you.

4:5 They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

4:6 Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God’s standards.

Service, Suffering, and Judgment

4:7 For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer.

4:8 Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins. 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without complaining.

4:10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.

4:11 Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

4:12 Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.

4:13 But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad.

4:14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you.

4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker.

4:16 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name.

4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?

4:18 And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? 4:19 So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good.

Leading and Living in God’s Flock

5:1 So as your fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings and as one who shares in the glory that will be revealed, I urge the elders among you:

5:2 Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly.

5:3 And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock.

5:4 Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away.

5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

5:6 And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand 5:7 by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

5:8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.

5:9 Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.

5:10 And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 5:11 To him belongs the power forever. Amen.

Final Greetings

5:12 Through Silvanus, whom I know to be a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, in order to encourage you and testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 5:13 The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does Mark, my son.

5:14 Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Prayer

Lord, You in-Jesus led with grace and humility, and we are to model our lives after Him. May I mature in my relationship with You so that I am also grace-filled and humble as both a follower and a leader.

Summary & Commentary

4:1 So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, 4:2 in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.

[Note: When one discovers that physical appearance and physical pleasure do not result in lasting happiness but joy in the Lord fills the heart endlessly, one experiences a transformation of perspective. Sometimes this comes through an emotional-intellectual-spiritual encounter with God and His Word through the Holy Spirit and sometimes we make it necessary for God to deprive us of appearance, health, and/or the resources to feed our narcissism.]

4:3 For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking bouts, and wanton idolatries.

[Note: "... the time that has past" is a phrase Peter used to draw a line in the life of the believer which clearly separates them from who they were versus who they have become in-Christ.]

4:4 So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you.

[Note: Those who knew you are peers-in-sin now find your sin-resistant spirit a stumbling block which triggers the condemnation of the Law within - so from their rebellious hearts they attack you instead of dealing with their sin.]

4:5 They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

4:6 Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God’s standards.

[Note: Some might speculate that Peter was returning to his prior point about Jesus preaching to the "dead" from the day of Noah, but it seems more likely that he was speaking of those who used to be dead in their sin but because of the gospel are now made alive eternally in Christ.]

4:7 For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer.

4:8 Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins.

4:9 Show hospitality to one another without complaining.

4:10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 4:11a Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words.

4:11b Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.

4:11c To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

4:12 Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.

[Note: Peter wanted his readers to avoid the confusion that comes from thinking that their circumstances are unique.]

4:13 But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. 4:14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you.

4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker.

[Note: We may never blame the Lord God for suffering that results from sinful rebellion, though we may turn away from that sin and ask the Lord to redeem something good from it, even as we accept the worldly consequences.]

4:16 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name. 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? 4:18 And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? 4:19 So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good.

[Note: Peter warned that the Lord God would judge those in the "... house of God" who continued in their sin, yet noted that if they were to be judged - while protected from eternal consequences by grace - what might those not so protected anticipate as their fate?]

5:1 So as your fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings and as one who shares in the glory that will be revealed, I urge the elders among you: 5:2 Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly.

[Note: Peter exhorted "elders" (spiritual leaders) to assure that the integrity of the teaching of the gospel, discipleship (including discipline), and care-giving to believers was maintained. They were to do so without drawing attention to themselves nor accepting more compensation - which would divert funds that might otherwise go to the care of the needy and/or to evangelism and discipleship - than necessary.]

5:3 And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock. 5:4 Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away.

[Note: Every leader is a peer "child of God" with every other believer. Arrogance and bullying is not acceptable. leaders are to lead-first from the example of their lives, embodying the "fruits of the Spirit.]

5:5a In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.

[Note: Just as elders/leaders are to be subject to the Holy Spirit those who are younger in spiritual maturity - regardless of chronological age - are to submit to those who are more spiritually mature.]

5.5b And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

[Note: Peter challenged everyone to live with humble spirits as the tendency of "the old man", the flesh in this world, is toward pride.]

5:6 And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand 5:7 by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

[Note: Peter reminded his readers that ours is a loving God with all power - we trust everything to Him because He wants to bless us - and He is already aware of our needs. When we don't cast all our cares on God we come to either resent God or look to ourselves or to fellow humans for answers - guaranteed imperfect answers.]

5:8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.

[Note: Peter alerted his readers to the reality of spiritual warfare, a genuine evil enemy, and our need to be on our guard against him.]

5:9 Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.

[Note: Peter reminded them that they had the authority to resist the enemy and were expected to do so. He did not suggest that none will suffer in the struggle, any more that any army is without injuries in a battle, but he affirmed that believers hold the superior hand in-Christ. He wanted his readers to remember that their struggles were in-common with other believers "throughout the world".]

5:10 And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 5:11 To him belongs the power forever. Amen.

[Note: The Lord God allows our suffering to mature us and to serve as a witness to our faith - then He steps in and demonstrates His loving power.]

5:14 Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Interaction

Consider

When one discovers that physical appearance and physical pleasure do not result in lasting happiness, but joy in the Lord fills the heart endlessly, one experiences a transformation of perspective. Sometimes this comes through an emotional-intellectual-spiritual encounter with the Lord God and His Word through the Holy Spirit and sometimes we make it necessary for Him to deprive us of appearance, health, and/or other resources that feed our narcissism.]

Discuss

What are some practical ways to "... be self-controlled and sober-minded" (see verses 4:7-11a)

Reflect

Peter's challenge to leaders is found in 5:1-3. Do you observe these characteristics in your leaders? Have you prayed for them? Have you thanked them for honoring the Word in this way?

Share

What is a practical example of your submission to leaders who are faithful to God's expectations in the text of 5:1-3?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you ways that you need to shore-up your spiritual defenses.

Action:

Today I am choosing to "be sober and alert" to the enemy who "... is on the prowl looking for someone to devour" and to "resist him, strong in your faith". I will review the teaching of Paul re. "Putting on the full armor of God" and discover where I fall short.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Thursday (2 Peter 1)

Salutation

1:1 From Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, have been granted a faith just as precious as ours.

1:2 May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!

Believers’ Salvation and the Work of God

1:3 I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.

1:4 Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire.

1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; 1:6 to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; 1:7 to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.

1:8 For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.

1:9 But concerning the one who lacks such things – he is blind. That is to say, he is nearsighted, since he has forgotten about the cleansing of his past sins.

1:10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin.

1:11 For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you.

Salvation Based on the Word of God

1:12 Therefore, I intend to remind you constantly of these things even though you know them and are well established in the truth that you now have.

1:13 Indeed, as long as I am in this tabernacle, I consider it right to stir you up by way of a reminder, 1:14 since I know that my tabernacle will soon be removed, because our Lord Jesus Christ revealed this to me. 1:15 Indeed, I will also make every effort that, after my departure, you have a testimony of these things.

1:16 For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur.

1:17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted.”

1:18 When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves heard it, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

1:19 Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

1:20 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, 1:21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Prayer

Lord, You teach us that Your desire is to lavish grace and peace on Your children as we obediently submit to Your discipleship and “... grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!” May I be found faithful and humble and teachable so that You may bless me and shape me into a useful instrument of Your great plan.

Summary & Commentary

“1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; 1:6 to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; 1:7 to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.”

[Note: Peter was describing “ultrafidian” faith, the enhancements that follow saving faith, in 1:5-7. The absence of these things impede discipleship-to-maturity.]

1:10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin. 1:11 For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you.

[Note: Peter used an unusual phrase “... make every effort to be sure of your calling and election”. If “calling and election” were fatalist constructs, as some religious philosophers would have it, then there would be no need to “be sure of” since those who are called and elected were such before they were even born. A Biblical understanding, addressed in a prior study, correctly defines these terms as the promised qualification for salvation conditioned upon a volitional submission to the Lordship of Christ. In this context it makes good sense to be certain that your heart was right with Christ when you believe that you were saved, not “magic words” or words said to satisfy the urgings of fellow humans, not a mere intellectual affirmation, and not an affirmation with any conditions attached - simply an unqualified surrender of everything to Christ. Once certain of that one may be led through 1:5-7 by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Absent that one is trying to live Christ-like out of ones own strength - which guaranteed to fail.]

1:12 Therefore, I intend to remind you constantly of these things even though you know them and are well established in the truth that you now have. 1:13 Indeed, as long as I am in this tabernacle, I consider it right to stir you up by way of a reminder, 1:14 since I know that my tabernacle will soon be removed, because our Lord Jesus Christ revealed this to me. 1:15 Indeed, I will also make every effort that, after my departure, you have a testimony of these things.

[Note: Peter promised to “nag” the believers to act based on their confession of submission to the Lordship of Christ, he reminded them that he knew his time was short, and committed to press for them to be so well-discipled that they would continue his work.]

1:16 For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur.

[Note: This stands as a challenge to every competing religious system to Biblical-Christianity.]

1:17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted.” 1:18 When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves heard it, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

1:19 Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

1:20 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, 1:21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

[Note: The Bible is ultimately authored by God who permitted men to pen it, using their “voices” to communicate His message/]

Interaction

Consider

The exhortation of Peter that those who read his words should make certain of their salvation. If they were not experiencing the growth he described in 1:5-7 he suggested that they may not truly be saved as such is the inevitable result of the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit (“... a downpayment” on the promise of salvation 2 Cor. 2:22).

Discuss

With all of the noisy challenges to the authority and credibility of Biblical-Christianity does it make a difference to hear Peter affirm the Lord God's authorship of the Bible?

Reflect

Peter's assurance should be that of every Biblical-Christian leader, that they – like Peter - would (will) "nag" believers to be certain that they understood (understand) the Gospel (and the elements of vs 1:5-7) well enough to both live them and share them with others.

Share

What is an example of 1:5-7 being taught and worked-out in your life and in your fellowship?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to review your life for evidence that you have learned and are increasingly living the teaching of 1:5-7.

Action:

Today I am choosing to partner with the Holy Spirit, and the "elders", to reinforce my knowledge of and working-out of these vital post-salvation "ultrafidian" (beyond faith) evidences of salvation and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit of God.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Friday (2 Peter 2)

The False Teachers’ Ungodly Lifestyle

2:1 But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. These false teachers will infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring swift destruction on themselves.

2:2 And many will follow their debauched lifestyles. Because of these false teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.

2:3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation pronounced long ago is not sitting idly by; their destruction is not asleep.

2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell and locked them up in chains in utter darkness, to be kept until the judgment, 2:5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, when God brought a flood on an ungodly world, 2:6 and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction, having appointed them to serve as an example to future generations of the ungodly, 2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men, 2:8 (for while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) 2:9 – if so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment at the day of judgment, 2:10 especially those who indulge their fleshly desires and who despise authority. Brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones, 2:11 yet even angels, who are much more powerful, do not bring a slanderous judgment against them before the Lord.

2:12 But these men, like irrational animals – creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed – do not understand whom they are insulting, and consequently in their destruction they will be destroyed, 2:13 suffering harm as the wages for their harmful ways. By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight, they are stains and blemishes, indulging in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you.

2:14 Their eyes, full of adultery, never stop sinning; they entice unstable people. They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children!

2:15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 2:16 yet was rebuked for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, speaking with a human voice, restrained the prophet’s madness).

2:17 These men are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness have been reserved.

2:18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice, with fleshly desires and with debauchery, people who have just escaped from those who reside in error.

2:19 Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved.

2:20 For if after they have escaped the filthy things of the world through the rich knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again get entangled in them and succumb to them, their last state has become worse for them than their first.

2:21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, having known it, to turn back from the holy commandment that had been delivered to them.

2:22 They are illustrations of this true proverb: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow, after washing herself, wallows in the mire.”

Prayer

Lord, You have warned us about false teachers, yet from the time of Jesus until now many have been led astray. May I be Berean in testing all teaching against the Word of God and bold in speaking against apostasy.

Summary & Commentary

2:1 But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. These false teachers will infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring swift destruction on themselves.

[Note: The Lord God defends His Word and His children, but we must pay attention to the ways He tells us that He will warn us of false teachers, including the Berean model of checking all teaching against the Word. Peter shared the clear evidences that a teacher was a false teacher. The first was to deny Christ - as He is defined by the Word - not by the distortions of man.]

2:2 And many will follow their debauched lifestyles. Because of these false teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. 2:3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation pronounced long ago is not sitting idly by; their destruction is not asleep.

[Note: False teachers will live debauched lifestyles and will encourage others to do the same.]

Peter walked his readers through a checklist of the Lord God’s recorded past actions - followed by a logical conclusion:

2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell and locked them up in chains in utter darkness, to be kept until the judgment,

2:5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, when God brought a flood on an ungodly world,

2:6 and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction, having appointed them to serve as an example to future generations of the ungodly,

2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men, 2:8 (for while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)

2:9a – if so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials,

[Note: Based on what the Lord God has done we may have confidence as to what He will do for us.]

2:9b and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment at the day of judgment, 2:10 especially those who indulge their fleshly desires and who despise authority. Brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones,

2:11 yet even angels, who are much more powerful, do not bring a slanderous judgment against them before the Lord.

[Note: It is not the place of the angels to condemn or to judge, nor would they bring a “slanderous judgment” since that would require them to misrepresent truth, rather the truthful judgment will be brought in good time by the Lord God.]

2:12 But these men, like irrational animals – creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed – do not understand whom they are insulting, and consequently in their destruction they will be destroyed, 2:13 suffering harm as the wages for their harmful ways. By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight, they are stains and blemishes, indulging in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you. 2:14 Their eyes, full of adultery, never stop sinning; they entice unstable people. They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children! 2:15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 2:16 yet was rebuked for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, speaking with a human voice, restrained the prophet’s madness).

[Note: It is important to remember that Peter is still speaking of false teachers. It is important to not extrapolate from the intended context of the text without great care and corroborating text elsewhere in the Bible.]

2:17 These men are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness have been reserved. 2:18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice, with fleshly desires and with debauchery, people who have just escaped from those who reside in error.

[Note: It is unlikely that that the people of whom Peter spoke were saved, it likely means that they had ceased following the Judaisers and other false teachers only to fall pray to new ones.]

2:19 Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved.

2:20 For if after they have escaped the filthy things of the world through the rich knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again get entangled in them and succumb to them, their last state has become worse for them than their first. 2:21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, having known it, to turn back from the holy commandment that had been delivered to them.

[Note: Peter wanted it known that once one hears the gospel, especially a teacher, one is without excuse.]

2:22 They are illustrations of this true proverb: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow, after washing herself, wallows in the mire.”

[Note: Peter used really unpleasant word-pictures to make certain that people understand the heart-condition of those who reject the gospel, after hearing it and saying they would follow, yet then returning to a false gospel.]

Interaction

Consider

The warning about false teachers is as important today, perhaps even more-so, than in Peter's time. While he was defending the newly-growing “Church”, the fellowship of believers, we are facing the latter days of these end times.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to evaluate true and false teachers? May the outward evidences of their lifestyles, at-odds with “the fruits of the Spirit”, and their obvious breaks with the other teachings of the Word?

Reflect

How different are we than those people who returned to their old sinful ways after hearing the gospel? Do we make excuses?

Share

What examples of the Lord God's actions in the OT inspire you to trust Him in His promises for your life?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to evaluate those whose teaching you trust, based on Peter's teaching.

Action:

Today, if error is revealed to me, I will respectfully challenge it. If the teacher is unrepentant I will remove myself from their teaching.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Saturday (2 Peter 3)

The False Teachers’ Denial of the Lord’s Return

3:1 Dear friends, this is already the second letter I have written you, in which I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder:

3:2 I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.

3:3 Above all, understand this: In the last days blatant scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges 3:4 and saying, “Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.”

3:5 For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. 3:6 Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water. 3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

3:8 Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day.

3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare.

3:11 Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, 3:12 while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze!

3:13 But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides.

Exhortation to the Faithful

3:14 Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence.

3:15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 3:16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.

3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth.

3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.

Prayer

Lord, all of the thing of fallen-creation will one-day be destroyed, You will create a new and perfect and rebellion-free heaven and earth. May I be faithful to see myself as set-apart by You to be-perfected rather than seeing myself as of this temporary world.

Summary & Commentary

3:1 Dear friends, this is already the second letter I have written you, in which I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder: 3:2 I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.

3:3 Above all, understand this: In the last days blatant scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges 3:4 and saying, “Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.” 3:5 For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. 3:6 Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water.

[Note: The text reads as if Peter was condemning the teaching of evolution “... they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God ...”. It is interesting to note Peter’s reference to the creation narrative where the land was separated from the water and later swept-clean using, again, the image of immersion in water.]

3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

[Note: Elsewhere it has been observed that everything is held together by the word of Christ and will remain intact until Judgment.]

3:8 Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day.

[Note: Peter reminded his readers that God exists apart from the created thing we know as linear time.]

3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

[Note: God is “stalling” Judgment as it is His desire that “any ... perish but for all to come to repentance.”]

3:10a But the day of the Lord will come like a thief;

[Note: This means He will come unannounced.]

3:10b when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare.

[Note: Peter declared that there is no life elsewhere in the “heavens”, at least none containing a spiritual nature of interest to the Lord God - since it will all be obliterated and only Earth will remain to receive His attention.]

3:11 Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, 3:12 while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! 3:13 But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides. 3:14 Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence.

3:15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 3:16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.

[Note: Peter was referring back to the Lord wanting more to be saved and to his prior reminder that the false teachers were suppressing the Lord God’s activity in history.]

3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth.

3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.

Interaction

Consider

Peter's reference to the Lord God's creation of earth, and the tendency of scoffers to dismiss or ignore that in their teaching, stands as an intentional challenge to the godless formulations of evolution.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to "... grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"?

Reflect

What does the Lord God's desire that not "any ... perish but for all to come to repentance." say about His heart? How does it make bearing-up under the challenges and horrors of this fallen world just a little easier?

Share

What is a good example or illustration which helps to explain the difference between the timeless perspective of God and the time-bound nature of His creation?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you one area where you need to "... grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".

Action:

Today I am committing to ask at least one fellow believer to join me in that "adventure" and together we will agree to partner with the Holy Spirit.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes.  Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study – “1 & 2 Peter” – prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in May of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.