2 Peter 1:1

Friday, 3 January 2020

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Peter 1:1

The epistle begins with an introduction by the apostle. In Greek, it reads Symeon Peter. The only other time the name Symeon is applied to Peter is in Acts 15:14 when being spoken of by James. The introduction of the epistle with the Hebraized form of his name is probably intended to have the Jewish recipients more fully identify with him. The name is derived from the Hebrew Shimon, or “He Who Hears.”

After stating his name, he then says, “a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” This is a unique phrase for an apostolic introduction, but it is close to that of Paul’s salutation to Titus where he said, “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

A doulos, or “bondservant,” is an individual who is the property of another; having no ownership rights of his own. This would seem to be a position lacking dignity, but in ironic fashion, it is that of the highest dignity when applied to a person in the New Testament as being in such a relation to God and Jesus Christ. For Peter, he gladly states this position in relation to Jesus Christ, meaning the Messiah.

It should be noted that every time the word “Christ” is used in this epistle by Peter, it is always in connection with “Jesus.” Further, it is also accompanied by another descriptor, such as “Lord,” “Lord and Savior,” etc. In this verse, it is accompanied by the word “God.”

The second half of the identification says, “and apostle of Jesus Christ.” He is a messenger of the Lord, having been called by Him personally to perform this weighty duty. This is his claim to the authority of writing a letter of doctrine, and it is with this authority that he thus writes.

Peter’s words here, combined with those of Paul in Titus, give a reference to the deity of Christ. Paul claimed to be a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. Peter claims to be a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ. This will not be the only hint of deity in this opening verse.

Peter next says, “To those who have obtained.” The Greek literally reads, “To those who have obtained by lot.” It is the same phrase used by Peter when spoken of Judas in Acts 1:17. The word is also used when speaking of the lots in Luke 1:9 and in John 19:24. It signifies the providence of God in obtaining a thing. This is seen in Proverbs 16 –

“The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33

Peter then explains what it is that has been obtained. It is “like precious faith.” Here is a word found nowhere else in Scripture. It signifies “equally privileged.” It is not an indication of measure, but in honor. Some have more faith, but all such faith is equally valued because of where it is directed.

This equally precious faith is, as Peter says, “with us.” This could be understood as meaning “those who first believed,” such as the apostles. Or, it could be understood as those Gentiles who are among the Jews being addressed, and who are included in their gatherings. Thus, “with us,” would be an all-inclusive statement of Gentile inclusion in the faith directed toward Jesus Christ. As the epistle is included in Scripture, and as there is only one gospel to both Jew and Gentile, regardless of Peter’s original intent, it is now an all-inclusive statement of any person who has placed his faith in Jesus Christ.

Next, he says, “by the righteousness.” The Greek reads, “in the righteousness.” It is faith which is possessed in the sphere of righteousness of the One he will next name. It is a way of saying that the faith is what brings the believer into a state of righteousness which belongs to that One. Peter then says who possesses that righteousness with the words “of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Some translations say, “our God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” showing a distinction between the two. Others unite the two as “our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The construction of the Greek will allow either, and Greek scholars choose one or another, usually based on a presupposition as to what they believe is on Peter’s mind, but that answer is plain and simple because, the same general phrase, with the same Greek construction, is used five times.

This one time it says, “God.” The other four it says, “Lord.” There is no doubt that Peter was making an absolute claim to deity in this introductory statement, and then ascribing that deity to the Old Testament “Lord,” meaning “Jehovah” –

“of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:1
“of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:11
“of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 2:20
“of the Lord and Savior” 2 Peter 3:2
“of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 3:18

Further, the next verse makes a distinction between the two, showing that this verse is a purposeful uniting of the two. There is Jesus, there is God, and Jesus is God. Another point is that each time that “Savior” is used by Peter in this epistle, it is either directly or implicitly applied to Jesus. Oddly, the term was never used in his first epistle. Thus, one can see the heavy stress of this thought by Peter here. That idea will be a support for the weighty contents of this letter.

Life application: An apostle is a “sent one.” The position of being an apostle of Jesus Christ is one which ended with the closing of the New Testament canon. Today there are no true apostles even though some people claim the title in ministry. If one has the “like precious faith” of these men of God, then bearing titles is of far less importance than demonstrating that faith, and also helping others to come to that same precious faith. Let us direct our lives and hearts to this end.

O God, help us to look with both delight and care at the verses which make up the book we call “the Holy Bible.” May we be found to properly handle Your word and to come to reasonable conclusions which honor You as we study. In the end, may You receive the glory for our attention to this wonderful book. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

 

9 thoughts on “2 Peter 1:1

  • Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 8:00 am
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    Amen, great beginning to the study of 2 Peter, lots of great teachings to be revealed to help us know Him, love Him and serve Him more!!!

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  • Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 9:30 am
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    BLESS GOD PRAISE JESUS!

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  • Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 10:01 am
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    I often wonder how the JWs handle this- “our Great God and Savior” mentioned so many times in this epistle as well as by the Apostle Paul? Why is it so difficult to understand that Jesus is God?

    Thank God today that the child who was born is “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God and everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ and He is my Savior.
    Amen..

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  • Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 10:22 am
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    We’re off on our next adventure through the Bible! Amen How blessed we are for the people like Charlie that the lord has lead us to ‘in these last days! People that help us drink deeply from the cup of knowledge of the Bible and learn the perfect ways of the lord and how to apply them to ourselves. Amen and amen for those people that have been touched by God to clearly teach us his ways, the honest truth of the word.
    I don’t know about you but looking at the world this morning I have never been more excited at the prospect of going home with the lord any moment now. Come lord Jesus we are so ready to go home!

    We are another day closer to home
    Grace, Mercy and peace on you and yours
    God Bless my friends we fly soon

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  • Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 10:36 am
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    I was just drinking in every word, every phrase of God’s precious Word. Christ has indeed risen in our hearts. Glory to the Lamb of God!

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  • Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 4:48 pm
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    So Charlie, are you saying that there were apostles up till 3rd century council that declared which books were to be in the cannon of scriptures? If so what were the names of apostles other than the first century apostles? Please clarify. Thanks

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    • Saturday, January 4th, 2020 at 2:20 pm
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      John, no. Just for those who wrote the canon (meaning until John’s letter of Revelation). Those who had the councils to set the canon were definitely not apostles, but church fathers and after. But the canon itself was set when John completed Revelation. The only apostles are those who were directly commissioned by Jesus, Paul being the last as one “born out of due time” (1 Cor 15:8).

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  • Sunday, January 5th, 2020 at 9:08 am
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    thank you Charlie

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