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Literature / Epistles of Peter

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Two of the General Epistles that make up the New Testament of The Bible. The first epistle was written by the hand of one of Peter's disciples, while the second was written by Peter himself shortly before his death.

Structure of the books:

1st Peter:
  • Opening (1st Peter 1:1-2)
  • Called to salvation as exiles (1st Peter 1:3-2:10)
  • Living as strangers in a hostile world (1st Peter 2:11-4:11)
  • Persevering in suffering (1st Peter 4:12-5:11)
  • Concluding words (1st Peter 5:12-14)

2nd Peter:

  • Greeting (2nd Peter 1:1-2)
  • Building on faith with godly qualities (2nd Peter 1:3-11)
  • The Apostle Peter's testimony (2nd Peter 1:12-21)
  • Warning against false teachers (2nd Peter chapter 2)
  • Certainty of Christ's return and the need to live holy lives (2nd Peter chapter 3)

These books provide examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: 1st Peter 4:15 states: "by no means let any of you suffer as a murderer or thief or evildoer or a troublesome meddler."
  • As the Good Book Says...: Plenty of Old Testament Scriptures in Peter's first epistle.
  • Call-Back:
    • To Genesis in the first epistle, as Peter alludes to the Great Flood that God unleashed on mankind and how Noah and his family were saved through it as a picture of how water baptism now saves believers.
    • To Isaiah, when he says that "by His stripes you are healed" and that "you were like sheep that have gone astray".
  • Drugs Are Bad: While not specifically talking about drugs per se, Peter in his first epistle warns believers to "be sober and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking out whomever to devour." (1st Peter 5:8)
  • The End Is Nigh: Peter addresses those who are either mockers or possibly suffering from "end-time fatigue", wondering when "the promise of [the Lord's] coming" is supposed to happen, in the third chapter of his second epistle by saying that the Lord's coming will happen, whether that be immediately soon or many years from now, but it will still happen.
  • Extranormal Prison: 1st Peter 3:19-20 says that Jesus went to preach to "the spirits in prison, who in times past were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water."
  • Fallen Angel: Peter mentions angels that have sinned that were cast down to Hell (Tartarus in the Greek) to be held in chains for the day of judgment in his second epistle.
  • Fire Purifies: In 1st Peter 4:12-13, Peter tells his followers:
    Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (English Standard Version)
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: In his second letter, Peter tells the readers that the world that once existed, that was formed in and out of water, was destroyed by water, but the world that now exists will be destroyed by fire on the day of God's judgment of man.
  • From Bad to Worse: Peter says this in 2nd Peter 2:20-21 about those whom these "false teachers" have deceived:
    For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn back from the holy commandment that was delivered to them.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Peter in his second epistle refutes the idea that God is slow in bringing His coming judgment to the world by saying instead of being slow as people would count slowness, He is being patient, desiring for none to perish and for all to come to repentance.
  • Good Is Not Soft: A warning to believers from 1st Peter 4:17-18:
    For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins first with us, what shall the end be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
  • Greed: From 2nd Peter 2:3 about "false teachers":
    And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their judgment, made long ago, does not linger, and their destruction does not slumber.
  • To Hell and Back: Implied in the first epistle in regards to Jesus when Peter says He went and "preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient", referring to the souls that perished during the Flood.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Peter in his second epistle speaks of Lot being tormented in his soul by seeing and hearing the lawless deeds of the people in Sodom.
  • Love Redeems: From 1st Peter 4:8:
    Above all things, have unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
  • Make an Example of Them: In the second epistle, Peter says God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with such a destruction, condemning them to ashes, to make them an example "to those who afterward would live ungodly."
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In 1st Peter 2:19-20, Peter says that suffering punishment for the sake of doing good is commendable before God, as Jesus Christ also suffered for doing good.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Peter warns his readers in his second epistle that "we have not followed cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty." He also says that none of the prophecies of Scripture were anything that any man of God had made up from his own understanding, but were what they spoke as they were moved along by the Holy Spirit.
  • No Woman's Land: Peter's message to wives in 1st Peter 3:1-6, like Paul's message in Ephesians and Colossians, is often quote mined into saying that the wives must always be submissive unto their husbands, but like Paul, Peter follows it up in verse 7 with a message to the husbands to "give honor unto the wife, as unto a weaker vessel, and as co-heirs to the grace of life" so that their prayers are not hindered or cut off.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: 1st Peter 3:9 warns against this, saying:
    Do not repay evil for evil, or curse for curse, but on the contrary, bless, knowing that to this you are called, so that you may receive a blessing.
  • Platonic Kissing: Like Paul, Peter tells the believers at the end of his first epistle to "greet one another with a kiss of love" (or "a holy kiss" as in the Douay-Rheims Version), which in some more dynamic translations is rendered "give each other a warm greeting" or "give each other a handshake".
  • Pride: Peter in his first epistle quotes from the Book of Proverbs to deal with this issue among believers, saying that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
  • Satan: Peter warns his readers in his first epistle that Satan goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whomever to devour, and that they should stand steadfast against him.
  • Set the World on Fire: In the third chapter of his second epistle, Peter warns that God is going to destroy both the heavens and the earth that exists now with fire. Bible students are divided over whether that means complete annihilation of God's creation or just the burning away of the world's works to bring forth "the new earth".
  • Sinister Minister: Peter warns his readers about false teachers who bring destructive heresies in the second chapter of his second epistle. He also warns about those who are untrained and unstable in their faith that twist the words of Paul the apostle, as they do the other Scriptures, that they do so to their own destruction.
  • Symbolic Baptism: Peter in his first epistle says that water baptism is "not washing off the dirt from the body, but a response to God from a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: From 1st Peter 3:3-4, to wives and women:
    Do not let your adorning be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine clothing. But let it be the hidden nature of the heart, that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Some Bible students have interpreted Peter's words in 2nd Peter 3:8 — "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" — to mean that one day with God is actually a thousand years with us. In actuality, it's really saying that God's perception of time is different from ours, since He lives in eternity and we live in time. God can take however long He wants to fulfill all His promises, whether it be immediately soon or many years from now, but the purpose is so that all can come to repentance.

Alternative Title(s): First Peter, Second Peter