March 21 - 2 Peter 1:1-2

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2 Peter 1:1-2 – Greetings

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, 

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Peter took Matthew 23:11 quite seriously since he was obviously the leader of Jesus' followers after the Resurrection.  As we read the early chapters of Acts, we see that Peter steps forward in the head position of the group of followers that seems to be growing exponentially.  So, in 2 Peter 1:1, he not only identifies himself as an apostle, but as a servant of Christ.  The lesson was learned.

The use of the word 'servant' here is translated from the Greek word 'doulos,' which actually means 'slave.' The term describes a person who is totally owned by and devoted to Jesus Christ.  Even as a leader … one of the original Twelve, Peter signifies he is nothing except as he is related to Christ.  Peter's authority is not his own, it comes because he belongs to Jesus Christ.

If you compare this to 1 Peter, you will find several 'letter' components missing.  There are no personal greetings and no thanksgiving (which occurs in 1 Peter 1:3) and there is no blessing of the recipients. This letter is more like a sermon or a speech which is transmitted as a letter.

However, 2 Peter and the letter from Jude contain portions that are nearly identical.  I will make every attempt to point out to you the parallel passages between the two letters as we work through this.  Today, as you read 2 Peter 1:1-2, read Jude 1-2 as well. The opening portions are very similar.

Then, read Jude 3 and notice that he speaks of the faith of the saints, while Peter writes of the faith that we have. This faith is granted through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Notice here that this is one person. Peter does not distinguish here between two separate persons. In many translations, and in the original Greek, it comes forth as 'our God and Savior Jesus Christ.'  Profound theology.

In 2 Peter 1:2, we find one of the main themes of this letter. Knowledge. Peter insists that this is very important. This is the knowledge that we gain upon conversion to Christianity.  It isn't just an intellectual knowledge or simply knowing someone upon meeting them, but knowledge that results in a difference in our living.

While 1 Peter focused on holiness, we will find that we have a lot to learn about living a life in the fullness of glory. This second letter has plenty to say to us about knowing God and understanding the things of faith.