In the New Testament, 1 Peter, was a letter written by the Apostle Peter (before Christ's death, he was a disciple of Jesus) in about 63 A.D. Jesus Christ was born between 4-1 B.C. (Before Christ, aka B.C.E. Before Common Era). Jesus Christ died between 26-37 A.D. (Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord, aka C.E. Common Era). This means that the fist letter of Peter was written 26-40 yrs after Christ's death and resurrection.
Peter was writing to northern Asia Minor which is basically Turkey today.
2 Peter was written between 65-68 A.D. just before his death. Tradition holds that Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. He said he was not worthy to die as his Lord had died so they crucified him upside down.
Tradition holds that he was crucified at the site of the Clementine Chapel. His mortal remains are contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope Paul VI announced in 1968 the excavated discovery of a first-century Roman cemetery. The workers appointed to excavate the burial found the area marked with graffiti dating from the early Apostolic Age, particularly a Greek inscription that reads Petros Eni (English: Here is Peter). A small niche was noted where the original purple and gold pouch containing the remains of a mid-60-year-old male is believed to be the bones of Saint Peter. Pope Paul VI publicly confirmed the authenticity of the site on Christmas day, 1968 after painstaking research and archaeological excavation.
The Clementine Chapel is part of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The altar structure of the chapel was formally consecrated in 1123 by Pope Callixtus II. The chapel is named in honor of Pope Clement VIII, who used the chapel as his oratory and donated funds to install various religious mosaics preserved today. It is one of the two main untouched areas of the original St. Peter's Basilica. The chapel is the holiest site in the basilica, and the prime reason why the basilica was constructed in the first place.
Paul affirms that Peter had the special charge of being apostle to the Jews, just as he, Paul, was apostle to the Gentiles. Peter undertook a missionary journey to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea, becoming instrumental in the decision to evangelize the Gentiles. In a strong tradition of the Early Church, Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome with Paul, served as its bishop, authored two epistles, and then met martyrdom there along with Paul.
I Peter was written to encourage the believers in the midst of affliction. II Peter was written because false teachings were appearing and confusing the church. So 1 Peter was written about problems from outside the church and 2 Peter was written about problems inside the church. They were letters just like you and I write letters and send them through the snail mail. He was writing to churches not to unbelievers outside the church.
For this study lets look at 2 Peter 1: 1-11
2 Peter 1:1-11 (King James Version - KJV) (1) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: (2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Let's look at some different translations:
2 Peter 1:1-11 (Amplified Version - AV) 1 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: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Confirming One’s Calling and Election 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:1-11 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) (1) Greetings from Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To all of you who share in the same valuable faith that we have. This faith was given to us because our God and Savior Jesus Christ always does what is good and right. (2) Grace and peace be given to you more and more, because now you know God and Jesus our Lord. (3) Jesus has the power of God. And his power has given us everything we need to live a life devoted to God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus chose us by his glory and goodness, (4) through which he also gave us the very great and rich gifts that he promised us. With these gifts you can share in being like God. And so you will escape the ruin that comes to people in the world because of the evil things they want. (5) Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; (6) to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; (7) to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. (8) If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But those who don't grow in these blessings are blind. They cannot see clearly what they have. They have forgotten that they were cleansed from their past sins. (10) My brothers and sisters, God called you and chose you to be his. Do your best to live in a way that shows you really are God's called and chosen people. If you do all this, you will never fall. (11) And you will be given a very great welcome into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a kingdom that never ends.
St. Peter introduces himself in the first verse. He uses his original name of Simon and the name the Lord Jesus gave hime, Peter. He mentions his position as "servant and apostle of Jesus Christ". Why does Peter call himself a "servant"? Wasn't he chief among the Apostles? Let's go back to Matthew 20: 20-28 and see what Jesus has to say.
Matthew 20: 20-28 (Modern King James Version - MKJV)
Then the mother of Zebedee's children came to Him with her sons, worshiping and desiring a certain thing from Him.
And He said to her, What do you desire? She said to Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit in Your kingdom, the one on Your right hand and the other on the left.
But Jesus answered and said, You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said to Him, We are able.
And He said to them, You shall indeed drink of My cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.
And when the ten heard it, they were indignant concerning the two brothers.
But Jesus called them and said, You know that the rulers of the nations exercise dominion over them, and they who are great exercise authority over them.
However, it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant.
And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant;
even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
It seems that there was an ambitious mother who wanted her sons to be high in the government that she was sure Jesus was going to establish here on earth. Jews expected the Messiah to come to earth and establish an earthly government that would rule over all other governments. It's why Jews didn't accept Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah. He didn't raise an army and conquer Rome and go on to conquer all the other countries and take over the world. Jesus was first going to establish a spiritual kingdom and most Jews couldn't understand that.
But Jesus used this conversation to teach His disciples (who would later become Apostles) what it meant to lead. In our human-ness we think being a leader means we lord it over everyone else, we are in control and we use that control to get what we want. But, as Christians, we are taught that to be a leader is to be a servant to those under you. Jesus, Himself, submitted Himself and voluntarily chose to serve us. He gave up His Life in order to save us. It's upside down thinking.
So the Apostle Peter, who was the chief among Apostles and leader of the early church, did not take that position and misuse it to rule over them. He used it to SERVE the first church.
What is an apostle? One sent forth. He is the first successful Christian missionary in a country or to a people; a messenger; a representative; a pioneering advocate. An important early Christian teacher. All of the original 12 disciples, except for Judas, became Apostles. Paul became another Apostle after his Damascus road experience. Peter calls himself a servant and Apostle.
Matthew 10:2-4 (Contemporary English Version-CEV)
(2) The first of the twelve apostles was Simon, better known as Peter. His brother Andrew was an apostle, and so were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee.
(3) Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles.
(4) The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.
They were chosen by Christ himself.
Mattew 16:15-19 (MKJV)
(15) He said to them, But who do you say I am?
(16) And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(17) Jesus answered and said to him, You are blessed, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father in Heaven.
(18) And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(19) And I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven to you. And whatever you may bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven, and whatever you may loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven.
Peter is often portrayed holding giant keys, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Catholics believe that Jesus meant the church would be built on Peter and the Popes are the "Peters" of their generation. Protestants believe that Jesus meant Peter's words, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" is the rock upon which the church would be built.
The qualification to be an apostle was that he should have been personally acquainted with Jesus and attended throughout the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John until He was taken up into heaven. On the Feast of Pentecost, ten days after our Lord's ascension to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came down on the assembled church in Acts 2. Peter was the first of them to preach.
"Their first mission out of Jerusalem was to Samaria Act_8:5-25 where the Lord himself had, during his ministry, sown the seed of the gospel. Here ends the first period of the apostles' agency, during which its centre is Jerusalem and the prominent figure is that of St. Peter.
"The centre of the second period of the apostolic agency is Antioch, where a church soon was built up, consisting of Jews and Gentiles; and the central figure of this and of the subsequent period is St. Paul.
"The third apostolic period is marked by the almost entire disappearance of the twelve from the sacred narrative and the exclusive agency of St. Paul, the great apostle of the Gentiles. Of the missionary work of the rest of the twelve we know absolutely nothing from the sacred narrative." (Smith's Bible Dictionary)
So Peter considered himself an Apostle. But he did not use his office as a way to garner honor, glory, riches or power to himself. He used his office to serve his Savior and the people of God.
After Peter introduces himself, he addresses the receivers of his letter, "To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours." Amplified
Let's focus on the words, "have received a faith as precious as ours" Amplified. Let's look at different versions of these words:
to them that have obtained like precious faith with us - KJV
to those who with us have a part in the same holy faith - 1965 Bible In Basic English (BBE)
to them that have obtained a like precious faith - Revised Version (RV)
who share in the same valuable faith that we have - ERV
to those who did obtain a like precious faith with us - Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
What is faith? "Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding." -Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hebrews 11:1 (MKJ)
(1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(8) For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
(9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.
On the other hand, if you listen to God's Call,; respond to the work of the Holy Spirit, accept His love, forgiveness and salvation then you will become one of His Children and will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God. And the Word of God reveals Jesus as Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, God's only Son. Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth. I believe every word in the Bible. I accept it as truth. I believe that God created the Earth, that there was a universal Flood, that Abraham was a real individual, that Jesus is the Son of God through the Virgin Mary, etc. There is not one word that I don't believe in. I believe it was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I believe it was preserved over the centuries by miracles of the Holy Spirit. Even if someone found something contrary to the Word of God, I would believe God before I would believe man. It is my standard against which I judge all other things.
The more I study the Word, the more true I find it to be. People can take verses out of context and argue that it contradicts other passages or that it hasn't been proved scientifically or archaelogically. I would still believe the Bible. But I've found that when I've studied the Word there haven't been contradictions. In fact, I find it more and more cohesive. I LOVE to study the Word because there is no end to it's depth. I'm a lifelong Christian and I've made it a goal to deeply study the Bible every year. I'm not a scholar but I've made it a purpose to study the Word. And I've done it with faith to begin with. I don't go into a Bible study class with the intention of disproving everything the Bible says. I don't disrupt the class to prove how much smarter I am than my fellow students or how much smarter I am than God and His Word. I believe, therefore I study.
It is God's grace that awakens faith within us.
Ephesians 2: 4-8 (MKJV)
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us
Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),
Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2: 4-8 (Amplified)
4 But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).
6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 7 He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Peter also said it was the same faith that he had. "a part in the same holy faith". That faith has not changed. We have the same faith as the Apostles had. We have the same faith the early church members had. We have the same faith that our Christian ancestors had. I have the same faith that my Great Great Grandfather had.
John, 17:8 (MKJV) For I [Jesus] have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me....