December 9, 2007
1 and 2 Peter; Jude
It’s the holiday season & I’m busy! So, for the time being, I’ve chosen to limit my questions/comments to the first chapters of 1 Peter. I think this is plenty of material to discuss during a Gospel Doctrine lesson. Be sure to utilize the cannon of scripture and allow students to pull on the threads of thought that they might have and share.
The author identifies himself as the apostle Peter and the contents and character of the letter support his authorship. Moreover, the letter reflects the history and terminology of the Gospel and Acts (notably Peter’s speeches). Most likely Peter wrote with the help of a scribe which would account for the literary Greek of the letter, which some point to in disputing Peter’s authorship. The book can be dated to the early 60s AD, but not earlier since it shows familiarity with Paul’s Prison Letters and it cannot be dated later than 67/68 AD, since Peter was martyred during Nero’s reign. It was probably written from Rome, which Peter symbolically calls “Babylon.”
v. 24: The word of the Lord is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rJhma tou kuriou; here and in Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logo” tou kuriou; Acts 8:25; 13:44, 48, 49; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 1:8, 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said. This is a quotation from Isa. 40:6, 8. Note how this thought is followed by the following 3 verses. Why do you think Peter put verse 1 of Chapter 2 in there?
v. 1: Are these prerequisites for experiencing the blessings described in the following 2 verses?
v. 2: The word for “word” here in Greek is λογικός (logikos), meaning “spiritual”, which is a play on words with the reference in 1:23-25 to the living and enduring word (λόγος, logos) of God, through which they were born anew. “Sincere” could also be translated as “pure.” In other words, without God’s word we wither away but with God’s word we grow.
v. 3: Does this verse mean that if we’ve experienced personal growth we have heeded God’s word?
v. 4-8: Why did Peter use this stone metaphore? Does it have anything to do with his name? See Matt. 16:18.
v. 9: Note that ‘peculiar’ means purchased or preserved. I don’t think this is appropriately taught today and we take the word in modern context. How does this knowledge help you understand v. 9? What does it mean to be chosen (see 3 Ne. 19:28; James 5:15-16; D&C 95:5-6), royal (see James 2:8), holy (see Ex. 19:6; Hos. 1:6,9; 2:23; Isa. 1:4) and peculiar (See Ex. 19:5)? How does this impact your thinking and living?
Peter quotes the Old Testament several times in this chapter (v. 6 = Isa. 28:16; v. 7 = Ps. 118:22; v. 8 = Isa. 8:14; v. 10 = Hos. 1:6,9; 2:23; v. 22 = Isa. 53.). What benefit does this give the reader?
The author identifies himself as Simon Peter and claims to be an eyewitness of the transfiguration, telling the reader that this is his second letter. This letter was probably written toward the end of Peter’s life, after he had written a prior letter to the same readers, presumably 1 Peter.
There are conspicuous similarities between 2 Peter & Jude, but there are also significant differences. Some suggest one borrowed from the other, or visa versa. It is most reasonable to assume that if any borrowing did occur, which was common in ancient writings, Peter incorporated Jude into his letter.
The author identifies himself as Jude, which is another form of the Hebrew name Judah, a common name amoung the Jews. There are two suggestions as to which Jude this is: 1. Judas the apostle (see Lk 6:16; Act. 1:13)–not Judas Iscariot, and 2. Judas the brother of the Lord (Mt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3). The latter is more likely.
The question of the relationship between Jude and 2 Peter has a bearing on the date of Jude. If 2 Pe. 2 makes use of Jude–a commonly accepted view–then Jude is to be dated prior to 2 Peter, probably 65 AD. Otherwise, a date as late as 80 AD would be possible.