This site exists to provide insights from the Christian perspective by teaching theology and biblical exegesis. Does God exist? How reliable is the biblical text? How should the Christian faith be understood? These questions are not simply academic, but affect everyone. "...I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting" (1 Timothy 1:16).
Thursday, September 13, 2018
A Case For The Traditional Authorship Of 2 Peter
Defining The Issues:
-2 Peter has been rather controversial amongst critical scholars in regards to its dating and authorship. It was actually questioned the most heavily out of all the New Testament books in the early church. Many Christians in the conservative realm have been quick to dispute claims of this epistle being second century pseudepigraphical literature. Such claims, if true, would jeopardize the doctrines of biblical inspiration and inerrancy. This article strives to present evidences pointing in favor of the Apostle Peter being the author of the writing in focus. The fact that 2 Peter underwent such scrutiny in the early church and still passed standards of canonicity is an argument for it being genuine. Also, why would a forger produce a letter that speaks out against false teachers? Critics of the Bible are overstating their case here.
The Internal Evidence For The Apostle Peter Being The Author Of 2 Peter Is Strong:
-The author of the epistle claims to have been present in the transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18), which was not a major theme of later Christian preaching. Nowhere in context did the author claim to have received additional special revelation from this event. This is perfectly consistent with the Apostle Peter being the author of 2 Peter.
-The author of this epistle describes Paul in 2 Peter 3:15-16 as being a "beloved brother," as if both were well-acquainted.
-The author of the epistle claims in 2 Peter 1:13-16 to have been ready to be martyred for his faith as Jesus Christ solemnly foretold. This is consistent with traditional authorship, since the Apostle Peter would have been an elderly man being held in custody under Roman guards awaiting his death sentence by the Emperor Nero.
-The author of 2 Peter claims to be an eyewitness of the risen Lord. The author in 2 Peter 3:1 even claims to have written a previous letter.
Addressing The Rejection By Critical Scholars The Internal Evidence Of 2 Peter Being Authentic:
-"Claims that personal references prove forgery are based purely on prejudice because unless the ink is still wet and the author long dead, it cannot be proved to be false. Charles Bigg says, “As regards what an author says about himself, we can ask only whether…it is possible or impossible. But no document was ever condemned as a forgery upon this ground.”15." (Hampton Keathley IV, "The Authorship of Second Peter")
-"...At points it seems the critics almost expect Peter’s second epistle to be simply a rehash of the same material so that identical vocabulary and themes would reappear. However, this expectation is certainly unreasonable considering the very different circumstances and purposes behind each epistle. Another difficulty with these types of arguments is seen in the fact that Peter’s writing style is not so easily defined or identified as some other New Testament authors." (e.g. John and Paul)." (Michael J. Kruger, PDF document “The Authenticity of 2 Peter", pages 12-13)
Similarities Between 1 Peter And 2 Peter:
-Both epistles speak of Noah (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:6) and Old Testament prophecy (1 Peter 1:10–12; 2 Peter 1:20–21).
-2 Peter contains allusions to Psalms (2 Peter 3:8), Proverbs (2 Peter 2:22) and Isaiah (2 Peter 3:13). Those sources are clearly cited in 1 Peter.
-It is not unrealistic to believe that Peter wrote this epistle: "...there is good external evidence that it was written in the 1st century by someone like Peter who was a contemporary of the events. The noted archaeologist William F. Albright dated 2 Peter before a.d. 80. The discovery of the Bodmer papyri (P72, ca. a.d. 250) reveals that it was highly respected in Egypt at an early date. The book was cited as authentic by numerous early church fathers, including Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, and Augustine." (Norman Geisler and Thomas A. Howe, When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties, p. 454-455)