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 the dating and authorship, and in fact was questioned the most heavily out of all the New Testament books in the early church. Many professing Christians in the conservative evangelical realm have been quick to dispute claims of this epistle being second century pseudepigraphical literature on the grounds of such jeopardizing 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. Critics of the Bible are simply overstating their case. There is ultimately no solid grounds for rejecting the traditional authorship of 2 Peter.
  • 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.
          -Another factor favoring the traditional dating and authorship of 2 Peter is the fact that the author 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 even claims to be an eyewitness of the risen Lord. The author in 2 Peter 3:1 claims to have written a previous letter.
  • Addressing The Rejection By Critical Scholars The Internal Evidence Of 2 Peter Being Authentic:
          -"They base this claim on the fact that it is typical pseudepigraphal genre similar to that done in the pastoral epistles.14 But as we have seen, this is an assumption. It is also circular reasoning, because it has not been proven, nor is it unanimously accepted, that the pastoral epistles are pseudepigraphal....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")
  • The Most Primitive Patristic Writers Were Well Aware Of 2 Peter:
          -"...there is good evidence that other early Christians knew 2 Peter. These include Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), Irenaeus (c. 130-200), Justin Martyr (c. 115-165), the Apocalypse of Peter (c. 110), and 1 Clement (c. 95-97). Clement of Alexandria wrote a now-lost commentary of 2 Peter. Irenaeus seems to use 2 Peter 3:8 when quoting Psalm 90:4. Both quotes of this verse are very similar which is interesting since they are different from the LXX and diverge from it in the exact same way. Justin makes a striking allusion in his Dialogue with Trypho (82.1) to 2 Peter 2:1. The Apocalypse of Peter (c. 110) “certainly” shows evidence of influence from 2 Peter.[8] We also have a number of connections with 1 Clement and 2 Peter (1 Clement 21.5 and 2 Peter 2:1ff; 1 Clem 23 and 2 Pet 3:4, etc.)." (Christian Worldview Press, "Who Wrote Second Peter?")
  • Other Points Worthy Of Consideration:
          -"Moreover, it is seemingly irrational that a false teacher would spuriously write a letter against false teachers. No unusual, new, or false doctrines appear in 2 Peter. So, if 2 Peter were a forgery, it would be a forgery written by a fool for no reason at all. This is too much to believe. The conclusion to the question of authorship is that, when the writer introduced the letter and referred to himself as Peter, he was writing the truth." (John MacArthur, Grace to You, "Introduction of Second Peter")
          -"...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." (Dr. Norman Geisler, Defending Inerrancy, "2 PETER 1:1—DID THE APOSTLE PETER REALLY WRITE THIS BOOK?")
  • Addressing Stylistic Variations Between 1 Peter And 2 Peter:
          -"Although 2 Peter has fewer formal quotations, his clear allusions to the OT are made from Psalms (2 Pet 3:8), Proverbs (2 Pet 2:22); Isaiah (2 Pet 3:13) which are each explicitly cited in 1 Peter.88 This remarkable correlation seems to suggest the separate writings of one person rather than a deliberate imitation; thus it can hardly be considered accidental. This connection is supported by references to Noah in each epistle (1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 3:6) and to the OT prophecy (1 Pet 1:10–12; 2 Pet 1:20–21)....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.89 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)

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