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Epistles of Peter

General Information

The two Epistles of Peter are part of the section of the New Testament of the Bible called the General Letters (Catholic Epistles). They are the 21st and 22d books of the canon. Early tradition supports 1 Peter's claim to authorship by Saint Peter (1 Peter 1:1), although the attribution has been challenged. The book was possibly written from Rome ("Babylon" of 1 Pet. 5:13) to Christians in Anatolia (1 Pet. 1:1) just before AD 64. Its purpose was to strengthen Christians suffering persecution. Peter explained the suffering as a test of faith and pointed the persecuted Christians to their living hope founded on God, who raised Jesus from the grave.

Authorship of 2 Peter, although also ascribed to Peter (2 Pet. 1:1), has been questioned by many scholars. No mention of the letter occurs until about the 3d century. Probably written for the same Anatolian audience as was 1 Peter, the book warns against false teachers in the community and gives affirmative assurance that Christ will return (2 Pet. 3:1 - 10).

Douglas Ezell

Bibliography E Johnson, A Semantic Structure Analysis of Second Peter (1988); R C Kelcy, The Letters of Peter and Jude (1972); S J Kistenmaker, Expositions of the Epistles of Peter and Jude (1987): B Reicke, The Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude (1964); E G Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter (1946).

Epistles of Peter

Brief Outline

First Epistle

  1. Salutation (1:1-2)
  2. Nature of Salvation (1:3-12)
  3. Experience of Salvation (1:13-25)
  4. Obligations of Salvation (2:1-10)
  5. Ethics of Salvation (2:11-3:12)
  6. Confidence of Salvation (3:13-4:11)
  7. Behavior of the Saved under suffering (4:12-5:11)
  8. Concluding salutations (5:12-14)

Second Epistle

  1. Salutation (1:1)
  2. Character of Spiritual knowledge (1:2-21)
  3. Nature and perils of apostasy (2:1-22)
  4. Doom of the ungodly (3:1-7)
  5. Hope of believers (3:8-13)
  6. Concluding exhortation (3:14-18)


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