The apostle Peter wrote this second epistle to the same group as the first epistle (2 Pet 3:1). Both of Peter’s epistles were written to the scattered Jewish believers to remind them of the words of the prophets and the twelve apostles concerning the last days and the coming of the Lord (2 Pet 3:1-4). In his first epistle he speaks of the coming of the Lord as being “at hand” (1 Pet 4:7). In this epistle, he knows that it has been postponed due to the longsuffering of the Lord (2 Pet 3:9). The difference is that between the writing of his two epistles he came to know some things about Paul’s ministry (2 Pet 3:15-16).
Peter wrote this epistle not long before his death (2 Pet 1:12-15; Jn 21:18-19). It was likely written toward the end of the Acts period, in the early 60’s AD. By the time Peter wrote this epistle, Paul had already written a number of his. Paul wrote Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Romans, and 1 & 2 Corinthians during the Acts period. The saints recognized his writings as scripture (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 3:16). That Peter knew of Paul’s ministry does not mean that he changed his. He continued as an apostle to the circumcision and wrote his last epistle to confirm that their prophetic kingdom program will be fulfilled (2 Pet 1:10-21; 3:8-14).
The keyword of this epistle is “knowledge” (2 Pet 1:2-3, 5-6, 8; 2:20; 3:18 = 7x’s). It begins and ends with a reference to the knowledge of God (2 Pet 1:1-4; 3:17-18). That knowledge is to be fruitful (2 Pet 1:5-11) and based on the truth of God’s word (2 Pet 1:16-21). As a faithful shepherd, Peter writes to warn the sheep against false teachers (2 Pet 2:1) and scoffers (2 Pet 3:3). It is possible for them to “fall” (2 Pet 1:10; 3:17) if they don’t overcome the deception of the last days (2 Pet 2:18-22).
l. Knowledge of the Truth (1)
Il. Warning Against False Teachers (2)
Ill. The Day of the Lord will Come (3)
For emphasis, the Lord inspired both Peter and Jude to write a similar description of false teachers (cf. 2 Pet 2 with Jude). Satan will plant many wolves in sheep’s clothing among the godly remnant of Israel in an effort to lead them astray (Matt 7:15). It will be absolutely vital for the little flock to identify the deceivers for who they really are.
Peter was the leading apostle to the circumcision and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Although given distinct ministries, there are similarities between them. It is interesting to compare their last epistles:
Both are written with a knowledge of impending death (2 Tim 4:6; 2 Pet 1:14)
Both speak of the supernatural origin of the scriptures (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21)
Both warn of apostasy in the last days (2 Tim 3:1; 2 Pet 3:3) — different last days
Both warn against false teachers (2 Tim 2:16-18; 3:6-9, 13; 4:3-4; 2 Pet 2)