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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on Second Peter

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1, 1 :

Symeon Peter: on the authorship of 2 Peter, see Introduction; on the spelling here of the Hebrew name Šim'ôn, cf Acts 15, 14 . The greeting is especially similar to those in 1 Peter and Jude. The words translated our God and savior Jesus Christ could also be rendered “our God and the savior Jesus Christ”; cf 11; 2, 20; 3, 2.18 .

1, 2 :

Knowledge: a key term in the letter ( 3.8; 2, 20; 3, 18 ), perhaps used as a Christian emphasis against gnostic claims.

1, 3–4 :

Christian life in its fullness is a gift of divine power effecting a knowledge of Christ and the bestowal of divine promises ( 3, 4.9 ). To share in the divine nature, escaping from a corrupt world, is a thought found elsewhere in the Bible but expressed only here in such Hellenistic terms, since it is said to be accomplished through knowledge (3); cf 2; 2, 20; but see also Jn 15, 4; 17, 22–23; Rom 8, 14–17; Heb 3, 14; 1 Jn 1, 3; 3, 2 .

1, 3 :

By his own glory and power: the most ancient papyrus and the best codex read “through glory and power.”.

1, 5–9 :

Note the climactic gradation of qualities ( 5–7 ), beginning with faith and leading to the fullness of Christian life, which is love; cf Rom 5, 3–4; Gal 5, 6.22 for a similar series of “virtues,” though the program and sense here are different than in Paul. The fruit of these is knowledge of Christ ( 8 ) referred to in v 3 ; their absence is spiritual blindness ( 9 ).

1, 10–11 :

Perseverance in the Christian vocation is the best preventative against losing it and the safest provision for attaining its goal, the kingdom. Kingdom of … Christ, instead of “God,” is unusual; cf Col 1, 13 and Mt 13, 41 , as well as the righteousness of … Christ ( 1 ).

1, 12–19 :

The purpose in writing is to call to mind the apostle's witness to the truth, even as he faces the end of his life ( 12–15 ), his eyewitness testimony to Christ ( 16–18 ), and the true prophetic message ( 19 ) through the Spirit in scripture ( 20–21 ), in contrast to what false teachers are setting forth (ch 2 ).

1, 13 :

Tent: a biblical image for transitory human life (Is 38, 12 ), here combined with a verb that suggests not folding or packing up a tent but its being discarded in death (cf 2 Cor 5, 1–4 ).

1, 16 :

Coming: in Greek parousia, used at 3, 4.12 of the second coming of Christ. The word was used in the extrabiblical writings for the visitation of someone in authority; in Greek cult and Hellenistic Judaism it was used for the manifestation of the divine presence. What the apostles made known has been interpreted to refer to Jesus’ transfiguration ( 17 ) or to his entire first coming or to his future coming in power (ch 3 ).

1, 17 :

The author assures the readers of the reliability of the apostolic message (including Jesus' power, glory, and coming; cf the note on 1, 16 ) by appeal to the transfiguration of Jesus in glory (cf Mt 17, 1–8 and parallels) and by appeal to the prophetic message ( 19; perhaps Nm 24, 17 ). Here, as elsewhere, the New Testament insists on continued reminders as necessary to preserve the historical facts about Jesus and the truths of the faith; cf 3, 1–2; 1 Cor 11, 2; 15, 1–3 . My Son, my beloved: or, “my beloved Son.”.

1, 18 :

We: at Jesus' transfiguration, referring to Peter, James, and John (Mt 17, 1 ).

1, 20–21 :

Often cited, along with 2 Tm 3, 16 , on the “inspiration” of scripture or against private interpretation, these verses in context are directed against the false teachers of ch 2 and clever tales ( 16 ). The prophetic word in scripture comes admittedly through human beings ( 21 ), but moved by the holy Spirit, not from their own interpretation, and is a matter of what the author and Spirit intended, not the personal interpretation of false teachers. Instead of under the influence of God, some manuscripts read “holy ones of God.”.

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