While Peter’s first letter was mainly addressed to suffering Christians, his second letter was written to combat false teaching. Since the time of his first writing, Peter was obviously alarmed by the increase of false doctrine which had made its way into the churches in Asia Minor. As a faithful minister of the gospel, he felt that he had a great responsibility to warn the church about the dangers of accepting erroneous teachings. Peter knew that his time on earth was coming to an end as he wrote this letter from a Roman prison, so this was his way of challenging the church to stay pure in its beliefs. It appears this writing occurred somewhere around AD 67-68, just before Peter’s martyrdom by crucifixion. Although he never specifically states to whom this letter is written, we can surmise that he was writing to the same persecuted Christians who received 1 Peter (2 Peter 3:1).
The main theme of 2 Peter is exposing and combating false teaching; however, he never mentions the specific heresy which is being taught. At the heart of all wrong doctrine is misinterpreting and even twisting Scripture, which Peter alludes to in 2 Peter 2. Not only does Peter expose the false teachings, but also the evildoing of the teachers. The New Testament writers often equate false doctrine with evil works. Those who have a wrong belief system will reveal the error of their ways through a sinful lifestyle. Overall, Peter’s second letter is doctrinal in nature but is careful to provide practical outlets to defend the authority of Scripture and live a life of faithfulness to God’s ways.
Dear God, give me understanding of Peter’s writing. May it challenge me to live a faithful life to Your word and ways.