What’s in an Introduction?

Peter begins his second letter with a traditional introduction. If we read the Bible like we are reading a Facebook post, we may skip over several breathtaking points.

Let’s look at Peter’s introduction and spend a few minutes digging for the “gold” in these verses.

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith as equally honorable as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord(2 Peter 1.1-2).

First consider the phrase, “received a faith.” Peter didn’t say they “developed” faith or “earned” faith.

Faith is received as a gift of God’s grace. The faith that is needed to receive new life in Christ is a gift of God.

“Equally honorable” deserves our interest. Peter was an insider among the first disciples of Jesus.

He writes to ordinary believers and informs them that their faith is as “equally honorable” as his.

The grace of God that captured Peter and made him an apostle is the same grace that all believers experience.

Paul clearly understood this. Faith is a gift of grace and is not a source of personal pride.

What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4.7).

The third insight from Peter’s opening words needs a bit of understanding of the Greek language.

“Righteousness” and “justice” translate the same Greek word. Ben Witherington III believes that justice is the better translation in this instance.

Witherington points out that God owes faith to no one, but he justly bestows faith on all believers.

I would have missed an important point in this passage if it hadn’t been for Rudy Ross.

In today’s YouTube video, Rudy highlights the phrase, “of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

As a Jew, Rudy struggled with understanding the Trinity, and how God could be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s grace gave him the faith to embrace this truth and experience a relationship with him.

The Power of Knowledge

Verse 2 says that God’s peace (wholeness and well-being) is increased by the “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

Verse 3 says that everything we need to live a life like Jesus comes from knowledge of him.

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1.3).

God’s power is active in our lives to give us everything we need for the best life possible.

This power is intimately connected with the knowledge of God. You will correctly assume that knowledge is more than “head” knowledge.

The Old Testament describes the relationship of knowledge to humans with a description of human intimacy.

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord” (Genesis 4.1).

God graciously grants humans faith that opens the door to a personal relationship with him. This relationship is a transforming friendship that gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I begin a study on 2 Peter on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.

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