18 July 2 Peter 1:1-2,3:1-16

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18 July. Peter warns that Paul's letters are hard to understand

"From Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To you who have received a faith as valuable as ours, because our God and Saviour Jesus Christ does what is right. Grace and peace be given to you more and more, because you truly know God and Jesus our Lord..."

"My friends, this is the second letter I have written to you to help your honest minds remember. I want you to think about the words the holy prophets spoke in the past, and remember the command our Lord and Saviour gave us through your apostles."

"It is most important for you to understand what will happen in the last days. People will laugh at you. They will live doing the evil things they want to do. They will say, 'Jesus promised to come again. Where is he? Our fathers have died, but the world continues the way it has been since it was made'..."

"Dear friends, since you are waiting for this to happen, do your best to be without sin and without fault. Try to be at peace with God. Remember that we are saved because our Lord is patient."

"Our dear brother Paul told you the same thing when he wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes about this in all his letters."

"Some things in Paul's letters are hard to understand, and people who are ignorant and weak in faith explain these things falsely. They also falsely explain the other Scriptures, but they are destroying themselves by doing this."

          (2 Peter 1:1-2, 3:1-3, 14-16)

 

 

After the four 'Gospel' ('Good News') accounts of Jesus's life and the 'Acts of the Apostles', the remaining books of the New Testament part of the Bible contain letters written by early Christian leaders and taken by messengers to the new churches recently established across the Roman world.

The letters – from Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude – were written to encourage believers in the face of persecution, to explain the Christian faith and to point out its relevance to everyday life.

Thirteen of these 22 letters were written by Paul (see the table). We know that Paul also wrote a 14th letter, to the believers at Laodicea (Paul refers to it in Colossians 4:16) but this letter has been lost.

Paul dictated his letters to an amanuensis (a scribe) who attempted to copy his words verbatim (using his exact words). The scribe would have been a Christian colleague such as Tertius (who scribed Paul’s Letter to the Romans – see Romans 16.22), Silas (who also scribed for Peter – see 1 Peter 5:12) or Timothy (see 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2 Corinthians 1:19, Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:1 & Philemon 1:1).

Paul’s letters are not always easy to follow in the original Greek. Paul started life as a Jewish Pharisee, thriving on intense religious debate and steeped in obscure arguments about the Jewish law. It’s hardly surprising that, on occasions, his religious arguments are difficult for us to follow today. Even Peter (who was thoroughly conversant with the Jewish religion) comments that Paul’s letters contain some things that are "difficult to understand" (see 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Reading Paul’s thirteen letters in chronological order – the order in which they were written (rather than the order in which they appear in the New Testament) – helps us to understand why they were written, and provides us with a correctly sequenced story of the development of the early Christian church.

With the exception of the Letter of James (which was written shortly after the persecution of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem following Stephen’s death in 35AD), these letters were sent between 50AD (twenty years after Jesus's death and resurrection) and 67AD (at the outbreak of the Romano-Jewish War).

You can see a map showing the location of the young churches in the Eastern Mediterranean to whom the letters were sent @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/an-introduction-to-pauls…/


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