1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 9

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Read 2 Peter 1:1-11

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review your notes from the introduction to 2 Peter in lesson 8 (link above). What is the main theme or purpose of 2 Peter?

2. Examine verses 1-2. How does Peter credential himself? (1) How does he characterize the audience of his letter? (2) Compare the greeting of 2 Peter to the greetings of several other epistles (ex: 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Jude, Ephesians, etc.). What similarities do you notice? Differences? What is the significance of Peter’s characterization of his audience as: “those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours” (2)? What does this statement demonstrate about Peter’s view of himself? What would it have said to the Christians of his day who might have viewed him as a “celebrity”?

3. Study verses 3-4. What has God given us? (3a) Through what (in what way, by what means)? (3b) How do we obtain “knowledge of Him”? Is the following a fair statement based on concepts in verse 3 (and 19-21): “God gives us everything we need for godly living as we gain knowledge of Him. And the way we gain knowledge of Him is through the study of His Word.”? Why or why not? Read 3-4 alongside 2 Timothy 3:16-17. What similar concepts do both passages express about the primacy and sufficiency of God’s Word for living the Christian life?

How do we know what God’s “precious and very great promises” (4) to us are? What does it mean that we are “partakers of the divine nature”? (4) (Hint: Use your cross-references.)

4. Study verses 5-11. Verse 5 begins with, “For this very reason…”. For what reason (3-4) is Peter about to give the instructions in 5-11?

What does it mean to “supplement” something with something else? (Maybe think about taking a vitamin supplement.) Give a brief definition for each of the qualities Peter mentions in 5-7. Then, explain why each quality needs to be supplemented with its partner. (Ex: Why does faith need to be supplemented with virtue? Why does knowledge need to be supplemented with self-control? etc.) What is the difference between “brotherly affection” and “love”?

Peter states 8b in the negative (keep you from being ineffective…unfruitful). Restate this part of the verse in the positive (ex: help you to be…), to explain the reason Peter gives for increasing in the qualities in verses 5-7. What is the effect when a Christian lacks these qualities? (9) Therefore, because of 8 and because of 9, do _____ (10), and ______ (11) will be the result.

Compare verse 10 with 2 Corinthians 13:5. What does verse 10 mean when it says to “make your calling and election sure”? Is verse 11 saying that we are saved (entrance into the Kingdom) by our good works or by trying to be people of good character? How do you know?

5. How are verses 1-11 foundational to the theme of 2 Peter: “Avoiding false doctrine and false teachers”? Why is it important to be well grounded in sound doctrine and sound Christian character qualities if we want to be able to identify, avoid, and warn others away from false doctrine and false teachers?


Homework

How would you explain to a Mormon friend that “partakers of the divine nature” (4) does not mean that we become gods when we die? Or to a New Apostolic Reformation friend that this verse does not mean that we can speak things into existence like God can? Get a Christian friend to role play the discussion with you, and don’t forget to use your cross-references.


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 8

Previous Lessons: 123456, 7

Introduction to 2 Peter

Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…

Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.

Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.

What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.

What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?

What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.

When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.

So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of 2 Peter, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions. Some of the information was covered in Lesson 1 (link above) when we looked at the background of 1 Peter, but there are some differences I think you’ll find interesting and informative to the study of Peter’s second epistle.

Read the following overviews of the book of 2 Peter, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:

Bible Introductions: 2 Peter at Grace to You

Overview of the Book of 2 Peter at Reformed Answers

Book of 2 Peter at Got Questions

1. Who wrote the book of 2 Peter? How do we know this?

2. Approximately when was 2 Peter written? What is the geographical setting of the book of 2 Peter? Here are some maps (scroll down to “2 Peter”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of 2 Peter.

3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of 2 Peter? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of 2 Peter.

4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of 2 Peter: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?

5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of 2 Peter?

6. What are some of the major topics of instruction in the book of 2 Peter? How do these topics relate to the theme of 2 Peter?

7. What are some ways 2 Peter points to and connects to Jesus?

8. What else did you learn about 2 Peter or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?

Take some time in prayer this week to prepare your heart to receive what God has to say to you through 2 Peter. Ask God to grow you in holiness and in following the example of Christ as we continue studying together Living Stones: A Study of 1&2 Peter.

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 7

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read 1 Peter 5

Questions to Consider

1. Verse 1 begins with another pivot (transitional) word. (Review lesson 2 if necessary – link above). What is that word? How does the word “so” act as a hinge between what we studied in chapter 4 (and the preceding chapters – links above if you’d like to review) and what Peter says in chapter 5?

2. Peter gave minimal credentials at the beginning of his letter, choosing instead to save the details of his authority until his closing. What credentials does he list supporting his authority to instruct pastors and the church? (1)

3. Who is Peter instructing in verses 1-3? (1) Chart Peter’s instructions to pastors and elders in verses 2-3:

Do this:                                 Not this:                           But this:

Verse 2:

 

Verse 3:

 

Explain how each of these instructions speaks to a pastor’s character and how having a pastor who obeys these instructions is beneficial to a local church. What is a pastor’s reward for obeying these instructions? (4) What is the congregation’s responsibility? (5) Describe the dynamics of a church whose pastors/elders are obeying the instructions in 1-3, and whose members are obeying the instructions in 5. How does the pastor’s obedience make for better church members and vice versa?

4. What topic does verses 6-7 address? Verses 8-10? In each of these verses, Peter gives an instruction to obey and a reason for/explanation of that instruction. Chart these:

Instruction:                                       Reason/Explanation:

Verse 6:

Verse 7:

Verse 8:

Verse 9:

Verse 10:

How are each of these instructions practical in the life of a Believer? How do the reasons/explanations bring comfort and assurance to Believers? How would  these instructions and reassurances have been a perfect fit for the dispersed, persecuted church of Peter’s day?

5. How does God receive dominion and glory (11) from pastors and church members obeying His instructions in verses 1-10? How does a healthy church glorify God?

6. Read verses 12-14. Using your cross-references and footnotes, who are Silvanus and Mark? What task was Silvanus performing for Peter? (12) Was Mark Peter’s biological son or his “son in the faith”? (13). Who is “she who is at Babylon”? (13) (Hint: See 1 Peter 1:1, and review lesson 1, link above) Why would Peter have been careful to speak in “code” like this? Is 14a a literal command to all churches for all time, or was it merely an instruction to the church to greet each other warmly in a culturally acceptable way? How might Peter have instructed Believers today to greet one another?


Homework

Review the instructions to pastors/elders in 2-3. Which of these instructions is your pastor really good at carrying out? Send him a brief note or e-mail thanking him for obeying God and benefiting your church in this regard.


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 6

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Read 1 Peter 4

Questions to Consider

1. Review lessons 4 and 5 (links above) (1 Peter 2:19-25 and 3:8-22) and read all of 1 Peter 4. What theme do these passages have in common? Compare the ideas and instructions about suffering in these three passages. What are some ideas or instructions that Peter repeats for emphasis? How does Peter placard Jesus as our perfect example of suffering well in these passages?

2. Read verses 1-6 in light of these passages. Do verses 1-2 mean that anyone who has ever been ill or wounded (“suffered in the flesh”) will never sin again? What do these verses actually mean on a spiritual, rather than tangible, level? How do 1-6 describe the transformation of the behavior of someone who has become a new creature in Christ, who has put off the old self and put on the new self? What do all of these passages indicate about the spiritual state of someone who lives in the flesh and makes a practice of sinning versus someone who lives in the spirit and makes a practice of obeying God’s Word from the heart? Take some time to honestly, objectively, and prayerfully evaluate your heart against what these passages teach.

3. How do verses 7-11 describe living in the spirit? Peter gives something of a “bullet point” list in these verses. What are the instructions in each verse? Verses 7,8,11 give an instruction and a reason for the instruction (do this, because…). What are those reasons? How does living out these instructions benefit the individual Christian and the church? How does living out each of these instructions fit with the theme of this epistle: “living lives of holiness under persecution, and before a watching world”?

7-

8-

9-

10-11-

4. Examine verses 12-19.

Compare 12 to 2 Timothy 3:12. What does this teach us about the ubiquity of suffering and persecution for the Christian?

Find the words and phrases in 13, 14, 16, that describe the positive perspective on suffering Christians are to have. Why are we to have a joyful outlook on suffering?

Look at verses 1 and 13 together. What does it mean to share in Christ’s sufferings? How did He suffer? Why did He suffer? At whose hands did He suffer?

What’s the difference between sharing in Christ’s sufferings/suffering for the sake of Christ/suffering as a Christian and suffering as verse 15 describes? Why is the former to be gloried in and rejoiced over and the latter is to be avoided? What does God’s judgment (17-18) have to do with each kind of suffering? Why does God’s judgment begin with Christians ? (17-18)

Tie verse 19 (“while doing good”) back to 7-11. Does suffering give us an excuse to sin or walk away from the church? Why not, according to 19, 7-11?


Homework

Compare and contrast four different types of suffering:

a) Suffering as a result of someone else’s sin (ex: a drunk driver crashes into your car and kills your child)

b) Suffering as a result of living in a fallen world (ex: disease, disability, natural disaster)

c) Suffering as a result of your own sin (ex: you cheat on your husband and he leaves you)

d) Suffering for the sake of Christ (persecution)

Which of these types of suffering is today’s passage mainly dealing with? What are the similarities and differences among these types of suffering? What are some good things God can bring out of each of these types of suffering?

You may wish to read some of my articles on suffering:

True or False: Is Your Theology of Suffering Biblical?

God’s Good Purposes in Suffering

Christ, the Suffering Servant

Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Catch Up Week

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

It’s Catch Up Week!

I’m out of pocket this week, so you get a catch up week!

Catch up on any lessons you might be behind on, go back and do any of the homework you may not have had time for, review your memory verses, or if you’re already caught up, you could even read ahead in 1 Peter a little (we got through the end of 1 Peter 3 in lesson 5). It’s your week to use as you see fit.

Memory verses for review (there was no memory verse for lesson 1):

Lesson 2

 

Lesson 3

 

Lesson 4

 

Lesson 5