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First and Second Peter Overview

Sometimes Paul, John and Peter are called the apostolic triumvirate:

Paul, the apostle of faith; Peter, the apostle of hope; John the apostle of love.




















 The man who does not appear in the gospels (Paul) authored the most New Testament books, while the man who is most prominent in the gospels (Peter) wrote the least number of New Testament books of the triumvirate (Peter, John, Paul).          -Jensen

Peter the apostle…

There is more information about Peter than any other apostle of Christ.

His name was Simon (that’s Greek; Symeon in Hebrew).

Jesus gave him the new name Peter (that’s Greek; Cephas in Aramaic).

Peter means Rock!                   Like Petra!

There is no other Peter in the New Testament!

Father was John or Jonas (Matthew 16:17, John 1:42, 21:15-17)

Andrew was his brother.

The family’s home was Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44).

Later his religious opponents characterized him and his friend John as “unschooled and ordinary” (Acts 4:13).

He and his brother Andrew were fishermen with John and James in Capernaum (Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:29).

He was married (Mark 1:30, I Cor. 9:5).

Likely attended the preaching of John the Baptist (John 1:35-37, 41-42).

Jesus called him and changed his name (John 1:42)

He was told, follow me, and you will become a fisher of men (Luke 5:1-11)

Often Jesus met with just him, John, and James.

They got to witness Jesus in His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1).

In Matthew 16 after he confessed Jesus, Jesus spoke of giving him the “keys to the kingdom.” That is very much debated!

He is always listed first among the 12.

Read Jesus’ prophecy about Peter in Luke 22:31-32

After Jesus resurrection and ascension, Peter was the leader of the early church, preaching at the day of Pentecost when 3,000 men were saved and baptized.

In each chapter of Acts 1-5 Peter gives some type of message.

He could do miracles in Jesus’ name, and many are recorded in Acts.

Acts is sometimes divided by referring to the first 12 chapters when Peter is prominent, and the last 16 chapters when Paul is prominent.

Peter is most prominent in chapters 1-7. 

Those first 12 chapters of Acts cover approximately AD 33-50.

He was still active after the narrative of Acts shifts to Paul’s outreach.

He is believed to have evangelized the northern parts of Asia Minor (Paul did lower parts). These explain some of his references in I Peter 1:1.

Later he went to Rome and had key ministry there before being martyred by Nero there in AD 67. 

I and II Peter are the 21st and 22nd books of the 27 in the New Testament; the 60th and 61st books of the 66 in the Bible.

Taken together, I and II Peter are about living the Christian life in light of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

First Peter helps Christians to know how to respond in times of opposition from without; Second Peter exhorts believers to respond to opposition from within.

First Peter

Written by the apostle Peter with Silas (5:12)

That makes Silas a writer with both Paul and Peter!

He is listed as an author of both First and Second Thessalonians!

The letter was written about AD 65.

5:13 says it’s written from Babylon, which is probably a cryptic reference to what city?                    Rome

“To the pilgrims of the Dispersion.”

Perhaps those dispersed from Nero’s persecution, AD 64, now living throughout Asia Minor.

Mark (5:13) spent time with Paul in Rome during his first imprisonment (Colossians 4:10).

Theme: Suffering for Jesus is noble and short compared to the coming reward

Key verses: 4:12-13

As the early church grew, the main persecutor of Christians shifted from the Jewish leaders to the Roman government.

Peter assures his audience that God is still in control.

Look at handout for an outline:

I Peter at a Glance

Suffering in Divine Perspective

Living among Pagans

Second Peter

Written by Peter in mid to late 60’s before his execution.

See 1:14

Theme: Beware of false teachers within the church.

Destructive heresies (2:1) can seduce believers into error and immorality (Nelson).

One of the Key things that happens in this little book is an understanding of how we got the scriptures, and that Paul’s writings are called scripture.

Look at handout for an outline:

2 Peter at a Glance

A Comparison of 1 and 2 Peter

The Life of Peter

A Closer Look at First Peter:

1:3-25          Goes with the greatest chapters in the Bible!           Live holy!

2:11-17        Live honorably!

3:1-9            Live humbly!

3:18-22        Challenging verses!

4:1-6            Last verse about martyrs, which Peter would become

4:7-11          Peter on spiritual gifts!

5:8-9            If you suffer for Jesus, you are in good company, God’s company!

A Closer Look at Second Peter:

1:3-11          The first time I ever taught it was on those verses!

1:19-21        Nature of scripture’s inspiration

2:1-10          False teachers will be judged

3:8-13          Based on His promise, we wait!

3:14-18        The home stretch!

It is incredibly important that Peter refers to Paul’s writings as scriptures!

Tradition (Origen) has it that Peter died on an upside down cross not too long after writing these words!