Be strong and watch for Jesus!

About Peter’s second letter

Simon Peter was one of Jesus’ special workers. He had lived and worked with Jesus himself. We can read a lot about Simon Peter in the books called Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts.

This is the second letter that Peter wrote. Almost certainly, he wrote this letter between 35 and 38 years after Jesus returned to heaven (God’s home). That was at some time between the years AD 65 and 68. Peter died soon after he wrote this letter.

Peter wrote this letter to Christians, who wanted to obey God. Some false teachers were teaching wrong ideas about Jesus and God. The false teachers wanted the Christians to believe those wrong ideas. So Peter wrote this letter to help the Christians. He wanted them to believe God, Christ and the Bible more strongly. He told them not to believe the false teachers. God would destroy the false teachers because they were so bad.

Also, Peter told the Christians to be like people who are watching carefully. They should be ready for Jesus, because he would certainly come back to the earth.

Chapter 1

God has given to us everything that we need to be his people

1 This letter is from me, Simon Peter. I am Jesus Christ’s servant. He sent me to be a special worker and teacher on his behalf. I am writing this letter to you people who, like us, believe Christ. He has given the same valuable gift to all of us. He has caused us to believe him. He has done this because he is always completely right and fair. Jesus Christ is God. And he is the person who saves us.

2 I pray that God will be good to you more and more. I pray that he will cause you to be without trouble inside yourselves more and more. These things will happen because you know God and Jesus, our Lord.

3 God is very powerful because he is God. So he has given to us everything that we need to live always. We can do good things that make God happy. This is possible because we know him. God has chosen us to be his people because he is so very great and so very good. 4 Also, because of this, God has promised that he will do very great and valuable things on our behalf. As a result, you can become good like God. So, you can be free from wanting bad things that will destroy you. The people who belong to this world want to do bad things. And those bad things are destroying them.

5 God has done all this on your behalf. So you should not only believe Christ. You must also try very much to do always what is good. And you must try very much to know God more and more. 6 You must not only know God, but you must rule yourselves properly also. You must not only rule yourselves, but you must continue to be patient and brave also. And you must not only be patient and brave, but you must always make God happy. You must do what God wants. 7 You must not only make God happy, but you must be kind to each other also. You must love other Christians, as you would love your own brothers and sisters. And you must not only love other Christians, but you must love all people also.

8 You should do all of these things. You should continue to do them more and more. These things will show that you really know our Lord Jesus Christ. And, because you know him, you will work well on his behalf. And your work will have good results. 9 But some people do not do these things. They do not think that these things are important. They are like people who cannot see clearly. They cannot really see anything. They have forgotten that God made them clean inside themselves. God made them free from all the wrong things that they did before. But they have forgotten that.

10 So, my friends, try even more to do all these good things. Do them, because God has chosen you to be his own people. And these good things will show that you really are God’s people. If you do these things, you will never turn away from God. 11 Also, God will be very happy. He will bring you into that place where Jesus Christ will rule always. You will live always with our Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us.

12 So, I will continue to tell you about these things again and again. You already know these things. And you are continuing to believe strongly that these things are true. But still, I will continue to tell you about them. 13 I will tell you about them while I am still alive on earth. I think that it is right to continue telling you. You should think about these things. So then you will not forget them. 14 I know that I will die soon. I know that because our Lord Jesus Christ has shown that to me. 15 So I will do everything that I can to tell you about these things now. So then, after I have died, you will be able to remember them always.

Peter himself saw how great Christ is

16 We told you that our Lord Jesus Christ is powerful. We told you that he will come to earth again. We were not telling you false stories that came from people’s clever ideas. Instead, we were telling you what we ourselves had seen. We ourselves saw how very great Christ is. 17-18 We were with Jesus on the mountain that God visited. God, the Father, showed us how very great and powerful Jesus is. God, who is greater than everything, spoke about Jesus. God said: ‘This is my son. I love him. He makes me very happy.’ And we ourselves heard God’s voice when he spoke from heaven.

Verses 16-18 Peter, James and John saw Jesus when he shone brightly. And they heard God speak to them. See Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28-36.

God’s messages in the Bible are very important

19 Also, we have the prophets’ messages. They show us even more certainly that these things are true. It is good that you should remember those messages carefully. The prophets’ words are like a light that shines in a dark place. That light continues to shine in the dark until the dawn comes. Then the morning star will rise and it will bring light deep inside you. 20 None of the prophets’ messages in the Bible came just from the prophets’ own ideas. It is most important that you should understand this. 21 None of the prophets’ messages came from what a human person wanted to say. Instead, God’s Spirit caused people to speak words that came from God.

Verses 19-21 Prophets are people who speak messages from God. Peter was talking about the prophets’ messages that are in the Old Testament. That is the first part of the Bible. It describes events before Jesus came to live on earth.

Verse 19 The morning star appears in the sky just before the sunrise. It is very bright. It shows us that the day is coming. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus says that he is the morning star.

Chapter 2

False teachers are bad and dangerous

1 Many years ago, there were false prophets (people who did not speak God’s true messages) among God’s people. In the same way, there will also be false teachers among you. They will teach wrong ideas that will destroy people. But they will say that those wrong ideas are true. Those false teachers will even refuse the Master, who bought them. And so they will cause God to destroy them quickly. 2 Many people will believe and copy the false teachers. So, those people will do very wrong things, like the false teachers. And, as a result, other people will say bad things about the true way that God wants us to live.

3 The false teachers only want your money. So, they will tell things to you that are not true. They will tell those false things to you so that you will give money to them. A long time ago, God decided that he must punish them. And he is ready to do that. Certainly, he will destroy them.

God punishes bad people but he helps good people

4 Remember that God did not let the bad angels go free. A long, long time ago, some angels refused to obey God. And God punished them because of what they had done. He threw them down into the deep hole where he sends all bad persons. And he will keep them in that dark prison until the day when he will decide about them. He will decide what should happen to them in the end.

Verse 4 Many, many years ago, some of the angels who lived in heaven with God did not obey him. So God sent them far away from him. See Genesis 6:1-4 and Jude 6.

5 Also, a long, long time ago, God punished all the bad people who lived in the world. God sent water over all the earth. So all those people who refused to obey him drowned in the water. But Noah was telling the people that they should do right things. He was telling them that they should obey God. So God saved Noah, and 7 other people.

6 Also, God punished the people who lived in the cities called Sodom and Gomorrah. God saw that the people there were doing very bad things. So, he decided that he must punish them. And he burned those cities completely, so that only ashes remained. And so God showed what will happen to all bad people. He will punish people who refuse to obey him. 7 Also, God saved Lot, who was a good man. Lot was very sad because the people in Sodom did not obey God’s rules. They did many, very wrong things. 8 Lot lived among those bad people. Every day, he saw the bad things that they did. Every day, he heard the bad things that they said. As a result of all these bad things, Lot became very sad, because he was a good man.

Verse 5 The story about Noah is in Genesis 6:5-7:24.

Verses 6-8 The stories about Sodom and Gomorrah, and about Lot, are in Genesis 18:16-19:29. Peter is showing that God will destroy bad people. But God will help people who obey him.

9 We know that the Lord has done all these things in past times. And these things show us certainly that he knows how to save his people. He will help those people who obey him. He will save them from troubles and difficulties. But he will punish the bad people, who refuse to obey him. He will continue to punish them. And he will keep them until that day when he will decide about all people. He will decide what should happen to them. 10 God will punish very much those people who continue to have wrong sex. They do the wrong things that their bodies want to do. And those wrong things make those people even worse. Those bad people think that they do not have to obey anyone’s authority.

The false teachers are like animals

These false teachers are not afraid to do what they want to do. They think that they themselves are very clever and important. They do not listen to what anyone else says. They are not afraid to say bad things about the beautiful beings. 11 The angels are stronger and more powerful than the false teachers are. But even angels will not say bad things against them when the Lord is present. 12 But these false teachers say bad things against anything that they do not understand. They are like wild animals, that cannot think. They do what their nature causes them to do. Wild animals are born so that people can catch them and kill them. And, as people kill wild animals, God will destroy the false teachers.

Verse 10 The word for ‘beautiful beings’ could mean angels. Or, instead, the word could mean very important people, who have great authority.

13 The false teachers have done bad things to other people. So God will do bad things to them. They enjoy eating and drinking too much, even during the day. They enjoy doing the wrong things that they want to do. They enjoy those things while they are eating meals with you. So, like dirty marks on something that is clean, they cause people to be ashamed about you. 14 All the time, they are looking for women who will have sex with them. They never stop wanting to do bad things. They lead away people who do not believe Christ strongly. They cause those people to believe wrong things and to do wrong things. They have learned to want more and more money and other things for themselves. Certainly, God will punish these people, because they are so bad.

15 These false teachers have left the right way and they have gone the wrong way. They have done the same kind of wrong things that Balaam, Beor’s son, did. Balaam wanted money so much that he did wrong things to get it. 16 But a donkey told Balaam that he was not obeying God. Donkeys cannot talk. But that donkey spoke as a human person speaks. So, the donkey stopped that prophet, Balaam, from doing any more crazy things.

Verses 15-16 A donkey is an animal like a small horse. People use donkeys to carry heavy things. We can read about Balaam and the donkey in the book called Numbers. Balaam caused Israel’s people to do bad things. (See Numbers chapters 22-25, Deuteronomy 23:4-5 and Revelation 2:14.)

God will punish the false teachers

17 These false teachers are like places in the ground where water should come up. But there is no water. They are like clouds in a storm. The strong wind blows those clouds away quickly so that they bring no rain. God has kept a completely black, dark place where these false teachers will have to stay.

18 The words that these teachers speak seem very important. But their words mean nothing. They tell people that it is not wrong to do bad things. People may do the bad things that their bodies strongly want to do. The false teachers say that it does not matter. So they lead people away from God. They lead away people who have only just stopped doing wrong things. Those people have just begun to be free from the wrong things that other people do. 19 The false teachers promise that these people will be free. But the false teachers themselves are not free. Instead, they are like slaves. They cannot stop doing the bad things that will destroy them. If anything has power over a person, then that person is its slave.

20 These false teachers knew our Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us. So they had become free from the power of the bad things that belong to this world. They had stopped doing those bad things, which make people even worse. But now they have started to do those bad things again, and those things have power over them. So, these false teachers are worse at the end than they were at the beginning. They are worse than before they knew the Lord.

21 It would have been better for them if they had never known God’s right way. But they have known the right things that God wants us to do. So it is worse that they have stopped doing those things. They have stopped obeying God’s rules, that people taught them. 22 People often say these true words: ‘After a dog has been sick, it returns to that same place, to eat that food again.’ And: ‘A pig that someone has washed returns, to roll on the dirty, wet ground.’ These words describe what has happened to these false teachers.

Verse 22 The words about the dog come from Proverbs 26:11.

Chapter 3

Remember that the Lord will certainly come back to earth

1 My friends, this is the second letter that I have written to you. I have written both these letters so that I can help you to remember certain things. I want you to think correctly and honestly about these things. 2 I want you to remember the words that God’s own prophets spoke a long time ago. Also, I want you to remember what our Lord told you to do. Our Lord, who saves us, taught you by his special workers. His special workers, that he sent to you, told you about these things.

3 The first thing that you should understand is this. In the last days, some people will think that God and God’s rules are not important. They will say that you are silly. They will call you fools because you believe God. These people will do whatever bad things they want to do. 4 They will say: ‘Christ promised that he would return! But he has not returned! Our early Christian leaders have died, but still all things continue. Since God made the world, all things continue in the same way.’

5 These people choose to forget the facts that they know. They forget that God made the sky and the earth a long, long time ago. God spoke his word, and so he made the sky. Also, by his word, God made the land separate from the water. He brought the land out through the water. 6 Also, it was water that God used to destroy that world a long time ago. 7 But, by God’s same word, the sky and the earth that we see now are continuing. They will continue until that time when fire will burn them. God is keeping them until that time when he will decide about all people. He will decide what should happen to all people. And he will destroy the bad people who have not obeyed him.

Verse 3 The ‘last days’ is the time before Jesus will return to the earth.

Verse 5 See Genesis 1:1-10.

Verse 6 See Genesis 6:9-7:24.

8 But, my friends, there is one thing that you must not forget. The Lord thinks that one day is like 1000 years. And he thinks that 1000 years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not being slow to do what he has promised to do. Some people think that he is being slow to do it. But instead, he is being patient with you people. He does not want to destroy anyone. He wants all people to turn away from wrong things because they have decided to obey him.

10 But the day when the Lord will come back will surprise people. It will surprise people as when someone comes to rob them. The sky will go away with a very loud noise and it will not be there any more. Fire will burn the sun, the moon and the stars and it will destroy them. The earth and everything that is on it will not be there any more.

Verse 10 ‘The earth and everything that is on it will not be there any more’ could also mean something else. It could mean this: ‘God will show everything that people have done on the earth. And God will decide what should happen to the people. He will decide about them because of what they have done.’

11 Certainly, God will destroy everything in this way. So, you ought to be the kind of people that God is happy about. You should give yourselves to God completely and you should obey him always. 12 You should obey God while you are waiting for Christ to return. God has chosen that day when he will return. You should be wanting that day to come very much. On that day, fire will burn the sky and the fire will destroy it. The heat will destroy the sun, the moon and the stars also. 13 But we are waiting for what God has promised. He has promised that there will be a new sky and a new earth. There, everything will always be good. And everyone will do only what is right.

Verse 13 We can be sure that God will make a new earth and a new sky. The Bible tells us about them. See, for example, Revelation chapters 21 and 22.

14 So, my friends, because you are waiting for these things to happen, try very much to do only good things. Then God will see that you have done nothing wrong. He will see that there is no trouble between you yourselves, or between you and him. 15 Remember why our Lord is waiting before he will return. He is being patient because he wants to save people. Paul, whom we love like a brother, has written to you also about these things. He wrote about them because God caused him to understand them. 16 Paul writes like this about these things in all his letters. But some of the things that Paul has written in his letters are difficult to understand. And people who do not know much about God explain these things wrongly. Those people are not sure about what they believe. And they explain other things in the Bible wrongly also. As a result, those people themselves cause God to destroy them.

17 But you, my friends, know these things already. So, be very careful that you do not believe false teachers. They do not obey God’s rules and they teach wrong things. Do not let those people lead you away from God. If you listen to them, you could stop being sure about the true things. So you will be like people who have moved away from a safe, strong place. 18 Instead, continue to do what is good. So then our Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us, will be good to you more and more. Also, continue to know him better and better. Everyone should say how very great and good he is! Everyone should say that, both now and always!

Word List

AD 50 means the year that was 50 years after Jesus came, and so on.
spirit being. Good angels come from God’s home above the earth. They are God’s servants and they bring messages from God to people.
a person or animal that is alive.
an animal like a small horse. It carries things or people.
the place above the earth where God and Jesus Christ live.
master. Another name for God which means that he is greater than everyone else.
someone who speaks messages (from God), sometimes about future events.
to hurt someone, or to cause trouble for them, because they have done bad things.
a being that is always alive, even without a body. A person’s spirit is the part of them that will always be alive. It will be alive even after their body is dead. There are good spirits, like God’s Spirit and his angels. And there are bad spirits, like Satan (God’s enemy) and his angels.

Book List

D. D. Arichea and H. A. Hatton ~ A Handbook on the Letter from Jude and the Second Letter from Peter ~ United Bible Societies

E. Johnson ~ Semantic Structure Analysis of 2 Peter ~ SIL

E. Thomas ~ Translator’s Notes on 2 Peter ~ SIL

A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament

Various Bible versions


© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2003

This version published August 2003

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.