All in the Early
Church regarded the Apostle Peter as the author of the
letter we call 1st Peter. Critics of the 19th century
began questioning his authorship, especially because the
Greek of this epistle (letter) was rather good. But
those of Galilee, like Peter, were usually bi-lingual,
speaking and writing in both Greek and Aramaic. Also,
Peter admittedly used an "amanuensis" (a secretary) named
Silvanus (1 Peter 5:12), who was also called Silas.
Peter wrote to a
people "called out of darkness" (2:9), that "were once not a
people but are now the people of God (2:10). These and
other verses suggest that Peter was writing to a
predominantly Gentile (non-Jewish) audience. Peter was
indeed an apostle to the "circumcision" (Galatians 2:9), but
he also ministered to Gentiles (Acts 10:34-48).
Peter wrote from
"Babylon" (5:13), but that place had very few inhabitants at
the time and the city of Rome was often called "Babylon" as
a symbol of its sinfulness. He probably wrote this
letter in Rome. The letter was likely written before
the persecution under Caesar Nero, which began in 64 AD.
But those in the church had great difficulties and Peter's
message in this letter is: What is the Christian's proper
response to suffering?
By the 4th Century, this letter was
widely regarded as having been written by the Apostle Peter.
Third Century writers like Origen and Clement of Alexandria,
quoted this letter, but it was still considered in doubt as
to authorship. There were other documents at the time
which were purportedly by Peter, but were not, such as the
"Apocalypse of Peter." This letter is far superior in
content to the writings that falsely used his name.
There are differences in style and
vocabulary between 1st and 2nd Peter. The fact that
Peter referred to Paul's letters (3:15-16) suggests a later
date for this epistle. This letter was written shortly
before Peter's death (1:14) and it was probably sent from
Rome. His murder occurred somewhere between 64 and 66
AD. A theme in this letter is truth vs. falsehood.
How can you spot false teachers and guard against them?
How as Christians are we to respond? How are we to
This letter was
accepted by the Church from the beginning. Polycarp
who knew John in his youth, later quoted this letter.
Irenaeus, who knew Polycarp in his youth, quoted this letter
and specifically attributed it to John. Everyone knew
John and it was unnecessary for him to use his name.
He used similar modesty in the Gospel of John, where he
spoke of himself as the "one leaning on Jesus' bosom" (John
tradition indicates that John left Jerusalem not long before
its destruction in 70 AD and ministered in the area of
Ephesus. This letter was probably written in that
place, after the writing of John's Gospel.
Major themes in
1st John include love and fellowship with God. He also
writes to refute false teachers. Because we are in
God, we are to walk in His light, His love, and His life.
Some believe the
recipient of this letter is an actual lady with children,
and others feel John wrote to a specific local church,
probably in the Roman Province of Asia, near Ephesus, where
John was a key elder in the church. 2nd John was probably
written at the same time or shortly after 1st John, around
He advised walking
in the truth, which to live a life based in love. To
do so is to keep the commandments of God. Included in
the letter is a warning about deceivers who deny that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh. John concludes with a
hope that he might soon be with this "lady" and her
"children" in person.
Both 2nd and 3rd
John identify the author as the "Elder." He was so
well known to his recipients that he did not have to
identify himself further. Both 2nd and 3rd John are so
similar in style and content, there is little doubt they
were written by the same author. What little internal
and external evidence there is, points to John as the author
of both letters.
The letter is
written directly to "Gaius," but was no doubt intended also
for those who were with Gaius. John had heard that the
recipients of this letter had been walking "in the truth."
He commends and encourages them.
John had concerns
about other local person named Diotrephes, which provides an
interesting contrast between the two men. He concludes
with a good word for Demetrius, who probably delivered all
three letters of John to the area of Ephesus.
"Iouda" in the
Greek (Of Jude), comes from the masculine name Ioudas, which
is seen in verse 1. It was a popular name at the time
- Many were named after Judas (Ioudas) Maccabaeus (died 160
BC), who was a leader of the Jewish armies against Syria,
during the Maccabean wars.
This small book
was accepted and quoted by the early Church and was included
in the Muratorian Canon in 170 AD. Some, however,
disputed its inclusion, because it quotes the Apocrypha, or
as some call these sources, the Pseudopigrapha.
Jude is a servant
of Jesus Christ and brother of James. The traditional
view is that Jude was one of the Lord's half-brothers,
called Judas in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. His older
brother, James, was the leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts
15:13-21). Jude did not believe in Jesus before the
Resurrection (John 7:1-9, Acts 1:14). Jude was likely
written in the 70's AD.
You are encouraged
to test yourself after the completion of studying I & II
Peter, I, II & III John, and Jude, using an essay (written)
format. The section for testing is entitled
“Questions” and you may 1) answer one or more of the
questions in that section, and 2) send your answers to
If you would like, your
answers will be “graded” and responses given.
are on the internet, where you
can enter words like “Bible Commentaries” for some
really great Bible thoughts from the past, include the
following suggested locations:
Matthew Henry, who wrote about 250 years ago (“Matthew Henry’s
Commentary”), is strongly recommended, along with others of that
time, such as John Calvin, John Wesley, and John Gill. You
will find wonderful material in those writings. Also
recommended is Dr. J. Vernon McGee (but there will be a small charge
for his materials).
Who was Peter and who did he write to?
Is Peter's theology different from John, James, Jude and
1 Peter 1 - What causes faith to grow? How does
Verse 11 - The Spirit of Christ was "IN" (Greek "en")
the Old Testament prophets. Does this mean they
were indwelt by the Holy Spirit? How could this
How can we be "holy," according to Peter?
What does "born again" mean to you?
Chap. 2 - How is the Word like "pure milk?"
Is Peter saying that we are ALL "priests", when we trust
in the Lord? Discuss this idea.
Discuss submitting yourself to "every ordinance of man."
How can you "submit" to "harsh" masters?
Discuss how Jesus acted when he was reviled.
Chap. 3 - What do you think of "submission?"
Should women wear makeup? Why? Why not?
What should husbands be like?
Discuss suffering for the believer (Chaps. 3 & 4).
In Chap. 4, what is Peter's attitude toward the
Chap. 5 - Discuss leadership and submission in the
How do we "cast... cares" on the Lord.
How do we "resist" the devil?
2 Peter 1 - How do we obtain and live within the
attributes listed in this chapter?
Chap. 2 - Where are we likely to find false prophets?
How is Lot a "righteous" man?
Discuss Balaam son of Beor, including a look at Old
Can a donkey talk? How is this possible?
Chap. 3 - How does God view time?
Does God want ALL to be saved? How do you know?
How does 3:10 & context fit with the rest of Scripture?
Discuss Peter's attitude toward Paul.
1 John 1 - Describe Jesus Christ in the light of these
How do we walk in the "light"?
Are we sinners even though we're saved? How?
How do we rid ourselves of sin?
1 John 2 - What are God's commandments? How do we keep
How does someone know they are in "darkness"?
What does it mean to love the world?
Discuss the Antichrist(s) of this world.
Can you deny the Son and accept the Father?
1 John 3 - What are the "children of God"?
How does one "practice righteousness?
How can "hate" be "murder"?
In what way can your own heart "condemn" you?
Again, what are His commandments?
1 John 4 - Discuss false prophets?
What is God, in the light of 1 John 4:8? How?
How does "perfect love cast out all fear"?
How important is it when you hate your brother?
Chap. 5 - Who is Jesus Christ? How does He benefit us?
What is the victory that overcomes the world? Why?
How do we have "life"?
Discuss prayer, in relation to 1 John 5:14 & forward?
Are our prayers always answered in the way we ask?
What is sin? What is idolatry?
2 John - Does this letter seem similar to 1st John? Why?
Who are the "Elect Lady" and her "children"?
Is 3 John verse 2 a statement that all of us will
prosper and be in good health at all times? Why?
John "judges" Gaius' behavior and then he "judges"
Diotrephes. How does this fit with Matthew 7:1?
How does it relate to 1 Corinthians 6?
Jude - How do we "contend" for the faith?
Does God have the right to destroy groups of people?
To keep angels in everlasting chains?
Discuss Michael the Archangel in relation to Moses'
Look for Balaam in Numbers 22, 23 & 24 & 31:16.
Discuss his error.
How are we to spot false teachers? How are we to live?
Who can keep us from stumbling?
Your assignment is to
read the letters of I & II Peter, I, II & III John, and Jude, with the above
Questions in mind.
Go into the Internet at the places cited, and read the theologians
you can find his excellent writings as “freeware” on the Internet.
The next New
Believers Study will be in the book of Revelation.
Write with any questions:
Pastor Ron Beckham