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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

Vs 1a - Petrine Authorship

02.2.1

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,” 2 Pet 1:1a.

The 2nd Peter text clearly attributes it’s authorship to the Apostle Peter.  It is unmistakable that the ‘Apostle Peter’ referred to is the same one that Christ earlier described as having the ‘keys of the kingdom’ (Matt 16:19).

Yet, much scholarship has concluded that the author of 2 Peter is not the Apostle Peter!  Many argue that the book was written so late that the Apostle Peter could not have been the author (BasicTheology.com, 2012;  Keathley, H., 2004;  McFall, M., 2004).  I have not studied this controversy.  Yet, some of my colleagues, whom I respect, seem comfortable with a non-Petrine authorship of 2 Peter.

I, personally, feel uncomfortable with a non-Petrine authorship.  Yes, it may have been the 'style' of the day to attribute authorship of one's work to one of the Church's great authorities (the Apostle Peter).  Still, wouldn't this be a lie?  It seems problematic to me to believe that this book begins with a blatant untruth.  If this is a lie, what other 'lies' may be present in the text?  And my God is not the Father of Lies!

In my opinion, I am less interested in who the author was, than in whether Second Peter is Scripture inspired by God.  IF Second Peter IS inspired Scripture, I really don't care who God used to pen the words.  IF Second Peter is something less than divinely inspired, then again, I really don't care who wrote it.  The question of Authorship is important only because it impinges upon this question of Second Peter's divine inspiration and it's inclusion in the Canon.

As I noted above, I am not qualified to pass judgment on the Petrine Authorship of Second Peter.  I simply have not studied the issue.  Instead, I come at the problem the other way around.  I begin with the assumption that Second Peter IS divinely inspired and DOES belong in the Canon.  I come to this position not because of my great scholarship, but simply as an assumption.  I assume the text of Scripture as we have it today and go from there.  Given this assumption, I am led to my position that those that hold to a non-Petrine Authorship of Second Peter are mistaken.

Why, then, do I begin with the assumption that the Scripture as we have it today is the inspired word of God?  I begin so because it is necessary.  I begin in this way because I know something of people.  Part of what Second Peter strives to do is to give us direction in our efforts to become more like our Lord Jesus Christ.  IF there is a divinely inspired 'recommendation' for how we as Christians should mature (and I will make just this argument later in this text), then we can be sure that it will require the firm conviction that God Almighty wants us to do this thing.  Otherwise, we simply won't do it.  People are fickle.  People delude themselves.  We hide from the truth about ourselves and our actions.  If there is any ambiguity about a situation, you can be sure that we will choose the option that makes us look the best.  We want to see ourselves as just, courageous, disciplined and righteous.  People flee from insight about their failures.  We are dragged, kicking and screaming, into confronting our fears.  Only the Lord has the power to confront us in a way that we simply cannot twist or ignore.

Thus, I am uncomfortable with a non-Petrine Authorship of Second Peter, not because my scholarship has led me to that conclusion.  Rather, I assume Scripture (and thus, Second Peter) is the divinely inspired word of God.  It is only when this understanding overpowers my own willfulness that I (and we) have any hope of being delivered from our own arrogant blindness.