And so I get to 2 Peter in my journey through the bible. Another letter to the church urging the faithful to keep the faith and live the way a good believer should. Just another run of the mill New Testament letter. Or is it? It seems 2 Peter has a little controversy attached to it.
I was simply going to review 2 Peter with 1 Peter, to save a bit of time and keep up with these posts. However, I wanted to take a little look at the issue of who actually wrote it. Throughout the New Testament there are a lot of books that claim to be written by people who ‘scholars’ think may not have been. Of all these books 2 Peter is perhaps one of the most questioned.
The main reason for questioning whether Peter wrote this letter is because the language used is so different to 1 Peter, in fact it is very different to the rest of the New Testament. Now there are several reasons why this could be and yet still be ‘written’ by Peter. The main one being that as Peter was a simple fisherman, he probably used someone else to write the words anyway, and perhaps this scribe was a little more colourful than the one used for the previous letter.
But there is another option that is quite popular. It is possible that Peter didn’t write this letter, and that it was written by someone else blatantly pretending to be Peter. Psuedepigraphic writing was common during the time the letter was penned. Quite often a famous person was named as the author to add authority and gravitas to text. And it is suggested that this is what 2 Peter was.
Does it matter?
As always that is the big question. Personally I don’t have a problem with it being Peter or someone else. It doesn’t say anything that is out-of-place, and 2 Peter 1:5-9 seems like a good rule to live by. However, it does leave some feeling uneasy about something that today we would see as a downright lie. Either it is Peter or it is lying, and I suppose that would be unacceptable. As to whether it ultimately matters, I’d have to say no, because we can’t be sure one way or the other. We have no way of proving whether Peter wrote it or not. But I thought I’d mention it anyway.