BOOK ENDS. Seraphim, April 2009.
JB 2 PETER Chapter 1
THE SECOND LETTER OF PETER
1:1 From Simeon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ; to all who treasure the same faith as ourselves, given through the righteousness of our God and saviour Jesus Christ.
1:2 May you have more and more grace and peace as you come to know our Lord more and more.
A call to Christian living, and its reward
1:3 By his divine power, he has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself, who has called us by his own glory and goodness.
1:4 In making these gifts, he has given us the guarantee of something very great and wonderful to come: through them you will be able to share the divine nature and to escape corruption in a world that is sunk in vice.
1:5 But to attain this, you will have to do your utmost yourselves, adding goodness to the faith that you have, understanding to your goodness,
1:6 self-control to your understanding, patience to your self-control, true devotion to your patience,
1:7 kindness towards your fellow men to your devotion, and, to this kindness, love.
1:8 If you have a generous supply of these, they will not leave you ineffectual or unproductive: they will bring you to a real knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:9 But without them a man is blind or else short-sighted; he has forgotten how his past sins were washed away.
1:10 Brothers, you have been called and chosen: work all the harder to justify it. If you do all these things there is no danger that you will ever fall away.
1:11 In this way you will be granted admittance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
The apostolic witness
1:12 That is why I am continually recalling the same truths to you, even though you already know them and firmly hold them.
1:13 I am sure it is my duty, as long as I am in this tent, to keep stirring you up with reminders,
1:14 since I know the time for taking off this tent is coming soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ foretold to me.
1:15 And I shall take great care that after my own departure you will still have a means to recall these things to memory.
1:16 It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves.
1:17 He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour’.
1:18 We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.[*a]
The value of prophecy
1:19 So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.
1:20 At the same time, we must be most careful to remember that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual.
1:21 Why? Because no prophecy ever came from man’s initiative. When men spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.
JB 2 PETER Chapter 2
2:1 As there were false prophets in the past history of our people, so you too will have your false teachers, who will insinuate their own disruptive views and disown the Master who purchased their freedom. They will destroy themselves very quickly;
2:2 but there will be many who copy their shameful behaviour and the Way of Truth will be brought into disrepute on their account.
2:3 They will eagerly try to buy you for themselves with insidious speeches, but for them the Condemnation, pronounced so long ago, is at its work already, and Destruction is not asleep.
2:4 When angels sinned, God did not spare them: he sent them down to the underworld and consigned them to the dark underground caves to be held there till the day of Judgement.
2:5 Nor did he spare the world in ancient times: it was only Noah he saved, the preacher of righteousness, along with seven others, when he sent the Flood over a disobedient world.
2:6 The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, these too he condemned and reduced to ashes; he destroyed them completely, as a warning to anybody lacking reverence in the future;
2:7 he rescued Lot, however, a holy man who had been sickened by the shameless way in which these vile people behaved –
2:8 for that holy man, living among them, was outraged in his good soul by the crimes that he saw and heard of every day.
2:9 These are all examples of how the Lord can rescue the good from the ordeal, and hold the wicked for their punishment until the day ofJudgement,
2:10 especially those who are governed by their corrupt bodily desires and have no respect for authority.
The punishment to come
Such self-willed people with no reverence are not afraid of offending against the glorious ones,
2:11 but the angels in their greater strength and power make no complaint or accusation against them in front of the Lord.
2:12 All the same, these people who only insult anything that they do not understand are not reasoning beings, but simply animals born to be caught and killed, and they will quite certainly destroy themselves by their own work of destruction,
2:13 and get their reward of evil for the evil that they do. They are unsightly blots on your society: men whose only object is dissipation all daylong, and they amuse themselves deceiving you even when they are your guests at a meal;
2:14 with their eyes always looking for adultery; men with an infinite capacity for sinning, they will seduce any soul which is at all unstable. Greed is the one lesson their minds have learnt. They are under a curse.
2:15 They have left the right path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam son of Beor, who thought he could profit best by sinning,
2:16 until he was called to order for his faults. The dumb donkey put a stop to that prophet’s madness when it talked like a man.
2:17 People like this are dried-up rivers, fogs swirling in the wind, and the dark underworld is the place reserved for them.
2:18 With their high-flown talk, which is all hollow, they tempt back the ones who have only just escaped from paganism, playing on their bodily desires with debaucheries.
2:19 They may promise freedom but they themselves are slaves, slaves to corruption; because if anyone lets himself be dominated by anything, then he is a slave to it;
2:20 and anyone who has escaped the pollution of the world once by coming to know our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, and who then allows himself to be entangled by it a second time and mastered, will end up in a worse state than he began in.
2:21 It would even have been better for him never to have learnt the way of holiness, than to know it and afterwards desert the holy rule that was entrusted to him.
2:22 What he has done is exactly as the proverb rightly says: The dog goes back to his own vomit[*a] and: When the sow has been washed, it wallows in the mud.
JB 2 PETER Chapter 3
The Day of the Lord; the prophets and the apostles
3:1 My friends, this is my second letter to you, and in both of them I have tried to awaken a true understanding in you by giving you a reminder:
3:2 recalling to you what was said in the past by the holy prophets and the commandments of the Lord and saviour which you were given by the apostles.
3:3 We must be careful to remember that during the last days there are bound to be people who will be scornful, the kind who always please themselves what they do, and they will make fun of the promise
3:4 and ask, ‘Well, where is this coming? Everything goes on as it has since the Fathers died, as it has since it began at the creation.’
3:5 They are choosing to forget that there were heavens at the beginning, and that the earth was formed by the word of God out of water and between the waters,
3:6 so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded by water.
3:7 But by the same word, the present sky and earth are destined for fire, and are only being reserved until Judgement day so that all sinners may be destroyed.
3:8 But there is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.[*a]
3:9 The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways.
3:10 The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
Conclusion and doxology
3:11 Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives
3:12 while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat.
3:13 What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home.
3:14 So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.
3:15 Think of our Lord’s patience as your opportunity to be saved: our brother Paul, who is so dear to us, told you this when he wrote to you with the wisdom that is his special gift.
3:16 He always writes like this when he deals with this sort of subject, and this makes some points in his letter hard to understand; these are the points that uneducated and unbalanced people distort, in the same way as they distort the rest of scripture – a fatal thing for them to do.
3:17 You have been warned about this, my friends; be careful not to get carried away by the errors of unprincipled people, from the firm ground that you are standing on.
3:18 Instead, go on growing in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory, in time and in eternity. Amen.
END OF JB 2 PETER [3 Chapters].