Peter, epistles of the New Testament

Peter, two letters of the New Testament, classified among the Catholic (or General) Epistles. Each opens with a statement of authorship by the apostle St. Peter. First Peter, the longer book, is addressed from “Babylon” to the Christians of the churches of Asia Minor. The work opens with a reminder of the hope of redemption and an exhortation to holiness, then passes to duties of Christians—obedience to the state, and the obligation of slaves to their masters, wives to husbands, husbands to wives, and all to each other. This leads to consolation and encouragement under persecution. The conclusion is exhortatory. While the ascription to Peter has been often doubted by modern scholars who generally date the work to c.a.d. 100, the letter was accepted as Petrine and canonical from the earliest times. Second Peter, however, is almost universally recognized as pseudonymous, and is dated by many scholars as late as a.d. 150. It was one of the last New Testament books to be admitted to the canon. In the face of the delayed second coming of Jesus, the author exhorts the readers to godly living, warning against scoffers and false teachers and affirming that the second coming will happen. Parts of Second Peter are adapted from the letter of Jude.

See R. J. Bauckham, 2 Peter and Jude (1983); J. R. Michaels, 1 Peter (1988); P. H. Davids, 1 Peter (1990).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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