2 Peter


2 Remedies for doubt, 1:16-3:16

i] The implications of the transfiguration


Peter sets out to defend the Christian tradition concerning God's righteous judgment of the world. In this passage we have the proposition he intends to argue, namely, that the apostles did not present "cleverly devised stories" when they told the first believers about "the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power", v16. Then follows the first two arguments in favour of the proposition. In the first he records his eyewitness account of the transfiguration, a glorious appearing of Christ, v16-18. What Peter experienced in the transfiguration was a visible prophecy of Jesus' coming in power and glory to judge the living and the dead. In Peter's second point, he argues against those who would rationalise the Christian tradition of divine judgment, by pointing out that not only did the apostles witness the transfiguration, but that they preserved the prophetic utterances of Christ, a word that must necessarily be viewed as Spirit-guided divine revelation, a point his opponents should note carefully, v19-21.


i] Context: See 1:1-2. We now come to the letter proper where Peter addresses the issue of the divine judgment enacted at the time of the return of Christ. His arguments (probatio - proofs) are built around a thesis / proposition (partitio) which, in all likelihood, is the statement made in 1:16, namely that the apostolic eschatological testimony concerning the righteous judgment of God does not consist of "cleverly devised stories .... about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Neyrey, as well as Davids*, identifies five distinct arguments / proofs, 1:16/17-3:13:

Argument / Proof 1: Peter argues for the proposition that the righteous judgment of God is not a myth, v16. He makes his case by reminding his readers of the revelation of Christ in the transfiguration, 1:17-18.

Argument / Proof 2: A further proof rests on the reliability and value of apostolic prophecy, 1:19-21.

Argument / Proof 3: The next proof proceeds "through a series of examples confirming just what they (the false teachers) deny", Neyrey, namely, God's righteous judgment, v2:1-10a.

In a dirgression (digressio), Peter steps aside from his arguments to focus on his opponents, 2:10b-22.

Argument / Proof 4: The next proof focuses on the "mocking of the prophecies of the end of the world", Neyrey, establishing the truth of God's divine word of judgment, 3:5-7.

Argument / Proof 5. The final proof of the proposition posed in 1:16, touches on the issue of uncertainty with regard the parousia. Delay in divine judgment does not of itself imply that there is no divine judgment. Peter argues the case by appealing to the divine nature, and to apostolic tradition, 3:8-13.


ii] Background: See 1:1-2


iii] Structure: Peter's proposition and first two arguments:

Proposition, v16:

The apostolic teaching on the eschaton is not a contrived fiction

There will be a day of judgment at the return of Christ.

Argument #1, v17-18:

It derives from eye witnesses.

Argument #2. v19-21:

It is divinely revealed.


iv] Interpretation:

This letter addresses the fallacious heresy that the parousia, the revealing / coming of Christ, does not entail the righteous judgment of God. Peter proposes in v16 that this coming of Christ in power is no invented myth. In his first argument, v17-18, he points to the transfiguration as an "anticipatory sign of his (Christ's) coming glory. So, the belief in Jesus' return in power and glory rests on attested historical events", Reicke. In the second argument, Peter makes the point that prophecy also confirms Christ's glorious coming as the righteous judge, v19-21. The "prophetic word" in mind is probably that of the Old Testament prophets, certainly not the prophets Paul refers to in first Corinthians chapter 14, but possibly also the apostolic account of Jesus' apocalyptic teaching preserved in the oral tradition of the gospel. The prophetic word is reliable teaching; it does not derive from the human will, but rather from the Holy Spirit.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:16

The proposition / thesis of Peter's second letter - There will be a day of judgment at the return of Christ: With regard the coming of Jesus and his judgment of mankind (ie., "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power"), the tradition / prophecies communicated by the apostles are not "carefully contrived fictions" (Barclay), v16.

The main verb in this verse is egnwrisamen, "we made known", lit., "for not having followed after clever myths, we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ...." = "we were not promoting fabricated fables [when] we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ...."

gar "-" - for. Transitional or emphatic and so left untranslated, but possibly as NIV, introducing a causal clause explaining why we should "remember these things", namely, because it is eyewitness testimony.

exakolouqhsanteV (exakolouqew) aor. part. "we did [not] follow" - [not] having followed after, confirmed to. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means; "we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by not following / relying on cleverly concocted fairy-stories." Note the use of the negation ou when mh would be expected.

sesofismenoiV (sofizw) dat. perf. pas. part. "cleverly [invented stories]" - having been clever, subtle [myths, fables]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "myths", dative in agreement with "myths" which serves as a dative of direct object after the ek prefix verb "to follow after." Obviously Peter's opponents claimed that the apostolic preaching amounted to a collection of "cleverly concocted" (Bauckham) myths. "Fabricated fables", Moffatt.

egnwrisamen (gnwrizw) aor. "when we told" - we made known. The "we" is presumably "we apostles", although a royal plural is possible. The "we continues throughout the passage, most times "we apostles", or "we" = "I", but sometimes all believers are included in the "we".

uJmin dat. pro. "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

thn ... dunamin (iV ewV) "the power" - the power [and coming]. "Power and coming" serve as the accusative direct object of the participle "having made known." Possibly a hendiadys, "coming in power", but certainly the two words together refer to the glory of Christ's eschatological coming.

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "of [our] Lord" - of the lord [of us, jesus christ]. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, subjective, "the power and coming that is enacted by our Lord." The genitive "Jesus Christ" stands in apposition to "Lord".

all (alla) "but" - but. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction, "not ....., but ....."; "on the contrary", Cassirer.

genhqenteV (ginomai) aor. pas. part. "we were" - having been made, become. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means; "but by becoming eyewitnesses of his majesty."

epoptai (hV ou) "eyewitnesses" - observers, witnesses, spectators. Predicate nominative; a NT hapax legomenon. The word has a powerful secular base signifying "those who have been initiated into the pagan mysteries and seen the theophanies", Sidebottom.

megaleiothtoV (hV ou) gen. "of [his] majesty" - of the majesty [of that one]. The genitive is verbal, objective; "we had witnessed his majesty", REB. "Used of divine grandeur and majesty", Bauckham.


Argument # 1, v17-18. i] The tradition concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus is based on an eye-witness account. For Peter, the transfiguration, a revelation of Christ in power, serves as a visible prefiguring of Jesus' second coming.

A single Gk. verse covers v17-18. The main verb is hkousamen, "we heard", v18. Peter now recalls the transfiguration event, recorded in all three synoptic gospels, an event where he heard the words of Jesus' divine investiture. His wording of the investiture is similar to Matthew, quoting Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1. Peter leaves off the phrase "listen to him" which underlines Jesus' Moses-like prophetic status, and also Luke's "my chosen one." Peter is emphasising the divine nature of Jesus' investiture.

gar "for" - for. More reason than cause, explanatory; detailing the eyewitness event.

labwn (lambanw) aor. part. "he received" - having received. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal; "when he received". The honour and glory of Christ was not just revealed at the transfiguration, but rather it was bestowed on him from the source of all honour and glory, namely God the Father. Both terms are commonly used together in the NT, indicating a dual designation of a status granted to Jesus by God the Father. "When he was invested with", Moffatt.

para + gen. "from" - [honour and glory] from [god]. Here expressing source; "from the side of." The "honour and glory" refers to the divine declaration of Christ's exalted state.

toiasde gen. pro. "-" - [a voice] of such a kind, such as that. Demonstrative adjective. "When the following voice was borne to him", Moffatt.

enecqeishV (ferw) gen. aor. pas. part. "when [the voice] came" - having been brought [to him]. The genitive participle, with its genitive subject fwnhV, "voice", modified by the genitive adjective, toiasde, forms a genitive absolute construction, usually taken to be temporal, as NIV; "when the voice was borne to him." The idea of a voice being conveyed to Jesus from the Majestic Glory is rather strange. We would be inclined to say that God spoke to Jesus, but the language of a "voice from heaven" serves to respect the divine person by means of indirect reference, ie., it expresses cultural deference.

uJpo + gen. "from" - by [the majesty, magnificent glory]. Possibly spatial, "from beside", but more likely expressing agency; "by the majestic glory." Variant reading apo, spatial, "from", as NIV. "The Majestic Glory is visibly revealed in the shekinah glory, the divine cloud of God's presence. Best treated as a periphrasis for God himself.

oJ agaphtoV adj. "whom [I] love" - [the son of me,] the beloved [of me, this one is]. Predicate nominative. Heb. "my only one/son." It seems unlikely that the term "beloved son", the unique / one and only son, expresses a filial relationship with God the Father. The reference is primarily messianic; Jesus is God's servant messiah. The statement "this is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased", is drawn from Ps.2:7 and Isa.42:1. Psalm 2 celebrates the crowning of the Davidic messiah and his victory over the nations, while Isaiah 42 speaks of the suffering servant of the Lord who, in the power of the Spirit of the Lord, achieves justice for the nations. Some modern commentators argue that it alludes to Gen.22:2. The corporate identification of Jesus with God's people and his vicarious offering on our behalf, fits well with the Genesis allusion.

eiV "with" - into [whom]. Spatial. Properly en + dat.; "in / with [whom I am well pleased]".

egw "I" - i [was well pleased]. Emphatic use of the pronoun. Heb. "the one in whom my purpose rests."


kai "and" - and [this voice]. Coordinative, as NIV, or adjunctive, "we also."

hJmeiV "we ourselves" - we [we heard]. Emphatic by use, as NIV.

enecqeisan (ferw) aor. pas. part. "that came" - having been brought. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "voice", as NIV. The language of deference again affects the natural sense, "a voice which was borne / came from heaven"; "we heard that voice sent from heaven", Barclay.

ex + gen. "from" - from [heaven]. Expressing source / origin; "out of [heaven]."

o[nteV "when we were [with him]" - being. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, "when we were in his company on the holy mountain", Cassirer, or possible causal; "for we were with him on the sacred mountain", Barclay.

sun + dat. "with [him]" - with [him]. Expressing association.

en + dat. "on" - on [the holy mountain]. Locative, expressing space, as NIV.


Argument # 2, v19-21. Rather than cleverly contrived myths, Old Testament prophecies / "Scripture" and the eschatological teaching of Peter and his fellow apostles, is divine in nature and should be given due consideration. It is not the product of human imagination, it is divine in origin, empowered by God's Spirit. Prophecy, whether it be from Peter, the other apostles, or the Old Testament prophets, is "the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts", Peterson.

kai "and / also]" - and. Adjunctive, "also", is possible, although Davids suggests a consecutive sense, "and so we have ..."

profhtikon adj. "[the word] of the prophet / prophetic [message]" - [the] prophetic [word]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have." The possessive, "prophet's word", a "word" that belongs to, is possible, as is an ablative sense, "comes from" a prophet, but a straightforward adjectival sense is best, as NIV11. Often viewed as referring to the prophetic revelations of the Old Testament (sometimes the NT), but it is likely that Peter is using this term as inclusive of all prophetic revelations of divine origin, although the apostolic word is "more certain" because it rests on visible evidence.

bebaioteron comp. adj. "more certain / as something completely reliable" - made more sure, firm, certain. This comparative adjective serves as an object complement in a double accusative construction, and so makes a statement about the accusative object "the prophetic message." The "more firm" (rather than "more reliable") prophetic word conveyed by Peter (and the other apostles) is supported by his direct involvement in the Christ event, of which the transfiguration is paramount.

kalwV adv. "well" - [you do] well. Modal adverb expressing manner.

proseconteV (prosecw) pres. part. "to pay attention to" - paying attention to. Most likely the participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner in which "you do well" (being wise involves paying attention), or instrumental, expressing means, "by paying attention."The phrase "you do well" is a common way of saying "please", so possibly imperatival, "pray attend to that word", Moffatt.

w|/ dat. pro. "-" - which. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix participle "paying attention to."

wJV "as" - like. Comparative.

lucnw (oV) dat. "to a light" - a lamp. Dative of direct object of the implied verb prosecw; "as you would pay attention to a light."

fainonti (fainw) pres. part. "shining" - shining, appearing. The participle is adjectival, limiting lamp, "a lamp which is shining." This metaphor is often used of the word of God proclaimed, cf., Mk.4:21, Jn.5:35.

en + dat. "in" - in [a dark place]. Locative, expressing space.

e{wV ou| + subj. "until" - until. Introducing a temporal clause, indefinite future time. Pay attention to the apostolic prophetic word because "it's the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts", Peterson.

hJmera (aV) "the day" - day [may dawn and morning star rises in the hearts of you]. Nominative subject of the verb "to dawn." Typical eschatological imagery of the coming day of blessing and cursing, possibly drawn from Numbers 24:17, which verse was given eschatological prominence in contemporary Judaism. The new day refers to the coming eschatological age, the "morning star" is possibly messianic referring to the return of Christ, so Peterson's capitalisation above, although the addition of "in your hearts" may serve to express the enlightenment realised in that day, ie., the day when "we will know as we are known."


Peter has just made the point that he and his fellow apostles ("we") are the source of a genuine prophetic word / a divinely sourced eschatology (which they witnessed fleshed-out in the transfiguration), a word that must be carefully considered. He now states an important fact about the prophetic word (whether sourced from the Old Testament, or the New Testament as it was then taking shape through the ministry of Jesus' apostles), namely that such truth is formed under the inspiration of God, a fact that his readers should take careful note of, v20-21. So, Peter is stating that "no prophecy of Scripture derives from the prophet's own interpretation", Bauckham, as NIV, so also Davids*, Green, Calvin. Peter is, in a sense, answering the question, "why value prophetic utterances, particularly those of Peter and the other apostles?" His answer is "prophecy is not a product of the prophet, [rather] prophecy is a product of God through the Holy Spirit", Davids*. It should be noted that most translations take the line that "no prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own individual interpretation", Barclay, so also Neyrey, ie., Peter is making a point about the inspired ("by the Holy Spirit") interpretation of Scripture, rather than the inspired words of the prophet himself.

prwton adv. "above all" - [this] first of all, above all. This introductory formalised phrase serves to indicate that the following statement is worthy of special attention; "but first take note of this", Cassirer.

ginwskonteV (ginwskw) pres. part. "you must understand" - knowing. The participle is adverbial, possibly causal; you should pay attention to the word of the prophets (v19) "because you know, first and foremost, that ......"

oJti "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the readers should know / take note of.

grafhV (h) gen. "of scripture" - [every prophecy] of writing, scripture. The genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin; "from scripture." It is likely that Peter is seeking to distinguish between divine prophecy, as recorded in the Old Testament and presently in the formation of the New Testament through the ministry of the apostles, as opposed to secular prophecies circulating within Greek and Jewish circles.

idiaV gen. adj. "by the prophet's own" - [is not become, born] of one's own, someone's. Genitive in agreement with epilusewV, "interpretation". The subject is unclear: either the one who interprets the prophet's words, or as seems more likely, the prophet himself, as NIV.

epilusewV (iV ewV) gen. "interpretation" - interpretation, explanation. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin. A hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. The word in Greek literature is used of "the solution, or explanation for a dream, riddle, parable, omen, vision, or the like", Liddell and Scott, cf. Davids*. This may refer to someone who interprets the words of the prophet, but more likely is used here to refer to the prophet himself who, under the guiding hand of the Spirit, interprets his dreams, visions etc. for the purpose of communicating divine revelation to the faithful. Of course, this is what Peter has done with regard the transfiguration, interpreting the event in the terms of a prefiguring of the glorious manifestation of Christ in the coming day of judgment.


"One should understand that no scriptural prophecy came about by the prophet's own interpretation of the prophetic phenomena that he received", Davids*. Genuine prophecy is not a product of a prophet's own creativity, but rather a product of divine direction.

gar "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why genuine prophecy does not come from "someone's own interpretation", "because ....."

ou .... pote "never [had] its origin" - not at any time. Emphatic negation; "never at any time", Cassirer.

hnecqh (ferw) aor. pas. "had" - was carried, brought [a prophecy]. "Carried" in the sense of "conveyed" = "came"; "no prophecy ever came through human initiative", NJB.

qelhmati (a atoV) dat. "in the will" - in/by desire, will. The dative may be local, but better instrumental expressing means.

anqrwpou (oV) gen. "of man / the human" - of man. The genitive may be treated as adjectival, possessive, expressing a derivative characteristic, "man's initiative", Cassirer, or verbal, subjective.

alla "but" - Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction.

anqrwpoi (oV) "prophets, though human" - men = human prophets. Nominative subject of the verb "to speak." "Men gave it utterance ...... and what they said had its source in God", Cassirer.

feromenoi (ferow) perf. pas. part. "as they were carried along" - being carried, brought along. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, expressing contemporaneous time, as NIV, but also possibly causal, "prophecy came because men were moved by God to speak, under the influence of the Holy Spirit", Barclay.

uJpo + gen. "by" - by [the holy spirit, spoke from god]. Expressing agency. The preposition apo, "from [God]", expresses source / origin, but note the variant aJgioi qeou anqrwpoi, "the holy men of God."


2 Peter Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]