15 September 2017

2 Peter 1:1-15

“You must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.” (vv. 5-7)

Psalm: Psalm 81


This letter can be viewed as a sermon preached by a formidable elder of the Church. The chapter begins with a greeting and a blessing for the people to whom Peter is writing or speaking. And then the words seek to bring about a deeper understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit, although it is not written in those terms.

Using his own experience and relationship with Jesus, Peter seeks to encourage the people to recognise the promise made by him, that if they come to faith in him, they will escape from the corruption of the world and be able to be more Christ-like. He tells them what he means by living in this way and how he thinks the Church should be. He has clearly moved on from a free unstructured form of gathering into what could be seen as a more formalised body which we might recognise as Church.

Peter spells out to the people how they should be as people inspired and living with the influence of Christ. It would appear, in the tradition of the time in which they are living, that he is harking back to his own experience in preparation for his death. In these early verses he is reiterating what he said in the previous letter about the need for self-control and godliness (1 Peter 1:13-15), reminding them of the centrality of love within the Christian understanding of God which will lead them to be effective fruitful disciples of Christ. In verse 15 he justifies his words by asking that they remember what he has taught them when he has gone to his death, which he anticipates will happen before too long.

To Ponder

  • How far is love for one another and for the world still central to the message we preach today, or are we more inclined to seek for personal salvation rather than that of our neighbours?
  • How often do you share your own experience of meeting Jesus, in whatever way that has been, in explaining why Christians are the people we are?
  • To what extetnt are Peter's words as important to us today as they were for the Early Church? Why?

Bible notes author

The Revd Pat Billsborrow

Pat Billsborrow is a supernumerary minister in the Northwich and Winsford Circuit, and is at present part of a district ministry team working within that circuit with pastoral care of four churches. She is ecumenical officer in the Cheshire part of the Chester and Stoke on Trent Methodist District.