Peter (also known as Simon) was one of the original 12 apostles. He became the leader of the apostles, after Jesus’ ascension. Peter was originally from Bethsaida on the northern shore of the sea of Galilee. Peter was married. He was a fisherman with his brother Andrew. His home was in Capernaum. When Jesus called him to be an apostle, he was given the added name Cephas (Aramaic: “stone,” Greek: “Petros,” which in English is rendered as Peter).
Peter was a native of Bethsaida Peter was one of the three main apostles, along with James and John, who were chosen by Jesus to be present during certain important moments of His ministry. Peter was the natural spokesman of the twelve disciples. One trait of Peter’s character that stands out in the New Testament account, is his impetuosity. The personality of Peter is one of the most vividly drawn and charming in the NT. His sheer humanness has made him one of the most beloved and winsome members of the apostolic band.
He was eager, impulsive, energetic, self confident, aggressive, and daring, but also unstable, fickle, weak, and cowardly. He was guided more by his quick impulse than logical reasoning, and he readily swayed from one extreme to the other. He was preeminently a man of action. His life exhibits the capacities for good. He was forward and often rash, liable to instability and inconsistency, but his love for and associations with Christ molded him into a man of stability, humility, and courageous service for God. In the power of the Holy Spirit he became one of the noble pillars of the church.
Peter was famous for many things: For being at Jesus’ transfiguration, for walking on water at Jesus’ bidding, for rebuking Jesus for what seemed to him negative thinking (prompting Jesus’ sharp reply “Get behind Me Satan”), for his statement to Jesus during the washing of feet during the Last Supper, for his denials of knowing Jesus when Peter was in the courtyard of the high priest, for drawing a sword when Jesus was being arrested, and for being granted the singular privilege of an individual post-resurrection appearance by Jesus (Luke 24:34, 1Cor 15:5).
When Jesus asked him “Who do you say I am? ” Peter made that famous statement, “You are the Christ (Messiah) the Son of the Living God. ” (Matthew 16:15-16). Under the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter healed the sick and raised the dead. He made a trip to Antioch (Galatians 2:1), and possibly Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:12). It is believed that Peter later traveled to Rome, and was martyred there by crucifixion in 64 AD.
He is said to have requested that he be crucified upside down, because he said he wasn’t worthy of dying in the same way as Jesus. Peter wrote two Epistles, called 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Whereas, the first letter was an attempt to encourage a church threatened with official persecution and repression, the second letter dealt with the perils of Apostasy which was an even greater threat. Knowing that he would not be spared to keep control of the situation, Peter was writing to forestall this calamity and to warn the church of its danger.
A key verse within this larger context is chapter two, verse one: But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. An influx of conscienceless agitators who repudiated the lordship of Christ(2:1) and whose attitude was haughty (2:10), licentious (2:13), adulterous (2:14), greedy (2:14), bombastic (2:18), and libertine (2:19) seemed imminent.
A looming heresy involved a denial of Christ (2:1) and ridiculed the promise of his return (3:3-4). Certain teachers were consumed with fleshly lusts and despised divine authority. They were rebels—sneaky, reckless, and bold in their opposition to truth. They lived more on the animal level than as godly human beings (2:1, 10-12). These peddlers of error delighted in seducing and taking captive ignorant souls, all the while promising them freedom to live independently of the will of God (2:14, 18-19). They were church outlaws!
They will purposely try not to be noticed and bring division in the church by distorting and departing from the word. They will lay down truth alongside the falsehood and secretly bring in destructive heresies. They will deny the Lord who died for them by presenting a different view of the gospel. The focus is not on the cross for salvation. The principal design of this letter was to “stir” Christian minds to a greater level of spirituality and to fortify them against the danger of certain false teachers who threatened their faith.
The key to this letter is the word know of knowledge), which occurs frequently in the three chapters, often referring to knowledge of Christ. This knowledge is not primarily academic, but spiritual, arising from a growing experience of Christ (2Peter 3:18). It produces peace and grace (1:2) and fruitfulness (1:8), is the secret of freedom from defilement (2:20), and is the sphere of Christian growth (3:18). It may be that the false teachers were Gnostics who stressed knowledge as the means to salvation, and that Peter sought to counteract their falsehoods by a positive presentation of true knowledge.
Near the conclusion of chapter two, Peter described the false teachers as previously having: (a) escaped “the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”; (b) known “the way of righteousness; and, turned from the holy commandment delivered unto them (vv. 20-21). The inspired apostle concludes his statement by emphasizing the danger inherent in the doctrine these heretics taught—a threat both to their converts and to themselves.