Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Book Overview - 2 Peter
by Matthew Poole
It cannot be denied, but that some question there hath been, both about the penman and the authority of this Epistle. The former hath been questioned, because of the difference of the style of this from that of the former Epistle. But, to say nothing of a great likeness of style in both, observed by some; why might not the same person see fit on different occasions, and according to the different things he wrote about, to change his way of writing? Or why may not the Holy Ghost use his instruments in what way he please, and not only dictate to them the matter they are to write, but the expression and phrase? Why must an infinite and sovereign Agent be bound up, and confined to the parts and qualifications of the men he inspired? And if we set aside the judgment of several councils and fathers, (which yet might go far), two great arguments may be drawn from the first chapter, to prove Peter to be the penman of this Epistle. One from the inscription of it, where we have both his names, Simon and Peter, prefixed to it. Another from 2 Peter 1:16 , where he affirms himself to have been present with Christ at his transfiguration; from whence we may well argue, that none having ever ascribed it to John, and James being dead before, (though if he had been alive, it cannot be imagined that he should put Peter's name to any epistle of his own writing), and there being none but they two present with our Lord at that time besides Peter, Matthew 17:1 , none but he could be the writer of it. And indeed, as some observe, if this Epistle be not Peter's, when his name is set to it, it is so far from being canonical, that it is not fit so much as to be reckoned among the apocryphal books, having so great a lie in the front of it. As for the authority of it, there can be no doubt of that if Peter were the writer, when nothing concurs in it repugnant to other parts of Scripture, or unbecoming the grace and style of an apostle. And though some of the ancients have questioned it, yet many more have acknowledged it; nor was it ever numbered among apocryphal writings. And its not being found in the first Syriac version, can but argue its being questioned by some, not its being rejected by all. It seems to be written to the Jews of the dispersion, as the former was, which appears by 2 Peter 3:1-2, where he mentions the former written to them; and this was written not long before his death, 2 Peter 1:14 . The scope of it is, partly to call to their remembrance the truths he had preached among them, that so, when they should be destitute of the apostles' preaching to them, yet they might remember the pure doctrine they had learned of them, 2 Peter 1:12, 2 Peter 1:15, and might thereby be fortified against the errors of false teachers, 2 Peter 2:1; and partly to persuade and stir them up to diligence in holiness and constancy in the faith. As in his First Epistle he had exhorted them to patience under the tyranny of persecutors, lest they should yield to them; so in this he exhorts them to perseverance in the truth of the gospel, against the deceptions of heretics, lest they should be seduced by them, 2 Peter 2:1-22, and continue in holiness, notwithstanding the profaneness of scoffers, 2 Peter 3:1-18.
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18