VIDEO: 2 Peter
A Catholic summary of 2 Peter.
(Alternate link, via Vimeo.)
Let’s take a look at 2 Peter.
Verses 1-4 start off chapter 1 with a nice salutation, in which the grace of God is emphasized.
Verses 5-11 inform us about the necessity of works, and they warn us against being “unfruitful,” in reference to John 15:5-8, and other verses. The passage also reminds us that we were “purified” from our “former sins,” most probably in reference to the regenerative effect of baptism.
Verses 12-15 point out that the purpose of this Book is mostly just to remind us of important things — we “already know them” — not really to add anything new.
Verses 16-19 remind us of the fact that Peter witnessed all of this first-hand, and he is not just retelling old mythical tales, so he knows what he’s talking about.
The final verses (verses 20-21) read:
“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
This passage does two things. First, it reminds us that the Bible does not contradict itself on and is infallible on matters of faith and morals, because its writers, “moved by the Holy Spirit”, “spoke from God.” Second, the passage undermines individual interpretation, the cornerstone of the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura, implicitly reminding us of the necessity of being united under one set of doctrines.
Chapter 2 heavily warns against sin.
Verses 1-3, especially, remind me of the times we currently live in. Particularly, “[m]any will follow their sensuality” reminds me of society and debates around same-sex “marriage.”
There is a lot of valuable material in this chapter. It informs us that we will be punished for sin that we do not repent of. Verse 13 tells us that we will “[suffer] wrong as the wages of doing wrong.”
This is all completely contrary to the “Jesus died for all of our sins, so we’re good!” view that many Protestants hold. Yes, it is through Christ that we can be cleansed from sin, but the cleansing is not automatic — we must seek it.
Another interesting thing in the chapter is verse 20, which reads:
“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”
This verse obliterates the Protestant idea — held only by a minority, fortunately — of “once saved, always saved.” The people being referenced already had “knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and “escaped the defilements of the world”, so they were supposedly “saved” at one point (at least, according to common Protestant doctrine), but then they lost their salvation after getting “entangled” in these “defilements of the world.”
And the next verse — verse 21 — reads:
“For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.”
This verse and the previous verse tie in with the Catholic idea of salvation through “invincible ignorance.” Basically, anyone genuinely ignorant of Christian teaching can reach salvation. Like this verse says, for some people, “it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness.”
The chapter closes with a proverb.
Verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3 again remind us of the fact that this Book is in continuity with the rest of the Bible, simply a reminder of important details.
Verses 3-9 touch on people doubting the eventual return of Christ. The passage tells us that the reason that it seems to be taking so long to occur is that Christ is trying to lead as many souls to salvation as possible before then.
And verses 10-18, the final verses, urge us to always “be in holy conduct and godliness” and “be diligent to be found by Him [God] in peace, spotless and blameless.” The passage tells us that “the patience of our Lord” allows more people to attain salvation. It also tells us that there are “some things hard to understand” in Paul’s writings (like supposed “faith alone” verses, perhaps?), “which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
Feel free to check out my other videos and other past work. Like 2 Peter 3:18 tells us, we must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” May God bless you.
(All verses are from the NASB translation.)