THE LESSON BACKGROUND.The book of First Peter was written just before the time that the Roman Emperor Nero began his persecution of Christians. Second Peter, from which our lesson comes, was written about three years later, (between 66 and 68 A.D.), after the persecution became more intense. First Peter was a letter of encouragement to the Christians who suffered, but Second Peter focuses on the church’s internal problems, especially on the false teachers who were causing people to doubt their faith and turn away from Christianity. In this second letter, Peter argues against the heresies of the false teachers by denouncing their evil motives, and reaffirming Christianity’s truths—the authority of Scripture, the primacy of faith, and the certainty of Jesus’ return. Unlike First Peter which was addressed to Jewish Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor and to believers everywhere (see I Peter 1:1), Second Peter is not addressed to any particular group, so it is accepted that Peter was writing to Christians everywhere (see II Peter 1:1). At the time of this letter, Peter knew that his time on earth was limited (see II Peter 1:13-14), so he wrote about what was on his heart warning believers of what would happen when he was gone, especially about the presence of false teachers. Our lesson comes from the first chapter of II Peter.
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