Unit 30: Day 1

2 Peter

“Unit 30, Day 1: 2 Peter,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)


Introduction

The Apostle Peter encouraged the Saints to grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ by seeking to become like Him. Peter also warned that false prophets and teachers lead people astray. He prophesied that in the last days, the wicked would scoff at the righteous for believing that Jesus Christ would return. Peter encouraged the Saints to prepare diligently for the Savior’s Second Coming.

2 Peter 1:1–11

Peter teaches how to partake of the divine nature of Jesus Christ

Think of attributes or qualities that you admire in a family member or friend. Do you believe you could develop those same good attributes or qualities? If you are a young woman, think about the Young Women theme, which states in part: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.” Consider the values contained in this theme, particularly divine nature.

Whether you are a young woman or a young man, what does “divine nature” mean to you?

The Apostle Peter wrote this epistle to Church members who had obtained faith in Jesus Christ. As recorded in 2 Peter 1:1–4, he taught them that they could “be partakers of the divine nature” (verse 4). The phrase “divine nature” refers to the attributes of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Read 2 Peter 1:5–7, looking for some attributes of the Father and Son’s divine nature. In the chart below, list the attributes you find in the passage. Then, on a scale of 1 to 10, evaluate how diligently you feel you are striving to attain these divine attributes in your life (1 = Not striving to attain; 10 = Diligently striving to attain). The first divine attribute is already listed. The word temperance in verse 6 means self-control.

Divine Attributes

Faith

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Read 2 Peter 1:8–11, looking for what blessings can come to those who are diligent in developing the divine attributes of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The phrase “to make your calling and election sure” in verse 10 means that while in mortality you receive God’s assurance or promise that you have obtained eternal life; Peter refers to this as “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19).

Prophet Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that one’s calling and election is made sure after a person has been proven faithful to the Lord: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure” (in History of the Church, 3:380).

2 Peter 1:12–21

Peter shares his witness of Jesus Christ and teaches about scripture

Why do you think some people are critical about the ages of some of the prophets and apostles? How would you respond to someone who says the prophets and apostles are too old to be effective leaders? As you continue to study 2 Peter 1, look for a truth about prophets and apostles that is more important than their age.

As recorded in 2 Peter 1:12–19, the Apostle Peter knew he would soon die, and so he shared his eyewitness testimony of Jesus Christ. In his testimony he mentioned “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19). This “more sure word of prophecy” is defined more clearly in Doctrine and Covenants 131:5 as the knowledge a person may receive in this life by revelation that he or she “is sealed up unto eternal life.” This is also referred to as “[making] your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10), which you studied about in the first part of 2 Peter 1.

Read 2 Peter 1:20–21, looking for what Peter taught about the role of “holy men of God,” or prophets. Note that Joseph Smith Translation, 2 Peter 1:20 (in 2 Peter 1:20, footnote a) reads, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is given of any private will of man.”

Based on what Peter taught, we can identify the following truth: Prophets receive scripture through the Holy Ghost. (You may want to write or note this in your scriptures.) Scriptures are “words, both written and spoken” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Scriptures,” scriptures.lds.org; see also D&C 68:2–4).

Some scripture has been canonized. A canon is “a recognized, authoritative collection of sacred books. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the canonical books are called the standard works and include the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Canon,” scriptures.lds.org).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

As you read the following testimony by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, look for his witness that prophets continue to receive scripture: “The priesthood line is the channel by which God has spoken to His children through the scriptures in times past. And it is this line through which He currently speaks through the teachings and counsel of living prophets and apostles and other inspired leaders” (“Two Lines of Communication,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 84).

Consider the importance of knowing that God used and still uses prophets to give scripture to His children.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. What are some passages of scripture, either from prophets of old or from prophets today, that have impacted your life?

    2. How have you been blessed through those scriptures?

Reflect again upon Elder Oaks’s testimony and watch for an opportunity in the coming days to testify to others, as the Spirit directs, about the reality of prophets and of the importance of receiving and studying scripture.

2 Peter 2

Peter warns about being deceived by false teachers

Why might people choose to sin even when they know that what they are doing is wrong?

In 2 Peter 2 we read that the Apostle Peter warned the Saints about people who sought to deceive them. As you study 2 Peter 2, look for truths that can help you recognize and avoid deceptions that lead to sin.

Read 2 Peter 2:1–3, looking for Peter’s warning about who would try to deceive the Saints. “Damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1) are false and destructive teachings.

One truth we can learn from these verses is that false teachers seek to deceive us.

Read the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for what false teachers teach today in order to deceive us:

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“False prophets and false teachers are those who declare that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a duplicitous deceiver; they challenge the First Vision as an authentic experience. They declare that the Book of Mormon and other canonical works are not ancient records of scripture. They also attempt to redefine the nature of the Godhead, and they deny that God has given and continues to give revelation today to His ordained and sustained prophets.

“False prophets and false teachers are those who arrogantly attempt to fashion new interpretations of the scriptures to demonstrate that these sacred texts should not be read as God’s words to His children but merely as the utterances of uninspired men, limited by their own prejudices and cultural biases. They argue, therefore, that the scriptures require new interpretation and that they are uniquely qualified to offer that interpretation.

“Perhaps most damningly, they deny Christ’s Resurrection and Atonement, arguing that no God can save us. They reject the need for a Savior. In short, these detractors attempt to reinterpret the doctrines of the Church to fit their own preconceived views, and in the process deny Christ and His messianic role.

“False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages” (“Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 63–64).

Consider times when you may have encountered teachings or messages from false teachers. Why it is helpful to be aware of the messages and teachings of false teachers?

In 2 Peter 2:4–17 we read several examples of what happened to people who followed false teachers in the past, including those who followed Satan in the premortal life, the people who lived during Noah’s time, and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter also gave examples of individuals who had not been influenced by false teachers, such as Noah and Lot. Peter then described the wicked behavior of false teachers.

worm on hook

How does a fisherman catch fish?

A fisherman’s techniques for catching fish are like those of a false teacher. Read 2 Peter 2:18–19, looking for how false teachers entice Saints to follow their teachings.

How are the teachings of false prophets and teachers like a fishing lure or bait?

In 2 Peter 2:19 we learn that false teachers promise liberty. In other words, they teach that sin, rather than obedience to the commandments, leads to greater freedom.

We can learn from these verses that false teachers seek to deceive us into believing that sin leads to greater liberty.

Read verse 19 again, looking for what happens to people who are overcome by false teachings and sin.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, write two or three examples of false teachings that appear to promote freedom but actually lead to bondage.

Read 2 Peter 2:20–22, looking for what Peter taught about those who return to sin after escaping from it.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Why do you think those who “have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 2:20) may be tempted to return to their sinful ways?

    2. What advice would you give to help someone remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His gospel rather than return to previous sins?

2 Peter 3

Peter testifies of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

As the Apostle Peter concluded this epistle, perhaps one of his last written testimonies, he reminded the Saints of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming and taught them how to prepare for it. As recorded in 2 Peter 3:1–9, he taught that in the last days some people would scoff at and mock those who believed in the Second Coming.

Read 2 Peter 3:10–14, looking for what Peter taught about the Second Coming. The word conversation in verse 11 refers to conduct or behavior (see 1 Timothy 4:12, footnote c), and “hasting unto” in verse 12 means to earnestly desire something.

What counsel did Peter give the Saints to prepare them for the Second Coming?

The phrase “without spot, and blameless” in verse 14 means being clean from sin. Those who are clean from sin have been reconciled to God, or restored to harmony and unity with Him, and will be found at peace with the Savior when He comes. From Peter’s teachings we learn that we can prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming by leading godly lives and earnestly watching for His Coming. Consider writing or noting this principle in your scriptures next to 2 Peter 3:11–14.

What are some things we can do to lead godly lives as we earnestly watch for the Second Coming?

In 2 Peter 3:15–18 we read that Peter acknowledged that some of Paul’s teachings are difficult to understand. He also warned about falling into wickedness. He invited the Saints to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18).

  1. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied 2 Peter and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: