Peter provides a warning, a judgment, and a profile of false teachers. Peter begins with a five-part warning about false teachers in 2 Peter 2:1-3, exposing their objectives, activities, and destruction.
In 2 Peter 1:12-21, Peter provides two tools for growth in godliness — the New Testament and the Old Testament. These tools will not only enable believers to grow in godliness, but they serve as an antidote against false teachers and false teaching. Believers who avail themselves of both sides of the Holy Writ will neither be stunted in their spiritual growth nor fall victim to damnable heresies.
When first saved, believers want to grow in godliness, but sadly that eagerness wanes over time. All too soon, they settle into the doldrums of complacency and even apathy. Little do believers realize that at that moment, they are easy prey for false teachers. Again, growth in godliness will stem the onslaught of complacency and apathy and guard against false teachers. However, growth does not happen without determination and discipline.
With the persecution intensifying and many believers being deceived by false teachings about God’s Law and in danger of becoming apostate, Peter begins his letter reminding his readers of the divine provisions for a life of godliness. This opening serves as a natural progression from the end of his last letter, where Peter reminded believers that God’s mighty hand will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish them (cf. 1 Peter 5:10). As such, God accomplishes these actions by granting believers faith, grace and peace, everything pertaining to life and godliness, and precious and magnificent promises.
The Epistle of 1 Peter was written from a pastor’s heart for believers who are scattered, suffering, and slandered. Peter’s goal was to exhort believers to remain faithful while scattered and experiencing suffering amid a hostile world. Though living in a hostile world, they have a living hope which originates in the Father’s foreknowledge, the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying, and the Son’s sprinkled blood. Furthermore, they are blessed and rejoicing amid their trials because they have a living hope, and inexpressible, glorious joy.
Peter also exhorted believers to exhibit a lifestyle different from this hostile, pagan world. Such a lifestyle requires saturating one’s mind in God’s Word, following the Law of God, imitating the holiness of God, loving one-another, and submitting to authorities. Additionally, Peter encouraged believers to endure suffering by following the example of Christ, who did not return evil for evil. Now in 1 Peter 5:10-14, Peter brings his epistle to a close by reminding his readers of God’s grace and glory before saying goodbye.