We are studying 2 Peter 1:1-15 for Sunday, November 24. This is the opening text of a farewell address that encourages its early Christian audience to continue faithfully in sound teaching and practice, secure in the steadfast faith that Jesus Christ and his presence, rather than the world, is the ultimately permanent reality. [Here are my notes on this text.] Here are some questions we might want to explore as we think about what this text means for us today:
In v1, the Author tells the audience their faith and the apostle’s are “equally precious.” How do we feel about this? Why? Does this apply to us, do we think? Why? How do we feel about that?
The Author refers to the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord several times (see v2, v3, v8). What do we think it means to “know Jesus Christ”? (For instance, is this like knowing 2+2=4, like knowing how to make grits, like knowing our next door neighbor? Why do we say that?) What’s our own experience of “knowing Jesus our Lord”?
Last week, in 1 Peter 1:8, we read “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.” Does that seem relevant to what the Author is saying here? How?
In today’s world, do we ever have the experience of knowing people we have not met in person? How? Do those experiences shed any light on what the Author is talking about here?
The two long sentences in verses 3-4 lay out the Author’s vision of what really matters, what is to be valued, and what we can consider life-giving. How does our own vision of what matters in life line up with this vision?
What do we think the author means by being “participants” or “partakers of the divine nature”? Can we talk about this concretely, in ordinary language? Can we think of any “real life” examples of that, or is this something outside our own experience?
The Author may refer to this scale of values again in v11, since “entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” is presented as an important goal. Again, how do we feel our own priorities line up with these? Why is that, do we think? Is there a contrast between “worldly values” and “eternal values”? Must there be? Can eternal values be pursued in the present, do we think? How?
In vv5-8, the Author lists several qualities [goodness (excellence, virtue), knowledge, self-control (self-mastery), godliness (piety), mutual affection, love] that will make living as Christians more secure and “fruitful.” What are our responses to this list? Why? Does this list match the qualities we ourselves strive for or try to develop in ourselves? How does it describe our community, or our families, would we say? How do we feel about that? Why?
How would we know we “had these things and they were increasing” – what would be real life indicators of that, what would we be looking for?
In vv13-14, the Author presents a view of the body as a portable shelter, a “tabernacle.” How does this compare to our own view of our bodies? What attitudes or practices towards the body would this attitude lead to? Why is that, do we think?
[More personal] How does that match our own attitudes or practices towards our bodies? How do we feel/What do we think about that?
Overall, since the Author is leaving instructions for “the Church” of the day, we might want to consider whether “the Church” of our own day does or doesn’t seem to take these instructions seriously or make them priorities. What observations suggest we do, what observations suggest we don’t? What might happen if we took these instructions to heart more completely? How could we do that? What would or might change?