The people to whom Peter wrote his first epistle were already undergoing trials of all kinds and were soon to face fierce persecution for their faith at the hands of the cruel Emperor Nero. The apostle writes to encourage and strengthen them in the face of these trials and to remind them of the wonderful blessings and privileges they have in Christ.
He has a great deal to say about relationships, both to fellow Christians and to unbelievers, in the workplace and in the home, in the local church and in society at large.
In his second epistle Peter warns his readers against another danger that has threatened believers through the ages, that of false teaching. He points them to God's Word as their one sure light amid the darkness and confusion of error and urges them to live holy lives in the light of the Lord's returns.
Michael Bentley explains the text in a clear and helpful way, drawing on personal experience and illustrations from everyday life. He seeks to show what it means to live for Christ in a pagan world.
“Then it was said that these Christians were cannibals. They all got up very early in the morning and gathered out in the open air, and after prayers, they ate their god. They said, ‘This is his body that we are eating; this is his blood that we are drinking.’” (Page 33)
“Peter said that they were rejoicing in their sufferings. But the apostle does not say that they were rejoicing because they enjoyed the pain and the injuries of persecution. Anyone who enjoys inflicting or receiving pain is sick and needs urgent medical attention. What Peter is saying is that there are benefits to being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. However, these benefits flow out as a result of the sufferings; they do not come purely because pain is being administered.” (Page 33)
“The new birth which we have been given leads us into ‘a living hope’. In everyday conversation we often say, ‘I hope everything will turn out all right.’ We mean that we are not sure that it will, but we have a strong desire that it should. However, the hope that Peter writes about here is nothing vague like that. It is a living hope. It is something sure and certain. It is a very positive thing. It is nothing less than the deliverance from sin and death which Christ has accomplished for his people.” (Page 28)
“Just as fire purifies gold, so trials cleanse our faith from all the filth of human works and effort. Trials leave us with a trust in God which is centred on him alone, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. This salvation is gained for us by faith alone.” (Page 35)