↑ 1.Salutation 61ce
1FROM SIMEON PETER,
servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
to those who through the justice of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ share our faith and enjoy equal privilege with ourselves.
2Grace and peace be yours in fullest measure, through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
The Christian's Call and Election
3His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and true religion, enabling us to know the One who called us by his own splendour and might. 4Through this might and splendour he has given us his promises, great beyond all price, and through them you may escape the corruption with which lust has infected the world, and come to share in the very being of God.
5With all this in view, you should try your hardest to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, 6knowledge with self-control, self-control with fortitude, fortitude with piety, 7piety with brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness with love.
8These are gifts which, if you possess and foster them, will keep you from being either useless or barren in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9The man who lacks them is short-sighted and blind; he has forgotten how he was cleansed from his former sins. 10All the more then, my friends, exert yourselves to clinch God's choice and calling of you. If you behave so, you will never come to grief. 11Thus you will be afforded full and free admission into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
12And so I will not hesitate to remind you of this again and again, although you know it and are well grounded in the truth that has already reached you. 13Yet I think it right to keep refreshing your memory so long as I still lodge in this body. 14I know that very soon I must leave it; indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has told me so. 15But I will see to it that after I am gone you will have means of remembering these things at all times.
Christ's Glory and the Prophetic Word
16It was not on tales artfully spun that we relied when we told you of the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming; we saw him with our own eyes in majesty, 17when at the hands of God the Father he was invested with honour and glory, and there came to him from the sublime Presence a voice which said: 'This is my Son, my Beloved, on whom my favour rests.' 18This voice from heaven we ourselves heard; when it came, we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19All this only confirms for us the message of the prophets, to which you will do well to attend, because it is like a lamp shining in a murky place, until the day breaks and the morning star rises to illuminate your minds.
20BUT FIRST NOTE this: no one can interpret any prophecy of Scripture by himself. 21For it was not through any human whim that men prophesied of old; men they were, but, impelled by the Holy Spirit, they spoke the words of God.
↑ 2.False Prophets and Teachers
1But Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you likewise will have false teachers among you. They will import disastrous heresies, disowning the very Master who bought them, and bringing swift disaster on their own heads. 2They will gain many adherents to their dissolute practices, through whom the true way will be brought into disrepute. 3In their greed for money they will trade on your credulity with sheer fabrications.
But the judgement long decreed for them has not been idle; perdition waits for them with unsleeping eyes. 4God did not spare the angels who sinned, but consigned them to the dark pits of hell, where they are reserved for judgement. 5He did not spare the world of old (except for Noah, preacher of righteousness, whom he preserved with seven others), but brought the deluge upon that world of godless men. 6The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah God burned to ashes, and condemned them to total destruction, making them an object-lesson for godless men in future days. 7But he rescued Lot, who was a good man, shocked by the dissolute habits of the lawless society in which he lived; 8day after day every sight, every sound, of their evil courses tortured that good man's heart. 9Thus the Lord is well able to rescue the godly out of trials, and to reserve the wicked under punishment until the day of judgement.
10Above all he will punish those who follow their abominable lusts. They flout authority; reckless and headstrong, they are not afraid to insult celestial beings, 11whereas angels, for all their superior strength and might, employ no insults in seeking judgement against them before the Lord.
12These men are like brute beasts, born in the course of nature to be caught and killed. They pour abuse upon things they do not understand; like the beasts they will perish, 13suffering hurt for the hurt they have inflicted. To carouse in broad daylight is their idea of pleasure; while they sit with you at table they are an ugly blot on your company, because they revel in their own deceptions.
14They have eyes for nothing but women, eyes never at rest from sin. They lure the unstable to their ruin; past masters in mercenary greed, God's curse is on them! 15They have abandoned the straight road and lost their way. They have followed in the steps of Balaam son of Beor, who consented to take pay for doing wrong, 16but had his offence brought home to him when the dumb beast spoke with a human voice and put a stop to the prophet's madness.
17These men are springs that give no water, mists driven by a storm; the place reserved for them is blackest darkness. 18They utter big, empty words, and make of sensual lusts and debauchery a bait to catch those who have barely begun to escape from their heathen environment. 19They promise them freedom, but are themselves slaves of corruption; for a man is the slave of whatever has mastered him. 20They had once escaped the world's defilements through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; yet if they have entangled themselves in these all over again, and are mastered by them, their plight in the end is worse than before. 21How much better never to have known the right way, than, having known it, to turn back and abandon the sacred commandments delivered to them! 22 [ Pr.26.11. ] For them the proverb has proved true: 'The dog returns to its own vomit', and, 'The sow after a wash rolls in the mud again.'
↑ 3.The Promise of the Lord's Coming
1THIS IS NOW my second letter to you, my friends. In both of them I have been recalling to you what you already know, to rouse you to honest thought. 2Remember the predictions made by God's own prophets, and the commands given by the Lord and Saviour through your apostles.
3Note this first: in the last days there will come men who scoff at religion and live self-indulgent lives, and they will say: 4'Where now is the promise of his coming? Our fathers have been laid to their rest, but still everything continues exactly as it has always been since the world began.'
5In taking this view they lose sight of the fact that there were heavens and earth long ago, created by God's word out of water and with water; 6and by water that first world was destroyed, the water of the deluge. 7And the present heavens and earth, again by God's word, have been kept in store for burning; they are being reserved until the day of judgement when the godless will be destroyed.
8And here is one point, my friends, which you must not lose sight of: with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. 9It is not that the Lord is slow in fulfilling his promise, as some suppose, but that he is very patient with you, because it is not his will for any to be lost, but for all to come to repentance.
10But the Day of the Lord will come; it will come, unexpected as a thief. On that day the heavens will disappear with a great rushing sound, the elements will disintegrate in flames, and the earth with all that is in it will be laid bare.
11Since the whole universe is to break up in this way, think what sort of people you ought to be, what devout and dedicated lives you should live! 12Look eagerly for the coming of the Day of God and work to hasten it on; that day will set the heavens ablaze until they fall apart, and will melt the elements in flames. 13 [ Is.65.17, Is.66.22. ] But we have his promise, and look forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of justice.
14With this to look forward to, do your utmost to be found at peace with him, unblemished and above reproach in his sight. 15Bear in mind that our Lord's patience with us is our salvation, as Paul, our friend and brother, said when he wrote to you with his inspired wisdom. 16And so he does in all his other letters, wherever he speaks of this subject, though they contain some obscure passages, which the ignorant and unstable misinterpret to their own ruin, as they do the other scriptures.
17But you, my friends, are forewarned. Take care, then, not to let these unprincipled men seduce you with their errors; do not lose your own safe foothold. 18But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and for all eternity!