Standing Fast in Christ by Peter Kreeft

Peter’s two letters could be called “Rocky I” and “Rocky II”, for Jesus had declared Peter to be the Rock on which He would build His Church (Mt 16:18). We see in them not the “sandy” Peter of the Gospels, the Peter with foot-in-mouth disease, but a rock-solid saint. His two letters are full of sound advice and exhortations for daily Christian living. Peter’s letters, like James’, are practical. Paul’s letters, like John’s, are more intellectual. Peter and James are exhortatory; Paul and John are expository.

There is no “Rocky III” because Peter was martyred in Rome in or around a.d. 66. The prophecy Jesus had made about how Peter was to die (Jn 21:18–19) was fulfilled when Nero crucified Peter. Tradition says Peter insisted on being crucified upside down because he did not want to seem equal to his Master.

Peter wrote these two “general epistles” to Christians scattered throughout the empire, that is, the civilized world (1:1). Peter had taken the center of Church authority to the center of the world, Rome. He spent the last decade of his life there. He refers to Rome symbolically as “Babylon” (5:13), for Babylon was the traditional enemy of the Jews, the empire that had conquered and enslaved them six hundred years earlier, just as Rome had done again. Now Rome was turning her hatred also to the new Israel, the Church, when Nero and Diocletian began persecuting Christians.

Kreeft, P. (2005). You Can Understand the Bible: A Practical Guide to Each Book in the Bible (pp. 293–294). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

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