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2 Peter 1:15-16

Context
1:15 Indeed, I will also make every effort that, after my departure, you have a testimony of these things. 1 

1:16 For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return 2  of our Lord Jesus Christ; 3  no, 4  we were 5  eyewitnesses of his 6  grandeur. 7 

1 sn There are various interpretations of v. 15. For example, the author could be saying simply, “I will make every effort that you remember these things.” But the collocation of σπουδάζω (spoudazw) with μνήνη (mnhnh) suggests a more specific image. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 201-2) is right when he notes that these two words together suggest a desire to write some sort of letter or testament. Most commentators recognize the difficulty in seeing the future verb σπουδάσω (spoudasw) as referring to 2 Peter itself (the present or aorist would have been expected, i.e., “I have made every effort,” or “I am making every effort”). Some have suggested that Mark’s Gospel is in view. The difficulty with this is threefold: (1) Mark is probably to be dated before 2 Peter, (2) early patristic testimony seems to imply that Peter was the unwitting source behind Mark’s Gospel; and (3) “these things” would seem to refer, in the least, to the prophecy about Peter’s death (absent in Mark). A more plausible suggestion might be that the author was thinking of the ending of John’s Gospel. This is possible because (1) John 21:18-19 is the only other place in the NT that refers to Peter’s death; indeed, it fleshes out the cryptic statement in v. 14 a bit more; (2) both 2 Peter and John were apparently written to Gentiles in and around Asia Minor; (3) both books were probably written after Paul’s death and perhaps even to Paul’s churches (cf. 2 Pet 3:1-2, 15-16); and (4) John 21 gives the appearance of being added to the end of a finished work. There is thus some possibility that this final chapter was added at the author’s request, in part to encourage Gentile Christians to face impending persecution, knowing that the martyrdom of even (Paul and) Peter was within the purview of God’s sovereignty. That 2 Pet 1:15 alludes to John 21 is of course by no means certain, but remains at least the most plausible of the suggestions put forth thus far.

2 tn Grk “coming.”

3 tn Grk “for we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by following cleverly concocted fables.”

4 tn Grk “but, instead.”

5 tn Grk “became.”

6 tn Grk “that one’s.” That is, “eyewitnesses of the grandeur of that one.” The remote demonstrative pronoun is used perhaps to indicate esteem for Jesus. Along these lines it is interesting to note that “the Pythagoreans called their master after his death simply ἐκεῖνος” as a term of reverence and endearment (BDAG 302 s.v. ἐκεῖνος a.γ).

7 sn The term grandeur was used most frequently of God’s majesty. In the 1st century, it was occasionally used of the divine majesty of the emperor. 2 Pet 1:1 and 1:11 already include hints of a polemic against emperor-worship (in that “God and Savior” and “Lord and Savior” were used of the emperor).



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