When you teach, especially when you teach a subject like writing, a discipline which people tend to approach from different angles, you hear horror stories from students. These stories often involve “advice” or “rules” they’ve been told to follow, such as paragraphs have to be five sentences long, only use five paragraphs, and never assert something definitely—always add “may” or “could.”
I’d like to think these others teachers have their heart in the right place—they’re only passing on what they know to be true, right?—but mostly I feel sad for them: what could their own writing be like if they follow these rules they claim are important? But then again, it’s the students who lose—even though I’d like to think I’m in a good place to bolster their writing skills by teaching them useful tools (and mostly eliminating inaccurate “rules)—after all, they could have spent the past few years building on a solid writing foundation instead of spending their Freshman college writing course unlearning everything they thought they needed to follow.
In 2 Peter, Peter is equally frustrated with what he feels has been a spat of mis-information being circulated about Christianity. He’s ready to offer followers of the faith a refresher on “proper knowledge.”
First on Peter’s list of things to correct: No prophecy came about by the prophet’s own interpretation (1:20). Apparently, certain supposed prophet’s have been suggesting what has or will happen with regard to Jesus’ second coming—some have said he’s already returned. This has, understandably, caused some people to wonder who and what to believe.
In case Peter has not been clear about how he feels about this situation, he clarifies: false teachers are ruining the party for everyone (2:2). And given that Christianity had yet to really establish itself, it’s easy to understand why product control was so crucial—how can you get people to accept your beliefs and grow the faith if the message is inconsistent?
But Peter has more he needs to clarify. One of the points he wants to stress most—in order to convince people to avoid this behavior—is how awfully sinful adulterers are. To stress his point, he equates their behavior with depravity (2:13-15, 19). This is nothing new—or rather the idea that he would take issue with this; however, what’s interesting is that he makes no mention of sexual immorality or homosexuality.
One would think that Peter would be in line with the other teachers of faith in the New Testament by stressing other “bad” sexual behaviors. Perhaps he only mentions this type of sexual behavior because it’s the only one teachers and Christian followers should be worried about. Is this truly the only sexual behavior which should be seen as immoral?
But again, since this message is a bit different than previous Bible books, who is one supposed to listen to?