Similarities Between 2 Peter and Jude

When studying 1-2 Peter & Jude, one cannot help but notice the similarities in Peter and Jude’s use and application of biblical history, and how they used the same terms to denounce sin and the false teachers threatening the church. The following comparisons from 2 Peter and Jude (using the ESV) will help you see the similarities. This same chart can also be found in the appendix of my study on 1-2 Peter & Jude:

(2 Peter 1:1) Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (Jude 1) Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
(2 Peter 1:2) May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (Jude 2) May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

(2 Peter 1:12) Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have

(Jude 5) Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
(2 Peter 2:1-2) But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (Jude 4) For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 2:4) For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; (Jude 6) And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day —
(2 Peter 2:6) if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; (Jude 7) just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
(2 Peter 2:10a) and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. (Jude 8) Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
(2 Peter 2:10b-12) Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (Jude 9-10) But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

(2 Peter 2:13) suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

(Jude 12a) These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves;
(2 Peter 2:15-16) Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (Jude 11) Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
(2 Peter 2:17) These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. (Jude 12b-13) waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
(2 Peter 2:18) For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. (Jude 16) These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
(2 Peter 3:1-2) This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, (Jude 17) But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 3:3) knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. (Jude 18) They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”

(2 Peter 3:14) Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

(Jude 24) Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
(2 Peter 3:18) But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (Jude 25) to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

** I’m not sure how this will look in your inbox or on the website. As I was preparing this post, the WordPress module kept changing the font within each box. However, when I preview the post, it looks normal. With that said, my apologies if the formatting is all screwy.

1-2 Peter and Jude Bible Study Guide

1-2 Peter, Jude Cover

How does a Christian behave when surrounded by a hostile world? Peter and Jude wrote their epistles to remind hard-pressed Christians, those who were facing the threat of increased persecution and false teaching, to encourage them to face their adversaries with a Christlike character. These three epistles are like beacons of hope for making it through hard times. You will see that the wisdom of these letters is just as applicable today as they were then. All the while you will be reminded that in the midst of suffering that the God who deserves all praise is still “able to keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy” (Jude 24).

The latest edition to the Devoted To The Word Bible Study Series is 1-2 Peter & Jude. I pray this work will help you better understand God’s word and navigate through the traps of Satan, persecution and false teaching.

1-2 Peter Jude Bible Study

Mark Bible Study Guide

I would like to introduce you to the newest installment in the Devoted to the Word Bible Study Series: The Gospel of Mark. As with all Devoted to the Word Bible studies, God’s word is the central focus of each lesson.

This study is specifically designed for serious seekers and/or new converts. It is a 8 week study of the Gospel of Mark. Each weekly lesson is divided into 5 daily readings and a weekend review. This will help instill the virtue of daily Bible study, and shorter readings will allow the student to delve deeply into the meaning and application of each reading.

Mark Bible Study Guide

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Have you ever felt discouraged or anxious that God was not listening to your prayers because you did not see the relief or the answer you desired? We’ve all been there at one time or another. However, in the parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8), Jesus tells us why we should continue to persist in prayer and not lose heart, even when it does not seem God is responding to us.

This parable has its roots in the context of Luke 17:20-37. In this passage, Jesus discusses the coming of the kingdom (vv. 20-21) and the coming judgment against the adversaries who oppose Him and His kingdom, namely the Jews (vv. 22-37).  In view of these coming events, Jesus instructs His disciples to “always pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1) Our Lord is not saying that it would be good to pray under such circumstances. Rather, He is saying, in order to not “lose heart” (or “faint” KJV, or “give up” NIV) during such trying times, one must “always pray.” Of course, our Lord’s message provides instructions to the elect in many circumstances through all time and generations. Paul echoed this same command when he, on various occasions encouraged Christians to “be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12), to “continue steadfastly” in it (Colossians 4:2), praying “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). For this says, “is the will of God for you” (v. 18). Why continue in persistent prayer? Because, as we will see, prayer is the expression of our faith in the Lord’s promise that He will give justice against our adversaries.

Now, that we have established the central lesson to be learned from the parable, let’s turn our attention to the story itself (Luke 18:2-5). The first character Jesus introduces us to is a judge, “who neither feared God nor respected man” (v. 2). Within this wicked man’s jurisdiction were two people: an unnamed, malicious adversary who oppressed an unnamed helpless widow (v. 3). The Lord says that this widow “kept coming to the judge” seeking justice against her adversary. The persistence of her appeals then becomes central to the parable and its meaning.

Although the judge knew the widow’s case was just, he delayed in giving her relief from her adversary (v. 4a). Finally, after some unnamed period, the judge decides to provide this woman with the justice she deserves. His motives are shallow and impure, baseless and selfish. He does not aid the widow based on the merits of her case. Rather, this irreligious, uncompassionate judge answers the widow’s pleas because she was “bothering” him and he did not want her to “beat [him] down by her continual coming” (vv. 4-5). In short, he wanted to rid himself of the widow because she was a nuisance to him.

Next, the Lord says something quite remarkable, “hear what the unrighteous judge says” (v. 6). We might expect Him to call attention to the words and works of the widow, whose example disciples are to follow. However, it is the unrighteous judge and his character, which our Lord makes the central focal point of the parable. The purpose of this is to contrast the judge’s character against the character of God. The judge was unrighteous; God is the “righteous judge” (2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6). The judge did not care for any man; God cares for His “elect” (v. 7; 1 Peter 5:6-7). The judge deferred in bringing about justice because he was uncompassionate; God compassionately delays final judgment to give men time to repent (2 Peter 3:3-9). The judge only acted to reduce his pain; God sent Jesus to suffer agonizing pain of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). The judge delayed in delivering the widow and restraining the adversary; God “speedily” delivers His people and restrains our adversaries (v. 8a; Psalm 118:5-6). Thus, Jesus teaches that while it was the wickedness of the judge that required the perseverance of the widow, it is the righteousness of God that motivates the saints to “always pray and not [to] lose heart.” Even when our adversary presses us hard, even when we do not immediately see our prayers answered, it is God’s love, it is His faithfulness that causes us to not lose heart but to persistent in prayers to Him.

In closing, our Lord rhetorically asks, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v. 8b). I believe what Jesus is saying is, “I’m going to return and deliver you from your adversaries. The issue to concern yourself with isn’t whether or not I’ll fulfill my promise, but whether you will show your faith in Me by persistently praying and not giving up.” Persistent prayer, even when the prayer is constantly the same (ref. vv. 3, 7a) is a sign of faith, not a lack of it. Therefore, our responsibility is to be dedicated people, constantly and faithfully praying to our compassionate and loving Father in Heaven, the judge of all humanity.

Digging Deeper Questions:

  1. Read Luke 18:1-8. Write down any observations, key words and/or questions you have from the reading.
  2. In this parable we are introduced to three characters: a judge, a widow and an adversary. What images come to mind when you picture these three people?
  3. Why do you think the widow is so persistent in request that the judge gives her justice?
  4. How does the picture of the unjust judge help us understand the true nature of God?
  5. What is it about God’s righteous character that motivates you to persistently pray and not lose heart?
  6. Who or what are some adversaries that you face today as you follow Christ?
  7. Are your prayers for relief as desperate as those of the widow’s or the elect’s? Why or Why not?
  8. In your own words, explain how persistent prayer: 1) protects you from losing heart, and 2) expresses your faith in God’s promises to deliver you from your adversaries?
  9. No doubt there are times when we all are tempted to give up praying about someone or for something. How is Jesus encouraging you through this parable to keep on praying and not give up?

Other lessons in this series: The Lost Parables, The Rich Fool

The “Lost” Parables

The setting of Jesus’ telling of the “Lost” parables is a familiar one. “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’” Jesus’ mission to “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) brought Him into constant conflict with Israel’s religious rulers, namely the Pharisees and scribes (Luke 5:30, 7:39, 19:7). Wherever Jesus went, a crowd of tax collectors, prostitutes, and general riffraff flocked to Him. This troubled the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes a great deal. However, our Savior was not ashamed to be known as, “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34). He willingly received them, even going so far as eating with them (Luke 5:31-32). The Pharisees and scribes were so hopelessly consumed with themselves; they had no time or desire to associate with sinners. Jesus knowing the Pharisee’s hearts, rebuked them with three parables that contrasted their self-righteous attitude with God (and Jesus’) tender compassion for the lost. The point of all three parables is that God does not sit passively by while the lost march onto hell. He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” (ref. Ezekiel 33:11). Instead, He loves them, searches for them, pursues them, and longs for them to be saved. When even just one is found, God erupts in joyous celebration.

The first two parables, the Lost Sheep (15:3-7) and the Lost Coin (15:8-10), share the same key point; when one sinner repents, God calls for a celebration in heaven (15:7, 10). He is the seeking shepherd whose desire it is to rescue the lost sheep. He is the homemaker who will stop at nothing to find a lost coin. And when they have found that which was lost they call together their friends and celebrate. The obvious application Jesus is making is, if you Pharisee and scribes would do this for a lone sheep or a lone coin, then why not for one lost soul, who is of greater value (cf. Matthew 10:6; 12:9-14).

The third parable is the climax of His three illustrations. The parable of the Lost Son is more touching than the first two because it involves hurting humans and aching hearts, not dumb animals or inanimate coins. Although this parable goes into far greater detail than the previous two, it makes the exact same point. The loving father is God, who rejoices to see the homecoming of his lost son. The first half of the parable focuses on the shameful behavior of the son (15:11-16). The son asks for his inheritance, leaves home for a far country, where he wastes all his money on “prodigal living,” and ends up in near starvation. The middle section (15:14-24) revolves around the son’s repentance, his father’s gracious welcome, and the celebration that ensues for the return of the one that “was lost and now is found” (15:24, 32). It is in the third section of this parable (15:25-32) that an ugly twist is introduced in the form of the jealous older brother who reflected the attitude of the Pharisees and scribes. This jealous older brother would not go inside. He would not eat with his sinful brother or anyone who fellowshipped him, nor would he celebrate his sinful brother’s return. He totally lacked the compassion of the father in the parable and God the Father in heaven. Jesus demonstrates that the older brother, and by extension the Pharisees and scribes, are just as lost as any other sinner when the Father seeks out the older brother to “entreat” him to join in with the celebration (15:28b). The father’s plea, “it was fitting to celebrate and be glad,” is the exact point the Pharisees were missing, which is the real point of this parable. In their joyless hypocrisy the Pharisees refused to share the welcome that God loves to give lost sinners.

All three of these parables share a common thread, a seeker finding what was lost and rejoicing at its being found. In every case, the unrelenting seeker is God, who upon finding that which was lost rejoices with joy inexpressible. This was the lesson the Pharisees and scribes needed to learn. Sinners are to be sought after, not silenced, or segregated. This is the lesson we must take to heart today.

Digging Deeper Questions:

  1. What prompted Jesus to tell the three “Lost” parables?
  2. Who is represented by each of the central characters and objects in each of the parables?
  3. According to the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, how does God respond when one of His valued creatures or treasures is lost?
  4. Use five adjectives to describe the joy that God expresses when that which was lost is found.
  5. Imagine yourself listening to these parables as one of the people the Pharisees called a “sinner.” What thoughts and feelings might you have experienced as Jesus talked?
  6. Let’s look more closely at the parable of the Lost Son. Describe the different ways the younger son brought shame to his family, especially his father.
  7. What does the father’s reception of his remorseful younger son reveal to you about our Father in heaven?
  8. How can this portrait of God help you feel fully accepted and forgiven by your Father?
  9. Instead of ending the story with the celebration of the return of him that was lost, Jesus goes on to describe the reaction of the older son. What additional point do you think Jesus wants to make to the Jewish leaders, and why?
  10. In vs. 25-32 what is Jesus saying to His critics who scolded Him for receiving sinners?
  11. These three parables teach us that God receives sinners joyously. How has the message of the “Lost” Parables changed your perspective of the lost?

Other lessons in this series: The Persistent Widow, The Rich Fool

God’s Grace Is Not A License To Sin

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Romans 6:1

On the surface it seems strange that anyone, especially Christians, would think that it would be okay to continue to sin so that God’s grace may abound toward us. Yet, it seems that was the attitude of some Christians who thought, “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20).

There’s a danger in this sort of thinking (that we can continue to sin because of God’s grace and forgiveness), because it leads to a life becoming more and more entrenched in the ways of sin. Paul uses terms such as, “slaves of sin” (6:6) and “instruments of unrighteousness” (6:13) to describe our lives when under sins sway.

What was Paul’s answer then to his original question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” (6:1-2a) Paul gives three compelling reasons why we, as Christians, can overcome sin’s temptations and do not to continue in sin:

We Have Died to Sin (6:2b-11a) – Paul doesn’t want us to continue in sin since we have died to sin (6:2, 11a), we have been freed from sin, it no longer has dominion (influence or power) over us (6:7).

To illustrate that we’ve died to sin, Paul uses to Jesus’ death and resurrection to prove his point. When Jesus died and was raised from the dead to life he broke the bonds that death held over humanity, death no longer had dominion over Him in that He will die no more (6:9).

When we were baptized we were buried…with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (6:4). Freedom from sin is the new life that we live. Paul continues, For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His” (6:5). Jesus’ resurrection broke the bonds of death and sin; they no longer had dominion over man (6:9-10). When we are resurrected from the tomb of baptism the dominion of sin over our lives has been broken, we are free, we no longer have to obey it as slaves.

How does this help us overcome temptations to continue to sin? We know that we don’t have to obey sin. Praise God that he has set us free and has given us an avenue of escape (1 Cor 10:13). Does that mean that we want sin? No, but what it does mean is that we don’t have to powerlessly obey sin because it is no longer our master.

We Are Alive to God (6:11b-14) – Just because we are to consider ourselves dead to sin, that doesn’t mean we are act dead, rather, Paul wants us to consider ourselves “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (6:11).

Since we are alive to God, we present our bodies to God as “instruments for righteousness” (6:13). In just the same way we were once “instruments for unrighteousness” in perpetuating sins desires, we are to seek to perpetuate the desires of our God who raised us from death to life. We can do this because God has promised that sin no longer has dominion over us since His grace rules in our lives (6:14).

How does this help us to overcome the temptation to continue to sin? God fills the void sin left in our lives. By giving us purpose through Jesus Christ (being alive to God and instruments of righteousness), we don’t have to obey sin and allow it to once again reign in our lives.

We Are Slaves of Righteousness (6:15-23) – Here Paul again anticipates another question, this time it appears to be from the perspective of an adversary saying, “Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?” Again, Paul answers with a resounding, “Certainly not!” (6:15)

Even though we are not under law but grace, we are not free to live our lives as we please and sin at will as if there are no commandments to live by. As humans, we are going to be slaves by way of obedience to either sin or to righteousness. By being obedient to sin, we become its slave, the wages that sin pays its slaves is death (6:23). By being obedient to righteousness, we become God’s slave, to His slaves He gives the free gift of eternal life (cf. 6:16, 22-23).

When we live in sin we are bound up in sins lies. One of those lies is that if we follow God, He will cramp our style, because His ways are restrictive. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We’re truly free when we’re slaves of righteousness (6:18). If we’ve been set free from sin then it was a life of bondage. If we’re slaves of righteousness, which is the opposite of being slaves of sin, then we are truly free.

How does this help us overcome the temptation to continue to sin? We don’t have to obey sin because as slaves of righteousness we are free from sin’s control and influence, we no longer have to please sin, instead we seek to please God by being obedient to Him (cf. 6:20).

Is God’s grace a license to sin? Certainly not! Paul has shown us that since we, as Christians, have died to sin, are alive to God and are slaves of righteousness sin no longer has control over us so that we should obey it. When we’re tempted to sin and become entangled in its web once again let us hold fast our faith and remember the lessons that Paul has taught us.