2 Peter 1: 1,2 Servant and Apostle

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Servant and Apostle

It was quite common in the ancient world to take two names.  Paul was also known as Saul.  One name would be a Hebrew name and the other would be Greek.  In this introduction Peter uses his Hebrew name and his Greek name.  This indicates that he might be writing to a mixed audience scattered among the regions of the Ancient Near East.  He emphasizes a heart of humble service and also of authoritative position.  He calls himself both a servant and an apostle.  Jesus emphasized that all leaders should be servants.  However, he also emphasized that if a person is sent by him to preach the good news, that person goes with all Jesus’ authority (Mtt. 10).  Peter combines service and authority.

In the teaching profession, Marzano writes about the importance of a teacher combining a high dominance of their classroom with a high cooperation.  Many of my students care for the children they teach and want to be their friend, but then they lack the authority that brings success to the classroom.  Other students dominate a classroom, but they do it out of fear or desire for control.  These latter types do not connect well with the students.  The key in communicating new information well is to love and care for the student whilst accepting the authority that knowledge of the content brings.  Peter knows the content of his teaching well.  He knows Christ.

the recipients of the letter are believers who have received grace.  One important aspect of the opening is that it teaches that Jesus is God.  The grace comes from our God Jesus Christ.  Peter may not have had a developed Trinitarian doctrine, but he knew that Jesus was more than just a man.

As one develops a relationship one ‘knows’ and is ‘known’.  Knowledge and relationship are profoundly connected.  One reveals oneself in order to be known.  The believer has the joy of knowing God more each day as God reveals himself.  Relationships go sour when one person attempts to hide.  They flourish when each person discloses their heart and their dreams.

Prayer

Father, let me be a bold teacher who loves those he teaches.  Let us stand firm in the truth of the revealed word you have given us.  Let us carry the authority of your son.  Let us also, though, impart grace and mercy in a world where darkness engulfs truth too quickly.

Questions

  1. Why does Peter use two names?
  2. What two titles does Peter give himself?
  3. How does Peter’s stance exemplify a god teaching stance?
  4. How are you to be a servant and an authority?
  5. What do you wish for those who learn from you?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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4 Responses to 2 Peter 1: 1,2 Servant and Apostle

  1. kevin w. says:

    Peter uses two names because he is probably writing to a mixed audience of both Greek speakers (gentiles) and Hebrews.
    I love that Peter uses the title of a servant and apostle. My family has had some bad experiences in a church where the leadership had the opposite mindset, namely that everyone’s place was to serve them because they were the leaders. The arrogance that often accompanies leadership and authority is disheartening and frustrating–did not Jesus wash his disciples’ feet? And yet I think this is most often simply a blind spot in a person’s life. I pray that I might see my blind spots so as to be the authority in the classroom, but in the right attitude and relationship. I hope that others might see my earnest desire to lead well while pouring out. But even more, I hope that they understand the reason why.

  2. Peter uses two names because he is possibly writing to both Gentiles and Jews. One name would be in Hebrew and one would be in Greek. Peter is both a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. It’s interesting to note that Peter calls himself a servant first and then an apostle. It shows that Peter understood who he was first and foremost. I should be willing to serve first. Be willing to get my hands dirty and lead by example. Through this you will be able to develop your authority. I think people would be willing to follow your authority if you are willing to do anything. Servant leadership is only effective when nothing is below you.
    I would wish that they would learn to be willing to do anything. I would want them to avoid the temptation of thinking that certain things are below them and they shouldn’t have to do something because of their position.

  3. Christina Zezulak says:

    By Peter identifying himself with both his greek and hebrew name, Simon Peter, it is likely that his audience is mixed and he is speaking to both of them. Peter identifies himself as both a servant and apostle. In order to be a successful and God-fearing teacher, one must look to serve rather than be served while maintaining his or her authority. Jesus is the perfect example of this servant leadership. I desire that my students would know Christ, not just about Him but with intimacy and delight. I hope they will find rest in His unending love, peace, joy, and strength, as well as find nourishment for their souls through the Word and through time spent with Him in prayer.

  4. 33324bg says:

    I do agree on the significance of accepting ones’ self as both a servant and an authority. The way the latter was phrased, not just having authority, but being an “authority” that to me communicates power. To me being an “authority” is not like something has been “added on”..but rather our power is located in who we are- our very identity. We are powerful because Christ, the all-powerful One is in us (Col. 1:27) and our identity is in Him! Surprise, surprise! 😀 What a wonderful combination- servant and authority. Humility and power. This combo is the answer to the question, “Won’t being a servant lead me to be taken advantage of and manipulated?” It’s true that Jesus, the Rose was trampled. He was crushed. He was beaten by men. Was the power He exhibited during His ministry of healing and teaching with authority naught, or was His power being exhibited in the greatest and most amazing way in that the Son of God humbled Himself..even to the point of death on a cross (Phil. 2)? And He did rise again after all.

    I enjoyed the description of how relationships work- one reveals more of him or herself in order to be known, the other does the same, it’s this on-going “unveiling” of the soul. That is beautiful to me.. thinking about that on a human level, but also with God…I don’t think I had thought about it that way before..I pray for God to reveal more of Himself to myself and others, but I hadn’t reflected before on what I was asking..God show more of Yourself to me..what an intimate request! It must grieve God a lot when I don’t think highly or speak highly of prayer and His word…Dare I complain that I must reveal more of myself to the Almighty? It’s my honor! That though He knows it all anyway, He wants that intimate connection, I have the privilege of unfolding to Him my desires and concerns and He listens patiently with delight. Wow. The foundation of relationship- the relationship of relationships!

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