Biblical Inspiration....unashamedly circular?

Not without help. People of that time typically used scribes because few could read or write. Peter was a fisherman, so I think it doubtful he could have done it. But that could just mean that he had help – a lot of help. What do we call that now… ah yes… using a ghostwriter.

Is there any reason you think this letter attributed to Peter was written by him whereas all the other works outside the New Testament claiming the same are not?


I don’t understand.

Since I made it clear I don’t think Peter could have written it, then by “written by him” you mean Peter in any way contributed to the content? By “other works outside the New Testament claiming the same” you are talking about manuscripts claiming to be written by Peter that were rejected by the ecumenical council? Are you claiming that it is impossible Peter could have contributed in any way to the one chosen by the ecumenical council? Why? Do you refute the story of Peter’s ministry? Are you claiming Peter went back to fishing and never said anything to anyone? Is this about doubting that Peter didn’t contribute to the texts rejected by the ecumenical councils? If so I have no problem with that – I don’t think that was the sole criterion (or even the most important criterion) by which the ecumenical councils made their decision.

I am asking you why you think Peter may have written (through a secretary) these two letters but disregard many of the other works written in his name outside the testament.

Rejected by later orthodox Christians yes.

No. I am asking why you affirm Petrine authorship, even if indirectly. And there are two, clearly written by different authiors or secretaries. 1 Peter makes use of the LXX and not the Hebrew text we might expect of an Aramaic speaking fisherman from Galilee. 1 Peter would have almost had to have used an unnamed secretary (contrast Paul noting this in his letter) and given the writer free reign as it shows wide knowledge of the Septuagint. It sort of stretched Petrine authorship to is breaking point but its not impossible.

Peter clearly was a major player in the early church. Paul provides indisputable contemporary-primary date for this (he literally claims to have spent 15 days with Cephas and met with him on more than one occasion). Jesus also appears to Peter first. That is probably more or as much about primacy as chronology.

No, I don’t personally think Peter wrote anything, directly or indirectly. 1 Peter has the best chance indirectly.

In a lot of cases they thought the works were written by apostles or eyewitnesses but some of that thinking is very hard to justify today especially when we know how many falsely attributed works there are. Bart Ehrman wrote the following on his blog:

So I was only asking, if maybe you know something about 2 Peter that I don’t? There are internal arguments as well but these are speculative though I think they lean in a certain direction (assuming collections of Paul’s letters which are referred to as scripture as he is writing them still?).

For me 2 Peter and the Pastorals are the 4 works that I feel very strongly were not written by their namesake in the NT. The Gospels don’t count because they don’t actually name themselves.

I certainly said no such thing. What meaning of the word “secretary” are you using?

You mean why trust the judgment of the ecumenical council that these two letters are helpful for the Christian faith and that others are not so?

I certainly haven’t read any others but I certainly agree with them regarding other things they have rejected which I have read.

Again, such were not my words. Why do I credit the idea that Peter contributed to the content of those letters? Because given that Peter was preaching quite extensively it seems reasonable that someone was listening and quite possible that Peter even supported someone’s efforts to write some of that down.

The text was no doubt copied a number of times and there is no telling where the Septuagint came into it. I think it is sufficient to acknowledge that authorship wasn’t nearly so clear or guarded in times past as it is today. The changing meaning of words is why I object to your paraphrases which sound like you are trying to force things into modern categories which simply not apply – and that is the real stretching which I see going on here.

What a coincidence. I don’t think Jesus wrote anything, directly or indirectly either. UNLESS indirectly includes someone remembering and writing down what He said. Or… are you using a double standard?

…because the apostles would never support the teachings of Jesus… RIGHT! I am not interested in such theological acrobatics.

Myself, I have considerable antipathy for 1 Timothy 2 and think verse 15 is inconsistent with the theology of Paul. But there are many possible explanations.

I have just as much cause to doubt you know something I don’t.

Does anyone just pick up the Bible and decide it has authority though? So the initial authority we put before Scripture, if we accept it, is whoever we view is trustworthy in claiming that the Bible ought to be regarded above anything else. Something usually appeals to our reasoning and well being. We like what we hear/read, or feel like it’s in our best interest to comply.


A professional scribe called an amanuensis. In Romans 16 it says. “I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.”
See also Cor. 16:21 and Gal. 6:11.

That was not my question. I am not disputing the helpfulness of the letters, I am asking about 1 Peter 1:1: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect…” I was asking why you accepted the Petrine connection as accurate? Faith in the council is a great answer as a Christian but I am asking for a historical answer.

So you think the original 1 Peter referred to the Hebrew scriptures throughout but later copyists altered it to use the Septuagint?

I wan’t using indirectly in that sense. Yes, I believe people eventually wrote down actual oral teachings of Jesus and they made their way into the Gospels 40 years later after a period of apostolic, oral dissemination. Its possible an early layer of Q was a missionary discourse actually written by Matthew the apostle but this is speculative. But what we see in the Gospels is not the same as Jesus writing or Jesus hiring somebody to write his dictated thoughts.

So you just accept the authorship judgment of a 4th century council that a letter rarely quoted the last 300 years, existing among a sea of Petrine forgeries, was authentic? Letters utilizing Greek rhetoric and a knowledge of the Septuagint that doesn’t seem consistent with an “unlettered” Galilean fisherman (Acts 4:13). When that letter also happens to jibe with their thoughts and views in numerous places that were points of contention at the time? I am not asking if you think the letter was useful or their judgement of useful was correct. It aired with them so of course it was deemed useful. I am only asking about the specific authorship of the letters in question.


I only mentioned scribes to reinforce the point that not so many people could write. I certainly didn’t say that Peter hired a scribe.

I do not have any great interest in history as a science and very little confidence in the accuracy of historical science in giving an unbiased account of life in the past.

I think people use whatever tools they have in the task of trying to read, copy, and translate texts.

Nope. I don’t just accept the judgment of anyone.

And like I said, I don’t think the authorship was so clear or guarded in times past and is especially difficult when we are talking about people who were either incapable or uninterested in writing things down. Such flimsy categories are of little importance compared to the more important question of whether Peter contributed to the content of those epistles just as Jesus contributed to the content of gospels. Such a question may be of little interest to an historian as their academic wrangling and debates are of little interest to me.

1 Like

So you think as long as the epistle contains Petrine thought or significant material that goes back to Peter’s (the voice of Peter’s preaching) its fine? Maybe it was written by a later disciple who knew Peter or was connected with his preaching? I think that is the take of a lot of scholars and I am extremely sympathetic to that interpretation. Whether the ancient world would have seen this as a forgery or a valid practice I’m not 100% convinced wither way. I’ve seen a lot of competent and trustworthy scholars claim many students would write in the name of their teacher as a sign of honor or something but I never saw any examples or primary documents showing this.


Yes I think it is likely considering what we know of Peter even without textual analysis of modern scholars. But the point is that it could have been written entirely in good faith. And from my own observation of new religious movements, I don’t think this would be so far fetched even today let alone two millennia ago (i.e. that all the credit and authorship would be attributed to the religious leader).

Of course we have no way of knowing anything for certain. And while unrelenting skepticism works for academics, life is a different matter.

Since 2 Peter was not mentioned by any early church leader before 100 years after a Peter died, the assumption that Peter wrote it is not reasonable.
That letter is not in the canon that I accept.

1 Like

“Chapter 3. The Epistles of the Apostles.

  1. One epistle of Peter, that called the first, is acknowledged as genuine. And this the ancient elders used freely in their own writings as an undisputed work. But we have learned that his extant second Epistle does not belong to the canon; yet, as it has appeared profitable to many, it has been used with the other Scriptures.”

Excerpt From
The History of the Church
Eusebius of Caesarea

This material may be protected by copyright.

From Eusebius, in the early fourth century

“Hippolytus knew numerous other Christian writings from the first and second centuries, and on occasion quoted from such books as the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Acts of Peter, and the Acts of Paul. One observes, however, that all this literature does not possess in his eyes the same authority as do the Gospels or the Book of Revelation. He is the first Christian writer to reflect a knowledge of 2 Peter, but not as ‘Scripture’,”

Excerpt From
The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance
Bruce M Metzger

This material may be protected by copyright.

Hippolytus was not born until more than 100 years after Peter died.

2 Peter was not written by Peter. Consider the earlier canon of the Church of the East, rather than the Roman Catholic canon of a couple of hundred years later,

Wow! And is your Pastor Andy Stanley on board with that?

I don’t know Andy’s opinion on 2 Peter.

I am certain he knows followers of Jesus can have different opinions on many things while still being brothers and sisters in the faith.

We are called to follow Jesus; we are not called to follow a particular canon.

If the Apostle Peter had really written 2 Peter, don’t you think some church leader would have mentioned it or quoted from it in the first hundred years following Peter’s death? The authentic books were mentioned and quoted repeatedly.

Those are good questions - and I too don’t know pastor Stanley’s take on this; it was an honest question. But I’ll admit it would catch me by surprise if the man who launched the “unhitching the new testament from the old” sermon series (a series I very much appreciated) would, after that controversy-provoking move then attempt to begin unhitching some of the New Testament books as well.

As regards whether or not Peter himself penned all the words, I don’t mind being agnostic about how much help or polish was given it - or even if it was later associates of Peter remembering and attributing some of their oral preservations to his name. (same thing with the gospel of John). To me, as a matter of faith, I’ll accept that the God who works and expresses divine communications through fallen human authors can also superintend all the later processes of compilation, canonization, and even translation. I see the spirit as active in the whole process, and even active still today as we labor to freshly apply scriptural principles into our new situations, cultures, and contexts. So I don’t sweat overmuch about whether or not epistles were delivered in completed form entirely by their namesakes. It’s part of our received written tradition now.

1 Like

You would not be surprised if you actually listened to his messages. Several years ago Andy stopped talking about the Bible as a cohesive unit and started calling it what it is — a collection of individual documents.

He says “we don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible tells us so. We believe Jesus rose from the dead because eyewitnesses told us so: Peter, John, others. Even James — what would it take for you to convince your brother that you were God in a bod?”

A few years ago in a sermon he said “I started a number of years ago talking about the Bible not as a unit but as a group of documents. No one noticed.” But I had noticed. I think in that same sermon he lamented the use of the preschool song “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” He pointed out the reliance on “The Bible is the Word of God so that is all the proof you need” is not a foundation on which the current or next generation will accept as the generations of 50-100 years ago did.

1 Like

Well - sure. I too - think of it as an entire and varied library of works, and don’t think that’s all that controversial - even if it remains so to some. And I think one can still accord it privileged, and even sacred devotional status without falling into bibliolotry or venerating it as some sort of 4th member of the Trinity.

Two comments:

  1. We are not called to have faith in that process.
  2. A review of church history and the current situation shows that is not what happened. The 66-book canon that most Protestants use is only about 500 years old. It was not in use for the first 1500 years of the church. There are still multiple canons in use by different subsets of Christendom. Even the 27-book New Testament was not set by Roman Catholics until about 397 AD, long after the 22-book New Testament of the Church of the East (my preferred NT canon).

Of course not. We are called to have faith in God. And this world is very much a setting of God’s continued work, Vance. I hear what you’re saying - and even agree with most of it. But I’ve tried to stop getting bent out of shape when hearing people refer to the Bible as God’s word (or God’s written word). That is a valid part of our received tradition by now, and I choose to work from within that and respect your decision to think (or at least emphasize) otherwise on the matter.