In the first chapter, Simon Peter appeals to his experience with Jesus during his ministry on earth: “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain” (1:16-18). This is one of the few places outside the gospels that Jesus’ ministry is referred to by an eyewitness. Most of the NT epistles were written by Paul whose only encounter with Jesus came after his resurrection when Paul was on the road to Damascus. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest disciples and mentions that here to demonstrate the authority of his message. Peter opposes false teachers who have entered the church and who are living sinfully. He concludes, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them” (2:21).
If you have ever felt overwhelmed at trying to understand Paul’s letters take heart because even Peter acknowledges that some of what he said is hard to understand (3:16). However, in doing so he also acknowledges Paul’s apostleship and place of eminence among the early church writers.