The Genuineness of the Second Epistle of St. Peter -- By: J. J. Lias

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 070:280 (Oct 1913)
Article: The Genuineness of the Second Epistle of St. Peter
Author: J. J. Lias


The Genuineness of the Second Epistle of St. Peter

Chancellor J. J. Lias

The question of the genuineness of St. Peter’s Second Epistle has long been discussed. In ancient times, as well as our own, that genuineness has been disputed. Since the advent of a succession of critics of various schools in Germany who have revived the question of the canon of Scripture on modern lines, a lively discussion has been carried on, and arguments more or less cogent have been adduced on both sides. Of late, as we all know, a school of critics has arisen that refuses to discuss such questions at all. The point at issue is declared to be already settled by the “final and irreversible conclusions of modern scientific criticism” (as if any conclusions of science, until they have been fully tested by comparison with established facts, can be regarded as settled); and if any one presumes to question those conclusions, he is annihilated by a supercilious stare, or reduced to silence by a smile of haughty contempt. Nevertheless, the last German critic, Theodor Zahn, not less thoroughly equipped for his task than those of his nation who have gone before him, has decided in favor of the genuineness of the Epistle, and largely on the ground, on which the writer of these lines may claim to have anticipated him, that the Christian church in its

early days was hardly likely to have been imposed upon by a deliberate forgery.1

It may be thought impossible to say anything new on so hackneyed a subject. But a line of argument has occurred to the writer, based on a fact which has been observed by others beside himself, that the construction of the sentences in First Peter, Second Peter, and Jude is unlike that in any other book of the New Testament, and that these peculiarities of construction are common to the three writers. The argument from the use of particular words in First Peter and Second Peter has been somewhat too readily abandoned, in face of the facts that both of these Epistles lay great stress on the argument from prophecy, and that both Epistles appeal to the personal experiences of the Apostle.2 But the point that I shall endeavor to demonstrate is, that the order of the words in various sentences is (1) more disturbed, and (2) more involved, in these three Epistles, than in any other New Testament writer. It must be remembered that Second Peter and Jude have generally been regarded as having a close connection with each other.

The order of the words usual in New Testament Greek is the same as in English. Taking no account of particles, the noun usually comes first...

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