Authorship of 1 Peter:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” is the introduction to the first epistle of Peter. Normally, historians would take Peter to be the author of this letter since he is identified as the writer in the very first verse. Skeptics who take Paul’s letters as authentic accept his authorship since he identifies himself in most of his letters. Silvanus is employed as an amanuensis to help assist Peter in writing his epistle (1 Peter 5:12). Silvanus was also a Roman citizen according to Acts 16:37. He also was associated with the early church as we see in Acts. Assuming Peter is the author, 1 Peter was most likely written during the reign of Nero since he warns of persecution, so around mid-60s AD.
Authorship of 2 Peter:
The author is identified again as “Simeon Peter, and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Simon is spelled with a Semitic style, which implies that Peter himself wrote the letter. This doesn’t follow that he didn’t have help with the letter however. This is where the controversy comes on with 2 Peter since it’s clear he had help from Silvanus in 1 Peter. Skeptics will point this out to be evidence against Peter as the author of second Peter. To the contrary, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria accept Peter as the author. Assuming Peter as the author, 2 Peter would be written the same time as 1 Peter, but chronologically after. Both letters were most likely written from a prison cell since 2 Peter 1:14 implies that he will pass soon. Peter died probably around AD 67 during the reign of Nero, so both letters would be written before that.
Attacks against the reliability of 2 Peter:
Objection #1: Peter used Jude as a source, but Peter would have died before Jude would have been written.
Reply: It’s easier plausible that Jude could have used 2 Peter as a source if this document is earlier. This objection becomes circular if they do not bring in evidence that 2 Peter used Jude as a main source.
Objection #2: The Greek usage and vocabulary could not be used from a fisherman like Peter. Also, the author must be familiar with Greek culture.
Reply: Peter knew Silvanus, who was a Roman citizen, so it’s plausible that he knew Greek and helped Peter, since he did with 1 Peter. Silvanus may have helped again and not need to mention his name. Also, who is to say that Peter didn’t know Greek? This is a claim that has to be shown as true. It’s also possible that Peter had help from scribes that did not indicate themselves in the letter. Peter would have been young as a fisherman, so it’s also possible for him to have learned Greek after his post resurrection experience. A post resurrection experience would be a good motivation to learn Greek and write about the Gospel.
Objection #3: The false teachers identified are second Century Gnostics, so Peter could not have written 2 Peter in the second century.
Reply: This is a claim that is never shown to be the case, but rather asserted. Gnostics posited Cosmological Dualism, rejected the material world, and had defective theology of Christ. 2 Peter does not contain any themes like these.
Objection #4: Paul’s Letters are considered scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). The canon is confirmed after Peter’s life.
Reply: 2 Peter 3:15-16 does not indicate that all of Paul’s letters were collected as Canon. Peter would have believed that some of Paul’s letters were authentic since he knew Paul’s experience and life. Peter knows some of Paul’s letters, so would have believed them to be authentic.
Objection #5: Church fathers do not quote 2 Peter and its canonicity was under attack in the fourth century.
Reply: Peter is claimed to be the author (2 Peter 1:1). Peter claims his death is very near (2 Peter 1:14). Matched up with dating of 1 Peter since Peter died under Nero’s rule. Also, claims to have seen Jesus’ transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18). The author here seems to know the life of Peter, probably because it is Peter. Also, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria accept Peter as the author, as mentioned before. Finally, the author can easily be falsified, which adds to the credibility for Peter as author. The Church fathers would have falsified 2 Peter if they knew it was a forgery like they did with many Gnostic texts.
Apologetics Study Bible
Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised Edition 12