Here is a proposal for an overall structure of thought of the epistle. A phrase from A is appropriate to summarise A’, and vice versa. Some key concepts are highlighted to show the parallels. The epistle is a dire warning against false teaching and emphasises that we should open our eyes to the the sure signs of the coming of the Lord and give diligence to develop Christ-like characters by the power of his word.
A. 1:1-15 GROW IN GRACE
… through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ … Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises … 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue … 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off … give diligence to make your calling and election sure:for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them …
B. 1:16- 21- SURE WORD OF PROPHECY
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy … 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
C.2:1-22 FALSE PROPHETS
2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you …
B’. 3:1- 7 SURE WORD OF PROPHECY
3:1 … 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? … 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
A’. 3:8-18 – GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE
… 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God … 3 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent … 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.