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In my previous article, I have shown that the central didactic of Dr. Sayyed is seemingly lacking in both fairness and objective scholarship. Dr. Sayyed seems to ask questions around inspiration and infallibility of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures that seem to be in conflict with his own presumed worldview.  Here is part 2 looking at his suggested claims:
Who is making the claim that the Bible is God’s Word? Or from the Prophets? Or from People?
Dr. Sayyed (as with other Muslim Polemicists) clearly does not understand the mode of inspiration and the nature of the Judeo-Christian text. It is important to note that the Bible is the Word of God because it speaks authoritatively from God through various means containing the moral imperatives, the council, and the revealed identity of God. The Bible depicts God’s interaction with imperfect men, working through the central narrative of human history restoring His original intention to humanity culminating in the apex of the coming of Jesus Christ (Gal.4:4-7, Rom.5:6). The Bible is therefore self-authenticating and not dependent on man’s opinion of it. Dr. Michael J. Kruger writes:
“A self-authenticating canon is not just a canon that claims to have authority, nor is it simply a canon that bears internal evidence of authority, but one that guides and determines how that authority is to be established.”
This is simply an ‘’autopistic’’ perspective deduced from a Reformed principle called ‘Sola Scriptura’. Walter A. Elwell in his ‘Dictionary of Evangelic Theology’ affirms this very early principle when the first Christian community recognized which Books of the canon were inspired scripture. He writes:
“The doctrine of the internal testimony goes back goes back in some form to Augustine [3rd Century] and other Patristic theologians… The internal testimony relates to the external testimony of Scripture itself; it does not bring new revelation to supplement scripture. Scripture clearly testifies to its own inspiration and authority. It is self-authenticating (autopiston) inherently authoritative.”
This again is clearly foundationally evident in the Promise of Jesus Christ to His own Disciples when he said:
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26).
Another weakness in Dr. Sayyed’s analysis is that he is not looking at the central narrative the way Christians and Jews do. For Christians and Jews they can recognize the authority of the scriptures because of God’s decrees and the Scriptural and historical imperatives where the Quran is supposedly deemed to be a book where Allah dictates his actual will through Gabriel and Muhammad. Nabeel Qureshi writes:
“Since Muslims believe the Quran is an eternal expression of Allah, they do not think that the Quran was written by men in any sense. It is the very speech of Allah, inscribed on a heavenly tablet, from which it was read by Gabriel and dictated to Muhammad.”
The Quran and the Judeo-Christian Scriptures are different genres, and different from the Quran the Judeo-Christian Scriptures contain different types of genres because every book has a unique means in which it points to God inspiring specific men in different times and cultures. The Quran essentially is one genre right through with Allah communicating with one man revealing his essential purposes and will. Some Judeo-Christian stories are mentioned in the Islamic narrative, but it is seemingly void of any direct similitude and draws largely on later unorthodox accounts.
The Quran clearly has its own transmission history and some internal problems. If the Quran is the direct words of Allah dictated through Gabriel from heaven coming from an eternally preserved tablet how can any word be abrogated or changed? In fact, Dr. Sayyed claims that the Bible is a very human book, but when we scrutinize the Quran we find a clear indication of plagiarisms and even a human intention rather than a Divine one. Nabeel Qureshi writes:
“The Quran’s textual transmission is pockmarked by human artifice and intervention, and none of the other arguments for the Quran’s inspiration bear the weight of scrutiny.”
The Word Bible does not exist in the Bible. It is man from His mouth, He is telling [that the] Bible is the Word of God
And the Word Doctrine is not in the Bible either, but the fact that we deduce doctrine from the Christian Scriptures is a fact. Arguments like this simply clutching at straws looking for archaic reasons to validate its own lingering merits. Biblically we can hold to numerous doctrines that are not explicitly mentioned, by a title, in the text, without any implication as to its credibility (For example the word ‘incarnation’ and ‘divinity’ as well as ‘monotheism’ is not mentioned in the bible). To assume that the Bible is the Word of God because a man says so is simply a lazy assumption devoid of any scholarly meaning. In fact, the Quran and Islamic scholars speak higher of the Bible than Dr. Sayyed.
Some Scholars will contend that there are certain words Muslims dearly hold on to that are not mentioned in the Quran, like the word ‘Tawhid’. Even though the concept is clearly elucidated, the actual word is not necessarily evident in Arabic.
In 367 CE Bishop Athanasius made the list suggesting OT and NT books to be selected for a book. When he made the list did he think he was selecting the books to make them the words of God? His list was not accepted unanimously
The compilation of the Canon is not that simple as Dr. Sayyed suggests. For the Old Testament, we already recognize that there is some acceptance of certain books to be authoritative and inspired. Biblical Scholar R.T. Beckwith comments on this and writes:
“far back in Israel’s history we already find certain writings being recognized as having divine authority, and serving as a written rule of faith and practice for God’s people.”
Biblical Scholar Dr. Wayne Grudem also affirms this reality and gives clear examples when he wrote:
“Where did the idea of a canon begin — the idea that the people of Israel should preserve a collection of written words from God? Scripture itself bears witness to the historical development of the canon. The earliest collection of written words of God was the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments thus form the beginning of the biblical canon. God himself wrote on two tablets of stone the words which he commanded his people: “And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Ex. 31.18). Again we read, “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God graven upon the tables” (Ex. 32.16; cf. Deut. 4.13; 10.4). The tablets were deposited in the Ark of the Covenant (Deut. 10.5) and constituted the terms of the covenant between God and his people.3:1. This collection of absolutely authoritative words from God grew in size throughout the time of Israel’s history.”
Dr. Sayyed bit off more than what he could chew in giving an ample explanation to the overall compilation of the Old and New Testament Scriptures. As we see above there was already a common acumen in the Jewish community and great regard for the writings of the Prophets and the Law. We recognize that God’s intention was always to preserve a promised people through covenant, and this covenant was written down and given a prominent place amongst God’s people. The God of the Bible shows a clear demand to follow his instructions (Exo.24:3-7, Deut.4:2; 31:26, 2 Kings 23:1-3, Nehem.8:1-9:38) and he even preserved what he said (Isaiah 55:11, see an example of Jeremiah 36).
Another fact that Dr Sayyed avoided was that Athanasius was not the first compiler of a set list, in fact at the Council of Jamnia in the first century of Christ had Jewish rabbis met to compile an authoritative list that would be counted as the (Old Testament) Hebrew canon. Dr. Sayyed did not even attempt to mention that Justin Martyr refers to the fact that in the First-century community the “memoirs of the apostles” are already integrated into the Christian services. (“First Apology”, 155 A.D & “Dialogue with Trypho”, 160 A.D.)  A spurious Bishop by the name of Marcion also tried to put a collection of books together from the writing of Paul and Luke and then Ignatius of Antioch (110 A.D.) quotes from some New Testament books and quote them as authoritative Scriptures. Polycarp of Smyrna (70-155 A.D.) quotes 17 of the New Testament books, Irenaeus of Lyon (120 -200 A.D) quotes from all four Gospels and 12 of Paul’s letters. No doubts some books were suspected and excluded, but ultimately God the Holy Spirit made determinative sense for which books to be included. There is simply no doubt that as early as the first century the New Testament canon was in circulation and these books were deemed authoritative because they affirmed the very central teachings of the first Church (Kerygma). These facts are unfortunately void in Dr Sayyed’s estimation and one can but speculate as to why he never considered these historical imperatives.
The Quranic text was not compiled into a book form during the time of Muhammad and only after his death was there an endeavor to do so. Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s successor, realized that part of the reading was lost when some companions of the Prophet died at the Battle of Yamama and ordered Zaid Ibn Thabit, a young man without reproach, to search and collect the portions compiling it into a single codex. Zaid was overwhelmed and did not believe that anyone could dictate simply from memory and write a complete codex. We find that some of the sources was scattered amongst the companions, lost, abrogated, forgotten, and even differed. Even though Zaid tried to collect and compile a final compilation, there is a lot of controversy as to the adequacy of the first Quranic text. Here is where my standard and Dr Sayyed’s part, in that I don’t believe it affected the essential beliefs of Muslims of that time like in the Earliest Christian communities, these individuals knew emphatically what was the essential constitutes of their faith and they faithfully upheld it. Dr. Sayyed, unfortunately, cannot afford the same to the Judeo-Christian context, even though the variables are strangely similar, even though the conditions might be varied.
Even his Church member Didymus the blind claimed 2 Peter was a forgery and [should] not be included in the canon and suggested Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabus to be included.
Various books were suggested but only the Books God intended to be in the text was included. Reformed Scholar John Macarthur gives an excellent defence of why 2 Peter is not a forgery and clearly legitimate. I have included his reply in the footnotes for the dead heart and avid readers interested in this topic.  Let me just give six points that we need to consider when it comes to the legitimacy of this letter:
- We should always look at the internal evidence of a book and consider the Historical veracity of what it says. This book claims it has been written by Peter the Apostle of Jesus (2 Pet.1:1) who was an actual eyewitness of the Lord Jesus transfiguration (2 Pet.1:16-18) mentioning his death was near (2 Pet.1:14).
- There is evidence that Jude quotes from this letter which would add to its assumed authority.
- Paul seems throughout this letter to contend with Gnostics which was one of the earliest adversaries of the apostolic communities which could show this was a very early document of the Church.
- Peter confirms the credibility of Paul’s writings and deem them canonical (2 Pet.3:15-16) which means the author assumed authority to announce Paul’s legitimacy.
- There is a difference in tone and language between the two Epistles but it is because Peter uses eminences (1 Pet.5:12). There is also no mention from the first Christian communities that this letter was a forgery but only in later times there seems to be disputes by Jerome and Origen.
- It is important to note that this Epistle does not give us any foreign or vicarious theology, neither does it adds on or spawn any different doctrine. Pseudonymous writings in antiquity were rejected not just because they were fraudulent but essentially because they were doctrinally deceptive.
When we consider all the variables concerning the legitimacy of this book we find that the overall evidence rather leans towards its cogency and not its speciousness and that is why it is included in the New Testament Canon.
There were similar disputes with the compilation of the Quranic codex as well. Sahih al Bukhari mentions:
“Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin az-Zubair, Sa’id bin al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith worked diligently to construct a revised text of the Qur’an. When it was finished, “Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (4987).
Clearly there is a call for a standardised text and all other copies to be burnt. Why would you destroy that which is succinct with the original edifice of the Quranic corpus? Ibn Masud mentioned though that the first compilation is vicarious and unacceptable:
“The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of the Qur’an. I like it better to read according to the recitation of him [i.e. Muhammad] whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit”.
Ibn Masud called for the Ummah to renounce Zaid’s version of the Qur’an and to keep their own versions.
“O you Muslim people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man”—meaning Zaid bin Thabit—and it was regarding this that Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: “O people of Al-Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them.”
Again, the assumption of one individual should not discount the overall stature of credibility when it comes to the cogency of the literal codex and its compilation but there seems to be an obvious bias and a lack of charity when these points are considered. Dr. Sayyed claims:
Syrian Church and [the] Ethiopian Church differed with the list.
As I have previously shown, different traditions include the vestment of certain books but that does not mean that there is a departure of essential believes.
I have also mentioned recently that one of the earliest and authoritative reciters of the Quran, Ibn Masud held that the Qur’an should only have 111 chapters. The short answer that I would give Dr Sayyed is that not all the books are necessary to confirm the overall imperatives in both the first and foundational Islamic and Christian histories. Neither can we say that the essential beliefs of both communities are affected by the absence of them?
It took centuries of debates and disputes i.e. after 450 years the list seemed to be settled (The Oxford companion to the Bible: Metzger & Coogan, Pg.102-103. “Canon”.
Dr Sayyed makes it sound like there was a lack of agreement on the orthodoxy of the Church. As for the Churches, central believes this was already solidified with the first Christian community of Faith and ultimately the compilation of the Christian Scriptures solidified well before the proposed date. I pulled my copy of Metzger and Coogan and read through the information Dr Sayyed provided. Here again, I found an attempt at a slight of hand. What Andrie B. Du Toit (the author of the article on the Canon) is showing is that there were stages in the solidification of the Canon but there is a specific reason for these. He wrote:
“The canon of the New Testament resulted from the interplay of various theological and historical factors. The decisive factor was the impact of the person and message of Jesus Christ, together with the Christian conviction that in him as the Lord, God had spoken his final and authoritative word in history. As the Christian movement was confronted with philosophical and religious trends… the need for an authentic expression and preservation of the foundation of its belief became the basic motivation toward the realization of the New Testament canon”
This contradicts the very central point Dr Sayyed is trying to make, in that the very intention of the first Christian community was to maintain the essential ‘kerygma’ of the first Christian Witness. Further, Du Toit describes four phases when the legitimacy of the Canon was established. He describes it as follow:
- The First phase: Creation of various early Christian documents (later part of the first-century).
- The Second phase: Growing recognition of the normative character and collection into groups of basic number of writings (first century to mid-second century).
- The Third phase: The New Testament Canon becomes a reality (mid-second century to 190 CE).
- The Final stage: The Closing of the Canon (ca.190-400 CE).
When Du Toit is describing the historical process of the establishment of the New Testament Canon he clearly highlights that:
- The essential message of Christ was transmitted orally but the Church was guided by the apostolic teaching and leadership as well as the Old Testament preserving the message.
- Oral tradition was increasingly replaced by the written Gospels because the original witnesses that affirmed the actual eye witness accounts were dying as a result of persecution and age. The Pauline epistles were also recognized as authoritative as a normative ecclesiastical document.
- The general temperament of the Church community recognizes the normative character of the four Gospels as well as the 13 letters ascribed to Paul as well as other ‘catholic letters’.
- Uncertainty exists pertaining to the authority of certain books in the New Testament as well as the inclusion of other Christian books. But the Church determines this issue emphatically by looking at the apostolicity, the rule of Faith, as well as the confirmation of the orthodox community of Churches.
As I have shown, there are similar disputes that existed in the early Islamic codification as well. But clearly, Dr Sayyed is not really proving his own point when we read the full context of Du Toit’s thesis.
George Arthur Buttrick says “The original copies of the New Testament books have of course long since disappeared. This fact should have not cause surprise. In first place, they were written on papyrus a very fragile and perishable material. In the second place, and probably of even more importance the original copies of the New Testament books were not looked upon as Scripture by those of the early Christian communities”(The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible Vol.1. Pg.599.) When Paul was writing His letters to different Churches to solve the problems they faced, was he thinking that he was writing books of the Bible? David Pawson in his ‘Unlocking the Bible’ Pg. 927 says “He (Paul) had no idea that his letters would be regarded as Scriptures.”
Dr. Michael Kruger shows that there was an understanding even in the first Christian community that the writings of the first Apostles were authoritative. Even the Apostles themselves refer to their own writings as essential, dependable, and inspired. What is interesting is that every New Testament author wrote with the intention to show the application of Christ’s teaching and the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament promise in the Messiah. We can agree that as a result of their use these early infallible and inspired texts are not in existence anymore. But to suggest that we do not have the earliest teachings of Jesus is simply an argument from silence. I would dispute the thesis of both Buttrick and Pawson that says the first Christian Jewish community did not have an indication of the value of the apostolic writings. I agree with Michael J. Kruger that:
“The NT authors show evidence that they understood their writings to contain authoritative apostolic tradition. Since the apostles were commissioned by Christ to speak for him, and were empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so, then these writings would have borne the authority of Christ himself. Thus, whether we call these books “Scripture” is a bit beside the point. To the earliest Christians, they were “the word of God.”
Kruger then gives ample examples of the fact that the New Testament authors clearly hold to the fact that they have written actual instructions inspired by God (1 Thes.2:13, 1 Cor.14:37-38, Luke 1:1-4, Rev.1:1-3).
The original copies of the Quran also disappeared and were destroyed by Uthman. Sahih al-Bukhari writes:
“Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin az-Zubair, Sa’id bin al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith worked diligently to construct a revised text of the Qur’an. When it was finished, “Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (4987).
The accusation that the earliest Christians did not think their own writings were authoritative is one that can be disputed with merit. We can clearly recognize that even the earliest Jewish-Christian community valued the central writings that gave credence to their faith and the teaching of the first communities was preserved by them.
Did anyone share his (Paul) experience, if say Matthew was inspired by God or Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit? Did he share his experience with anyone? No author of any book of the Bible share his experience of being inspired by the Holy Ghost. Luke says it seemed good to me also (Luke 1:1-3).
This is simply a general assumption that is clearly without any merit. When we look at the introduction of the Gospel of Matthew we can recognize that Matthew wrote his Gospel starting with a lineage that fits perfectly well with the ending of the Book of Chronicles showing that he was writing an extension to this assumed inspired book proofing the fulfillment of these texts by adding how Jesus fulfilled its promise. In fact all of the New Testament authors in one way or another believed they were giving an actual account of what Jesus did and taught. This in itself then leaves one to affirm that they believe they were giving an actual descript account of the fact of Jesus life, ministry, and teachings, which by its very nature was authoritatively given to Him by His Father (John 7:16, 12:49, 14:10). We may add that Luke is writing an orderly account of the historical facts of Jesus Christ. If the Gospels fit in perfectly with Greco-Roman Biography we can clearly say that the account of what happened amongst them was in actual fact historically reliable and ample for the earliest attestation for their own faith. What did Luke write about the first Christian community? Here are a few facts they affirmed from the start:
- Jesus was “Lord” amongst them (Acts 1:21; 2:36, 6:7, 8:37).
- They were witnesses of His resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:22; 2:23-24; 32, 4:10 & 33, 5:29-32).
- Anyone calling on Christ’s name will be saved (Acts 2:21).
- Jesus was affirmed by the Father God with signs and miracles (Acts 2:22).
- God the Father had a plan that Christ fulfilled to be the ransom for all sins (Acts 2:23, 3:18, 5:29-32).
- Jesus was killed on a cross (Acts 2:23).
- Jesus shared God’s throne of Authority (Acts 2:30,33-34, 5:29-32, 8:55-59).
- Salvation comes through repentance and believe in Christ’s name to all (Acts 2:38-39; 4:12, 5:29-32).
- The Disciples performed Miracles in Christ’s name (Acts 3:6;4:10).
- Jesus is the source of Life (Acts 3:15)
- Jesus was foretold trough the Prophets of old (Acts 2:29, 3:21-26).
- They were actual eyewitnesses of Christ (Acts 4:20,10:34-41).
- The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:1-4).
The very Prophet of Islam needed convincing by his wife Khadijah that he was indeed receiving a revelation from Allah, and family she knew and an ebionite Waraqah ibn Nawfal convinced him further that what he received was because he was a Prophet. But Muhammad’s initial response was that he was possessed by evil spirits. Alfred Guillaume interprets the account of Muhammad with the angel Gabriel:
“So I [Muhammad] read it, and he [Gabriel] departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep, and it was though these words were written on my heart. (Tabari: Now none of God’s creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man possessed: I could not even look at them. I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed – Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying “O Muhammad! thou are the apostle of God and I am Gabriel.”
It is important to note that early pre-Islamic Arabs thought that they could be inspired by an evil spirit and utter poetical salutations and Muhammad was convinced that he was equally possessed by this. Dr Sayyed should pose the same honest question objectively to himself and he might come to a very different conclusion with a consistent skepticism to his own cherished results.
2 Peter 1:21 written 110 years later claims the authors were inspired by God… what authority does he have to say these people were inspired by God?
First, why would Dr Sayyed give a date for this book that is solely based on liberal scholarship? The general dating of the 2 Letter of Peter would be around 68 A.D. not 110 years later as Dr Sayyed assume. As we have shown earlier there is ample merit to show the clear authority of this book and further, the assumed authority of any book was clearly determined by Supernatural intention as well as recognized by natural qualifications historically.
Again, Dr Sayyed fails to bring an unbiased scholarly perspective to the very central claims that he even raised. And ultimately we can see that there are alternative considerations that need to be forged whenever we look at the merits of any given history. I can only speculate as to why anyone would rely on a central didactic that would ultimately undermine their own position, but clearly the means in which these questions were answered was not, in fact, dependent on a consistent means to do so!
Pastor Rudolph Boshoff.
 Canon revisited, Pg.91.
 No God but One, Pg. 106.
 No God but God, Pg. 286-287.
 Moses himself wrote additional words to be deposited beside the Ark of the Covenant (Deut. 31.24-26). The immediate reference is apparently to the book of Deuteronomy, but other references to writing by Moses indicate that the first four books of the Old Testament were written by him as well (see Ex. 17.14; 24.4; 34.27; Num. 33.2; Deut. 31.22). After the death of Moses, Joshua also added to the collection of written words of God: “Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God” (Josh. 24.26). This is especially surprising in light of the command not to add to or take away from the words which God gave the people through Moses: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it …” (Deut. 4.2; cf. 12:32). In order to have disobeyed such a specific command, Joshua must have been convinced that he was not taking it upon himself to add to the written words of God, but that God himself had authorized such additional writing. Later, others in Israel, usually those who fulfilled the office of prophet, wrote additional words from God:
- Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship; and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. (1 Sam. 10:25)
- The acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the Chronicles of Samuel the seer, and in the Chronicles of Nathan the prophet, and in the Chronicles of Gad the seer. (1 Chron. 29:29)
- Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Jehu the son of Hanani, which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel. (2 Chron. 20.34; cf. 1 Kings 16:7 where Jehu the son of Hanani is called a prophet)
- Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz wrote. (2 Chron. 26:22)
- Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. (2 Chron. 32:32)
- Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.3:2 (Jer. 30:2).”
 Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, Pg.474.
 Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Mashif, Pg.83.
 Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.6, Pg.477.
 Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, Pg.23.
 Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol.3, Pg.1114.
 Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 444
 Jami At-Tirmidhi 3104
 The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Peter & Jude, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 2005, pp. 4-14. MacArthur writes:
“The authorship of 2 Peter has been disputed more sharply and to a greater extent than the authorship of any other New Testament book. Yet the letter itself plainly claims to have been written by “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1). The Greek text actually reads, “Simeon Peter,” using the Hebrew form of Peter’s name used elsewhere of him only in Acts 15:14. Such only strengthens the author’s claim to be Peter, since a forger would not likely have used an obscure form of Peter’s name. In 1:14 the author referred to Christ’s prediction of his death (cf. John 21:18); in 1:16-18 he claimed to have been an eyewitness (of which there were only three; Matt. 17:1) of the Transfiguration; in 3:1 he referred to an earlier letter (1 Peter) that he wrote to his readers; and in 3:15 he referred to Paul as his “beloved brother,” thus making himself the great apostle’s spiritual peer. Those personal allusions further should be allowed to stand unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. As will be seen shortly, no such evidence exists.
Perversely, many critics view the personal allusions as the work of a forger attempting to pass himself off as Peter. Ironically, many of those same critics argue that 1 Peter lacks sufficient personal allusions to him. As Daniel B. Wallace remarks, “In reading the literature, one cannot help but see an element of caprice and double standard, where scholars have already made up their minds despite the evidence” (“Second Peter: Introduction, Argument, and Outline” [Biblical Studies Press: www.bible.org, 2000]).
In addition to the epistle’s personal allusions to events in Peter’s life, there are similarities between the language of 2 Peter and Peter’s speeches in Acts. The verb translated “received” (1:1) appears only three other times in the New Testament, one of which is in Acts 1:17; “godliness” is used four times in 2 Peter (1:3, 6, 7; 3:11), but elsewhere (outside of the Pastoral Epistles) only by Peter in Acts 3:12 (NKJV); the “day of the Lord” (3:10) appears in Acts 2:20, and only in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:2 in the rest of the New Testament. The use of those uncommon words further suggests that the apostle Peter penned this epistle.
Many scholars, however, are not content to accept the epistle’s claims at face value. Instead they insist that it was written decades after the apostle’s death by someone claiming to be Peter. To support their rejection of the letter’s authenticity, critics advance several arguments.
First, they note that the early church was slow to accept 2 Peter as part of the canon of Scripture. The first person to explicitly state that Peter wrote it was Origen, early in the third century. Critics claim there is no trace of the epistle’s existence until that time. Further, although Origen accepted it as a genuine writing of Peter, he noted that others had doubts about its authenticity. Writing in the fourth century, the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea also expressed doubts about 2 Peter. He did not reject it, but included it among the New Testament books whose authenticity was disputed. The silence of the church fathers before the time of Origen is taken to be a tacit denial of 2 Peter’s authenticity.
Critics also point out several alleged historical problems that, they claim, indicate the epistle could not have been written in Peter’s lifetime. First, they maintain that the reference to Paul’s letters (3:15-16) reflects a time when those letters had been collected and recognized as Scripture. That, they argue, did not happen until long after Peter’s death. Second, they believe the false teachers in view were second-century Gnostics. Third, the writer refers to “your apostles” (3:2) and says that the “fathers” (who are assumed to be the first generation of Christians) had already died (3:4). From a critical perspective, that suggests 2 Peter was written by someone who was neither an apostle nor one of the first generation of believers. Finally, critics argue that the reference to Christ’s prediction of Peter’s death (1:14) derives from John 20:18. John’s gospel, however, was not written during Peter’s lifetime.
A convincing argument in the minds of many critics is 2 Peter’s alleged literary dependency on Jude. Since they date Jude later than Peter’s lifetime, it follows that Peter could not have written 2 Peter. Further, they insist that an apostle would not borrow so extensively from a non-apostolic source.
Relentless critics also point to supposed differences in style, vocabulary, and doctrine between 1 and 2 Peter. The Greek of the first epistle, they suggest, is polished and sophisticated, while that of the second is coarse and stilted, with grandiose language and difficult constructions. The critics claim that the vocabulary of the two epistles is also very different, and 2 Peter shows a knowledge of Greek culture and philosophy far beyond the grasp of a simple Galilean fisherman. Finally, in their reckoning, many doctrinal themes found in 1 Peter are absent from 2 Peter. All of those factors lead many skeptics to insist that the same author could not have written both epistles.
Upon closer examination, however, each of the above arguments utterly fails to disqualify Peter as the author of this epistle.
It is true that the external attestation to 2 Peter in the writings of the church fathers is less extensive than that for most of the other New Testament books. It is, however, far more complete than the attestation given to any of the books excluded from the canon. In fact, 2 Peter was never rejected as spurious (even by the Fathers who had questions about its authenticity–such as Eusebius), nor was it ever attributed to anyone other than Peter.
While Origen was the first to attribute 2 Peter to Peter, others before him were familiar with the epistle. Origen was an astute literary critic, and he would not likely have been taken in by a recent forgery. Moreover, he repeatedly quoted the epistle as Scripture, strongly implying that 2 Peter was known and accepted as canonical long before his time. The epistle’s inclusion in the third-century Bodmer papyrus P72 also indicates that it was considered part of the canon by that time. (The monumental fourth-century manuscripts Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus and the fifth-century manuscript Codex Alexandrinus also include 2 Peter).
Origen’s teacher, Clement of Alexandria, wrote a commentary on the catholic (general) epistles, including 2 Peter (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, 6.14.1). By writing a commentary on the book, Clement indicates that he considered 2 Peter to be Scripture (and therefore authentic). Furthermore, Clement’s testimony provides strong evidence that the epistle’s canonicity was generally accepted by the church in the first half of the second century.
Further evidence of the epistle’s existence and acceptance at that time comes from Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 100-165). In his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin wrote, “And just as there were false prophets contemporaneous with your [the Jews] holy prophets, so are there now many false teachers amongst us, of whom our Lord forewarned us to beware” (82.1). That passage bears a striking resemblance to 2 Peter 2:1, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” That the Greek word translated “false teachers” (pseudodidaskaloi) appears before Justin’s time only in 2 Peter 2:1 further suggests that Justin was borrowing from 2 Peter.
The apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter, from the first half of the second century, shows clear evidence of literary dependence on 2 Peter. In the early part of the second century, the Epistle of Barnabas (5.4) declares “that a man shall justly perish, who having the knowledge of the way of righteousness forceth himself into the way of darkness,” a passage reminiscent of 2 Peter 2:21: “For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.” Similarly, Barnabas 15.4, “In six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years; and this He himself beareth me witness, saying: Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years,” appears to have been drawn from 2 Peter 3:8: “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.”
The Shepherd of Hermas, also dating from the early years of the second century, says, “Go, and tell all men to repent, and they shall live unto God; for the Lord in His compassion sent me to give repentance to all, though some of them do not deserve it for their deeds; but being long-suffering the Lord willeth them that were called through His Son to be saved” (Similitude 8.11.1). The similarity to 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance,” is remarkable.
That 2 Peter was known in the second century is further suggested by two Gnostic works, The Gospel of Truth and The Apocryphon of John, which contain probable allusions to it.
At about the same time that the apostle John penned the book of Revelation (the midnineties of the first century), Clement of Rome wrote, “Let this scripture be far from us where He saith, ‘Wretched are the double-minded, which doubt in their soul and say, “these things we did hear in the days of our fathers also, and behold we have grown old, and none of these things hath befallen us”‘” (1 Clement 23.3). Clement seems to be echoing 2 Peter 3:4, which reads, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” Both passages relate the skepticism of false teachers, and both go on to warn that judgment is coming (1 Clement 23.5; 2 Peter 3:10).
Two other passages in 1 Clement use Greek phrases found in the New Testament only in 2 Peter and in no other extrabiblical writing of that era. Both use the phrase translated “excellent (the NASB renders the same Greek word “Majestic”) glory” in reference to God (1 Clement 9.2; 2 Peter 1:17); both describe the Christian faith as “the way of truth” (1 Clement 35.5; 2 Peter 2:2).
Finally, if 2 Peter was written before Jude, then Jude is the earliest document to cite it (see the discussion of the relationship between Jude and 2 Peter in the “Introduction to Jude” later in this volume). The critics’ argument that 2 Peter’s supposed literary dependence on Jude proves it was written after Peter’s lifetime depends on two assumptions. First, the author of 2 Peter had to have borrowed from Jude. Second, Jude had to have been written after Peter’s lifetime. Neither assumption, however, can be proved.
The internal evidence indicates that 2 Peter came first, since Peter employed future tenses to describe the false-teaching apostates (2:1-3; 3:3). Jude, on the other hand, in paralleling 2 Peter, used tenses that say those who were prophesied had arrived (Jude 4). He used no future tenses with reference to the apostates.
The above-mentioned extrabiblical citations make a strong case that 2 Peter was known in the church from the first century onward. It is true that none of the Fathers who alluded to 2 peter before the time of Origen cited 2 Peter as a source. Yet that is not unusual; the Apostolic Fathers cite 1 Peter twenty-nine times without naming Peter, and Romans thirty-one times without naming Paul (see Robert E. Picirilli, “Allusions to 2 Peter in the Apostolic Fathers,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33 , 74). (For a summary of the allusions to 2 Peter in the writings of the church fathers prior to the time of Origen, see Michael J. Kruger, “The Authenticity of 2 Peter,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 42/4 , 649-56; B. B. Warfield, “The Canonicity of Second Peter,” in John E. Meeter, ed., Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2 [Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1973], 49-68.)
The allusions to 2 Peter in the church fathers do not prove Peter wrote his second letter. But they do remove the objection that the alleged lack of external attestation rules out a date in Peter’s lifetime. It also explains why the epistle was eventually accepted by the church as canonical; it was not a second-century forgery as many modern critics allege, but had a pedigree reaching back into the apostolic times. Kruger notes the significance of 2 Peter’s ultimate acceptance by the church as part of the canon of Scripture:
In our quest to determine the authenticity of 2 Peter we cannot overlook the fact that 2 Peter, despite the reservations of some, was finally and fully accepted by the church as canonical in every respect. The fact that 2 Peter faced such resistance–resistance coupled with the incessant competition of pseudo-Petrine literature–and still prevailed proves to be worthy of serious consideration. Is it so easy to dismiss the conclusions of Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen, Ephiphanius [sic], Athanasius, Augustine, Rufinus, Jerome, and the church councils of Laodicea, Hippo, and Carthage? Thus, if the epistle of 2 Peter held such a firm position in the fourth-century canon, then perhaps the burden of proof should fall on those who suggest it does not belong there. (“Authenticity,” 651, emphasis in original).
Nor does 2 Peter discuss the key issues of the second century (e.g., the role of bishops in church government, fully-developed Gnosticism, and Montanism). The failure to mention specific second-century issues is especially noticeable in 3:8, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” One of the major beliefs of the second century was chiliasm, an early form of premillennialism. If 2 Peter was written in the second century, it is unlikely that its author would have failed to mention chiliasm in connection with 3:8.
The author had already called himself an apostle (1:1), so the reference to “your apostles” (3:2) could not mean he was excluding himself from their number. Since the apostles were given by God to the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; 4:11-12), it was fitting for Peter to describe them (himself included) as “your apostles.” “The fathers” in view in 2 Peter 3:4 were not the first generation of Christians, but the Old Testament patriarchs. Both the context (the flood; vv. 5-6) and the usage of the phrase “the fathers” support that interpretation. In the New Testament (John 6:58; 7:22; Acts 13:32; Rom. 9:5; 11:28; 15:8; Heb. 1:1) and in the writings of the apostolic fathers, that phrase refers not to the first generation of Christians, but to the Old Testament patriarchs.
Nor is it necessary that the mention of Peter’s impending death (1:14) derives from John 21:18. Obviously, Peter was there when Jesus made that prediction, and he heard it with his own ears.
Much has been made of the differences in style between Peter’s two epistles. But the differences are not as significant as many confidently assert. The commentator Joseph Mayor, who denied that Peter wrote 2 Peter, nevertheless admitted, “There is not that chasm between [1 and 2 Peter] which some would try to make out” (cited in D. Edmond Hiebert, Second Peter and Jude: An Expositional Commentary [Greenville, S.C.: Unusual Publications, 1989], 12). Nor do the two brief epistles that Peter wrote provide enough material to definitively establish his style.
Some argue that the vocabulary of the two epistles is so different that the same author could not have written both books. However, the percentage of words common to 1 and 2 Peter is roughly the same as the percentage common to 1 Timothy and Titus, both written by Paul and similar in content. It is also similar to the amount of common vocabulary found in 1 and 2 Corinthians (Kruger, “Authenticity,” 656-57).
The difference in vocabulary and style between 1 and 2 Peter can be accounted for in part by their different themes: 1 Peter was written to comfort those undergoing persecution, 2 Peter to warn of the danger of false teachers. Though it adds nothing to the argument, the differences in style may also reflect that Silvanus (Silas) acted as Peter’s amanuensis for 1 Peter (1 Peter 5:12), a common practice in Peter’s day. Under the apostle’s direction, Silvanus may have smoothed out his grammar and syntax. But since Peter was more likely in prison when he wrote 2 Peter (see” Date, Place of Writing, and Destination” on page 14), he might not have had access to an amanuensis and thus may have written the epistle in his own had.
The charge that 2 Peter reflects a grasp of Hellenistic philosophy beyond what Peter could be expected to know not only foolishly presumes to know what Peter actually knew, but also overlooks the influence of Peter’s environment on him. He was born and reared in Galilee, which even in Isaiah’s was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isa. 9:1). Nearby was the Gentile region known as the Decapolis (Matt. 4:25; Mark 5:20; 7:31). Further, it is now known that many of the Hellenistic terms Peter used were in common usage in his day. The apostle used terms his readers were familiar with, without investing them with the shades of meaning that the Greek philosophers gave them.
Despite the supposed differences in style of 1 and 2 Peter, there are remarkable similarities between the books. The wording of the salutations of both epistles, “May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Peter 1:2) and “Grace and peace be multiplied to you” (2 Peter 1:2), is identical in Greek, and the phrase is found nowhere else in the New Testament. Other common words to both books but rare in the rest of the New Testament include arete (“excellence”; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3, 5); apothesis (“removal,” “laying aside”; 1 Peter 3:21; 2 Peter 1:14), philadelphia (“love of the brethren,” “brotherly kindness”; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:7), anastrophe (“behavior, “way of life,” “conduct”; 1 Peter 1:15, 18: 2:13; 3:1, 2, 16; 2 Peter 2:7; 3:11), and aselgeia (“sensuality”; 1 Peter 4:3; 2 Peter 2:2, 7, 18). Further, 2 Peter, like 1 Peter, contains Semitic expressions consistent with Peter’s Jewish background.
Although the different themes of each epistle required Peter to address different doctrinal issues, there is nonetheless a commonality in their teaching. Both letters speak of God’s prophetic word revealed in the Old Testament (1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:19-21), the new birth (1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:4), God’s sovereign choice of believers (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:10), the need for personal holiness (1 Peter 2:11-12; 2 Peter 1:5-7), God’s judgment on immorality (1 Peter 4:2-5; 2 Peter 2:10-22), the second coming of Christ (1 Peter 4:7, 13; 2 Peter 3:4), the judgment of the wicked (1 Peter 4:5, 17; 2 Peter 3:7), and Christ’s lordship (1 Peter 1:3; 3:15; 2 Peter 1:8, 11, 14, 16; 2:20; 3:18).
There are only two possibilities regarding the authorship of 2 Peter. Either it was written by Peter as it claims, or it is pseudonymous and the work of a forger who pretended to be Peter. If the latter is true, the author would have been a hypocrite as well as a liar–a deceiver condemning false teachers for being what he himself was and giving severe warning about divine judgment.
Furthermore, if the book was written by a forger, it is difficult to see what the forger’s motive was. The authors of pseudonymous works usually attached the name of a prominent person to their writings to give credence to their false teaching. But 2 Peter contains no teaching that contradicts the rest of the New Testament. Since it is entirely orthodox, the epistle could have easily gone out under the author’s own name. The author even notes that the false teachers (whom he is condemning) rejected the apostolic authority of Paul (3:16). In fact, they were unimpressed with authority of any kind (2:1, 10). Thus, a forged appeal to apostolic authority would not have added much to the author’s argument (especially since, in so doing, he would have been guilty of the very hypocrisy he was denouncing).
Pseudonymous works were also sometimes written because people were fascinated to know more about significant figures of the early church. But 2 Peter contains no new information about Peter.
There are numerous other difficulties with the view that 2 Peter is pseudonymous. For example, the difference in style between the two epistles is hard to account for, since most pseudonymous authors attempted to copy the style of the person they were pretending to be. Also, a forger would not have had Peter confess his inability to understand Paul’s writings (3:15-16); pseudonymous authors tended to glorify their heroes (the stated “authors”) and exaggerate their abilities. Nor would a pseudonymous author have referred to Paul as “our beloved brother” (3:15). The writings of the early church do not speak of the apostle in such familiar terms. For instance, Polycarp referred to him as “the blessed and glorious Peter” (Epistle to the Philippians, 3.1), Clement called him “the blessed Paul” (1 Clement, 47:1), and Ignatius described him as “Paul, who was sanctified, who obtained a good report, who is worthy of all felicitation; in whose footsteps I would fain be found treading” (Epistle to the Ephesians, 12.2).
Some argue that the writing of pseudonymous books (so-called pious forgeries) was an accepted practice. Since everyone knew that someone else wrote the book in the purported author’s name, no deception was involved. But the obvious question is, What purpose would there be in writing a pseudonymous document if everyone knew it was pseudonymous? In the case of 2 Peter, why would a pseudonymous author have included all the personal allusions to Peter if his readers knew Peter did not write the epistle?
Despite the claims of some scholars, there is no evidence that the early church accepted the practice of pseudonymity. On the contrary, “No one ever seems to have accepted a document as religiously and philosophically prescriptive, which was known to be forged. I do not know a single example…. We are forced to admit that in Christian circles pseudonymity was considered a dishonorable device and, if discovered, the document was rejected and the author, if known, was excoriated” (L. R. Donelson, Pseudepigraphy and ethical Argument in the Pastoral epistles [cited in Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, The new American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003), 272]).
From the beginning, the church rejected forged documents. In 2 Thessalonians 2:2, Paul warned the Thessalonians “not [to] be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” Even at that early stage in the church’ history, forgers were circulating letters purporting to be from Paul so they could more easily spread false doctrine. Hence the apostle warned his readers not to be fooled, and he took steps to authenticate his letters that were genuine (2 Thess. 3:17; cf. 1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:18). The bishop who wrote the pseudonymous work The Acts of Paul and Thecla was removed from office, even though he protested that he had written it out of love for Paul and a desire to honor him (Tertullian, On Baptism, XVII; The Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. 3 [reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973], 677). The Muratorian Canon, a second-century list of New Testament books, rejected two forged letters purporting to have been written by Paul “since it is not fitting that poison should be mixed with honey” (cited in F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture [Downers Grove Ill.: InterVarsity, 1988], 160). At about that same time Serapion, the bishop of Antioch, offered the following explanation for rejecting the spurious Gospel of Peter: “We, brethren, receive Peter and the other apostles as Christ himself. But those writings which falsely go under their name, as we are well acquainted with them, we reject, and know also, that we have not received such handed down to us” (cited in Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, 6.12).
The New Testament placed a premium on truthfulness (cf. John 19:35; Rom. 3:7; 1 Cor. 13:6; 2 Cor. 4:2; 7:14; 13:8; Eph. 4:15, 25; 5:9; Col. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:7; 3:15). The Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 5:6), could never inspire a forgery. Therefore, the early church rightly rejected all such works. Had 2 Peter been a forgery, they would have rejected it too.
Thus, despite the skepticism and doubts of modern critics, the best answer to the question who wrote 2 Peter is “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1).”
 Jerome, Vir. ill. 1
 Origen in Eusebius, H.E. 6.25.11
 Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 444.
 Jami at-Tirmidhi 3104
 “Imam Fakhruddin said that the reports in some of the ancient books that Ibn Mas’ud denied that Suratul-Fatiha and the Mu’awwithatayni are part of the Qur’an are embarrassing in their implications… But the Qadi Abu Bakr said “It is not soundly reported from him that they are not part of the Qur’an and there is no record of such a statement from him. He omitted them from his manuscript as he did not approve of their being written. This does not mean he denied they were part of the Qur’an. In his view the Sunnah was that nothing should be inscribed in the text (mushaf) unless so commanded by the Prophet (saw) … and he had not heard that it had been so commanded.” – as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an, p.186
 The Oxford companion to the Bible: Metzger & Coogan Pg 102. “Canon”.
 The Oxford companion to the Bible: Metzger & Coogan Pg 102. “Canon”.
 The Oxford companion to the Bible: Metzger & Coogan Pg 103. “Canon”.
 The Oxford companion to the Bible: Metzger & Coogan Pg 103. “Canon: Criteria for canonicity”.
 Juan E. Campo, ed. (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. Facts On File. Pg. 492.
 Shibli Nomani. Sirat-un-Nabi. Vol 1 Lahore
 Sahih al- Bukhari, 9.111.
 “The Life of Muhammad”, Pg. 106
 At-Tabari Vol. 9, page 167, note 1151