2 Peter chapter 1

Peter greets his readers. He calls us to grow in the virtues, to authenticate our calling, to the ministry of reminding, and to a proper love for Scripture. [UPDATED]

 


 

GREETINGS

SUMMARY: Peter writes his second letter to both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. He says following Jesus Christ is much more important than being a leader. Peter sees Jesus Christ as both God and Savior. Peter wishes us to grow more and more in our faith.

 

VERSE 1. Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

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Simon. This is Peter’s actual name. Its a Hebrew name. But in the Greek language of the New Testament, its the Greek word “Symeon.”

Peter. The name “Peter” is the Greek translation of “Cephas,” which is the name Jesus gave to Peter.

Peter’s use of of both of his names suggests that he’s writing to both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.

servant. In Greek, “dulos.” It literally means “slave,” but often is rendered as the more polite word “servant.”

apostle. Peter tells them he is an apostle. He lists that second.

Peter sees being an apostle as less import than being a “servant” of Jesus Christ.

Peter was one of Christ’s specially-chosen Twelve. Even more, he was one of the three in Christ’s Inner Circle. To Peter, those things were secondary.

For Peter, its much more important to be a believer. In our day as well, being a leader in the church is secondary and almost unimportant.

But we often hear church leaders, particularly Catholic ones, bragging that to be a church leader is the most important matter.

Such bragging is to misunderstand the very nature of Christian salvation. Its a soteriological error.

Peter did not make that error.

have obtained. That is, have received.

a like. That is, “of equal privilege.” The faith of a leader in the church is not superior to the faith of non-leaders.

precious. In Greek, “isotimos.” Its a combination of two words: “iso,” meaning equal, and “timos,” meaning honor or value. It is used of foreigners who have been granted the rights of citizenship that are equal to the native-born.

Peter is curtailing the claims of the pre-Gnostics. The pre-Gnostics claimed that there was an exclusive inner-circle of elite believers; that those elites were be given esoteric knowledge; that such special knowledge was available only to a privileged few.

God and Saviour. The grammar here indicate that the two words, “God” and “Savior” refer to one person, not to two separate persons. The two words, “God” and “Savior” both describe Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only Savior, but also God.

 

VERSE 2. Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

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Grace. In Greek, “charis.” That was a customary Greek greeting, which his Christian Gentile readers would have recognized.

peace. In Greek, “eirene.” That’s a Greek translation of the customary Hebrew greeting, “Shalom,” which his Christian Jewish readers would have recognized.

So Peter is writing to both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.

be multiplied. That is, “more and more.”

The normal situation is to grow. To not grow is to be abnormal. The Christian life has a goal. We are destined to make tangible progress. We’re to receive more and more.

We’re not designed to sit still. It’s not our destiny to be static. “Same-old, same-old” should make us nauseous.

knowledge. In Greek, “epignosei.” This means “full knowledge.” It implies an intimate and personal relationship. It’s the means by which grace and peace may be received.

Knowing God the Father is intimate and personal, as is knowing Jesus Christ. We are to grow in our knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Eternal life is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. Do you know them? Do you have a love-relationship with them? Read more »

God and of Jesus our Lord. Again Peter is equating Jesus with God.

 

VERSE 3. seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue,

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divine power. God’s divine power, not our own feeble human power, is what counts.

It’s never about ourselves or what we have accomplished. It’s always about God and what he has done for us. It’s by God’s divine power that things happen in our spiritual lives.

The Christian life is all about what God does for us, not what we do for God. My oh my! How desperately Christians need this repeated to them.

godliness. Godliness, holiness. God calls us to be holy.

knowledge. The trigger for everything is simply this: knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. It’s never about ourselves or our good works or our morality.

The pertinent question is whether we have a love-relationship with God the Father and with Jesus Christ.

called. We are called to be in Christ, to the same precious faith that Peter has (see verse 1). It isn’t even about our own search for God. It’s about God’s search for us.

Many popular books focus on the human search for God. But the revolution of Jesus Christ is that God is the one who is searching. He calls us to himself.

glory and virtue. Jesus Christ attracts people who are ensnared by sin. He attracts them to himself by means of his own glory and excellence.

Attracting people is a key element in evangelism.

Some Christians see evangelism as confronting and denouncing. All that does is alienate people.

But Jesus Christ attracts. And so does Peter. Those two words, “glory” and “excellence” are in verse four as well.

 

VERSE 4. by which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust.

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granted. In Greek, “dedoretai.” That means to bestow, to endow. It carries with it the idea of the worth of the gift.

promises. What are the promises of God? Where might you find them?

God has given us his great and precious promises in the Bible. The Bible is where we point people, how we train people in the ways of Christian discipleship, where people go to be “fed” their spiritual sustenance.

become partakers. In Greek, “genesthe.” It means to participate, to partake, to share in.

We partake of God’s divine nature. The biblical notion is that we “share” God’s divine nature, not that we are divinized. We participate in, or share in, God’s divine nature.”

This is like the Eastern Orthodox teaching of theosis, as seen in the Philokalia.

divine. In Greek, “theias.” It means that believers take on Jesus Christ’s very nature. Each believer is a new creation:

2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.

Galatians 6:15. For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

1 Thessalonians 1:9. For they themselves report concerning us what kind of a reception we had from you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God,

corruption. It’s the promises and activity of God in our lives by which we are able to escape sin and corruption. We don’t escape sin and corruption by diligent effort. A miracle is needed.

 

GROW IN THE VIRTUES

SUMMARY: We are meant to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are to increase in living out our faith in him. Doing that, we will not be idle or unfruitful for Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we will gradually drift away from it all.

 

VERSE 5. Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge;

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for this very cause. This is almost certainly a reference to the phrase, “his precious and exceeding great promises” found in the previous verse.

What are the great promises of God? Where might you find them?

God has given us his great and precious promises in the Bible. The Bible is where we point people, how we train people in the ways of Christian discipleship, where people go to be “fed” their spiritual sustenance.

faith. In Greek, “pistis.”

Faith is the triggering event. Faith happens prior to all the other character traits which follow. They all follow faith. It all begins with faith.

Salvation, moral excellence, and knowledge are implications of faith.

Our goal is to bring people to faith, and the rest will more-or-less take care of itself.

moral excellence. In Greek, “arete. “ It means virtue.

After we come to initial faith, we begin weaning ourselves from a life of sin. We start taking up the habits of victorious Christian living. We move toward moral excellence, or virtuous living.

knowledge. In Greek, “gnosis.”

 

VERSE 6. and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control perseverance; and in perseverance godliness;

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self-control. In Greek, “egkrateria.” It means “temperance.”

perseverance. In Greek, “hypome.” That is, perseverance or endurance. It is sometimes translated as “patience.”

godliness. In Greek, “eusebeia.” It could also be rendered as “devotion.

Faith is the triggering event to these other character traits as well. Self-control, perseverance, and godliness are implications of faith.

Our goal is to bring people to faith. Then, for most people, the rest will follow.

 

VERSE 7. and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love.

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brotherly affection. In Greek, “philadelphia.” It could also be rendered, “mutual affection.”

love. In Greek, “agape.” Selfless love is the Gold Standard.

Faith is the triggering event to these other character traits as well.

Brotherly affection and love are implications of faith. Our goal is to bring people to faith, and the rest will take care of itself.

 

VERSE 8. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to not be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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these things. What things? We can refer back to the seven virtues Peter had just mentioned in the previous verses:

  • faith
  • moral excellence
  • knowledge
  • self-control
  • patient endurance
  • godliness
  • brotherly affection
  • love for everyone

and abound. In Greek, “pleh-on-od-zo.” This means increase, super-abundant growth. We are to possess these qualities in increasing measure.

The normative is to grow. We are to “possess these qualities in increasing measure. Perhaps more than simply grow.

The term “grow” does not mean to creep along super-slowly. Rather, it suggests actual progress, in super-abundant measures.

To not grow is to be ill or abnormal. God intends for us to grow. The virtues are to grow within us, not be merely static.

not idle. Versus unproductive, idle, lazy, ineffective. To not grow is to be idle.

unfruitful. Versus not yielding the fruit intended, unproductive.

Recall the parable of the tree that didn’t yield the desired fruit. It was slated to be cut down if it didn’t yield its fruit by a very generous cutoff date.

A healthy believer wants to grow in “usefulness” to God. The stronger our faith, the stronger we will be in all these other ways, and the more useful we will be to God. It all triggers from faith.

Isaiah 27:6. The time is coming when my people will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with her fruit! (NLT translation)

knowledge. In Greek, “epi-gnosis.” This means above-and-beyond knowledge. Our knowledge of God is to be above-and-beyond the mundane, such as what might be learned in textbooks or religion classes.

 

VERSE 9. For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.

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lacks. To not grow “like this” is to fail in the Christian life. LIke plants and kittens, we are destined to grow. If we are not growing, we are atrophying.

these things. That is, the seven virtues listed earlier:

  • faith
  • moral excellence
  • knowledge
  • self-control
  • patient endurance
  • godliness
  • brotherly affection
  • love for everyone

If we don’t grow in those seven ways, we are shortsighted or blind.

blind. That is, shortsighted or blind.

Shortsighted means not looking very far ahead. Living for today but not in light of eternity.

Blind means unable to see. Many people are unable to see, spiritually. Worse, they’re probably unaware of their own blindness.

Worse, if you were to point it out to them, they might react with anger, like the Pharisees and Sadducees with to Jesus.

forgotten. Many people simply forget. They drift away.

You’ve probably met many people who say, “I used to be a Catholic. But I drifted away” Or “I used to be a Baptist. But I don’t know what happened.”

They forgot. For them, St. Peter writes to “remind” them of what they already know.

old sins. Many professing Christians have forgotten that they have been cleansed from their sins. They seem trapped in a subjective state of mortal sin. They are unable to say that they are “saved.”

They shift to works instead faith. Their whole house of cards collapses due to that.

 

AUTHENTICATE YOUR CALLING

SUMMARY: We are to be diligent to convince ourselves that Jesus Christ has called us. That will help us to not stumble in the faith, to have great assurance of our eternal salvation, and to prepare us for a grand entrance into eternity.

 

VERSE 10. Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.

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brothers. Greek: adelphos.

be more diligent. Some translations render this “work hard.”

Is this verse promoting salvation by works? No. We don’t “work hard” for salvation.

Peter has already made it quite clear that salvation is by faith and grace. Things such as church attendance don’t fit under the rubric of a “work hard” either. For most people, they don’t need to “work hard” to go to church.

What is it that we are to “work hard” for? And why?

We need enough evidence about our calling in Jesus Christ that we are calm and stable about it. We exert ourselves to be sure that we’re not deceiving ourselves. We see that in the next phrase:

make your calling and election sure. What are we proving? We are proving that Jesus Christ has called us.

We are proving it to ourselves.

We Christians should be reasonably secure in our relationship with God the Father and with Jesus Christ. There should not be an inordinate fear of loosing salvation.

If we find that we’re trying to prove ourselves to others, then we’ve fallen into the same hole that the Pharisees and Sadducees fell into: doing religious works to earn the approval of others.

never stumble. Perseverance in our Christian calling is the best preventative against losing it.

 

VERSE 11. For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

NLT translation. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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For thus. Making pains to grow in the faith can bring great reassurance, as this verse attests!

richly supplied with the entrance. Who wouldn’t want a grand entrance into eternity?

But a grand entrance into eternity is not due to what we did. It isn’t due to our deeds. It originated with faith.

Isaiah 35:8. A highway will be there, a road, and it will be called “The Holy Way”. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it will be for those who walk in the Way. Wicked fools shall not go there.

 

THE MINISTRY OF REMINDING

SUMMARY: One of the main needs of Christians is to be reinvigorated for Jesus Christ. Therefore, a key ministry for a discipler is to remind people of the things they already know. Many of our spiritual practices, such as our Bible Reading Project and our Scripture Memory Project and Gospel Bytes include that as a goal.

 

VERSE 12. Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth.

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I will not be negligent. That is, always, perpetually, incessantly.

to remind you. That is, remind.

Much of Christian discipleship entails stirring people up, re-invigorating them for Jesus Christ.

Preachers and other ministers “remind” people of things they already know.

Many of our spiritual practices, such as our Bible Reading Project and our Scripture Memory Project and Gospel Bytes include that as a goal.

1 Thessalonians 3:10. night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face, and may perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

1 Thessalonians 5:1. But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything be written to you.

2 Peter 1:12. Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth.

2 Peter 3:1. This is now, beloved, the second letter that I have written to you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by reminding you,

these things. What things? Perhaps the list of seven virtues. But more likely, ALL the things he’s writing in 2 Peter.

know. Eternal life itself consists of “knowing.” Specifically, it consists of knowing God the Father, and knowing Jesus Christ (see John 17:3).

truth. In Greek, “sterizo.” The truth will sterizo you, set you free (see John 8:32).

The ministry of discipleship is to gradually introduce believers to the truth of the Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” John 14:6 says Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.

are established. That is, taught. The essence of the ministry of discipleship is teaching. But it’s not so much a classroom endeavor. Rather, it often looks like mentoring. It takes place in a variety of settings, most especially one-on-one and small group.

 

VERSE 13. I think it right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,

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as long as I am in this tent. This is a biblical image of our transitory human life. It suggests: not folding or packing up, but rather being discarded.

to stir you up by reminding you. Our ministry as disciplers is to keep on reminding our disciples of the basics. We refresh their memory.

 

VERSE 14. knowing that the putting off of my tent comes swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.

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our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. That is, “shown me.” How did Jesus show this to Peter?

  • A private revelation?
  • During mystical prayer?
  • A vision?
  • An insight from the Bible Reading Project?

Jesus Christ shows things to those who love him!

the putting off of my tent comes swiftly. That is, “must.” Peter phrases this as a “must,” an obligation. He won’t “want” it. But when the time comes, he will indeed accept it.

swiftly. This expression comes up often in the Bible. But it’s very difficult to nail down what sort of timeframe is involved. How “soon” is “soon?”

 

VERSE 15. Yes, I will make every effort that you may always be able to remember these things even after my departure.

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I will make every effort. In Greek, “spoudazo.” That means to work hard, to make every effort, to hasten, to exert. We discussed this back in verse 10.

after my departure. In Greek, “exodus.” It means close of career, decease. We work hard to build a strong foundation in the lives of people, one that will survive long after we are gone.

remember. In Greek, “mneme.” It means memory, mention, call to remembrance. It implies saying aloud. In Scripture Memory, we say aloud the phrases we’re memorizing.

 

A PROPER LOVE FOR SCRIPTURE

 

VERSE 16. For we didn’t follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

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we did not follow. By this timeframe in Peter’s life, cleverly-invented stories about Jesus Christ must already have been in wide circulation.

cunningly. That is, cleverly. In Greek, “sophizo,” which comes from sophia. The term “sophistry” comes from that.

fables. In Greek, “mythos.” That means myth, story, fiction, speech.

Jesus Christ and the biblical narratives are NOT myths or fables.

Even in our day, many people see the Bible as clever stories and myths and fables. But that’s not the case.

Daniel 8:12. The army was given over to it together with the continual burnt offering through disobedience. It cast down truth to the ground, and it did its pleasure and prospered.

John 14:6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

John 18:37. Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

2 Peter 1:16. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

3 John 1:4. I have no greater joy than this: to hear about my children walking in truth.

Revelation 3:14. To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation, says these things:

power. In Greek, “dunamis.” That is, dynamite.

Many Christians think of Jesus Christ as meek and mild, a baby born in a manger.

However, the Scriptures refer to the arrival of Jesus Christ with the language of power. His arrival into our realm of time and space was filled with God’s holy power!

coming. In Greek, “parousia,” which is used of the triumphal return of Jesus Christ in glory at the End of Days.

eyewitnesses. The Scriptural accounts of Jesus Christ are not fables. They are eyewitness accounts.

majesty. In Greek, megaleiotes. That means greatness, magnificence.

 

VERSE 17. For he received from God the Father honor and glory when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

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God the Father. In Greek, “theos pater.” This is a very rare instance of this phrase.

glory. In Greek, “doxa,” as in “doxology.”

the voice. In Greek, “phone.” It means a sound, a voice. God the Father “phoned” Jesus Christ.

beloved. In Greek, “agapetos.” It means my beloved, loved. dearly loved.

well pleased. In Greek, “eudokeo.” It means to be well pleased, to have pleasure, to take pleasure, to have joy. Jesus helped God the Father make merry!

 

VERSE 18. We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

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We. Referring to those who were present at Christ’s transfiguration: Peter, James, and John.

heard. Here, as elsewhere, the New Testament insists on continued reminders as necessary to preserve the historical facts about Jesus and the truths of the faith.

 

VERSE 19. We have the more sure word of prophecy; and you do well that you heed it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts:

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We have the more sure word of prophecy. The Christian disciple has great confidence in the biblical message. We find it to be completely reliable.

As we immerse ourselves more and more in the Bible, we have an even greater confidence.

a lamp shining in a dark place. The brilliance of the biblical texts shine like a spotlight in the darkness of our hearts and lives.

The Bible illuminates even the darkest areas of our existence, showing us the way and flooding us with Power From On High.

arises. That is, shines.

 

VERSE 20. knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation.

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prophecy of Scripture. The Scripture texts have a human author. But that human author was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 30:5. Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Matthew 4:4. But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’

2 Timothy 3:16. Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,

2 Peter 1:20. knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation.

 

VERSE 21. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

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the will of man. Scripture is not of human origin. It did not come about through human initiative.

holy men of God spoke. The different biblical texts do indeed have human authors. But each author was writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They spoke from God.

 


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2 PETER

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03

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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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