Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.
This week we continue our study of εὐσὲβεια (Strong's #2150), the Greek word meaning reverence, respect or godliness. In Classical Greek, εὐσὲβεια expressed a reverence toward the gods. In its nonreligious use, it represented the respect a child was to have toward a parent. This domestic meaning was eventually lost, and εὐσὲβεια came to be used almost exclusively as a religious term representing a respectful attitude toward God directly and the living of a correct lifestyle in respect to Him. Εὐσὲβεια is used in the New Testament to express reverence toward God, whether that reverence comes from true believers, false teachers, or non-believers. In our study, we are focusing on εὐσὲβεια as it is used to express reverence from believers toward God. This week we look at Peter's final use of the term as found in 2 Peter 3:10-12.
2 Peter 3:10-12
- But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens will pass away with a roaring noise, and the elements while burning will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be burned down.
- Therefore, since all these things are being dissolved,F1 what manner is it necessary that you should beF2 in holy behavior and godliness (εὐσὲβεια)
- while expectantly looking for and being eager for the coming of the Day of God, on account of which the heavens being on fire will be dissolved, and the elements while burning will melt?
In verse 10, Peter presents the eventual demise of the physical world as we know it. He describes the roaring noise of the fire that will accompany the passing away of the heavens. He gives understanding that the elements of the physical realm will be dissolved in this burning process, with the result that the earth and its works will be consumed.
In verse 11, Peter begins his summary of how believers are to approach the physical realm that is destined to be consumed by fire. He asks what manner or kind of person it is necessary to be in two areas, holy behavior and godliness. The adjective "holy" is the Greek word ἅγιος (Strong's #40), which means holy in the sense of separated or set apart. This adjective is associated with ἀναστροφὴ (Strong's #391), which means one's conduct or behavior. The word for godliness is our word of study εὐσὲβεια, meaning reverence or respect. Peter uses these words to show that our behavior or lifestyle should be separated from the indulgences of the physical world; and that we are to have a healthy respect and reverence for the Lord in light of the fact that world, which we are so attached to, will one day be dissolved by fire.
In verse 12, Peter's question is completed. Having first asked what manner of person we should be in light of the end result of the physical world (vs. 11), he indicates here that we should, at the same time, be expectantly and eagerly waiting for the coming of the Day of God.
In these verses, Peter touches on the two areas that cause believers the most trouble: living a life of moderation, and approaching the Lord and this temporal life with a reverence and respect for Him in light of the temporary nature of this physical world. Obviously, our time is best spent on those things that are not passing away, but instead are eternal in value. Obviously, God deserves our greatest respect and reverence. Yet most of us spend the majority of our time and effort pursuing temporal, dissolving things. This attachment to and pursuit of temporal things then places us at risk of losing reverence for the Lord, even opening us up to bitterness against Him when the physical things we have so highly valued go through the "passing away " process. We must hold lightly the things of this world, as they have no value in the eternal scheme of things. This approach enables us to live holy, separated lives before God, and also allows us to maintain a healthy respect for Him while living in this temporal world.
Next week we will continue with out study of εὐσὲβεια from Paul's letter to Timothy in I Timothy chapters four and six.
* EUSEBEIA is the English font spelling of the Greek word εὐσὲβεια.
F1: The genitive absolute expressing an ongoing process τοῦτων͂οὔν͂πὰντων͂λουμὲνων, "these things therefore all while being dissolved," is translated ̓Επειδὴ͂λοιπὸν͂πὰντᾶταῦτᾶδιαλὺονται, "Since therefore all these things are being dissolved."
F2: The infinitive with the accusative subject ὑπὰρχειν͂ὑμᾶς, "to be you," is translated νὰ͂σεῖς͂ἦσθε, "that you should be."
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