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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
2 Peter 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

2 Peter 1:1. The form συμέων is only once used elsewhere of Peter in Acts 15:14. τοῖς κ. τ. λ. The question as to who are the actual recipients of the letter, is matter for discussion in the Introduction (chap. vi. 1). The presumption is in favour of a body of non-Jewish Christians. ἡμῖν. probably means, in accordance with its use elsewhere in the chapter, the whole Christian community to which the writer belongs (see Introd. p. 49). ἰσότιμον. It is doubtful whether ἰσοτ. means “like in honour” or “like in value”. Both meanings are found (cf. Mayor, p. 80). We may compare the sense of τιμή in 2 Peter 1:17 (see note), where the sense is clearly of an honour conferred (cf. 1 Peter 1:7), which would suggest the same meaning here. ἐν δικαιοσύνηχριστοῦ. ἐν is instrumental., δικ. has the sense of “justice” or “impartiality,” and is opposed to προσωπολημψία. God is no respecter of persons. There is no distinction in His sight between the faith of an eyewitness, and the faith of those “who have not seen”. With this non-theological sense of δικ. cf. ἄδικος in Hebrews 6:10; also 1 John 1:9. θεοῦ refers to Christ, cf. John 20:28. σωτῆρος, a title used by the Emperor. “Familiarity with the everlasting apotheosis that flaunts itself in the papyri and inscriptions of Ptolemaic and Imperial times, lends strong support to Wendland’s contention (ZNTW, pp. 335 ff.) that Christians from the latter part of i. A.D. onward, deliberately assumed for their Divine Master the phraseology that was impiously arrogated to themselves by some of the worst of men” (i.e., the Emperors). Moulton, Proleg. p. 84 (cf. Spitta, p. 523; Chase, D. B. iii. 796). πίστιν ἐν δικ. can hardly be taken together (cf. Ephesians 1:15, 1 Timothy 3:13), as the relation of the believer to Christ in this epistle is rather that of γνῶσις or ἐπίγνωσις (cf. 2 Peter 1:2). (Cf. Zahn. Introd. ii. pp. 218–9).


Verse 1-2

2 Peter 1:1-2. The Greeting. “Simeon Peter, slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal honour with our own, through the justice of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you in the saving knowledge of our Lord.”


Verse 2

2 Peter 1:2. χάριςπληθυνθείη.: the same form of salutation as in 1 Peter 1:2. ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. (For history of ἐπίγνωσις see Mayor’s note, pp. 171 ff.; Robinson’s Excursus in Ephesians.) ἐπίγνωσις in this epistle corresponds to πίστις in the Pauline sense (Spitta, p. 522). In Romans 1:21 γνόντες is used of the imperfect knowledge of God possessed by the heathen world, and in Romans 1:28 he contrasts it with the Christian or perfect knowledge of God. ( καθὼς οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν τὸν θεὸν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει.) Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12, Colossians 1:9. “ ἐπίγνωσις, involving the complete appropriation of all truth and the unreserved acquiescence in God’s will, is the goal and crown of the believer’s course” (Lightfoot, note on Colossians 1:9). Cf. Introd. p. 117; note 2 Peter 1:8; Paget, Spirit of Discipline, pp. 112 ff. ἐπίγνωσις implies a more intimate and personal relationship than γνῶσις. It would be a useful word, seeing that γνῶσις. had become associated with Gnosticism, then incipient in the Church. Mayor quotes Clem. Alex. Strom. i. p. 372, and Str., vi, p. 759, where κατʼ ἐπίγνωσιν is twice opposed to κατὰ περίφασιν (= on a broad general view, cf. Mayor’s note, p. 213). Grace and peace are multiplied in and through this more intimate heart knowledge of Jesus Christ, in contrast to a mere barren γνῶσις.


Verse 3

2 Peter 1:3. τῆς θείας δυνάμεως is originally a philosophic term (Plato, Ion. 534 C., Arist. Pol. vii. 4) cf. τὸ θεῖον as used by St. Paul in speaking to philosophers at Athens (Acts 17:29). The subject is Christ (cf. δύναμις κυρίου, Luke 10:17; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 2 Corinthians 12:9; and 2 Peter 1:16, of this chapter). The phrase θεία δύναμις is contained in an inscription of Stratonicea in Caria in honour of Zeus Panhemerios and Hekate, belonging to the early Imperial period. 2 Peter would thus be availing himself of one of “the familiar forms and formulæ ol religious emotion” (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 367). αὐτοῦ is taken as referring to κυρίου in 2 Peter 1:2, which would confirm the reading adopted. πάντατὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν. ζωή is the new life that belongs to believers in Christ. εὐσέβεια is also found in the inscription quoted above. This word and its cognates are found in N.T. only in Acts, ihis Epistle, and in the Pastoral Epistles. They are also common in inscriptions of Asia Minor, and were apparently familiar terms in the religious language of the Imperial period. In εὐσέβεια, the emphasis of meaning lies towards “godliness” in its practical, rather than its devotional aspect, i.e., what God requires of man “pious conduct”. In 1 Timothy 3:16 Christ is spoken of as “the secret of piety” ( τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον). The conjunction of the two ideas ζωή and εὐσέβεια is significant. Religion does not narrow, but expand the province of life. The life in Christ is not “a little province of peculiar emotion.… If we fear that it may lose itself in the vast and often lawless universe of life beneath, the danger is to be averted not by wilfully contracting it within a narrower field, but by seeking greater intensity of life in deeper and more submissive communion with the Head Himself in the heavens” (Hort, The Way, the Truth, and the Life, p. 147). δεδωρημένης (= “gifted” or “granted”). This word and its cognates always carry a certain regal sense describing an act of large-handed generosity. Cf. Mark 15:45 of the giving by Pilate of the body of Jesus to Joseph; John 4:10; James 1:17. The same sense is found in Genesis 30:20, Proverbs 4:2, Isaiah 62:3; and O.G.I.S. 5177 (iii. A.D.) with reference to the gift by Marcus Aurelius of a new law-court, ὁπότε ἐδω[ ρ] ήσατο τῆι πατρίδι ἡμῶν [ τ] ὴν ἀγορὰν τῶν δικῶν. τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς. Judging from usage elsewhere in N.T., the reference would here be to God, who is always the Caller. 2 Peter, however, shows great independence of thought in other directions, and it is more likely that the reference is to Christ, especially as ἐπίγνωσις is used consistently in relation to Christ (2 Peter 1:8, 2 Peter 2:20). (So Spitta, Von Soden, Mayor). “Cognitionem dei praesupponit haec epistula, 2 Peter 1:3. Cognitionem autem Domini nostri, nempe Jesu Christi urget proprie” (Bengel). Cf. 2. Clem. ix. 5. χριστὸςἐγένετο σὰρξ καὶ οὕτως ἡμᾶς ἐκάλεσεν. ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ. Has ἰδίᾳ an intensive force here, or has it an exhausted sense merely equivalent to a personal pronoun? The emphasis conveyed in the former interpretation would better carry on the sense of πάντα. δόξα is used in sense of John 1:14. ἀρετή is an interesting word. There is considerable evidence to prove that it is not used here in the ordinary Greek philosophical sense of “virtue,” although the combination of δόξα and ἀρετή is not infrequently found in philosophical writings (cf. Plat. Symp. 208 D. Plut. Mor. 535). Deissmann, following the Stratonicean inscription already mentioned, renders “manifestation of power,” i.e., in miracle (op. cit. pp. 95–97). In 1 Peter 2:9 it is used in plural, in LXX sense = “praises” תּהִלָּה. (Cf. Thuc. i. 33.) In P. Hib. xv. 3 ff. (iii. B.C.) the younger men are exhorted to employ their bodies εὐκαίρως τὴν ἀπόδειξιν ποιησαμένους τῆς αὐτῶν ἀρετῆς, “in a timely display of their prowess” (G. and H.). In later papyri ἀρετή is used as title of courtesy, e.g., P. Oxy. 71, ii. 18 (iv. A.D.). εἴ σου δόξειεν τῇ ἀρετῇ = “if it please your Excellency”. Foucart defines ἀρετή as “vim divinam quae mirabilem in modum hominibus laborantibus salutem afferret” (cf. Hort’s note, 1 Peter, p. 129 and MME, Sept. 1908).

The phrase τοῦ καλέσαντοςἀρετῃ contains one of the finest ideas in the N.T. What could be a more effective answer to the intellectualism of the Gnostic teachers or its modern equivalent, than the impression produced on the lives of men, and especially the early disciples, by the Personality of Jesus? They beheld His glory in the evidences of miraculous knowledge and power which Jesus showed at the time of their call (John 1:42; John 1:47-51; Luke 5:4). Their sense of His moral greatness overcame all resistance on their part (Luke 5:8; John 1:49). If 2 Pet. is lacking in devotional expression, his apologetic for the person of Christ is cast on most effective lines. Reason can only compass the facts of Revelation, in terms of antinomies, and it is vain to meet inadequate theories of the person of Christ by dogmatic subtlety. The Life and Death of our Lord, if its significance is to be fully understood, must be looked upon largely as an acted parable, and Christian experience—the impression of δόξα καὶ ἀρετή—is an indispensable constituent of dogmatic expression.


Verse 3-4

2 Peter 1:3-4. The Promises and their Source. “Inasmuch as His Divine Power has granted us all things that are needed for life and piety, by means of the personal knowledge of One who called us by the impression of his own glory and excellency; and through this glory and excellency have been granted promises that are precious to us and glorious, in order that, by means of these, ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world owing to lust.”

Throughout this passage, the contrast between ἡμῖν, ἡμᾶς, and 2 p. plur. in γένησθε (2 Peter 1:4) must be preserved. ἡμῖν implies the apostolic circle, who, by virtue of their own experience of the δόξα and ἀρετή of Christ, are able to transmit to these readers certain promises “precious to us, and glorious.” (So Spitta, Van Soden).


Verse 4

2 Peter 1:4. διʼ ὧν. Reference is to δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ (so Kühl, Dietlein, Wiesinger, Brückner, Mayor) ἐπαγγέλματα = “promised blessings”. No doubt what 2 Peter has chiefly in view is the particular comprehensive ἐπάγγελμα of His Second Coming (cf. 2 Peter 3:4, ἐπαγγελία and 2 Peter 3:13). The Parousia will be the vindication of all moral and spiritual effort. Christ promised forgiveness to the sinful, rest to the weary, comfort to the sad, hope to the dying and life to the dead. If the reference adopted above of διʼ ὧν is correct, the sense would be that in the character and deeds of the Incarnate One, we have a revelation that is itself a promise. The ἐπαγγέλματα are given, not only in word but also in deed. The very life of Christ among men, with its δόξα and ἀρετή is itself the Promise of Life, and the Parousia expectation is also a faith that He lives and reigns in grace, having “received gifts for men”. δεδώρηται. Passive, see note on 2 Peter 1:3. ἵνα διὰ τούτωνφύσεως. τούτων refers to ἐπαγγέλματα. The hope and faith kindled in us by the promises are a source of moral power. “The history of the material progress of the race is the history of the growing power of man, arising from the gradual extension of his alliances with the forces which surround him.… He arms himself with the strength of the winds and the tides. He liberates the latent energy which has been condensed and treasured up in coal, transforms it into heat, generates steam, and sweeps across a continent without weariness, and with the swiftness of a bird.… Moving freely among the stupendous energies by which he is encompassed, he is strong in their strength, and they give to his volitions—powerless apart from them—a large and effective expression. The history of man’s triumphs in the province of his higher and spiritual life is also the history of the gradual extension of his alliance with a Force which is not his own.… In Christ we are ‘made partakers of the divine nature’ ” (Dale, Atonement, pp. 416, 417). θεία φύσις is originally a philosophic term, cf. Plat. Symp. ii. 6, Philo (ed. Mangey), ii. pp. 51, 647; ii. 22, 143, 329, 343. θεῖος is found in a papyrus of 232 A.D. = “imperial” (Deissmann, op. cit. p. 218, note 2). Probably 2 Peter is here again making use of a current religious expression (cf. note on θεία δύναμις, 2 Peter 1:3). ἀποφυγόνταςφθορᾶς. The aorist participle is used of coincident action. Moral emancipation is part of the κοινωνία θείας φύσεως. The idea of participation in the Divine Nature is set between the two pictures, one of hope, τὰ τίμια ἡμῖν καὶ μέγιστα ἐπαγγέλματα, the other of despair, τῆς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς. The way to God is through the Redemption of Christ. The approach to God is an “escape,” and not an act of intellectual effort. φθορά in philosophic writers is the counterpart of γένεσις, cf. Plat. Rep. 546A, Phaed. 95E. Aristot. Phys. 5, 5, 6. It expresses not sudden but gradual dissolution and destruction. The scriptural meaning alternates between destruction in the moral, and in the physical sense. In the N.T. the significance is physical, in 1 Corinthians 15:42; 1 Corinthians 15:50, Colossians 2:22, Galatians 6:8, 2 Peter 2:12; moral here, as in 2 Peter 2:19, Romans 8:21. Man becomes either regenerate or degenerate. Either his spiritual and moral powers are subject to slow decay and death, the wages of sin ( ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ), or he rises to full participation in the Divine. ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ, a compact phrase. The corruption consists in ἐπιθυμία, which may be interpreted in the widest sense of inordinate affection for earthly things. ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ; cf. Romans 8:21. φθορά becomes personified as a world-wide power to which all creation including man is subject. In Mayor’s edition there is a valuable study of φθορά and cognates (pp. 175 ff.). The idea contained in φθορά, moral decay, is illustrated in Tennyson’s “Palace of Art,” and “Vision of Sin”; also in Byron, e.g., “Stanzas for Music”.


Verse 5

2 Peter 1:5. καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο δὲ, a phrase that emphasises the fact of the δώρημα as having its logical outcome in character. “The soul of religion is the practick part” (Bunyan). On the other hand, 2 Peter here teaches that so-called practical Christianity without the spiritual motive is incomplete and unintelligent. σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες, an impressive phrase. Cf. similar ideas in Romans 12:11, Hebrews 6:11. It is a warning against sluggishness and self-indulgence in the spiritual life. ἐπιχορηγήσατε. The A.V. trans., “add to,” is insufficient. χορηγός in Attic drama is one who defrays the cost of the chorus, at the bidding of the State, as an act of citizenship (Dem. 496, 26). It was a duty that prompted to lavishness in execution. Hence χορηγέω came to mean “supplying costs for any purpose,” a public duty or λειτουργία, with a tendency, as here, towards the meaning, “providing more than is barely demanded”. In P. Oxy. 2826 ff. (30–35 A.D.), a man complains that his wife had deserted him, although ἐπεχορήγησα αὐτῇ τὰ ἑξῆς καὶ ὑπὲρ δύναμιν (“I provided for her suitably and beyond my resources”). ἐπι- denotes a particular application of χορηγέω (cf. Moulton, Proleg. p. 113). ἐν “is used each time of that which is supposed to be theirs” (Alford). ἀρετή: “strenuus animae tonus ac vigor” (Bengel)—a manifestation of moral power. γνῶσιν, understanding, implying insight, circumspection, discretion, discernment (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:18). cf. Didache, ix. 3 (in Eucharistic prayer), xi. 2, where γν. is conjoined with δικαιοσύνη.


Verses 5-7

2 Peter 1:5-7. Faith is not only illumination but character. “Nor is this all. On your part bring the utmost earnestness to bear, and in your faith supply moral energy, and in your moral energy understanding, and in your understanding self-control, and in your self-control patient endurance, and in patient endurance piety, and in piety brotherly love, and in brotherly love love.”


Verse 6

2 Peter 1:6. ἐγκράτειαν: “self-control”: accompanied by, and arising from, knowledge, and not a mere product of fear or submission to authority. ὑπομονήν: “steadfastness”—not turned aside from the faith by trial and suffering (cf. Luke 8:15, Romans 5:3 ff.). The desponding doctrine of the false teachers would itself call for ὑπομονή in the readers. Mayor compares the Aristotelian καρτερία (cf. Hebrews 11:27). εὐσέβειαν. In the Epistle the false teachers are ἀσεβεῖς (cf. note on 2 Peter 1:3).


Verse 7

2 Peter 1:7. φιλαδελφίαν: “affection towards the brethren,” i.e., of the same Christian community. ἀγάπην: probably love towards all, even enemies; not directed by sense and emotion, but by deliberate choice (cf. Matthew 5:44). Mayor interprets: “Love to God manifesting itself in love to man and to the whole creation, animate and inanimate”.


Verse 8

2 Peter 1:8. πλεονάζοντα: “abound”. In classical use = “exaggerate”. The word here again emphasises the display of a regal, uncalculating and unwearied spirit in the practice of the Christian graces. ἀργοὺς. Perhaps “ineffective” or “ineffectual,” a meaning which is further emphasised in ἀκάρπους. In The Didache, 12, are given directions for discriminating genuine from false among the itinerant teachers. “If he wishes to settle with you and is a tradesman, let him work and let him eat. If he has no trade, according to your wisdom provide how he shall live as a Christian among you, but not in idleness ( μὴ ἀργός). If he will not do this, he is making merchandise of Christ. Beware of such men.” Here is illustrated the passage from the ordinary sense of ἀργός, which really signifies “idle” for want of occupation, and not by choice, to the ethical significance. Cf. James 2:20, “Faith without works is ἀργή”. Matthew 20:6, “Why stand ye here all the day, ἀργοί?” and the reply. Cf. also use of ἀργεῖ in 2 Peter 2:3. In P. Par. II. 4(9) (iii. B.C.), certain quarrymen complain that they “are idle ( ἀργοῦμεν) for want of slaves to clear away the sand”. Cf. P. Par. II. 20. ὅπωςμὴ ἀργῆι τὰ πλοῖα. P. Lond. 208 (2. A.D.). λόγος ἐργατῶν ἀργησάντων. In P. Lond. III. p. 27 (a census-return of 160 or 161 A.D.) a certain Apollonius is described as belonging to “the leisured class of Memphis”. ( τῶν ἀπὸ ΄έμφεως ἀργῶν). P. Fior. 1. P. Amh, 97? (both ii. A.D.) ἐλαιουργίου ἀργοῦ = “an oil-press which is out of working order” εἰς τὴνἐπίγνωσιν. Here the writer returns to the idea, introduced by ἀποφυγόντεςφθορᾶς in 2 Peter 1:4, that morality and religion are intimately connected. Some have sought to interpret the words as meaning “with reference to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” on the ground that ἐπίγνωσις has already been postulated as the source of “all things needed for life and godliness,” and cannot now be regarded as an end to be attained. Yet ἐπίγνωσις may be regarded as both the beginning and the end of morality (cf. 2 Peter 3:18, Colossians 1:6 ff. Philippians 1:9). The translation of A.V. is correct ( εἰς = in, expressive of result). ἐπίγν. contrasted with γνῶσις marks “a higher degree of intensity, an energy of deeper penetration. It is not a quiescent state, the resting in an acquirement, but the advance of one to whom easy attainment is but the impulse of fresh effort; one who is not content to know, but ever, in Hosea’s words (Hosea 6:3), follows on to know” (Paget, Spirit of Discipline, p. 112). Each advance in the Christian life deepens and widens our spiritual understanding. “Die ἐπίγν. ist ihrer Natur nach etwas, was wächst” (Von Soden).


Verses 8-11

2 Peter 1:8-11. Further emphasis on the connexion between faith and morality, and its reward. “If you have these virtues, and are not sparing in your use of them, you will not be ineffective and unfruitful in the direction of deepening your Christian experience. Where these virtues are not present a man is blind, near-sighted as it were, and entirely forgetful of the great fact that he is purified from the sins of the past. With this danger in view, your earnest purpose ought to be to make sure your calling and election. Steadily practise these virtues and you will not stumble; for thus there will be ministered unto you an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom.”


Verse 9

2 Peter 1:9. μυωπάζων: “short-sighted”. Only once elsewhere in Greek literature in Ps. Dionys. Eccl. Hier. ii. 3. This is one of the words to which exception has been taken in 2 Peter. It is both rare, and it seems to contradict τυφλός. Spitta and Von S. translate “wilfully blind”. Mayor (p. 61.) (following Beza Grotius, Huther, etc.) interprets the word as limiting τυφλός. “He who is without the virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7 is blind, or to put it more exactly is shortsighted; he cannot see the things of heaven, though he may be quick enough in regard to worldly matters.” λήθην λαβὼν. A periphrastic form. Cf. Jos. Ant. ii. 6, 9; also 2 Timothy 1:5, Hebrews 11:29. τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ τῶν πάλαι αὐτοῦ ἁμαρτιῶν. Is the reference to baptism? This view is rendered very probable by the use of πάλαι. For the idea of cleansing from pre-baptismal sin, cf. Barnabas, xi. 11, Hermas, Mand. iv, 3. Vis. ii. 1. Spitta adheres to the general interpretation of καθ. as the work of Christ on the moral life. Cf. 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 John 3:3. While καθαρισμός is used of the ceremonial washings of the Jews, John 3:25, it is also used of the work of Christ in Hebrews 1:3 (cf. Zahn. Introd. ii. 232).


Verse 10

2 Peter 1:10. σπουδάσατε. An Imperative. “A sharp and urgent form” (Moulton, Proleg. i. 173). βεβαίαν. Cf. Deissmann, B. S. pp. 105 ff. The word has a legal sense. βεβαίωσις is the legal guarantee, obtained by a buyer from a seller, to be gone back upon should any third party claim the thing. Here the readers are exhorted to produce a guarantee of their calling and election. This may be done by the cultivation of the Christian graces, Cf. Ephesians 4:1. “To walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye are called.” κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν. What is the difference between these two? καλέω used in Gospels = “bid to a feast”. κλητοί would, therefore, imply those bidden; ἐκλεκτοί = those who have become true partakers of God’s salvation. Cf. Matthew 22:14. Not all who hear the Divine Voice ( κλῆσιν) progress in Christian conduct, which is the token of ἐκλογήν. οὐ μὴ πταίσητε, as a blind or shortsighted person might do.


Verse 11

2 Peter 1:11. Note the accumulation in this verse of words suggesting splendour and fulness. ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται. Cf. note on 2 Peter 1:5. Mayor says that here the word “suggests the ordering of a triumphal procession,” and compares Plut. Vit. 994, δῆμος ἐθεᾶτο τὰς θέας ἀφειδῶς πάνυ χορηγουμένας. εἴσοδος. Cf. Hebrews 10:19. In a theatre, εἰς. is the place of entrance for the chorus (Ar. Nub. 326; Av. 296), and in P. Par. ii. 41, we find εἴσοδος κοινή = of the door of a house. The great description of the entrance of the pilgrims into the celestial city in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Pt. 1., may be quoted in illustration. αἰώνιον βασιλείαν. does not occur elsewhere in N.T. or Apostolic Fathers (cf. Aristotle’s Apol. xvi., and Clem. Hom. x. 25), but αἰωνίου ἀρχῆς occurs in the Stratonicean inscriptions already quoted (Deissmann, op. cit. p. 361).


Verse 12

2 Peter 1:12. μελλήσω. What is the exact significance of the future? It can hardly be simply a periphrastic future. “The idea is rather that the writer will be prepared in the future, as well as in the past and in the present to remind them of the truths they know, whenever the necessity arises” (Zahn. Introd., ii., p. 211; quoted with approval by Nestle. Text. Criticism of N.T. pp. 333–34). ἐστηριγμένους. This word is used by Jesus in the warning given of Peter’s fall, and its spiritual result. και σύ ποτε ἐπιστρέψας στήρισον τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου (Luke 22:32). Cf. 1 Peter 5:10, 2 Peter 3:17, where στηριγμός = “steadfastness of mind”. ἐν τῇ παρούσῃ ἀληθείᾳ.—“in the present truth,” i.e. in so far as you yet have experience of it. Cf. note on 2 Peter 1:8.


Verses 12-15

2 Peter 1:12-15. The aim of the writer, and the urgency of his message. “You are already acquainted with and established in the truth, so far as revealed to you, but, in view of the great issues, I shall always be prepared to awaken you to a sense of these things. In my lifetime I feel bound to do so, especially as I know that death is imminent, as Jesus declared to me. I shall also do my best to enable you to refer to these things as opportunity occurs, even after my decease.”


Verse 13

2 Peter 1:13. δίκαιον δὲ ἡγοῦμαι. “I consider it a duty.” The language in 2 Peter 1:13-14, is studiously solemn and impressive. σκηνώματι, used in literal sense of “tent” in Deuteronomy 33:18. In Acts 7:46, it is used of the Tabernacle of God. Elsewhere in N.T. σκῆνος is used in the metaphorical sense of human existence. Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:4. A similar use of σκήνωμα is found in Ep. ad Diogn. 6. ἀθάνατος ψυχὴ ἐν θνητῷ σκηνώματι κατοικεῖ. σκηνή is the word used by Peter in the transfiguration story (Matthew 17:4; Mark 9:5; Luke 9:33). διεγείρειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ὑπομνήσει· διεγ· is always used in N.T. = “awaken” or “rouse from sleep” (except in John 6:18 of the sea); significant in view of the reference to the Transfiguration in 2 Peter 1:16 ff. Cf. διαγρηγορήσαντες (“fully awake”) in St. Luke’s account; Introd. p. 95.


Verse 14

2 Peter 1:14. ταχινή “imminent,” cf. 2 Peter 2:1. A poetical word peculiar to 2 Peter in N.T. The process described by ἀπόθεσις can hardly be “sudden,” Plat. Rep. 553D, but there is always an impression of suddenness to the onlooker, who lifts up his eyes some morning, and finds the tent or the encampment gone where he had seen it yesterday. An inscription in C.I.A. III. 13443, reads ζωῆς καὶ καμάτου τέρμα δραμὼν ταχινόν, where sense can only be “brief” (but see discussion in Zahn. Introd., ii., pp. 212 f.). ἀπόθεσιν τοῦ σκην. ἀποτίθεμαι is used of “putting off a garment” (Acts 7:58); and might here be connected with the idea of taking off a tent-cover (So Spitta). Probably “removal” is the proper translation. In B.G.U. 606 (4. A.D.) [ πρὸς ] πόθεσιν ἀχύρου (for removal of a chaff-heap) is found. cf. 1 Peter 3:21, οὐ σαρκὸς ἀπόθεσις ῥύπου. καθὼς καὶ.… ἐδήλωσέν μοι. There seems no reason to doubt the reference here to John 21:18-19, as Spitta and others have done (see Introduction, pp. 96 f.).


Verse 15

2 Peter 1:15. σπουδάσω. The form is used by Polybius and later writers for the classical σπουδάσομαι. ἑκάστοτε goes with ἔχειν = “on each occasion when you have need”. The word is found apparently in the same sense in P. Gen. 313f. (ii. A.D.), ἑκάστοτέ σοι κατʼ ἐπιδημίαν παρενοχλῶν (“causing you annoyance on each occasion when you are at home”). τὴν τούτων μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι. What is the reference in τούτων? It must have the same reference as in 2 Peter 1:12, viz. to the practice of the Christian graces, and the larger reference must be to some systematic body of instruction. This might easily take the form of reminiscences of the example of Jesus Himself, and the allusion may be to the Petrine reminiscences contained in the Gospel of St. Mark (cf. μετὰ δὲ τὴν τούτων (Peter and Paul) ἔξοδον ΄ᾶρκος τὰ ὑπὸ πέτρου κηρυσσόμενα ἐγγράφως ἡμῖν παραδέδωκεν Iren. iii. 1. 1.). “He has already referred to Christ (2 Peter 1:3), as having called them ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ”; surely nothing could be more appropriate, more helpful to a godly life, than that Peter should leave behind the picture of this δόξα καὶ ἀρετή drawn from his own recollection. And the following words, οὐ γὰρ σεσοφισμένος κ. τ. λ. (2 Peter 1:16) seem to imply a statement of facts” (Mayor, 143., where see whole discussion against Zahn. Introd. II. pp. 199 ff.). ἔξοδον. The same word is used in Luke 9:31 of the death of Christ. It seems to include the thought of subsequent glory (cf. Expositor, vi. ii. pp. 73 f. Smith, Days of His Flesh, pp. 274 f.) The meaning “death” is found in B.G.U. 168. (ii.–iii. A.D.). ἐπιγνοῦσα τὴν ( το) εὐδαίμονος ἔξοδον.

τὴν τούτων μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι: “refer to”; always in Greek writers, from Herodotus down = “mentionem facere, “make mention of” (cf. Grimm-Thayer under μνήμη). The sense here seems much the same. The document “referred to” would be an authentic source of information. Cf. P. Fay, 19 (ii. A.D.) [ ἀκριβ] εστάτην μνήμην ποιούμενος.


Verse 16

2 Peter 1:16. σεσοφισμ. μύθ. Cf. σεσοφισμένη μήτηρ.: “suppositious mother”. Greg. Nyss. i. 171 D. This is evidently the character attributed to the facts of the Christian Gospel by the False Teachers. They specially sought to discredit the outlook for the Second Advent. μῦθοι is often used in the Pastoral Epistles or the fanciful Gnostic genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:14). ἐγνωρίσαμεν. Used in N.T. of preaching the Gospel (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:1). δύναμιν καὶ παρουσίαν. For collocation of words, cf. Matthew 24:30, Mark 9:1. For δύναμις, see note on 2 Peter 1:3. παρουσίαν. Chase (op. cit. 797a) regards the word here as denoting the first coming of Christ, because (1) the context speaks of history and not of prophecy; (2) the word itself naturally bears this meaning. He admits, however, that elsewhere in the N.T and in this Epistle it is used of the Second Coming (cf. Ignat. Philad. 9). Justin (Dialogue 32) distinguishes “two advents,—one in which He was pierced by you; a second, when you shall know Him, Whom you have pierced”. There is, however, no real difficulty here in taking παρ. in the usual sense, which, indeed, is more in harmony with the context. The Transfiguration itself, as used by this writer, is regarded as a basis for belief in the Second Advent, against the False Teachers.

Dr. Milligan, in his recent edition of Thessalonians, gives a valuable note on παρουσία (p. 145). He mentions that it occurs frequently in the Papyri as a kind of terminus technicus with reference to the visit of the king, or some other official. (P. Petr. 2:39 (e), 18 (iii. B.C.). P. Tebt. 48, 13 f. (2. B.C.), 116 (ii. B.C.). P. Gren., 2 Peter 2:14 (b), 2 (iii. B.C.). Dittenberger, Sylloge, 226, 84 ff. (iii. B.C.). τῶν δὲ ἀρχόντων συναγαγόντων ἐκλησίαν καὶ τήντε παρουσίαν ἐμφανισάντωντοῦ βασιλέως. “We fall back upon” these examples of the word “the more gladly because for this particular sense of the word the Jewish sacred writings give us little help” (ibid.). The word must, therefore, have come into use, in this application to the Second Advent, in apostolic times, as faithfully representing the meaning of Jesus Himself (cf. Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:37; Matthew 24:39). The usual classical sense of the word as “presence” must not be disregarded. Taken together with the other meaning illustrated by the κοινή, παρουσία would thus seem to combine in itself the meaning of “actual presence,” and a near “coming”. This combination of meaning in the consciousness of the early Church, with its perplexity as to the interpretation of our Lord’s promise, would seem to be reflected in John 16:16-18. ἐπόπται: used of those who had attained the highest degree of initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries. Judging from the use of ἐποπτεύω in 1 Peter, the word may have passed into ordinary speech, but no doubt is used here to enhance the splendour of the vision, and the honour done the disciples, at the Transfiguration—“admitted to the spectacle of His grandeur’ (Moffat, H. N. T. p. 600). ἐπόπτης is applied to God in Esther 5:1, 2 Maccabees 7:35, cf. O.G.I.S., 666 τὸν ἥλιον ἅφμαχιν ἐπόπτην καὶ σωτῆρα (reference to an Egyptian Sun-god). Hofmann holds that the reference is rather to the Resurrection and Ascension. μεγαλείοτητος. Cf. Luke 9:43, Acts 19:27.


Verses 16-18

2 Peter 1:16-18. The fact of the Transfiguration a guarantee of the writer’s truthfulness. “For we are not without facts to rest upon. Our preaching of the power and coming of Jesus Christ was not based on sophistical myths. We were eye-witnesses of His Majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, a voice coming to Him through the splendour of the glory, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’. This voice we heard, as it was borne from heaven, when we were with Him in the Holy Mount.” (For a comparison of this passage, with the Synoptic account, see Introduction, pp. 94 ff.).


Verse 17

2 Peter 1:17. λαβὼν. It is well-nigh impossible to say what is the case agreement of the participle here. It is at least certain that the subject is Jesus. Dietlein, Schott, Ewald, and Mayor agree that the writer intended to go on, ἐβεβαίωσεν τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον for which he substitutes καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον, after the parenthetic 18th verse. παρὰ θεοῦ πατρός. See Hort’s note, 1 Peter 1:2. The usage (without the article) indicates the growth of a special Christian terminology. The two words are treated as one proper name. τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν. A frequent combination, cf. Psalms 8:6, Job 40:10, 1 Peter 1:7, Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10, 1 Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 2:7; Hebrews 2:9. τιμή is the personal honour and esteem in which Jesus is held by the Father, cf. Hort’s note on 1 Peter 1:7. “Honour in the voice which spoke to Him; glory in the light which shone from Him” (Alford). φωνῆςτοιᾶσδε. This is the only instance of τοιόσδε in N.T. = “to the following effect”. ὑπὸ τῆς μεγαλοπρεποῦς δόξης. Retaining reading ὑπὸ, we may regard μεγ. δόξα as a vehicle of expression. The voice expresses its significance. It is not a mere accompanying phenomenon of the voice. cf. the instrumental dative in 2 Peter 1:21 after ἠνέχθη. μεγ. δόξης corresponds to “the bright cloud” ( νεφέλη φωτεινὴ) of the Synoptics. οὐρανός is used in 2 Peter 1:18 to describe the source from which the voice came; “the sky,” cf. 2 Peter 3:12-13. εἰς ὃν ἐγὼ εὐδόκησα. Moulton (Proleg. p. 63) points out that tendency in N.T. is for εἰς to encroach on the domain of ἐν. cf. John 1:18, ὤν εἰς τὸν κόλπον (ib. p. 235).


Verse 18

2 Peter 1:18. ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ ἁγίῳ. The phrase indicates a view of the place and incident which has been taken up into and sanctified in the religious consciousness of the Church. The Gnostic Acts of Peter use the phrase “in monte sacro”. ἅγιος signifies a place where Jehovah manifested Himself, cf. Exodus 3:5, Isaiah 52:1.


Verse 19

2 Peter 1:19. βεβαιότερον-g0-. Originally a legal term. See note 2 Peter 1:10; cf. Philippians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 1:21. τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, i.e. all in the O.T. scriptures that points to the Coming of the Messiah. The prophecy is now supported by its partial fulfilment in the Transfiguration. καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες. “to which ye do well to take heed”. “ καλ. ποιήσεις c. a or. part. is the normal way of saying ‘please’ in the papyri, and is classical” (Moulton Proleg. p. 228). ὡς λύχνῳκαρδ. ὑμῶν. Spitta would eliminate the words ἕως οὑἀνατείλῃ as a gloss founded on Psalms 119:105; Psalms 119:4 Esdras 12:42. αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, properly =“dry” or “parched”: then “squalid” or “rough”. Here it means “murky”. In Aristot. de Color. 3 τὸ αὐχμηρόν is opposed to τὸ λαμπρόν. φωσφόρος. “Morning-star.” Not found elsewhere in Biblical Greek. The LXX word is ἑωσφόρος. In the poets, the word is always applied to Venus (Cicero, Nat. Deorum, 2, 20).

This verse has been much discussed. It may be well to mention three grammatical points that emerge. (1) The reference of . It is simplest to understand it as referring to the content of the preceding clause, and not to τὸν προφ· λόγον alone, viz. the fact that the προφ· λογ. is now βεβ. on account of the Transfiguration. (2) ἕως οὗ κ. τ. λ. is to be taken with φαίνοντι, not with προσέχοντες. (3) ἐν τ. κ. ὑμῶν is connected with ἀνατείλῃ alone, and not with διαυγάσῃ. With these presuppositions we may briefly consider the two leading interpretations.

1. Mayor may be taken as representative of the view that the verse is wholly an exhortation to “search the Scriptures”. There are three stages: the prophetic lamp ( τὸν προφτόπῳ); the Gospel dawn ( ἡμέρα διαυγ.); the inner light of the spirit ( φωσφόροςὑμῶν.). “The lower degree of faith in the written word will be followed by divine insight”. He compares Euth. Zig. προφητικὸς λόγος τοὺς ἐν ἀγνοίᾳ φωταγωγεῖ ἕως καθαρὸν ὑμῖν τὸ φῶς τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαφανῇ καὶ νοητὸς ἑωσφόρος, τουτέστι χριστός, ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν ἀνατείλῃ. (cf. Huther. Alford). The objection to this view is that it seems to ignore the place given to the Transfiguration as a religious fact for writer and readers alike ( ἔχομεν).

2. Another and more probable view naturally takes ἕως οὗὑμῶν as referring to the Second Advent. This preserves the usual meaning of ἡμέρα in the Epistle, and it also gives point to the striking sequence of metaphors. The λύχνῳ φαίνοντι is the confirmation of the prophetic word by the Transfiguration which the writer has given them (cf. 2 Peter 1:16); and this is made all the more probable if we take the reference suggested for in (1) above. The αὐχμ. τόπῳ would be the world in which they live (cf. Psalms 119:105). This lamp is meant to serve until the glorious appearing. One objection to the eschatological interpretation of ἕως οὗ κ. τ. λ. is the phrase ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν which implies an inward Coming. This is largely repelled if we accept its grammatical connection with ἀνατείλῃ alone ((3) above). “The Morning-Star arises in their hearts, when the σημεῖα of the approaching Day are manifest to Christians. The fulfilment of their hope is at the door: the Lord is at hand” (von Soden). See note on 2 Peter 1:9.


Verses 19-21

2 Peter 1:19-21. The Transfiguration confirms Prophecy. “Thus we have still further confirmation of the words of the prophets, a fact to which you would do well to give heed, as to a lamp shining in a murky place, meant to serve until the Day break and the Day-Star arise in your hearts. Recognise, above all, this truth, that no prophecy is restricted to the particular interpretation of one generation. No prophecy was ever borne through the instrumentality of man’s will, but men spoke, direct from God, impelled by the Holy Spirit.”


Verse 20

2 Peter 1:20. τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες. “Recognising this truth above all else” (in your reading of Scripture). The False Teachers appealed to the O.T. scriptures in support of their doctrine. ὅτι πᾶσαοὐ γίνεται. πᾶσαοὐ need not be regarded as a Hebraism. It is as normal as in 1 John 2:21, John 3:16. ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως. This passage is a noted crux. (1) Hardt, followed by Lange, Spitta and others interpret ἐπιλυς. = dissolutio. “No prophecy of S. is of such a kind that it can be annulled”. But no satisfactory instance of ἐπιλυς. in this sense can be adduced. (2) Accepting the sense of ἰδ. ἐπιλ. = “private,” or “human interpretation,” Von Soden sees a reference to the methods of the false teachers in their attitude to Scripture (cf. 2 Peter 1:16, 2 Peter 2:1). ἰδίας “is opposed to the φωνὴ ἐνεχθεῖσα of 2 Peter 1:17”. (3) It seems most satisfactory to understand ἰδ. ἐπιλ. as the meaning of the prophet himself, or what was in the prophet’s mind when he wrote; the fulfilment in any particular generation or epoch. “The special work of the prophet is to interpret the working of God to his own generation. But in doing this, he is laying down the principles of God’s action generally. Hence there may be many fulfilments of one prophecy, or to speak more exactly, many historical illustrations of some one principle of Providential Government” (Mayor, p. 196). The genitive ἐπιλύσεως is gen. of definition and not of origin. “No prophecy is of such a nature as to be capable of a particular interpretation.”


Verse 21

2 Peter 1:21. οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ. With ἠνέχθη cf. 2 Peter 1:17-18. ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ πνεύμφερόμενοι, cf. Acts 2:2. ὥσπερ φερομένης πνοῆς βιαίας. Here we have the only reference to the Holy Spirit in the Epistle, and only in this connexion, viz. as the source of prophetic inspiration. The spirit is an agency rather than an agent. The men speak. The spirit impels. It is of much significance for the interpretation of the whole passage that ἄνθρωποι occupies a position of emphasis at the end of the sentence, thus bringing into prominence the human agent. The prophets were not ignorant of the meaning of their prophecies, but they saw clearly only the contemporary political or moral situation, and the principles involved and illustrated therein.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Peter 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/2-peter-1.html. 1897-1910.

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