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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

2 Peter 1

Verses 1-21

Second Peter.

Simon Peter ( 2 Peter 1:1 ),

The name Simon, of course, was the given name. Peter is the name that Jesus gave to him. He is,

a bondslave and an apostle ( 2 Peter 1:1 )

It seems that bondslave was first, apostle second.

of Jesus Christ, writing to those that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ ( 2 Peter 1:1 ):

So Peter identifies himself as the writer. He is writing to those who have received "like precious faith" and that word "precious" again; big, old, rough, tough Peter and yet this word seems to be one of his favorite words.

Grace and peace be multiplied through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord ( 2 Peter 1:2 ),

Grace and peace, typical greetings. But here Peter is praying really that they be multiplied. And how are they multiplied? The more you know God, the more you know Jesus Christ, the more you experience and are blessed by the grace of God and as the result, experience the peace of God. Grace and peace be multiplied. How? Through your knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. Oh God is so gracious and you need to know Him so that you might know His grace towards us. So "grace and peace be multiplied through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord."

According as his divine power he has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory [or by glory] and virtue ( 2 Peter 1:3 ):

Now God has supplied unto us everything that we need to live a successful Christian life. God really doesn't have to do any more for us; no extra work is necessary. God has given unto us all that pertains to a spiritual life, a life of godliness, and this abundance for this life comes to us again through the knowledge of God. How important that you come to know God. And how can you come to know God? There's only one resource book by which you can get a true understanding of God and that's the Bible. Your knowledge of God must come through God's revelation of Himself.

You see, if I develop what I feel God must be like, then I think of myself in my most ideal form and I project that as God. But that comes short. So I cannot accept man's understandings or revelations of God. They're all centered around that man's own personality and ideals. It is important that my understanding and revelation of God come from Himself, from His revelation of Himself. And of course, the most complete revelation came through Jesus Christ, "God, in sundry times and in divers ways spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but hath in these last days spoken unto us by His own dear Son" ( Hebrews 1:1 , Hebrews 1:2 ).

So through Jesus Christ I come to a knowledge and an understanding of God. And as I come to the knowledge and understanding of God, I grow in grace. And as I come to the knowledge and understanding of God, I find that God has given unto me everything that I need for this life, for a life of godliness. So he has called us by His glory and virtue,

And he has given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature ( 2 Peter 1:4 ),

And again, the word of God brings me the knowledge of God. The word of God helps me to then partake of the divine nature. The seed that brought me into spiritual life by which I was conceived spiritually was the word of God. Jesus said, "A man went forth to sow. Some of the seed fell by the wayside" and so forth. He said, "now the seed is the word"( Luke 8:11 ). It brings forth spiritual life. In the word are exceeding rich and precious promises and this brings a conformity to the divine nature. We need to make a thorough, complete study of the word of God. You cannot get too much of it.

And the amazing thing that I've discovered about this Book is that every time I read it, there is something new, there is something fresh that ministers to my spirit. It never grows old. I never think, Oh, I've read that before or, Oh, I know that. For as I read it prayerfully and carefully, I find that the Spirit opens up a new vista of truth that I had never discovered before. It's a Book that is constantly unfolding its beauty unto my heart as I read it as I come to know God as I grow in that grace through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ.

Now these rich and precious promises, you know I think that you can find a promise of God that is adaptable for every kind of a circumstance that you might be facing. No matter what your problem is, there is a promise to match the problem, a promise that speaks to that problem. A promise of God's help or God's deliverance or God's provision, God's strength, whatever it is that you might need, God has given to us exceeding rich and precious promises that we are to lay hold of and we are to claim. And by these we become partakers of the divine nature.

having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust ( 2 Peter 1:4 ).

There is the source of the corruption in the world. We live in a world that is really messed up, a world that is corrupt. And what is at the heart of the corruption? The lust of man. The greed. But we've escaped that, thank God, through the knowledge of God and through the word of God and by partaking of the divine nature. How important it is that we constantly feed on the word of God because it is the word of God that feeds the spiritual man.

Now there is the fleshly side of me, there is the spiritual side of me. I always take care to feed the fleshly side of me. It makes 1Th 5:30 or so in the evening, the fleshly side of me begins to make its demands. And so I take care of it. I see that it is fed. I try to see that I have a well-balanced diet. That I get a proper balance of the grains, of the vegetables, of the fruits, of the green leafy vegetables, the yellow vegetables, and so forth, so that I can be strong physically. I like to eat a well-balanced dinner. I like to have a well-balanced diet. I grew up on it. If we would take as much care to feed the spiritual man as we do the physical man, how strong we would be spiritually. If we would make sure that we had a well-balanced spiritual diet.

But you see, too many times we just get into that book that I really, well, I'll read a psalm tonight because it's really short, you know. And I appease my conscience, you know, "well I read the Word today". But I really didn't feed on the Word. It's important that we go through the Word, that we have a well-balanced diet. It brings to us the knowledge of God. It brings us into the partaking of the divine nature.

And so beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith moral strength or moral courage ( 2 Peter 1:5 );

The word "virtue" means one who stands in the face of opposition. One who doesn't run from the battle.

and to virtue knowledge; And to your knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love ( 2 Peter 1:5-7 ).

Now if these were rungs on a ladder that you were climbing, at which rung are you presently standing? Are you growing? Are you developing in your spiritual walk in life? In looking back, have you progressed this past year? Have there been real spiritual gains made in your life? Or are you just sort of treading water? Running on a treadmill? Maintaining?

The Bible doesn't encourage us really to just maintain. It encourages us to grow, to develop, to add to our "faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge". To develop and experience the growth. And I would encourage you to look at your own life. Where are you standing? Where are you going? What are your spiritual goals?

For if these things be in you ( 2 Peter 1:8 ),

Godliness, brotherly kindness, love, "if these things be in you,"

and abound, they make you that you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ( 2 Peter 1:8 ).

Your life will begin to really bring forth fruit. Sometimes people come and they say, you know, I feel so dry spiritually. Quite a witness against yourself, you haven't been growing, you haven't been diligent, "adding to your faith virtue; and to your virtue knowledge; and to your knowledge temperance"; and all. If these things are in you, if they abound in you, you'll never be barren or unfruitful. Your life will be filled with the knowledge and the understanding of our Lord by which the grace and the love and the peace will be multiplied in your life.

But if you lack in these things ( 2 Peter 1:9 )

Go down the list again. If you're lacking in patience; in temperance, which is moderation; if you're lacking in love or brotherly kindness; then you're blind, spiritually blind to your real condition and your real need.

You know, it's a tragic thing that sin has its effect of numbing the senses of man. Our consciences can be deadened by repeated sin. You know the first time you did it, you felt so horrible. It bothered you. You really wrestled with it. And it was just miserable and you felt miserable. But you finally sort of got over and eased out of it. But the next time you did it, you didn't feel quite so badly about it. Until now, you can do it without even a wince. The numbing effect of sin.

That is, of course, one of the deadly characteristics of drugs is the first thing they attack is your will. And they destroy your willpower so that a person can easily become addicted to drugs because they attack that part of your body or make-up that would resist doing such a thing. And destroying your willpower, you then become its victim.

Sin is much the same way. It is blinding. It brings to you shortsightedness; that is, we lose the sense of the eternal. And that is always dangerous when we lose the sense of the eternal. We cannot see afar off. We only see the immediate advantage. We only see the temporary gain but we don't take eternity into our consideration. And the moment you leave out the eternal, you have lost the perspective for life, you've lost the sense of good judgment and you're apt to do foolish things because you don't have eternity in view. May God ever keep in the forefront of our minds the consciousness of eternity and the fact that we stand on the threshold of eternity every day.

None of us know when we're going to take that step. And yet we plan as though we are going to be here forever. But how many are like that rich man of which Jesus spake when He said, "He said, I am rich, I'm increased with goods, I have need of nothing. And the Lord said, Thou fool, this night your soul can be required of you" ( Luke 12:18-20 ). He was laying up his plans. I'm going to tear down my barns, build bigger, and so on. This night, it's all over. We live on the border of eternity. And we need to have that in our minds. What is the eternal value? What is the eternal effect?

Oh, it may have a temporary value for us. It may bring us excitement for right now but what's it doing for me eternally? It may seem to be the proper or the exciting thing to do right now, but what about the eternal? And when we lose sight of eternity, we become

blind, we cannot see afar off, and we soon forget that we've been purged, we've been washed from those old sins. So give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you will never fall ( 2 Peter 1:9-10 ):

Now there are always those who are questioning the security of the believer. And yes, the believer is secure. "If you do these things, you'll never fall." If you are adding to your faith virtue; and to your virtue knowledge; and to your knowledge temperance; if you do these things, you're never going to fall. You're moving on towards Him.

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ( 2 Peter 1:11 ).

What kind of an entrance you going to have into heaven? Just barely squeak in. There used to be a song and I hated it; "If I can just make it in". And I thought that it was reflective of the attitude of too many people. You know, if I can just make it in, that's all, man, just make it in. That's all I want. I want to have an abundant entry into the kingdom of God. You know, I don't want to just run the race and hope to finish the race. I want to win the race. "Know ye that they which run in a race run all, but only one receives the prize. So run, that you might obtain" ( 1 Corinthians 9:24 ). This lackadaisical attitude towards the Christian walk and life is a curse to so many people within the church. Peter here encourages you towards the abundant entrance into the kingdom, the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wherefore [Peter said] I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth ( 2 Peter 1:12 ).

Now I know you know these things, Peter said. But I want to remind you. There are things which we as Christians it seems need constant reminding, certain areas. It's easy to just begin to slough off and to become careless or indifferent. And so there are areas where we need constant exhortation, constant prodding, constant reminders. And Peter is saying, I know you know these things but I want to bring them to your memory again.

And then he said,

Yes, I think that it is necessary, as long as I am in this tabernacle [or in this tent], to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I'm going to move out of this tent, even as the Lord Jesus Christ has showed me ( 2 Peter 1:13-14 ).

So Peter referring to this body as a tent which is New Testament scripture; as long as I'm in this tent, that is, in this body, I think it's necessary that I remind you of these things, and I'm going to be moving out of this body pretty soon because the Lord has showed me. And thus, really writing them to you so that even after I'm gone you'll still be reminded. Purpose of the letter, to write these important things that they might be continually reminded of them and even after he's gone they will have the reminders as they read the letter.

I like the idea of thinking of this body as a tent because a tent is never thought of in a term of permanent dwelling place. It's always looked upon as something temporary, ready to move on or move out of. Good for a couple weeks' vacation but living in a tent can get tiring, good to get back in the house, the conveniences of the house. Now we are told that when this tent is dissolved, that "we have a building of God, that is not made with hands, that's eternal in the heavens" ( 2 Corinthians 5:1 ). Peter said, I'm going to be moving out of my tent pretty soon, even as the Lord has shown me.

Moreover I will endeavour that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For [Peter said] we haven't followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty ( 2 Peter 1:15-16 ).

I think that we need to at least consider the possibility that these were cunningly devised fables. That these fellows conspired together, sat down, developed the story, rehearsed the story, and then sought to spread the story. Because the moment you take that into consideration, you see how ludicrous it becomes, and you can see that it could not be a cunningly devised fable because too many people have examined it and studied it thoroughly. That if there were just a cunningly devised fable, there would have been the flaws that could have been discovered and the whole thing discarded long ago. You see, there's not one stone in this whole story that hasn't been examined carefully, turned over, studied every aspect of it.

If it were just a cunningly devised fable, then you could not explain its power to change men's lives so dramatically, the power of the Gospel. And we see witnesses of the power of the Gospel all around us in lives that have been transformed. A cunningly devised fable couldn't do that. Peter said, "But we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory declaring, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount ( 2 Peter 1:17-18 ).

Now Peter was taken with James and John up into a high mountain by Jesus. And there He was transfigured before them and they saw Him in His transfigured glory with Moses and Elijah appearing and talking unto Him. And then when the disciples looked up again, Moses and Elijah had disappeared and Jesus only was standing there. "And then there came that voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, hear ye him" ( Matthew 17:5 ). You see, they had heard the law, they had heard the prophets. And now God is saying, listen to my Son. "God who at sundry times spoke to our fathers in divers ways by the prophets hath in these last days spoken by his own dear Son." "This is my Son, hear ye Him."

The law came by Moses; grace and truth by Jesus Christ. And so Peter said, We heard the voice, we saw, we were eyewitnesses.

But we have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn ( 2 Peter 1:19 ),

Now this prophecy, the word of God is like a light that is shining in a dark place until the day dawns. During the nighttime, yet you have a light to guide you. Through the darkness of human history there is a light to guide us until that day that is prophesied does dawn,

and the day star comes, arises, even Jesus Christ ( 2 Peter 1:19 ):

So this sure word of prophecy, one of the strongest apologetics for the scripture, of course, is the area of prophecy. The fact that the Scriptures prophesied so many things that have all come to pass and the prophecies were one hundred percent accurate. I mean, all you'd have to do is fail in one prophecy and the whole thing could be discredited. That's why delving into the field of prophecy is so precarious. You want to become a prophet, it's a lot easier to become a false prophet than a true prophet cause you may give ninety-nine true prophecies in a hundred; might miss, tough, you're a false prophet. Oh, but I got ninety-nine right. Yeah, but you missed one. I mean, it requires a hundred percent accuracy.

There are people who are blinded by religious fervor who are willing to overlook the fact that Joseph Smith said that the moon was made out of cheese. And that the Jehovah Witnesses predicted that Jesus was coming in 1917 and then later in 1925. A sure word of prophecy. It's a dangerous subject to go out on a limb and because the word of God, it's there. It ventures into that field. That's because God spoke.

Now, no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation ( 2 Peter 1:20 ).

I am not amused at many of the private interpretations people get for scriptures. Some special revelation that no one has ever seen before and God has given to me, you know. I don't think that I have ever discovered any new truth. Someone said, "Is that the honest truth?" Well, if it's true, it's honest. There's no scripture for private interpretation.

But the prophecy in the old time did not come by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit ( 2 Peter 1:21 ).

And so here we find the word of God attesting to the inspiration of the Scriptures. As Paul writing to Timothy said, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ). Now this is one of those points that Satan is constantly attacking. There are three basic areas where Satan is constantly assailing. One is the word of God. The second is the deity of Jesus Christ. And the third is the work of the Holy Spirit. And Satan is constantly attacking these three things.

The word of God: "Hath God said?" And he continues to attack the word of God. And because this is one of the fields of his attacks, as Peter here mentions that the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is only natural that he now turns to warn us against the false teachers that will come along in the last days. And one of the main premises of these false teachers is that the word of God is not inspired. That it is the fallible word of men. Or that it is so interspersed with man's concepts and man's ideas that in places it becomes unreliable. So "holy men wrote as they were inspired of the Holy Spirit." But even in the Old Testament times, there were false prophets.

At the time of Jeremiah there were false prophets that were telling the king that he was going to prosper, that he was going to defeat the enemy. Jeremiah gave to the king the true prophecy. The king didn't want to hear Jeremiah. These false prophets made fun of Jeremiah. The one made a set of horns and went running around and said, So the king is going to push the enemies out of the land and all. And they were prophesying, "Peace, peace," when there was no peace. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Peter 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.