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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

2 Peter 1


Outline Of Chapter One:

Introduction: 1:1-2

Our Privileges: 1:3-4

The Ingredients Of Spiritual Growth: 1:5-11

Truth Demands Repetition: 1:12-15

Truth: Supported By Eyewitness Testimony: 1:16-18

Truth: Supported By The Prophets: 1:19-21

Introductory Comments:

‘In the latter part of the apostolic age many false teachers arose…To stop the mouths of the false teachers, who were now gone abroad among the churches, and to prevent the faithful from being seduced by them, and to establish them in the belief in the things which the Lord Himself had taught---delivered by the apostles-Peter wrote his second epistle. This letter is addressed to those who have obtained the “same kind” or “like-precious” faith with the writer, v. 1, and that they may be assured of the correctness of the gospel and its God-given source, thereby being the more strongly established in its belief and not easily moved from it by false teachers..’ (Oberst p. 258)

‘Fakes are a nuisance. Fake artists make fools of collectors, fake financiers embezzle millions at the expense of honest investors, fake scientists inflate their own reputations by riding on the back of other people’s hard research. In some other area of life, though, fakes, are not merely a nuisance but actually poses a serious threat…Such…con-men are the reason Peter wrote this letter. They not only prey on people’s wallets or good nature; ultimately they can wreck our eternal destiny, since a false gospel tells lies about God.’ (Lucas/Green p. 28)

Commentary On Chapter 1:1-11:

Verse 1

2Pe_1:1 ‘Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:’

‘Simon Peter’ -The two names are often used together ( Mat_16:16 ; Luk_5:8 ; Joh_1:40 ; Joh_6:8 ; Joh_6:68 , etc…). ‘Simon’-which means ‘God has heard’. This would be Peter’s Hebrew name. ‘Peter’-his Greek name. A synonym for the Aramaic name ‘Cephas’, meaning rock or a stone ( Joh_1:42 ). Hamilton notes, ‘If the author is a pseudonymous one who wrote the epistle as some argue because of the use of the double designation, then it would appear to be out of character for a forger or an impostor. Would not he have used the same name “Peter” as is the case in the first letter? The double name appears to have more weight on the side of Peter’s writing the letter than it does that a pseudonymous writer penned it.’ (p. 3)

‘bond-servant’ -A common designation for Christians ( Rom_1:1 ; Col_4:12 ; 2Ti_2:24 ; Jam_1:1 ). ‘one who gives himself up wholly to another’s will’ (Thayer p. 158). ‘devotion to the utter disregard of one’s own interests’ (Woods p. 147). The Christian is one whose life is to be given wholly over to God ( Rom_6:16 ; Gal_2:20 ).

Points to Note:

Consider Peter’s humility. He is simply a servant of Jesus Christ, as any other Christian. He isn’t the head of the Church nor the vicar of Christ. 2. Barclay notes that when Christians are called servants of God, this means: a. We are to be completely at God’s disposal. b. Our obedience to God is to be unquestioning and prompt, even when such obedience would bring suffering upon us. ‘In any situation the Christian has but one question to ask: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”’ (Barclay p. 346) c. All of our time belongs to God. d. God always comes first ( Mat_6:33 ). 3. Peter isn’t a servant of men ( 1Co_7:23 ), and neither is he a servant of sin ( Joh_8:34 ; Rom_6:17 ; Rom_6:20 ). 4. We all serve something or someone.

‘apostle’ -‘lit., one sent forth’ (Vine p. 63) Not the only representative of Jesus Christ, but one of the ambassadors of Christ ( 2Co_5:20 ).

‘to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours’ -‘a faith as privileged as ours’ (Gspd); ‘a faith of equal standing with ours’ (RSV); ‘a faith as valuable as ours’ (Phi). ‘Received’-‘obtain’ (Arndt p. 462). ‘Same kind’-‘equally precious, equally honored’ (Thayer p. 307); ‘equal in value, also simply of the same kind’ (Arndt p. 381)

Points to Note:

Peter’s faith wasn’t more important than the faith of any other Christian. All souls are equally precious ( Mat_16:26 ). 2. God doesn’t place a greater priority upon the faith exercised by certain individuals. Rather, God equally values the obedient faith of all who render it to him. 3. This also implies that all can believe! For all are given the chance to believe ( Mar_16:15 ). And all can see the same evidence ( Rom_1:20 ; Psa_19:1 ). 4. ‘he (Peter) writes to reassure them that despite their remoteness from the gospel events, they (and we) are as privileged as the apostles.’ (Lucas/Green p. 34) 5. ‘The central idea conveyed is that the faith of Christians is equal to that of Peter and the apostles. There is no distinction to be made between the faith of these two groups. It is produced in the same way ( Rom_10:17 ) and can be described in exactly the same way ( Heb_11:1 ) and produces the same character and conduct when it is demonstrated ( Rom_1:5 ; Rom_16:26 ; Gal_5:6 ; 1Th_1:3 ).’ (Hamilton pp. 5-6) ( Act_15:9 ; Act_15:11 )

‘by the righteousness’ -The fact that all can believe, is a proof that God is fair! In addition, God has made it possible, by His own grace for people to have plenty of evidence in which to believe ( Mar_16:15 ).

‘our God and Savior, Jesus Christ’ -‘According to the strict grammatical construction of the passage “God” and “Savior” are both predicates of “Jesus Christ”, as in Tit_2:13 .’ (P.P. Comm. p. 2) ‘Grammar demands that one person be meant’ (Robertson p. 148) Jesus is called ‘God’ in many other passages ( Joh_1:1 ; Joh_20:28 ; Col_2:9 ; Heb_1:8 ).

Verse 2

2Pe_1:2 ‘Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;’

‘in the knowledge of God’ -‘Knowledge’-‘precise and correct knowledge’ (Thayer p. 237). ‘EPIGNOSIS’-denotes exact or full knowledge, discernment, expressing a fuller or a full knowledge, a greater participation by the knower in the object known, thus more power influencing him.’ (Vine p. 301)

Points to Note:

Just some knowledge of God isn’t enough ( Rom_10:2 ). 2. Rather, it is correct, real, true and a full knowledge that brings salvation and its blessings. 3. The multiplication of peace and grace is dependent upon having the correct knowledge. Hence, the danger of false doctrine, which would cut one off from grace and peace ( 2Jn_1:9 ; Gal_1:6-9 ). 4. Spiritual growth is dependent upon increasing in knowledge, knowing Jesus and His will even better. ‘The better we know Jesus, the greater the wonder of grace, and the more real our experience of the peace which passeth understanding.’ (Barclay pp. 347-348) 5. A full and correct knowledge of God and His truth is not only possible, rather, it is expected of everyone ( 1Ti_2:4 ; 2Ti_3:7 ). 6. ‘This is (grace and peace) no barren formula to Peter…for he makes both the experience of God’s peace and the reception of His grace (or help) to be dependent upon the deep knowledge of God (see Joh_17:3 ).’ (Green p. 61) 7. It is also essential that one understand that grace and peace cannot be enjoyed, without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Real grace and peace are not found in non-Christian religious systems.

Concerning this ‘knowledge’, Barclay had some interesting observations: Much like today, many in the ancient world sought knowledge by way of philosophic speculation. ‘They sought to reach God by the sheer power of human thought. There are clear and obvious troubles there. For one thing, God is infinite; the mind of man is finite…If God is ever to be known, he must be known, not because man’s mind discovers Him, but because He chooses to reveal Himself (i.e. the Bible)…..They sought it by mystical experience.’ (pp. 348-349)

Man has always wanted the truth to come from some emotional or mystical experience.

And, people usually want the truth to be only available to the few, they want something that only a few can have. In addition, they usually want the truth to be non-threatening, a message that pampers them, instead of telling them the truth about themselves.

‘Jesus our Lord’ -‘Peter is also alert to the danger of taking shortcuts to heaven, and behaving as if God had magically so transformed us that the categories of “sin” and “obedience” have become irrelevant. He does not want us to forget that Christians talk of Jesus as their Lord as well as their Saviour.’ (Lucas/Green p. 43)

Verse 3

2Pe_1:3 ‘seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.’

‘seeing’ -But the great mental hurdle faced by many Christians is that of doubt. Doubt in their own abilities, ‘I don’t know if I can live the Christian life’. And especially, doubt in the Word of God, ‘I’m not sure if I can understand this book, I don’t know if I can detect false teaching when I hear it’. One of the first things that Christians must become convinced of as they struggle against error, is that God has given them everything they need to win.

‘His divine power’ -‘His’ probably refers back to the last person mentioned, i.e. Jesus (1:2). ‘Divine’-THEOIS, ‘divine’, from the word ‘theos’, God. It is applied ‘to the godhead and everything that belongs to it’ (Arndt p. 354). Hence we can have confidence in whatever God has given us, especially His Word. For it is the product of Divine Power. This verse reveals that Jesus is both very generous and also very powerful. His power cannot be frustrated. ‘In this human world one of the tragedies of life is that love is so often frustrated, because love cannot give what it wants to give…must so often stand helpless, while the loved one meets disaster.’ (Barclay p. 350) But the power of Jesus hasn’t been frustrated, He has actually given something to us.

‘has granted to us’ -We actually have it right now!

‘everything’ -Thus, let us hear no more about the Bible being an incomplete guide.

‘pertaining to life’ -‘life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God’ (Thayer p. 273) All that is necessary for true life and true religion. ‘Jesus Christ tells us what life is, and then enables us to live life, as life ought to be lived. He gives us the religion which is not withdrawal from life but which is triumphant involvement in life.’ (Barclay p. 350) Notice that Jesus sets the standards for how to live. And His standard is not one which seeks to find the lowest common denominator ( Mat_5:20 ; Mat_22:37-40 ).

‘godliness’ -‘to be devout, denotes that piety, which, characterized by a God-ward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him.’ (Vine p. 162) ‘of the duty which man owes to God, piety, godliness, religion’ (Arndt p. 326). ‘the radical idea is worship rightly directed, right reverence’ (Vincent p. 676)

Points to Note:

Every Christian has within their reach the resources to live a life which is pleasing to God. 2. ‘It is encouragement because it means that there is nothing extra to find out or gain access to what we have already obtained…The gospel is sufficient for us to meet God’s requirements. If there is a major scientific, artistic, moral or philosophical question, or even a matter of personal decision-making, which the Bible does not address, then we have to assume that although it may be intriguing and important from a human perspective, it is irrelevant to the quest for a godly life. God has made his directions for life perfectly clear and sufficient…There will always be people who want to supplement the work of Christ with extra teaching, and convince us that we are living less than Christian lives, while their particular form of teaching is the ingredient missing from traditional Christianity. It takes different forms: Christ plus healing, Christ plus success, Christ plus prosperity…Simply by being Christians we have access to everything we need to live a life that pleases God. Those who want to add to that are false teachers. That sufficiency of Christ is good news. But the tremendous warning these words contain is that we have to face up to our accountability to him. We cannot blame God for not making us godly enough or not making his will clear enough, for we already have everything we need. A godly life is not something that only a few super-saints are destined to achieve…for Peter says it is well within the reach of the ordinary Christian. There is no point seeking a special secret of sanctification that will transform us into godly people in a faster way than ordinary Christian obedience…The Christian who is not godly has only one person to blame.’ (Lucas/Green p. 48)

‘through the true knowledge of Him’ -‘Through’-‘by means of, as the medium of attachment’ (Alford p. 1672). ‘True Knowledge’-The same as the full knowledge mentioned in 1:2. ( Joh_17:3 ; Joh_8:32 ). This true knowledge is found in God’s revelation ( Joh_17:17 ), the Bible. 1. Everything which pertains to life and godliness is found in the Scriptures ( 2Ti_3:16-17 ). 2. The ‘true knowledge’ isn’t found in some ‘experience’ or mystical encounter.

‘who called us’ -Through the gospel message ( 2Th_2:14 ).

‘His own glory and virtue’ -‘by a glorious manifestation of His goodness’ (TCNT). ‘Jesus calls men by His moral excellence..and the total impact of His Person.’ (Green p. 63) ‘The selflessness of Jesus Christ in leaving heaven, becoming a servant, and taking the fashion of a man demonstrate and reveal his moral excellence, as does his sinless life on earth. He loved men even when they were sinners and gave himself for them ( Rom_5:8 ).’ (Hamilton p. 24) God’s glory is seen in the fact that He wanted mankind to be saved. Behind the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and spreading of the gospel, lie God’s glorious nature, which includes His love, mercy, patience, kindness, justice, impartiality, self-sacrifice and so on.

In contrast, the false teachers then and now have always found the Bible to be a burden rather than a great resource. Listen to the following comments: ‘They had started to argue that Christian theology and morality should develop and grow over time, and that it should lose some of what they might have called its primitive judgmentalism. Peter is firm in reply. No, he says, the Jesus who will return to judge will measure us by the standards he has left us and which he has equipped us to fulfill.’ (Lucas/Green p. 50)

1Pe_1:4 ‘For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.’

‘For by these’ -i.e. through His glory and virtue.

‘granted to us His precious and magnificent promises’ -‘Precious’-a great worth or value. ‘Magnificent’-‘of great moment, important’ (Thayer p. 395) ‘Through his might and splendor he has given us his promises, great beyond all price.’ (NEB)

Points to Note:

The false teachers were promising an illusion (2:19). Everyone promises something. But Jesus actually promises something real and lasting. His great promises include the promise of eternal life, forgiveness, adoption in the family of God, fellowship with God, and so on. These promises would especially be great for Gentiles, for they had been excluded from God’s promises in the past ( Eph_2:11-12 ). See ( Gal_3:29 ; Tit_1:2 ; Jam_1:12 ).

‘in order that by them’ -through these promises or through the fulfillment of these promises. Many of these promises (such as forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God, being a child of God) had to be fulfilled before we could become partakers of the divine nature. In addition, these promises also give us the incentive to serve God.

‘partakers’ -‘sharer’ (Thayer p. 352); ‘one who takes part in something, companion’ (Arndt p. 439)

‘of the divine nature’ -‘participate in the divine nature’ (TCNT). The word ‘nature’ includes the idea of ‘disposition’.

Points to Note:

What a breathtaking statement! It doesn’t mean that we will be God. Rather, all the qualities listed in the following verses (1:5-8), compose the divine nature. The disposition or attitude that Christians are to assume, is a disposition patterned after God. ( Luk_6:36 ; Mat_5:48 ; Joh_13:14 ; Joh_13:34 ; Joh_17:21 ; Ephesians 4:33; 5:25 ; Col_3:13 ; 1Pe_1:15 ; 1Pe_2:21 ). 2. Wow! Consider the potential within every one of us. We don’t have to be weighed down by lusts, bitterness, bad attitudes, etc…We can reflect the glory of God with our lives and our attitudes. I can think properly. I can behave in a way that brings honor to God. I can live an unselfish life. 3. The new man that the Christian is to become is really nothing more than man as God intended ( Eph_4:24 ). 4. As a Christian we can become what God originally wanted man to be. 5. Only in Jesus Christ can a person ever reach their true human potential for goodness. 6. Notice the honestly of the Bible. The Christian isn’t absorbed into Deity, and neither is the Christian inherently a divine person. Rather, man has potential for evil and good. God is giving you the chance to reach your potential for goodness-will you accept that offer?

‘having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust’ -1. Don’t underestimate the influence of the world! ( 1Jn_2:15-16 ) 2. ‘Corruption’-the moral and ethical decay. ‘World’-society which is alienated from God. 3. ‘by lust’-the desire for what is forbidden. Selfish desire can take what is good and wholesome and turn it into something which is rotten ( Gal_5:19-21 ). See also Rom_1:24 ; Eph_4:22 ; 1Ti_6:9 ; Tit_3:3 ; 1Pe_2:12 .

Points to Note:

Trying to fix the problems of the world, trying to make this life an utopia, is a feat destined for failure. Trying to reform the institutions of society without converting the people in those institutions is a vain task. 2. Pollution and over-population have never been the most serious problems of any society. Rather, greed, lust, selfishness, etc…are the root problems. 3. This statement is also directed against the false teachers who tried to downplay sin (2:19). ‘Sin but gives to this amazing grace fresh opportunities to operate and to abound. But for any man to speak like that is simply to show that…. He wants to sin.’ (Barclay p. 351) 4. ‘God does not call us to seek him on a higher, non-material plane by out-of-the-body experiences, transcendental meditation or visions, shaking off the supposed limitations of our bodies..Peter calls Christians to live out the new relationship with Jesus Christ in practical obedience today…We do not pretend to be perfect, which would make his promises unnecessary; or say that we do not need to be perfect, and so make his promises cheap and tawdry. Instead, we can say that we will be perfect, and that makes them very great.’ (Lucas/Green pp. 53-54)

Carefully note that we will never become gods. We were created by God ( Gen_1:26 ) and will always be a created being. We will never reach a point at which we are independent of God. We fell, not from some god-status in heaven, but from a position of full humanity on earth. Our enemy is not this physical world or our physical bodies, rather, our enemy is sin/selfishness. The material world isn’t evil, rather, selfish attitudes and selfish actions are. The answer, is not a mystical escape from this physical world, but rather a determination to live for God and not for ourselves. We should be able to see the futility of such things as transcendental meditation or other supposed mental and intellectual ways of escape. Sin starts in the MIND FIRST! ( Mar_7:20-23 )

The Productive Christian:

Verse 5

2Pe_1:5 ‘Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge;’

‘Now for this very reason’ -‘With all this in view’ (NEB). In light of all that God has done for us, so that we can escape the corruption that is in the world, ‘we cannot sit back and rest content with “faith”’ (Green p. 66)

‘applying’ -‘to bring in besides, to contribute besides to something’ (Thayer p. 487). ‘introducing by the side of ‘, i.e. besides those precious promises on God’s part, bringing in on your part.’ (Alford p. 1673). ‘adding your diligence to the divine promises’ (Vincent p. 625)

‘all diligence’ -‘earnestness, interest one’s self most earnestly’ (Thayer p. 585) ‘do your level best’ (Wms); ‘try your hardest’ (NEB). So much for the idea of bare minimum service. Consider the following statement: ‘we frequently come across a false understanding of Christian freedom which says that if we are justified by God’s irrevocable grace, we enjoy a new kind of relationship with God where ideas of law and obedience are inappropriate…Anxious Christians think they lack the key to Christian growth and certainty, and move from guru to guru seeking the touch of God to change them. Some even claim to have had an experience that makes it impossible for them to sin…People say that provided they believe as the early Christians believed, they need not behave as the early Christians behaved….One of the major concerns of Peter’s letters is that Christian faith which is firmly rooted must make a radical difference to the way we behave. We will want to please Jesus more, rather than presume upon his love.’ (Lucas/Green pp. 55-56)

‘in your faith’ -Faith is the foundation which one builds upon ( Heb_11:6 ). The faith in this passage is one’s own personal faith. You must have your own conviction. Borrowed faith will crumble. Growth can’t happen is we won’t allow ourselves to trust in the goodness of God. The person who remains doubtful ( Jam_1:6-8 ), is undermining whatever they might try to accomplish to terms of spiritual maturity. A full and complete trust in God is the first requirement that man must supply.

‘supply’ - The background for the word rendered ‘supply’ is very interesting. Originally it was as term from the theater. And was used for the person who put up all the money to finance a production. Was also used to described someone who gave much back to his own community, i.e. a generous city benefactor. ‘It never means to equip in any cheese-paring and miserly way; it means lavishly and willingly to pour out everything that is necessary for a noble performance…always at the back of it there is this idea of a willing and lavish generosity in the equipment.’ (Barclay p. 353) Unfortunately, there have always been Christians who tried to grow using only the bare minimum of effort and time. God’s great promises, deserve our best effort! Don’t try to live the Christian life on a shoestring. Rather, give your soul all the teaching, time, encouragement, help, and assistance that it needs!

‘moral excellence’ -‘moral goodness, moral vigor’ (Thayer p. 73). ‘it is Christian manliness and active courage in the good fight of faith’ (P.P. Comm. p. 4). ‘courage and soul vigor, and manliness and the determination to do what is right’ (Woods p. 150). (See Php_4:8 ; 1Pe_2:9 ; 2Pe_1:3 )

Points to Note:

‘Moral character’ (Wms); ‘noble character’(Wey). 2. ‘This is where the false teachers had gone wrong. They talked a good deal about faith, but exhibited in their lives none of that practical goodness which is indispensable to genuine Christian discipleship.’ (Green pp. 67-68) 3. ‘True virtue is not a tame and passive thing. It requires great energy and boldness, for its very essence is firmness, manliness and independence’ (Oberst p. 268) 4. Virtue is the love of goodness, the moral backbone to do the right thing. A love for goodness. ‘If Christians are supposed to be the kind of people non-Christians admire for their genuine goodness , it should not surprise us that the visible immorality of the new teachers will “bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2:2). It is still a frequent obstacle for many non-Christians that publicly recognized Christian leaders advocate standards that non-Christians find unprincipled.’ (Lucas/Green p. 58)

‘knowledge’ -Specifically, spiritual or moral knowledge. Insight, understanding, discernment, a right understanding of the truth ( Heb_5:14 ). A lack of such knowledge is spiritually fatal ( Hos_4:6 ; Rom_10:1-3 ; 2Pe_3:16 ).

Points to Note:

‘He (Peter) was confident that the God who had revealed Himself in Jesus was the God of truth. Knowledge, therefore, could never harm the Christian. Peter would have no truck with that so-called faith which shrinks from investigation lest the resultant knowledge should prove destructive. Trust has nothing to do with obscurantism. The cure for false knowledge is not less knowledge, but more.’ (Green p. 68) 2. False teachers often stress ‘knowledge’, but it is often a ‘knowledge’ which is supposedly beyond the average member. We need always to beware of doctrines based on a newly found definition for a word found in some obscure source, or a teaching that cannot be explained in simple terms or clear verses. 3. We can’t let ourselves be intimidated by the intellectual elite. Every faithful Christian has knowledge, while even the most intellectually gifted false teacher is ignorant (2:12; 2Ti_3:7 ).

Verse 6

2Pe_1:6 ‘and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness’

‘your knowledge’ -This knowledge must be your own personal possession. Someone noted that if you can’t explain a biblical concept in your own words, then you truly don’t understand it as yet.

‘self-control’ -‘one who holds himself in self-government…the ability to control one’s own life.’ (Woods p. 151) ‘the ability to take a grip of oneself…The Christian ethic does not contemplate a situation in which a man is emasculated of all passion, in which he is drained of virility, in which he is de-sexed and emptied of every passion; it envisages a situation in which a man’s instincts and passions remain, but remain under perfect control and mastery, and so become his servants and not his tyrants.’ (Barclay pp. 357-358)

Points to Note:

Self-control can be a reality in one’s life! 2. Self-control doesn’t mean the end of freedom. Rather, it is the beginning of freedom. Envy the man or woman who is no longer a slave of their selfish desires. And pity the person who is compelled to do ‘what-they-want-to-do’ ( Tit_3:3 ). 3. ‘Once again Peter uses a word which must have cut the false teachers like a whiplash. They claimed that knowledge released them from the need for self-control (2:10ff., 3:3)…Any system which divorces religion from ethics is fundamental heresy.’ (Green p. 69) 4. Men, especially need to listen to the above comments. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that one must cease being manly. Rather, becoming a Christian will bring out true manliness and strength. It will make you a stronger man, it will perfect your masculinity.

‘perseverance’ -‘lit., an abiding under’ (Vine p. 167). ‘lit., remaining behind or staying-heroic, brave patience with which a Christian not only contends.’ (Vincent p. 679)

Points to Note:

‘This patience is not Stoic quality of accepting all that comes as from the dictates of blind Fate.’ (Green p. 69) 2. This patience is positive and strong. It is neither endurance out of stupidity, stubbornness or helplessness. Endurance with a purpose, a patience with strong trust in God behind it. ‘the brave and courageous acceptance of everything that life can do to us, and the transmuting of even the worst event into another step on the upward way.’ (Barclay p. 358) 3. ‘The false teachers, who have ceased to believe in the ability of God to intervene in his world, are reduced to scoffing: “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? (3:4).’ (Lucas/Green p. 60) 4. Remember, patience for the Christian is an optimistic, strong and positive endurance ( Rom_2:7 ; Rom_5:3-4 ; Heb_12:1 ; Jam_1:3-4 ; Jam_5:11 ). 5. Patience is not only needed during times of trial and suffering, but also in the face of others defecting from the faith, of those who claim that they have found a new freedom in realizing that we don’t have to follow the Bible to end up saved. In addition, patience is also needed when life becomes usual and mundane.

‘Godliness’ -‘piety’ (TCNT); ‘devotion to God’ (Phi); ‘the fear of God’ (Bas). ‘denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him.’ (Vine p. 162)

Points to Note:

‘That person who remains constant under provocation and pressure develops a deep respect and reverence for God.’ (Hamilton p. 40) 2. ‘a catch-all word for “ a very practical awareness of God in every aspect of life”.’ (Lucas/Green p. 60) 3. The Greek word translated ‘godliness’ was the primary word for “religion” in popular pagan usage. It described the person who was very careful to maintain their duties and responsibilities to both God and man. The person who has a very tender conscience in reference to what God wants. ( Mic_6:8 )

Verse 7

2Pe_1:7 ‘and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.’

‘brotherly kindness’ -‘brotherly affection’ (Rhm); ‘a spirit of brotherhood’ (Gspd). The Greek word here is Philadephia. (See Rom_12:10 ; 1Th_4:9 ; Heb_13:1 ; 1Pe_1:22 ; 1Pe_3:8 ; 1Jn_4:21 ).

Points to Note:

‘there is a kind of religious devotion which separates a man from his fellow-men. The claims of his fellow-men become an intrusion on his prayers, his study of God’s word…Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher, never married. Half-jestingly said that he was doing far more for the world by being an unfettered philosopher than if he had produced “two or three dirty-nosed children”…What Peter is saying is that there is something wrong with the religion which at any time finds the claims and the demands of personal relationships a nuisance and an interruption.’ (Barclay p. 360) 2. ‘Peter really does mean that Christians should have a quality of relationships which is demonstrably different and satisfying, demanding a high and new loyalty’ (Lucas/Green p. 60) 3. Spiritual growth and maturity is not to make us more distant from our brethren. The more that we love God the more we should be loving our brethren ( 1Jn_4:21 ). The closer we are being drawn to God, the closer we should be with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

‘love’ -Love for God ( Mat_22:37 ), and active goodwill towards others, even our enemies ( Mat_5:44 ). The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart ( 1Ti_1:5 ). ‘the deliberate desire for the highest good of the one loved, which shows itself in sacrificial action for that person’s good’ (Green p. 71) Someone has described this quality as treating others in the way that God has treated you.

Points to Note:

Again, we see a huge contrast between real Christianity and what was being spread by the false teachers. On the one hand we find unselfishness, sacrifice, and always doing what is in the best spiritual interest of another. On the other hand, we find self-interest and exploitation of others (2:3). 2. True love is a matter of choice ( 1Co_13:4-8 ). It is undefeatable goodwill. 3. It expresses itself in obedience to the commands of God ( Joh_14:15 ; Joh_14:21 ; Joh_14:23 ; Joh_15:10 ; 1Jn_2:5 ; 1Jn_5:3 ; 2Jn_1:6 ). 4. Is always prepared to sacrifice itself for others ( Joh_13:34 ). 5. It is expressed towards all men, even the most unlovable ( Mat_5:44 ; Rom_13:10 ). 6. It is far from being a weak or sentimental thing. ‘Love in the New Testament sense of the term never makes the mistake of thinking that to let a person do as he likes is to love him. The N.T. is clear that there are times when anger, discipline, rebuke, punishment and chastening are parts of love.’ (Flesh and Spirit. Barclay p. 75) ( 2Co_2:4 ) 7. The reader needs to be impressed that ‘love’ is not something that just happens. So often people will say, ‘I am such a loving person’. Usually, what they are saying is that they are a person who thrives on emotion. This love must be sought after and pursued ( 1Co_14:1 ; 1Ti_6:11 ). Certain aspects of this love are tough ( 1Co_13:4-8 ).

None of the above qualities can stand alone. Without knowledge, faith will degenerate into superstition, knowledge without the motive of love, produces arrogance and self-righteousness. Patience without godliness leads to bitterness. Self-control which is devoid of virtue, is a humanist brand of self-control.

Also note that all these qualities are to exist together in the Christian life. The Christian is to be working on all of them at the same time.

Barren And Fruitful Christians:

Verse 8

2Pe_1:8 ‘For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

‘are yours’ -They can be ours! This section doesn’t present an impossible standard.

‘and are increasing’ -Stresses continual growth. ‘There is no excuse for resting content with present attainment..Nor is there any room for indolence and the slackening of effort.’ (Green p. 71) ‘Peter insists that this growth is our own responsibility-not that we are to “let go and let God”, as some Christians say.’ (Lucas/Green p. 61)

‘they’ -the previous qualities.

‘render you neither useless’ -‘denotes inactive, idle, unfruitful, barren’ (Vine p. 243). ‘useless, unproductive’ (Arndt p. 104); ‘keep you from being ineffective’ (RV)

‘unfruitful’ -‘not yielding what it ought to yield’ (Thayer p. 21) ( Mat_13:22 ; Joh_15:1-8 )

‘in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’ -1:2. 1. The false teachers stressed “knowledge” apart from moral purity. Peter stresses that the true knowledge of God can only be attained by the person who grows morally (1:5-7). 2. All of the qualities previously mentioned are essential for one to have a full, rich and intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ. See 1Jn_4:8 ; 1Jn_2:4 .

Verse 9

2Pe_1:9 ‘For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.’

‘he who lacks these qualities is..’ -A professed Christian can fail to grow. Spiritual growth isn’t an automatic experience. ‘Is’-black and white, not ‘could be…might be..there is a possibility he is..’

‘blind’ -( Rev_3:14 ff). Spiritually blind.

‘short-sighted’ -near-sighted, dim-sighted, ‘so short-sighted that he is blind’ (Arndt p. 531). The idea could be that this person is spiritually blind because they are so focused upon the things of this world. ‘Heaven, and the things that pertain to the spiritual realm of life are pictured here as off in the distance, perceptible only to those with good eyesight ( Mar_8:18 ).’ (Oberst p. 272) ‘a man is blind to heavenly things, and engrossed in the earthly.’ (Green p. 72) This is the precise condition that the false teachers were in.

‘having forgotten’ -a voluntary forgetfulness. ‘has chosen to forget’ (TCNT).

‘his purification from his former sins’ -the meaning and importance of what happened when he became a Christian. The person who doesn’t grow after being baptized, is deliberately choosing to forget the great blessings that God had bestowed upon them ( Psa_103:1-5 ; 2Pe_2:20-22 ).

Points to Note:

Thus a failure to grow is often caused by: 1. Limited vision. When a person’s mind is focused on this world, the moment and the present. 2. When one loses an appreciation for their salvation, thinks that it wasn’t such a big deal, and that they weren’t as much of a sinner as the next person. Note that either you move forward or backwards spiritually. But you never remain the same. Where does Peter lay the blame for this unfruitful person? With the elders, the preacher, the brethren? No. But solely on the shoulders of the person who failed to grow ( 1Co_3:1-3 ; Heb_5:11-14 ; Revelation chapters 2-3). God expects His people to be fruitful and productive ( Psa_1:3 ; Isa_5:1-5 ; Mat_7:19 ; Luk_8:15 ; Joh_15:2 ; Heb_6:7-8 ; Eph_2:10 ).

Verse 10

2Pe_1:10 ‘Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;’

‘be all the more diligent’ -‘zealous, eager, take pains, make every effort’ (Arndt p. 763). ‘More’-more and not less! ‘make all the greater efforts’ (Gspd); ‘Exert yourselves the more then’ (Ber). The false teachers looked at the grace of God and said, ‘We don’t have to try as hard, diligence isn’t needed’. This was the wrong view. Great blessings mean that we need to make sure that we don’t miss them! The Christian life is to be one of effort and diligence ( Eph_4:3 ; 2Ti_2:15 ; Heb_4:11 ; Heb_12:15 ‘See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God..’; 2Pe_3:14 ). ‘Because of God’s wonderful gifts, because the use of those gifts leads to an increased knowledge of Christ, therefore they must the rather exert themselves.’ (Green p. 73)

‘to make’ -‘to make for yourselves’ (Robertson p. 152); ‘make sure for yourself’ (Green p. 74). We have a very essential role to play in our own salvation. We make the choice whether we will end up lost or saved. We are the one who determines whether we will grow or fall away.

‘certain’ -‘firm, steadfast’ (Vine p. 99), ‘to put God’s Call and Selection of you beyond all doubt’ (TCNT). ‘Making God’s calling and selection of you “sure” (certain), is done by doing verses 5-7. Here is a thorough and decisive refutation of the doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy, and also the doctrine of predestination. It is impossible to make secure that which has never been in doubt.’ (Woods p. 154)

‘His calling and choosing you’ -God calls by the gospel message ( 2Th_2:14 ). Seeing that the gospel is to be preached to every person ( Mar_16:15 ), we must conclude that all are called. God then chooses us, when we accept His call ( Mat_22:14 ). Carefully note that the grace of God is not irresistible. Men may reject it ( Gal_2:21 ; 2Co_6:1 ). ‘the acid test of the genuineness of our faith is that either we make costly life changes on the basis of it, or we treat sin and judgment as irrelevant to a Christian.’ (Lucas/Green p. 63)

‘for as long as you practice these things’ -‘For as long as’-the language of freewill and choice. ‘Practice’-which demands effort, diligence, time! ‘These things’-the qualities mentioned in the previous verses. ‘As long as you keep working on the previous qualities’.

‘you will never stumble’ -Carefully note the promise isn’t that you will never sin ( 1Jn_1:8-10 ). ‘Stumble’-to stumble so as the fall ( Rom_11:11 ), to depart from the faith, go astray. ‘a Christian who is permanently devoted to following Jesus will never fall into the kind of error the false teachers had blundered into because of their blindness and short-sightedness.’ (Lucas/Green p. 63)

Points to Note:

We can have assurance in our salvation! We can know that we are right with God at the present time. 2. Obviously, the verse doesn’t endorse the idea of once-saved-always-saved. ‘The metaphor is drawn from the surefootedness of a horse. A life of steady progress should characterize the Christian.’ (Green p. 74) 3. These verses also reveal that one doesn’t have to jump from one false doctrine to another before they find the truth. Some almost try to argue that everyone believes something that is wrong, or everyone must wade long and hard through errors and misconceptions before they finally discover the truth. I don’t see Peter advocating either idea.

Verse 11

2Pe_1:11 ‘for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.’

‘for in this way’ -Adding the previous qualities to one’s faith.

‘the entrance into the eternal kingdom..’ -The eternal and heavenly kingdom ( 1Co_6:9 ; Gal_5:21 ).

‘abundantly supplied’ -Supply the previous virtues and God will abundantly supply the entrance. ‘and it will be no grudging entrance that is afforded to you’ (Knox); ‘For thus you will be given a triumphant admission’ (TCNT).

Points to Note:

1. Consider God’s tremendous generosity! An eternity of bliss and happiness is given to the person who is simply faithful during an earthly lifetime. 2. Some have the attitude that they just want a little shack in view of heaven, or, just as long as they can squeak through the gate they will be happy. It is clear that no one will squeak into heaven. You are either saved or you are not saved. We don’t find a class of people who are barely saved or barely lost.


Verse 12

2Pe_1:12 ‘Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.’

‘Therefore’ -The truth will bear repetition. ‘they needed to be put in remembrance of these things, particularly in their present situation when the grace of God was being used as a cloak for licence (2:19; cf. Rom_6:1 ) and the knowledge of God as a substitute for obedience (cf. 1Jn_2:4 ).’ (Green p. 77)

‘I shall always be ready to remind you’ -present tense, ‘keep on reminding you’. ‘to cause to remember, put one in mind, a remembrance prompted by another’ (Vine p. 274)

‘of these things’ -The ‘things’ previously discussed in 1:5-11.

Points to Note:

The answer to false doctrine is not a new teaching, but a correct understanding of the old teaching, the teaching that God had revealed ( 1Co_15:1-3 ; 2Pe_3:1-2 ). 2. ‘We should always be wary, then, of people who arrive with a new or different Christian message, and look out for the danger sign that Peter’s basic lesson is being sidetracked in favour of a more attractive or “relevant” message. Those who teach the Bible have a great responsibility here, because there will always be a temptation to hold people’s attention with something new. We have to be humble enough to recognize that we are not creators of the Christian message. The task-the vital task-is to keep reminding people of it.’ (Lucas/Green p. 67) 3. The preacher must never grow weary of repeating valuable truths. ‘There is something drastically wrong when the grand old story becomes wearisome to a child of God. That the purity of the faith of our Lord depends upon a constant repetition of every phrase and facet of divine revelation. Let neither preacher nor member grow weary of hearing it. Let all understand that when they do, they are witnessing a symptom of apostasy. We all stand in danger of drifting away from the things we have heard and know very well.’ [Note: Preachers And Preaching. James P. Needman, p. 74]

‘even though you already know them’ -One of the tasks of the preacher is to remind Christians of what they already know ( 2Ti_2:14 ; Tit_3:1 ; Jud_1:5 ).

‘and have been established’ -“Established”-‘are firmly established’ (TCNT); ‘steadfast believers in the truth’ (Wey); ‘firmly grounded’ (Gspd). ‘to strengthen, make firm, confirm one’s mind’ (Thayer p. 588)

‘which is present with you’ -‘which you possess’ (Wey).

Points to Note:

The truth can be known. The average member can understand God’s Rev_2:1-29 . And yet, established Christians can fall away from the faith. ‘Surely this is a solemn warning that it is all too easy for those who have been Christians for some time to lapse into serious sin or doctrinal error.’ (Green p. 78) 2. These Christians had the truth. The truth is a complete and definite set of beliefs ( Col_1:5 ; 1Pe_1:22 ; Act_2:42 ; Joh_8:32 ; Jud_1:3 ). ‘His fear is not that the second generation will codify and fossilize the truth, but rather that they will become so careless about it that they will forget it altogether.’ (Lucas/Green p. 67) 3. The only sure way to remain faithful to God, is to hold to what God has said. 4. It is obvious Peter believed that the truth the apostles had delivered was the truth for all time. He had not revealed a message just for that culture or that time.

Verse 13

2Pe_1:13 ‘And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,’

‘And I consider it right’ -This is the right thing to do. ‘Right’-‘that which regard for duty demands, what is right’ (Thayer p. 148). Carefully note, where Peter put the emphasis. He wasn’t going to spend the remaining days of his life trying to fix the institutions in society. He understood that the real purpose of a preacher is to remind people of what God has said. ‘Peter wanted to make the best use of the time left to him. Strikingly, he has no new teaching to impart to the Christians..’ (Lucas/Green p. 69)

‘as long as I am in this earthly dwelling’ -‘Dwelling’-Tabernacle, booth, or tent pitched. Fig., used of the physical body. ‘so long as I sojourn in this body’ (Wey); ‘so long as I still lodge in this body’ (NEB).

Points to Note:

The physical body is merely a tent or temporary dwelling for the soul ( 2Co_5:1 ff). 2. The statement reminds us of the temporary nature of this earthly life ( Jam_4:13-15 ). 3. ‘It is a mixed metaphor which speaks powerfully about the way these men, who knew they faced painful and humiliating deaths, saw themselves as striking camp and moving on, or taking off a set of clothes.’ (Lucas/Green p. 69) 4. Notice how calmly Peter speaks about this impending death. 5. Like the faithful of old, the apostles also saw themselves as pilgrims, merely temporary residents of this life ( Heb_11:9-16 ). 6. The statement also suggests that man is more than a body ( 2Co_5:1-9 ).

‘to stir you up’ -‘to rouse you’ (TCNT); ‘stimulate’ (Phi); present tense, ‘keep on rousing you up’. ‘to rouse, awaken from sleep’ (Vine p. 73).

‘by way of reminder’ -‘preaching is very often reminding a man of what he already knows. It is the bringing back to his memory that truth which he has forgotten, or at which he refuses to look, or whose meaning he has not fully appreciated and realized. It often happens that the task of the preacher and the teacher is to say to men: “Remember what you know, and be what you are”.’ (Barclay p. 363)

Points to Note:

Unfortunately, many modern religious leaders have lost their faith in the Word of God to ‘stir up’ their members. Thus, other tactics are being used. 2. Some feel that it is the job of the preacher to find something ‘new’ in the Bible. 3. Peter believed that the Word of God is the tool to stimulate brethren ( Heb_4:12-13 ). 4. The preacher also needs to remember that he is to stimulate the brethren instead of discouraging them. Someone has jokingly described the task of the preacher as ‘trying to raise the dead in 30 minutes.’

Verse 14

2Pe_1:14 ‘knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.’

‘the laying aside’ -‘a putting off or away’ (Vine p. 238); ‘removal, getting rid of’ (Arndt p. 91). Notice Peter’s attitude towards death: ‘We have much to learn (in our generation, when death has replaced sex as the forbidden subject) from Peter’s attitude to death. He had for years been living with death; he knew that his lot would be to die in a horrible and painful way. And yet he can speak of it in this wonderful way, apparently without fear or regret..’ (Green p. 79)

‘earthly dwelling’ -If Peter is going to put off his earthly dwelling, then it is obvious that Peter is more than his physical body. Notice the attitude towards the physical body. It is not to be worshipped and neither is it the end all of our existence. Consider the freedom that God has given the Christian. Death is something that we don’t have to fear ( Heb_2:15 ).

‘imminent’ -‘swift, quick, of events soon to come or just impending’ (Thayer p. 616); ‘a swift approach’ (Vine p. 99).

Points to Note:

Various writers who lived after the days of the apostles mention that Peter died during the persecution instigated by Nero. This would place the death of Peter prior to June 9 th , 68 A.D., when Nero took his own life. ‘All the earliest records say that Peter was crucified, and Origen says he was crucified upside down.’ (Lucas/Green p. 69). 2. ‘the adverb (tachinos)…means literally swift, speedy, and may have reference to the manner of his death, not the time. His life was to be taken abruptly and suddenly in his old age.’ (Oberst p. 277) 3. And yet, in view of the urgency in the context, the meaning of “imminent” seems to refer to the time of his death.

‘as also our Lord Jesus Christ had made clear to me’ -Many commentators link this statement back to Joh_21:18-19 , where Jesus predicts what will happen at the end of Peter’s life. If this is the reference in the above passage, then Peter is citing this event before John recorded it. The word “imminent” suggests that this revelation from Jesus to Peter could have been a recent communication.

Verse 15

2Pe_1:15 ‘And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.’

‘diligent’ -‘to exert one’s self, endeavor’ (Thayer p. 585) ‘they must give diligence to make their calling and election sure (1:10) and Peter for his part would give diligence to furnish them with a lasting record of the truths of Christianity.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 7)

‘at any time’ -‘at every time, whenever there may be need’ (P.P. Comm. p. 7)

‘departure’ -For the Christian, death is simply a departure. The Greek word rendered here, ‘departure’ is the word ‘exodus’, lit., a way out. Peter doesn’t agree with those who contend that man ceases to exist at the death of the body. Peter believes he will depart at death ( Ecc_12:7 )

‘you may be able to call these things to mind’ -The best way for Peter’s audience to remember these truths after his death, is for Peter to put them into writing. Again, we are faced with the fact that the truths revealed through the apostles, the authority of their writings was not limited by the first century. (See also Joh_12:48 ; 1Co_6:9 ; Gal_5:21 ; Rev_21:8 ). Some see in the above statement a reference to the Gospel that Mark would write, who was a co-worker with Peter ( 1Pe_5:13 ). Two important words occur in this section that should not be overlooked when considering the genuineness of this epistle. They are the words “tabernacle” and “decease/exodus”. Both words occur in the account of the transfiguration- Luk_9:31 . Peter was present on that occasion.

‘Peter is far from being a bitter old man who resents the abilities and energies of the next generation of Christian leaders and does everything in his power to thwart them….Peter calls us to go back to the original model, time and again. Although two thousand years of church history have elapsed, there is a sense in which every generation of Christian is only the second generation. We do not have the direct knowledge and experiences of the first generation (which is why Peter takes such care to pass his experiences on to us), but neither are we at such a distance from the apostles that we need other teachers and interpreters….”the business of the church and of preaching is not to present us with new and interesting ideas, it is rather to go on reminding us of certain fundamental and eternal truths.’ (Lucas/Green p. 71)

The Truthfulness Of His Message:

‘Here Peter is clearly defending himself against some accusation of the false teachers’. Green p. 81)

Verse 16

2Pe_1:16 ‘For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.’

‘For we’ -“We”-Peter switches from ‘I’ (1:12,13,15), to ‘we’. At this point he is including the other apostles. Peter realized that he wasn’t the only inspired man in the first century ( 2Pe_3:15-16 ; 2Pe_3:1-2 ). Peter also realized that the Word of God was being revealed through his fellow-apostles ( Joh_16:13 ).

‘did not follow’ - The apostles didn’t go out and find stories to embellish or myths to record.

‘cleverly devised’ -‘tales artfully spun’ (NEB); ‘reason out, concoct subtly, or slyly’ (Arndt p. 760); ‘artfully framed by human cleverness’ (Vincent p. 685).

Points to Note:

1. Peter and the other apostles knew the difference between myth and truth ( 2Ti_4:2-4 ). 2. ‘Peter and his fellow apostles are being accused of serving up cleverly invented stories. The emphasis in the Greek is on the common human tendency to manufacture and embroider helpful religious myths. Such “slyly invented” nonsense, the false teachers say, is not credible to modern men and women and must be demythologized and replaced.’ (Lucas/Green p. 74)

‘tales’ -‘fiction, falsehood’ (Thayer p. 419); ‘legend, myth, fable, tale, story’ (Arndt p. 529). When one abandons the truth, one is automatically headed towards myth and fiction ( 2Ti_4:4 ). ‘It is no new ambition. The false teachers whom Peter opposes claim that his message is a restrictive and demeaning lie. Instead, they offer “pleasure” and “freedom” (2:13,19) without the bother of his narrow doctrine (2:3). Peter has to defend the authenticity of what he says against an undeniably attractive opposition, and to do that he needs two sets of witnesses in the dock. He calls the New Testament apostles (verses 16-18) and the Old Testament prophets (verses 19-21)..’ (Lucas/Green p. 73)

‘when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ -“Power and coming”-‘of the coming in power of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (TCNT). The ‘coming’ under consideration appears to be the Second Coming. The ‘coming’ be a manifestation of His power ( 2Th_1:7 ).

Points to Note:

It is clear that the false teachers were claiming that the teaching concerning the Second Coming was nothing but a fable. 2. Nothing is really new. Today, we find religious leaders among what is professed to be Christianity, arguing that there will be no judgment day or place of eternal condemnation. ‘they explained away the future element in salvation in terms of the past. Thus they could very well have said that the resurrection is past already, when the believer died and arose with Christ at his baptism.’ (Green p. 82) 3. We find the same error among those professing some connection with Christianity in our own time. The idea that the ‘kingdom of God’ is the ideal social order upon this earth, and that the purpose of the church is to reform the institutions found in society. 4. Don’t overlook the ‘we’ (1:16). Peter knew that he wasn’t the only apostle who had mentioned the Second Coming of Christ. The apostles all taught the same thing (1 Corinthians chapter 15; 1Th_4:13 ff).

‘but we were eyewitnesses’ -Peter’s information wasn’t “second-hand”. He wasn’t spreading myth, rather he and others were giving eyewitness testimony ( Luk_24:48 ; Act_1:8 ; Act_4:33 ; Act_10:41 ; Act_4:20 ). ‘Peter emphasizes the first-hand nature of the apostolic teaching his readers had received…The word used for this (eyewitness, “epoptes”), is an unusual and interesting one. It was commonly used to denoted one initiated into the Mystery Religions. Peter’s point ….He is suggesting that the false teachers were outside the circle of the initiates to which the author and his readers belong. In so doing Peter effectively reverses their exclusive boasts to superiority over ordinary Christians on the grounds of being initiated into the higher “gnosis” to which their humbler brethren could never aspire.’ (Green p. 83)

‘of His majesty’ -greatness, magnificence, splendor, grandeur.

Verse 17

2Pe_1:17 ‘For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”’

‘For’ -‘Justification of the above assertion that we were admitted witnesses of His majesty’ (Alford p. 1676). ‘He attacks the error by retelling the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. No doubt part of Peter’s reason in choosing this event was that it was the most supernatural event in the life of Jesus, and so would offend the anti-supernatural bias of the false teachers.’ (Lucas/Green p. 75)

‘He received honor and glory from God the Father’ -the specific event under consideration is the Transfiguration. The ‘honor’ would include the testimony from the Father ( Mat_17:5 ). The ‘glory’, would apply to the Lord’s transfigured appearance ( Luk_9:31-32 ).

‘such an utterance as this was made to Him’ -The Transfiguration was an actual event. It isn’t a parable or an allegory. It really took place.

‘by the Majestic Glory’ -‘full of Majesty’ (Thayer p. 394); ‘magnificent, sublime’ (Arndt p. 497). The phrase is comparable to expressions like, ‘divine power’ or ‘divine nature’. The bright cloud that overshadowed Jesus at the Transfiguration, like the shekinah glory that appeared over the mercy-seat in the tabernacle or temple. The voice that came from the cloud, was none other than the voice of the Father!

‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’ -( Mat_17:5 ; Mar_9:7 ; Luk_9:35 ). ‘Well-pleased’-‘take delight with or in someone’(Arndt p. 319) ‘The construction is pregnant, and the meaning is that from all eternity the “good pleasure” of God the Father was directed towards him, and still abideth on him.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 8) ( Joh_17:24 )

Points to Note:

What the gospels record actually happened, and it happened exactly like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John recorded it as happening. 2. Jesus accurately revealed Deity to mankind ( Joh_1:18 ). The picture that Jesus gives us of God is a true and correct picture ( Joh_14:9 ). 3. To reject Jesus, is to reject the Father. Any criticism directed against Jesus is equally directed against the Father.

Verse 18

2Pe_1:18 ‘and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.’

‘we ourselves heard this utterance’ -Along with Peter, James and John were also present at this event ( Mat_17:1 ). ‘”We” emphatic, this voice we ourselves..and no other..heard.’ (Woods p. 158)

‘when we were with Him on the holy mountain’ -Because of the events that took place there, the mountain is referred to as holy ( Exo_3:5 ). And if the Transfiguration wasn’t a myth, then certainly nothing else in the New Testament is mythical. The apostles were eye and ear witnesses.

Point to Note:

Once again we see the dishonesty of those who criticize the Bible. On the one hand, critics claim that this letter was written by an impostor, because he is trying too hard to identify himself with Peter. On the other hand, if this mention of the Transfiguration was missing, then the same critics would complain that the letter lacked evidence.

‘This whole passage has a great interest in showing the impact made by the transfiguration upon those who were present. Peter uses the incident here to emphasize his authoritative knowledge of the historical Jesus (and thereby to rebut the false teachers’ talk of “myths”), to stress the message (against false teachers who were twisting both), and to draw from the incarnate life of Jesus a positive pledge of the future coming in glory which the false teachers laughed at.’ (Green p. 86)

‘The authority of the apostles is being defended precisely on the issue of whether they spoke about God accurately and authoritatively; hence Peter’s emphasis that they both saw and heard….Today we have to accept that same double authority. It is not simply their testimony to a series of encounters with Jesus that is important and decisive. They claim to have the right to give the only true interpretation, the unique meaning, of those events….The Bible is not the subjective record of a religious quest that we can supplement or challenge with our own experiences. God has spoken.’ (Lucas/Green p. 79)

The Old Testament Prophets:

Verse 19

2Pe_1:19 ‘And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.’

‘And so we have the prophetic word’ -‘the message of the prophets’ (Gspd)/(NEB) ( Rom_16:26 )

‘made more sure’ -‘trusty’ (Thayer p. 99); ‘firm, stedfast’ (1:10) (Vine p. 96); ‘reliable, dependable, certain, “we possess the prophetic word as something altogether reliable.” (Arndt p. 138). ‘We have the word of prophecy confirmed’ (Wey); ‘All this only confirms for us the message of the prophets’ (NEB).

Points to Note:

One view is that the words of the prophets are even greater evidence than the Transfiguration. 2. Another view is that the Transfiguration confirmed all the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and made it clear that Jesus is the Son of God. Thus Peter is placing complete confidence in the Old Testament Scriptures. ‘Kelly believes that the prophetic word “has been made ‘more sure’ in the sense both that God has Himself certified it as true and it is already in process of fulfillment.’ (Hamilton p. 87) ‘The prophecies of the Old Testament…which foretold of Christ’s coming, deity, and greatness, are rendered more sure and unimpeachable now that He had come and the Transfiguration had taken place.’ (Oberst p. 283)

‘to which’ -i.e. to the words of the prophets.

‘you do well to pay attention’ -‘turn the mind to, attend to, be attentive’ (Thayer p. 546); ‘pay attention, give heed to, follow’ (Arndt p. 714). Instead of paying attention to the claims of the false teachers, listen to what God has said! The tense is present, indicating the need for continuous or regular action.

‘as to a lamp shining in a dark place’ -( Psa_119:105 ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet’).

Points to Note:

The Scriptures, even the Old Testament Scriptures are clear and understandable. They were not given to confuse mankind, but rather to enlighten and guide. 2. Without a reliance upon the Scriptures you will end up in darkness. Without the Scriptures, mankind is in darkness ( Mat_4:16 ; Joh_3:19 ; Act_26:18 ; Rom_2:19 ; Eph_5:8 ; 1Pe_2:9 ). 3. ‘Dark’-‘squalid, dirty’ (Thayer p. 87) ‘it is a subtle association of the idea of darkness with squalor, dryness and general neglect.’ (Vincent p. 687) ‘we are on a pilgrimage throughout our lives in this dark world. God has graciously provided us with a lamp, the Scriptures. If we pay attention to them for reproof, warning, guidance, and encouragement we shall walk safely. If we neglect them, we shall be engulfed by darkness. The whole course of our lives ought to be governed by the Word of God.’ (Green p. 89)

‘until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts’ -‘Dawn’-‘to shine through, it describes the breaking of daylight upon the darkness of night’ (Vine p. 270). ‘Morning star’-‘The morning star…is Venus, which catches the sun’s rays just before dawn and is a promise of daytime.’ (Lucas/Green p. 82)

Points to Note:

Jesus is often referred to as the ‘morning star’ ( Rev_22:16 ; Num_24:16 ; Rev_2:28 ). 2. Some say that the ‘day’ under consideration is the Second Coming. That we need to take heed to the Scriptures until Jesus comes again. At that point our lamp will no longer be needed (a lamp is no longer required once the sun is up). But it is hard to see how the Second Coming arises in the heart of the believer. 3. Others see the verse as teaching that we need to attend to the Scriptures, because that is the only path to the full and clear understanding of the truth, in contrast to the murky and dark positions being advocated by the false teachers. The Old Testament was a bringer of lighter ( 2Ti_3:15 ), the full and complete truth was revealed through Jesus Christ ( Joh_1:17 ; Joh_8:12 ; Joh_16:13 ).

Verse 20

2Pe_1:20 ‘But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,’

‘But know this first of all’ -‘Understanding this, at the outset’ (Mof). ‘is meant that we must recognize this truth as of primary importance, or, before we commence the study of the prophetic word.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 10). The first essential truth to be understood about the Old Testament Scriptures is as follows. Or, we might say, ‘The first rule in studying the Old Testament, is to recognize that….’

‘that no’ -This truth applies to the whole Old Testament.

‘prophecy of Scripture’ -the utterances of the Old Testament prophets. A prophet was a mouthpiece or spokesman for God ( Exo_7:1-2 ; Heb_1:1 ). “Prophecy”-‘signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God’ (Vine p. 221) “Scripture”-hence we are talking about the written messages of the prophets, i.e. the Old Testament. Keep in mind that the writings of the New Testament are also labeled as Scripture ( 1Ti_5:18 ; 2Pe_3:16 )

‘is a’ -‘comes, springs’ (Robertson p. 158); ‘becomes, arises, comes into being’ (P.P. Comm. p. 10); ‘arises, originates’ (Vincent p. 688).

‘one’s own’ -‘pertaining to oneself, one’s own’ (Thayer p. 296). ‘according to his own capability’ (Arndt p. 369).

‘interpretation’ -‘to loose, solve, explain, denotes a solution, explanation…i.e. the writers of the Scriptures did not put their construction upon the “God breathed words they wrote” (Vine p. 268). ‘was ever though up by the prophet himself’ (Tay)

Points to Note:

Unfortunately, some have concluded that the above passage is saying that the individual cannot understand the Bible. Barclay erroneously concludes, ‘The one place in which the Spirit specially resides, and the one place in which the Spirit is specially operative is the Church; and, therefore, Scripture must be interpreted in the light of the teaching, the belief, and the tradition of the Church. God is our Father in the faith, but the Church is our mother in the faith.’ (p. 370) 2. Notice how he is using the word ‘Church’. He thinks that there is a ‘Church’ that exists separate and apart from Christians ( Act_20:28 ). 3. He views the educated leaders in the Church as being infallible, which is another misconception ( Act_20:29-30 ). In fact, Barclay even goes so far as to say, ‘If then, we wish to interpret (understand) Scripture, we must never arrogantly insist that our interpretation of it must be correct; we must humbly go to the works of the great devoted scholars to learn what they have to teach us, because of what the Spirit taught them.’ (p. 370) 4. In contrast, to the above view, the apostle Paul believed that every Christian could understand what he wrote ( Eph_3:3-5 ). In addition, none of the Bible was written for the ‘great scholars’. The letters were written to members, common people! 5. We can understand the Scriptures! ( Act_17:11 ; Eph_5:17 ; 2Ti_2:15 ; Joh_5:39 ). 6. I’m not impressed by the so-called inspiration of the great scholars, when such men can’t even properly interpret this verse! 7. Peter is not talking about the interpretation of those reading the Scriptures, for everyone must interpret. Interpretation means nothing more than ‘understanding’. Each one is commanded to understand ( Eph_5:17 ). Rather, Peter is talking about the prophets who delivered the prophecies. The next verse explains that the prophecies did not originate in the mind of the prophet, but rather with God.

Verse 21

2Pe_1:21 ‘for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.’

‘For’ -Which defines ‘who’ is under consideration in the statement, ‘one’s own interpretation’. The readers of Scripture are not under consideration, rather, the prophets themselves.

‘no prophecy’ -Contrary to the claims of such groups as the Jesus Seminar, we cannot take the Bible and divide it up into what is God’s word and what is human speculation or human addition. Whatever is found in the Scriptures has been recorded accurately!

‘was ever made by an act of human will’ -‘will, choice’ (Thayer p. 285); ‘subjective, will, the act of willing or desiring, by an act of human will’ (Arndt p. 354) ‘The prophets did not make up what they wrote…It is interesting that in this, perhaps the fullest and most explicit biblical reference to the inspiration of its authors, no interest should be displayed in the psychology of inspiration. The author is not concerned with what they felt like, or how much they understood, but simply with the fact that they were the bearers of God’s message.’ (Green p. 91 ‘Clark puts it, “Isaiah did not get out of bed one morning and say, ‘I have decided to write some prophecies today..’”’ (Lucas/Green p. 83)

‘but men moved by the Holy Spirit’ -‘Moved’-‘to be conveyed or borne’ (Thayer p. 650); ‘to bear, carry, they were “borne along” or impelled by the Holy Spirit’s power, not acting according to their own wills or simply expressing their own thoughts, but expressing the mind of God in words provided and ministered by Him.’ (Vine p. 89) ‘He says they were moved, not because they were out of their minds (as the heathen imagine…in their prophets), but because they dared nothing by themselves but only in obedience to the guidance of the Spirit.’ (Green p. 92)

‘spoke from God’ -God was the source of the message and not themselves. The concepts and the words which revealed those concepts were both given and chosen by God ( 1Co_2:9-13 ; Hag_1:13 ; Jer_1:17 ; Exo_4:12-16 ).

Points to Note:

We must reject the theory that God gave the concept, but allowed the writers to express that concept in their own words: 1. If man could accurately express a concept, then why did God have to reveal the concept in the first place? 2. Jesus believed that everything in the text was the Word of God ( Mat_5:17-18 ). And even made an argument based on the tense of a word in the Scriptures ( Mat_22:29-32 ). In like manner, Paul based an argument upon whether a word in the Old Testament text was singular, instead of plural ( Gal_3:16 ). 3. Another proof of verbal inspiration is that the prophets didn’t fully understand or comprehend everything they were recording ( 1Pe_1:10-12 ).

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 2 Peter 1". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.