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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

2 Peter 1

Verse 1

1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

Ver. 1. A servant ] The pope, who will needs title himself, A servant of servants, is herein the successor not of Peter, but of cursed Ham. He stamps in his coin, that nation and country that will not serve thee shall be rooted out, and so exposes his putid hypocrisy.

Like precious faith ] Precious as gold tried in the fire; that maketh rich, Revelation 3:18 . And like precious (though of different degrees) in regard of, 1. The Author, God. 2. The object, Christ. 3. The means of working it, the Spirit and Word. 4. The end of it, salvation. 5. The essential property of it, of handfasting us to Christ. A child may hold a ring in his hand, as well though not as fast as a man. Let it be our care to be faithful in weakness, though weak in faith: let that faith we have be right, be of price, though not of so great price, though not like precious to such and such eminent believers. Suppose a simple man should get a stone and strike fire with it, and thence conclude it a precious stone; why, every flint or ordinary stone will do that. So to think one hath precious faith because he can be sober, just, chaste, liberal, &c.; why, ordinary heathens can do this: a man may be undone by buying a false commodity at an unreasonable rate.

Through the righteousness of God ] i.e. of Christ; and it is so called, not because it is the righteousness of the Godhead, but of him that is God.

Verse 2

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Ver. 2. Through the knowledge ] There is not a new notion, or a further enlargement of saving knowledge, but it brings some grace and peace with it. All the grace that a man hath, it passeth through the understanding; and the difference of stature in Christianity grows from different degrees of knowledge. "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," John 1:17 .

Verse 3

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Ver. 3. To glory and virtue ] To glory as the end, to virtue as the means. The very heathens made their passage to the temple of honour through the temple of virtue. Do worthily, and be famous, Ruth 4:11 .

Verse 4

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Ver. 4. Exceeding great and precious ] Every precious stone hath an egregious virtue in it; so hath every promise. The promises, saith Cardan, are a precious book, every leaf drops myrrh and mercy. The weak Christian cannot open, read, apply it; Christ can, and will for him.

That by these ye might be partakers ] As the sun when it applies its beams to a filthy disposed matter, and stays upon it, begins to beget life and motion, and makes a living creature; so do the promises applied to the heart make a new creature. See2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6 .

Of the divine nature ] That is, of those divine qualities, called elsewhere "the image of God, the life of God," &c., whereby we resemble God, not only as a picture doth a man in outward lineaments, but as the child doth his father in countenance and conditions. It was no absurd speech of him that said, That the high parts that are seen in heroic persons, do plainly show that here is a God. Neither can I here but insert the saying of another, Well may grace be called the divine nature; for as God brings light out of darkness, comfort out of sorrow, riches out of poverty, and glory out of shame; so doth grace turn the dirt of disgrace into gold. As Moses’ hand, it turns a serpent into a rod. In fine, to be made partaker of the divine nature, noteth two things, saith a reverend man: 1. A fellowship with God in his holiness; the purity which is eminently and infinitely in God’s most holy nature, is formally of secundum modum creaturae, fashioned in us. 2. A fellowship with God in his blessedness, viz. in the beatific vision and brightness of glory. (Dr Reynolds.)

Verse 5

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

Ver. 5. And besides this ] q.d. As God hath given you all things pertaining to life and godliness, and hath granted you exceeding great and precious promises, so must you reciprocate, by giving all diligence, or making all haste, that ye be not taken with your task undone. Acti agamus.

Add to your faith ] Faith is the foundation of the following graces; indeed they are all in faith radically. Every grace is but faith exercised. To faith must be added virtue, i.e. holy conversation; lest we be counted and called Solifidians. It was the counsel of Francis Spira to those about him, Learn all of me, to take heed of severing faith and obedience. I taught justification by faith, but neglected obedience; therefore is this befallen me.

And to virtue, knowledge ] For the regulating of our obedience, that we go not blindling to work, that we may perform a reasonable or intelligible service. "For without knowledge the mind is not good; and he that (not understanding his way) hasteth with his feet, sinneth," Proverbs 19:2 ; the faster he runs, the further he is out. The Samaritans’ service was rejected, because they worshipped they knew not what. The Romans were full of goodness, because full of knowledge, Romans 15:14 .

Add ] Gr. επεχορηγησατε , Link them hand in hand, as virgins in a dance. Or, provide yourselves of this rich furniture; one grace strengtheneth another, as stones do in an arch.

Verse 6

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

Ver. 6. And to knowledge, temperance ] That ye be wise to sobriety, not curiously searching into those things whereof ye can neither have proof nor profit. Some are as wise as Galileo, who used telescope to discover mountains on the moon; and lest they should not be reputed to know something unknown to others, they profess skill beyond the periphery of possible knowledge.

And to temperance, patience ] Those that will be temperate, as said before, and not pass the bounds of sobriety in searching after curiosities, shall be looked upon by the wits of the world as dull fellows (Mr Perkins was esteemed by Mr Bolton before his conversion, a dry preacher, &c.), and therefore they have need of patience. Only they must add to their

Patience, godliness ] In the power of it; not suffering themselves to be mocked out of their religion. Moderation in this case is but mopishness. And though in our own cause we must show all longsufferance, yet when God’s glory is concerned, it is our duty to be blessedly blown up with zeal for his name, as Moses was at the sight of the golden calf; and as Zuingllus told Servetus, taxing him for his sharp invectives against him: In other things, saith he, I can bear as much as another; but in case of God’s dishonour, I have no patience.

Verse 7

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Ver. 7. And to godliness, brotherly kindness ] Zeal for God should eat us up, but not eat up our love to God’s people. Fire purgeth gold, but burneth it not; the fire of zeal may be warming, comforting, not scalding or scorching. Moses was angry with the people, but prayed for them. Christ was angry with the Pharisees, but grieved also for the hardness of their hearts, Mark 3:5 .

And to brotherly kindness, &c. ] Love we must all men, but especially the family of faith; as our Saviour loved the young man, but not so as he did Lazarus, Mark 10:21 ; John 11:3 .

Verse 8

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ver. 8. If these things be in you ] What God doth for us, he doth by grace in us. And it is the growing Christian that is the assured Christian. While we are yet adding to every heap, we shall be both aetuosi et fructuosi; and so get more abundant entrance, and farther into the kingdom of Christ.

Verse 9

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Ver. 9. But he that lacketh these ] Those that add not to their stock of grace, shall have no comfort either from the time past, for they shall forget they were purged from their sins, or from thoughts of the time to come, for they shall not be able to see things far off, to sharpen their interests to the kingdom of heaven.

Cannot see far off ] μυωπαζοντες , Being purblind, blinking. Lusciosi, qui siquando oculorum aciem intendunt ut certius aliquid cernant, minus vident quam ante, saith Vives. If weak sighted men look wistly upon a thing, they see it no whit the better, but much the worse.

And hath forgotten ] As if he had been dipped in the lake of Lethe, and not in the laver of baptism. Various of the Spanish converts in America forget not only their vow, but their very names that they received when they were baptized.

Verse 10

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Ver. 10. Give diligence ] Say not here as Antipater king of Macedon did, when one presented him a book treating of happiness, ου σχολαζω , I am not at leisure. But do this one thing necessary, with all expedition. Do it also with all thy might, with utmost intention of affection and contention of action; so to show thy seriousness in a point of so great importance. Thy bed is very soft, or thy heart very hard, if thou canst sleep soundly in an uncertain condition; I mean till thy salvation be secured and settled to thee: till that "entrance be ministered unto thee abundantly into Christ’s everlasting kingdom," 2 Peter 1:11 , that thou mayest go to heaven alacri animo, ac plena fiducia (as Luther speaketh), with a cheerful mind and full assurance; not of hope only (as the Papists ignorantly distinguish) but of faith too; of hope unfailable, and of faith unfeigned; the highest degree whereof is pleroloharia, or full assurance.

Your calling and election ] We must not go (saith one) to the university of election, before we have been at the grammar school of vocation; first, we are to begin below at our sanctification, before we can climb to the top of God’s counsel, to know our election. This must be calculated by that.

Sure ] Some copies have it, sure by good works; and indeed these settle the soul,1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Corinthians 15:58 ; as a stake, the more it is stuck into the ground, the faster it sticks.

Ye shall never fall ] Stumble ye may; but he that stumbles and falls not, gets ground.

Verse 11

11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Ver. 11. Ministered unto you abundantly ] Ye shall go gallantly into heaven, not get thither as many do, with hard shift and much ado. A ship may make a shift to get into the harbour, but with anchors lost, cables rent, sails torn, mast broken; another comes in with sails and flags up, with trumpets sounding, and comes bravely into the haven: so do fruitful and active Christians into Christ’s kingdom.

Into the everlasting kingdom ] Not so into this world, which is like a candlestick, where ye may see orchards and gardens curiously drawn, but ye cannot enter into them.

Verse 12

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them , and be established in the present truth.

Ver. 12. I will not be negligent ] Ministers must carefully watch and catch at all opportunities of benefiting the people. Dr Taylor, the martyr, preached at Hadleigh his charge on any day, as often as he could get the people together; and once a fortnight at least went to the almshouse, and there exercised his charity both spiritual and corporal.

Verse 13

13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

Ver. 13. To stir you up ] Gr. διεγειρειν , to rouse you and raise you, ex veterno torporis, teporis et oblivionis. Grace in the best is like a dull seacoal fire; which, if not stirred up, though it want no fuel, will yet easily go out of itself.

Verse 14

14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

Ver. 14. I must put off ] See Trapp on " 2Co 5:1 " What is this life, but a spot of time between two eternities? Our tents shall he taken down.

Verse 15

15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Ver. 15. After my decease ] Gr. εξοδον , my exodus, or passage to heaven. The apostle in this expression hath respect doubtless to that, Luke 9:31 ; Daniel 6:15 , refers to Psalms 2:1 .

To have these things always, &c. ] Dilexi virum (said Theodosius concerning Ambrose), I could not but love the man exceedingly for this, that when he died he was more solicitous of the Churches than of his own dangers. And I am in no less care (saith Cicero) what the commonwealth will do when I am dead, than while I am yet alive. Luther in many places of his books tells us, he was much afraid that the true doctrine of justification by faith alone would be, after his death, much defaced if not utterly lost out of the Church. And it happened out accordingly in part, by the pestilent opinions and endeavours of Flacius, Osiander, and other busy broachers of errors, about that fundamental point. While Luther lived, they forbore to vent themselves. But when his head was laid, Osiander was heard to boast Leonem mortuum esse; vulpes a se flocci pendi: that the lion was dead; and for the foxes (meaning Melancthon and the rest), he cared not for them. (Melch. in Vit. Osiand.)

Verse 16

16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Ver. 16. Cunningly devised fables ] σεσοφισμενοις . Artificially composed and compiled, not without a show of wisdom and truth, to deceive silly people. The Jesuits confess that the legend of miracles of their saints is for the most part false; but it was made, say they, for good intention, that the common people (the females especially) might be drawn with greater zeal to serve God and his saints. And what shaft we think of their Dominic’s holy hypocrisy which he commended to his novices; and for the which he is so highly commended by Vincentius Episcopus Beluacensis in his life?

Verse 17

17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Ver. 17. This is my beloved Son. ] See Trapp on " Mat 3:17 " See Trapp on " Mat 17:5 "

Verse 18

18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

Ver. 18. When we were with him ] Witnesses of his glory, and the same were shortly after witnesses of his agony. Envy not the gifts or honours of others, since they have them upon no other terms than to undergo the sorer trials.

In the holy mount ] Holy for the while, as are our churches, during the public assemblies, viz. with a relative, not an inherent holiness.

Verse 19

19 We have also 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, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Ver. 19. A more sure word ] The authority of the Scriptures is greater than an angel’s voice, of equal command to God’s audible and immediate voice, and of greater perspicuity and certainty to us; for besides inspiration, it is both written and sealed.

As unto a light ] As the governor of a ship hath his hand on the stern, his eye on the pole star; so should we on Christ the day star, Revelation 2:28 ; Revelation 22:12 .

Until the day dawn ] Till there be a more full gospel light.

And the day star ] Christ the star of Jacob, the bright morning star, Revelation 22:16 , the Sun of righteousness,Malachi 4:2; Malachi 4:2 ;

Verse 20

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Ver. 20. Of any private interpretation ] That is, of human interpretation: private is not here opposed to public, but to divine, or to the Holy Ghost. The old prophet may bring a man into the lion’s mouth, by telling him of an angel that spake to him. How many have we in these days that dream their Midianitish dreams, and then tell it for gospel to their neighhours!

Verse 21

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Ver. 21. As they were moved ] φερομενοι . Forcibly moved, acted, carried out of themselves to say and do what God would have them.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Peter 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.