corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.12.01
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
2 Peter 1

 

 


Other Authors
Verse 1-2

2 Peter 1:1-2. συμεὼν πέτρος] The form most in harmony with the Semitic language: συμεών, as a name of Peter, is to be found, besides here, only in Acts 15:14; otherwise, cf. Luke 2:25; Luke 3:30; Revelation 7:7; Acts 13:1. From the addition of the name itself, as little as from its form, can anything be concluded as to the genuineness (in opposition to Dietlein, Schott, Steinfass) or the non-genuineness of the epistle. The two names σίμων πέτρος are directly conjoined also in Matthew 16:16; Luke 5:8, etc.; elsewhere, too, the apostle is called: σίμων λεγόμενος πέτρος. The addition of συμεών serves to mark the author as a Jewish-Christian.(19)

δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος . χρ.] cf. Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1 (Philippians 1:1). δοῦλος expresses the more general, ἀπόστολος the more special official relation; cf. Meyer on Romans 1:1; Schott unjustly denies that δοῦλος has reference to the official relation. According to de Wette, the author has here combined 1 Peter 1:1 and Jude 1:1.

τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσι πίστιν] ἰσότιμος is inexactly translated in the Vulgate by coaequaliter; it is not equivalent to ἴσος (Acts 11:17 : ἴση δωρεά), but means: “having equal honour or worth.” De Wette’s interpretation is as incorrect: “to those who have obtained the same right to participate in faith with us.” The use of the words τιμή, τιμάω, in Peter’s epistle, does not prove that the expression has here reference specially to the divine privileges of the kingdom (Dietlein). By this word the author gives it to be understood, that the faith of those to whom he writes, has the same worth as that of those whom he designates by ἡμῖν; both have received one and the same faith (as to its objective contents) (Brückner, Besser, Wiesinger); Hornejus: dicitur fides aeque pretiosa, non quod omnium credentium aeque magna sit, sed quod per fidem illam eadem mysteria et eadem beneficia divina nobis proponantur.

The connection shows that by ἡμῖν all Christians (de Wette) cannot be understood; the word must only refer, either to Peter (Pott), or to the apostles (Bengel, Wolf, Brückner, Steinfass, Fronmüller), or to the Jewish-Christians generally (Nic. de Lyra, Dietlein, Besser, Wiesinger, Schott, Hofm.); the last is the correct application (cf. Acts 11:17; Acts 15:9-11). Wiesinger: “That the faith of the apostles should have a different value from that of those who through their preaching had become believers, is an idea totally foreign to the apostolic age.”

λαχοῦσι points out that faith is a gift of grace; Huss: sicut sors non respicit personam, ita nec divina electio acceptatrix est personarum (cf. Acts 1:17).

On the breviloquence of the expression, cf. “Winer, p. 579 [E. T. 778].

ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ θεοῦ κ. τ. λ.] Luther translates: “in the righteousness, which our God gives;” thus δικαιοσύνη would here mean that gift of God’s grace which is the result of faith, whether it is to be understood of the state of justification (Schott), or the Christians’ manner of life conformed to the commandments of God (Brückner). If this view be adopted, however, δικαιοσύνη cannot be connected with πίστιν, for though ἐν may be regarded as equal simply to cum, or be taken in the sense of, being furnished with (thus Brückner formerly), it would always denote that πίστις is contained in δικαιοσύνη, which certainly does not correspond with the relation in which the two stand to each other; faith is not bestowed on the Christian in righteousness, but righteousness in faith. Hofmann joins ἐν δικ. directly with πίστιν, and understands by δικαιοσύνη here: “the righteousness which makes Christ our Saviour; that in which the world has the propitiation for its sins.” This interpretation assumes that θεοῦ is predicate to ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ (see below); besides, it is opposed by the circumstance that the context makes no allusion to any such nearer definition of the idea, whilst it is arbitrary to render πίστιν ἐν δικ.: “that faith which trusts in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.” Schott, Steinfass, and now, too, Brückner, connect δικ. with ἰσότιμον; the position of the words, however, is opposed to this, for were ἐν δικ. the closer definition of ἰσότιμον, it must have been placed directly beside it. Besides, a somewhat obscure thought results from this combination. The simple addition of ἐν δικ. does not assert that the faith of the one has equal value with the faith of the other in this, that in both cases it effects a δικαιοσύνη. δικαιοσύνη is here not a gift, but an attribute of God, or a characteristic of His dealings. Still the expression must not be taken as equivalent either to “kindness” (Eman. a Sa., Pott), or to: “faithfulness,” as regards the promises given by Him (Beza, Piscator, Grotius); for although δικαιοσύνη may sometimes come near to the above meanings, it is never identical(20) with them, cf. Meyer on Romans 3:25. Still less warrant is there for Dietlein’s view, that righteousness is here “as a kingdom, the totality of the divine action and revelation in contrast to this world full of sin and of uncompensated evil.” Wiesinger (and thus also Fronmüller) understand by δικαιοσύνη, “the righteousness of God and Christ, which has manifested itself in the propitiation for the sins of the world;” in opposition to which Brückner correctly remarks, that Christ’s work of atonement is not an act of His righteousness; further, “the righteousness of God which demands the death of the sinner” (Fronmüller), may be considered as causing the death of Christ, but not as producing faith. δικαιοσύνη, in harmony with ἰσότι΄ον, is rather that righteousness of God—opposed to every kind of προσοπωληψία—according to which He bestows the same faith on all, without respect of persons (cf. Acts 10:34 f.). ἐν is in meaning akin to διά, but it brings out more distinctly than it, in what the obtaining of the πίστις ἰσοτ. is grounded. The author’s thought is accordingly this: “in His righteousness, which makes no distinction between the one and the other, God has bestowed on you the same like precious faith as on us.”(21)

τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμ. καὶ σωτῆρος . χρ.] Many interpreters (Beza, Hemming, Gerhard, and more recently Schott and Hofmann) take τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμ. and σωτῆρος as a double attribute of ἰησοῦ χρ. Others (Wiesinger, Brückner, Fronmüller, Steinfass) separate the two expressions, and understand τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν of God the Father; and rightly so, although in the similar combination, 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 3:18, there be but one subject. For θεός differs from κύριος in this, that it is never conjoined with χριστός as a direct attribute, whilst κύριος is very often thus employed, as in the very next verse; see my commentary to Titus 2:13. There need be no hesitation in taking the article which stands before θεοῦ with σωτῆρος also, as a second subject,—a statement which Schott and Hofmann have wrongly called in question; cf. (Winer, p. 118 [E. T. 162]) Buttmann, p. 84 ff. Dietlein, in his interpretation, adopts a middle course: “of our God and Saviour; and when I speak of God the Saviour, I mean the Saviour Jesus Christ.” But only this much is correct here, that the close conjunction points to the oneness of God and Christ of which the author was assured.—2 Peter 1:2. χάριςπληθυνθείη] as in 1 Peter 1:2. In this passage ἐν ἐπιγνῶσει τοῦ θεοῦ κ. ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν is added. Here, too, ἐν is not, cum, but states in what the increase of grace has its origin, and by what it is effected (de Wette). This is the knowledge of God and Jesus, our Lord; cf. on this John 17:3; 2 Peter 2:20. Calvin: Dei et Christi agnitionem simul connectit, quia rite non potest, nisi in Christo, Deus agnosci. Although the ἐπίγνωσις here spoken of includes in it acknowledgment, yet it is erroneous to distinguish between ἐπίγνωσις and γνῶσις, by holding the former to be equivalent to acknowledgment; cf. the further discussions on the term ἐπίγνωσις in Wiesinger and Schott, which, however, especially in the case of the latter, are not without the mixing up of thoughts foreign to the idea. It is wrong to interpret ἐν by εἰς; Aretius: ut colant Deum, quemadmodum sese patefecit in Scripturis et ut coli vult. According to Dietlein, the thought intended to be expressed is that “grace and peace grow and increase from within the soul, outwards, and in thus growing they became ever more and more knowledge of the revealed God”(!).


Verse 3

2 Peter 1:3. The first paragraph, extending as far as 2 Peter 1:11, contains exhortations. The first of these is expressed in 2 Peter 1:5-7, and to it 2 Peter 1:3-4 serve as an introduction.

ὡς] Lachmann connects ὡς directly with what precedes, and puts a full stop after φθορᾶς at the end of 2 Peter 1:4; thus also Vulg., Beza, Erasmus, Hornejus, Grotius. This combination, however, is against the analogy of the N. T. epistles, in which the superscription closes with the benediction (in the Epistle to the Galatians alone a relative clause is subjoined, ending, however, with a doxology that marks the conclusion), and is also opposed to the contents of 2 Peter 1:3-4, which serve as the basis for 2 Peter 1:5 (Wiesinger). Gerhard and others consider ὡς as equivalent to καθώς (which Gerhard explains by ἐπεί, i.e. “postquam” vel “siquidem”), and supply οὕτως to 2 Peter 1:5; arbitrarily: ὡς belongs much more to the genitive absolute (not pleonastically, Pott). The objective reason expressed in this phrase for the exhortation contained in 2 Peter 1:5 is by ὡς characterized as a subjective motive; Winer: “convinced (considering) that the divine power,” etc.; Dietlein: “in the consciousness that;” so, too, de Wette, and the more recent commentators generally; the construction in 1 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 5:20, is similar; cf. Matthiä, ausf. Gr. 1825, § 568, p. 1120.

πάνταδεδωρημένης] The Vulg. incorrectly: quomodo omnia vobis divinae virtutis sunt, quae ad vitam et pietatem, donata est (another reading is: sunt); and Luther: “since everything of His divine power, that pertains unto life and godliness, is given us;” δεδωρημένης is here not passive, but middle (cf. Genesis 30:20, LXX.; Mark 15:45), and τῆς θ. δυνάμεως: does not depend on πάντα, but is the subject (thus all modern commentators).

According to the position of the words, αὐτοῦ refers back to ἰησ. τ. κυρίου ἡμῶν (Calvin, Schott, Steinfass), and not to θεοῦ;(22) if it be applied to θεοῦ (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger), then θείας (which occurs here only and in 2 Peter 1:4; Acts 17:29 : τὸ θεῖον, as subst.) is pleonastic. Dietlein and Fronmüller refer αὐτοῦ to God and Jesus, which linguistically cannot be justified.(23)

τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν] the ζωὴ καὶ εὐσέβεια are not spoken of as the object, but: τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν κ. τ. λ. For the attainment of the former is conditioned by the Christian’s conduct; but in order that it may be put within his reach, everything is granted him which is serviceable to ζωή and εὐσέβεια (cf. Luke 19:42 : τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην σου). The difference between the two ideas is in itself clear; ζωή: “blessedness,” indicates the condition; εὐσέβεια: “godliness” (except in Acts 3:12, occurring only in the Pastoral Epistles and Second Peter), the conduct. Grotius incorrectly interprets ζωή as equivalent to vita alterius seculi, and εὐσέβεια as pietas in hoc seculo. Both together they form the antithesis to ἐν κόσμῳ ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορά. πάντα is by way of emphasis placed first, in order to show distinctly that everything, which is in any way serviceable to ζωή and εὐσέβ., has been given us by the divine power of the Lord. Hofmann is wrong in defining this πάντα as faith, hope, and charity, for this triad does not pertain πρὸς εὐσέβειαν, but is the εὐσέβεια itself.

διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς] states the medium through which the gift is communicated to us; with ἐπίγνωσις, cf. 2 Peter 1:2. God is here designated as καλέσας ἡμᾶς, since it is only by the knowledge of the God who calls us that the πάντα τὰ πρ. ζ. κ. τ. λ. are appropriated by us,—the calling being the actual proof of His love to us. The subject to καλεῖν is not Christ (Vorstius, Jachmann, Schott, etc.), but God (Aretius, Hemming, de Wette, Hofmann, etc.), as almost always in the N. T.(24) Of course καλεῖν does not mean the mere outward, but the inward, effectual calling,

ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ] δόξα denotes the being, ἀρετή the activity; Bengel: ad gloriam referuntur attributa Dei naturalia, ad virtutem ea, quae dicuntur moralia; intime unum sunt utraque. It is arbitrary to understand δόξα as meaning: “that side the nature of the Almighty One that liveth, which is directed outwards,” and by ἀρετή: “the holy loving-kindness of God” (as opposed to Hofmann).

The nature of God represented as the instrumentality, as in Galatians 1:15 : καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὑτοῦ; too, Romans 6:4. A wrong application is given to the words, if they be taken as referring to the miracles of Christ. It must be observed that this ἐπίγνωσις itself, too, is to be looked upon as wrought by Christ in us.


Verse 4

2 Peter 1:4 must not, as a simple intervening clause, be enclosed in parentheses; for although 2 Peter 1:5 is the principal clause standing related to the participial clause in 2 Peter 1:3, still the latter is determined, in the thought of it, by 2 Peter 1:4.

διʼ ὧν] ὧν does not refer to the immediately preceding ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ κ. ἀρετῇ (Dietlein, Wiesinger, Brückner, this comment.), for it cannot be said that Christ has given us the ἐπαγγέλματα through the δόξα κ. ἀρετή of His Father, but to πάντα τὰ πρὸς κ. τ. λ. (Hofmann). Beza inaccurately interprets διʼ ὧν by ex eo quod.

τὰ τίμια ἡμῖν καὶ μέγιστα ἐπαγγέλματα] ἐπάγγελμα, besides here, occurs only in chap. 2 Peter 3:13, where it is used in connection with the new heaven and new earth in the future. By it is to be understood, not the promises of the prophets of the O. C. fulfilled in Christ for us, nor those things promised us, of which we are made partakers in Christ (Hornejus: bona et beneficia omnia, quae Deus per Christum offert et exhibet omnibus, qui in ipsum credunt; Wiesinger, Schott); but, according to 2 Peter 1:12 ff., chap. 2 Peter 3:4, 2 Peter 3:12, the prophecies of the παρουσία of Christ and the future consummation of His kingdom, as contained in the gospel (Brückner). Dietlein is wrong in saying that ἐπαγγέλματα(25) are not only promises of what is future, but announcements of what is present and eternal. He goes still farther astray when he substitutes for this idea the different one: “the granting of favours which proclaim themselves.” The word ἐπαγγέλλειν (except in 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 6:21) has constantly in the N. T. the meaning: “to promise,” never simply: “to proclaim.” These promises are called “precious,” not because they are “no mere empty words” (Schott), but because they promise that which is of the greatest value (Hofmann). The dative ἡμῖν from its position should be connected more probably with τί΄ια than with δεδώρηται.

δεδώρηται] is here also not passive (Dietlein), but middle (all modern interpreters). Gualther erroneously explains it: donatae i. e. impletae sunt. What is here referred to is the communication, not the fulfilment of the promises, which are a free gift of divine grace.

The subject to δεδώρ. is not καλέσας (as formerly in this commentary), but the same as that to the foregoing δεδωρη΄ένης.

ἵνα διὰ τούτων] Calvin, de Wette-Brückner, Hofmann, understand τούτων to refer to τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν κ. τ. λ. as the leading thought; this construction Wiesinger justly calls “a distortion of the structure, justifiable only if all other references were impossible.” Incorrect also is the application to δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ (Bengel). From its position it can apply only to ἐπαγγέλ΄ατα (Dietlein, Wiesinger, Schott), and not in like manner to δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ (Fronmüller). διά has here its proper signification, not equal to “because of them” (Jachmann), nor to “incited by them;” as elsewhere the gospel is spoken of as the objective means through which the divine life is communicated, so here the ἐπαγγέλ΄ατα, which, according to the conception of Second Peter, form the essential element of the gospel.

γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως] not: that ye may become partakers, but: that ye might be, etc. (Wiesinger). The aorist shows that the author does not look upon the κοινωνία, which for the Christian is aimed at in the bestowal of the promises, as something entirely future (Vorstius: quorum vi tandem divinae naturae in ilia beata immortalitate vos quoque participes efficiemini), but as something of which he should even now be partaker.(26) The thought that man is intended to be partaker of the divine nature, or to be transfigured into the divine being,—which is accomplished in him through faith in the promises,—is, though in other terms, often enough expressed in the N. T. (Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 1:23; John 1:12-13, and many other passages). Hemming justly remarks: vocat hic divinam naturam id quod divina praesentia efficit in nobis i. e. conformitatem nostri cum Deo, seu imaginem Dei, quae in nobis reformatur per divinam praesentiam in nobis. When Hofmann urges the expression φύσις against this view, because a distinction must be drawn between the φύσις of man and the personal life of man, the former remaining even in him who is regenerate always the same, until this σῶμα is changed from a σῶ΄α ψυχικόν to a σῶ΄α πνευ΄ατικόν, he fails to observe that it is not the human, but the divine φύσις that is here spoken of, and in God there can be no difference made between natural and personal life. The expression φίσις is here quite inappropriately pressed by Hofmann. As opposed to the mystic “deification,” it must be remarked, with the older interpreters, that the expression φύσις conveys the thought, not so much of the substantia, as rather of the qualitas. Grotius’ interpretation dilutes the idea: ut fieretis imitatores divinae bonitatis. The second person ( γένησθε) serves to appropriate to the readers in particular that which belongs to all Christians ( ἡ΄ῖν).(27)

ἀποφυγόντες τῆς ἐν [ τῷ] κόσμῳ ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς] These words do not express the condition on which the Christian becomes partaker of the divine nature, but the negative element which is most intimately connected with the positive aim. Accordingly, the translation is incorrect: “if you escape” (Luther, Brückner); ἀποφυγόντες is to be translated: “escaping, eluding;” the aor. part. is put because the verb is closely conjoined with the preceding aorist γένησθε. It is to be resolved into: in order that ye might be partakers of the divine nature, in that ye escape the φθορά.(28) With φθορά, cf. chap. 2 Peter 2:12, and especially Romans 8:21; Galatians 6:8 (see Meyer on the last passage). By it is to be understood not simply perishableness, but more generally corruption. The term φθορά is here more nearly defined as ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ φθορά, i.e. the corruption which dwells in the (unredeemed) world, and to which all thereto belonging is a prey. The further more precise definition: ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ, states that this φθορά has its origin in the evil lust, opposed to what is divine, which has its sway in the world (1 John 2:16-17).

ἀποφί, here c. gen.; chap. 2 Peter 2:18; 2 Peter 2:20, cum accus. constr.

The sequence of thought in 2 Peter 1:3-4 is: Christ hath granted us everything that is serviceable to salvation and holiness, and that by the knowledge of God who hath called us by His glory; through it he has given us the most glorious promises, the design of which is the communication of the divine life.


Verse 5-6

2 Peter 1:5-6. καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο δέ] καὶδέ, equivalent to “but also,” “and also;” cf. Winer, p. 412 f. [E. T. 553 f.]; Buttmann, p. 312. καί adds something new to what goes before; δέ brings out that what is added is to be distinguished from what precedes.(29)

Neither περί nor κατά nor πρός is to be supplied to αὐτὸ τοῦτο, which stands here absolutely, equivalent to διʼ αὐτὸ τοῦτο: “for this very reason,” cf. Winer, p. 134 f. [E. T. 178], and refers back to the thought contained in ὡς πάνταδεδωρημένης, and further developed in the clauses following: “since ye have been made partakers of all that, therefore,” etc. Grotius: Deus fecit quod suum est, vos quoque quod vestrum est faciete. Dietlein takes αὐτὸ τοῦτο as a simple accusative dependent on ἐπιχορήσατε (thus also Steinfass); but this combination, which would make τοῦτο refer to the subsequent ἐν τῇ π. ὑ΄. τὴν ἀρετήν, or to τ. ἀρετήν alone, is opposed by the αὐτό beside it, which looks back to what has gone before. Nor does Dietlein fail to see this, for he explains: “the announcements given are now to be produced in the form of Christian virtues;” this, however, results in a “straining” (Brückner) of the thought.

As regards the connection of clauses, the apodosis belonging to 2 Peter 1:3 begins with 2 Peter 1:5, not, however, in quite regular construction. Hofmann, on the other hand, holds that the apodosis conveying the exhortations begins already with ἵνα in 2 Peter 1:4. He looks upon ἵνα as depending on ἐπιχορηγήσατε, and considers that the two participial clauses, ἀποφυγόντες κ. τ. λ. and καὶ παρεισενέγκαντες, are to be closely connected with each other, and both together joined with the imperative; accordingly he translates: “Considering that His divine power hath given us all that is serviceable to life and godliness … ye should, in order thereby to become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world occasioned by lust, but for that very reason giving all diligence, supply virtue in and with your faith.” But opposed to this view is: (1) The intolerable cumbrousness of the construction; (2) The circumstance that although a dependent clause may precede the clause on which it depends, this may take place only when the clearness of the style does not thereby suffer, i.e. when the periods are so constructed that the dependent clause cannot, by any rule of language, be taken with a preceding clause,—but this is plainly not the case here; (3) The aorist γένησθε, instead of which the present would have been written; and finally, (4) The impossibility of here applying διὰ τούτων to anything that goes before. This becomes the more obvious if the preceding secondary clause be considered as standing after the imperatival clause ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἀγάπην.

σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες] cf. Jude 1:3 : πᾶσαν σπ. ποιού΄ενος (Jos. Arch. xx. 9. 2 Peter 2 : εἰσφέρειν σπουδήν); παρά points out that believers on their side (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott) should contribute their part, namely, the σπουδή, to what has here been given them. That παρά has not here the implied idea of secrecy, is self-evident; but it is also unjustifiable when Hofmann asserts that παρεισφέρειν σπουδήν means “the application of diligence, which endeavours after something already given in a different manner.”

ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἐν τῇ πίστει ὑ΄ῶν τὴν ἀρετήν] ἐπιχορηγεῖν, either “contribute,” i.e. your contribution to the work of salvation (de Wette), or more probably, according to the use of the word elsewhere in the N. T. (2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; cf. also 1 Peter 4:11), “to supply” (Brückner, Wiesinger, Hofmann); it is here placed as correlative to the term δεδώρηται, 2 Peter 1:4, and denotes “the gift which the believer gives in return for the gift of God” (Wiesinger, although the meaning of the word does not quite justify him in doing so, adds: “or more accurately, by which he again presents to God his own gift in the fruit it has produced”). Dietlein’s interpretation is erroneous: “to perform in dance.” This meaning the word never has. Even χορηγεῖν sometimes means “to lead a dance,” but not “to perform anything in dance.” The original meaning of ἐπιχορ. is: “to contribute to the expenses of a χόρος.” Schott’s assertion is arbitrary, “that ἐπιχορηγεῖν signifies a supplying of what is due to one in virtue of an official or honorary position.”

Pott incorrectly explains the preposition ἐν by διά; de Wette inadequately by “in, with, of that which is already present, and to which something else should be added.” The sense is: since you have πίστις, let it not be wanting in ἀρετή. It is not meant: that to the πίστις, as something different from it, ἀρετή should be added; but ἀρετή belongs to πίστις, and for this reason the Christian must put it into practice. The same relation is preserved in the members which follow.(30) πίστις is presupposed as the origin (Oecumenius: θεμέλιος τῶν ἀγαθῶν καὶ κρηπίς) of all Christian virtues, and in the first instance of the ἀρετή, by which Oecumenius understands τὰ ἔργα; Gerhard: generale nomen omnium operum et actionum bonarum; Calvin: honesta et bene composita vita; it is best explained by strenuus animae tonus ac vigor (Bengel): “moral efficiency” (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.).(31)

ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν] γυῶσις is not here τῶν τοῦ θεοῦ ἀποκρύφων μυστηρίων εἴδησις (Oecum.), nor is it “the knowledge of God which the Christians possess” (Dietl.); but as the matter in hand here is the practical proof of the Christian temper, it must be understood as denoting the perception of that which the Christian as such has to do in all relations of life, and of how he has to do it (Besser, Wiesinger, Schott, Hofmann; Brückner, in agreement with this: “discretion”).(32)2 Peter 1:6. The three virtues here named are: the ἐγκράτεια, the ὑπο΄ονή, and the εὐσέβεια.

ἐγκράτεια, besides here, in Acts 24:25 and Gal. 6:22 (Titus 1:8 : ἐγκρατής; 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Corinthians 9:25 : ἐγκρατεύο΄αι), denotes the control of one’s own desires; τὸ ΄ηδενὶ ἀποσύρεσθαι πάθει (Oecumenius); cf. on Titus 1:8.(33) Compare this with the passage in Jes. Sirach 18:30, where under the superscription ἐγκράτεια ψυχῆς there is the maxim: ὀπίσω τῶν ἐπιθυ΄ιῶν σου ΄ὴ πορεύου, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ὀρέξεών σου κωλύου.

ὑπο΄ονή is enduring patience in all temptations. Besser aptly recalls the proverb: abstine, sustine.

With εὐσέβεια, comp. 2 Peter 1:3; Dietlein, without sufficient justification, explains it here as: “the godly awe and respect in the personal, domestic relations of life.” If εὐσέβεια do not apply only to our relation to God (e.g. Dio Cass. xlviii. 5: διὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸν ἀδελφὸν εὐσέβειαν), the other object of it must in this case be definitely stated.


Verse 7

2 Peter 1:7 adds φιλαδελφία and ἀγάπη to the virtues already named. These are to be distinguished thus, that the former applies specially to the Christian brethren, the latter to all—without distinction; 1 Thessalonians 3:12 : ἀγάπη εἰς ἀλλήλους καὶ εἰς πάντας (Galatians 6:10); with φιλαδελφία, cf. 1 Peter 1:22. While the apostle calls the love which is extended to all ἀγάπη, he gives it to be understood that what he means is not the purely natural well-wishing, but Christian love springing from the Christian spirit. Dietlein, without sufficient reason, thinks that φιλαδελφία is only the opposite of that which is forbidden in the eighth and ninth commandments, whilst the ἀγάπη is the complete antithesis to what is forbidden in the tenth commandment. In this way the conception φιλαδελφία is unjustifiably disregarded,—a proceeding to which the language of Scripture gives the less sanction, that where love in all its depth and truth is spoken of, the word φιλεῖν is not unfrequently used; cf. John 5:20; John 16:27, etc.

Although the different virtues here are not arranged according to definite logical order, yet the way in which they here belong to each other is not to be mistaken. Each of the virtues to be shown forth forms the complement of that which precedes, and thus gives rise to a firmly-linked chain of thought. ἀρετή supplies the complement of πίστις, for faith without virtue is wanting in moral character, and is in itself dead; that of ἀρετή is γνῶσις, for the realizing of the moral volition is conditioned by comprehension of that which is needful in each separate case; that of γνῶσις is ἐγκράτεια, for self-control must not be wanting to volition and comprehension; that of ἐγκράτεια is ὑπομενή, for there are outward as well as inward temptations to be withstood; that of ὑπομονή is εὐσέβεια, for only in trustful love to God has the ὑπομονή firm support; that of εὐσέβεια the φιλαδελφία, for “he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20); that of φιλαδελφία the ἀγάπη, for without the latter the former would degenerate into poor narrow-heartedness. Thus, in that the one virtue is the complement of the other, the latter produces the former of itself as its natural outcome; Bengel: praesens quisque gradus subsequentem parit et facilem reddit, subsequens priorem temperat ac perficit.(34)


Verse 8

2 Peter 1:8. Reason for the foregoing exhortation.

ταῦτα] i.e. the virtues above mentioned.

γὰρ ὑμῖν ὑπάρχοντα καὶ πλεονάζοντα] For ὑπάρχειν c. dat. cf. Acts 3:6; πλεονάζοντα intensifies the idea ὑπάρχοντα; for πλεονάζειν, cf. my commentary to 1 Timothy 1:14; it means either: “to be present in abundance,” strictly, to exceed the measure (abundare), or: “to become more, to increase (crescere).” Here the first of these two meanings seems to deserve the preference; though not so in the judgment of Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, Steinfass, Hofmann. The participles may be resolved into “in that,” “since” (Dietlein), or “if” (Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott); the latter is to be preferred, inasmuch as this verse refers back to the exhortation 2 Peter 1:5, and in “2 Peter 1:9 the opposite is assumed as possible” (Brückner); thus: “for if these virtues exist in you, and that in rich measure;” Luther in his translation has combined the two translations.

οὐκ ἀργοὺς οὐδὲ ἀκάρπους καθίστησιν] ὑμᾶς is to be supplied. Hornejus: λιτότης est, cum ait: non inertes neque infructuosos pro operosos et fructuosos; Dietlein: “the οὐκ and οὐδέ belong to the adjectives, not to καθίστησιν.”

For ἀργός, cf. 1 Timothy 5:13; Titus 1:12; οὐκ ἀργός, equivalent to “active;” ἄκαρπος cannot mean only “without fruit,” but “barren” also; cf. Ephesians 5:11 (as against Schott).

καθίστησι: the present is not put here for the future (Hornejus). According to Dietlein, Wiesinger, and Schott, καθίστημι should mean “to cause to appear, to exhibit,” so that the sense would be: “he who possesses these virtues, he thereby appears as bringing forth fruit with regard to the ἐπιγν. τοῦ κυρίου . χρ.,” by which is meant that his knowledge manifests itself as an active one; this is, however, incorrect, for: (1) A meaning is thereby attributed to καθίστημι which it never has, either in the classics or in the N. T. (not even in James 3:6; James 4:4, and Romans 5:19); it means “to set up,” but not to set forth, to exhibit, to manifest, etc. (2) It gives a meaning to εἰς such as that word has nowhere else, since the object with which it is to be taken is always to be thought of as the end, and that even in the more loose connection in which εἰς is equal to “with regard, with respect to.” (3) It is a somewhat idle, because a self-evident reflection, that if knowledge produce the above-named virtues, it thereby manifests itself as a knowledge that is not inactive.(35) It is also inaccurate to translate with Luther: “where such is present in abundance in you, it will let you be neither idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge,” etc., for εἰς is not equal to ἐν. The verb καθίστη΄ι denotes in connection with an adjective: reddere, to make into, to set one up as; cf. Pape, s.v.; and the preposition εἰς expresses the direction, so that the thought is: those virtues make you (or more exactly, place you as) active and fruitful with regard to knowledge, i.e. by them you are advanced with regard to knowledge; cf. Colossians 1:10 : ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ καρποφοροῦντες καὶ αὐξανόμενοι εἰς τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ θεοῦ (cf. Meyer in loc.); de Wette: “The author considers all these virtues only as steps to the knowledge of Jesus Christ; and this knowledge he regards not merely as theoretical, but as one to be obtained practically, a living into Him, and, at the same time, perfect;” thus, too, Brückner, Fronmüller, Steinfass.


Verse 9

2 Peter 1:9 gives in negative form an explanation of the preceding verses.

γὰρ μὴ πάρεστι ταῦτα] antithesis to ταῦταπλεονάζοντα, 2 Peter 1:8. The possession of these graces furthers knowledge, for he who does not possess them is τυφλός, that is, in so far as he is, and remains, without the true knowledge of Jesus Christ. μή is explained thus, that the idea which lies at the basis is: “he who is so constituted, that he is without these virtues” (Hofmann), or so that he must be judged as being without them.(36)

τυφλός ἐστι, μυωπάζων] ΄υωπάζειν ( ἅπ. λεγ.) means: to be a ΄ύωψ, i.e. one short-sighted:(37) accordingly μυωπάζων serves more nearly to define the term τυφλός as one who can see only what is near, not what is far off. Schott correctly explains μυωπάζων by “weak-sighted.” The older commentators, following Oecumenius, for the most part take μυωπάζειν as synonymous with τυφλώττειν; thus Calvin, Hornejus, etc.; but the identification in meaning of these two terms cannot be justified, whilst it gives rise to an intolerable tautology. The translation of the Vulgate: manu tentans (similarly Erasmus: manu viam tentans; Luther: “and gropes with the hand;” Calvin: manu palpans), has arisen probably from the gloss: ψηλαφῶν, perhaps with reference to Deuteronomy 28:28-29; Isaiah 59:10. Wolf interprets the word, after Bochart (Hierozoic l. l. c. 4), by καμμύειν oculos claudere;(38) but ΄υωπάζειν is not derived from ΄ύειν τὰς ὦπας, but from ΄ύωψ. A ΄ύωψ, however, is not one who arbitrarily closes his eyes, but one who, from inability to see far enough, is obliged to blink with his eyes, in order to see a distant object. The same applies to Dietlein, who translates: “one who closes his eyes,” by which he conceives a voluntary closing of the eyes, precisely that which is opposed to the meaning of the word. If, then, μυωπάζων mean a short-sighted person, the question arises: What is that near at hand which he sees, and that far off which he does not see? The first expression is generally understood as applying to earthly, and the second to heavenly things. Hofmann, on the other hand, explains: “he sees only what is present to him: that he is a member of the Christian church; but how he has become so, that lies outside his horizon.” Here, however, the first thought is purely imported, and the second has only an apparent justification in the clause which follows.

λήθην λαβών] ἅπ. λεγ. equal to oblitus; Vulgate: oblivionem accipiens; cf. ὑπό΄νησιν λαβών, 2 Timothy 1:5 (cf. Joseph. Ant. ii. vi. 9; Wetstein, Lösner, Krebs in loc.); taken strictly, the translation is: “having received the λήθη.” Hofmann justly remarks: that this aoristic clause is not only co-ordinate with the preceding, but is added to it by way of explanation. He is wrong, however, when he thinks that it is intended to elucidate ΄υωπάζων. By it the author refers not to the consequences (Steinfass, and formerly here), but rather to the reason of the blindness, or, more strictly, short-sightedness, which manifests itself in the want of the Christian graces. Dietlein arbitrarily emphasizes this forgetting as a voluntary act. This is justified neither by the expression itself nor by the connection of thought.

τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ τῶν πάλαι αὑτοῦ ἁμαρτημάτων] “the (accomplished) cleansing from the former sins;” not as Winer formerly, in the 5th ed. p. 214, conjectured: “the purification, i.e. the removal of sins;” cf. Hebrews 1:3. As πάλαι shows, καθαρ. does not here mean a continuous (to be obtained by repentance perhaps, etc.), but a completed process. Not, however, the (ideal) καθαρισ΄ός of sins for the whole world of sinners, accomplished through Christ’s death on the cross;

αὑτοῦ is opposed to this; but the cleansing, i.e. forgiveness, procured by the individual in baptism (thus to Brückner, Schott, Hofmann; Wiesinger less aptly applies it to the calling), so that πάλαι denotes the time preceding baptism; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11.


Verse 10

2 Peter 1:10. Resumption of the exhortation.

διὸ μᾶλλον] διό is usually taken as referring to the truth expressed in 2 Peter 1:8-9, and μᾶλλον interpreted as equal to “all the more.” The meaning is then: that this truth should still more incite to zeal (thus Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.). Dietlein, on the other hand, takes μᾶλλον as “ushering in an antithesis,” equal to “rather;” thus also Hofmann. The former supplies the thought: “instead of following a virtueless endeavour after a so-called ἐπίγνωσις,” for which, however, in the context there is no warrant. The latter more correctly applies it to what immediately precedes, in this sense, “the readers should do the opposite of that which Peter calls a forgetting that they have received the pardon of sin.”(39) That the particle μᾶλλον frequently expresses an antithesis cannot be denied; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:2 : but as little can it be questioned that it may serve to express intensification; cf. Meyer on 2 Corinthians 7:7. In this way both interpretations are possible. Still that which is usually given appears to be preferable, inasmuch as it seems more natural to apply the very significant thought of this verse to 2 Peter 1:8-9, than only to the subordinate idea immediately preceding.

ἀδελφοί] makes the exhortation more urgent.

σπουδάσατεποιεῖσθαι] The exhortation here points back to 2 Peter 1:5 : σπουδὴν π. παρεισενέγκ. The relations of κλῆσις and ἐκλογή are thus stated by Gerhard: vocatio, qua in tempore ad regnum gratiae vocati estis; electio, qua ab aeterno ad regnum gloriae electi estis; in like manner Wiesinger, Fronmüller, etc.; cf. Lünemann also on 1 Thessalonians 1:4. But ἐκλογή can also denote the election effected by the κλῆσις, i.e. the separation of those who are called from the world, and the translation of them into the kingdom of God. And this latter view is supported not only by the position in which the two ideas stand to each other, but by the connection of thought (Grotius, Brückner, Schott, Hofmann(40)); for the summons βεβαίαν ποιεῖσθαι can apply only to something which has been realiter accomplished in man, not to the decree of God in itself unchangeable and eternal. For this reason Calvin feels himself compelled unwarrantably to paraphrase σπουδ. βεβ.… ποιεῖσθαι by: studete ut re ipsa testatum fiat, vos non frustra vocatos esse, imo electos.(41)

For βεβαίαν, cf. Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14. The making sure takes place then, when the Christians, by a conduct such as is directed in 2 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:8, do their part to remain the called and elected people; the opposite of this is expressed in 2 Peter 1:9.

The reading: ἵνα διὰ τῶν καλῶν ὑμῶν ἔργων βεβ. κ. τ. λ. reproduces the thought in substance correctly.

ταῦτα γὰρ ποιοῦντες] ταῦτα refers not to the foregoing virtues, as Hofmann thinks, but to that which immediately precedes; “the plural shows that the apostle considered this making sure a very many-sided act” (Dietlein).

οὐ μὴ πταίσητέ ποτε] πταίειν means in James 2:10; James 3:2 : “to offend” (Vulg.: non peccabitis); here as in Romans 11:11 : “to forfeit salvation;” thus also Hofmann. It is unjustifiable to combine the two ideas (de Wette: “to fall and so to fail of salvation”). The double negation οὐ μή, and the ποτέ placed at the end, strengthen the statement.


Verse 11

2 Peter 1:11. οὕτω γάρ] Resumption of the ταῦτα ποιοῦντες; Dietlein’s interpretation is erroneous: “precisely when ye in all humility renounce every arrogant striving after distinction;” for there is no reference here to any such striving.

πλουσίως ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται ὑμῖν εἴσοδος εἰς κ. τ. λ.] The conjunction of εἴσοδος and πλουσίως ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται is surprising. It is incorrect to attribute to πλουσίως a meaning different from that which it always has (thus Grotius: promptissimo Dei affectu; Augusti: “in more than one way”). It is, however, also erroneous to make πλουσ. ἐπιχορ. apply not to εἴσοδος itself, but to the condition which is entered upon after the εἴσοδος, “the higher degree of blessedness” (de Wette).(42) ἐπιχορ. represents the entrance into the eternal kingdom of Christ as a gift; πλουσίως as a gift abundantly; in so far as that entrance is not in any way rendered difficult, or even hindered; the opposite is the μόλις, 1 Peter 4:18. Schott is not quite accurate in applying πλουσίως to the “secure certainty of the entrance.” Wiesinger adopts both the interpretation of Gerhard: divites eritis in praemiis coelestibus, and that of Bengel: ut quasi cum triumpho intrare possitis. Dietlein here inaptly brings in with ἐπιχορηγ. “the conception of a chorus in solemn procession.” It is to be noted that as ἐπιχορηγήσατε, 2 Peter 1:5, points back to δεδώρηται in 2 Peter 1:4, so does this ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται here to ἐπιχορηγήσατε. The Christian’s gift in return must correspond with the gift of God, and the return-gift of God again with that of the Christian.


Verse 12

2 Peter 1:12. διό] not: “therefore, because the whole duty consists precisely in the not forgetting” (Dietlein), for no expression was given to any such thought here, but: because to him alone,(43) who in the supplying of virtues reaches an ever more complete knowledge of Christ, is an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of Christ ministered.

μελλήσω] The same form elsewhere only in Matthew 24:6; de Wette interprets it here: “I will ever have a care;” Schott translates: “I will always be in the position;” but there is nothing which renders necessary here a translation different from that in the other passage. Hofmann justly says that it is a circumlocution for the future of ὑπομιμνήσκειν, as in Matt. for ἀκούειν, and that ἀεί must be joined with μελλήσω.

Luther, following the Rec. οὐκ ἀμελήσω): “therefore I will not cease.”

περὶ τούτων] i.e. of all that which has been already mentioned. It is not to be limited to any one thing; and therefore not, with de Wette, to “the kingdom of God and its future;” nor, with Wiesinger, to “the manifestation of faith in its fruits;” and still less can τούτων be understood, with Hofmann, of the virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7. In this verse the author promises his readers that he will ἀεί, i.e. at every time, as the opportunity presented itself (Hofmann in all probability incorrectly: “when I address you”), remind them of this. By what means is not said; but that he does not refer to this epistle is shown by the so strongly expressed future.

καίπερ εἰδότας] Calvin: Vos quidem, inquit, probe tenetis, quaenam sit evangelii veritas, neque vos quasi fluctuantes confirmo, sed in re tanta monitiones nunquam sint supervacuae: quare nunquam molestae esse debent. Simili excusatione utitur Paulus ad Romans 15:14. Cf. also 1 John 2:21; Jude 1:5.

καὶ ἐστηριγμένους ἐν τῇ παρούσῃ ἀληθείᾳ] “and made firm, i.e. are firm in,” etc.; not: “although ye are supported, i.e. have won a firm position by standing on the present truth” (Dietlein). ἐν τῇ παρ. ἀληθ. is the complement of ἐστηρ., and states not the means by which, but the object in which, the readers have become firm.

παρούσῃ stands here in the same sense as τοῦ παρόντος (that is, εὐαγγελίου) εἰς ὑμᾶς, Colossians 1:6.(44) De Wette, with not quite strict accuracy, interprets παρούσῃ as equal to παραδοθείσῃ, Jude 1:3. Vorstius, Bengel, etc., incorrectly take it as referring to the fulfilment in the gospel of the Old Testament promises; and Schott, instead of to truth in an objective sense, “to the relation of fellowship with God, in which they stood as Christians.”


Verse 13-14

2 Peter 1:13-14. δίκαιον δὲ ἡγοῦμαι] “I consider it right and reasonable” (Dietlein: “as a duty”); cf. Philippians 1:7; 2 Peter 1:14 states the reason.

ἐφʼ ὅσον εἰμὶ ἐν τούτῳ τῷ σκηνώματι] σκήνωμα, like σκῆνος, 2 Corinthians 5:1, “the tabernacle,” a figurative designation of the human body; cf. Wisdom of Solomon 9:15 : τὸ γεῶδες σκῆνος. There can hardly be here any direct reference to the nomadic life in tents (Hornejus).

διεγείρειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ὑπομνήσει] “to stir you up by reminding you, i.e. to encourage you.” The same combination takes place in chap. 2 Peter 3:1; διεγείρειν is to be found elsewhere only in the Gospels, and there in its strict signification.

ἐν ὑπομνήσει points back to ὑπομιμνήσκειν in 2 Peter 1:12, which, in the aim of it, διεγείρειν serves to define more nearly. In de Wette’s opinion, these words are written with special reference to the advent of Christ; but there is nothing to indicate any such limitation of them. It cannot, with Dietlein, be concluded that this letter is linked on to the First Epistle of Peter, from the circumstance that in 1 Peter 5:8-9, γρηγορήσατε is to be found followed by στερεοί.—2 Peter 1:14. εἰδώς] “since I know,” gives the reason for the δίκαιον ἡγοῦμαι, 2 Peter 1:13.

ὅτι ταχινή ἐστιν ἀπόθεσις τοῦ σκηνώματός μου] The expression ἀπόθεσις is to be explained by “a mingling of the figure of a garment and that of a tent” (de Wette).

ταχινή is taken by most commentators (as also by Wiesinger and Brückner) to mean “soon.” Accordingly some (de Wette, Fronmüller, and others) think that in the subsequent words the writer does not refer to the prediction of Christ contained in John 21:18 ff., but to a later revelation vouchsafed to Peter (such as is mentioned by Hegesippus, De Excid. Jerosolym. iii. 2, and by Ambrose, Ep. 33); but Bengel already translated ταχινή ἐστιν correctly by repentina est; observing: Praesens; qui diu aegrotant, possunt alios adhuc pascere. Crux id Petro non erat permissura. Ideo prius agit, quod agendum erat.(45) In chap. 2 Peter 2:1 also, ταχινός means “sudden, swift” (Vulg. velox), not “soon.” Peter says here that he will end his life by a sudden (i.e. violent) death; so too Steinfass, Schott, Hofmann; the adjective ταχινή states, not the time, but the manner of the ἀπόθεσις. Accordingly the assumption of a later revelation has no foundation in this passage.(46)

The particle καί after καθώς, for the most part left unnoticed, shows that the words καθὼς κ. τ. λ. are added in confirmation of Peter’s certainty as to his sudden death, equivalent to “even as indeed.” With ἐδήλωσεν, cf. 1 Peter 1:11.


Verse 15

2 Peter 1:15. σπουδάσω δὲ καί] “but I will, moreover, also zealously take care, that;” καί connects this sentence with 2 Peter 1:13; it belongs to σπουδάσω, not to what follows.

ἑκάστοτε] ἅπ. λεγ. “on every occasion,” quotiescunque usus venerit (Bengel); it belongs to ἔχειν κ. τ. λ., and must not be connected with σπουδάσω.

ἔχειν ὑμᾶςποιεῖσθαι] The construction of σπουδάζειν with the accus. cum inf. only here; ἔχειν with the infinitive means: “to be able.”

τὴν μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι, here only: “to call up the memory (recollection) of this,” that is, in you; similarly μνείαν ποιεῖσθαι (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16, etc.).

τούτων as in 2 Peter 1:12. Dietlein, altogether arbitrarily, understands it of the memory of the history of Christ as He appeared in the flesh.

Peter promises to his readers, that as it was his intention in 2 Peter 1:12 to remind them of the truths stated in 2 Peter 1:3-11, he would also endeavour that after his death they should always be able to remember them. By what means he would do this is in this passage as little stated as in the μελλήσωὑμᾶς ὑπομιμνήσκειν, 2 Peter 1:12. The reference here is not to the first and second epistles;(47) this in like manner is opposed by the future σπουδάσω. The words δὲ καί following on σπουδάσω seem to imply that the author would do something else besides the ὑπο΄ι΄νήσκειν, whereby his readers after his death would be put in a position to remember what he had now written to them. This additional something may, however, be regarded as the ἔχειν ὑ΄ᾶς τὴν τούτων ΄νή΄ην ποιεῖσθαι itself in relation to ὑ΄ᾶς ὑπο΄ι΄νήσκειν; that is to say, the latter states what he, the former what they, should do. It is most probable that the author in μελλήσω ὑπομιμνήσκειν and σπουδάσω expresses his intention of continuing for the future also to write to his readers as time and opportunity presented themselves. It is entirely arbitrary to take the promise as referring to copies of his letters (de Wette), or to the composition of the Gospel of Mark, which is supposed to have been done under Peter’s superintendence (Michaelis, Pott, Fronmüller, etc.), or to the appointing of faithful teachers, cf. 2 Timothy 2:2.


Verse 16

2 Peter 1:16. οὐ γὰρ σεσοφισμένοις μύθοις ἐξακολουθήσαντες] γάρ shows that this verse, in which allusion is made to the erroneous teachers, gives the reason for the σπουδάσω. The connection of thought is perfectly plain, so soon as it is observed that all that has gone before has been said in close relation to the “promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

σεσοφισμένοις μύθοις, Luther inexactly: “clever fables;” σοφίζειν means in 2 Timothy 3:15 : “to make wise;” this meaning is inappropriate here; in the classics it occurs in the sense: “to contrive cleverly;” thus Aristophanes, Nub. 543: ἀεὶ καινὰς ἰδέας σοφίζομαι; accordingly σεσοφ. μῦθοι are: “cleverly contrived fables;” Pott: fabulae ad decipiendos hominum animos artificiosae excogitate atque exornatae;(48) cf. chap. 2 Peter 2:3, πλαστοὶ λόγοι. The interpretation of Aretius is, on the other hand, incorrect: fabulae falsam habentes sapientiae et veritatis speciem. The expression ΄ῦθοι is to be found in the N. T. only here and in the Pastoral Epistles. As the author makes no special allusion of the kind, it is at least doubtful if he refers to any definite myths; either those of the heathen with reference to the appearances of the gods upon earth (Oecumenius, Estius, Bengel, etc.), or to those of the Gnostics as to the emanation of the aeons (Dietlein), or to the Gnostic myth of the Sophia (Baur), or to the apocryphal legends of the birth and childhood of Christ, especially in the Ev. Infantiae Jesu (Jachmann), or to false myths as to Christ embellished in the spirit of the Jewish Messianic beliefs (Semler), or “apocryphal, didactic, and historical traditions, as these were appended by a later Judaism to the histories of the O. T., especially to the most ancient” (Schott, similarly Steinfass), or to the practice of heathen lawgivers, who, according to Josephus, appropriated to themselves the fables of popular belief, borrowing from them their accounts of the gods (Hofmann). The words express, indeed, an antithesis, but this is of an entirely general kind; either in order to bring out that the apostolic preachers are not like those others who seek the support of myths,—perhaps with special reference to the false teachers alluded to in chap. 2 and 3,—or, what is less probable, in order to meet the reproaches of these teachers (Wiesinger), and the contrast serves to give the more prominence to the positive statement.

ἐξακολουθήσαντες] The verb, besides here, only in chap. 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 2:15. The preposition ἐξ does not precisely indicate the error (Bengel), but only the going forth from a particular point; in common usage, however, this secondary meaning often entirely recedes; cf. the passage below, quoted from Josephus, Ant. prooem. § 4. By this negative statement the author denies not only that his message was based on myths, but that in it he followed a communication received from others (Schott).

ἐγνωρίσαμεν ὑμῖν τὴν τοῦ κυρ. ἡμ. . χρ. δύναμιν κ. παρουσίαν] Several interpreters understand this of the First Epistle of Peter; in which case the plural is surprising, for the author had already spoken of himself in the singular. Hofmann’s objection to this view is, that although in his former epistle Peter refers to the power and coming of Christ, he did not first make it known to the readers. But the passages 1 Corinthians 15:1 and Galatians 1:11, show that γνωρίζειν may also be used of a proclamation, the substance of which had already been communicated to those to whom it was made. Many commentators take the words as referring to the whole preaching of the apostles, understanding ὑ΄ῖν, not of the readers specially, but of the Gentile-Christians generally; thus Wiesinger, and more decidedly Hofmann. It must be observed, however, in opposition to this, that γενηθέντες and the subsequent ἡ΄εῖς ἠκούσα΄εν must refer to the same subject as ἐγνωρίσα΄εν. The most probable explanation is, that the author, remembering that he was not the only witness of the transfiguration, passed from the singular to the plural, and in so doing made use of ὑ΄ῖν in its extended sense.

παρουσία is not here the nativitas Christi, His human birth (Vatablus, Erasmus, Hornejus, Pott, Jachmann, etc.), nor “His presence during the time He appeared on earth” (Schmid); but, in harmony both with the N. T. usage (chap. 2 Peter 3:4; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19, etc.) and the connection of thought (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 1:17; 2 Peter 3:4): the return of Christ to judgment (Estius, Semler, Knapp, Dietlein, de Wette-Brückner, Hofmann, and the more modern interpreters generally(49)). δύνα΄ις, however, denotes the fulness of might of the glorified Lord, as it will be more especially revealed in His παρουσία. It is not correct to combine both ideas into one, and with Hornejus to explain: potens adventus; or with Bengel: majestas praesentissima.

ἀλλʼ ἐπόπται ΄εγαλειότητος] An antithesis, affirmatively stated, to what goes before. ἐπόπτης, ἅπ. λεγ. (1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 3:2 : ἐποπτεύω), is the term, techn. for him who had reached the highest degree of initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries. Keeping to this, Bengel here interprets: ad intima arcana admissi; de Wette, too, thinks that the expression has here the secondary meaning of being initiated, of intimacy. It is no doubt chosen purposely with reference to the fact that the ΄εγαλειότης of Christ, which Peter and the other two disciples beheld, was a mystery hidden from the others. Grotius, Pott, and others take it as synonymous with αὐτόπτης, Luke 1:2. The connection demands that ἐπόπται γενηθέντες should be referred to the fact of the transfiguration (2 Peter 1:17). Hofmann is wrong in supposing that Peter here thought of the appearance of the Risen One and His ascension. The assertion is refuted not only by the close connection in which 2 Peter 1:17 stands to this verse, but by the word ΄εγαλειότης, which in no sense is expressive only of “greatness.” As the form in which Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after His resurrection was the same as that in which they had seen Him before it, they were not then in any way ἐπόπται of his ΄εγαλειότης; nor is there the slightest hint that there is here allusion to any fact other than that mentioned in the following verse.

τῆς ἐκείνου ΄εγαλειότητος] that is, the glory in which at His transfiguration Christ showed Himself to the three disciples. Incorrectly Calvin: exemplum unum prae aliis eligit memorabile, in quo Christus coelesti gloria ornatus conspicuam divinae magnificentiae speciem tribus discipulis praebuit. The apostle rather regards the transfiguration glory of Christ as the type—and therefore the proof—of the glory of Christ at His παρουσία.


Verse 17

2 Peter 1:17. λαβὼν γὰρδόξαν] γάρ: “that is;” explanation of the immediately preceding: ἐπόπται γενηθέντες. The participle does not require any such supplement as ἦν or ἐτύγχανε, nor is it put instead of the finite verb. For the principal thought is, not that Christ was transfigured, but that Peter was a witness of this transfiguration, which was typical of the δύναμις καὶ παρουσία of Christ. The finite verb belonging to the participle λαβών is wanting. Its absence is most naturally accounted for by supposing, that the addition of φωνῆς ἐνεχθείσης κ. τ. λ. caused the author to forget to notice that he had not written ἔλαβε γάρ. How after writing λαβών he intended to proceed, cannot be definitely said; what is wanting, however, must be supplied from that which goes before, not from what follows. Winer, p. 330 [E. T. 442], incorrectly supplies the necessary complement from 2 Peter 1:18, since he says that Peter should have continued: ἡμᾶς εἶχε ταύτην τὴν φωνὴν ἀκούσαντας, or in a similar manner. But it is still more arbitrary to borrow the supplement from 2 Peter 1:19 (as is done by Dietlein and Schott).

παρὰ θεοῦ πατρός] πατήρ is applied here to God in His relation to Christ, with reference to the subsequent υἱός μου.

τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν] “Honour and glory,” as in Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10; δόξα denotes not the brightness of Christ’s body at the transfiguration (Hornejus, Gerhard, etc. Steinfass would understand both expressions of the shining figure of Christ). Hofmann is unwarranted in finding in λαβὼν κ. τ. λ. a confirmation of his opinion that it is the resurrection and ascension that are here referred to, inasmuch as God first conferred honour and glory upon Christ, by raising Him from the dead and exalting Him. To this it may be said that by every act of God which testified to His glory, Christ received τιμὴ καὶ δόξα, i.e. “honour and praise.”

φωνῆς ἐνεχθείσης αὐτῷ τοιᾶσδε] states through what Christ received “honour and praise:” the expression φωνὴ φέρεταί τινι, here only; Luke 9:35-36, φωνὴ γίγνεται; so also Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22 (cf. John 12:28; John 12:30); αὐτῷ: the dative of direction, not: in honorem ejus (Pott).

ὑπὸ τῆς μεγαλοπρεποῦς δόξης] ὑπό is neither equivalent to “accompanied by” (Wahl), nor to “from … out of” (Winer, 5th ed. p. 442 f.): the preposition, even where in local relations it inclines to these significations, always maintains firmly its original meaning: “under;” here, as generally in passives, it signifies “by;” thus, too, Winer, 6th ed. p. 330 [E. T. 462], 7th, 346: “when this voice was borne to Him by the sublime Majesty.” μεγαλοπρεπὴς ( ἅπ. λεγ.) δόξα means neither heaven nor the bright cloud (Matthew 17:5);(50) it is rather a designation of God Himself (Gerhard, de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Fronmüller, Hofmann); similarly as, in Matthew 26:64, God is called by the abstract expression δύνα΄ις. With ΄εγαλοπρεπής, cf. Deuteronomy 33:26, LXX.

οὔτός ἐστιν υἱός ΄ου ἀγαπητός] So in Matthew; only with the addition αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε, and instead of εἰς ὅν: “ ἐν ” In Mark 9:7 and Luke 9:35 (where, instead of ἀγαπητός, there is “ ἐκλελεγ΄ένος”), the words εἰς ὃν ἐγὼ εὐδόκησα are entirely wanting. The reading adopted by Tisch. 7: υἱός ΄ου ἀγαπητός ΄ου οὔτός ἐστι, corresponds to none of the accounts in the Gospels; cf. with it the O. T. quotation from Isaiah 42:1 in Matthew (Matthew 12:18): παῖς ΄ου ἀγαπητός ΄ου, εἰς ὃν εὐδόκησεν ψυχή ΄ου.

The construction of εὐδοκεῖν with εἰς does not occur elsewhere in the N. T.; there is no warrant for the assertion that εἰς points “to the historical development of the plan of salvation”(!) (Dietlein).


Verse 18

2 Peter 1:18. καὶ ταύτηνἐνεχθεῖσαν; the author is anxious to show prominently that he has been an ear-witness of that divine voice, as well as an eye-witness of the μεγαλειότης of Christ.

ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐνεχθ. is added by way of emphasis, in order to lay stress on the fact that Christ received that testimony directly from heaven.

ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ ἁγίῳ] From the epithet τῷ ἁγίῳ it must not, with Grotius, be concluded that the reference here is to the hill on which the temple stood, and that what is alluded to is not the transfiguration, but the incident recorded in John 12:28. Without any reason, de Wette asserts that that epithet (instead of which Matthew 17:1 has: ὑψηλόν) betrays a view of the case more highly coloured with the belief in miracles than that of the apostles, and belonging to a later period; Calvin already gives the correct interpretation: montem sanctum appellat, qua ratione terra sancta dicitur, in qua Mosi Deus apparuit; quocunque enim accedit Dominus, ut est fons omnis sanctitatis, praesentiae suae odore omnia sanctificat; Dietlein: “the ‘in the holy’ is added, not to designate the mountain, but in order to distinguish it on account of this event;” so, too, Brückner and the modern commentators generally.


Verse 19

2 Peter 1:19. καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον] “and we have as one more stable (surer) the word of prophecy.” The second testimony for the glory of Christ in His second coming is “the word of prophecy.” This Luther understands to mean the “gospel;” Griesbach: “New Testament prophecies;” Erasmus: “the heavenly testimony mentioned in 2 Peter 1:18.” But the connection with what follows shows that it is the Old Testament promises which are here meant. On the singular Bengel rightly says: Mosis, Esaiae et omnium prophetarum sermones unum sermonem sibi undequaque constantem faciunt; non jam singularia dicta Petrus profert, sed universum eorum testimonium complectitur; only that here reference is made specially to the promise with regard to the δύναμις καὶ παρουσία of Christ.

The expression προφητικός, besides here, only in Romans 16:26 : γραφαὶ προφητικαί.

The article τόν marks this as a definite prophecy, well known to the readers. With regard to it the author says: ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον; for the force of βέβαιος, cf. especially Romans 4:16; Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:17; 2 Corinthians 1:6. βεβαιότερον is neither to be connected directly with the object, nor is the comparative to be taken as synonymous with the positive or with the superlative. Luther trebly inaccurate: “we have α stable prophetic word.”

How then is the comparative to be explained? Oecumenius says by the relation in which the fulfilment stands to the promise, in this sense, that the truth of the latter is confirmed by the former, and that accordingly the prophetic word has now become more sure and stable than it was formerly (thus, too, Fronmüller). But the promise here in question still awaits its fulfilment. De Wette’s view is more suitable. According to it, the comparative is put with reference to the event mentioned in 2 Peter 1:17-18, so that the thought would be: “and the prophetic word is more stable to us (now) from the fact that we saw and heard that” (thus, too, Schmidt, II. p. 213, Brückner, Dietlein, Schott(51)). Wiesinger combines this view with that of Oecumenius. There are objections to this view; de Wette himself raises them: (1) That any more precise allusion to this sense by a νῦν or an ἐκ τούτου is wanting; (2) That in what follows the thought stated is neither held fast nor developed. These, however, are easily removed, when it is considered that there is no intention here of giving prominence to the point of time, and that in what follows the reference is precisely to the prophetic word confirmed by the above-mentioned fact; cf. Brückner. It is incorrect to take the comparative here as implying that the word of prophecy is placed higher than something else, for this could only be that event mentioned in 2 Peter 1:16-17.(52) But the very stress laid on it and on the ἐπόπται γενηθέντες τῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος, is opposed to this view. How inappropriate would it be, if in comparison with it the word of prophecy should be brought prominently forward as more stable and sure! The nominative to ἔχομεν is not the apostles generally (against Hofmann), hardly either can it be Peter and his readers; but, as the close connection of this verse with what precedes shows, the subject to ἔχομεν is no other than that to ἠκούσαμεν. The author does not, indeed, here appeal to any of Christ’s own prophecies of His second coming. But this is to be explained, not by assuming that these were unknown to him, nor because “the rapid succession of the advent on the destruction of Jerusalem, foretold in them, had not taken place” (de Wette), but simply because the writer’s aim here was to point to the testimonies regarding Christ and what related to Him (and thus not to those of Christ Himself) (thus, too, Brückner).

καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες] “whereunto to take heed, ye do well,” as Hebrews 2:1 : “to give heed to something with a believing heart.” The searching into the word of prophecy is only the consequence of this. The same construction of καλ. ποιεῖν cum Part. Acts 10:33; Philippians 4:14; 3 John 1:6 (Joseph. Ant. xi. 6. 12: οἷς [ γράμμασι ἀμάνου] ποιήσατε καλῶς μὴ προσέχοντες).

ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῳ τόπῳ] The comparative particle ὡς points to the nature and significance of the λόγος προφ.; it is in the sphere of spiritual life, the same as a λύχνος in outward world of sense.

φαίνοντι, not: qui lucebat (Bengel); it is rather the present, an attribute of λύχνῳ. αὐχμηρός ( ἅπ. λεγ.), literally: parched, dry, then: dirty, dingy (opposed to λαμπρός, Arist. de colorib.(53)) It is used with the latter meaning here. αὐχ΄ηρὸς τόπος has indeed been explained as a desert, or a “place overrun with wild scraggy wood” (Hofmann); but this would make sense only if the idea of darkness or night were added in thought (as by Steinfass), for which, however, there is still no warrant.

ἕως οὔ ἡ΄έρα διαυγάσῃ] ἕως οὔ (generally construed with ἄν), c. conj. aorist, expresses the duration of the act until the arrival of a future event which is looked upon as possible; that is: “until the day breaks,” etc., “not until the day shall have dawned” (de Wette), cf. Matthew 10:11; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 10:39 ff. Some commentators (Bengel, etc., Schott too, and Hofmann) join ἕως οὗ with φαίνοντι; incorrectly; it belongs rather to προσέχοντες, which in the context has the accent. Taken with φαίνοντι it would be a somewhat superfluous adjunct, if it be not at the same time applied, according to the thought, to προσέχοντες, as is done by Dietlein, though without any linguistic justification.

διαυγάζειν, ἅπ. λεγ., used frequently in the classics of the break of day, when the light shines through the darkness; Polyb. iii. 104: ἅμα τῷ διαυγάζειν.

καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ] φωσφόρος, ἅπ. λεγ., is not meant to designate the sun (Hesychius, Knapp, etc.), but the morning star; many interpreters (Besser, etc.) incorrectly understand by it Christ. The adjunct καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ serves only further to complete the picture—that of the morning which precedes the full day.

ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑ΄ῶν] belongs not to προσέχοντες (Schott), far removed from it, to which it would form a somewhat dragging supplement; nor is it to be taken with the subsequent τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες (Hofmann). For, on the one hand, the observation that the reference here is to a heart knowledge, would have a meaning only if γινώσκοντες contained an exhortation to such knowledge; and, on the other, the position of the words is opposed to this connection. Consequently ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις can be joined only with the clause immediately preceding, ἕως οὔ κ. τ. λ. (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Fronmüller). As to the reference of the figure, commentators are much divided among themselves. De Wette understands αὐχ΄ηρὸς τόπος of “the time previous to Christianity, which still continues for those who were not in the faith, and to whom the readers belonged.” But opposed to this is the fact that in 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:12, the author speaks of his readers as believing Christians. Gerhard (with whom Brückner formerly concurred) takes the reference to be to the former condition of the readers, when as yet they did not believe. Against this, however, is the present καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχ. The only adequate meaning to attach to τόπος αὐχ΄. is: the world in its present condition (Wiesinger, Brückner, in the 3d ed. of de Wette’s Commentary). The world is the dark place which is illumined only by the light of the divine (more precisely: the prophetic) word; therefore the Christians do well to give heed to this word, since otherwise they would be in darkness. In taking exception to this view, Hofmann says that it is “a mistake to identify the place where the light shines with that where those are, for whom it is lit up.” In his view the meaning should be, that to him who looks into the final future, to which the prophetic word points, this word will perform a service similar to that of a light in a … pathless region at night,—this service, namely, “that the believer does not stand helplessly before the future, which lies before us like a confusion which is enveloped in night.” But against this explanation it must be urged, that the figure employed by Peter would be appropriate only if the place in which the λύχνος shines were compared with that in which the believers are, and that the reference to the uncertain future is purely imported.

The words: ἕως οὔ κ. τ. λ., show that for the believer another condition of matters will commence. The time when the day dawns in the hearts of the Christians, and the morning star arises, and when consequently they can do without the light, has been variously determined. According to Dorner, it is “a time within the development of the Christian life in the individual; that time, namely, when what is matter of history shall become living knowledge, influencing entirely the whole life” (Lehre v. d. Pers. Christi, 2 ed. part I. p. 104). But such a separation of the development of the Christian life of his readers into two periods can the less be assumed here, that the author would thus accuse them of still possessing a purely outward Christianity, and it can hardly be supposed that he should have considered the word of prophecy as unnecessary for the advanced Christian. Early commentators already correctly applied the words to the Parousia. It is erroneous, however, to understand them of that event itself, for with the advent the morning passes into the perfect day. The point of time which Peter has in view is that immediately preceding the second coming, the time when the σημεῖον of the Son of man appears (Matthew 24:30), when believers are to lift up their heads because their ἀπολύτρωσις draweth nigh (Luke 21:28), when accordingly the morning star which ushers in the day shall arise in their hearts; similarly Wiesinger and Brückner.(54)


Verse 20

2 Peter 1:20. τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες] τοῦτο refers not to anything said before, but to the clause following: ὅτι κ. τ. λ.; cf. chap. 2 Peter 3:3.

πρῶτον, i. q. πρῶτον πάντων, 1 Timothy 2:1; erroneously Bengel: prius quam ego dico, anglicé: “before that.”

γινώσκοντες: “whilst ye recognise, bring yourselves to the conscious knowledge that” (de Wette); cf. James 1:3; Hebrews 10:34. Without any warrant Pott supplies δέ, and takes the participle as equivalent to “ δεῖ γινώσκειν ὑμᾶς;” the participle, as such, is rather to be joined closely to καλ. ποιεῖτε προσέχ. By τοῦτο πρ. γιν. the author directs the attention of his readers to the point to which they in their προσέχειν (2 Peter 1:19) should pay special attention; what that is the words following say: ὅτι πᾶσα προφητείαγίνεται; πᾶσαοὐ is a Hebraism for οὐδεμία, cf. Romans 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:29, etc. προφητεία γραφῆς is undoubtedly to be understood of the prediction of the Old Testament, either the prophecy contained in Scripture, or that to which the Scripture gives expression. For the construction of γίνεται c. gen., cf. Winer, p. 184 [E. T. 244]; Buttm. p. 142; according to Buttmann, the genitive definition of the thing with εἶναι or γίνεσθαι frequently denotes a permanent attribute; thus here: prophecy is of such a kind that it, etc.; the more precise definition depends on the meaning of the words: ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως. Instead of ἐπιλύσεως, Grotius would read: ἐπηλύσεως, and Heinsius: ἐπελεύσεως, so that the sense would be: the προφητεία non est res proprii impetus s. instinctus; but these changes have been justly rejected by Wolf already as arbitrary. Not less unwarranted is it to understand, with Hammond, ἐπίλυσις originally de emissione cursorum e carceribus, deducing therefrom the thought: that the prophets non a se, sed a Deo missi currerent; or, with Clericus: de solutione oris; or, with Lakemacher, to derive ἐπίλυσις from ἐπιλεύθω ( ἐπέρχομαι), instead of from ἐπιλύειν, thus obtaining the idea: that prophecy is not accessus proprie aut talis, quae virtute quadam mentis humanae propria et naturali proveniat et ad hominem quasi accedat (cf. Wolf in loc.). The notion that ἐπίλυσις is equal to dissolutio (Hardt: omnis promissio non est dissolutionis sed indissolubilis, immutabilis, etc.; similarly Storr, Opp. II. 391 ff.) has been refuted already by Wolf.

ἐπίλυσις means: solution, explanation, interpretation; thus Mark 4:34 : ἐπιλύειν; Genesis 40:8, Aquila: ἐπιλυόμενος ( כֹּתֵר), ἐπίλυσις ( פִּתְתוֹן); Genesis 41:12, LXX., according to some codd.: τὰ ἐνύπνια ἡμῶν, ἀνδρὶ κατὰ τὸ ἐνύπνιον αὐτοῦ ἐπέλυσεν, Phil. de vita contempl. p. 901 A.

Almost all expositors understand ἐπίλυσις as the interpretation of the προφητεία made aforetime; but ἰδίας, however, has been variously applied—(1) It has been taken to refer to the προφητεία itself; Werenfels (cf. Wolf): προφητεία οὐκ ἔχει τὴν ἑαυτῆς ἐπίλυσιν, that is, οὐκ ἐπιλύει ἑαυτήν; thus also Wahl, Dietlein, Brückner. The positive idea here to be supplied is: but “the interpretation is to be looked for only from God” (Brückner; Dietlein arbitrarily finds the further idea contained here, that prophecy must not be treated as allegory). (2) To the prophets themselves; Oecumenius: ᾔδεσαν ( οἱ προφῆται) μὲν καὶ συνίεσαν τὸν καταπεμπόμενον αὐτοῖς προφητικὸν λόγον, οὐ μέντοι καὶ τὴν ἐπίλυσιν αὐτοῦ ἐποιοῦντο (similarly Knapp, de Wette); and the thought to be supplied here is: the interpretation is then not an easy, but a difficult matter (de Wette: “the author makes this remark in order to excuse the difficulty of the interpretation, and to take away the pretext for unbelief or scoffing”). (3) To the readers or to man generally. This is the view most generally adopted; it is that of Beda, Erasmus, Luther, Aretius, Gerhard, Pott, Steiger, Schmid, Besser, Wiesinger, Schott, Hofmann, etc.; and the positive thought to be supplied is: only the Holy Spirit can expound the prediction (Luther: “act accordingly, and do not think that you can interpret Scripture according to your own reason or cunning; Peter has forbidden it, you are not to interpret, the Holy Spirit must interpret, or it must remain uninterpreted”). But opposed to all these interpretations is—(1) The necessity of supplying the positive thought which really contains the point of the remark, but to which the apostle does not give expression; (2) The connection of thought, according to which 2 Peter 1:20 is subjoined as a confirmation of the καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες. If the thought here expressed were intended to give a caution with respect to the προσέχειν, or to form, as Wiesinger says, a condition preliminary and necessary to it, this must in some way have been referred to. Besides, it must be noted that εἶναι or γίνεσθαι, c. gen., implies a relation of dependence, and in such a way that the genitive denotes that on which something else depends.(55) Now it may, indeed, be said that the “understanding” of prophecy, but not that prophecy itself, depends on the interpretation of it. The rendering: “prophecy is not a matter of private interpretation” (or even: “it does not permit of private interpretation,” Hofmann), takes too little account of the force of the genitive.(56) For these reasons ἐπίλυσις must necessarily be understood rather of an “interpretation” on which the προφητεία is based, on which it depends. But this is the explanation of the problematic future itself, or of the figure under which it presented itself to the prophets (thus, too, Gerlach and Fronmüller).(57) The passage above cited makes the matter clear. Genesis 40:8 : the words, in which Joseph predicted to the prisoners what lay before them, form the προφητεία; this presupposes an ἐπίλυσις, interpretation, of the dream by Joseph, and of this Joseph says that it belongs to God. Thus, too, he speaks to Pharaoh: the interpretation is not in me, Genesis 41:15-16; cf. Dan. chap. 2

The thought accordingly is this: no prophecy of Scripture arises out of, or depends on, private (of him who utters the prophecy) interpretation of the future. Taken thus, the verse stands in close and correct connection both with what precedes, for it states why the λόγ. προφ. is βέβαιος whereunto it is right to take heed, as unto a light in a dark place (namely, because it is based on no human interpretation); and at the same time with what follows, which serves to explain and confirm the thought (inasmuch as it more precisely defines the idea, and by the positive statement confirms the negation).(58) Brückner incorrectly, therefore, objects to this interpretation, that although it may be in harmony with 2 Peter 1:21, it cannot with propriety be connected with 2 Peter 1:19; and if Brückner and Wiesinger further urge against it that it arbitrarily supplies the object of ἐπίλυσις, it must be replied, that object is rather supplied of itself out of the connection with προφητεία. The present γίνεται alone seems to be inappropriate, but this may be explained by supposing that the thought is conceived in the form of a general statement; this Brückner has recognised, whilst Wiesinger leaves it unnoticed.(59)


Verse 21

2 Peter 1:21. οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου] These words correspond with the preceding ἰδίας ἐπιλ. οὐ γίνεται; “not from or by the will of a man;” cf. Jeremiah 23:26, LXX.: ἕως ποτὲ ἔσταιἐν τῷ προφητεύειν αὐτοὺς τὰ θελήματα τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν.

ἠνέχθη ποτὲ προφητεία] Vulg.: allata est; the verb as in 2 Peter 1:17-18 (cf. also 2 John 1:10). De Wette’s translation: “is delivered or uttered,” is inexact, inasmuch as the idea of a set discourse is not directly contained in the verb. Steinfass’s interpretation of προφ. is wrong from a linguistic point of view: “gift of prophecy.”

ποτέ belongs closely to the negative οὐ, equal to “never.” The sense of the clause is: “the cause in which προφητεία has its origin is not the free will of man, determining itself thereto.”

ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι κ. τ. λ.] The form of this, which does not exactly correspond with that of the preceding clause, serves to bring into greater prominence the passivity of the prophets.

φερόμενοι: “borne along” (as by the wind, e.g. the ship was driven, Acts 27:15; Acts 27:17). The impelling power is the πνεῦμα ἅγιον. Joseph. Ant. iv. 6, 5, says of Balaam: τῷ θείῳ πνεύματικεκινημένος; cf. the expressions in the classics: θεοφορεῖσθαι, θεοφόρητος. Macrob. i. 23: feruntur divino spiritu, non suo arbitratu, sed quo Deus propellit. Calvin correctly remarks: impulsos fuisse dicit, non quod menti alienati fuerint (qualem in suis prophetis ἐνθουσιασμόν fingunt gentiles), sed quia nihil a se ipsis ausi fuerint, tantum obedienter sequuti sunt Spiritum ducem.

ἐλάλησαν] Hornejus: intellige tam voce, quam scripto. “Men it was who spoke; but their speaking had the active reason of its origin, and its starting-point in God” (Schott).

ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι] In this expression, considered to be genuine, ἀπὸ θεοῦ denotes the starting-point of the speaking: “men spoke from God.” The prophets are thus significantly called simply ἄνθρωποι, in reference to the ἀνθρώπου going before. They were but men; prophets they became only by the πνεῦμα θεοῦ.(60) The Rec. ἅγιοι θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι is only a circumlocution for prophets, who are called ἅγιοι ἄνθρ. because they were in the service of God, inasmuch as they were the instruments of His πνεῦμα ἅγιον, cf. 1 Timothy 6:11.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Peter 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-peter-1.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
the First Week of Advent
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology