2 Peter 1 - Outlines of 1 & 2 Peter (MENU page)
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:
1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
1:3 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
{or, 'by His own'} glory and virtue:
1:4 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.
The author identifies himself with humility as-
  • Simon {lit., 'hearing'}- a man who was weak in the flesh.
    He heard but could not do God's will. Luk 22:31-34
  • Peter {lit., 'a stone'}- a man who became solid in the faith, by God's grace. Joh 1:42
  • a servant... an apostle- Peter did not regard himself as the head of the Church.
    Rather, he was in submission to Christ (the Head), and one among many brethren.
to them who have obtained like precious faith- Peter uses these words frequently:
  • ''Faith is precious (v.1), its trial is precious (1Pet 1:7), Christ is precious (1Pet 2:4), His blood is precious (1Pet 1:19), and His promises are precious (2Pet 1:4).'' [GWms]
  • 'Faith' refers here, not to our ability to believe, but to that which we believe.
    It is the body of truth ''once delivered to the saints.'' Jude 1:3
    Which, in the case of the readers, has become effective because they have become obedient to it. cp. 1Pet 1:3-12,18-22; Rom 3:21-28; 1Cor 1:29,30; 2Cor 5:21
  • The effects of 'the Faith' for believers include -
    1. Grace and Peace, multiplied {ie., abounding, in abundance}.
    2. all things needed for life (ie., spiritual life, eternal life, cp. Joh 17:3; Eph 2:1), and
      for godliness (a way of life committed to God, set apart for His service, cp. 1Pet 2:9,10).
      The order is important. Without 'life' there can be no true 'godliness.'
    3. great & precious promises-
      1. to be partakers {GK=koinonos, participants, shareholders} of the divine nature.
        cp. Joh 1:12,13; Gal 2:20; 1Pet 1:23; Eze 36:25-27
      2. to escape from the corruption which is in the world through lust {ie., desire}-
        • Corruption is the inward decay of that which is dead. Man died spiritually because of his desire for that which was outside of God's will. Observe the cause and symptoms of death in Gen 2:17; 3:6; 6:5.
        • The believer has been set free from sin and death, to live in the new nature.
          Rom 5:17; 1Cor 15:22; 2Cor 3:17,18; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:10; 1Joh 3:1-3; 1Pet 4:2
        • Do not confuse this 'escape from corruption' with an 'escape from pollution.'
          An unbeliever may lead a morally unpolluted life. But though outwardly clean, he remains inwardly dead in sin. cp. Mat 23:27
          In this epistle, Peter warns against false teachers, who, being spiritually dead, lead their followers in deepening corruption. 2Pet 2:18-20
  • This faith and its benefits are 'obtained,' not by a believer's own effort or merit, but by divine 'allotment' (This GK word is translated ''lot'' in Luk 1:9; Joh 19:24; ''obtained'' in Acts 1:17)...-
    1. through the Righteousness of 'our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.' (v.1)
      - (We had no righteousness of our own.)
    2. by His Grace. (v.2) - (We did not deserve His intervention.)
    3. by His power {GK=dunamis}. (v.3) - (We had no ability to please Him.)
    4. by His own glory {ie., praiseworthiness} and virtue {ie., excellencies} (v.3)-
      Being dead in sin, we had neither.
      But the One, who is Life, called us out of our death and into His Life.
    5. through the knowledge of Him. (v.2,3) cp. Joh 17:1-3 -
      GK=epignosis, full knowledge...
      • This knowledge goes beyond intellectual understanding of the tenets of the faith. cp. 2Tim 3:7
      • This knowledge belongs only to true believers.
        But, it is the present possession of even the simplest believer.
      • As used here, 'epignosis' is '' 'a knowledge' which perfectly unites the subject with the object.'' [WEVine] Every believer is vitally connected to the Lord, who is the source of Truth and knowledge. (1Joh 2:20)
        Yet, each believer presently experiences only incomplete knowledge of Him. (cp. 1Cor 13:12, where the first occurence of 'know' is 'ginosko', the second & third are 'epiginosko'.) The believer's realization of ''full knowledge'' matures through the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:17), and through the edifying work of the Church (Eph 4:12,13).
        Illustration: The person who has an internet connection possesses a nearly inexhaustible knowledge resource. Yet, he comprehends or understands only the limited knowledge that he takes time to download and digest. (See note at v.5 below.)
1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
beside this... add...- How can we 'add' anything when God has provided us 'all things'? v.3
Does this list of virtues describe external self improvement by my own efforts? No.
add to your faith...- lit., 'in your faith, bring in...'
  • Saving faith (by which we receive Christ's righteousness and divine nature) is the prerequisite for true spiritual growth. The practical effect of salvation cannot be 'worked out' in your life, unless God 'works in you' (cp. Php 2:12,13). By means of all that God has provided in the 'precious Faith,' we are to nurture His graces in our lives, from the inside out.
  • To 'give diligence' is not self-effort, but an 'earnest hastening towards' what God desires. We are to aim where His sight is set, and appropriate what He supplies. cp. Php 3:12,14
  • These 'added things' are evidences of spiritual life and growth, not steps toward acceptance with God.
    Yet, each succeeding virtue rests on that which precedes it.
virtue- ie., goodness, excellencies. This is not my own goodness but His (v.3).
cp. 1Pet 2:9, where this word is translated as 'praises.'
knowledge {GK=gnosis}- This is not the 'full knowledge' of being connected to Him (v.2),
but a growing understanding of the Lord, His Will, and His Ways (cp. 2Pet 3:18) ...
- - based upon His Word. cp. 1Pet 2:2; 2Tim 3:16,17
- - opened by His Spirit. Eph 1:17,18
- - contingent upon my desire to know and obey Him. cp. Joh 7:17; Php 3:10
temperance {ie., self-control}- GK=egkrateia, lit., ''strength applied.''
The strength is not that of 'self.' Rather, it is 'self' that needs to be controlled.
The strength is God's power applied to my area of weakness. cp. 2Cor 12:10; 10:4,5
patience- GK=hupomone, lit., ''abiding under,'' endurance, perseverance.
In the face of temptations, trials and persecutions, we endure by God's Grace. cp. 2The 1:4; 3:5; 1Pet 2:20
godliness- (cp. word in v.3). The root meaning of this word is 'devotion.' This is:
  • the growing admiration and devotion of the child of God for his Father, by which he desires to be like Him, and to please Him with all of his life.
  • the continuing attitude of worship by which I offer myself to Him. cp. Rom 12:1,2
brotherly kindness- GK=philadelphia, love of the brethren (ie., other believers). cp. 1Joh 5:1
charity- GK=agapao, costly love. cp. Mat 5:44-46; 2Cor 5:14,20
This love is directed toward all others, even those outside the faith.
''Faith is God's gift (Eph 2:8), and therefore it is not 'added' to anything. It is the source out of which all virtures spring, and love is the point to which all virtures move. Hence, 'Whatsoever is not of faith is sin' (Rom 14:23), and 'the end of the commandment is love' (1Tim 1:5).'' [GWms]
1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound {GK=pleonazo, are increasing},
they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off,
and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:
for if ye do
{GK=poieo, do, make, bring forth} these things,
ye shall never fall
{GK=ptaio, stumble}:
1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly
{GK=plousios, richly}
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
give diligence {ie., make haste} to make your calling and election sure-
The subject here is the 'assurance' of salvation, not the 'earning' of salvation.
neither barren {ie., inwardly idle} nor unfruitful {ie., outwardly ineffective} in the knowledge of Christ-
As the power of 'the divine nature' flows within the believer (v.2-4), the inward reality is evidenced by outward spiritual fruit (as expressed in the graces of v.5-7). cp. Joh 15:5
As my faith, which is in 'unseen' things, is substantiated by the evidence of God's working in my life, I become 'more sure' that I am truly His child. (cp. 1Joh 3:19 and context)
but he that lacketh these things is blind... cannot see afar off... hath forgotten that he was purged...-
The unfruitful believer -
  • lives according to his old darkened sin nature (cp. v.2; 2Cor 4:3-6; 1Joh 2:9-11),
  • lives for this world, unappreciative of the future glories that await God's people (cp. v.3), and
  • lives in sin, not reckoning on Christ's victory over sin (cp. v.4; Rom 6:11-13).
The 'precious promises' are his present possession (note the tenses in v.2-4).
But failing to appropriate {hasten after} the resources that belong to him, he stumbles in unsuccessful attempts to live the Christian life in the strength of the flesh. Lacking external evidences of God's inward working, he senses little assurance of salvation.
''The security of the believer is objective [based on God's promises alone].
The assurance of salvation is subjective [dependent upon each believer's appropriation of God's promises].'' [McGee]
so an entrance shall be ministered... abundantly... into the everlasting kingdom...-
The welcome, with which each believer is received into the Lord's presence, will depend upon his appropriation of His promises. cp. Mat 25:21; 1Cor 3:11-15
- - The barren, unfruitful believer is in a dangerous position ('...saved, so as by fire').
Scripture counsels us to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith... 2Cor 13:5
Is the Faith... is Christ... are His promises... precious to me?
Am I 'following hard' after Him? Psa 63:7,8
1:12 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.
1:13 Yea, I think it meet
{ie., fitting}, as long as I am in this tabernacle {ie., this body},
to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance;
1:14 Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle,
even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
1:15 Moreover I will endeavour
{ie., I will be diligent}
that ye may be able after my decease
{GK=exodus, lit., 'departure'}
to have these things always in remembrance.
Peter's purpose in writing is 'to put you in remembrance'...
of what?-
  1. Of the things which you already know (v.12b; ie., vv.1-11)-
    1. The precious Faith- that through the knowledge of Christ, we have 'all things needed for life and godliness,' including His own nature within us.
    2. The individual responsibility of the believer to nurture the new life received from God, by appropriating the resources that He has provided.
      Simon... Peter... (v.1) himself was an example of a man transformed by God's grace.
  2. Of the Truth in which you are already established (v.12c).
    The Lord had commissioned Peter to establish his brethren. Luk 22:31,32
    Peter had not been negligent... but rather was diligent... to obey the Lord.
    His original readers were well founded in the Truth.
Why, then, is he so urgent to put them 'in remembrance'? (He repeats this phrase 3x in v.12-15.)
  1. His departure from this life was near (v.14), in the manner foretold by Jesus (Joh 21:18,19).
  2. He wanted to ensure that they would continue in the Truth, even in his absence (v.15).
    This is Peter's last letter before his death. What would your last message be?
    Peter says: God's Word is Truth. Don't forget it. Count on it. Build your life upon it.
1:16 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
{GK=megaleiotes, magnificence}.
1:17 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.
1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard,
when we were with him in the holy mount.
The 'precious Faith' rests on the testimony of the Apostles - -
Peter declares that 'we {the apostles} did not invent a fiction, but were eyewitnesses'...
For example, he recounts his experience on the mount where Jesus was Transfigured (Mat 16:28- 17:8; Mark 9:1-8; Luk 9:27-36).
Peter claims no authority for himself. But as an eyewitness, he observed--
  • The magnificence of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the glory of His coming kingdom.
  • Moses (representing the authority of the OT Law),
  • Elijah (representing the authority of the OT Prophets),
    who spoke with Jesus ''of the 'decease' {departure} which He must accomplish at Jerusalem.''
  • The audible voice of God, the Father, who identified His Son, and declared Him to be authoritative.
1:19 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
{ie., squalid, dirty} place,
until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
1:21 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.
The 'precious Faith' is founded upon the Authority of the Bible - -
1. a more sure word of prophecy (v.19)- lit., 'We have also the word of prophecy, made more sure...'
ie., by the fulfillment of that which Moses and the Prophets foretold, concerning the sufferings of Christ. cp. 1Pet 1:10-12
Because the prophecies concerning His first coming have been fulfilled, we can be sure that the prophecies concerning His second coming will also be fulfilled.
  • He came as the Light, shining in a dark place. Joh 1:4-10; 8:12
  • He will return as the Day Star, who will banish all darkness. cp. Mal 4:1,2
    Meanwhile, already, He shines in the hearts of believers (2Cor 4:5-7), as the Morning Star (seen, by those who look to Him, before the Day dawns). cp. Php 1:6; Rev 2:28; 22:16
2. which is not the word of men, but the Word of God (v.21)-
The prophecies were not the product of human will, skill or imagination.
But the hearts of holy men were 'carried along' {in the the way that wind on the sails moves a ship} by the Holy Spirit, so that what they spoke was the Word of God. (cp. 2Tim 3:16, where the phrase 'inspiration of God' is one GK word, meaning 'God breathed' or 'the breath of God')
3. which requires proper interpretation (v.20)-
No prophecy is of any private {GK=idios, its own, isolated} interpretation.
That is, each passage is to be understood in light of the whole of Scripture.
cp. Isa 28:9,10; Acts 17:10-12; 1Cor 2:13; 2Tim 2:15
4. which ought to be heeded (v.19)-
'take heed' is GK=prosecho, to give earnest attention, as to a matter of need.
The Word of God is a light shining in a 'squalid' place. Psa 119:9; 119:105
We are to look to God's written Word, until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Rev 22:16; Mal 4:1,2
A paraphrase of v.19: ''Take heed in your hearts to God's written Word which is a light in this dark world (cp. Joh 9:5), until the Day that Christ, the Light of the world, returns.''
''The Gospel is based upon the testimony of the Apostles and the authority of the Scriptures (v.16-21); the latter is more permanent (v.19) than the former... The Apostle knew that there would be no apostolic succession (v.13 and 15). Therefore, he wrote these two Epistles. Like the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:30-32), he handed them the Bible as the rule of Faith, and told them that false Apostles would succeed him.'' [GWms]
Peter urgently reminds us to diligence (v.5) concerning the Word of God.
It is the basis of the ministry of the elders to the flock (1Pet 4:11; 5:1-4),
who, like Peter, are commissioned to ''feed... tend... feed...'' Joh 21:15-17
The ministry of the Word is primary, providing food, direction and protection.
In regard to the Word of God, are we negligent (v.12), or diligent (v.15)?

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