Divine Revelation - The Antidote to Moral Corruption
Peter commences his Epistle, by laying down the principle that the Divine revelation is the basis of successful living in Christ. His exhortation recalls the fact that Christianity is radically doctrinal. The doctrine comes first; the life, based upon the doctrine, follows naturally. The life is founded on the message, and not the message on the life. Apostolic preaching was a Divine revelation from God (Heb. 1:1), a logical presentation of fact and doctrine designed to sanctify believers to the glory of Yahweh (John 17:17). This knowledge is the energising dynamics of a spiritual life in Christ, an antidote to the moral corruption of the world in which believers live. Peter stresses a need and a danger. The need is for spiritual growth on an ever-ascending scale (Vv. 4-8); the danger is the possibility of a mere profession of Christianity without practising its principles (Vv. 9-11). He therefore sets before his readers their high calling (Vv. 1-11), and then draws their attention to certain things that they should ever bring to mind (Vv. 12-21).
The Purpose of the Revelation—Vv. 1-4
The Apostle defines the purpose of the revelation, and the ultimate glory to which we can attain.
"Simon Peter" — The name given is here used in contrast to the first Epistle, where the apostle introduces himself only as Peter (cp. 1 Pet. 1:1); Simon is expressive of his admission into the Old Covenant by circumcision; Peter is expressive of his admission into the New Covenant by faith.
"A servant" — Gr. doulos, a common bond-slave. Derived from the verb dco, to bind, it describes one who submerges his will in another. We become true servants of Christ when we submerge our will in his. He provides the example. As Yahwehs servant he declared: "Not my will but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42). And again: "I come to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7).
“An apostle” — One sent forth with authority. Thus the slave was given a commission and sent forth under the commission of his Lord.
“Jesus Christ” —signifies “Yah will save”; “Christ” is a title meaning “annointed”. The name and the title combine to express the Divine purpose in Christ. The name is expressive of the fact that “God was in Christ reconciling...” (2 Cor. 5:19). The title “Christ” relates to the outpouring of the Spirit which enabled him to overcome (Psa. 80:17; Isa. 11:1-2) and to his anointing as prophet, priest and king (Acts 2:36). The combined name is expressive of the way of salvation, for Yahweh can only be manifested where "self" has been sacrificed; and future elevation (Christing, or anointing) will only follow where God is truly manifested in flesh.
"Have obtained"—This does not mean something won by unaided effort but something obtained by Divine grace. Gr. lanchano signifies "to obtain by lot" (Vine), i.e. by Divine inheritance. Though personal effort is necessary, this must be based upon the means that Yahweh has provided.
"Like precious faith"—Though all may not have the same measure of faith, the faith offered through the Word (see Rom. 10:17) can be developed by all, and admits all to common privileges in Christ.
"Through the righteousness of God"—This righteousness was declared in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:25-26). When Jesus died, sin's flesh was condemned in a federal representative of the human race, demonstrating what all must do, at least figuratively if they would please the Father. Paul thus taught that "they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). But Jesus was also raised from the dead, and the whole process of death, resurrection, and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ demonstrates that God is both righteous and merciful. He is just for Jesus not only died but also rose from the dead. He is merciful for He extends forgiveness of sins to helpless humanity who seek Him through the means provided (see Rom. 4:25). An understanding of these facts generates faith.
"God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"—Note the margin: "our God and Saviour Jesus Christ." The Diaglott, Rotherham, Companion Bible, R.V., etc. support the marginal rendering of the authorised version. This does not prove the theory of the Trinity, however. Scripture clearly shows that Jesus can be called "God" without usurping the authority and status of his Father. Thomas, according to John 20:28, called him "God" because he could see in the risen and glorified Lord, the manifestation of Yahweh. Earlier, the Apostles had pleaded: "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us" (John 14:8), and Jesus had responded by directing their attention to himself. At that time, they could not understand the import of his words, but when he was glorified they came to fully comprehend the doctrine of God-manifestation as it applied to him (1 Tim. 3:16). Hence Thomas' remarkable salutation. On an earlier occasion, when the Jews were about to stone him because he claimed to be the Son of God, Jesus reminded them that their very law called mortal men "Gods" (the capital initial should be supplied), and, therefore, surely he could claim to be the Son of God without being charged with blasphemy. If mortal men (see Exod. 7:1; 4:16; Ps. 82:6), and angels (Exod. 23:20-21) can be called "God" because they manifest His glory or authoritatively proclaim His word, then surely the Son can claim the title without assuming equality of status with the Father.
Yahweh declared Himself to be the Saviour of His people (Isa. 43:11), but He also revealed that He would save through a servant power (Isa. 49:6; 42:1-7). His servant to that end is the Lord Jesus, concerning whom, Peter declared: "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31). If Jesus were exalted to be a Prince, it is obvious that he was not "very God of very God" before that time. The Lord Jesus attained unto a unity with the Father that can become the prerogative of all saints (cp. John 17: 21).
Jesus himself, implied his subordinate position to that of the father, when he declared that he lacked a knowledge of certain facts that only the Father possessed (Mark 13:32). Paul likewise taught that the Lord Jesus, even in the future when all authorities and powers shall be subdued to him. shall still be subject unto God, that Yahweh alone might be "all and in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).
Peter, in the verse under consideration (2 Pet. 1:1) draws attention to the fact that the redemption of mankind is a joint work of the Father and the Son (see also 2 Cor. 5:19), and that the glory to which man has been called has already been attained by the forerunner, even Jesus Christ. In the glorified Son we see an extension of the glories and virtues of the Father, as there will be a further extension of that same Being in the sons yet to be glorified (Heb. 2:9-11). The whole Divine united family will then reveal the glory of Yahweh (cp. Rom. 5:2; 2 Pet. 1:4), whose name will be "written upon them" (Rev. 3:12). At present, therefore, they are "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17).
"Grace and peace be multiplied" — "Grace" is Divine favour, extended to man by means of the Gospel (cp. Eph. 2:8). "Peace" is harmony with God, resulting from knowledge of the Divine purpose, and submission thereto. Jesus extended "peace" to his disciples (John 14:27), and through them it extends to us. Such peace is based upon purity of doctrine and practice (John 16:33; Rom. 5:1), and is indicative of fellowship. The Hebrew word for peace, Shalom, implies this, for it is derived from a root that signifies "to be at one" (see John 17:21). Divine favour, and the enjoyment of spiritual fellowship and communion can be "multiplied," increased or deepened through the means defined hereafter.
"Through the knowledge"—Or. epignosis "denotes exact or full knowledge, discernment, recognition." It is "a strengthened form of gnosis, expressing a fuller or a full knowledge, a greater participation by the knower in the object known, thus more powerfully influencing him" (Vine). A believer having such knowledge would fully know the purpose and character of Yahweh, not just certain facets of it (for instance "the goodness AND severity" of God, not just the goodness). Such knowledge will enable him to see Jesus Christ as the Son of David AND the Son of God; not just as the suffering servant, but also as the future King of Israel. Epignosis is the basis for acceptable worship, and acceptable works. The significance of this word is expressed in Rom. 10:2 where we read: "I bear them (the Jews) record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." They knew of God, by means of the Law, but their actions did not spring from epignosis, they did not appreciate the Divine purpose in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus they could not be recipients of Divine grace and peace which things were abundantly extended to those who qualified, through their fuller or more exact knowledge of the purpose of God in Christ.
Gentile philosophy, like Jewish formalism, could not save. It was a gnosis, translated "science," falsely so called (2 Tim: 6:21). It is exact or full knowledge, of the truth in Christ Jesus that is required, and this plea for epignosis as against mere gnosis is the basic theme of this Epistle. Epignosis is not merely "knowing" even a truth, but knowing it in such a way that it influences one's actions and mode of life.
Epignosis is designed to energise us to so live that the Divine favour and peace towards us shall ever increase.
"Of God and of Jesus Christ" —The inclusion of the conjunction and shows that, whatever Trinitarians make of V.l. they must acknowledge that in this place the separate personalities of Father and Son are clearly stressed. If Peter intended to teach the doctrine of the Trinity in V.1. as alleged by many, surely consistency would demand that he do so in V.2. The glorious doctrine of God manifestation does away with the incongruities brought about by Trinitarian teaching.
"Our Lord" —This title is significant. Particularly when considered in the light of the Lord's action and teaching as he washed the feet of the Apostles. See John 13:13-17. If Jesus Christ is acknowledged as Lord, his will and commands should be obeyed. See Matt. 7:21-29.
"According as" — R.V. renders "Seeing that. . ." The latter rendering is better. The phrase does not indicate different measures of power extended to different believers, but rather that the "power" granted is adequate to all requirements.
"Power"—Gr. dunamis, and thus "inherent power." The English word "dynamics" is derived there from. This power is sealed in the Word of God, and works effectively in us when the Scriptures are properly understood. (Cp. Eph. 1:17-19).
"Hath given unto us all things" —see 1 Cor. 2:9-12.
"That pertain unto life"—True understanding of the Divine purpose will result in a richer, more purposeful life in Christ (1 Tim. 4:8). Paul discovered this, for, by crucifying his own will to serve Christ, he enabled Christ to live in him, so that the new life he lived he lived "by the faith of the Son of God (Gal. 2:20; see also 1 Pet. 1:3-4).
"Godliness"—Gr. eusebia, from eu signifying "well," and sebomai, "to worship," "to be devout," and hence, worship rightly directed. Godliness is not religious piety of a formalised kind, such as the attendance of meetings through habit, but rather a true reverence that seeks to do the will of the Father. This stems from epignosis or full-knowledge.
"Through the knowledge of him" —The word for "knowledge" is again epignosis (see note on v.2). In the context of these verses, this signifies an exact or full understanding of the facts concerning God and Jesus Christ. For example, it is not epignosis to have a thorough and deep comprehension of the return of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on earth, if, at the same time, a person believes the error of Trinitarian doctrine. It is not epignosis to know that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, and to be fully assured of all the personal needs of salvation, if, at the same time, it is believed that he pre-existed. Epinosis is an exact or full understanding of all the facets of Divine revelation, upon which can be further built, a deeper knowledge of the Divine purpose. It is therefore the foundation of a true faith, and, as this knowledge is applied in life, it brings an increase of Divine favour and peace. Peter reveals that the promise of Divine nature is bound up in this Divine knowledge; that it is a sure guide to true worship, or Godliness; that it becomes a reflecting mirror of the glory and virtue of the Lord, and thus the energising power of a believer's life. A believer must permit that knowledge to work through him, so that he reflects the moral qualities that naturally spring from it. In epignosis we have one of the key-words of this Epistle, and in its applications as a way of life, there is found the antidote to corrupting influence from both within and without the Ecclesia.
"To glory and virtue"—See margin: "BY glory and virtue." "To" is dia with the genitive case, marking the instrument of an action (see Bullingers Lexicon). The R.V. renders: "By his own glory and virtue." The glory of Christ's character (John 1:14), and the glory of the resurrected Lord (Phil. 3: 21), of which the Scriptures bear record, draw us to imitate his virtues which are essentially the Father's (John 5:19; cp. 1 Pet. 2:9 marg.). Paul taught "that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). Christ's resurrection to eternal life illustrated his glory and virtue (Rom. 1:4), so that his death and resurrection become as a parable of a believer's spiritual life (dying unto the flesh and living unto God). In this way we are called "by" his glory and virtue and not merely "to" glory and virtue. In short, Christ's experience gives us confidence in God's power to redeem, and inspires us to imitate his actions.
"Whereby"—Through this means. The offering of Jesus, as a sacrifice without spot and without blemish, confirmed the promises made unto the fathers (Rom. 15:8).
"Are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises" — There are three covenants of promise, all of which are confirmed by the offering and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 15:8). The covenant in Eden promised eternal life (that which was lost through sin); the Abrahamic covenant promised an eternal inheritance (in contrast to what Abram gave up in leaving Ur); the Davidic covenant promised a Temple and eternal rule (in comparison to the Temple the King desired to build). Each covenant built upon its predecessor. The first promised life; the second an inheritance where it could be lived; the third a glory associated with that time. The promises comprise the Gospel (Gal. 3:8), and form a key that will unlock all sections of the Word.
"Partakers"—A partaker is a sharer, and believers are called to share that same "divine nature" unto which the Lord attained through his resurrection from the dead (1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:21; John 1:12). What Christ is now, we can become.
"Divine nature"—This is immortality, a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:46), made like unto the angels (Luke 20:36), who are "made spirits" (Heb. 1:7). Notice the six transition-features of the coming resurrection, as outlined in 1 Cor. 15:42-54, all expressive of "divine nature:"
Sown in corruption – raised to in-corruption;
Sown in dishonour – raised to glory
Sown in weakness – raised to power;
Sown a natural body – raised to spirit body
Sown an earthly body – raised to a heavenly body;
Sown in mortality – raised to immortality.
These six points (the number of man, or flesh—Rev. 13:18) are endorsed and sealed through the covenant statement: "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 15:50).
"Having escaped" — Gr. apop-heugo, "to flee away from," the idea being, to flee to a city of refuge. Rotherham renders: "Escaping ..." as an action as yet in progress, and not completed. Paul taught that the promises of God provide a "strong consolation" for those who "have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before them" (Heb. 6:18). The analogy is obviously drawn from the provision of the Cities of refuge established in Israel under the Law (Numb. 35:6-34). Nevertheless, though we have the hope, the realisation is yet to come.
"The corruption"—Gr. phthora, signifying deterioration either moral or physical. In Romans 8:21 it is used of the fallen state of creation, whilst here it is expressive of the moral evil of the world about us. Both the physical deterioration of creation, and the moral deterioration of the political and social world about us have developed out of unbridled lust (see 2 Tim. 3:1-7).
"That is in the world through lust" — Undue lust was developed in human nature when, at the instigation of the serpent, Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and inducing her husband to do likewise, mortality followed. The consequences were inherited by the posterity of Adam, with the result that the world is full of corruption. It "lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19), and from such a state, believers are warned to flee. The hope set forth by the "great and precious promises" provides a motivation to seek a higher way of life than that of the flesh. Moreover, the atonement effected in consequence of these promises, provides the means of forgiveness of sins committed, opening the way to life eternal.
The Application of the Revelation —Vv. 5-11
Having laid the foundation of his exposition by drawing attention to the privileged state of believers in Christ, and having shown that it is the full knowledge, or exact understanding of the Divine purpose that provides the "dynamics" of a spiritual life, Peter now appeals to his readers to apply epignosis, so as to assure constant progress in the Christ-life. The faithful adherence to such guidance can result in a complete fulfilment of 1 Pet. 1:13-16.
"And beside this" —The R.V. renders: "Yea, and for this very cause." Rotherham: "And for this very reason also." In order to fully escape the widespread corruption, we must build diligently upon the foundation of faith all that we have seen manifested in Christ.
"Giving all diligence" — Gr. spoudazo, “to make haste" as Mark 6:25; 2 Tim. 4:9.21. The knowledge provides the dynamics, but we must see that we are charged with it. The dynamo is efficient, but our contact with it might be faulty. We must learn to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12). The R.V. renders: "adding on your part all diligence, in the abundance of your faith supply virtue." Thus the dynamo charging us with more and more power, enables us to become more and more the imitators of Christ, reflecting the glory and virtues that we see in him.
"Add to your faith virtue" — The word "add"—Gr. epichoregeo —signifies "to furnish abundantly." It is used to describe superabundance, as when one may liberally pay the cost of lavish entertainments. Here, it suggests that faith must be so abundant and rich as to in itself furnish or supply virtue.
"Virtue"—Greek, apete, the opposite of moral corruption. It is used in the Greek papyri for a moral condition that springs from Godly energy, and in v.3 of this chapter it is related to the moral excellence of Christ, who manifests the Divine attributes (1 Pet. 2:9). The superabundance of faith will find expression in the imitation of Christ's moral attributes, so through him, God will be manifest in us.
"To virtue knowledge"—Knowledge here is gnosis. A complete basic knowledge (epignosis) of the manifestation and purpose of God in Christ will firstly find its expression in faith, and in the superabundance of faith there will be found the manifestation of the virtues of Christ. This, in turn, will result in a hunger for further facets of truth, gnosis in general which has been defined as follows: "Primarily a seeking to know, an enquiry, investigation, and denotes in the N.T. knowledge, especially of spiritual truth..." This is the attitude expressed by Paul thus: "If any man thinketh he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (1 Cor. 8:2).
"And to knowledge temperance" — Gr. enkrateia — "self restraint." Notice that this follows immediately after knowledge. This is an indication that the things learnt must be applied and put into practice. God teaches—we submit. The R.V. renders: "self control." As our knowledge of the virtues of Christ increases, so it should prompt us to mortify the flesh (Rom. 8:1-5).
"To temperance patience" — Gr. hupomone, "to remain under," "endurance." "continuance." Self control, based upon knowledge of the virtues of Christ has to be practised continually, not just spasmodically. This quality of endurance develops, and is proved, under trial (James 1:3.12; 1 Pet. 2:20; Rom. 5:3; Rev. 3:10).
"To patience godliness" — See comment on V.3 in relation to this word. Here is a reminder that self-control, and endurance in the same, must spring from that essential desire to please God, not from the motive to impress fellow-man.
"To godliness brotherly kindness" —Any believer engaged in practising and applying Peter's progressive steps towards Christ-likeness should naturally develop brotherly kindness. He will become aware of his own shortcomings and weaknesses and will learn to "esteem others better than himself" (Phil. 2: 3). The word in Gr. is Philadelphia. Phileo relates to that natural liking one for the other, developed by mutual interests or outlook on life. (See notes on 1 Peter 1:22.)
"Charity"—Gr. agape, the Divine love that aims to provide the greatest good for the other, even at personal cost, and self-sacrifice. This word is only found in Scripture, and apparently was unknown to normal Greek vocabulary (see notes on 1 Pet. 1:22). The manifestation of such love is the very apex of a life in Christ. Agape, says Paul, is "the bond of perfectness" or real maturity (Col. 3:14. See Matt. 5:43-48). Only when we have learned to fully comprehend the abundant grace that Yahweh extends to us from day to day, in spite of all our shortcomings, will we be able to understand the meaning of this term, and learn to apply it to others. God would have us imitate the love He has manifested towards us by extending a similar love to others. He "commends" this attitude to our attention (Rom. 5:8). But do not let us mistake such "love" for the sickly sentimentality that passes current among men for "love." Paul's greatest chapter on the implications of agape is 1 Corinthians 13, but to those same believers, he also wrote: "The more I love you, the less I be loved" (2 Cor. 12:15). They completely misunderstood the true import of the word. The love that we experience from God, and the love that we profess to have for Him, should generate in us a desire to extend to others the same experience that we have had, and to manifest towards them the same Divine attribute that springs not from fleshly "feeling," but from epignosis.
"If these things be in you and abound"—The Greek here implies actual possession, and so the Diaglott renders it: "These things being in you and abounding." Peter is teaching that these virtues must become part of one's individual character, so that they will become his own, and when this happens, they will "abound," or increase and multiply, for there can be no standing still in Christ. A true believer will advance from glory to glory (cp. 2 Cor. 3:18, 4:6).
"They make you that ye shall neither be" — Peter has already described the Word of God as the seed of Yahweh designed to produce fruit in those in whom it is implanted (1 Pet. 1:23-25). His expressions in these verses show that care should be exercised that there should be proper growth.
"Barren" — The word in the Greek signifies "idle" or "inactive" as the margin renders it. The same word is rendered "idle" in 1 Tim. 5:13, and is indicative of a lazy person who refuses to work. Peter is exhorting us that where the virtues, stemming from faith, abound, they will not permit one to be idle towards the epignosis or exact knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ that he has received, but rather, by constantly looking into the reflective mirror of the Word, will be drawn thereby to imitate the virtues that are revealed more and more perfectly as he gazes into it. There is, therefore, such a thing as epignosis or exact-knowledge, and a development, or increase, of it. One who has attained unto the virtues already enumerated will not cease his study of the word, will not become idle in it, but will nice towards a greater understanding of that fullness of knowledge that is found in Christ Jesus.
"Unfruitful in the knowledge"— The R.V. renders this phrase, "unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." The preposition eis signifies motion toward or unto an object. Where the qualities of vv.5-7 exist, a person will not become idle or unfruitful towards the exact-knowledge by which he is being drawn, as though he has all-knowledge and all-virtue, but rather will be active and fruitful, constantly adding to his understanding and his application of these virtues, moving ever onwards towards the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom are "hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3), and in whom "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). Thus does one, "increase in the epignosis of God" (Col. 1:10), and proceeds to "follow Paul as he also followed Christ." "I follow after," he wrote to the Philippians, "if that I may apprehend (to lay hold of as to possess as one's own) that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:9-14). Epignosis, exact-knowledge, will provide us with an understanding of Christ which will lead us to desire to increase in understanding, and constantly advance in the imitation of the virtues that such developing knowledge will reveal.
"Of our Lord Jesus Christ" — This title of the Lord was proclaimed by Peter during the course of his address at Pentecost: "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). In our approach to the Father through the Son, it is appropriate to use the titles of the Lord as expressive of his status. It is also helpful to bear in mind what they signify. The name "Jesus" proclaims Yahweh's purpose to save; "Lord" expresses his exaltation and authority; "Christ" proclaims that he was anointed of Yahweh to the position he holds.
"He that lacketh these things is blind" — Gr. tuphlos, literally "smoky, misty, darkened." (Cp. Rev. 3:17, where same word occurs.) His vision is clouded, he is short-sighted and cannot see the grand objective before him, nor the purpose of the knowledge of God. He wonders why it is necessary to study the Bible, and begins to philosophise from the viewpoint of the flesh. Thus he cannot see afar off. and "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18).
"Hath forgotten" — Where there is no conscious striving to develop "the new man," where the word is laid on one side and never considered, a person soon forgets the privileged status that he has enjoyed in Christ. He forgets that he was "purged from his old sins" through baptism, and quickly slips back into the ways of the world, the moral and spiritual corruption that surrounds him on every side.
"Wherefore the rather"—In view of the prevailing corruption that characterises the world about us (V.4), let us "give diligence" to make our calling sure.
"Give diligence" — i.e. "make haste" (see notes V.5).
"Your calling"—Gr. klesin, "invitation." This invitation is found in the promises of God (V.4).
"And election"—The word signifies "selection." (See 1 Thess. 1:4) God has selected those in Christ through the Gospel invitation (see John 6:44; Acts 15:14).
"Sure" — Though we are now called, and have embraced Christ in baptism, there is still uncertainty as to whether we shall find a place in the Kingdom of God. Abraham was justified by faith first, and afterwards by works (James 2:21-26). Both are necessary to make "sure" our inheritance in the Kingdom.
"If ye do these things"—These things cannot be done unless epignosis has become the dynamics of our spiritual life. Only an exact knowledge of the sufferings and victory of Jesus Christ, and a conviction that the power that worked so effectually in Christ will also work in us through the Word, can transform us to become "doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves" (James 1:22).
"An entrance" — Gr. eisodos, compounded of eis (see note on V.8), and hodos, "way," thus signifying "a way into." That way is found through following the Good Shepherd (John 14:6), and is described by Paul as "a new and living way" provided by Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:19-20).
What is this way? The words in Hebrews 10:20 are literally rendered: "a newly slain and yet living way," relating to the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Lord. His death indicated what we must do (see Gal. 5:24); and his resurrection points to the newness of life in which we should walk (Rom. 6:1-4). If we follow along that way, it will lead to an inheritance into the glory of the Kingdom by the bestowal of Divine nature.
"Shall be ministered" — Gr. epichoregeo, "to furnish abundantly." This same word is rendered "add" in V.5. Thus Peter teaches: if we furnish abundantly—so will God! The R.V. renders: "For thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance..." If we do our best to develop the virtues enumerated above, God will richly respond according to the measure that we have laboured (Cp. Luke 19:12-19).
"Into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" — The Kingdom that Christ will establish on earth shall endure to all eternity though divided into various epochs of time. Christ, in company with the glorious elect will reign for a thousand years (Rev. 20:6), at which time the Kingdom will be delivered up unto the Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Therefore, whilst the Kingdom shall have "no end" (Luke 1:33), it shall go through various epochs and stages to the final glory.
The Availability of the Revelation — Vv. 12-15
Having outlined the importance of a full or exact knowledge of the things of Jesus Christ, and emphasised the need to apply it, Peter now expresses his anxious desire that his readers may ever have access to such and therefore expresses his determination to make it available to them.
"I will not be negligent"—R.V. renders: "I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things." The need has been stressed (Vv. 3-11), and Peter, as a good shepherd of the flock, is ready to provide for it.
"To put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them" — In view of the importance of the divine revelation, Peter extended himself to record it on paper, so that his readers might constantly have recourse to the written word. Mankind is liable to forget the spoken word, and there is no natural law compelling one to seek divine truth. When the Word is neglected its influence is not felt. Peter realised that though his readers might then be established in the truth, there was need for them to be continuously absorbing it. He wrote his epistles that believers might always have the word to guide them.
"Be established" — Gr. slerizo, from sterix, "a prop." The truth is designed to act as a prop, establishing us by its principles and precepts. Jesus told Peter: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). This change in Peter took place when he attained unto a full understanding in regard to the purpose and power of Yahweh. The word "strengthen" in Lk. 22:32 is the same as "established." Thus Peter was fulfilling now the request of the Lord, and by his instruction, strengthening his brethren, as a prop may strengthen a fence.
"In the present truth" — Peter assumed that his readers were soundly based on the truth, but he also realised that there was need to keep them so. His epistle is designed to provide a means of always keeping such matters in remembrance.
"Yea, I think it meet" — Peter believed that it was fitting for him as an apostle and shepherd of the flock to provide this written instruction. He felt this need even more so as the close of his life drew near.
"As I am in this tabernacle"— The word "tabernacle" signifies "a tent," that is, a temporary dwelling of short duration. That is how the Apostles looked upon life, whilst, at the same time, they set their spiritual gaze upon the permanent glory set before them (2 Cor. 4:18-5:1).
"To stir you up by putting you in remembrance" — These words are repeated from v. 12, expressing the urgency the Apostle felt. As the close of life draws near, a true shepherd realises the need to arouse the minds of others to a diligent performance of what is required.
"Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle"—R.V. renders: "Knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly." Peter knew that he was to die soon; and tradition has it that he was put to death during the persecution of Nero. As Nero died in A.D. 68, and as this Epistle was probably written some time after A.D. 60, only a short time was left before Peter's course would be completed.
"Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me"—Peter could not forget the touching interview he had had with the Lord, recorded in John 21; he had already referred to it in 1 Peter 5:2. Previous to that time he had boasted of his great love for the Lord, claiming it to be greater than that of the other disciples; but then, when the Lord enquired of him "Lovest thou me more than these?" Peter, recalling the tragic circumstances of his threefold denial, could but humbly reply: "Thou knowest that I love thee." But the word for "love" which Peter used was different to that used by Christ. Christ had used the word agapao signifying a Divine, sacrificial love; Peter had answered with the word phileo indicating the lesser love of personal affection; for he doubtless felt unworthy of the greater love. Three times the Lord asked a similar question with slight, but highly significant variations, to receive the same reply. On the third occasion, however, he, too, used the word phileo, and indicated by his rejoiner to Peter's answer, the direction in which that personal feeling of affection should be manifested. But recognising, in the humility of Peter, that he had indeed been converted, the Lord went on to prophesy the way in which the Apostle would attain unto the greater love, and would ultimately seal a dedicated life of service in a death that would glorify God (John 21:18-19). It is to this prediction that Peter now makes reference, for he realised that the time was at hand.
"I will endeavour that ye may be able to have these things always in remembrance"—Peter expresses his intention to arrange to have some permanent record of the Divine revelation relating to Christ for the benefit of his readers, so that even after his death they could refer to it. It is strongly suggested that Mark wrote his Gospel at the instigation of Peter who converted him (1 Pet. 5:13), as it is also suggested that Luke wrote his at the instigation of his travelling companion and mentor, the Apostle Paul. But Peter is anxious, not merely that these things should be recorded in a book, but rather that they should be ever in mind, "always in remembrance." It is significant that Peter, in introducing the incident of the Transfiguration, as he does, uses two words that are likewise applied to it: "tabernacle" and "decease" (Luke 9:31). On the Mount, Peter had desired to make three tabernacles: for Moses, Elijah and the Lord, that he might retain the glory that he had witnessed; and then he heard Moses and Elijah speaking of the "decease" (or exodus) that Christ would accomplish at Jerusalem. This decease is not merely death, but the way of escape for sinning humanity that was accomplished through the death of the Lord. It was his exodus, and that of his followers, from the state of mortality to which they are heir, to the glory of the Age to come.
The Authenticity of the Revelation — Vv. 16-21
Peter now desires to impress his readers with the absolute reliability of the Revelation, so that they may study and absorb it with every confidence. He presents, first of all, his own personal testimony, and then draws attention to the veracity of the prophetic Scriptures.
"We have not followed cunningly devised fables"—Not like the pagan fables of gods whom no one saw and who had no real substance; nor the empty formalism of Judaism which led away from the power of exact knowledge.
"The power"—Dunamis. See note v.3.
"Coming" — Greek, parousia, from para, with, and ousia, being. The word does not necessarily signify "coming" in the sense of arriving, but, rather, presence. In Phil. 2:12 it is translated "presence," where it is set in contrast to Paul's apousia or absence. Of course, if one is absent from a place, he must arrive there before his presence will be known, so that sometimes, the word has the sense of arriving and being present. The "coming," concerning which Peter wrote, was the presence of the Lord in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, and not his arrival from some other sphere. But parousia also denotes presence in an official capacity. Moulton & Milligan, joint authors of the book, Vocabulary Of The Greek New Testament write: "What, however, more especially concerns us in connection with the N.T. usage of parousia is the quasi-technical force of the word from Ptolemaic times onwards to denote the 'visit' of a King, Emperor, or other person in authority; the official character of the 'visit' being further emphasised by the taxes or payments that were exacted to make preparations for it." Papyri are cited to show that Christians were conversant with this use of the word, so that the word signified Christ's presence as a King. Hence Peter declared: "we were eyewitnesses of his majesty".
"Were eyewitnesses"—Peter is referring to the transfiguration of the Lord as recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9:28.
"His majesty"—Greek megaleiotes, signifying splendour, magnificence. It is translated "magnificence" in Acts 19:27, and "mighty power" in Luke 9:43, which incident followed immediately after the Transfiguration. In the Greek papyri writings, the word is frequently used as a ceremonial title. Jesus told his disciples that some of them would "see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matt. 16:28). The word translated "kingdom" can signify "royal majesty," and is so rendered by the Diaglott. The three selected Apostles saw Christ's royal majesty on the mountain when he was transfigured before them in company with the glorified Moses and Elijah, and they heard the Divine Voice proclaiming Yahweh's approbation of His Son.
They heard him discoursing with the other two of the "decease" (lit. "exodus") he would accomplish in Jerusalem, by which was meant, not merely his death, but his resurrection also, and the work of redemption that would be accomplished thereby.
"He received from the Father honour and glory"—The whole transaction on the Mount: the glory encompassing the Lord, the representative figures of Moses and Elijah portraying the Law and the Prophets (and perhaps the dead and living saints gathered to him at his coming), the sounding forth of the Divine approbation, and the awe-stricken, fearful, wondering Apostles, was all a picture of the future majesty, glory and coming of the Lord Jesus in power. It was for Peter a personal, tremendous, eye-witness confirmation of all Christ is and will be. The "honour" relates to the approving Voice of Yahweh which was then heard, and the "glory" to the majesty that pervaded Christ's person.
"A voice from the excellent glory"—Greek Megaloprepes, signifying "magnificent, majestic, '.hat which is befitting a great man." From means, "great," and prepo, "fitting, or becoming." The glory. therefore, was one of magnificence, befitting the occasion and the person. The bright cloud that overshadowed the mountain (Mark 9:7) was like the Shekinah glory which shone above the Mercy Seat, and out of which the Voice of Yahweh was occasionally heard.
"This is My beloved Son" — See Matt. 3:17; 17:5. The Diaglott, following the Vatican mss. renders "This is My Son, the Beloved". This connects the Lord with those prophecies of the greater David (the Beloved) who is to come. See Ezek. 34:24. The word beloved signifies one who is the subject of the agape love of God. The declaration is made three times; first proclaiming Jesus as Prophet (Matt. 3:17); next as Priest (Matt. 17:5); finally as King (Psalm 2:7).
"This voice we heard"—So there is no room for doubt; the Apostles had heard and seen for themselves and therefore testified with the assurance of a first-hand witness.
"Which came from heaven" — The occasion is recorded in Matt. 17:5.
"The holy mount" — The Mount of Transfiguration was probably Mount Hermon. It is called "holy" because it was then set aside for Divine use.
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy" — The Greek word bebaios signifies "confirmed." The Diaglott renders it as "more confirmed." The word is translated "confirmed" in 1 Cor. 1:6; Heb. 2:3; Mk. 16:20. and "established" in 2 Cor. 1:21; Col. 2:7. The R.V. renders: "We have the word of prophecy made more sure." The word of prophecy, incorporating the promises of God, was "confirmed" by the offering of the Lord Jesus which placed the seal of certainty upon what had been promised or predicted (Rom. 15: 8). Prophecy had declared that Yahweh would provide a Saviour in whom He would delight (Isa. 42:1), and the fulfilment of this had been confirmed by the Voice heard on the Mount, as well as by resurrection of the Lord. By these means the word of prophecy had thorough confirmation, and can be accepted with the greatest confidence in its veracity.
"Ye do well that ye take heed" —They should heed the Word of Prophecy as the Apostles were compelled to hearken to the Voice on the Mount. As that Voice created a feeling of awe and wonderment in them, so should the Word of prophecy in those who heed it.
"In your hearts" —This is where that Word should find a lodgement, and where it should be heeded. It should be taken in and pondered, and should have its influence both on thought (within) as well as action (without).
"As unto," etc.—According to the Diaglott and the Companion Bible the words, "as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise," should be in parenthesis. We would then read: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy: where unto ye do well that ye take heed in your hearts”— the balance of the verse being parenthetical. By thus reading (and it seems the most natural way so to do), Peter declares that we are awaiting the time when the day star shall arise (i.e. We are awaiting Christ's coming and not that we are awaiting the arising of the day star in our hearts.) It is the Word that should be in our hearts, whilst our spiritual vision should be on the look-out for the arising of the morning star.
"A light that shineth"—The word "light" is luchnos, and it signifies a portable hand lamp that is conveyed to different places. The allusion is to pilgrims on a dark and little known road, surrounded by obscurities, dangers, mysteries in the gloom that enshrouds them, but cheered and led on by the portable lamp that shows the way (cf. v. 11) during the night-time. That lamp, is the Word of Prophecy.
"A dark place"—The R.V. margin renders this as "squalid place." The word in the Greek is aucmeros, from auchmos, and signifies a drought produced by excessive heat (Vine). Old Testament prophecy speaks of a time of spiritual drought (Amos 8:11), and New Testament prophecy tells of the time when that drought shall cease for ever (Rev. 7:16). A drought caused by excessive heat would bring about a dry and dusty condition, that would aggravate the difficulties of the way. The figure suggested here is that of a dusty difficult track which one is traversing at night surrounded by unseen dangers. The track is illuminated by the portable hand lamp, but the weary, thirsty, fearful traveller anxiously awaits the coming of the dawn that will herald the light of day.
"Until the day dawn" —Until the Sun of righteousness appears, to destroy the forces of darkness (Mal. 4:1-2. Isa. 60:1-2).
"The day star"—Greek, Phosphoros, signifying the Light-bearer, or the Light-bringer, and relating to the Lord Jesus, who is described as the Morning Star in Rev. 22:16. The morning star in the natural heavens, is the last star to remain in the sky before the full brilliance of the Sun is seen, and it therefore heralds the dawning of a new day. The appearance of the Lord Jesus to his elect will do just that as far as the new era is concerned. When that Light-bearer comes, there will be no longer any need for the "portable lamp" (Rev. 22:5), the word of prophecy, for the fullness of Divine light will completely destroy all darkness and render it unnecessary (Isa. 60:1-2). The word of prophecy will be fulfilled in the coming of the new day, so that to that time, the eyes of all the faithful turn (cp. No. 24:17).
"Knowing this first" — Peter emphasised the matters he brought to their attention as being of primary importance; principles that should not be overlooked.
"No prophecy is of any private interpretation" — The church of Rome has used these words of Peter to claim that all interpretation of Scripture should be in accordance with the official pronouncement of the church as authorised by its leaders. But that is not Peter's meaning. The word "interpretation" can be better rendered "unloosing." Weymouth translates the phrase as "prophets' own prompting." Macknight renderers it: "prophets' own invention." Brother Roberts: "private origination." Peter is teaching, therefore, that the word of Prophecy is Divinely inspired, and not the result of the prophets' own thoughts or prompting. In his first Epistle he declared that it was the "Spirit of Christ" in them which was responsible for their predictions, and that they themselves had to seek into the meaning of the very words they uttered (1 Pet. 1:11-12). See also 1 Cor. 2:9-16. 2 Tim. 3:16.
"Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man"—The margin renders this "came not at any time" by the will of man.
"Holy men of God"—The word "holy" signifies set apart for special use. In Ch. 3:2, Peter describes these men as "holy prophets" in contrast to the "false prophets" that were sometimes manifest among the people (Ch. 2:1). The Holy Spirit moved these men to utter the words they did (2 Sam. 23:2. Neh. 9:30. Luke 1:70. Acts 1:16. 3:18. Heb. 1:1. James 5:10), and when the impulse was upon them, they could not restrain the words they were induced to speak (Num. 22:38. Jer. 20:9).
"Were moved"—They were borne along or impelled by the Holy Spirit, and therefore did not speak according to their own wills. Yahweh declared: "I have spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets" (Hos. 12:10). But Micah spake of a time when this would cease, when Yahweh would no longer speak through the prophets, and "night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them" (Mic. 3:6). That came to pass, during the long period of darkness, between Malachi and Matthew, when the open vision was no longer seen and the Voice of Yahweh was stilled. Then, with the appearance of John Baptist and the Lord Jesus, the Voice of Yahweh was again heard; the light was again seen, for as Zacharias declared: "The day spring from on high hath visited us" (Luke 1:78). The early Ecclesias had their own schools of the prophets that ministered unto them (Eph. 4:11. 1 Cor. 14:3), but with the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit, the sun again went down upon the prophets, and will remain thus, until the greatest of them all appears again as the glorious Light-bearer, the Morning Star and Sun of righteousness.
To that time we must look in hope.