II Peter 1

 

 

 

1 “Simon Peter,” -   “Simeon” seems to be the best-supported spelling in this

place. The same form of the name is found in Luke 2:25 and Acts 13:1; it also

occurs in Acts 15:14, where James refers to Peter’s speech on the great

question of the circumcision of Gentile Christians. It is the form always used

in the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament.   The old man’s thoughts go back

to his early years (this was written near the close of Peter’s life); he describes

himself by the familiar name of his youth; he uses  that Greek form of it

which was most distinctively Jewish. But he joins with the old name, which

spoke of Judaism, the new name which the Lord Jesus had given him —

the name which describes him as a stone or rock, which indicates also his

close connection with that Rock on which the Church is built, which is

Christ. His names combine Hebrew and Greek, Jewish and Christian,

associations. He is writing probably, as in his First Epistle, to Churches of

mingled Jewish and Gentile elements. The first word of the Epistle supplies

an argument for the genuineness of the Epistle. It is scarcely possible that

an imitator, who was acquainted with the First Epistle (ch.3:1),

and shows, as some say, so much anxiety to identify himself with the

apostle (Ibid. ch.1:12-18), would have announced himself by a name

different from that used in the First Epistle, and would have adopted a

form of the Hebrew name varying from that which occurs so frequently in

the Gospels -  “a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,” - Peter, like

Paul, describes himself as a servant, literally, “a slave,” a bondman of Jesus

Christ. We are not our own; we are bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:20);

we have work to do for our Master. Peter’s work was that of a missionary, an

apostle sent into the world to win souls for Christ (compare Romans 1:1;

Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1:1) -  Peter described himself in the

First Epistle as “an apostle of Jesus Christ;” he again claims the same high title;

but here adds the lowlier name of “servant.” Christ’s ministers must learn of their

Master, who is meek and lowly in heart; if His providence has set them in high

positions, they need all the more the precious grace of humility; it is the only

safeguard against the many temptations of earthly ambition. And they must

remember that they are the bondservants of Jesus Christ; He has given them

work to do for Him. They must watch for souls, as men that must give account:

woe is unto them if they preach not the gospel!  (I Corinthians 9:16) - “to them that

have obtained like precious faith with us” -  The word rendered “obtained”

 (toi~v lacou~sin tois lachousin) means properly “to obtain by lot,” “to chance

 upon  -as in Luke 1:9. It is noticeable that one of the few places in which it occurs in

the New Testament is in a speech of Peter’s (Acts 1:17); its use here implies that faith

is a gift of God. The word for “like precious”-  isotimonisotimon - equally

precious; equally valued) is found only here in the New Testament; it calls to

our memory the polu< timiw>teron- polu timoteronmuch more

precious -  of I Peter 1:7, and indicates a correspondence with the First Epistle.

Peter addresses this Epistle simply to those who have obtained an equally precious

faith “with us.” By the last words he may mean himself only, or the apostles

generally, or, possibly, all Jewish Christians. He is writing apparently to the same

Churches to which his First Epistle was addressed (v.16 and ch.3:1); he says that

their faith is equally precious with that of the apostles, or perhaps that the Gentiles

have received the like precious gift with the chosen people. By “faith” he may

mean the truths believed, as Jude 1:3; or, more probably, faith in the subjective

sense, the grace of faith, which receives those truths as a message from God

(compare.Peter. 1:7) - faith is precious exceedingly, above all earthly price.

Sight is precious; blindness shuts a man out from so much brightness and joy.

Faith is spiritual sight: by faith the believer sees “Him who is invisible”

(Hebrews 11:27); he sees the promises afar off, and embraces them, and confesses

that he is a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth (Ibid. v.13).  Spiritual blindness

shuts a man out from all this bright and holy hope. “The world seeth me no more,”

the Lord said; “but ye see me” (John 14:19). Then faith is far more precious

than sight;  without faith we are blind, ignorant, lost - “through the righteousness

of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:” - rather, as in the Revised Version, in

the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Some

commentators, as Luther, Estius, etc., understand by righteousness in

this place, the righteousness which God gives, as in Romans 10:3.

But this seems unsuitable here; for faith is not given in righteousness, but

rather righteousness in faith. Others take righteousness as the object of the

faith — “to them that have obtained faith in the righteousness;” i.e., who

are enabled to believe in God’s righteousness and to trust in it. This seems

a forced interpretation. It is better to take the preposition as meaning “in

the working of God’s righteousness,” in the sphere of its operation, and to

understand “righteousness’’ as the attribute of God, His just and holy

dealing with men. There is no respect of persons with God; in His

righteousness He bestows the like precious faith on all who come to Him,

without distinction of race or country. According to the strict grammatical

construction of the passage, “God” and Saviour are both predicates of

“Jesus Christ,” as in Titus 2:13. The First and Second Persons of the

blessed Trinity are distinguished in the following verse, and this has led

several commentators to think that the same distinction should be made

here. It is true that the absence of a second article does not make it

absolutely certain that the two words “God” and Saviour must be taken

as united under the one common article, and so regarded as two predicates

of “Jesus Christ;” but it furnishes at least a very strong presumption in

favor of this view, especially as there is not here, as there is in Titus 2:13,

any word like hJmw~n haemonto us -  to give definiteness to swth~rov

sotaerosSaviour.  The Lord Jesus is called “our Saviour five times in this

Epistle. The word does not occur in the First Epistle; but in Peter’s speech

(Acts 5:31) the apostle declared to the Sanhedrin that God had exalted Jesus

to be a Prince and a Saviour.”

 

 

2 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you” - The order of the words in the

Greek is the same as in I Peter 1:2. The exact correspondence should be noticed.

The writer of the Second Epistle, if not Peter himself, must have been attempting to

 imitate of set purpose the opening salutation of the First Epistle. Through the

knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord; rather, in the knowledge. The

 knowledge of God is the sphere in which grace and peace are communicated

 to the soul; they cannot be found outside that sphere. “Full knowledge”

(ejpi>gnwsiv epignosis) may be regarded as the key-note of this Epistle, as

hope is of the first.  Epi>gnwsiv is a stronger word than gnw~siv – gnosis –

seeking to  know -  it means “knowledge”directed towards an object, gradually

approaching nearer and nearer to it, concentrated upon it, fixed closely upon it.

So it comes to mean the knowledge, not merely of intellectual apprehension,

but rather of deep contemplation; the knowledge which implies love — for

only love can concentrate continually the powers of the soul in close

 meditation upon  its object -  “through the knowledge of God, and of

Jesus our Lord,” – Compare I Corinthians 13, where, after saying in v.8 that

knowledge (gnw~siv) shall be done away,”  Paul continues, in v.12, “Now I

know (ginw>skw) in part, but then I shall know (ejpignw>somai) even as

also I am known (ejpegnw>sqhn epegnosthaenor I am recognized).” He

contrasts our present imperfect knowledge with the full knowledge which the

blessed will have in heaven, and which God now has of us, using the verb

ejpiginw>somai epiginosomaiI shall be knowing; I shall be

recognizing - of that fuller knowledge, as he had used gnw~siv of the imperfect

knowledge. The word ejpi>gnwsiv occurs several times in the Gospels, and is

common in Paul’s Epistles; it seems to imply a sort of protest against the knowledge

that puffeth up” (I Corinthians 8:1), and especially against the knowledge

falsely so called” (I Timothy 6:20), which was claimed by the false teachers,

who were the precursors of the coming Gnosticism (compare Colossians 1:9-10;

2:2; 3:10). Peter had learned more of the doings of these false teachers since he

wrote the First Epistle, and this may perhaps be a reason for his frequent use of

the word ejpi>gnwsiv in the second. “Jesus our Lord” is a variation of the more

common form, such as “the Lord Jesus;” it occurs only here and in Romans 4:24.

 

God’s glory is His mercy and grace.  They are set free to exercise themselves by

Christ in the Atonement!  The blessings of grace and peace are found “In the

 knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.”This is life eternal,” the

Lord Jesus said, “that they might know thee the only true God, and

Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).  There is no spiritual life,

 there is no grace and peace, OUTSIDE THE SPHERE OF THE

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!   But the knowledge which is life is personal knowledge;

not that external knowledge which may be gained from books; but inner spiritual

knowledge gained by communion with the Lord in prayer and holy sacrament,

 in the daily life of faith and self-denial, in the constant adoring contemplation

of the life and death of Christ, in the habitual effort to live unto the Lord and

 to do all to the glory of God.  Paul might well count all things but loss for the

excellency of this knowledge (Philippians 3:8); for the GRACE OF GOD FLOWS

ABUNDANTLY  into the soul that seeks this heavenly wisdom, and THE

PEACE OF GOD THAT PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING KEEPETH

THE HEART  that longeth for THIS INNER KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

AND HIS CHRIST!

 

3 “According as His divine power” - better, seeing that, as in the Revised

Version. The construction is the genitive absolute with wJv hos - . The

words are to be closely connected with v. 2: “We need not fear, for

God has given us all things that are necessary for our salvation; grace and

peace will be multiplied unto us, if only we seek the knowledge of God.”

This is better than, with Huther and others, to make a full stop after verse

2, and to connect verses 3 and 4 closely with verse 5. The word for

“Divine” (qei~ov - theios - ) is unusual in the Greek Testament; it occurs only in

two other places — v. 4 and Acts 17:29 -  “hath given unto us all things that

pertain unto life and godliness,”: -  rather, as in the Revised Version, hath

granted. Peter does not here use the ordinary verb for “to give,” but one

(dedwre>omai dedoreomaihaving been give gratuitously) which in the

New Testament occurs only in this Epistle and in Mark 15:45. “God hath given

 us all things for (pro>v - pros) life,” i.e., all things necessary for life. By “life”

Peter means the spiritual life of the soul; that life which consists in union with

Christ, which is the life of Christ living in us (see John 14:23). “Godliness’’

(eujse>beia eusebeia) is a word of the later apostolic age; besides this Epistle

(in which it occurs four times) and a speech of Peter’s in Acts 3:12, it is found

only in Paul’s pastoral Epistles; it means reverence, true piety towards God.

“All things that pertain unto life and godliness  is A MARVELLOUSLY

COMPREHENSIVE DESCRIPTION!   Spiritual death and ungodliness

prevailed in the world. (I would like to comment on Hurricane Sandy which has

tragically struck the northeast coast of the United States.  I saw on television

today, being Nov. 2, 2012, a story of water, mud, sewage, diesel fuel, and

who knows what else, coming inside homes, businesses, etc., in New York

and New Jersey.  It is a mess and people want it cleaned up , and rightfully so. 

There are people that are affected  who can do little about it, except to roll up

their sleeves and apply a little  elbow grease.  There are other people, some who

would  like to help and who, for various reasons cannot, and others who will

not!   There is frustration on many sides.  This is a natural and physical condition

that could not have been prevented, unless it is a judgment upon America, and

THE REMEDY WOULD HAVE TO HAVE BEEN APPLIED MANY

YEARS AGO!    I will not try to convince one way or another.  I know that

God’s Word tells us that obedience brings blessings and that disobedience,

a la, “sins finding one out”, BRING JUDGMENT!    The analogy I

would like to make is:  Why is it that Americans get very concerned and upset

at a natural disaster, that disperses such WIDESPREAD CONTAMINATION,

 but take no action, nor a stance, against the moral equivalent of mud, water,

 sewage, diesel fuel, etc. coming into our homes via television, or into our

 hearts through immoral plays, movies, CD’s, music, etc.?  There are

many who are rolling up their sleeves and bailing out all the water, sewage,

diesel fuel, etc., that they find in their community, but other than that, can

do little TO STEM THE TIDE!  Like their fellow citizen in uptown

Manhattan, they are equally frustrated, and equally impotent, BUT FOR

A DIFFERENT REASON!  Both live out their lives until they die or

JESUS COMES!  - I don’t know what else to say! – CY – 2012)

And there was no human means by which their power could be destroyed and

the salvation of men secured. But in the fulfillment of the Divine promises,

 in the mediatorial dispensation, in the coming of the Son of God, and

of the Spirit of life and holiness, THE AMPLEST PROVISION WAS

MADE FOR THE HIGHEST AND IMMORTAL WELFARE OF MEN.

  We may compare this declaration with the reasoning of Paul, who argues that

He who spared not His Son, but gave Him up for us all, will with Him

also freely give us all things - (Romans 8:32) -“through the knowledge of

Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” - literally, through the full

knowledge (ejpignw>srwv –-  epignosros) of Him that called us (compare

John 17:3, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true

God. and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”).  The best-supported reading

seems to be that followed by the Revised Version,  “By His own glory and virtue

(ijdi>a| do>xh| kai< ajreth ~| - idia doxae kai  aretae -).”   All His glorious

attributes make up His glory; ajreth>, virtue, is the energy, the activity of those

attributes. The other reading, also well supported (dia< do>xhv kai< ajreth~v

 dia doxaes kai aretaes - “through glory and virtue”), would mean nearly the same

(compare Galatians 1:15; kale>sav dia< th~v ca>ritov aujtou~ - kalesas dia taes

chariots autouby His grace). God calls us through His attributes; His glorious

perfections invite us, the revelation of those perfections calls us to His service. The

word ajreth> (virtue) with one exception (Philippians 4:8), occurs in the New

Testament only in Peter’s Epistles (see I Peter 2:9 where it is translated “praises; 

and here in vs.3 and 5).

 

Grant. “Seeing that His Divine power hath granted unto us all things that

pertain unto life and godliness.” The grant has reference to life and

godliness. The first of these words is to be understood of healthful

condition; the other is to be understood of that supreme regard to God, on

which healthful condition depends. The grant is not of life and godliness,

but of all things that pertain unto life and godliness, by which we are to

understand the gracious influences that have been liberated by Christ — the

Holy Spirit in His manifold gifts, the benefit of Christian institutions. Who is

to be thought of as the Granter here? The nearer reference is to Jesus our

Lord, and it is not superfluous to say of Him, as it would be to say of God,

that it was His Divine power that made the grant. It was the Divine power

of Him who afterward became man that was exercised WHEN MAN WAS

CREATED AND WAS THEN GRANTED ALL THAT WAS NECESSARY

FOR LIFE IN GODLY CONDUCT.  The requirements were greater when man

fell. Jesus bore what man as involved in sin deserved, so as to be constituted our

Lord with Divine power to grant unto us all things that pertain unto life and

godliness. When He has such power to grant, nothing can be wanting of what is

needed for our spiritual prosperity and the production of a godly type of character.

“Knowledge” is the channel through which are communicated to us “all things

that pertain unto life and godliness.”

 

These promises are, in the next verse, characterized as precious!  They contain all

that we need of light for our minds, of solace for our hearts, of strength for our

wills, of stimulus for our desires (talk about a stimulus package!!! – CY – 2012).

They are not only precious, but exceeding great, i.e., precious in the superlative

degree. It is in Ephesians 3:20 that we are directed to God as “able to do

exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” God has promised to

open the windows of heaven, and pour us out a blessing that there shall not be

room enough to receive it  (Malachi 3:10).   But let it be noticed that there

is given an explanation of the promises being exceeding great in their

preciousness. It is because they are granted by God’s glory and virtue.

They are, therefore, to be regarded as the reflection of what He is. They

express all that he would bestow upon us — how, with His fullness, He

would fill our emptiness, with His riches our poverty  (II Corinthians 8:9).

 

4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:” -

rather, as in the Revised Version, whereby He hath granted unto

us His precious and exceeding great promises. Does the word “whereby”

(dijw=n - , literally, “through which things”) refer to the immediately

preceding words, “glory and virtue”? or is its antecedent to be found in the

more distant “all things which pertain unto life and godliness”? Both views

are possible. GOD FIRST GRANTED UNTO US ALL THINGS NECESSARY

FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS  through those first gifts, duly used, He has

granted unto us others more precious still. But it seems better to connect the relative

with the nearer antecedent. It is through God’s glory and virtue, through His

glorious attributes and the energetic working of those attributes, that He

has granted the promises. The verb (dedw>rhtai dedoraetai) should be

translated “hath granted,” as in the preceding verse. The word for “promise”

(ejpa>ggelma epaggelma) occurs elsewhere only in ch. 3:13; it means the thing

promised, not the act of promising. The order of the words, “exceeding

great and precious,” is differently given in the manuscripts; on the whole,

that adopted by the Revised Version seems the best supported. The article

with the first word (ta< ti>mia kai< me>gista ta tima kai megistgathe

precious  and great) has a  possessive force, and is well rendered, “His precious

and great promises.” They are precious, because THEY WILL BE CERTAINLY

FULFILLED IN ALL THEIR DEPTH OF BLESSED MEANING and

because they are in part FULFILLED AT ONCE  (compare Ephesians 1:13-14,

“In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of

promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance”). The word “precious” reminds

us of I Peter 1:7, 19; the resemblance with Ibid. ch.2:7 is apparent only, in the

Authorized Version, not in the Greek.  Scripture is ONE GREAT PROMISE,

God’s Word of promise, CHRIST BEING THE GIFT PROMSIED!

We shall never understand the promises by taking a text here and a text there,

but only by pondering the whole volume as the revelation  of Jesus; only thus

can we have a true idea of the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of what

God assures us of in His beloved Son. (Ephesians 3:17-19).  Look at Him in any

aspect, and, like the glittering facets of a precious stone, promises gleam on us

from Him at every point -  “that by these ye might be partakers of

the divine nature,” -  literally, that through these (promises, i.e., through their

fulfillment) ye may become partakers. It is true that the verb is aorist (ge>nhsqe

genaesthe – ye might be; ye may be becoming), but it does not follow that,

“might be” is the right translation, or that the writer regarded the participation

as having already taken place (compare John 12:36, “Believe in the light, that ye

may be (i[na ge>nhsqe  - hina genaesthe –that ye may be becoming ) the

children of light”).  The aorist seems to imply “that the aim was not the procedure,

but the completion, of that indicated; not the gi>nesqai, the carrying on the process,

but the gene>sqai, its accomplishment.  The end of God’s gift is the complete

accomplishment of His gracious purpose, but it is only by continual growth

that the Christian attains at length to that accomplishment. Peter’s

words seem very bold; but they do not go beyond many other statements

of Holy Scripture. At the beginning God said, “Let us make man in our

image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).  Paul tells us that believers are

now “changed into the same image from glory to glory” (II Corinthians 3:18;

compare also I Corinthians 11:7; 15:49; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10;

Romans 8:29). Christians, born of God (John 1:13; I Peter 1:23), are made

“partakers of Christ” (Hebrews 3:14), “partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Ibid.

ch. 6:4).  Christ prayed for us that we might be “made perfect in one” with

Himself who is one with God the Father, through the indwelling presence of

the Holy Ghost the Comforter (John 17:20-23; 14:16-17, 23).   To  be made

partakers of the Divine nature seems so lofty a state as to be above our reach.

The promise of the Spirit is a promise precious and exceeding great; it seems

sometimes so great that we cannot lift up our hearts to receive it. “Will

God indeed dwell with man?” we say in our unbelief (II Chronicles 6:18).

“Can these poor bodies of ours become the temples of the Holy Ghost?”

But we have His blessed word, His precious promise; and we know that He is the

God of truth. The second person is used to imply that the promises made to all

Christians (unto us) belong to those whom Peter now addresses -  “having

escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  Literally, having

escaped from the corruption that is in the world in lust. This corruption is caused

by the prevalence of the lower carnal nature over the spiritual.  God intended

for the spirit of man to control the body.  WHERE THERE IS AN INVERSION

OF THE DIVINE ORDER (as we are finding out – CY – 2012), SOCIETY

MUST GO INTO CORRUPTION! These words express the negative side of

the Christian life, the former clause describing its active and positive side.

God’s precious promises realized in the soul enable the Christian to become:

 

o       partakers of the Divine nature, and

o       to escape from corruption.

 

The two aspects of the Christian life must go on simultaneously;

each implies and requires the other. The verb used here (ajpofeu>gein

apopheugeinhaving escaped; fleeing from) occurs in the New Testament

only in this Epistle. It reminds us of Paul’s words in Romans 8:21, “The

 creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.”

The corruption or destruction (for the Word fqora> phthora - has both those

meanings) from which we must escape has its seat and power in lust; working

secretly in the lusts of men’s wicked hearts, it manifests its evil presence in the

world (compare Genesis 6:12; I John 2:16; Romans 8:6).

 

There is no harmony between the lusts of the world and the flesh, and the life of

God  (I John 2:15-17).  Christ  came in order to set men free from the power

which debases and degrades — in order, as Peter says in the context, to

enable men TO ESCAPE FROM THE CORRUPTION THAT IS IN

THE WORLD BY LUST!   The mediatorial grace of Christ is able to effect

what human power cannot bring to pass.  The Holy Spirit brings the life of the

Eternal into our human nature, and pours that life through the whole being of the

believing and grateful disciple of Christ, so THAT HE BECOMES A

NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST JESUS!  (II Corinthians 5:17)

 

5 “And beside this, giving all diligence,”   rather, but for this very

cause also. Aujto< tou~to -  auto toutobeside this; the same as this - is frequently

used in this sense in classical Greek, but in the New Testament only here. It refers

back to the last verse. God’s precious gifts and promises should stimulate us to

earnest effort. The verb rendered “giving” means literally “bringing in by the side;”

it is one of those graphic and picturesque expressions which are characteristic of

Peter’s style. God worketh within us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13);

this (both Paul and Peter teach us) is a reason, not for remissness, but for

increased exertion. God’s grace is sufficient for us; without that we can do

nothing; but by the side (so to speak) of that grace, along with it, we must bring

into play all earnestness, we must work out our own salvation with fear

and trembling (Ibid. v. 12). The word seems to imply that the work is God’s

work; we can do very little indeed, but that very little we must do, and for the

very reason that God is working in us. The word (pareisene>gkantev

pareisenegkantesbeside this; for this cause) occurs only here in the New

Testament. “add to your faith virtue;” – literally, supply in your faith. He

does not say, “supply faith;” he assumes the existence of faith. “He that cometh

unto God must believe”  (Hebrews 11:6).  The Greek word (ejpicorh>ghsate

 epichoraegaesateadd to; supply ye) means properly to “contribute to the

expenses of a chorus;” it is used three times by Paul, and, in its simple form, by 

Peter in I Peter 4:11, translated which God giveth;  meaning is furnishing). In

usage it came to mean simply to “supply or provide,” the thought of the chorus

being dropped. So we cannot be sure that the idea of faith as leading the mystic

dance in the chorus of Christian graces was present to Peter’s mind, especially as

the word occurs again in verse 11, where no such allusion is possible. The

fruits of faith are in the faith which produces them, as a tree is in its seed;

they must be developed out of faith, as faith expands and energizes; in the

exercise of each grace a fresh grace must issue forth. Virtue is Christian

manliness and active courage in the good fight of faith. The word “virtue”

(ajreth> - apetae), with the exception of  Philippians 4:8, occurs in the New

Testament only in St. Peter — in this chapter three times, and in I

Peter 2:9, thus forming one of the kinks between the two Epistles - “and to

virtue knowledge;” Peter here uses the simple word gnw~siv – gnosis knowledge, 

discretion, a right understanding).  This practical knowledge is gained in the manly

self-denying activities of the Christian life, and leads on to the fuller knowledge

(ejpi>gnwsiv - epignosis) of Christ (v. 8).

 

The faith is here regarded as already present. If we have not yet believed, what

we have got to do is to cooperate with God in believing. “This is the work of God

 [required by God], that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”  (John 6:29)

 

Beginning with faith, we have to supply in our faith virtue, which is to be understood

in the special sense of moral energy, or “a strenuous tone and vigor of mind.” Faith is

leaning on God, or allowing God to work.  To quiet leaning on God, passivity under

the working of God, there is necessary, as its complement, personal force.

But in forcibleness there must be supplied, as its necessary complement, knowledge.

There is a different word here from what was formerly used. The idea is that there

must be enlightened judgment — an apprehension in every moment of what is the

right application of the force.

 

6 “And to knowledge temperance;” - rather, self-control - (ejgkra>teian

egkrateian). The words ejkra>teia yuch~v egkrateia psuchaesself-control

of the soul -  are the heading of a section in the Greek of Eccleiasticus 18:30 ,

and are followed immediately by the maxim, “Go not after thy lusts, but refrain

thyself from thine appetites.” This self-control EXTENDS OVER THE

WHOLE OF LIFE   and consists in the government of all the appetites;

it must be learned in the exercise of that practical knowledge which discerns

between good and evil. True knowledge leads on to SELF-CONTROL;

 to that perfect freedom which consists in the service of God; not to that liberty

promised by the false teachers, which is licentiousness -  Temperance is

reason’s girdle as well as passion’s bridle! - “and to temperance

patience; and to patience godliness;” - The practice of self-control

will result in patient endurance; but that endurance will not be mere

stoicism; it will be a conscious submission of our human will TO THE

HOLY WILL OF GOD  and so will tend to develop and strengthen

eujse>beia eusibeia -  reverence and piety towards God (see note on v.3).

Patience is the silver side of the shield whose iron side is temperance!

 

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

The word for “brotherly kindness” (filadelfi>a philadelphia) is another link

between the two Epistles (see I Peter 1:22; 3:8).   Godliness is fellowship with

and walking with God.   It is a God-regarding, especially a God-fearing,

disposition!   “In your godliness,” Peter says, “ye must develop

brotherly kindness, the unfeigned love of the brethren;” for “every one that

loveth Him that begat, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him” (I John 5:1).

And as God is loving unto every man, and maketh His sun to rise

on the evil and on the good,” so Christians, who are taught to be followers

(imitators) of God (Ephesians 5:1), must learn in the exercise of love toward the

brethren that larger love which embraces all men in an ever-widening circle

(compare I Thessalonians 3:12). Thus love, the greatest of all Christian graces

(I Corinthians 13:13), is the climax in Peter’s list. Out of faith, the

root, spring the seven fair fruits of holiness, of which holy love is the fairest

and the sweetest.  No grace can remain alone; each grace, as it is

gradually formed in the soul, tends to develop and strengthen others; all

graces meet in that highest grace of love, without which whosoever

liveth is counted dead before God.  Love is the sunshine on the whole

landscape of character and the Shechinah in the temple of character!

 

8 “For if these things be in you, and abound,” - literally, for these

things belonging to you and abounding make, etc. The word used here

(uJpa>rconta huparchona - possessing) implies actual possession; these

graces must be made our own; they must be wrought into our characters: then

they will increase and multiply, for the grace of God cannot lie still, it must ever be

advancing from glory to glory -  “they make you that ye shall neither be

barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - literally,

they make you not idle nor yet unfruitful towards the full knowledge. The

Greek word for “knowledge” is ejpi>gnwsiv  - epignosis (on which see v. 2, and

note there). Here we know only in part, we see through a glass darkly; but

that imperfect knowledge should be ever growing, increasing in fullness

and distinctness (see ch.3:18). The various graces of the Christian

character, realized in the heart, will lead us on towards that fuller

knowledge of Christ; if they are really ours, they will not allow us to be

idle, they must bring forth the fruit of good works; and the life of

righteousness by faith draws the Christian onwards in the knowledge of

Christ: we learn to know Him by following Him (compare Philippians 3:9-10;

Colossians 1:10).

 

There is a difference between these virtues being in us and their ABOUNDING

IN US!  There is a difference between knowing about God, and knowing God,

and the difference is vital; the one knowledge is fruitful, the other barren.  The

goal toward which we are to be fruitful is the knowledge of our Lord Jesus

Christ. This is not the knowledge that is mentioned as one of the seven virtues,

but the mature knowledge that has been twice mentioned.  Showing diligence

in the practice of the seven virtues, we are to come to a rich appreciative

knowledge of Jesus Christ (who interprets God to us). Paul takes our aim to

be the being able “to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length,

and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

Peter brings into view the knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Lord, i.e., able in

His surpassing power to accomplish all things for us.  There is a natural connection

between the increase of knowledge and the increase of grace.  Greater knowledge

of God is granted as a fruit of study and fellowship.   It is only in one on one

communion with God, such as is possible through the teaching of His Word,

that we can really know Him; therein He speaks to us, and in prayer we speak

to Him.  That we may know Him is the object of many  of our sorrows.

Sickness is often God shutting the busy soul up to Himself.  Trouble is often

God showing us how tender a Father He is. Darkness is often God compelling

us to look up!

 

We are to practice these virtues; for there is a great disadvantage in lacking them.

The lacking here is not merely the not having them in abundance, BUT THE

NOT HAVING THEM AT ALL! James says that “faith without works is dead”

(James 2:17).  Peter says here that “he who has not supplied the seven virtues in

his faith, instead of appreciating Christ, he is blind,” i.e., to his real worth. His

idea of blindness he brings to this focus — that he is shortsighted. The word is

taken from a certain contracting of the eyelids in order to see. He sees

what is near, but does not see what is far off. The things of this world bulk

largely in his eyes; the distant realities of the eternal world do not come

within his vision. The explanation of this kind of blindness is his having

lapsed. There was a time when he was baptized. Then he was regarded as

cleansed from his old sins; and did not that seem to indicate a certain

appreciation of Christ? But having forgotten his cleansing, Christ has not

worth in his eyes.

 

9 “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off,” -

literally, for he to whom these things are not present is blind, short-sighted.

We cannot attain to the knowledge of Christ WITHOUT THESE GRACES

for he who has them not is blind, or, at the best, short-sighted, like

one who blinks with his eyes when he tries to see distant objects, and

cannot bear the full light of day. Such a man can only see the things which

lie close around him — earth and earthly things; he cannot lift up his eyes

by faith and behold “the land that is very far off;” he cannot “see the King

in his beauty” (Isaiah 33:17). The word for “short-sighted” (muwpa>zwn  -

muopazonseeing only what is near) occurs only here in the New Testament -

We often think if we knew more we would do better; here the teaching is, if we

did better we would know more!  Jesus said, “If any man will do His will,

he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17) – Obedience is the organ of

 spiritual vision!  “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”-

 (Matthew 5:8) - “and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

Literally, having incurred forgetfulness of the cleansing from his old sins.

Peter is apparently thinking of the one baptism for the remission of sin. Ananias

had said to Saul, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins

(Acts 22:16);  Peter himself had said, in his first great sermon, “Repent, and

be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU,  IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

 for the remission of sins”  (Acts 2:38).  Those who do not realize in the

religious life that death unto sin of which holy baptism is the sign and the

beginning, incur forgetfulness of the cleansing from sin which they then

received; they do not use the grace once given for the attainment of those higher

graces of which Peter has been speaking. The one talent once entrusted to them

must be taken from them; they are idle and unfruitful, and cannot reach unto the

knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (compare I Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians

5:26; I Peter 3:21).

 

10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence” –  The two

first words, dio<ma~llon dio mallon - wherefore the rather, are by some

understood as referring only to the last clause; as if Peter were saying,

“Rather than follow those who lack the graces enumerated above, and forget

that they were cleansed from their former sins, give diligence.” Ma~llon is not

unfrequently used in this antithetical sense, as in I Corinthians 5:2; Hebrews

11:25. But it seems better to refer dio> to the whole passage (vs. 3-9), and to

understand ma~llon in its more usual intensive sense, “all the more,” as in

I Thessalonians 4:10   Because God has bestowed such gifts on men, because

the use of those gifts leads on to THE FULL KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST,

 therefore all the more GIVE DILIGENCE!   The word spouda>sate

spoudasate -  give diligence - recalls the spoudh<n pa~san spoudae pasan

 all diligence - of v. 5. The aorist seems, as it were, to sum up THE

CONTINUED DILIGENCE OF DAILY LIFE  into one vivid description.

The tense used points to their MAKING THE DILIGENCE A LIFE LONG

THING!  This is the only place in which Peter uses the vocative “brethren;”

he has “beloved” in I Peter 2:11 and in ch. 3:1, 8, here. Both words

imply affectionate exhortation. Two ancient manuscripts, the Alexandrine

and the Sinaitic, insert here, “Through your good works (dia< tw~n kalw~n

e]rgwn, or tw~n kalw~n uJmw~n e]rgwn) -  “to make your calling and

election sure:” - Alford calls attention to the middle voice of the verb,

“Not poiei~n poiein – to do; to make  -  which lay beyond their power, but

poiei~sqai - poieisthai  - to be making - on their side, for their part. But the

verb must not be explained away into a pure subjectivity, ‘to make sure to yourselves;’

it carries the reflexive force, but only in so far as the act is and must be done for

and quoad a man’s own self, the absolute and final determination resting with

Another.” The calling and election are the act of God (compare I Peter 1:2;

2:21). All the baptized, all who bear the name of Christ, are called into the Church,

but few comparatively are chosen, elect (ojli>goi de <ejklektoi> - oligoi de eklektoi -                                                      

but few chosen – Matthew 20:16).  We look, as it were, from far below up to the

mysteries of God’s sovereign government; we cannot read the list of blessed names

written in the Lamb’s book of life; we cannot lift ourselves to a point high enough to

comprehend the secrets of God’s dealing with mankind, and to reconcile the Divine

foreknowledge and omnipotence with the free agency of man. But we feel the

energy of that free agency within us; we know that Holy Scripture bids us

to work out our salvation, and tells us of some who receive the grace of God

in vain (II Corinthians 6:1), or frustrate the grace of God (Galatians 2:21);

and we feel that when the apostle tells us to make our calling and

election sure, he means that we must try to realize that calling and election,

to bring its solemn responsibilities and its blessed hopes to bear upon our

daily life, to live as men who have been called into God’s Church, who are

elect unto eternal life, and so (if we may dare to say it) to ratify God’s

election by our poor acceptance. He calls us into covenant with Himself; we

answer, as the children of Israel said at Mount Sinai, “All that the Lord

hath said will we do, and be obedient” (Exodus 24:7). Our obedience

makes the covenant sure to us; holiness of life is the proof of God’s

election, for it implies the INDWELLING PRESENCE of “that Holy Spirit of

promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

“for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” -  i.e., “If ye make your

calling and election sure.” The plural shows that the apostle considered

this making sure a very many-sided act. . Others refer the tau~tatauta

these things - to the graces just enumerated. Ye shall never fall; literally, ye

shall never stumble (ouj mh< ptai>shte - ou mae ptaisaete).  Ptai>ein ptaiomen -             

 is “to strike one’s foot against some obstacle,” and so to stumble; never fall;

not trip.  James says, “In many things we offend (ptai>omen ptaiomenoffend;

we are tripping) all” (James 3:2). Peter here means to stumble so as to fall

(Romans 11:11); while Christians “do these things,” while they make their

calling  and election sure by holiness of life, they cannot stumble; it is in

unguarded moments that they fall into temptation.  If we do these things

with due diligence, we will never make a stumble that would prevent our

entrance into the kingdom.  Notice the next verse.  It is no mean kingdom;

FOR IT IS THE KINGDOM PRESIDED OVER BY THEIR LORD

AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!  The kingdom of Christ is essentially

the same in the present and in the future; but in its present outward

conditions it is to come to an end, in its future conditions it is to be

ETERNAL!  It is the entrance into the eternal kingdom that is here

promised.   

 

11 “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly” - rather,

as in the Revised Version, for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance.

The verb ejp[icorhghqh>setaiepichoraegaethaesetaishall be being supplied –

looks back to ejpicorhgh>sate epichoraegaesateadd to; supply ye in v. 5, and

“richly” to “abound” in v. 8. If we do our poor best in supplying the graces

mentioned above, the entrance shall be richly supplied.  Peter seems to imply that

there will be degrees of glory hereafter proportioned to our faithfulness in the

 use of God’s gifts here. The adverb plousiwv plousios – richly -  is fitly

joined with the verb  ejpicorhghqhsetai (see above)  -  which signifies properly

to provide the expenses for a chorus. The article defines the entrance as the great

object of the Christian’s hope “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and

Savior Jesus Christ.” - rather, the eternal kingdom. Notice the exact

correspondence of the Greek words here, tou~ Kuri>ou hJmw~n kai< Swth~rov

jIhsou~ Cristou~ - tou Kuriou haemon kai Sotaeros Iaesou Christou 

of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ - with those in v.2, tou~ Qeou~ hJmw~n

 kai< Swth~rov jIhsou~ Cristou~ - tou Theou haemon kai Sotaeros Iaesou

Christouof God and ouir Saviour Jesus Christ - as a strong argument in

favor of the translation, “Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ,” in that verse.

 

Richly apply Christian graces in your character and God will richly supply

Christian glories in your destiny!  Your virtues must go out in a kind of festal

procession, then your true glories will come to you in a kind of festal

procession also.

 

 

Exhortation to Earnest Effort (vs. 5-11)

 

We have here an enumeration of certain graces of the Christian life.  It begins with

“faith” and ends with “love.”  “Faith, courage, prudence, self-control, patience,

godly reverence, love of the brethren, love,” — that is the list.  All these graces

through personal diligence are needed for sanctification.  Every grace needs to

be supplemented by another. No grace can stand alone; the text seems to urge that.

The word “add” is the same as in the eleventh verse (see v.5), where it is translated

“minister.” Each grace needs to be ministered to by another. There is not one which,

if it be alone, will not speedily become an evil. One grace is to wait on, to supplement,

to protect, to perfect another. For instance, to faith ministers courage — courage to

confess the Christ believed in; to courage ministers prudence, for if courage be not

discreet, it is destructive. Beware of being men of one grace. 

 

The believer is not to be contented till he has acquired all the graces.  What a list

this is! The leading features of a perfect character; and Scripture gives a plain

command to the Christian to acquire these. And nothing can be more assuring

than this command, for God does not call us to impossibilities; and He is

 prepared to supply what is needed for its attainment.

 

Diligence implies that spiritual increase requires personal effort.

Speedy and spontaneous sanctification is what we prefer, but that

idea is not encouraged in Scripture. It is true growth is the law of life —

life naturally increases to maturity, as Peter says, “Grow in grace;” but he

also says, “Giving all diligence, add.” If we cherish the idea that

sanctification is given immediately, as pardon is given, would we not all be

lax?  Sanctification is progressive, and demands CONSTANT ENDEAVOR!

IT IS A DISCRIMINATING, HOURLY, LIFE-LONG WORK!

 

Our duty is:

 

  • To use all diligence. God’s Divine power is with us; He has granted us

all necessary helps (v.3). But this, says the apostle, is the very reason why we

should work all the more strenuously. It would be heartless work, if we

had not the great power of God to help us; but he hath endued His

Church with power from on high. This gift of power is the very ground

on which the apostle bases his exhortations; the great argument, not for

remissness and security, but for persevering, self-denying labor. God’s power

is fighting for us; we are told to bring in by the side of that almighty aid all

our earnestness. It may seem strange to be bidden to put our weak

trembling endeavors by the side of the strength of God; the two things are

incommensurate: how can the Infinite and finite work together? But it is

the teaching of Holy Scripture; the saints have proved its value in their

daily lives. THE WORK IS GOD’S WORK; He hath begum it;

He will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ; but just on that

very ground we must work too, with fear and trembling indeed, but in

trustful faith, out of love and adoring gratitude.

 

  • To go on from grace to grace. The first great gift of God is faith, that

precious faith of which Peter speaks so warmly. Faith, St. Augustine

says, is the root and mother of all virtues; Peter says the same. He tells

us that in the life of faith, in the active energy of faith, we must furnish the

attendant chorus of graces. The word which he uses implies that we must

spare no effort, no expense; the Christian must be willing to spend

and to be spent in order to provide that fair train of graces which is the

meet adornment of the temple of the Holy Ghost. Faith, the first gift of God,

cannot remain alone; it must work, and out of its active energies must issue

virtue.

 

Ø      Virtue is manliness, the holy courage which enables Christians to

quit  (andrizw - andrizoplay the man) themselves like men in

the service of the Captain of our salvation. In the midst of the assaults

of temptation we need a resolute determination to do what is

right in the sight of God, a steadfast strength of will to choose

always the good part. This is the virtue of the Christian warrior, and

this is acquired in the active work of faith; faith ever working, ever

energetic, strengthens the soul: who is he that overcometh the world,

 but he that believeth? (I John 5:4)  Hence faith leads on to virtue.

 

Ø      With virtue comes knowledge. Courage and firmness may do harm

unless they are directed by knowledge: true Christian virtue will lead on

to knowledge. Irresolute men, double-minded and undecided, waver

between right and wrong (James 1:6-8); they are constantly tempted into

dangerous compliances with evil; they profess to hate sin, but they

have a lingering love for it; and so they do not attain to that keen

perception of good and evil which can be developed only in the

active resolute conflict against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

That holy discretion grows from Christian virtue, and it guides and

informs the virtue from which it springs.

 

Ø      Temperance. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has its

dangers. There is need of discretion to form a right judgment, and of

virtue to remain steadfast in that judgment. The union of virtue

and knowledge will bring in temperance, or self-control, which

enables a man to govern his appetites, and to keep them under the

sovereign rule of conscience. Without that self-control there is no

unity of purpose. The Christian must strive, like Paul, to devote his

energies to the one thing needful; and to do that he must keep under

his body and bring it into subjection (I Corinthians 9:24-27); he must

check the tumult of earthly desire by the light of knowledge and

the strength of virtue.

 

Ø      Patience. Side by side with self-control comes patient endurance; he

who controls his appetites will learn to endure hardness. Some

of God’s people have to wait for Him in patient endurance, some to

work for Him in active labor. Both may serve Him with equal faithfulness.

It is not outward work in itself, but inner faithfulness of spirit, that wins

the praise of God:  the suffering Church of Smyrna is commended; the

active Church of Ephesus is blamed (Revelation 2:1-11).

 

Ø      Godliness. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, must help

to strengthen and develop godliness. Godliness is the spirit of

reverence, the holy fear of God. The godly man sets God always

before Him (Psalm 16:8); the thought of God controls his whole

life; his effort is to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, to live

 unto the Lord, to seek His glory only. This holy reverence for the

felt presence of God can only be maintained in the life of faith and self-

control; in the worldly life of mere pleasure and business IT

CANNOT FLOURISH.  God is the center of the devout life, the life

of godliness; and to fix the eye of the soul on Him we must learn the

great lesson, “love not the world.”  (I John 2:15-17)

 

Ø      Brotherly kindness. Out of godliness must flow the love of the

brethren; for Holy Scripture tells us that “if a man say, I love God, and

hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom

he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John

4:20)  God’s elect are knit together in one communion and fellowship;

all loving their Father in heaven, they must for His love’s sake love all

who in virtue of the heavenly birth are made the children of God.

There is no love truer and holier than that which lives in the communion

of saints; the nearer they draw to THE HEAVENLY FATHER,

THE FOUNTAIN OF ALL HOLY LOVE, the more fervently

out of a pure heart they love one another.

 

Ø      Charity. Christian love must not be confined within the limits of the

Christian Church. It is specially due, indeed, to those who are of the

household of faith; but it cannot stop there. For it comes from GOD,

WHO IS LOVE,  whose love is without limits in range and in

intensity; and that love which His children learn of Him must be, in

its poor measure, like His love — it must not be cribbed and confined

within conventional boundaries; it must continually increase in depth,

and as it increases in depth it must increase also in extent. It will do so,

if it is real and true; for it is a living thing, nay, the very life of the soul

with God, and that life which it has of God involves the necessity of

constant growth. Love is free, spontaneous, full of life and energy

and warmth. All Christian graces meet in LOVE; for it is

the crown and center of the Christian character, the golden link that

binds together into one glorious whole all the fair adornments of those

holy souls that HAVE BEEN CREATED ANEW AFTER

THE IMAGE OF JESUS CHRIST!

 

Without these graces MEN ARE BLIND;  for faith, the first of them, out of which

all the others spring, is the eye of the soul. He that hath not faith is spiritually blind;

he is not blind to the outward objects which lie close around him, — those he can see;

but the things that belong to his peace are hidden from his eyes!  (Luke 19:42)

He cannot discern the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; he cannot see the awful realities

of the eternal world; he cannot discern the spiritual powers that are working even now

in the Church.  “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of

God:  for they are foolishness unto him:  neither can he know them,

Because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.”  (I Corinthians 2:14)

 

If we are bringing forth the sevenfold fruit which issues out of the root of

faith, we may be sure that our faith is true and living. And we must try to

live as men called of God and chosen unto everlasting life should live, in

trustfulness and thankfulness, in the abiding sense of God’s presence, in the

persevering effort to please him in all things. The life of obedience and

spiritual diligence tends to deepen continually the consciousness that THE

DIVINE POWER IS WITH US, GIVING US ALL THINGS NEEDFUL

FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS and so to MAKE OUR CALLING

AND ELECTION SURE!

 

The entrance into Christ’s eternal kingdom shall be richly furnished to

those who use all diligence to make their election sure. While we are

preparing our hearts by His gracious help, while we are striving to furnish the

fair train of Christian graces to make that heart ready for Him, we know that

He is preparing a place for us in heaven, interceding for us, praying

that where he is there we may also be  (John 14:1-4; Romans 8:34). 

That entrance shall be richly furnished; with glory and with triumph

shall the  Christian soul enter into the golden city; there are the true

richesriches of blessedness beyond the reach of human thought

(I Corinthians 2:9), riches of knowledge, riches of holiness and joy and

love IN THE UNVEILED PRESENCE OF GOD  who is rich in mercy,

rich in power and glory and majesty (Revelation 5:11-14),  rich in tender

and holy and unspeakable love for His elect.

 

Our hearts are the chosen temple of God; we must furnish that temple

richly with Christian graces — ITS PROPER DECORATIONS!

(It is a tragic mistake for a person to go through life and decorates his home

and his body more THAN HE DECORATES HIS SOUL!!!!!!!! – CY – 2012)

 

12 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance

of these things;” -  rather, as in the Revised Version, wherefore I shall be ready.

This reading (mellh>sw mellaeso - the future indicates that the Apostle will

be prepared, as in the past and the present, to remind his readers of the truths

they know) is better supported than that of the some manuscripts -  (oujk

ojmelh>sw ouk amelaesoI will not be negligent – as translated above in

the King James Version). (For this use of me>llein - mellein to intend, i.e. be

about  to be, do, or suffer something - of persons or things, especially events;

in the sense of purpose, duty, necessity, probability, possibility, or hesitation: —

about, after that, be [almost] - that which is, things, + which was for - to come,

intend, was to (be), mean, mind, be at the point, (be) ready, + return, shall (begin),

(which, that) should (after, afterwards, hereafter) tarry, which was for,

will, would, be yet) compare, in the Greek, Matthew 24:6 – “And ye shall” –

mellhsete - mellaeseteye  shall be being about - with the infinitive almost

as a periphrasis for the future,)  The apostle will take every opportunity of reminding

his readers of the truths and duties which he has been describing, and that

because faith in those truths and the practice of those duties is the only way

to CHRIST’S ETERNAL KINGDOM - “though ye know them, and be

established in the present truth; better, as in the Revised Version, and are

established in the truth which is with you. These words seem to imply that

Peter knew something, through Silvanus (see I Peter 5:12), of

those to whom he was writing; they were not ignorant of the gospel; now

they had read his First Epistle, and earlier they had heard the preaching of

Paul or his companions (compare Romans 1:13). (For the word

rendered “established” (ejsthrigme>nouv estaerigmenousbe established),

compare  I Peter 5:10;  II Peter 3:16-17.)  Peter seems to have kept ever in his

thoughts the solemn charge of the Saviour, “When thou art converted, strengthen

(sth>rixon staerixon establish you) thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). For

“the truth which is with you” (parou>sh- parousae - present), compare

Colossians 1:6.

 

13 “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle;” -  rather, as in the

Revised Version, and I think it right. The natural body is but a tabernacle for

the soul, a tent to dwell in during our earthly pilgrimage, not a permanent

habitation. The word reminds us of II Corinthians 5:1-4, where Paul uses the

same metaphor; and also of Peter’s words at the Transfiguration, “Let us make

three tabernacles” (Luke 9:33) – “to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

literally, to arouse you in reminding. The phrase occurs again in ch. 3:1.

Peter’s readers knew the facts of the gospel history; they needed, as we all need,

to be aroused to a sense of the solemn responsibilities which that knowledge

involves.

 

14 “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle;” - literally,

knowing that swift is the putting off of my tabernacle. Peter may mean by these

words either that his death was near at hand, or that, when it came, it would be

sudden, a violent death, not a lengthened illness.  Compare the use of the same

word (tacinh> - tachinae - swift) in ch. 2:1.  Paul, in II Corinthians 5:1-4, speaks,

like Peter here, of putting off a tabernacle or tent as we talk of putting off a

garment.  The body is a covering to the soul; it keeps it from being exposed to the

glare of the world. “Tabernacle” also  suggests that which can be quickly taken

down (in Isaiah 38:12 there is the association of death with the removal of a

shepherd’s tent);  the connection of the body with the soul is not so close but that

it can be quickly removed as a shepherd’s tent.  Peter was incited to action by

the knowledge of what our Lord Jesus Christ had signified unto him. There is

unmistakable reference to John 21:18-19. Our Lord, according to what is recorded

there, signified to Peter that he was to die a martyr’s death. Let Peter’s language

here be observed.  There was to be not the striking of his tent, but still, not out of

keeping with the idea of a tent as a temporary soul-covering, the putting of it off.

And swift or sudden was the manner in which it was to be put off. We are

not to think of the swiftness of death’s approach (unless in the use of the

present tense), but of death’s swift work when it did come. He was to end

his life by a violent death. Our Lord had signified to him that he was not to

die soon; it was only when he became old that he was to stretch forth his

hands, and another was to gird him, and carry him whither he would not.

He was now old, without the assurance he had once had of living long; and

as our Lord had signified to him that not much time was to be occupied in

the putting off of his tabernacle, so long as he was in it he would let slip no

opportunity of putting them in mind.  The word used here for “putting off”

(ajpo>qesiv apothesis) is one of the links between the two Epistles;  it occurs

also in  I Peter 3:21 -  The evening of our days will be distressing (Christians

though we be) unless we can look up and say, like Jesus, “O Father, I have

 glorified thee on the earth, I have  finished the work which thou gavest

me to do” (John 17:4), or the Apostle Paul, “Wherefore I take you to record

this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  For I have not

shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).

But we may not even reckon on an evening to our days; our sun may go down

while it is yet noon.   Have we done our work? Have we pleaded with those

we love? Have we taught the children the great things of God’s Word? Have we

lived remembering that “there is no work, nor device, in the grave whither”

we arc going? (Ecclesiastes 9:”10) -  “even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath

showed me.”  Better, as in the Revised Version, signified unto me. The aorist

points to a definite time.  Peter is thinking of our Lord’s prophecy, which John

afterwards recorded (John 21:18); he could never forget that touching interview;

he had already referred to it once in I Peter 5:2.

 

15 “Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease

to have these things always in remembrance.”   Rather, but I will

also give diligence that ye may be able at every time after my decease to

call these things to remembrance. Of the two particles used here the de> -

de – moreover; yet -  connects this verse with v.13; the kai> - kai -  and;

also – implies a further resolve. Peter will not only stir up the minds of his

readers during his life, but he will give diligence to enable them to call to

remembrance, after his death, the truths which he had preached. These

words may refer simply to the present Epistle; but it seems more natural to

understand them of an intention to commit to writing the facts of the gospel

history; if this be so, we have here a confirmation of the ancient tradition that

the Second Gospel was written by Mark at the dictation of Peter. The verb

spouda>sw spoudasoI will endeavor; I shall be being diligent - is that used

in v.10, and should be  translated in the same way; they must give diligence to

make their calling and election sure.  Peter, for his part, will give diligence to

furnish them with a lasting record of the truths of Christianity. The adverb

eJka>stote hekastotealways;  at every time, whenever there may be need,

occurs only here in the New Testament.  It is remarkable that we have here, in

two consecutive verses, two words which remind us of the history of the

Transfiguration, “tabernacle,” and “decease” (e]xodon exodon exodus;

decease) - see Luke 9:31). Then Peter proposed to make three tabernacles;

then he heard Moses and Elijah speaking of the Lord’s decease which he should

accomplish at Jerusalem. The simple unconscious occurrence of these coincidences

is a strong proof of the genuineness of our Epistle; it is inconceivable that an imitator

of the second century should have shown this delicate skill in adapting his production

to the circumstances of the supposed writer. The last words of the verse may

mean (and in classical Greek would mean) “to make mention of these

things;” but the usual rendering seems more suitable here. Peter was

anxious rather that his readers should have the truths of the gospel living in

their memories, than that they should talk about them; that would follow as

a matter of course: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth

speaketh(Matthew 12:34).   Some Roman Catholic commentators think

that this passage contains a promise that the apostle would still, after his death,

continue to remember the needs of the Church on earth, and to help them by his

intercessions; but this interpretation involves a complete dislocation of

clauses, and cannot possibly be the true meaning of the words.

 

“Have these things always in remembrance” – When we study God’s Word

and hide it in our hearts, it operates on our spirituality and becomes a ceaseless

means of grace!  Temptations are resisted and crises are passed and sorrows

are borne through the power of God’s Word!  “Thy Word have I hid in mine

heart that I might not sin against thee.”  (Psalm 119:11)

 

16 “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables;” -  rather,

did not follow. The participle (ejxakolouqh>santev exakolouthaesantes

ones followign) is aorist. This compound verb is used only by Peter in the

New Testament; we find it again in ch.2:2 and 15.  Some think  that the

preposition ejx – ex - from or out of, implies wandering from the truth after false

guides; but probably the word merely means “to follow closely,” though in

this case the guides were going astray. Perhaps the use of the plural

number is accounted for by the fact that Peter was not the only witness

of the glory of the Transfiguration; he associates in thought his two

brother-apostles with himself. The word mu~qoi muthoimyths; fables –

with this exception, occurs in the New Testament only in Paul’s pastoral

Epistles.  Peter may be referring to the “Jewish fables” mentioned by Paul

(Titus 1:14), or to the stories about the heathen gods such as those in

Hesiod and Ovid, or possibly to some early inventions, such as those

ascribed to Simon the Sorcerer, which were afterwards to be developed

into the strange fictions of Gnosticism (compare I Timothy 1:4; 4:7;

II Timothy 4:4). The word sesophismenoiv - sesophaeismenois

rendered “cunningly devised” occurs elsewhere in the New Testament

only in II Timothy 3:15; but there a different part of the verb (sofisai

sophisaito make wise - is used, and in  a different sense - when we made

known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Peter

can scarcely be referring to Paul or other missionaries, as the following words

identify the preachers with the witnesses of the Transfiguration; he must be

alluding either to his First Epistle (compare I Peter 1:7,13; 4:13), or to personal

teaching of his which has not been recorded, or, just possibly, to the Gospel of Mark.

Peter had seen the power of the Lord Jesus manifested in His miracles; he had heard

the announcement of the risen Saviour, “All power is given unto me in heaven

 and in earth” (Matthew 28:18); he had, like the rest of the apostles, been “endued

 with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).  By the coming (parousi>a

parousiacoming; presence) he must mean THE SECOND ADVENT,

 the invariable meaning of the word in Holy Scripture (see ch. 3:4, Matthew

24:3, 27; I Corinthians 15:23; I Thessalonians 2:19)  The moment that the Lord

descends, the archangel marshals his innumerable host, giving the shout of

command with the living voice. Having marshaled his hosts to move in

harmony with the descending Lord, he at a subsequent stage gives another

shout of command, this time not with the living voice, but with the trump

of God. At the trumpet-call the dead arise. The Christian dead, raised with

reconstituted bodies, join the Christian living, whose bodies are

transformed, making one company, and, caught up in the enveloping,

upbearing clouds, they meet their descending Lord with the marshaled

army of angels in the air  (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).  The Lord descends to

earth; before Him are gathered all nations, and, as Judge, He separates them

one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats. The

wicked receive their desert; the righteous ascend in the triumphant retinue

 to heaven, to be for ever with the Lord  (Matthew 13:37-43) - “but were

eye-witnesses of His majesty. The word for “eyewitnesses” is not the common

one (aujto>ptai autoptai - used in Luke 1:2), but a technical word (ejpo>ptai

epoptai  - spectators; eyewitnesses), which in classical Greek designates the

highest class of those who had been initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The choice of such a word may possibly imply that Peter regarded

himself and his brother-apostles as having received the highest initiation

into the mysteries of religion. The noun is found only here in the New

Testament; but the corresponding verb occurs in I Peter 2:12 and 3:2,

and in no other of the New Testament writers. Here again we have an

undesigned coincidence which points to identity of authorship. The word

for “majesty” (megaleio>thv megaleiotaes) occurs in Luke’s

description of the healing of the demoniac boy immediately after the

Transfiguration (Luke 9:43), and elsewhere only in Acts 19:27.

 

17 “For He received from God the Father honor and glory,” -

The construction here is interrupted; the literal translation is, “Having

received,” etc., and there is no verb to complete the sense. Winer supposes

that the apostle had intended to continue with some such words as, “He

had us for witnesses,” or, “He was declared to be the beloved Son of

God,” and that the construction was interrupted by the direct quotation of

the words spoken by the voice from heaven. (For a similar anacoluthon,

see in the Greek II Corinthians 5:6). Honour seems to refer to the

testimony of the voice from heaven; “glory,” to the splendor of THE

LORD’S TRANSFIGURED PERSON -  “when there came such a

voice to Him from the excellent glory;” -  more literally, when such a voice

was borne to Him. The same verb is used in Acts 2:2 of “the rushing

mighty wind” which announced THE COMING OF THE HOLY GHOST

and in I Peter 1:13 of “the grace which is being brought.” It is repeated in

the next verse. It seems intended to assert emphatically the real objective

character of the voice. It was not a vision, a dream; the voice was borne from

heaven; the apostles heard it with their ears. The preposition uJpo> - hupo

must be rendered “by,” not “from.” The “excellent” (rather, “majestic,” or

“magnificent”) glory was THE SHECHINAH, the visible manifestation

of THE PRESENCE OF GOD,  which had appeared in ancient times on

Mount Sinai, and in the tabernacle and temple above the mercy-seat. God was

there; it was He who spoke. For the word rendered “excellent” (megalopreph>v

megaloprepaes) compare the Septuagint Version of Deuteronomy 33:26, oJ

megalopreph<v tou~ sterew>matov ho megaloprepaes tou stereomatos

 literally, “the Majestic One of the firmament;” where our Authorized Version

gives a more exact translation of the Hebrew, “in His excellency on the sky”

(see also the ‘Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,’ chapter 9, where the

occurrence of the same remarkable words, megalopreph<v do>xa

megaloprepaes doxaexcellent glory)  suggests that Clement must

have been acquainted with this Epistle) – “This is my beloved Son, in whom I

am well pleased.”  Our translation makes these words correspond exactly

with the report given by Matthew in his account of the Transfiguration,

except that “hear ye him” is added there. In the Greek there are some slight

variations. According to one ancient manuscript (the Vatican), the order of

the words is different, and there is a second pen, “This is my Son, my

Beloved.” All uncial manuscripts have here, instead of the ejn w+| - en ho-

in whom - of  Matthew’s Gospel, eijv o{n ejgw< eujdo>khsa eis hon ego

eudokaesain whom I am well pleased. The difference cannot be

represented in our translation. The construction is pregnant, and the

meaning is that from all eternity the eujdoki>a eudokia - the good pleasure -

of God the Father was directed towards the Divine Son, and STILL

ABIDETH ON HIM!  The same truth seems to be implied in the aorist

 eujdo>khsa (compare John 17:24,Thou lovedst me before the foundation

 of the world). An imitator of the second century would certainly have made

this quotation to correspond exactly with the words as given in one of the

synoptic Gospels.

 

18 “And this voice which came from heaven we heard,” - rather,

and this voice borne from heaven we heard. The pronoun is emphatic; we,

the apostles who had that high privilege. They heard the voice when it was

borne (ejnecqei~san enechtheisanbeing carried -  he repeats for emphasis

the remarkable word of v.17) from heaven, they heard it come from heaven –

“when we were with Him in the holy mount.” This description of the Mount of

the Transfiguration supposes a knowledge of the history in Peter’s readers;

but it gives no support to the theory of a post-apostolic date. Mount Horeb

was “holy ground,” because God appeared there to Moses, because it was

the scene of the giving of the Law. Mount Zion was a holy hill, because

God had chosen it to be a habitation for Himself; the Mount of the

Transfiguration was holy, because there God the Son manifested forth His

glory. God hallows every place which He pleases to make the scene of His

revealed presence. This whole passage shows the deep and lasting

impression which the Transfiguration made on those who were privileged

to witness it (compare John 1:14).

 

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ was more than a majestic scene; it was an

appeal to human intelligence and devoutness.  There was a voice from heaven.

God chose an avenue which He Himself had designed and fashioned, in order

to reach the minds and hearts of men.

 

 

CHRIST IS THE SUM OF APOSTOLIC TRUTH (vs. 16-18)

 

 

  • As Christ is the embodiment of Divine truth, the Bible is the

Revelation of Christ. That is what Peter in effect says here, the sum

of the truth he urges — “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus

Christ,” that is, His Deity and Incarnation, the God-Man. In making

Christ known Scripture necessarily touches on other subjects, for He is

 connected with every part of the Father’s will, and He cannot be

separated from them!

 

  • He is the revelation of the Father. “Who by searching can find out

God?”  (Job 11:7) - but IN JESUS WE HAVE GOD MANIFESTERD!

 “The Word was God,” and “the Word was made flesh.” The revelation

of Christ is the manifestation of the Godhead.

 

  • He is the filling up of every human need. For man’s condemnation there

is acquittal in Him; for his sin there is the possibility of holiness; for his

perplexity there is light; for his difficulties there is help; for his sorrows

there is infinite love; for his fear of the future there are life and

immortality.  So perfectly can Christ raise us to the perfection of which

our nature is callable, that it is said, “YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM”

(Colossians 2:10).   The revelation of Christ is the satisfaction of men.

 

  • He is the end we are called to reach. For what were we made? Apart

from Him we know not. Do we fulfill our end in the toil and tears, the

change and weariness, the fleeting pleasures and the lasting pains of three

score years and ten? Is there nothing beyond this — nothing to which this

may be but the development, nothing beneath it, whose blessedness shall

justify our existence?  GOD REPLIES BY REVEALING JESUS!

 His life and death and rising again, the work of his ascended life,

they are to RAISE US TO A LIKENESS OF HIMSELF!   “We are

predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son” (Romans

8:29).  The REVELATION OF CHRIST  is the GUIDE AND

HOPE OF OUR BEING!  Let us have no rest till we come to certainty

about our Lord. We may be as certain that He is, and that He is the

Saviour of sinners, and the Satisfaction of human needs, as we are of

our existence.  At first we must depend on outside testimony for our

knowledge of Christ; but there is a better assurance possible, personal

fellowship with Him, that is the antidote to doubt about Him.

Let him work his work upon you,!  The way to possess Christ is by

giving heed to God’s Word!

 

19 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy;” - rather, as in

the Revised Version, and we have the word of prophecy made more sure;

or, we hare the word of prophecy more sure (than the testimony of the

heavenly voice). The rendering of the Authorized Version is

ungrammatical; we must adopt one of the other modes of representing the

original. The second seems to be preferred by most commentators. Thus

Archdeacon Farrar, translating the passage, “And still stronger is the surety

we have in the prophetic word,” adds in a note, “Why more sure? Because

wider in its range, and more varied, and coming from many, and bringing a

more intense personal conviction than the testimony to a single fact.” But

when Peter applied the epithet “surer” (bebaio>teron bebaioteron

more confirmed) to the word of prophecy, does he mean in his own estimate

of it, or in that of others? If he is speaking of himself, it is surely inconceivable

that any possible testimony to the truth of the power and coming of the Lord

Jesus Christ could be comparable with the commanding authority of the

Divine voice which he himself had heard borne from heaven, and the transcendent

glory which he himself had seen flashing from the Saviour’s human form and

bathing it in an aureole of celestial light. That heavenly voice had made the deepest

possible impression on the apostles. “They fell on their faces (Matthew 17:6),

 as Moses had done under the like circumstances, recognizing it as the voice of

God.    Peter had said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here;”  (Ibid. v.4); and

evidently all through his life he felt that it was good for him to dwell in solemn

thought on the treasured memories of that august revelation. No written testimony

could be “surer” to Peter than that voice from heaven. But is he rather

thinking of the confirmation of the faith of his readers? He is still using the

first person plural, as in vs. 16 and 18; in this verse, indeed, he passes to

the second; but the retaining of the first person in the first clause of the

verse shows that, if he is not still speaking of apostles only, he at least

includes himself among those who have the word of prophecy; and to him

certainly the testimony of that word, though sacred and precious, could not

be “surer” than the testimony of the heavenly voice. To Jewish Christians

the evidence of the prophets of the Old Testament was of supreme

importance. Nathanael, the “Israelite indeed,” was drawn to the Lord by

the assurance that, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and

the prophets, did write”  (John 1:47).  The Lord Himself insisted again and

again upon the testimony of the prophets; so did His apostles after Him. Still,

it seems difficult to understand that, even to Jewish Christians, the testimony of

the prophets, however sacred and weighty, could be surer than that of those

apostles who made known the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

having been eye-witnesses of His majesty; while to Gentile Christians the

testimony of those apostles of the Lamb who declared “what they had

heard, what they had seen with their eyes, what their hands had handled,

 of the Word of life” (I John 1:1), must have had greater power to convince

than the predictions of the Hebrew prophets, though these predictions, fulfilled as

they were in the Lord Jesus, furnish subsidiary evidence of exceeding

value. On the whole, the more probable meaning of Peter seems to be

that the word of prophecy was made more sure to himself, and, through his

teaching, to others by the overwhelming testimony of the voice from

heaven and the glory of the Transfiguration. He had become a disciple long

before. His brother Andrew had first told him that Jesus was the Messiah;

he himself, a week before the Transfiguration, had confessed him solemnly

to be the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).   But the

Transfiguration deepened that faith into the most intense conviction; it made

the word of prophecy which spoke of Christ surer and more certain. It is not

without interest that the writer of the so-called ‘Second Epistle of Clement’ quotes

(chapter 11) from “the prophetic word” (profhtiko<v lo>gov prophaetikos

logos), passages which resemble ch. 3:4 and James 1:8.  The Word of prophecy

was made “more sure” because it had been fulfilled. Many of the predictions in the

Old Testament about Christ were vague and mysterious, but now that they

had been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, their meaning and truth were

apparent; they could now be read and pondered with a confidence not

possible before:  Scripture is the revelation of Christ. He is not to be found

in nature, though He is there, and gleams of His glory appear therein on every side;

but they are only gleams, not Himself. He is not to be known by imagination;

He is far beyond man’s thought, and to fashion a Christ for ourselves, according

to what we think ought to be, is to bow before a god of our own creation. Nor is

He to be known by our highest spiritual experiences apart from Scripture. For though

it is in communion He makes Himself known to us, even that is through the medium

of Scripture, and in harmony with what Scripture teaches. We cannot know

Christ till we come to Scripture.  There is a marvelous unity in the Bible, which

shows it to be THE PRODUCT OF ONE MIND and a marvelous power by

which it carries regeneration with it, which shows it to be the work of Him who

only can re-create.  Christ said that He had more to say than He said whilst

He was with His servants, and that the Spirit of truth should come to guide

them into all truth (John 16:12-14); that Spirit came, and under His

instructions the apostles wrote many things and they were subject to the control

and teaching of the Holy Ghost.   Christ said, “he that heareth you, heareth me”

(Luke 10:16). “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that

shineth in a dark place,” -  There is a parallel to the first clause of this in Josephus,

Ant.,’ 11:6, 12; to the second in II Esdras 12:42. The word rendered “light” is

rather a lamp or torch; our Lord uses it of John the Baptist (John 5:35). The word

translated “dark” (aujcmhro>v  auchmaeros – dingy; squalid) is found only

here in the  New Testament; it means “dry, parched,  and so squalid, desert;” there

seems to be no sufficient authority for the rendering “dark.”  GOD’S WORD IS

A LAMP UNTO OUR FEET AND A LIGHT UNTO OUR PATH (Psalm

119: 105), the word of prophecy guides us to Christ – “until the day dawn, and

the day star arise in your hearts:” - literally, until day dawn through; i.e.,

“through the gloom.”   The human race, in this condition of being, are like wanderers

in midnight gloom. Ignorance of what it most concerns us to know:

 

o       sinful habits which cloud the reason and even

corrupt the conscience,

o       hopelessness as to the future beyond this brief mortal

existence,

 

such are THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL DARKNESS.  . The gloom is not

unrelieved, but it is real  and undeniable.  There is  no article. The word for “day-star”

(fwsfo>rov phosphoron - light-bringer) is found in no other place of the New

Testament; but compare Revelation 2:28; 22:16.  Peter seems to mean that the prophetic

word, rendered more sure to the apostles by the voice from heaven, and to Christians

generally by apostolic witness, shines like a guiding lamp, till the fuller light of day

dawns upon the soul, as the believer, led by the prophetic word, realizes the personal

knowledge of the Lord, and He manifests Himself according to His blessed

promises to the heart that longs for His sacred presence. He is the BRIGHT

AND MORNING STAR, THE DAY-STAR, THE LIGHT BRINGER,

 For He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD  — He brings the light, the full light

of day. The prophetic word is precious; it sheds light upon the surrounding

darkness — the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of the heart that knows not

Christ; but its light is as the light of a torch or a lamp, compared with the pervading

daylight which the felt presence of Christ sheds into those hearts into which God

hath shined to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the

face of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 4:6; compare I Peter 2:9; Luke 1:78). Some

understand “day” here of the great day of the Lord. Against this

interpretation is the absence of the article, and the fact that the last words

of the verse seem to give a subjective meaning to the passage.

 

The darkness of man’s moral condition has been dispelled and  scattered by the

light which God himself has kindled in the minds of holy and devout men, and

which they have shed upon their fellow-mortals’ path.  The lamp is well

enough for the night; but how welcome and how precious to the watcher

or the traveler is the break of day! The day-star, the light-bringer, shines

with rays of lustrous promise. Then the gray dawn appears in the east, and

reddens as the sunrise approaches. Soon the sun rises in his strength and

floods the world with light. The process is a picture of what happens in

THE SPIRITUAL HISTORY OF HUMANITY!  What we have hitherto

seen has been the beauty and the promise of the morning. THE FULL

NOONTIDE SPLENDOR  has yet to be revealed. But in indulging bright

hopes for the world, for the destiny of our redeemed and regenerated humanity,

let us not lose sight of the internal, the spiritual, the personal experience of

enlightenment. Peter’s hope was that “in your hearts” this day should dawn,

and this day-star arise. We have to look not only without, but within. If the

heart be dark as a cavern secluded in forest depths from every ray of the sun

in heaven, of what avail for us is it that the world is bathed in spiritual luster?

 

            “But the path of the just is as the shining light,

                 that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

 

            The way of the wicked is as darkness:

                they know not at what they stumble.”  (Proverbs 4:18-19)

 

We do well to take heed to what the Bible says about the issues of life as

connected with the coming of Christ. The prophetic Word is here compared

to a lamp, on account of the clear light it sheds. It is true of the Bible as a

whole that it is as a lamp.  “This lamp from off the everlasting throne mercy

took down.” The dark place in which it shines is the world. How dark would

the world be but for the light it casts upon God and upon the future! It is to

continue to shine until the day dawn, and the day-star arise. This bringing in

of the full day is to be regarded as Christ’s coming. THEN THE BIBLE,

IN ITS EARTHLY FORM WILL HAVE SERVED ITS PURPOSE! 

IT WILL GIVE PLACE TO THE GREAT TEACHER HIMSELF,

WHO IS THE LIVING WORD!   The relation of all to that coming is

not to be joyful;  TO SOME IT WILL ONLY BE A TIME OF

EXPOSURE (see Revelation 6:12-17); the time of discomfiture and

of CONSIGNMENT TO DARKNESS.   But it is to come with a blessed

certainty in the hearts of Christ’s people. It is the beginning of A LONG

BRIGHT DAY TO THEM IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR LORD!

We do well, then, to take heed to what they say to us, “He that hath an ear,

let him hear what the Spirit saith.” (Revelation 2:7,11,17, 29; 3:6,13,22)

 

20 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of

any private interpretation.”  By “knowing this first” (ginw>skontev

ginoskontes) is meant that we must recognize this truth as of primary importance,

or, before we commence the study of prophecy; the phrase occurs again in

ch. 3:3. The literal translation of the following clause is, “that all prophecy of

Scripture [there is no article] is not; all… not” (pa~saouj pasa….ou)

being a common Hebraism for none, ouJdemi>a - oudemiano man ; but the

verb is not e]sti esti is -  but gi>netai ginetaiis becoming - “becomes,

arises, comes into being.” The word for private” is ijdi>av idias - one’s own

(see I Peter 3:1, 5;  here, ch.2:16, 22; 3:3, 16-17). The word rendered

 “interpretation” is ejpilu>sewv epiluseosinterpretation; explanation –

 which is found nowhere else in the  New Testament; the corresponding verb

occurs in Mark 4:34, “He expounded all things;” and Acts 19:39, “It shall

 be determined or settled.” These considerations, strengthened by the context,

seem to guide us to the following explanation: No prophecy of Scripture arises

from the prophet’s own interpretation of the vision presented to his mind; for

it was from God that the prophecy was brought, and men spoke as they were

BORNE ON BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.   This view of the passage is also

supported by the remarkable parallel in I Peter 1:10-12). The prophets

searched diligently into the meaning of the revelation vouchsafed to them;

they did not always comprehend it in all its details; they could not interpret

it to themselves; the written prophecy arose out of the interpretation of THE

REVELATION SUPPLIED BY THE SAME SPIRIT FROM WHOM

THE REVELATION ITSELF PROCEEDED.   Therefore the prophetic

books of Holy Scripture are sacred and precious, and we do well in giving

heed to them; though the day-star of the Lord’s own presence, shining in the

illuminated heart, is holier still. Other views of this difficult passage are: Prophecy

is not its own interpreter; the guidance of the Spirit is necessary. Or, prophecy

is not a matter for the private interpretation of the readers; ONLY THE

HOLY SPIRIT CAN EXPLAIN IT!   But the explanation adopted seems

most accordant with the Greek words and with the general sense of the context

(compare Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 12:10). The gifts of the Spirit are

divided as He will; to one man are given “divers kinds of tongues; to another

the interpretation of tongues.” Not every one, it seems, who had the first gift,

had also the latter. Tongues and the interpretation of tongues were two distinct

gifts. It may be so with prophecy and the interpretation of prophecy.

 

21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; -

literally, for not by the will of man was prophecy borne at any time. The

verb is that already used in vs. 17-18, “was not borne or brought;” it

refers not to the utterance of prophecy, but to its originIT CAME

FROM HEAVEN!  -  “but holy men of God spake as they were moved

by the Holy Ghost.” -  literally, but being borne on by the Holy Ghost, the

holy men of God spake; or, if we follow the Vatican Manuscript, “But being

borne on by the Holy Ghost, men spake from God.” We have again the

same verb, “being borne on” (fero>menoi pheromenoibeing carried

on); compare Acts 27:15, 17, where it is used of a ship being borne on by

the wind. So the prophets were borne on in their prophetic utterance by

 the Holy Spirit of God.  They were truly and really inspired. The mode

of that inspiration is not explained; perhaps it cannot be made plain to our

human understanding; all the points of contact between the finite and the Infinite

are involved in mystery. But the fact is clearly revealed — the prophets were

borne on by the Holy Spirit of God. Prophecy is but a lamp shining in a dark

 place; it is not the day-star.   Prophecy came not by the will of man; the

prophets were moved or borne on by the Holy Ghost. But Peter does not say that

their human consciousness was suspended, or that they were passive as the lyre

when swept by the plectrum.

 

The reference here is, of course, to Old Testament Scripture; but there is

no reason for confining this assertion to any portion of Holy Writ. The

Bible, as a whole, is A DIVINE UTTERANCE  — Divine in its purpose,

and Divine in its authority. A spiritual impulse moved the writers, and their speech

accordingly was in reality the voice of God. This Divinity of meaning is

discernible in the aim of the Scriptures.  The Bible teaches man who God is.

The profound need and the pressing urgency and importance of such knowledge

must be admitted by all, and are felt by those whose spiritual instincts are aroused

to activity.  And in nothing is the Bible more manifestly its own witness and evidence

than in its incomparable and SUBLIME REVELATION OF GOD!

 

 

Reasons for Diligence in Christian Work (vs. 12-21)

 

  • THE TIME IS SHORT (v.14).  (Not only is death around the corner

but the coming of Jesus [parousi>aparousiacoming; presence

THE SECOND ADVENT] could come first! – CY – 2012)  We need

continually to be aroused. We may know all things necessary for salvation;

we have known them, it may be, all our lives;  we are firmly convinced of

their truth; but we need to keep that knowledge vividly before our hearts,

to bring it to bear upon the circumstances of OUR DAILY LIVES!   

So Peter sets us the example.  He will take all opportunities of arousing those

whom he is addressing; he will never relax his efforts as long as he

lives; he knows that they will always need the word of exhortation; he

knows that it will always be his duty to exhort them.  All Christian ministers

must watch for souls; they must never weary in their work; at all times and

 in all places they should strive, sometimes by word, always by example,

to arouse men to a sense of the momentous importance of the things

 which belong to their peace. They are never “OFF DUTY,” as men

are in other occupations; they should be always on the watch for

opportunities of saving souls, of building up believers in their most holy faith

Jude 1:20), of comforting the feebleminded, of arousing the

careless, of warning, guiding, encouraging, according to the needs of those

with whom they have to do.

 

  • “The night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4).  In his first

Epistle Peter has warned and spoken of persecution.  Soon the storm

would break upon the loftiest oak of the forest. Peter was naturally

selected by the enemies of the faith as its most public and powerful

representative, that he might be made to feel their power. But his attitude

and language proved that he was conscious of the presence and support of

One mightier than all those who were opposed to him.  Peter looks

forward to his death with sweet and holy calmness; he knew that it would be

swift — the sharp death of martyrdom (Tradition says that Peter was

crucified, head down, as he considered himself unworthy of crucifixion

like his master.   It was on Oct. 13, 68 A.D., at the tenth anniversary

of Nero coming to power.  It is said that he lingered for three days,

he did not suffocate as those who were crucified normally as their

muscles gave out - that they then set fire to him, which did not kill him

[this not being the first time God has worked a la – Daniel 3:27] – he

was then beheaded – this I got off the internet in the last two weeks –

reproduced by memory – may be verified or contradicted by your own

curious research – CY – 2012).   Peter may have felt that his death

 was near at hand; for he was an old man now, and the hour of which the

Lord had spoken (John 21:18-19) could not be long delayed. He calls it the

putting off of his tabernacle. His earthly body was but as a tent, perishable,

temporary; the tent was old, worn out; it could not last long. The apostle

 knew, like Paul, that he had “a building of God, a house not made with

hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Corinthians 5:1), and, knowing this, he

could calmly await the dissolution of the earthly house of this tabernacle. But

the approach of death, the thought that, when it came, it would be speedy,

was a reason for more earnest work while there was time. It is good for

us to keep the thought of our approaching death in continual remembrance,

 to accustom ourselves to reflect calmly and thoughtfully upon it. Such

meditation throws a clear light upon the solemn meaning of our earthly life,

(“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts

to wisdom” – Psalm 90:12), on the deep importance of finishing the work

which God has given us to do.  Sometimes we can do that work all the

better when the shadow of approaching death is falling upon us. Our

testimony seems more real, deeper, and more convincing, when it comes

from men who are on the point of departure (a dying man witnessing to

dying men), whose immediate future is in the world beyond the

grave. The thought of coming death will make true Christians all the more

eager to work for God; they wilt pray that Christ may be magnified in

them, whether it be by life or by death (Philippians 1:20); they will pray for

a holy, peaceful death, not only for their own sakes, but also that others,

seeing how Christian men can die, may be led to follow their faith. They will

work for the salvation of souls even on their death-bed, and they will do

what lies in their power to leave behind them a legacy of holy example and

holy memories, or, it may be, of holy writings, which may benefit those who

remain (I am now 69 years old and I am trying to get as much of the Bible

Commentary of the public domain content of THE PULPIT COMMENTARY

as I can – I am merely passing on what others have done, in what I hope

is an acceptable and convenient format for Bible study - CY – 2012).

To such holy souls death is a departure, an exodus, out of a life of

sorrows into the land of promise, the heavenly Canaan. THE LORD WHO

DIED FOR THEM IS WITH THEM IS WITH THEM WHEN THEY

DIE,  He accomplished His decease at Jerusalem for them. His death hath

destroyed the power of the king of terrors, and taken away the sting of death;

(Hebrews 2:14; I Corinthians 15: 54-58); His death was a departure out of

humiliation into glory. He told Peter once that he could not follow whither

He was going then, but that he should follow him afterwards. And so now it

is His will that all those whom the Father hath given Him should be with Him

where He is.  (John 17:24)

 

  • THE CERTAINTY OF THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL. 

They are not fables. There were many strange stories current,  some among

Jews, some among Gentiles; there were many legends, many myths.  But the

gospel history stands apart from all these in its unimpeachable truthfulness.

It contains many wonderful works of power, many wonders of grace; it

announces the future advent of our Saviour Jesus Christ. But all these are

related with a simplicity which has the stamp of truth. The gospel speaks to

us as with a voice from heaven; it awakens echoes in our hearts; it brings

with it its own evidence.

 

  • They have the testimony of eye-witnesses. There were many eye-

Witnesses of the Lord’s life and works — five hundred brethren at once

had seen Him after He was risen from the dead. But there were three who

had received an august initiation into the holiest mysteries, who had been

eye-witnesses of his majesty when the splendor of the Divine glory flashed

through the veil of human flesh, and saints long ago departed from the

world came to do Him homage, desiring, as the blessed angels desire, to

look into the mysteries of redemption (I Peter 1:12), and to understand

something of the blessed and awful meaning of his most precious death.

(See Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36).

 

  • THE DIRECT TESTIMONY OF GOD THE FATHER.  On the day of

the Transfiguration sure and irresistible proof of the Saviour’s Divine majesty

was vouchsafed to eye and ear alike. That radiant glory came from GOD

THE FATHER,  the highly favored three had then a foretaste of the glorious

vision which the blessed shall behold in heaven according to the Saviour’s

prayer, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be

with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou

hast given me:  for thou lovest me before the foundation of the

world ”  (John 17:24).  That great sight was to prepare them for the

awful agony that was to follow.  God gives from time to time glimpses

of the blessedness of heaven to His saints; the Saviour manifests Himself

to His chosen as He doth not unto the world. And sometimes those who

are most highly favored with the vision of His love are called to be in a

special manner partakers of His suffering (Philippians 3:10), to bear

about with them in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus (Galatians 6:17).

But the three apostles did not only behold the glory as of the Only Begotten

from the Father; a further heavenly witness was vouchsafed. A voice

uttered by the excellent glory was borne out of the bright cloud to the

transfigured Lord; it was borne along towards Him, as if riding on the

cherubim, flying on the wings of the wind; it came like a living thing, a

strange startling reality, a voice such as no other man had heard except

John the Baptist. Borne along in majestic course, it came to the transfigured

Jesus, and recognized Him as THE ETERNAL SON!   “This is my Son,

my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him”  (Matthew 17:6).

None other than God the Father could have uttered that voice; the

emphatic I (ejgw> - I ) announced HIS PRESENCE!   He was well pleased

in the adorable Son; ever from all eternity had the love of the Father beamed

upon the everlasting Son of God (John 17:24). Now, in His incarnation, in His

voluntary humiliation, the Father was well pleased; He had declared His good

pleasure at the baptism (Matthew 3:17), He declared it again at the

Transfiguration. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST  might be despised and

rejected of men; HE WAS OWNED BY THE LORD GOD

OMNIPOTENT, as THE SON OF GOD MOST HOLY!   And surely,

as God was well pleased in Him who humbled Himself and became obedient

even unto death, so He is well pleased now with those to whom the only

begotten Son hath given power to become the children of God (John 1:12),

when they abase themselves, when they learn of the Lord Christ humility and

submission of will, and pray in His holy words, “Father, not my will, but

thine be done” (Luke 22:42). The chosen three heard that august voice as

it was borne from heaven; they heard it, as the emphatic hJmei~v haemeis

we - signifies, themselves, with their own ears; there was no room for

doubt, no possibility of error. The voice was borne from heaven; it was

borne to Christ; the three chosen witnesses heard it, as they were with Him

in the holy mount. We have their testimony, the testimony of eye-witnesses,

who declare unto us that which they saw and heard (I John 1:1).  The

witnesses were men whose truthfulness could not be impeached. They had

nothing to gain in this world, BUT EVERYTHING TO LOSE;

 all were persecuted, two of them suffered the death of martyrdom. We may

well thank God for the strength and certainty of the evidence of Christianity.

 

  • The testimony of prophecy. The Law and the prophets testified of

Christ. The Lord himself appealed to that testimony when, “beginning at

Moses and all the prophets, He expounded the things concerning

 Himself (Luke 24:27). All the varied testimony of all the prophets converges

in THE PERSON OF CHRIST  and finds its fulfillment there. No other

deliverer has arisen answering to ancient prediction; in the Lord Christ only

meet all the voices of the prophets. Many recognized the power of this

testimony in apostolical times: the eunuch who was reading the great

prophecy of Isaiah when Philip drew near to his chariot (Acts 8:27-40);

the multitudes who listened to the apostles as they persuaded them out

of the prophets, witnessing, as they did again and again, that “all the

prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have

spoken, have likewise foretold of these days” (Ibid. 3:24).  This

testimony of the prophets, so convincing in itself, so especially weighty

and sacred to Hebrew believers, was rendered surer by the most

august and authoritative of all testimonies, the direct testimony of God

the Father, given in the voice that was borne from heaven. None who

heard that voice could entertain one moment’s doubt that the Lord Jesus

was indeed He “of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets,

 did write.”  (John 1:45)

 

  • The value and use of prophecy. It is good to give heed to prophecy, to

study the prophetic Word. The external evidences of our religion are very

helpful to inquirers after truth; ancient prophecy is an important factor of

those external evidences. It is like a lamp that shineth in a dark place.

The world is a DARK DREARY PLACE;  we could not find the strait

path and narrow way that leadeth unto life without the guiding light

OF THE HOLY WORD OF GOD!   The heart is a DARK PLACE,

GLOOMY, DRY AND SQUALID when it is not illumined by

the Holy Spirit, of God. In that dark place the light of prophecy shineth.

It guided the steps of many an anxious inquirer in the early days of Christianity;

doubtless Isaiah 53  led many thoughtful men, besides the Ethiopian eunuch,

to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. That chapter, like so much more of

Old Testament prophecy, appeals to the deepest yearnings of the awakening

heart, to the sense of sin, the feeling of need, the longing for atonement, the

reaching forth of the soul for a PERSONAL SAVIOUR!   Prophecy is a

“burning and a shining light,” as John the Baptist was (John 5:35); his

office was to lead men to Christ, to say, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Such is the office of prophecy. Its guiding lamp is precious; but more

precious far to the individual soul is THE REVEALED PRESENCE

OF THAT SAVIOUR of whom all prophecy speaks. His presence,

manifested according to His promise into the Christian heart, is the dawn

of the spiritual day. He is the Day-star, the Light-bringer; for he

is the Light, the Light of the world (v.19; John 9:5; 12:46).   Precious

above all price is the clear brightness of that holy day; precious, therefore,

is prophecy, as it guides us onward through the encircling gloom till the

dawning of the day, and the rising of the Bright and Morning Star

(Revelation 22:16).  And we shall value the guidance of prophecy

the more when we consider the source from which it comes. The

prophecies of Holy Scripture are not the result of human thought.

The prophet did not himself unravel the mysteries of the future. It was not

Joseph who interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh, or Daniel who interpreted

the visions of Nebuchadnezzar. It was not for the prophet to interpret the

revelation presented to himself. Interpretation as well as vision comes

 from God. “It is not in me,” said Joseph: “God shall give Pharaoh an

answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16).  “There is a God in heaven that

 revealeth secrets” (Daniel 2:28), said Daniel to the king. Prophecy came

from heaven, like the voice which spake at the Transfiguration; it was borne

to the prophet, as that voice was borne to the Lord. The holy men who

uttered the prophecies were borne along by the Holy Spirit of God.

God who spake at the Transfiguration is the God who spake by the prophets.

Both forms of testimony come from Him; both are SURE and CERTAIN;

the one makes the other surer.  But the surest evidence to each individual

soul is the manifestation of Christ, the Day-star, rising in the heart.

“Hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath

given us.” (I John 3:24)

 

 

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