From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain Second Peter and Jude             Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2018



List of All Sources Quoted At End of File






CHAPTER 1:1-11




1:1                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Simon Peter, a bondservant and Apostle of Jesus Christ: To those to whom there has been allotted the same precious faith as that which is ours through the righteousness of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

WEB:              Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

Young’s:         Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who did obtain a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:

Conte (RC):    Simon Peter, servant and Apostle of

Jesus Christ, to those who have been allotted an

equal faith with us in the justice of our God and in

our Savior Jesus Christ.


1:1                   Simon [Simeon, ESV] Peter.  To his first epistle he only prefixed the name given him by the Lord.  Here he calls himself by both names, as found in Luke 5:8; John 13:6; John 20:2; Acts 10:15, and many other places.  [22]

                        So Matthew 16:16; Luke 5:8; John 1:41; and passim; never in Mark or Acts.  This form of the name is an abbreviation of “Simon, called,” or “surnamed Peter” (Matthew 10:2; Acts 10:5).  [45]

Simon.  Simeon, like Jude, was originally the name of one of the twelve tribes, and in the O.T. is only so used.  It is derived, in Genesis 29:33, from shama (heard); and this derivation may have influenced parents to give this name to sons in whom they saw the token that God had heard their prayers.  The name, usually in its Greek form “Simon,” was very common in N.T. times; it is the name of several persons mentioned in the Gospels, Acts, and Josephus.  [45]

“Simon”—Symeon, the Septuagint form of the Hebrew Simon, the name of the son of Jacob.  The Lord Himself changed it to Peter, but He on several occasions addressed His disciple with his original name:  “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas;” “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?”  It has been made a reason for doubting the authenticity of this Epistle that the writer uses his old name; but why should he not?  He yet retained his original name, by which he was called by James at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:14).  [41]

It is possible that as Peter calls himself “Simon” he may have had in mind the early days before he met Jesus, when that was his familiar name.  It is also possible that, as he calls himself an “apostle,” he may have wished to suggest his authority as a man specially commissioned by his Lord, and also that as he calls himself “a bondservant . . .  of Jesus Christ,” he may have wished thus to place himself upon an equality with his readers.  [7]                       

                        Peter.  i.e. a “rock,” a firm, unbending man.  [3] 

                        Christ surnamed him Peter (Greek) or Cephas (Aramaic), both signifying Rock.  He probably here combines both names because the churches to which he wrote were mixed churches, the Jews knowing him by his Jewish name, the Gentiles by his Christian name.  [50]

                        a servant.  Of Jesus as the Lord.  [22]

                        Greek bondservant, one bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23), who belongs to, and must be continually engaged in, the service of his Master Jesus Christ.  See Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1.  [50]

                        “It has been properly remarked that, as the expression servant of Christ, implies implicit obedience and subjection, it supposes the Divine authority of the Redeemer.  That is, we find the Apostle denying that he was the servant of men, rejecting all human authority as it regards matters of faith and duty, and yet professing the most al-solute subjection of conscience and reason to the authority of Jesus Christ” (Hodge on Romans 1:1).  [51]

and an apostle of Jesus Christ.  In the combination of “servant” and “apostle,” in place of “apostle” only, as in 1 Peter 1:1, we have a variation [between the introductions to the two epistles.]  A possible explanation, on the one hand, is that the writer of the Epistle (assuming its spuriousness) combined the forms of 1 Peter 1:1 and Jude verse 1.  A more probable supposition is that the consciousness of addressing a wider circle of readers than those of the Diaspora, to whom the First Epistle had been addressed, led the Apostle, in his humility, to follow Paul’s example and to describe himself as “the servant” or slave of Christ for the sake of those to whom he wrote (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1). [38]

to them that have obtained like precious faith with us.  A faith of equal value with that which the apostles themselves possessed, procuring the same salvation and on the same terms.  [39]

That is, faith gives exactly the same spiritual privileges to all, whether the most famous of apostles or the most obscure of believers.  [7]

“Equally precious” to all:  to those who believe, though not having seen Christ, as well as to Peter and those who have seen Him.  For it lays hold of the same “exceeding great and precious promises,” and the same “righteousness of God our Savior.”  “The common salvation . . . the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude, verse 3).

[Precious faith] in its price, Christ’s blood; in its trial by the fires of sharp affliction; and in its fruits as justifying, sanctifying, and saving the soul.  [14]

From 2 Peter 3:1 we may perhaps infer that the Epistle was meant, in the first instance at least, for the persons addressed in the former Epistle.  They are designated here, however, neither by their territorial distribution nor by their election, but by their community with others in faith. [51]

precious.  Valuable faith; faith worth a great price, and faith which cost a great price.  [18]

Mr. Blunt remarks upon the use of the word “precious,” that it is to be observed as an illustration of Peter’s style, that he is the only writer in the New Testament who uses the word “precious” in this sense, and that it occurs seven times in his two Epistles—twice in the first, and five times in the second.  [41] 

“A like precious,” in Greek a single word, isotimon, only found in the New Testament; “precious” in the esteem of those who possessed it, and in the privileges and blessings it conferred. [45]

faith.  We ask, In what sense is faith used?  Is it objective, faith as the truth which is to be believed, as in Jude, verse 3?  or subjective, the faith that justifies and saves?  Either meaning is tenable, and probably the Apostle was not careful to distinguish between the two, but the latter commends itself as more in harmony with Peter’s language in Acts 15:9, where “faith,” as given to the Gentiles, is clearly used in its subjective sense.  [38]

“Faith,” here and in verse 5, man’s response to God’s call; as in Ephesians 2:8, “By grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God.”  Some explain it, as in Jude 3, of the truths believed; see also James 1:3. [45]

with us.  Ether with us apostles, or with us Jewish Christians, born or inhabiting in Judea.  [28]

Or:  “Us” is variously explained as meaning the Apostle himself; or the apostles generally compared with those addressed; or Jewish Christians, compared with the readers, who would then be Gentiles; or even Christians generally, in relation to the particular church addressed.  In any case, the phrase implies that the writer and his readers are on the same plane of spiritual earnestness and experience; a touch of tactful courtesy quite in the manner of Paul; cf. too the “fellow-elder” of 1 Peter 5:1 and Peter’s speech (Acts 11:17), “God gave unto them (Cornelius and his household, Gentiles), the like gift as he did also unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” [45] 

through the righteousness of God.  Through the method of justification which God has adopted.  [31]

The “righteousness of God ” may be either (1) that which God gives and which He gives through Christ, or (2) the righteousness which is an eternal attribute of the Godhead.  On the former supposition there would, to say the least, be something at variance with the usual language of the New Testament writers in saying that men “obtain faith by righteousness,” the usual statement being that “righteousness comes by faith.”  It seems better, therefore, to take the latter view, and to refer the words to the fact just stated:  It was in and by the righteousness of God, the absence in Him of any “respect of persons,” that Jew and Gentile had been placed on an equality. So taken the words present a suggestive parallel with Acts 10:34; Acts 15:8-9.  [38]

“Righteousness” is variously explained.  Perhaps the best interpretation is “fairness, justice.”  He has no respect of persons, and hence has given to all Christians, early or late, Jew or Gentile, a “like precious faith.”  [46]

and our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Margin, “our God and Saviour.”  The Greek will undoubtedly bear the construction given in the margin; and if this be the true rendering, it furnishes an argument for the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Middleton, Slade, Valpy, Bloomfield, and others, contend that this is the true and proper rendering.  It is doubted, however, by Wetstein, Grotius, and others.  Erasmus supposes that it may be taken in either sense.  The construction, though certainly not a violation of the laws of the Greek language, is not so free from all doubt as to make it proper to use the passage as a proof-text in an argument for the divinity of the Savior.  It is easier to prove the doctrine from other texts that are plain, than to show that this must be the meaning here.  [31]

“Our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  According to this translation (Revised Version text) on Person, Jesus Christ, is referred to, and is described as “God and Savior.”  This view of the words is supported by the parallel phrase, “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 1:11, 2:20, 3:18.  Christ is spoken of as God in Acts 20:28, “the church of God (perhaps, however, “the Lord” should be read), which he purchased with his own blood;” Romans 9:5, “Christ . . . who is over all, God blessed for ever” (the rendering, however, of this passage is quite uncertain); Hebrews 1:8, “But of the Son he saith, Thy throne O God;” and was addressed by Thomas (John 20:28), “My Lord and my God.”  Compare, too, the reference in the next verse to Christ’s “Divine power.”  Nevertheless, the use of God as a descriptive epithet of Christ is very striking, and has no certain parallel in the New Testament ([cf. however] Titus 2:13); but in Ignatius’ letter to the Ephesians (xviii.2) we read, “Mary was pregnant with our God, Jesus the Christ.” [45] 

Saviour.  Frequently applied to Christ in this epistle, but never in the first.  [2]             

                        Christ is spoken of as “Savior” in Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31, 13:23; Ephesians 5:23; Philippians 3:20; 1 John 4:14; but the phrase “our Savior Jesus Christ” is characteristic of 2 Timothy (1:10); Titus (1:4, 2:13, 3:6), and 2 Peter (1:1, 1:2, 2:20, 3:2, 18).  [45]

                        “Savior” does not occur in 1 Peter, but the cognate “salvation” does (2 Peter 1:5, 1:9-10; 2 Peter 2:2).  Both words point onwards to safety from perdition at the last.  (Compare Peter’s speech, Acts 5:31.)  [46]


                        In depth:  The spelling of “Simon” as an argument for and against an apostolic authorship [38].  The Greek MSS for the most part give the less usual form Symeon, which, as applied to Peter, only meets us elsewhere in Acts 15:14.  The variation may, it is obvious, be looked on from different points of view. 

On the one hand it may be urged, as against the genuineness of the Epistle, that the same writer would not have been likely to have used two different methods of describing himself, and to have spelt the name which he now uses, and which he had not used in the First Epistle, in a manner different from that which was current in the Gospels, or in the documents from which the Gospels were compiled.  On the other hand, it may be urged that the writer of a spurious second letter, referring to the first, as in 2 Peter 3:1, would not have been likely to put a stumbling-block in the way of the reception of his work by adopting a different form of opening. 

The most probable supposition is that the change was due to the employment of another amanuensis.  It would be natural that Silvanus or Mark, both of whom were with Peter when the First Epistle was written, should use the more common form, while, if some member of the Church of Jerusalem had been employed for the Second Epistle, it would be equally natural for him to use the form which appears, from Luke 2:25, Acts 15:14, to have been current in that city.  The name is found, it may be noted, in this form, in the list of James’s successors in the Bishopric of Jerusalem (Euseb. Hist. iv. 5). 


                        In depth:  In describing himself as “a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,” does “servant” express merely his function or does it effectively become a “title” for an office like the word apostle itself [51]?  The combined designation, in this form, is peculiar to the present Epistle.  It most resembles that adopted by Paul in Romans 1:1 and Titus 1:1.  In his other Epistles Paul styles himself either simply “servant” (Philippians 1:1), or simply “apostle” (1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:11; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1); and in the Epistles of James and Jude “servant” is the one title employed.

It is questioned whether the term has here the official sense or the non-official.  On the ground of the general application of the word “servant” or “bond-servant” in such passages as Romans 6:22, Ephesians 6:6, etc., it is argued that here too it expresses nothing more than dependence on Christ, devotion to His cause, and readiness to serve Him as any Christian may serve Him.

In the N.T., however, the word occurs not only as the title used in inscriptions, but also in connections where it seems interchangeable with the term “minister” (Colossians 1:7; Colossians 4:7, 12).  In the O.T., too, the title “servant of Jehovah” is a familiar official description (e.g. Joshua 1:1; Joshua 24:29; Jeremiah 29:19;  Isaiah 42:1, etc.); while Moses is designated distinctively the “servant of God” (1 Chronicles 6:49).  Hence it is most probably intended here to express the general idea of office, of which the apostleship was a special and distinguishing instance.



1:2                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     May more and more grace and peace be granted to you in a full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

WEB:              Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

Young’s:         Grace to you, and peace be multiplied in the acknowledgement of God and of Jesus our Lord!

Conte (RC):    Grace to you. And may peace be

fulfilled according to the plan of God and of Christ

Jesus our Lord,


1:2                   Grace and peace.  Identical with the last clause of 1 Peter 1:2, and with no other greeting in any Epistle.  What follows here is peculiar to this Epistle, which begins and ends with grace and knowledge.  (Compare 2 Peter 3:18.)  [46]

Overview of verse:  That is, grace and peace abound to us, or may be expected to be conferred on us abundantly, if we have a true knowledge of God and of the Savior.  Such a knowledge constitutes true religion: for in that we find “grace”--the grace that pardons and sanctifies; and “peace”--peace of conscience, reconciliation with God, and calmness in the trials of life.  [31]

By “grace” I understand all that is necessary for the transformation of the soul into the divine image; and by “peace,” all that is necessary for the comfort and encouragement of the soul in the progress heavenward.  [10]

                        be multiplied unto you.  Be increased and yet increased even more.  When the physical heart “flat lines” it indicates you are quite dead.  When the spiritual heart “flat lines” you are equally spiritually dead.  [rw]

through [in, NKJV] the knowledge of God.  The reader will remember the words of the prayer of the Lord in John 17:  “This is life eternal, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”  [41]

“Knowledge” is made prominent in this epistle (1:3, 8; 2:20) and here “grace” and “peace” are regarded as grounded upon it, for such is the sense of “in.”  It is doubtless due to the controversy with Gnosticism that prominence is given to knowledge (gnosis) in the Epistle.  To the Gnosis of the heretics is evidently here preferred that of the Lord Jesus Christ, by means of which it is declared, in 2:2, that the pollutions of the world may be escaped.  [16]

The meaning of “knowledge” in this verse:  Knowledge” is not quite strong enough.  In the original we have a compound word, which implies fuller, riper, more minute knowledge.  But any of these expressions would be a little too strong, as the simple word is a little too weak.  The same compound recurs 2 Peter 1:3.  It is rare in St. Paul’s earlier letters, but is more common in the later ones.  The word is introduced here with telling emphasis; “in the fuller knowledge of God” anticipates the attack that is coming upon the godless speculations of the “false teachers” in 2 Peter 2.  [46]

“Knowledge” here means nature and full knowledge and this is a channel of grace and peace; for the more our hearts know of God, of what He is, and of what He has done for us, and of what He does daily, and of what He yet means to do, if we abide with Him, the more our hearts will be weaned from the world and fixed on Him, and filled with His grace and love.  [42]

God.  “A woman that lives unmarried can well say that a man is a husband, but this can she not say, that he is her husband.  So may we all well say, this is a God, but this we cannot say all of us, that He is our God, for we cannot all trust upon Him nor comfort ourselves as His.  --  Martin Luther  [21]

and of Jesus our Lord.  These false teachers “denied the Lord that bought them” (2 Peter 2:1), and promised all kinds of high-sounding benefits to their followers (2 Peter 2:18).  The Apostle assures his readers that only in fuller knowledge of their Lord can grace and peace be multiplied to them.  The combination “Jesus our Lord” is unusual; elsewhere only Romans 4:24.  [46]

The peculiar construction, as distinct from “Christ Jesus” and “the Lord Jesus,” occurs elsewhere only in Romans 4:24.  [38]



1:3                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     seeing that His divine power has given us all things that are needful for life and godliness, through our knowledge of Him who has appealed to us by His own glorious perfections.

WEB:              seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue;

Young’s:         As all things to us His divine power (the things pertaining unto life and piety) hath given, through the acknowledgement of him who did call us through glory and worthiness,

Conte (RC):    in the same manner that all things

which are for life and piety have been given to us by

his Divine virtue, through the plan of him who has

called us to our own glory and virtue.


1:3                   According as [dropping first two words entirely:  NKJV, ESV, NASB, etc.] His divine power.  This may refer either:  1. To what goes before: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, &c., according as his divine power hath given unto us, &c.; and then in these words the apostle shows what reason there was to hope, that grace and peace should be multiplied to them, and perfected in them, viz. because God hath already given them all things pertaining to life and godliness; q.d. He that hath done thus much for you, will do more, and finish his work in you.  Or:  2.  To what follows; and then the Greek phrase rendered according as, is not a note of similitude, but of illation, and may be rendered, since, or seeing that, and so the words are not a part of the salutation, but the beginning of the body of the Epistle, and relate to 2 Peter 1:5:  Seeing that his Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain, & c., add to your faith virtue, & c.; as God hath done his part, so do you yours in the diligent performance of what he hath enabled you.  [28]

                        his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  Gerlach:  “The Divine Power has given unto us all things necessary for regeneration and holiness, so that the Christian has no excuse.”  Life which is implanted through regeneration in Baptism indicates the condition in which the believer is, godliness refers to his conduct, the evidence that he has life in God.  All things that pertain to both these aspects of the Christian life come to us through the divine power of Jesus.  Peter lays stress upon godliness, the word occurring four times in this Epistle (here, 1:6, 7; 3:11).  [50]

                        The bestowal of this endowment of grace is ascribed to “His Divine power.”  Whose?  God’s, say some; Christ’s, say others; while a third party say it is the power of God and Jesus in the oneness of their nature and activity.  On the whole, the second view (which is that of Calvin, Huther, etc.) seems most likely.  It would be somewhat superfluous to describe the power as Divine, if the Subject in view were God the Father.  It is not superfluous, if the Subject in view is that “Jesus our Lord” who was “crucified in weakness” but also “raised in power,” and who puts forth the “power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10) in the imparting of all needful gifts to His servants.  This epithet “Divine,”’ indeed, occurs only twice again in the N.T., namely in 2 Peter 1:4 and in Acts 17:29.  The power of Christ which works in behalf of Christians, secures for them this wealth of spiritual privilege only because it is a power of a Divine order.  [51]

                        hath given.  This is the only [Greek] word which Peter and Mark alone have in common in the New Testament; a somewhat singular fact in view of their intimate relations, and of the impress of Peter upon Mark’s gospel:  yet it tells very strongly against the theory of a forgery of this epistle.  The word is stronger than the simple [Greek word for] to give, meaning to grant or bestow as a gift.  Compare Mark 15:45.  [2]

unto us.  The grant is represented as a universal one, so far as these particular objects are concerned.  [51]

Yet we are not to suppose that these blessings will flow down upon us without any effort on our part to obtain them.  We must, if I may so speak, be “workers together with God:  or as my text (1:5-9) expresses it, must “give all diligence to add” one grace to another, in order to our growing up into a perfect man.  [10]

all things.  Whatever pertains to the work of salvation and the life of holiness is God’s gracious gift, originating in, and bestowed by, him.  The “all things” is, in the Greek, emphatic, and must be taken in the broadest sense, as including whatever is in any way connected with raising us up from the death and ruin of sin to the fullness of the glory of heaven.  [39]

that pertain unto life.  Spiritual life.  [39]

The reference here in the word “life” is undoubtedly to the life of religion; the life of the soul imparted by the gospel.  [31]

Or:  By “life and godliness” we are not to understand man’s temporal interest on the one band and his spiritual interest on the other.  Both terms refer to the latter interest.  As the subjoined statement shows, “life” has here the wide sense of life truly so called, the eternal life which Christ (John 17:3) identifies with the knowledge of the only true God and Him whom He sent.  The two words, [however], express two distinct things, the former denoting the new, inward condition of the believer, the latter the attitude toward God which corresponds with that condition. [51]

and godliness.  The word “godliness” is synonymous with piety.  [31]

The Greek word eusebeia, which is often found in pagan inscriptions, means due reverence towards God, expressing itself in worship and in a devout and obedient life.  In classical Greek it is also used for filial piety.  In the LXX it translates “fear” (of God), and is coupled, as here, with “knowledge,” Proverbs 1:7, Isaiah 11:2, 33:6.  [45]

The word for “godliness” [in Greek] is used very seldom in the New Testament:  apart from three or four places in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 2:2; 3:16; 4:7-8; &c.), only in this Epistle; and in Peter’s speech in Acts 3:12—which in the great paucity of knowledge which we have of the authorship of this Epistle undoubtedly counts for something.  [41]

through the knowledge of Him.  Through learning to know God as One who has called us to salvation.  (Compare 2 Peter 1:2.)  [46]

that hath called us.  It is uncertain whether the words “him that called us” refer to God or Christ, but probably the former is the correct reference, since generally in the New Testament it is God who “calls” the believers.  [16] 

A similar ambiguity is found in many passages, probably because the writers closely identified the Son and the Father, and they did not feel it necessary to indicate clearly which was intended.  [45]

to [by, NKJV] glory.  Denotes the essential power and majesty of God.  [44]

The A.V. is entirely in error in rendering the last clause “to glory and virtue.”  In this it has followed the “unto” of the Genevan; Tyndale, Cranmer, and the Rhemish rightly give “by.”  Otherwise the reading varies between two forms which have much the same sense, viz. “through glory and virtue,” and “by his own glory and virtue.” By the “glory” we may understand the sum of God’s revealed perfections.  [51]

and virtue.  Used by Peter only, with the exception of Philippians 4:8.  The original classical sense of the word had no special moral import, but denoted excellence of any kind--bravery, rank, nobility; also, excellence of land, animals, things, classes of persons.  Paul seems to avoid the term, using it only once.  [2]

                        Virtue (arete) is only attributed to God or Christ here and in the somewhat parallel passage (1 Peter 2:9), “That ye may show forth the virtues (E.V., excellencies) of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  The only other places where the words occurs in the New Testament are Philippians 4:8 and 2 Peter 1:5.  Arete was the “common heathen term for moral excellence,” but in the LXX it is used to translate words meaning “glory” and “praiseworthiness;” and thus becomes a synonym of doxa (glory).  Probably (but cf. verse 5) it is so used here, and the phrase “glory and virtue” is a kind of compound expression for “glorious excellency.”  Deissmann takes “virtue” as “manifestation of power” almost equating “miracle.”  [45]



1:4                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     It is by means of these that He has granted us His precious and wondrous promises, in order that through them you may, one and all, become sharers in the very nature of God, having completely escaped the corruption which exists in the world through earthly cravings.

WEB:              by which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Young’s:         through which to us the most great and precious promises have been given, that through these ye may become partakers of a divine nature, having escaped from the corruption in the world in desire.

Conte (RC):    Through Christ, he has given us

greatest and most precious promises, so that by

these things you may become sharers in the Divine

Nature, fleeing from the corruption of that desire

which is in the world.


1:4                   Whereby.  Δἰ ὧν  Di' hōn - “Through which” - in the plural number, referring either to the “glory” and “virtue” in the previous verse, and meaning that it was by that glorious divine efficiency that these promises were given; or, to all the things mentioned in the previous verse, meaning that it was through those arrangements, and in order to their completion, that these great and glorious promises were made.  The promises given are in connection with the plan of securing “life and godliness,” and are a part of the gracious arrangements for that object.  [31]

                        are given unto us.  The Person said here to “gift us” is, according to some, the Christ whose Divine power has been already described as gifting; according to others (and this is on the whole more likely), it is the God who ‘called us.’  [51]

exceeding great.  Rather, the greatest; greater cannot easily be conceived.  [39]

Illustration:  ‘When Alexander the Great, distributing the spoils of war, allotted to one of his generals a valuable prize, some one standing by remarked, “Those cities are too great a gift for Parmenio to receive.”  “They may be too great for him to receive,” replied the king, “but they are not too great for Alexander to give.”  Alexander was a great king and he gave according to his greatness.  He gave “according to the estate of the king” (Esther 2:18).  If so, what may we not expect from the “King of kings?”  [49]

and precious.  The word occurs fourteen times in the New Testament.  In eight instances it is used of material things, as stones, fruit, wood.  In Peter it occurs three times:  1 Peter 1:7, or tried faith; 1 Peter 1:19, of the blood of Christ; and here, of God’s promises.  [2]

promises.  Namely, the promises of the gospel.  [47]

Including His glorious return to which this epistle continually refers.  [7]

A “promise” is an assurance on the part of another of some good for which we are dependent on him.  It implies:  (1) that the thing is in his power; (2) that he may bestow it or not, as he pleases; (3) that we cannot infer from any process of reasoning that it is his purpose to bestow it on us; (4) that it is a favor which we can obtain only from him, and not by any independent effort of our own.  [31]

These promises form the very essence of the Gospel, and do not refer to the Old Testament prophecies and promises, nor simply to the New Testament prophecies and promises of the coming of Christ and of the future consummation of the kingdom (2 Peter 3:13), but more especially to the promised riches themselves which God offers and bestowed upon all who believe in Christ—redemption and atonement, regeneration, justification, adoption, union with God, and eternal life—as an earnest of still greater riches to come.  [50] 

that by these.  The offers of the gospel.  [22]

Greek, “through these.”  That is, these constitute the basis of your hopes of becoming partakers of the divine nature. Compare 2 Corinthians 7:1.  [31]

These does not refer to the “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (verse 3) (so Calvin De Wette, Brueckner, Hofmann, Lumby, etc.), nor to “glory and virtue,” (verse 3) (Bengel), but to the promises just spoken of (Huther, Dietlein, Wiesinger, Alford, etc.).  [50]

ye might be partakers of the divine nature.  They are renewed in the spirit of their mind, after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; their hearts are set for          God and His service; they have a divine temper and disposition of soul.  [5]      

Being renewed in the image of God, and having communion with them, so as to dwell in God and God in you.  [15]

This phrase “Divine nature” is peculiar to the present passage.  It is not to be regarded as a mere synonym for “justification,” “regeneration,” or the “mystical union.”  On the other hand, it is not quite the same as the phrase “the being of God.”  As the phrase the “nature of beasts” (James 3:7) denotes the sum of all the qualities characteristic of the brute creation, strength, fierceness, etc.; and the phrase “human nature” denotes the sum of the qualities distinction of man, so the “Divine nature” denotes the sum of the qualities, holiness, etc., which belong to God.  What is meant, therefore, is a Divine order of moral nature, an inward life of a Godlike constitution, participation in qualities which are in God, and which may be in us so far as His Spirit is in us.  Not that there is any essential identity between the human nature and the Divine; but that God, who created us at first in His own image, designs through the Incarnation of His Son to make us like Himself, as children may be like a father, putting on us “the new [spiritual clothing], which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24; compare John 1:12).  [51]

This is essential to our salvation [50]:  For even now in this life we become partakers of this divine nature by regeneration through baptism, and through faith in the Gospel message.  Just as Christ had to become a partaker of human nature (Hebrews 2:14), in order that His work might avail for us before God, so likewise must we become partakers of His divine nature and become united to Him, if we would be saved by His righteousness, for we must become “partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).  This communion with Christ and God begins in our regeneration through Baptism.  [50]

What the concept does not cover [31]:   It cannot be taken in so literal a sense as to mean that we can ever partake of the divine “essence,” or that we shall be “absorbed” into the divine nature so as to lose our individuality. This idea is held by the Buddhists; and the perfection of being is supposed by them to consist in such absorption, or in losing their own individuality, and their ideas of happiness are graduated by the approximation which may be made to that state.  But this cannot be the meaning here, because: 

(a) It is “in the nature of the case” impossible.  There must be forever an essential difference between a created and an uncreated mind. 

(b) This would argue that the Divine Mind is not perfect. If this absorption was necessary to the completeness of the character and happiness of the Divine Being, then he was imperfect before; if before perfect, he would not be after the absorption of an infinite number of finite and imperfect minds. 

(c) In all the representations of heaven in the Bible, the idea of “individuality” is one that is prominent.  “Individuals” are represented everywhere as worshippers there, and there is no intimation that the separate existence of the redeemed is to be absorbed and lost in the essence of the Deity. 

The reference then, in this place, must be to the “moral” nature of God; and the meaning is, that they who are renewed become participants of the same “moral” nature; that is, of the same views, feelings, thoughts, purposes, principles of action.  

having escaped.  The moment of escape must be thought of as that of conversion, of which baptism was the outward sign.  [38]

The verb translated ‘escaped’ occurs only here and in 2 Peter 2:18, 20.  It implies a complete rescue, and “this is mentioned,” as Bengel justly observes, “not so much as a duty towards, but as a blessing from, God, which accompanies our communion with Him.”  [51]

the corruption that is in the world.  The corrupt customs and habits, principles and practices, that are found in worldly men.  [47]

The “corruption” has its seat outwardly, as contrasted with the kingdom of God, in the world that lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19); inwardly in the element of desire (“lust” in its widest sense), which makes men live to themselves and not to God.  [38]

“Corruption” (phthora):  five times in Paul’s Epistles, four times in 2 Peter, nowhere else in the New Testament.  The root idea of decomposition suggests the loathsomeness and the wasting away of decaying organisms.  In the New Testament “corruption” carries with it both a literal and a figurative sense, and contrasts with the purity and permanence of Divine life.  When we are won for God we are delivered from the influences which tend to corruption.  [45]

through lust.  Rather (as in 2 Peter 1:1-2, 1:13; 2 Peter 2:3) in lust.  It is in lust that the corruption has its root.  (Compare 1 Peter 1:22.)  The word “escaped” indicates that “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21) from which even the Christian is not wholly free, so long as he is in the body; and in which others are hopelessly held. A comparison of this last clause with 2 Peter 3:13 will confirm us in the view that “by these” refers to the “promises.”  We see there what the things promised are. Instead of merely “having escaped” evil, “we, according to His promise, look for” better things; for, from “the corruption that is in the world in lust” we turn to “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  [46]



1:5                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     But for this very reason--adding, on your part, all earnestness-- along with your faith, manifest also a noble character: along with a noble character, knowledge;

WEB:              Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge;

Young’s:         And this same also -- all diligence having brought in besides, superadd in your faith the worthiness, and in the worthiness the knowledge,

Conte (RC):    But as for you, taking up every

concern, minister virtue in your faith; and in virtue,



1:5                   And beside this [But also for this very reason, NKJV].  Since God has done all that is necessary on His part for your salvation, and what still remains is in your power, and depends entirely on yourselves. [45]

Compare 1 Peter 1:15, where the Apostle urges the holiness of God as a reason why we should be holy.  [44]

giving all diligence.  The Greek means, bringing in by the side of.  God has done his part, as shown in 2 Peter 1:3-4; now you do your part in bringing your own “diligence” into action by the side of what he has done.  [39]

                        Progress in Christian living is made only by cooperation of the human will with the divine.  [7]

                        Without giving all diligence, there is no gaining any ground in the work of holiness; those who are slothful in the business of religion will make nothing of it.  [5]

                        So wonderful a gift of God is not to supersede your own exertions (Philippians 2:12):  “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you.”  [41]

add.  Superadd the latter, without losing the former. [15]

The [Greek] verb originally means to bear the expense of a chorus which was done by a person selected by the state, who was obliged to defray all the expenses of training and maintenance.  In the New Testament the word has lost this technical sense, and used in the general sense of supplying or providing.  [2]

In the beautiful list of graces which Peter here exhibits, each grace apparently grows out of the preceding grace, and in turn becomes the soil or atmosphere in which the next is nourished, while all are rooted in “faith.”  Nevertheless, the growth is not spontaneous; on our part there is demanded the expenditure of toil and effort.  [7]

Thus, in that the one virtue is the complement of the other, the latter produces the former of itself as its natural outcome.  [8]

Every added virtue strengthens and transfigures every other virtue.  [46]

to your faith.  By faith, the writer means faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The trustful apprehension of God’s unspeakable gift, of the mercy which rose over the world like a bright dawn when the Redeemer came—that is what he intends by the word.  This is worth mentioning; for it is not uncommon to speak of faith abstractly, as no more than a hopeful, positive, serious way of regarding life.  But when the New Testament writers say “faith” they mean, quite definitely, faith in contact with its proper object, Christ, and becoming through that contact a strong triumphant thing.  [46]

He intimates that faith ought not to be naked or empty, but that these are its inseparable companions.  There is not here, however, properly a gradation as to the sense, though it appears as to the words; for love does not in order follow patience, nor does it proceed from it. Therefore the passage is to be thus simply explained, “Strive that virtue, prudence, temperance, and the things which follow, may be added to your faith.”  [35]

Wordsworth:  Seven Christian graces are here joined together hand in hand.  Faith leads the chorus, and love completes it.  Peter’s seven correspond to Paul’s three (1 Corinthians 13:13).  In each Apostolic group, Faith leads, and love ends.”  [50]

Virtue [moral excellence, NASB].  Arete may have here its ordinary classical meaning of moral excellence, possibly colored with its LXX meaning of “praiseworthiness.”  It is the idea of James 2:26, “Faith apart from works is dead.”  Faith’s true sequel is the active zeal which wins approval from God and justifies faith before men.  [45]

Martin Luther:  And here you perceive that St. Peter does not set himself particularly to write of faith, since he had already done that sufficiently in the First Epistle, but would admonish believers that they should prove their faith by good works; for he would not have a faith without good works nor works without faith, but faith first and good works on and from faith.  [21]

The word “virtue” cannot be taken here in the sense which it bears in ordinary use.  As a general term it is employed to designate all excellence;—here, it is only one excellence out of many. It must stand, therefore, for something distinct and specific.  It does so. It stands, according to the exact import of the original term, for “force,” “energy,” “manly strength.”  It describes a readiness for action and effort, the disposition and the power of strenuous achievement.  [46]

Let your faith be furnished with what the heathen admire and deify; the virtue of the good man, courageous and determined to do what is right.  [41]

As God calls us by his own virtue (verse 3), so Christians are to exhibit virtue or energy in the exercise of their faith, translating it into vigorous action.  [2]

Thoughts on the word “virtue” as constituting courage and bravery in this text:  This word means something different from its general meaning in English.  It means moral courage, a courage which refuses the gratification of the old nature.  It is the soldier’s courage, who stands manfully against all opposition. It is an energy by which the heart is master of itself, and is able to choose the good, and to cast aside the evil, as a thing conquered and unworthy of one’s self.  Such courage to stand and withstand, this energy to deny one’s self, makes full communion with God possible.  If such virtue is added to faith it leads to knowledge, the next thing.  [23]

virtue — Or, courage; amidst all the difficulties, dangers, trials, and troubles you meet with, exercise that courage, or fortitude, whereby you may conquer all enemies and oppositions, and execute whatever faith dictates.  The propriety of the apostle’s exhorting those to whom he wrote, to add courage to their faith, will more clearly appear, if we recollect that, in the first age, the disciples of Christ were frequently accused before the heathen magistrates of being Christians, and that, “on such occasions, it was incumbent on them to acknowledge it, notwithstanding they exposed themselves thereby to every species of persecution; because, by boldly professing their faith, they not only encouraged each other to persevere in their Christian profession, but they maintained the gospel in the world.  Accordingly Christ solemnly charged all his disciples to confess him before men, and threatened to inflict the severest punishment on those who denied him, Matthew 10:23-33.” — Macknight.  And even in the present state of the world, true and vital religion will always, more or less, meet with opposition from the carnal and wicked.  [47]

and to virtue knowledge.  So “virtue” in turn is to develop “knowledge,” which here means “practical skill in the details of Christian duty” rather than the knowledge of God and of Christ sense of “faith.”  [7]

The truth of God and the things of God are known and learned by obedience, by walking in them.  Knowledge gained, without virtue practiced, only puffs up and leads to hypocrisy.  [23]

For the regulating of our obedience, that we go not blindling to work, that we may perform a reasonable or intelligible service.  “For without knowledge the mind is not good; and he that (not understanding his way) hasteth with his feet, sinneth,” Proverbs 19:2; the faster he runs, the further he is out.  The Samaritans’ service was rejected, because they worshipped they knew not what.  The Romans were full of goodness, because full of knowledge, Romans 15:14.  [29]

Knowledge includes not demanding of our body more than we should recognize it can handle or would actually benefit it.  Martin Luther:    “Discrimination” or “knowledge” is, in the first place, that one should manifest an outward conduct, and the virtue of faith, in accordance with reason.  For we should so far bridle and check the body, that we may be sober, vigorous, and fitted for good works; not that we should torture and mortify ourselves as some famous [medieval and ancient] saints have done.  For though God is likewise opposed to the sins that remain in the flesh, yet does He not require that for this reason you should destroy the body.  Its viciousness and caprice you should guard against, but yet you are not to ruin or injure it, but give it its food and refreshment that it may remain sound and in living vigor.  [21]

                        Knowledge includes learning the practical skills of how to treat others in the way that best fits their needs--which may vary dramatically from one person or situation to another.  Peter does not here mean a knowledge of God, in which indeed all believers must constantly increase, but a knowledge of a believer’s duty in all the relations of life, in the sense of discretion, a wise demeanor which knows how to maintain the right moderation in all things.  This knowledge preserves us from indiscreet zeal and exaggerations, and “leads and moderates all virtues, so that in the practice of it we err neither by doing too much nor too little, nor stray from the right goal” (Calovius).  [50]                         


                        In depth:  Is this a verse where more accurate translation inadvertently makes it easier to confuse the point?  The more accurate translation [2]:  The A.V. exhorts to add one virtue to another; but the Greek, to develop one virtue in the exercise of another:  “an increase by growth, not by external junction; each new grace springing out of, attempting, and perfecting the other.”  Render, therefore, as Revision, In your faith supply virtue, and in your virtue knowledge, etc.  [2]  

The case for the more exact translation [7 ]:  “In your faith supply virtue”; this is not the same as “add to your faith virtue”; but, as above suggested,  “with and by your faith supply virtue”; “faith” is the source and gives the power by which “virtue” is to be developed;  “faith without works is dead,” but it shows itself to be living and real when it produced “moral excellence”; real trust in Christ and true belief in him will always issue in right conduct, or “virtue.”  [7]

                        The case for retaining the traditional KJV wording [41]:  Almost all modern expositors agree in rendering this place “supply in your faith virtue, and in your virtue knowledge, and in your knowledge temperance,” and so on.  I am very sorry for this correction.  It makes a household word of Christianity very needlessly difficult.  For, after all, “add to” is necessarily involved in the words “supply in.”  If the “virtue” is not originally in “faith,” but has to be supplied, this must be by addition.  It was not there before, it has to be “supplied” by being “added.”  The faith, of course, must remain, and the virtue cannot be put in its place, but must be added.  Altogether the new rendering is most uncouth and difficult.  You have to think how you are to “supply” virtue in faith, and temperance in virtue, and so on, and so the point of one of the most telling precepts of the New Testament is blunted and spoilt. 



1:6                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     along with knowledge, self-control; along with self-control, power of endurance;

WEB:              and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control patience; and in patience godliness;

Young’s:         and in the knowledge the temperance, and in the temperance the endurance, and in the endurance the piety,

Conte (RC):    and in knowledge, moderation; and

in moderation, patience; and in patience, piety;


1:6                   And to knowledge temperance [self-control, NKJV].  The word for “temperance” has a wider range than the modern sense of the English term.  Self-government” or “self-control” would be better equivalents.  In Sirach 18:30 we have, under the heading in the LXX of “self-control of the soul” (ἐγκράτεια ψυχῆς), what may almost be called a definition in the form of a precept, “Go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself from thine appetites.”  The word is not common in the New Testament, but appears in Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23.  [38]

                        Moderation in the lawful use of temporal good things, proper self-control.  [6]

                        According to which, in all the experiences of life, reason governs passion.  [7]

                        Everything is to be confined within proper limits, and to no propensity of our nature are we to give indulgence beyond the limits which the law of God allows.  [31]                       

                        There is special point in “self-control” being placed as the consequence of “knowledge.”  The false teachers would insist that knowledge led to liberty, which with them meant emancipation from all control whatever.  Self-mastery is to the world at large the opposite of liberty; to the Christian it is another name for it—that service which is perfect freedom.  [46]

and to temperance patience [perseverance, NKJV].  Steadfastness.  The less we expect from the world, the better able are we to comport ourselves under crosses and afflictions.  [6]

 Not merely endurance of the inevitable, for Christ could have relieved himself of his sufferings (Hebrews 12:2, 3; compare Matthew 26:53); but the heroic, brave patience with which a Christian not only bears but contends. [2]

“Self-control” curbs the evil impulses of a man’s own nature; “endurance” enables him to resist the pressure of external circumstances.  [45]

The fact that this word occurs so late in the list of the steps of ethical attainment according to Peter, after faith and virtue and knowledge and self-control, suggests that in its deepest signification it is a quality appertaining only to an advanced stage of spiritual acquirement.  There are three stages in the exercise of patience.  First, it is simply submission to the will of God under disappointment or suffering.  Next, it expresses itself in persistent endurance, being almost equivalent to perseverance, and then it contains also an ingredient of active service.  [46]

and to patience [perseverance, NKJV] godliness.  “Godliness” and “faith” are not identical; and though, in a certain general sense, the one may be said to be included in the other, seeing that “godliness” cannot exist without “faith,” yet they are not so involved as to preclude their being clearly separated and distinguished, and placed, if needs be, with some space between them in a series like this.  Faith is godliness in its principle, as light in the reason:  godliness is faith in its actings, as love in the heart.  The one flows from and is the utterance and development of the other.  Godliness is faith alive; and not only alive, but active; not only looking and thinking, but feeling, speaking, doing, and thus infusing into all outward and visible performance a moral element that makes virtue holiness.  [46]

                        Or:  Godliness has reference to our duties to God, in contradistinction to the duties we owe to our fellow-man, or to ourselves (Titus 2:12).  Bengel:  “Note how each step gained in this scale of graces produces and facilitates the next; and by retracing the sale backwards we may also observe how each successive step tempers, supplements, and perfects its predecessor.”  [50] 



1:7                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     along with power of endurance, godliness; along with godliness, brotherly affection; and along with brotherly affection, love.

WEB:              and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love.

Young’s:         and in the piety the brotherly kindness, and in the brotherly kindness the love;

Conte (RC):    and in piety, love of brotherhood;

and in love of brotherhood, charity.


1:7                   And to godliness.  Being superbly pious is honorable, but not if it lacks the lifestyle and attitudes that should accompany it.  [rw]

brotherly kindness.  An active good will towards the saints.  [22]

Or affection for fellow Christians.  [7]

No sullenness, sternness, moroseness: “sour godliness,” so called, is of the devil.  [15]

In love of the brethren there are no distinctions.  [It] is without partiality.  In Christ, so far as thorough interest and sympathy are concerned, natural and artificial distinctions are superseded; “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”  He makes each like the others by making all like Himself.  He requires, therefore, mutual recognition and love—family-love, where there is family-likeness.  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.“ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”  “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” “ If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”  “Let him that saith he loves God, see to it that he love his brother also.”  [46]

and to brotherly kindness charity [love, NKJV].  Do not rest on your trust in God, as if that might supersede love for all who are your brethren in Him.  [44]

The pure and perfect love of God and of all mankind.  The apostle here makes an advance upon the preceding article, brotherly kindness, which seems only to relate to the love of Christians toward one another.  [15]

Love here signifies universal love; the love of humanity, of all mankind, as distinct from, or additional to, the peculiar domestic affection of the Church.  Lest “the love of the brotherhood” should degenerate into a selfish and sectarian thing—a narrow, exclusive, unamiable sentiment—the Apostle directs that it is to flow beyond the walls of the sacred enclosure, or rather to have added to it another sentiment that will do this, and that thus the Christian is to acknowledge in every man one that has claims on his soul and service.  Love always distinguishes between the person and his sin, just as a doctor distinguishes between a patient and his disease.  He never by any chance identifies them. He fights the disease with a vigor, a continuity, and a relentlessness that knows no cessation and gives no quarter; but he never confounds the personality of the patient with the pathology of his disease.  This separability of the sin from the sinner is clear to the eye of love, and this it is that gives hopefulness to the task of rescue and reform.  [46]  



1:8                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     If these things exist in you, and continually increase, they prevent your being either idle or unfruitful in advancing towards a full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

WEB:              For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.     

Young’s:         for these things being to you and abounding, do make you neither inert nor unfruitful in regard to the acknowledging of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Conte (RC):    For if these things are with you, and

if they abound, they will cause you to be neither

empty, nor without fruit, within the plan of our Lord

Jesus Christ.


1:8                  For if these things be in you.  Not merely existing, but residing.  [39]
                               The original of “be in you” is a strong expression, implying permanent and not mere momentary existence.  [46]
                               On the contrary, a negligent Christian adds nothing to his faith, and therefore loses its advantage and comfort, is blind to his position and calling, has a contracted view, of the things of God, and, forgetful of the pardon of sins which he received on faith, lives in uncertainty of mind and inconsistency of conduct.  [19]  
                       Significance of the word “be:  The phrase which the A.V. renders “be in you,” and the R.V. “are yours,” but which means rather “subsisting for you.”  The word selected there is not the simple verb “to be,” but another which implies not only existence but continuous existence, and looks at the possession of graces as a thing characterizing the readers, not merely now, but in their original spiritual condition.  It is the phrase which is used, e.g., in Philippians 2:6 of Christ as “being in the form of God;” in Acts 7:53, of Stephen “being full of the Holy Ghost;” in 1 Corinthians 13:3, of “all my goods;” in Matthew 19:21, “sell all that thou hast.  In these and similar cases, it implies rightful, settled possession, and looks back from the present moment to the antecedent condition of the subjects.  [51]

and abound.  If they are in you in rich abundance.  [31]

Increase and grow, as they ought and will, if, while God does his part, we are careful to do ours toward becoming partakers of the divine nature.  [39]

they make you that ye shall neither be barren [useless, NASB].  The Greek word literally means “without work”—i.e., doing nothing, as “unfruitful” means producing nothing.  [46]

Slothful, idle, unactive.  [28]

Or negligent, in the concerns of God’s glory and your soul’s welfare; for sloth proceeds from want of faith, or courage, or love.  [4]

Use of the word translated “barren” in the KJV:  The [word] means not “barren” but (as Cranmer, Tyndale, and the Genevan render it) “idle.”  It is applied, e.g., to the “idle word” (Matthew 12:36); to the useless idlers in the marketplace (Matthew 20:3, 6—a parable which may have been in Peter’s mind when he penned the passage); to the younger widows who are described as “idle, wandering about from house to house” (1 Timothy 5:13).  The idea, therefore, is that where these graces are one’s permanent inward property, at his command, and growing from strength to strength like things that live, they put him in a position, or create in him a constitution, under which it cannot be that he shall prove himself either a useless trifler doing no honest work, or an unprofitable servant effecting what is of no worth even when he gives himself to action.  [51]

make you.   “Render,” “constitute you,” habitually, by the very fact of possessing these graces.  [20]

nor unfruitful.  The suggestion seems to be that knowledge will thus be increased, that knowing will come by doing; that the condition of receiving more light is a faithful use of the light one has; that strenuous exercise of Christian graces results in a fuller comprehension of spiritual truth.  [7]

in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  All knowledge of Christ or of His Gospel, is like seed sown in the land.  It is given by God not merely to be a subject of contemplation, but to bear fruit.  [41]        



1:9                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     For the man in whom they are lacking is blind and cannot see distant objects, in that he has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his old sins.

WEB:              For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.

Young’s:         for he with whom these things are not present is blind, dim-sighted, having become forgetful of the cleansing of his old sins;

Conte (RC):    For he who does not have these things

at hand is blind and groping, being forgetful of his

purification from his former offenses.


1:9                   But [For, NKJV].  This is one of two instances in which the A.V. strangely mistranslates the Greek causal particle “for” as “but.”  The other is 1 Peter 4:15.  In Romans 5:7 it erroneously renders the same causal particle by “yet.”  In the present case it has followed Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Cranmer, who all have “but,” rather than the Genevan and Rhemish, which give “for.”  It thus entirely misconceives Peter’s meaning.  He is not simply setting one thing over against another, but is adducing a second reason for the course which he recommends.  The reasoning may be understood in more than one way.  It may be taken broadly thus—these graces are to be cultivated; for, if we have them not, we become blind, and “sink back into a want of power to perceive even the elementary truths of the kingdom of God” (Plumptre).  Or it may be put thus, in immediate relation to the nearest idea—these graces are to be cultivated; for, wanting them, we want the capacity for this perfect “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  [51]

he that lacketh these things.  The Christian graces and the consequent right understanding of Divine things.  [45]

Literally, to whom these things are not present.  Note that a different word is used here from that in verse 8, are yours, to convey the idea of possession.  Instead of speaking of the gifts as belonging to the Christian by habitual, settled possession, he denotes them now as merely present with him.  [2]

is blind.  We might have expected “will be idle and unfruitful, &c.,” but the writer is not content with merely emphasizing what has just been said, after the manner of John (e.g., 2 Peter 1:3; 1 John 1:5; 2:4, 27-28; 4:2-3, 6); he puts the case in a new way, with a new metaphor equally, applicable to the subject of knowledge.  Note that he does not say “will be blind,” but “is blind.”  The very fact of his possessing none of these graces shows that he has no eye for them.  [46]

“Because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11), and he knows neither his own heart, nor the will of God, nor the power of Jesus Christ.  [50]

and cannot see afar off.  Is short sighted; does not see what his future good requires.  [22]

[The Greek word for blind here was used of] “men who can only see things near, not those that are remote;” and it is ordinary to say, that such a one is blind, as being comparatively so, and to many things.  [4]

The sense is:  “He who is destitute of the moral virtues, and yet expects salvation of the Gospel, which imperatively enjoins them, is blind or sees a very little way into the true nature of it, and forgets that he was cleansed from his former sins on condition of renouncing sin in [the] future.”  [11]   

Conjecture on why both “blind” and “cannot see afar off” (which implies that sight is present) are used:  A.V. renders this clause “is blind, and cannot see afar off,” the latter epithet may seem at first only to repeat, in a weaker and almost contradictory form, what is already expressed by the former.  Hence it has been attempted in various ways to make a sharp distinction between the two terms.  The latter (which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament) has been rendered, e.g., “groping” (so substantially the Vulgate, Tyndale, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, etc.)—a sense, however, which cannot be made good.  It has also been rendered “shutting his eyes” (Stephens, Dietlein, etc.); and the idea has thus been supposed to be this—“he is blind, and that by his own fault, wilfully shutting his eyes.”  The word, however, seems to describe not one who voluntarily shuts his eyes (although the R.V. gives “closing his eyes” in the margin), but one who blinks, or contracts the eyelid in order to see, one who is short-sighted or dim-sighted.  Thus the second epithet defines the first.  He is ‘blind,’ not seeing when he thinks he sees, not seeing certain things as he ought to see them.  And he is this not in the sense of being “blind” to all things, but in the sense of being “nearsighted,” seeing things in false magnitudes, having an eye for things present and at hand, but none for the distant realities of the eternal world.  The rendering of the A.V., therefore (which follows the Genevan), expresses the correct idea; which the K.V. (in its text) gives more clearly as “seeing only what is near.”  With what is said here of blindness compare such passages as John 9:41; Romans 2:19; 1 Corinthians 8:2; Revelation 3:17; and especially 1 John 2:9-11. [51]

and hath forgotten.  He does not remember the obligation which grows out of the fact that a system has been devised to purify the heart, and that he has been so far brought under the power of that system as to have his sins forgiven.  If he had any just view of that, he would see that he was under obligation to make as high attainments as possible, and to cultivate to the utmost extent the Christian graces.  [31]

Some expositors find in the expression a suggestion of a voluntary acceptance of a darkened condition.  This is doubtful, however.  Lumby thinks that it marks the advanced years of the writer, since he adds to failure of sight the failure of memory, that faculty on which the aged dwell more than on sight.  [2]

The phrase does not necessarily imply that the forgetfulness is voluntary; it is the inevitable result of willful neglect—the neglect to cultivate Christian virtues.  The forgetfulness is not the cause of the shortsightedness, but a phase of it.  [46] 

that he was purged from his old sins.  Those committed before he was “purged” in baptism (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 3:21).  [46]

The man who forgets this cleansing of his soul, and acts as if he were in his simply natural state, with no power to resist temptation, does in fact ignore what God has done for him, and treats “the sins of long ago” as though they were still the inevitable accompaniments of the present.  [38]

                        The sins referred to are the sins of the man’s own former heathen life, and the purification is that which covered the whole sin of his past once for all when he first received God’s grace in Christ.  The idea of a purification occupies a prominent place in the Epistle to the Hebrews (cf. Hebrews 1:3; 9:14; Hebrews 9:22-23; 10:2).  There not only sins are said to be “purified,” but also the conscience, the heart, the heavenly things, the copies of the heavenly things, the flesh.  The purification is effected by the blood of Christ, and its result is not mere moral purity, but the removal of guilt.  [51]    



1:10                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     For this reason, brethren, be all the more in earnest to make sure that God has called you and chosen you; for it is certain that so long as you practise these things, you will never stumble.

WEB:              Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.

Young’s:         wherefore, the rather, brethren, be diligent to make stedfast your calling and choice, for these things doing, ye may never stumble,

Conte (RC):    Because of this, brothers, be all the

more diligent, so that by good works you may

make certain your calling and election. For in

doing these things, you do not sin at any time.


1:10                 Wherefore the rather.  Considering the miserable state of these apostates.  [15]

                        Or:  In view of what is gained by diligence and lost by neglect. [45]

                        Or:  “Wherefore,” that is, because he only will enter the “kingdom” who practices the virtues previously mentioned, and thereby makes his “calling and election sure.”  “These things” [later in this verse] must be interpreted from this point of view.  [16]

                        Technical aside—The connection of what follows to what has already been said:  The “wherefore the rather of the A. V. suggests that the course now to be recommended is one to be preferred to some other course dealt with in the context.  This is a legitimate interpretation, the Greek word meaning either “rather” or “more,” and being used (e.g. 1 Corinthians 5:2) in order to put a contrast of opposition.  It is adopted, too, by not a few interpreters.  Some construe the idea thus—instead of trying to reach knowledge apart from the practice of Christian grace, rather be diligent, etc. (Dietlein).  Others put it so—instead of forgetting the purification of your old sins, rather be diligent, etc. (Hofmann).  Most, however, take the term in the sense of “more,” connect the sentence immediately with what has been stated in 2 Peter 1:8-9, and regard it as taking up anew the exhortation of 2 Peter 1:5, and urging it for these additional reasons with greater force.  The meaning then is = the case being as it has been explained in 2 Peter 1:8-9, let these grave considerations of what is to be gained by the one course and what is to be lost by the other, make you all the more diligent, etc.  [51]

brethren.  This is the one instance of the use of the address “brethren” in the Epistles of Peter.  In 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 4:12, and in 2 Peter 3:1; 2 Peter 3:8; 2 Peter 3:14; 2 Peter 3:17, we get “beloved.”  [51]

give diligence.  In ceaseless effort, because of what has just been urged, and of the promised glorious result.  [39]

Recalling “bringing all diligence” in 2 Peter 1:5.  [46]

to make your calling and election sure.  In these words it is implied a danger of losing the “election” through failing in practical right living.  [17]

According to Matthew 22:14, “Many are called, but few elected (chosen);” but probably here the two terms are used synonymously, and are combined in an emphatic compound phrase.  The Divine election is only realized through man’s persistent practical response to God’s call to service as well as fellowship.  The writer has not in view the abstract doctrine of election, but the practical working of man’s relation to God in the Christian dispensation.  [45]

“Calling” and “election” are two aspects of the same fact, “calling” referring to God’s invitation, “election” to the distinction which this invitation makes between those who are called and those who are not.  “Election” is one of Paul’s words.  One of the best MSS and several versions insert “by means of your works,” which gives the right sense, although the words are wanting in authority.  It is by following the in junctions given (2 Peter 1:5-7) that our election is made secure.  God calls us to salvation (2 Peter 1:3), selects us from the heathen; it is for each one of us to respond to the call, and thus ratify His choice.  [46]

We can make our calling and our election (separation) sure and secure by doing the very things which Peter exhorts us to do in verses 5-8, for the believer only knows himself to be among the elect of God so long as “by the power of God he is guarded through faith” (1 Peter 1:5), and leads a life of true conversion, “in sanctification of the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:2).  [50]

An attempt to divert the theme from what one does to what one believes of oneself?:  Here we may observe, It is the duty of believers to make their election sure, to clear it up to themselves that they are the chosen of God.  [5]

your calling.  To faith and holiness.  [39]

your . . . election.  To a place in the spiritual Israel.  These brethren had been called; they were also elect (1 Peter 1:1), and elected on their acceptance of the call. The apostle’s object was not, as some theologians suppose, to show how they might themselves assuredly know that they were truly called and elected, but to teach them how to maintain their already accomplished calling and election to the end.  They might “fall;” in which case the election would become null, and their rejection of God would be followed by his rejection of them from His elect people.  The absurdity of a “fall” from something they had never had, is a conception of a later date.  [39]

for if ye do these things.  The things referred to in the previous verses.  If you use all diligence to make as high attainments as possible in piety, and it you practice the virtues demanded by religion, 2 Peter 1:5-7.  [31]

Showing that the making sure of our election is not a single act, but multiform, viz., the furnishing the graces commended (2 Peter 1:5-7).  [46]

As Peter could not employ an unmeaning hypothesis, it follows, if ye do not these things, ye surely willfall.”  [39]

ye shall never fall.  This does not mean that the Christian will never sin, but that such patient effort toward progress will safeguard him against faults and failings, and will assure the completion of his journey to the heavenly city.  [7]

                        Interpreted as a temporary falling:  We are told that “fall” should here be translated “stumbling.”  But surely this “stumbling” here must be very dangerous, and must be taken to mean stumbling so as to fall; not to fall irretrievably, but to fall so as to bring discredit on our profession and very much retard our progress.  [41]

                        Interpreted as a permanent falling:  The verb which the A.V. renders “fall” is the same which it renders “offend” in James 2:10; 3:2, and “stumble” in Romans 11:11.  It is true, therefore, that it indicates a “step short of falling” (Plumptre).  It is so represented in Paul’s question, “Have they stumbled that they should fall (Romans 11:11); and James (James 3:2) speaks of a stumbling or offending which is not hopeless.  Here, however, it manifestly refers to the final issue of a forfeiture of salvation (Hofmann, Huther, etc.).  [51]



1:11                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     And so a triumphant admission into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be freely granted to you.

WEB:              For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Young’s:         for so, richly shall be superadded to you the entrance into the age-during reign of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Conte (RC):    For in this way, you shall be provided

abundantly with an entrance into the eternal kingdom

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


1:11                 For so an [the, NASB] entrance.  In this manner you shall be admitted into the kingdom of God.  [31]

                        Another reason, and one rising far superior to the former, for the careful cultivation of these graces.  “A good life can never be a failure.  It may be a life of many storms; but it is not possible that it should end in shipwreck” (Lillie).  That was the import of the former statement.  “Nay more,” it is now added, “such a life shall have a glorious ending.”  The future of which the believer is heir is here designated a “kingdom.”  [51]

                        Many commentators think that in the word “entrance” is implied “not only the final entrance into the kingdom of glory in Heaven, but also the power and strength to approach nearer and nearer unto Christ in His kingdom of grace in this world” (Lumby).  [50]

                        The A.V. gives ‘an entrance,’ where Peter speaks of ‘the entrance’—the well-understood entrance which formed the object of every Christian’s hope.  [51]

shall be ministered [supplied, NKJV] unto you.  If ye supply your part (1:5), God will richly supply His part, not only an abundance of grace, but of glory also.  [50]

When is the entrance ministered abundantly?  When the Lord says to some servant, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few thhings, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of the Lord” [Matthew 25:23].  [41]  

“Supplied: as in verse 5.  If we seek at all costs to equip ourselves with the Christian virtues, God will spare no expense, so to speak, to perfect our lives and crown them with blessing.  There is perhaps a reference to the classical sense of the word, “to pay the expenses of a chorus at the public games.”  [45]

abundantly [richly, ESV, Holman; generously, ISV].  Greek, “richly.”  That is, the most ample entrance would be furnished; there would be no doubt about their admission there.  [31]

The word “richly” [implies] that this entrance will be a glorious and triumphant one, “not as if escaping from shipwreck or from fire, but in a sort of triumph” (Bengel).  It is just the opposite of the “scarcely” of 1 Peter 4:18.  Both the beginning and the end of our salvation are of God.  We have a right to infer from this verse, that according to our different degrees of improvement of God’s grace here, so will be our different degrees of participation in His everlasting glory hereafter.  Compare the Parable of the Pounds, Luke 19:11-27; the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30; 2 Corinthians 19:6.  [50]

into the everlasting kingdom.  Heaven.  It is here called “everlasting,” not because the Lord Jesus shall preside over it as the Mediator, but because, in the form which shall be established when “he shall have given it up to the Father” (1 Corinthians 15:24), it will endure forever.  The empire of God which the Redeemer shall set up over the souls of his people shall endure to all eternity.  [31]

                        The rule of keeping, as far as possible, to uniformity of rendering would make “eternal” preferable.  It is, perhaps, worth noting that this is the only passage in the New Testament in which the adjective is joined to “kingdom.”  [38]

of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Jesus plays the double role of both Ruler (Lord) and Savior of all those in His kingdom.  He compels no one to become a disciple, but amply rewards them a thousand times over for doing so.  [51]









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