2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter. "Symeon" 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 St. James refers to St. 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; 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 (1 Peter 3:1), and shows, as some say, so much anxiety to identify himself with the apostle (1 Peter 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. St. Peter, like St. 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; we have work to do for our Master. St. Peter's work was that of a missionary, an apostle sent into the world to win souls for Christ (comp. Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; Jud James 1:1). To them that have obtained like precious faith with us. The word rendered "obtained" ( τοῖς λαχοῦσιν) means properly "to obtain by lot," 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 St. Peter's (Acts 1:17); its use here implies that faith is a gift of God. The word for "like precious" equally precious) is found only here in the New Testament; it calls to our memory the πολὺ τιμιώτερον of 1 Peter 1:7, and indicates a correspondence with the First Epistle. St. 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 (1 Peter 1:16 and 1 Peter 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 Jud 3; or, more probably, faith in the subjective sense, the grace of faith, which receives those truths as a message from God. Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour 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, etc. 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 favour of this view, especially as there is not here, as there is in Titus 2:13, any word like ἡμῶν to give definiteness to σωτῆρος (see Bishop Ellicott's note on Titus 2:13, and, on the other side, Alford's notes on both passages). The Lord Jesus is called "our Saviour" five times in this Epistle. The word does not occur in the First Epistle; but in St. 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 Peter 1:2
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you. The order of the words in the Greek is the same as in 1 Peter 1:2. The exact correspondence should be noticed. The writer of the Second Epistle, if not St. 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" ( ἐπίγνωσις) may be regarded as the key-note of this Epistle, as "hope" is of the first. ἐπίγνωσις is a stronger word than γνῶσις; 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.
Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, where, after saying in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that "knowledge ( γνῶσις) shall be done away," St. Paul continues, in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now I know ( γινώσκω) in part, but then I shall know ( ἐπιγνώσομαι) even as also I am known ( ἐπεγνώσθην)." 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 ἐπιγινώδκω of that fuller knowledge, as he had used γνῶσις of the imperfect knowledge. The word ἐπίγνωσις occurs several times in the Gospels, and is common in St. Paul's Epistles; it seems to imply a sort of protest against the knowledge that "puffeth up" (1 Corinthians 8:1), and especially against the knowledge "falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20), which was claimed by the false teachers, who were the precursors of the coming Gnosticism (comp. Colossians 1:9, Colossians 1:10; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 3:10). St. Peter had learned mere 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 ἐπίγνωσις 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.
2 Peter 1:3
According as his Divine power; better, seeing that, as in the Revised Version. The construction is the genitive absolute with ὡς. The words are to be closely connected with 2 Peter 1:2 : "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 2 Peter 1:2, and to connect 2 Peter 1:3 and 2 Peter 1:4 closely with 2 Peter 1:5. The word for "Divine" ( θεῖος) is unusual in the Greek Testament; it occurs only in two other places—2 Peter 1:4 and Acts 17:29. Hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness; rather, as in the Revised Version, hath granted. St. Peter does not here use the ordinary verb for "to give," but one ( δωρέομαι) which in the New Testament occurs only in this Epistle and in Mark 15:45. "God hath given us all things for ( πρός) life," i.e., all things necessary for life. By "life" St. 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. "Godliness'' ( εὐσέβεια) is a word of the later apostolic age; besides this Epistle (in which it occurs four times) and a speech of St. Peter's in Acts 3:12, it is found only in St. Paul's pastoral Epistles; it means reverence, true piety towards God. Through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; literally, through the full knowledge ( ἐπιγνώσρως) of him that called us (comp. 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 ( ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ)." Bengel says, "Ad gloriam referuntur attributa Dei naturalia, ad virtutem ea quae dicuntur moralia; intime unum sunt utraque." All his glorious attributes make up his glory; ἀρετή, virtue, is the energy, the activity of those attributes. The other reading, also well supported ( διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀρετῆς, "through glory and virtue"), would mean nearly the same (comp. Galatians 1:15; καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ). God calls us through his attributes; his glorious perfections invite us, the revelation of those perfections calls us to his service. The word ἀρετή, with one exception (Philippians 4:8), occurs in the New Testament only in St. Peter's Epistles (see 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3 and 2 Peter 1:5). This is, so far, an argument in favour of identity of authorship.
2 Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; rather, as in the Revised Version, whereby he hath granted unto us h is precious and exceeding great promises. Does the word "whereby" ( δἰ ὧν, 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 ( δεδώρηται) should be translated "hath granted," as in the preceding verse. The word for "promise" ( ἐπάγγελμα) occurs elsewhere only in 2 Peter 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 ( τὰ τίμια καὶ μέγιστα) has a possessive force, and is well rendered, "his precious 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 (comp. Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 1:14, "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 1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 1:19; the resemblance with 1 Peter 2:7 is apparent only, in the Authorized Version, not in the Greek. 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 ( γένησθε), but it does not follow that, might be" is the right translation, or that the writer regarded the participation as having already taken place the children of light"). As Alford says, the aorist seems to imply "that the aim was not the procedure, but the completion, of that indicated; not the γίνεσθαι, the carrying on the process, but the γενέσθαι, 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. St. 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." St. Paul tells us that believers are now "changed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18; comp. also 1 Corinthians 11:7; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49, etc.). Christians, born of God (John 1:13; 1 Peter 1:23), are made "partakers of Christ" (Hebrews 3:14), "partakers of the Holy Ghost" (Hebrews 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; John 14:16, John 14:17, John 14:23). The second person is used to imply that the promises made to all Christians (unto us) belong to those whom St. 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. 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 partakers of the Divine nature, and to escape from corruption; the two aspects of the Christian life must go on simultaneously; each implies and requires the other. Bengel says, "Haec fuga non tam ut officium nostrum, quam ut beneficium divinum, communionem cum Deo comitans, hoc loco ponitur." The verb used here ( ἀποφεύγειν) occurs in the New Testament only in this Epistle. It reminds us of St. Paul's words in Romans 8:21, "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption." The corruption or destruction (for the Word φθορά 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 (comp. Genesis 6:12; 1 John 2:16).
2 Peter 1:5
And beside this, giving all diligence; rather, but for this very cause also. αὐτὸ τοῦτο 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 St. Peter's style. God worketh within us both to will and to do; this (both St. Paul and St. 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. 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 ( παρεισενέγκαντες) 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." The Greek word ( ἐπιχορήγησατε) means properly to "contribute to the expenses of a chorus;" it is used three times by St. Paul, and, in its simple form, by St. Peter in his First Epistle (1 Peter 4:11). 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 St. Peter's mind, especially as the word occurs again in 2 Peter 1:11, 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 well described by Bengel as "strenuus animi tonus et vigor;" it is Christian manliness and active courage in the good fight of faith. The word "virtue" ( ἀρετή), with the exception of Philippians 4:8, occurs in the New Testament only in St. Peter—in this chapter three times, and in 1 Peter 2:9, thus forming one of the kinks between the two Epistles. And to virtue knowledge. St. Peter here uses the simple word γνῶσις, discretion, a right understanding, "quae malam a bono secernit, et mali fugam docet" (Bengel). This practical knowledge is gained in the manly self-denying activities of the Christian life, and leads on to the fuller knowledge ( ἐπίγνωσις) of Christ (1 Peter 2:8).
2 Peter 1:6
And to knowledge temperance; rather, self-control ( ἐγκράτεια). The words ἐκράτεια ψυχῆς are the heading of a section in the Greek of Ecclus. 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. 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 εὐσέβεια, reverence and piety towards God (see note on verse 3).
2 Peter 1:7
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. The word for "brotherly kindness" ( φιλαδελφία) is another link between the two Epistles (see 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 3:8). "In your godliness," St. 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" (1 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. Thus love, the greatest of all Christian graces (1 Corinthians 13:13), is the climax in St. 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 (comp. Ignatius, 'Ad Ephes.,' 14. ἀρχὴ μὲν πίστις, τέλος δὲ ἀγάπη). 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 charity, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before God. Bengel says well, "Praeseus quisque gradus subsequentem parit et facilem reddit, subsequens priorem temperat ac perficit."
2 Peter 1:8
For if these things be in you, and abound; literally, for these things belonging to you and abounding make, etc. The word used here ( ὑπάρχοντα) 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 he 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 ἐπίγνωσις (on which see 2 Peter 1:2, 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 2 Peter 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 knew him by following him (comp. Philippians 3:9, Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:10).
2 Peter 1:9
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" ( μυωπάζων) occurs only here in the New Testament. And hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins; literally, having incurred forgetfulness of the cleansing from his old sins. St. 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); St. 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." 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 St. 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.
2 Peter 1:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence. The two first words, διὸ μᾶλλον, "wherefore the rather," are by some understood as referring only to the last clause; as if St. 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." ΄ᾶλλον is not unfrequently used in this antithetical sense, as in 1 Corinthians 5:2; Hebrews 11:25. But it seems better to refer διό to the whole passage (Hebrews 11:3-9), and to understand μᾶλλον in its more usual intensive sense, "all the more," as in 1 Thessalonians 4:10, etc. 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 σπουδάσατε, "give diligence," recalls the σπουδὴν πᾶσαν, "all diligence," of 1 Thessalonians 4:5. The aorist seems, as it were, to sum up the continued diligence of daily life into one vivid description. This is the only place in which St. Peter uses the vocative "brethren;" he has "beloved" in the First Epistle (1 Peter 2:11) and in 2 Peter 3:1, 2 Peter 3:8. Both words imply affectionate exhortation. Two ancient manuscripts, the Alexandrine and the Sinaitic, insert here, "Through your good works ( διὰ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων, or τῶν καλῶν ὑμῶν ἔργων)." To make your calling and election sure. Alford calls attention to the middle voice of the verb, "Not ποιεῖν, which lay beyond their power, but ποιεῖσθαι, 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. All the baptized, all who bear the name of Christ, are called into the Church, but few comparatively are chosen, elect ( ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί, 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 (2 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 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." For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. "If ye do these things;" 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" (Dietlein, in Huther). Others refer the ταῦτα, "these things," to the graces just enumerated. Ye shall never fall; literally, ye shall never stumble ( οὐ μὴ πταίσητε). πταίειν is "to strike one's foot against some obstacle," and so to stumble. St. James says, "In many things we offend ( πταίομεν) all" (James 3:2). St. 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.
2 Peter 1:11
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 ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται looks back to ἐπιχορηγήσατε in 2 Peter 1:5, and "richly" to "abound" in 2 Peter 1:8. If we do our poor best in supplying the graces mentioned above, the entrance shall be richly supplied. St. 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 "richly" is fitly joined with the verb ἐπιχορηγεῖν, 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 Saviour Jesus Christ; rather, the eternal kingdom. Notice the exact correspondence of the Greek words here, τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, with these in 2 Peter 1:2, τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, as a strong argument in favour of the translation, "Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ," in that verse.
2 Peter 1:12
Wherefore I will net be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things; rather, as in the Revised Version, wherefore I shall be ready. This reading ( μελλήσω) is better supported than that of the T.R. ( οὐκ ὀμελήσω). (For this use of μέλλειν with the infinitive almost as a periphrasis for the future, compare, in the Greek, Matthew 24:6.) 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 St. Peter knew something, through Silvanus (see 1 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 St. Paul or his companions (comp. Romans 1:13). (For the word rendered "established" ( ἐστηριγμένους), comp. 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 3:16, 2 Peter 3:17.) St. Peter seems to have kept ever in his thoughts the solemn charge of the Saviour, "When thou art converted, strengthen ( στήριξον) thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). For "the truth which is with you" ( παρούση), comp. Colossians 1:6.
2 Peter 1:13
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 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, where St. Paul uses the same metaphor; and also of St. Peter's words at the Transfiguration, "Let us make three tabernacles." To stir you up by putting you in remembrance; literally, to arouse you in reminding. The phrase occurs again in 2 Peter 3:1. St. 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.
2 Peter 1:14
Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle; literally, knowing that swift is the putting off of my tabernacle. St. 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. So Bengel, "Qui diu aegrotant, possunt altos adhuc pascere. Crux id Petro non erat permisura. Ideo prius agit quod agendum est." Compare the use of the same word ( ταχινή) in 2 Peter 2:1. St. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, speaks, like St. Peter here, of putting off a tabernacle or tent as we talk of putting off a garment. Alford quotes Josephus, 'Ant.,' 2 Corinthians 4:8. 2, where Moses says, "Since I must depart from life, I have thought it right not even now to lay aside my zeal for your happiness.'' The word used here for "putting off" ( ἀπόθεσις) is one of the links between the two Epistles; it occurs also in 1 Peter 3:21. 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. St. Peter is thinking of our Lord's prophecy, which St. John afterwards recorded (John 21:18); he could never forget that touching interview; he had already referred to it once in 1 Peter 5:2.
2 Peter 1:15
Moreover I will endeavour 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 δέ connects this verso with 2 Peter 1:13; the καί implies a further resolve. St. 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 St. Mark at the dictation of St. Peter. The verb σπουδάσω is that used in verse 10, and should be translated in the same way; they must give diligence to make their calling and election sure. St. Peter, for his part, will give diligence to furnish them with a lasting record of the truths of Christianity. The adverb ἑκάστοτε, 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" ( ἔξοδος; 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. St. 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." 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.
2 Peter 1:16
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables; rather, did not follow. The participle ( ἐξακολουθήσαντες) is aorist. This compound verb is used only by St. Peter in the New Testament; we find it again in 2 Peter 2:2 and 2 Peter 2:15. Bengel and others have thought that the preposition ἐξ, 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 St. Peter was not the only witness of the glory of the Transfiguration; he associates in thought his two brother-apostles with himself. The word μῦθοι, fables, with this exception, occurs in the New Testament only in St. Paul's pastoral Epistles. There is a remarkable parallel in the procemium of the 'Antiquities' of Josephus, sect. 4, οἱ μεν ἄλλοι νομοθέται τοῖς μύθοις ἐξακολουθήσαντες. St. Peter may be referring to the "Jewish fables" mentioned by St. 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. The word rendered "cunningly devised" occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Timothy 3:15; but there a different part of the verb is used, and in a different sense. When we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Peter can scarcely be referring to St. 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, or to personal teaching of his which has not been recorded, or, just possibly, to the Gospel of St. Mk. St. 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;" he had, like the rest of the apostles, been "endued with power from on high." By the coming ( παρουσία) he must mean the second advent, the invariable meaning of the word in Holy Scripture. But were eye-witnesses of his majesty. The word for "eye-witnesses" is not the common one ( αὐτόπται, used by St. Luke 1:2), but a technical word ( ἐπόπται), 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 St. 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 1 Peter 2:12 and 1 Peter 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" ( μεγαλειότης) occurs in St. Luke's description of the healing of the demoniac boy immediately after the Transfiguration (Luke 9:43), and elsewhere only in Acts 19:27.
2 Peter 1:17
For he received from God the Father honour 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 ('Grammar,' 3:45, b). (For a similar anacoluthon, see in the Greek 2 Corinthians 5:6.) "Honour" seems to refer to the testimony of the voice from heaven; "glory," to the splendour 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 1 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 ὑπό 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" ( μεγαλοπρεπής) compare the Septuagint Version of Deuteronomy 33:26, ὁ μεγαλοπρεπὴς τοῦ στερεώματος, 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,' Deuteronomy 9:1-29, where the occurrence of the same remarkable words, μεγαλοπρεπὴς δόξα, 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 St. 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 ἐν ᾦ of St. Matthew's Gospel, εἰς ὃν ἐγὼ εὐδόκησα. The difference cannot be represented in our translation. The construction is pregnant, and the meaning is that from all eternity the εὐδοκία, 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 εὐδόκησα (comp. 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.
2 Peter 1:18
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 ( ἐνεχθεῖσαν; he repeats for emphasis the remarkable word of 2 Peter 1:17) 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 St. 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 (comp. John 1:14).
2 Peter 1:19
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 St. Peter applied the epithet "surer" ( βεβαιότερον) 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," 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;" 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 St. 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 2 Peter 1:16 and 2 Peter 1:18; in this verse, indeed, he passes to the second; hut 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." 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," 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 St. 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? 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" ( προφητικὸς λόγος), passages which resemble James 1:8 and 2 Peter 3:4. 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 2 Esdr. 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" ( αὐχμηρός) 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; 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." There is no article. The word for "day-star" ( φωσφόροv, lucifer, light-bringer) is found in no other place of the New Testament; but comp. Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16. St. Peter seems to mean that the prophetic word, rendered more sure to the apostles by