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2 Peter 1:1-3


1:1 From Simeon 1  Peter, 2  a slave 3  and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God 4  and Savior, 5  Jesus Christ, have been granted 6  a faith just as precious 7  as ours. 1:2 May grace and peace be lavished on you 8  as you grow 9  in the rich knowledge 10  of God and of Jesus our Lord! 11 

Believers’ Salvation and the Work of God

1:3 I can pray this because his divine power 12  has bestowed on us everything necessary 13  for life and godliness through the rich knowledge 14  of the one who called 15  us by 16  his own glory and excellence.

1 tc Several witnesses, a few of them very important (Ì72 B Ψ 69 81 614 623 630 1241 1243 2464 al vg co), read Σίμων (Simwn, “Simon”) for Συμεών (Sumewn, “Simeon”). However, this appears to be a motivated reading as it is the more common spelling. Συμεών occurs only here and in Acts 15:14 as a spelling for the apostle’s name. The reading Συμεών enjoys ample and widespread support among the mss, strongly suggesting its authenticity. Further, this Hebraic spelling is a subtle argument for the authenticity of this letter, since a forger would almost surely follow the normal spelling of the name (1 Peter begins only with “Peter” giving no help either way).

2 tn Grk “Simeon Peter.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

3 tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). At the same time, perhaps “servant” is apt in that the δοῦλος of Jesus Christ took on that role voluntarily, unlike a slave. The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”

4 tc A few mss (א Ψ pc vgmss syph sa) read κυρίου (kuriou, “Lord”) for θεοῦ (qeou, “God”) in v. 1, perhaps due to confusion of letters (since both words were nomina sacra), or perhaps because “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” is an unusual expression (though hardly because of theological objections to θεοῦ).

5 tn The terms “God and Savior” both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ. This is one of the clearest statements in the NT concerning the deity of Christ. The construction in Greek is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after the English philanthropist-linguist who first clearly articulated the rule in 1798. Sharp pointed out that in the construction article-noun-καί-noun (where καί [kai] = “and”), when two nouns are singular, personal, and common (i.e., not proper names), they always had the same referent. Illustrations such as “the friend and brother,” “the God and Father,” etc. abound in the NT to prove Sharp’s point. In fact, the construction occurs elsewhere in 2 Peter, strongly suggesting that the author’s idiom was the same as the rest of the NT authors’ (cf., e.g., 1:11 [“the Lord and Savior”], 2:20 [“the Lord and Savior”]). The only issue is whether terms such as “God” and “Savior” could be considered common nouns as opposed to proper names. Sharp and others who followed (such as T. F. Middleton in his masterful The Doctrine of the Greek Article) demonstrated that a proper name in Greek was one that could not be pluralized. Since both “God” (θεός, qeos) and “savior” (σωτήρ, swthr) were occasionally found in the plural, they did not constitute proper names, and hence, do fit Sharp’s rule. Although there have been 200 years of attempts to dislodge Sharp’s rule, all attempts have been futile. Sharp’s rule stands vindicated after all the dust has settled. For more information on the application of Sharp’s rule to 2 Pet 1:1, see ExSyn 272, 276-77, 290. See also Titus 2:13 and Jude 4.

6 tn The verb λαγχάνω (lancanw) means “obtain by lot,” “receive.” A literal translation would put it in the active, but some of the richness of the term would thereby be lost. It is used in collocation with κλῆρος (klhros, “lot”) frequently enough in the LXX to suggest the connotation of reception of a gift, or in the least reception of something that one does not deserve. H. Hanse’s statement (TDNT 4:1) that “Even where there is no casting of lots, the attainment is not by one’s own effort or as a result of one’s own exertions, but is like ripe fruit falling into one’s lap” is apt for this passage. The author’s opening line is a reminder that our position in Christ is not due to merit, but grace.

7 tn Grk “equal in value/honor.”

sn A faith just as precious. The author’s point is that the Gentile audience has been blessed with a salvation that is in no way inferior to that of the Jews.

8 tn Grk “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

9 tn The words “as you grow” are not in the Greek text, but seem to be implied.

10 tn The word ἐπίγνωσις (epignwsis) could simply mean knowledge, but J. B. Mayor (Jude and Second Peter, 171-74) has suggested that it is often a fuller knowledge, especially in reference to things pertaining to spiritual truth. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 169-70) argues that it refers to the knowledge of God that is borne of conversion, but this is probably saying too much and is asking questions of the author that are foreign to his way of thinking. The term is used in 1:2, 3, 8; 2:20 (the verb form occurs twice, both in 2:21). In every instance it evidently involves being in the inner circle of those who connect to God, though it does not necessarily imply such a direct and relational knowledge of God for each individual within that circle. An analogy would be Judas Iscariot: Even though he was a disciple of the Lord, he was not converted.

11 tn A comma properly belongs at the end of v. 2 instead of a period, since v. 3 is a continuation of the same sentence. With the optative in v. 2, the author has departed from Paul’s normal greeting (in which no verb is used), rendering the greeting a full-blown sentence. Nevertheless, this translation divides the verses up along thematic lines in spite of breaking up the sentence structure. For more explanation, see note on “power” in v. 3.

12 tn The verse in Greek starts out with ὡς (Jws) followed by a genitive absolute construction, dependent on the main verb in v. 2. Together, they form a subordinate causal clause. A more literal rendering would be “because his divine power…” The idea is that the basis or authority for the author’s prayer in v. 2 (that grace and peace would abound to the readers) was that God’s power was manifested in their midst. The author’s sentence structure is cumbersome even in Greek; hence, the translation has broken this up into two sentences.

13 tn The word “necessary” is not in the Greek, but is implied by the preposition πρός (pros).

14 tn See the note on “rich knowledge” in v. 2.

15 sn Called. The term καλέω (kalew), used here in its participial form, in soteriological contexts when God is the subject, always carries the nuance of effectual calling. That is, the one who is called is not just invited to be saved – he is also and always saved (cf. Rom 8:30). Calling takes place at the moment of conversion, while election takes place in eternity past (cf. Eph 1:4).

16 tn The datives ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ (idia doxh kai areth) could be taken either instrumentally (“by [means of] his own glory and excellence”) or advantage (“for [the benefit of] his own glory and excellence”). Both the connection with divine power and the textual variant found in several early and important witnesses (διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀρετῆς in Ì72 B 0209vid) argues for an instrumental meaning. The instrumental notion is also affirmed by the meaning of ἀρετῇ (“excellence”) in contexts that speak of God’s attributes (BDAG 130 s.v. ἀρετή 2 in fact defines it as “manifestation of divine power” in this verse).

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