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2 Peter 1:1-13

Context
Salutation

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. 1:4 Through these things 17  he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised 18  you may become partakers of the divine nature, 19  after escaping 20  the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. 21  1:5 For this very reason, 22  make every effort 23  to add to your faith excellence, 24  to excellence, knowledge; 1:6 to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; 25  to perseverance, godliness; 1:7 to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish 26  love. 27  1:8 For if 28  these things are really yours 29  and are continually increasing, 30  they will keep you from becoming 31  ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of 32  knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately. 33  1:9 But 34  concerning the one who lacks such things 35  – he is blind. That is to say, he is 36  nearsighted, since he has forgotten about the cleansing of his past sins. 1:10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 37  make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. 38  For by doing this 39  you will never 40  stumble into sin. 41  1:11 For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you.

Salvation Based on the Word of God

1:12 Therefore, I intend to remind you constantly 42  of these things even though you know them and are well established in the truth that you now have. 1:13 Indeed, as long as I am in this tabernacle, 43  I consider it right to stir you up by way of a reminder,

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).

17 tn Verse 4 is in Greek a continuation of v. 3, “through which things.”

sn The phrase these things refers to God’s glory and excellence.

18 tn Grk “through them.” The implication is that through inheriting and acting on these promises the believers will increasingly become partakers of the divine nature.

19 sn Although the author has borrowed the expression partakers of the divine nature from paganism, his meaning is clearly Christian. He does not mean apotheosis (man becoming a god) in the pagan sense, but rather that believers have an organic connection with God. Because of such a connection, God can truly be called our Father. Conceptually, this bears the same meaning as Paul’s “in Christ” formula. The author’s statement, though startling at first, is hardly different from Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians that they “may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (3:19).

20 tn The aorist participle ἀποφυγόντες (apofugonte") is often taken as attendant circumstance to the preceding verb γένησθε (genhsqe). As such, the sense is “that you might become partakers…and might escape…” However, it does not follow the contours of the vast majority of attendant circumstance participles (in which the participle precedes the main verb, among other things). Further, attendant circumstance participles are frequently confused with result participles (which do follow the verb). Many who take this as attendant circumstance are probably viewing it semantically as result (“that you might become partakers…and [thereby] escape…”). But this is next to impossible since the participle is aorist: Result participles are categorically present tense.

21 tn Grk “the corruption in the world (in/because of) lust.”

22 tn The Greek text begins with “and,” a typical Semitism.

sn The reason given is all the provisions God has made for the believer, mentioned in vv. 3-4.

23 tn The participle is either means (“by making every effort”) or attendant circumstance (“make every effort”). Although it fits the normal contours of attendant circumstance participles, the semantics are different. Normally, attendant circumstance is used of an action that is a necessary prelude to the action of the main verb. But “making every effort” is what energizes the main verb here. Hence it is best taken as means. However, for the sake of smoothness the translation has rendered it as a command with the main verb translated as an infinitive. This is in accord with English idiom.

24 tn Or “moral excellence,” “virtue”; this is the same word used in v. 3 (“the one who has called us by his own glory and excellence”).

25 tn Perhaps “steadfastness,” though that is somewhat archaic. A contemporary colloquial rendering would be “stick-to-it-iveness.”

26 sn The final virtue or character quality in this list is “love” (ἀγάπη, agaph). The word was not used exclusively of Christian or unselfish love in the NT (e.g., the cognate, ἀγαπάω [agapaw], is used in John 3:19 of the love of darkness), but in a list such as this in which ἀγάπη is obviously the crescendo, unselfish love is evidently in view. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 187) notes that as the crowning virtue, ἀγάπη encompasses all the previous virtues.

27 tn Each item in Greek begins with “and.” The conjunction is omitted for the sake of good English style, with no change in meaning.

sn Add to your faith excellence…love. The list of virtues found in vv. 5-7 stands in tension to the promises given in vv. 2-4. What appears to be a synergism of effort or even a contradiction (God supplies the basis, the promises, the grace, the power, etc., while believers must also provide the faith, excellence, etc.) in reality encapsulates the mystery of sanctification. Each believer is responsible before God for his conduct and spiritual growth, yet that growth could not take place without God’s prior work and constant enabling. We must not neglect our responsibility, yet the enabling and the credit is God’s. Paul says the same thing: “Continue working out your salvation with humility and dependence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort…is God” (Phil 2:12-13).

28 tn The participles are evidently conditional, as most translations render them.

29 tn The participle ὑπάρχοντα (Juparconta) is stronger than the verb εἰμί (eimi), usually implying a permanent state. Hence, the addition of “really” is implied.

30 sn Continually increasing. There are evidently degrees of ownership of these qualities, implying degrees of productivity in one’s intimacy with Christ. An idiomatic rendering of the first part of v. 8 would be “For if you can claim ownership of these virtues in progressively increasing amounts…”

31 tn Grk “cause [you] not to become.”

32 tn Grk “unto,” “toward”; although it is possible to translate the preposition εἰς (eis) as simply “in.”

33 tn Grk “the [rich] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Verse 8 in Greek does not make a full stop (period), for v. 9 begins with a subordinate relative pronoun. Contemporary English convention requires a full stop in translation, however.

34 tn Grk “for.” The connection, though causal, is also adversative.

35 tn Grk “to the one for whom these things are not present.”

36 tn The words “that is to say, he is” are not in Greek. The word order is unusual. One might expect the author to have said “he is nearsighted and blind” (as the NIV has so construed it), but this is not the word order in Greek. Perhaps the author begins with a strong statement followed by a clarification, i.e., that being nearsighted in regard to these virtues is as good as being blind.

37 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1., where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).

38 tn Grk “make your calling and election sure.”

sn Make sure of your calling and election. The author is not saying that virtue and holiness produce salvation, but that virtue and holiness are the evidence of salvation.

39 tn Grk “these things.”

40 tn In Greek οὐ μή (ou mh) followed by the subjunctive is normally the strongest way to negate an action. Coupled with πότε (pote, “ever”), the statement is even more emphatic. The author is offering sage advice on how to grow in grace.

41 tn The words “into sin” are not in the Greek text, but the Greek word πταίω (ptaiw) is used in soteriological contexts for more than a mere hesitation or stumbling. BDAG 894 s.v. 2 suggests that here it means “be ruined, be lost,” referring to loss of salvation, while also acknowledging that the meaning “to make a mistake, go astray, sin” is plausible in this context. Alternatively, the idea of πταίω here could be that of “suffer misfortune” (so K. L. Schmidt, TDNT 6:884), as a result of sinning.

42 tn Grk “always.”

43 tn Or “tent.” The author uses this as a metaphor for his physical body.

sn The use of the term tabernacle for the human body is reminiscent both of John’s statements about Jesus (“he tabernacled among us” in John 1:14; “the temple of his body” in John 2:21) and Paul’s statements about believers (e.g., “you are God’s building” in 1 Cor 3:9; “you are God’s temple” in 1 Cor 3:16; “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” in 1 Cor 6:19; “holy temple” in Eph 2:21). It is precisely because the Shekinah glory has been transferred from the OT temple to the person of Jesus Christ and, because he inhabits believers, to them, that the author can speak this way. His life on earth, his physical existence, is a walking tabernacle, a manifestation of the glory of God.



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