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  Discovery Box

2 Peter 1:2-5

Context
1:2 May grace and peace be lavished on you 1  as you grow 2  in the rich knowledge 3  of God and of Jesus our Lord! 4 

Believers’ Salvation and the Work of God

1:3 I can pray this because his divine power 5  has bestowed on us everything necessary 6  for life and godliness through the rich knowledge 7  of the one who called 8  us by 9  his own glory and excellence. 1:4 Through these things 10  he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised 11  you may become partakers of the divine nature, 12  after escaping 13  the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. 14  1:5 For this very reason, 15  make every effort 16  to add to your faith excellence, 17  to excellence, knowledge;

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

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

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

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

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

8 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).

9 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).

10 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.

11 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.

12 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).

13 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.

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

15 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.

16 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.

17 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”).



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