Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
US, IN THE
CONFIRMED BY THE
PROPHETS, TO THE
1. Simon--the Greek form: in oldest manuscripts, "Symeon"
(Hebrew, that is, "hearing), as in
His mention of his original name accords with the design of this Second
Epistle, which is to warn against the coming false teachers, by setting
forth the true "knowledge" of Christ on the testimony of the
original apostolic eye-witnesses like himself. This was not
required in the First Epistle.
servant--"slave": so Paul,
to them, &c.--He addresses a wider range of readers (all
believers) than in the First Epistle,
but means to include especially those addressed in the First
obtained--by grace. Applied by Peter to the receiving of
the apostleship, literally, "by allotment": as the Greek is,
They did not acquire it for themselves; the divine election is as
independent of man's control, as the lot which is east forth.
like precious--"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
Saviour." "The common salvation . . . the faith once
delivered unto the saints"
with us--apostles and eye-witnesses
Though putting forward his apostleship to enforce his
exhortation, he with true humility puts himself, as to "the faith," on
a level with all other believers. The degree of faith varies in
different believers; but in respect to its objects, present
justification, sanctification, and future glorification, it is common
alike to all. Christ is to all believers "made of God wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
through--Greek, "in." Translate, as the one article to
both nouns requires, "the righteousness of Him who is (at once)
our God and (our) Saviour." Peter, confirming Pau;'s testimony
to the same churches, adopts Paul's inspired phraseology. The Gospel
plan sets forth God's righteousness, which is Christ's
righteousness, in the brightest light. Faith has its sphere IN it as its peculiar element: God is in redemption
"righteous," and at the same time a "Saviour"; compare
"a just God and a Saviour.
2. Grace . . . peace--
through--Greek, "in": the sphere
IN which alone grace and peace can
knowledge--Greek, "full knowledge."
of God, and of Jesus our Lord--The Father is here meant
by "God," but the Son in
marking how entirely one the Father and Son are
The Vulgate omits "of God and"; but oldest manuscripts support
the words. Still the prominent object of Peter's exhortation is "the
knowledge of Jesus our Lord" (a phrase only in
and, only secondarily, of the Father through Him
2Pe 2:20; 3:18).
3. According as, &c.--Seeing that [ALFORD].
"As He hath given us ALL things (needful)
for life and godliness, (so) do you give us ALL
diligence," &c. The oil and flame are given wholly of grace by God, and
"taken" by believers: their part henceforth is to "trim their lamps"
2Pe 1:3, 4
with 2Pe 1:5,
life and godliness--Spiritual life must exist first
before there can be true godliness. Knowledge of God
experimentally is the first step to life
The child must have vital breath. first, and then cry to, and walk in
the ways of, his father. It is not by godliness that we obtain
life, but by life, godliness. To life stands
opposed corruption; to godliness, lust
to glory and virtue--rather, "through (His) glory." Thus
English Version reads as one oldest manuscript. But other oldest
manuscripts and Vulgate read, "By His own (peculiar)
glory and virtue"; being the explanation of "His divine power";
glory and moral excellency (the same attribute is given
to God in
"praises," literally, "virtues") characterize God's "power." "Virtue,"
the standing word in heathen ethics, is found only once in Paul
and in Peter in a distinct sense from its classic usage; it (in the
heathen sense) is a term too low and earthly for expressing the gifts
of the Spirit [TRENCH, Greek Synonyms of the
4. Whereby, &c.--By His glory and virtue: His
glory making the "promises" to be exceeding great; His
virtue making them "precious" [BENGEL].
Precious promises are the object of precious faith.
given--The promises themselves are a gift: for
God's promises are as sure as if they were fulfilled.
by these--promises. They are the object of faith, and
even now have a sanctifying effect on the believer, assimilating him to
God. Still more so, when they shall be fulfilled.
might, &c.--Greek, "that ye MAY
become partakers of the divine nature," even now in part; hereafter
"We shall be like Him."
the divine nature--not God's essence, but His holiness,
including His "glory" and "virtue,"
the opposite to "corruption through lust." Sanctification is the
imparting to us of God Himself by the Holy Spirit in the soul.
We by faith partake also of the material nature of Jesus
The "divine power" enables us to be partakers of "the divine
escaped the corruption--which involves in, and with itself,
destruction at last of soul and body; on "escaped" as from a
condemned cell, compare
through--Greek, "in." "The corruption in the world" has
its seat, not so much in the surrounding elements, as in the "lust" or
concupiscence of men's hearts.
5. And beside this--rather, "And for this very reason," namely,
"seeing that His divine power hath given unto us all things that
pertain to life and godliness"
giving--literally, "introducing," side by side with God's
gift, on your part "diligence." Compare an instance,
add--literally, "minister additionally," or, abundantly (compare
said properly of the one who supplied all the equipments of a
chorus. So accordingly, "there will be ministered abundantly
unto you an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Saviour"
to--Greek, "in"; "in the possession of your
faith, minister virtue. Their faith (answering to "knowledge
is presupposed as the gift of God
and is not required to be ministered by us; in its
exercise, virtue is to be, moreover, ministered. Each grace
being assumed, becomes the stepping stone to the succeeding grace: and
the latter in turn qualifies and completes the former. Faith
leads the band; love brings up the rear [BENGEL]. The fruits of faith specified are
seven, the perfect number.
virtue--moral excellency; manly, strenuous energy, answering to
the virtue (energetic excellency) of God.
and to--Greek, "in"; "and in (the exercise of) your
virtue knowledge," namely, practical discrimination of good and evil;
intelligent appreciation of what is the will of God in each detail of
6. Greek, "And in your knowledge self-control." In the
exercise of Christian knowledge or discernment of God's will,
let there be the practical fruit of self-control as to one's
lusts and passions. Incontinence weakens the mind; continence, or
self-control, moves weakness and imparts strength And in your
self-control patient endurance" amidst sufferings, so much dwelt on in
the First Epistle, second, third, and fourth chapters. "And in your
patient endurance godliness"; it is not to be mere stoical endurance,
but united to [and flowing from] God-trusting [ALFORD].
7. "And in your godliness brotherly kindness"; not suffering
your godliness to be moroseness, nor a sullen solitary habit of life,
but kind, generous, and courteous [ALFORD]. Your
natural affection and brotherly kindness are to be sanctified by
godliness. "And in your brotherly kindness love," namely, to
all men, even to enemies, in thought, word, and deed. From
brotherly kindness we are to go forward to love. Compare
"Love one toward another (brotherly kindness), and toward all men
(charity)." So charity completes the choir of graces in
In a retrograde order, he who has love will exercise
brotherly kindness; he who has brotherly kindness will
feel godliness needful; the godly will mix nothing
stoical with his patience; to the patient, temperance is
easy; the temperate weighs things well, and so has knowledge;
knowledge guards against sudden impulse carrying away its virtue
8. be--Greek, "subsist" that is, supposing these things
to have an actual subsistence in you; "be" would express the
mere matter-of-fact being
abound--more than in others; so the Greek.
make--"render," "constitute you," habitually, by the very fact
of possessing these graces.
barren--"inactive," and, as a field lying fallow and
unworked (Greek), so barren and useless.
unfruitful in--rather, . . . in respect to,
"The full knowledge (Greek) of Christ" is the goal
towards which all these graces tend. As their subsisting in us
constitutes us not barren or idle, so their abounding in
us constitutes us not unfruitful in respect to it. It is through
doing His will, and so becoming like Him, that we grow in
9. But--Greek, "For." Confirming the need of these graces
by the fatal consequences of the want of them.
he that lacketh--Greek, "he to whom these are not
blind--as to the spiritual realities of the unseen world.
and cannot see afar off--explanatory of "blind." He closes
his eyes (Greek) as unable to see distant objects (namely,
heavenly things), and fixes his gaze on present and earthly things
which alone he can see. Perhaps a degree of wilfulness in the
blindness is implied in the Greek, "closing the eyes," which
constitutes its culpability; hating and rebelling against the light
shining around him.
forgotten--Greek, "contracted forgetfulness," wilful and
that he was purged--The continually present sense of one's sins
having been once for all forgiven, is the strongest stimulus to every
This once-for-all accomplished cleansing of unbelievers at their
new birth is taught symbolically by Christ,
Greek, "He that has been bathed (once for all) needeth
not save to wash his feet (of the soils contracted in the daily
walk), but is clean every whit (in Christ our righteousness)." "Once
purged (with Christ's blood), we should have no more consciousness of
sin (as condemning us,
because of God's promise)." Baptism is the sacramental pledge of
10. Wherefore--seeking the blessed consequence of having, and
the evil effects of not having, these graces
(2Pe 1:8, 9).
the rather--the more earnestly.
brethren--marking that it is affection for them which constrains
him so earnestly to urge them. Nowhere else does he so address them,
which makes his calling them so here the more emphatical.
give diligence--The Greek aorist implies one lifelong
to make--Greek middle voice; to make so far as it
depends on you; to do your part towards making. "To make"
absolutely and finally is God's part, and would be in the active.
your calling and election sure--by ministering additionally
in your faith virtue, and in your virtue knowledge, &c. God must
work all these graces in us, yet not so that we should be mere
machines, but willing instruments in His hands in making
His election of us "secure." The ensuring of our election
is spoken of not in respect to God, whose counsel is steadfast and
everlasting, but in respect to our part. There is no uncertainty
on His part, but on ours the only security is our faith in His
promise and the fruits of the Spirit
(2Pe 1:5-7, 11).
Peter subjoins election to calling, because the
calling is the effect and proof of God's election, which
goes before and is the main thing
(Ro 8:28, 30, 33,
where God's "elect" are those "predestinated," and
election is "His purpose," according to which He "called"
them). We know His calling before His election, thereby
calling is put first.
fall--Greek, "stumble" and fall finally
Metaphor from one stumbling in a race
11. an entrance--rather as Greek, "the entrance"
which ye look for.
ministered--the same verb as in
Minister in your faith virtue and the other graces, so shall
there be ministered to you the entrance into that heaven where
these graces shine most brightly. The reward of grace hereafter shall
correspond to the work of grace here.
abundantly--Greek, "richly." It answers to "abound,"
If these graces abound in you, you shall have your entrance into
heaven not merely "scarcely" (as he had said,
nor "so as by fire," like one escaping with life after having lost all
his goods, but in triumph without "stumbling and falling."
12. Wherefore--as these graces are so necessary to your abundant
entrance into Christ's kingdom
(2Pe 1:10, 11).
I will not be negligent--The oldest manuscripts read, "I will
be about always to put you in remembrance" (an accumulated future:
I will regard you as always needing to be reminded): compare "I will
"I will be sure always to remind you" [ALFORD].
"Always"; implying the reason why he writes the second Epistle so soon
after the first. He feels there is likely to be more and more
need of admonition on account of the increasing corruption
(2Pe 2:1, 2).
in the present truth--the Gospel truth now present with
you: formerly promised to Old Testament believers as about to
be, now in the New Testament actually present with, and in,
believers, so that they are "established" in it as a "present" reality.
Its importance renders frequent monitions never superfluous: compare
Paul's similar apology,
Ro 15:14, 15.
13. Yea--Greek, "But"; though "you know" the truth
this tabernacle--soon to be taken down
I therefore need to make the most of my short time for the good
of Christ's Church. The zeal of Satan against it, the more intense
as his time is short, ought to stimulate Christians on the same
by--Greek, "in" (compare
14. shortly I must put off--Greek, "the putting off (as a
garment) of my tabernacle is speedy": implying a soon
approaching, and also a sudden death (as a violent death
is). Christ's words,
Joh 21:18, 19,
"When thou art old," &c., were the ground of his "knowing," now that he
was old, that his foretold martyrdom was near. Compare as to Paul,
Though a violent death, he calls it a "departure" (Greek for
15. endeavour--"use my diligence": the same Greek word as
this is the field in which my diligence has scope. Peter thus
fulfils Christ's charge, "Feed My sheep"
(Joh 21:16, 17).
decease--"departure." The very word ("exodus") used in the
Transfiguration, Moses and Elias conversing about Christ's
decease (found nowhere else in the New Testament, but
"the departing of Israel" out of Egypt, to which the saints'
deliverance from the present bondage of corruption answers).
"Tabernacle" is another term found here as well as there
(Lu 9:31, 33):
an undesigned coincidence confirming Peter's authorship of this
that ye may be able--by the help of this written Epistle; and
perhaps also of Mark's Gospel, which Peter superintended.
always--Greek, "on each occasion": as often as occasion
to have . . . in remembrance--Greek, "to
exercise remembrance of." Not merely "to remember," as sometimes we do,
things we care not about; but "have them in (earnest) remembrance," as
momentous and precious truths.
16. For--reason why he is so earnest that the remembrance of
these things should be continued after his death.
followed--out in detail.
cunningly devised--Greek, "devised by (man's)
wisdom"; as distinguished from what the Holy Ghost
But compare also
fables--as the heathen mythologies, and the subsequent Gnostic
"fables and genealogies," of which the germs already existed in the
junction of Judaism with Oriental philosophy in Asia Minor. A
precautionary protest of the Spirit against the rationalistic theory of
the Gospel history being myth.
when we made known unto you--not that Peter himself had
personally taught the churches in Pontus, Galatia, &c., but he
was one of the apostles whose testimony was borne to them, and to
the Church in general, to whom this Epistle is addressed
including, but not restricted, as First Peter, to the
churches in Pontus, &c.).
power--the opposite of "fables"; compare the contrast of "word"
A specimen of His power was given at the Transfiguration also of
His "coming" again, and its attendant glory. The Greek
for "coming" is always used of His second advent. A refutation
of the scoffers
I, James and John, saw with our own eyes a mysterious sample of His
were--Greek, "were made."
eye-witnesses--As initiated spectators of mysteries (so the
Greek), we were admitted into His innermost secrets, namely, at
his--emphatical (compare Greek):
"THAT great ONE'S
17. received . . . honour--in the voice that
spake to Him.
glory--in the light which shone around Him.
came--Greek, "was borne": the same phrase occurs only in
one of several instances showing that the argument against the
authenticity of this Second Epistle, from its dissimilarity of style as
compared with First Peter, is not well founded.
such a voice--as he proceeds to describe.
from the excellent glory--rather as Greek, "by (that is,
uttered by) the magnificent glory (that is, by God: as His
glorious manifested presence is often called by the Hebrews "the
Glory," compare "His Excellency,"
in whom--Greek, "in regard to whom" (accusative
"in whom" (dative case) centers and rests My good pleasure. Peter also
omits, as not required by his purpose, "hear Him," showing his
independence in his inspired testimony.
I am--Greek aorist, past time, "My good pleasure
rested from eternity."
18. which came--rather as Greek, "we heard borne from
holy mount--as the Transfiguration mount came to be regarded, on
account of the manifestation of Christ's divine glory there.
we--emphatical: we, James and John, as well as myself.
19. We--all believers.
a more sure--rather as Greek, "we have the word of
prophecy more sure (confirmed)." Previously we knew its sureness
by faith, but, through that visible specimen of its hereafter entire
fulfilment, assurance is made doubly sure. Prophecy assures us
that Christ's sufferings, now past, are to be followed by
Christ's glory, still future: the Transfiguration gives us a
pledge to make our faith still stronger, that "the day" of His glory
will "dawn" ere long. He does not mean to say that "the word of
prophecy," or Scripture, is surer than the voice of God heard at
the Transfiguration, as English Version; for this is plainly not
the fact. The fulfilment of prophecy so far in Christ's history
makes us the surer of what is yet to be fulfilled, His
consummated glory. The word was the "lamp (Greek for 'light')
heeded" by Old Testament believers, until a gleam of the "day dawn" was
given at Christ's first coming, and especially in His Transfiguration.
So the word is a lamp to us still, until "the day" burst forth
fully at the second coming of "the Sun of righteousness." The
day, when it dawns upon you, makes sure the fact that you
saw correctly, though indistinctly, the objects revealed by the
whereunto--to which word of prophecy, primarily the Old
Testament in Peter's day; but now also in our day the New
Testament, which, though brighter than the Old Testament (compare
end), is but a lamp even still as compared with the brightness
of the eternal day (compare
Oral teachings and traditions of ministers are to be tested by the
dark--The Greek implies squalid, having neither
water nor light: such spiritually is the world without, and the smaller
world (microcosm) within, the heart in its natural state. Compare the
(namely, unwatered by the Spirit), through which the unclean spirit
dawn--bursting through the darkness.
day star--Greek, the morning star," as
The Lord Jesus.
in your hearts--Christ's arising in the heart by His
Spirit giving full assurance, creates spiritually full day in the
heart, the means to which is prayerfully giving heed to the
word. This is associated with the coming of the day of the
Lord, as being the earnest of it. Indeed, even our hearts
shall not fully realize Christ in all His unspeakable glory and
felt presence, until He shall come
Isa 66:14, 15,
"When you see this, your heart shall rejoice . . .
For, behold, the Lord will come." However, TREGELLES' punctuation is best, "whereunto ye do well to
take heed (as unto a light shining in a dark place, until the day have
dawned and the morning star arisen) in your hearts." For the day has
already dawned in the heart of believers; what they wait for is its
visible manifestation at Christ's coming.
20. "Forasmuch as ye know this"
first--the foremost consideration in studying the word of
prophecy. Laying it down as a first principle never to be lost
is--Greek, not the simple verb, to be, but to
begin to be, "proves to be," "becometh." No prophecy is found to be
the result of "private (the mere individual writer's uninspired)
interpretation" (solution), and so origination.
The Greek noun epilusis, does not mean in itself
origination; but that which the sacred writer could not always
fully interpret, though being the speaker or writer (as
implies), was plainly not of his own, but of God's disclosure,
origination, and inspiration, as Peter proceeds to add, "But
holy men . . . spake (and afterwards wrote)
. . . moved by the Holy Ghost": a reason why ye should "give"
all "heed" to it. The parallelism to
shows that "private interpretation," contrasted with "moved by
the Holy Ghost," here answers to "fables devised by
(human) wisdom," contrasted with "we were eye-witnesses
of His majesty," as attested by the "voice from God." The words
of the prophetical (and so of all) Scripture writers were not mere
words of the individuals, and therefore to be interpreted by
them, but of "the Holy Ghost" by whom they were "moved." "Private"
"by the will of man" (namely, the individual writer). In a secondary
sense the text teaches also, as the word is the Holy Spirit's,
it cannot be interpreted by its readers (any more than by
its writers) by their mere private human powers, but by
the teaching of the Holy Ghost
"He who is the author of Scripture is its supreme interpreter"
translates, "springs not out of human interpretation," that is, is not
a prognostication made by a man knowing what he means when he
utters it, but," &c.
Rightly: except that the verb is rather, doth become, or
prove to be. It not being of private interpretation, you must
"give heed" to it, looking for the Spirit's illumination
"in your hearts" (compare Note, see on
21. came not in old time--rather, "was never at any time borne"
by the will of man--alone.
"prophets of the deceit of their own heart." Compare
holy--One oldest manuscript has, "men
FROM God": the emissaries from God. "Holy,"
if read, will mean because they had the Holy Spirit.
moved--Greek, "borne" (along) as by a mighty wind:
"rushing (the same Greek) wind": rapt out of themselves:
still not in fanatical excitement
The Hebrew "nabi," "prophet," meant an announcer
or interpreter of God: he, as God's spokesman, interpreted not
his own "private" will or thought, but God's "Man of the Spirit"
Margin). "Thou testifiedst by Thy Spirit in Thy prophets."
"Seer," on the other hand, refers to the mode of receiving the
communications from God, rather than to the utterance of them to
others. "Spake" implies that, both in its original oral announcement,
and now even when in writing, it has been always, and is, the living
voice of God speaking to us through His inspired servants.
Greek, "borne (along)" forms a beautiful antithesis to "was
borne." They were passive, rather than active instruments. The Old
Testament prophets primarily, but including also all the
inspired penmen, whether of the New or Old Testament