Verse of the Day 6.29.17 — 2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness1
Although several lines of reasoning have resulted in “the scholarly consensus that 2 Peter is pseudepigraphal [*click for definition],”2like Green,3 Lucas and Green,4, and other scholars (not that I am calling myself a scholar), I maintain “that the author is Simon Peter.”5 and that “that such a conclusion is more persuasive than competing theories.”6.
Tabling this debate, at least for the moment, 2 Peter is penned by “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:1). As Wheaton points out, the author was present at the Transfiguration of Jesus (2 Pet 1:16-18 cf. Mk 9:2-12), had written an earlier letter — plausibly 1 Peter (2 Pet 3:1), was, apparently, close to the letter’s recipients whom he calls “dear friends” (2 Pet 3:1, 8, 14, 17), and referred to Paul as a “dear brother” (2 Pet 3:15). Knowing that his earthly days were coming to an end (2 Pet 1:14), Peter writes vehemently against false teaching, and about the future Second Coming of Christ.7
We cannot know for certain who Peter was writing to specifically, but it seems clear that he was writing to believers who were being negatively influenced by heretical teaching — probably an early form of what became known as Gnosticism in the second century A.D.8— before Peter was martyred in Rome in the 60’s A.D.9. Among other things, false teachers were denying the lordship of Christ (2 Pet 2:1) and exhibiting “depraved conduct” (2 Pet 2:2).
A pseudepigraph, is a written work published after the death of a revered figure that consists of content characteristic of that figure, and published under the name of that figure. Such a work would be written to honor the figure.10
His: Though there may be some ambiguity as to whether the pronoun refers to Jesus or God (the Father, 2 Pet 1:2), “His” apparently, grammatically, refers back to “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:1) and “Jesus our Lord”(2 Pet 1:2).11 And, though the deity of Christ is evident throughout the New Testament, as Lucas and Green note, this is one of the few, explicit affirmations of the “divine” power of Jesus.12
Divine power: The Greek terms translated “divine power”, according to scholars, was seldom used in early Christian writings. It only appears three times in the New Testament and seems to have been avoided until the writings of Justin Martyr13— who wrote his First Apology circa 150-155 A.D.14 The term was used much more frequently in the contemporary writings of Greek paganism and Hellenistic Judaism — with which Peter’s readers would be familiar.15 Essentially, Peter “is putting his Christian doctrine into Greek dress for the purposes of communication…”16
Everything we need for a godly life: Christ’s divine power is the source of all that is necessary to meet His high moral standards (see Mat 5:20).17 By living a sinless earthly life (1 Pet 2:22, etc.), Jesus has set the bar impossibly high for us to reach by our own efforts. But, thanks be to God, His own power allows us to do so.
Who called us: Again, there is some ambiguity as to whether Jesus or God the Father is actually calling. But, if him refers to the same subject as his earlier in the verse, than it plausibly continues to refer to Jesus.20 Either way, those who come to a knowledge of Christ do so as a result of being divinely called (cf. Jn 6:44, Rom 8:29-31, etc.).
By his own glory and goodness: The terms for glory and goodness are attributed, in tandem, to God in the Old Testament (Isa 42:8, 12, LXX).21. Glory refers to Christ’s divine splendor while goodness refers to Christ’s moral excellence.22.
Summary: All in all, believers are divinely called to come to a knowledge of Christ. Through this knowledge, Christ’s divine power allows for moral transformation in our lives to meet Christ’s godly standards. As Schreiner succinctly states, “Everything needed for eternal life is mediated through the knowledge of the Christ, who calls believers to himself.”23
I pray the information above was helpful in shedding light on the meaning of today’s passage. Think you can memorize the verse? Using the method outlined in the previous How to Memorize Any Bible Verse In Less Than Five Minutes, I think that you can! Watch the video tutorial below:
How might we apply this passage? Once again side-stepping (for the time being) discussions concerning predestination, it gives me great confidence to know that He who began a good work in us will carry it on until completion (Php 1:6). There is no need to worry about our salvation, for if we truly are in Jesus, we will live as He did (1 Jn 2:6)– through His own power.
Also, it gives me great joy that God graciously began a good work in me in the first place. He is both the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2, ESV).
This is cause for great comfort and thanksgiving. It is also cause to pray — to pray that Christ uses us as ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20) through whom He can deliver His message of reconciliation and call others.
And, others should notice our good deeds, which can lead them to acknowledge and glorify God (Mat 5:16). Our Christian conduct should be a tool for evangelism! Conversely, when others see our ungodly conduct, it reflects poorly on our God. Therefore, as Paul reminds us, we must not think that, since we have been saved through grace, we should continue to sin (Rom 6:1-2 cf. Jn 3:9). I pray that we can remove those things in our lives that our hindering us and entangling us on our metaphorical Christian race (Heb 12:1). For God has given us all we need to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives (Ti 2:11-12).
What do you think about this verse? How might you apply it to your life? Please, feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for allowing CatchForChrist.net to be a part of your Bible study. God Bless!
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Pe 1:3
- Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, eds., Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 924.
- Michael Green, 2 Peter and Jude: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 18, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 19-48.
- R. C. Lucas and Christopher Green, The Message of 2 Peter & Jude: The Promise of His Coming, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 29.
- Green, 48
- Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 276.
- David H. Wheaton, “2 Peter,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1386-88
- Green, 51
- “According to tradition, officials in Rome executed the Apostle Peter in the AD 60s. The tradition of his martyrdom is found as early as 1 Clement 5:4, which can be dated around the end of the first century.” Margaret Froelich, “Martyrdom of Peter,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
- Wheaton, 1386.
- Schreiner, 291
- Lucas and Green, 45
- Peter H. Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2006), 169.
- “Justin Martyr was a noted apologist [defender of doctrine, etc.] and philosopher of the early church.” Benjamin Espinoza, “Early Church Worship,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
- Davids, 169.
- Green, 33
- Lucas and Green, 46
- Davids, 170
- Lucas and Green, 48-49
- Schreiner, 291
- Green, 81
- Schreiner, 293
- Schreiner, 292