2 Peter 1:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

New Living Translation
For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes

English Standard Version
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Berean Study Bible
For we did not follow cleverly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Berean Literal Bible
For we have not made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ having followed out cleverly devised fables, but having been eyewitnesses of His majesty.

New American Standard Bible
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

King James Bible
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

International Standard Version
When we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, we did not follow any clever myths. Rather, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

NET Bible
For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur.

New Heart English Bible
For we did not follow cunningly devised tales, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For we have not gone after craftily made fables to inform you of the power and the coming of our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, but we were eyewitnesses of his Majesty.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When we apostles told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we didn't base our message on clever myths that we made up. Rather, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes.

New American Standard 1977
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For we have not made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cunningly devised fables, but as eyewitnesses of his majesty.

King James 2000 Bible
For we have not followed cunningly devised myths, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

American King James Version
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

American Standard Version
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For we have not by following artificial fables, made known to you the power, and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness.

Darby Bible Translation
For we have not made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly imagined fables, but having been eyewitnesses of his majesty.

English Revised Version
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Webster's Bible Translation
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.

Weymouth New Testament
For when we made known to you the power and Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not eagerly following cleverly devised legends, but we had been eye-witnesses of His majesty.

World English Bible
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Young's Literal Translation
For, skilfully devised fables not having followed out, we did make known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but eye-witnesses having become of his majesty --
Study Bible
Eyewitnesses of His Majesty
15And I will make every effort to ensure that after my departure, you will be able to recall these things at all times. 16For we did not follow cleverly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice from the Majestic Glory said to Him, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”…
Cross References
Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man will come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will repay each one according to what he has done.

Matthew 16:28
Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Matthew 17:1
After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

Mark 9:2
After six days, Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them.

Mark 13:26
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Mark 14:62
"I am," said Jesus, "and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven."

Luke 1:2
just as they were handed down to us by the initial eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

Luke 9:28
About eight days after Jesus had said these things, He took Peter, John, and James, and went up on a mountain to pray.

Luke 9:43
And they were all astonished at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus was doing, He said to His disciples,

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Treasury of Scripture

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

we have.

2 Peter 3:3,4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, …

1 Corinthians 1:17,23 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not …

1 Corinthians 2:1,4 And I, brothers, when I came to you, came not with excellency of …

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of …

2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in …

2 Corinthians 12:16,17 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I …

Ephesians 4:14 That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried …

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power …

1 Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister …

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself rather …

Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn …

the power.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me …

Mark 9:1 And he said to them, Truly I say to you, That there be some of them …

John 17:2 As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal …

Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit …

1 Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, …

Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to …

coming.

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when …

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the …

Matthew 16:28 Truly I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not …

Matthew 24:3,27 And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, …

1 Corinthians 1:7 So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our …

Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, …

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they …

were.

Matthew 17:1-5 And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, …

Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, …

Luke 9:28-32 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took …

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory…

1 John 1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we …

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be …

(16-21) The certainty of Christ's coming again is the basis of these exhortations; and that certainty is proved (1) by the Transfiguration, which was an anticipation of His coming again in glory; (2) by the utterances of the prophets who predicted it.

(16) For we have not followed.--More literally, For we did not follow, or, It was not by following out, &c., that. "For" introduces the reason for "I will endeavour" above. The word for "follow," or "follow out," occurs again in 2Peter 2:2; 2Peter 2:15, and nowhere else in the New Testament.

Cunningly devised fables.--We cannot be sure that any in particular are meant, whether heathen, Jewish, or Christian; the negative makes the statement quite general. Various things, however, have been suggested as possibly indicated--heathen mythology, Jewish theosophy, Gnostic systems (as yet quite in their infancy in Simon Magus, St. Peter's adversary), and Apocryphal Gospels. Probably some elements in the doctrine of the false teachers are alluded to; something analogous to the "feigned words" of 2Peter 2:3. There is reason for believing that the particular elements in their teaching thus incidentally condemned were of Jewish origin. If this conjecture be correct, then St. Peter is here dealing with errors similar to those condemned by St. Paul (1Timothy 1:4; 2Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14--the only other passages in which the word "fables" occurs). And in this case much light is thrown on some of the marked peculiarities of this Epistle and that of St. Jude, viz., the fondness of both writers for the oldest, and sometimes the most obscureWhen we made known unto you.--It is difficult to determine to what this refers. It is erroneous to suppose that the phrase necessarily implies personal communication by word of mouth. In the First Epistle the Apostle wrote to congregations not personally acquainted with him; and we have no reason for assuming that he had visited them since. "When we made known" may possibly refer to the First Epistle, against which supposition the plural "we" is not conclusive. Or a written Gospel--and, if so, the one with which St. Peter is commonly connected, viz., that of St. Mark--may be in the Apostle's mind. But the simplest explanation is that he refers to the Apostolic teaching generally.

The power and coming.--The power conferred upon Christ after being glorified in His passion and resurrection, and his coming again to judgment. (Comp. 2Peter 3:4; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; 1Corinthians 15:23; &c., &c., where the same Greek word is used.) In this power He will come again. His first coming at the Incarnation would neither be the usual meaning of the word nor would suit the context.

But were eyewitnesses.--More literally, but by having been made eye-witnesses. "It was not by following fables that we made known to you His power and coming, but by having been admitted eye-witnesses." The word for "eye-witness" is sometimes a technical term for one who was admitted to the highest grade of initiation in the Eleusinian mysteries. This meaning would be very applicable here; but it may be doubted whether St. Peter would be familiar with this use of the word. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The kindred verb, "to be an eye-witness," occurs in 1Peter 2:12; 1Peter 3:2, and nowhere else--a coincidence worth noting. The words of another witness of the Transfiguration," And we beheld His glory," &c. (John 1:14), should be compared with the passage before us.

Of his majesty.--At the Transfiguration, which was a foretaste and an earnest of the glory of His second coming. This is St. Peter's view of it; and that it is the correct one is perhaps shown by the Gospels themselves. All three accounts of the Transfiguration are preceded by the declaration, "Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom," or similar words (Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27). Apparently the Transfiguration was regarded by Christ Himself as in some sense the coming of the Son of man.

Verse 16. - For we have not followed cunningly devised fables; rather, did not follow. The participle (ἐξακολουθήσαντες) is aorist. This compound verb is used only by St. Peter in the New Testament; we find it again in 2 Peter 2:2 and 15. Bengel and others have thought that the preposition ἐξ, from or out of, implies wandering from the truth after false guides; but probably the word merely means "to follow closely," though in this case the guides were going astray. Perhaps the use of the plural number is accounted for by the fact that St. Peter was not the only witness of the glory of the Transfiguration; he associates in thought his two brother-apostles with himself. The word μῦθοι, fables, with this exception, occurs in the New Testament only in St. Paul's pastoral Epistles. There is a remarkable parallel in the procemium of the 'Antiquities' of Josephus, sect. 4, Οἱ μεν ἄλλοι νομοθέται τοῖς μύθοις ἐξακολουθήσαντες. St. Peter may be referring to the "Jewish fables" mentioned by St. Paul (Titus 1:14), or to the stories about the heathen gods such as those in Hesiod and Ovid, or possibly to some early inventions, such as those ascribed to Simon the Sorcerer, which were afterwards to be developed into the strange fictions of Gnosticism (comp. 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4). The word rendered "cunningly devised" occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Timothy 3:15; but there a different part of the verb is used, and in a different sense. When we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Peter can scarcely be referring to St. Paul or other missionaries, as the following words identify the preachers with the witnesses of the Transfiguration; he must be alluding either to his First Epistle (comp. 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 1 Peter 4:13), or to personal teaching of his which has not been recorded, or, just possibly, to the Gospel of St. Mark. St. Peter had seen the power of the Lord Jesus manifested in his miracles; he had heard the announcement of the risen Saviour, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;" he had, like the rest of the apostles, been "endued with power from on high." By the coming (παρουσία) he must mean the second advent, the invariable meaning of the word in Holy Scripture (see chapter 2 Peter 3:4, Matthew 24:3, 27; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19, etc.). But were eye-witnesses of his majesty. The word for "eye-witnesses" is not the common one (αὐτόπται, used by St. Luke 1:2), but a technical word (ἐπόπται), which in classical Greek designates the highest class of those who had been initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. The choice of such a word may possibly imply that St. Peter regarded himself and his brother-apostles as having received the highest initiation into the mysteries of religion. The noun is found only here in the New Testament; but the corresponding verb occurs in 1 Peter 2:12 and 1 Pet 3:2, and in no other of the New Testament writers. Here again we have an undesigned coincidence which points to identity of authorship. The word for "majesty" (μεγαλειότης) occurs in St. Luke's description of the healing of the demoniac boy immediately after the Transfiguration (Luke 9:43), and elsewhere only in Acts 19:27. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,.... Such as Jewish fables, cautioned against Titus 1:14 which their traditionary and oral law, their Talmud, and other writings, mention; as concerning the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, the sumptuous feast, and carnal pleasures and entertainments, of that state, with many other things; some of which indeed are not very cunningly put together, but weak enough: or Gentile fables concerning the theogony and exploits of their deities; and which may be meant by fables and endless genealogies in 1 Timothy 1:4, and especially reference may be had to the metamorphoses of their gods, and their fables relating to them, devised by Ovid, and others, since the apostle is about to speak of the metamorphosis, or transfiguration of Christ; and also other fables with which their poets and histories abound; and likewise the prophecies of the Sibyls, and the oracles at Delphos, and elsewhere: or the fabulous accounts of the followers of Simon Magus concerning God, angels, the creation of the world, and the several Aeones; or the more artful composures of the false teachers, set off with all the cunning, sophistry, wit, and eloquence they were masters of. Now in order to set forth the nature, excellency, and certainty of the doctrine the apostle taught, especially that part of it which respected the coming of Christ; and to show that it was worth his while to put them in mind of it, and theirs to remember it; he observes, that he and his fellow apostles did not proceed in their account of it on such a foundation, but upon an evidence which they had received, both with their eyes and ears, and also on a word of prophecy surer than that:

when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; not his first coming, though that, and the benefits arising from it, were the subject of their ministry; and that was attended with divine power, which appeared in the incarnation of Christ itself, which was owing to the power of the Highest; and was seen in his doctrine and ministry, which were with great authority; and in the miracles which he wrought, which proved him to have power equal with God, his Father; and in the work of redemption, which he came about and finished; in doing which he made an end of sin, and saved his people from it, redeemed them from the curse of the law, overcame the world, destroyed Satan, and abolished death; and especially in his resurrection from the dead, when he was declared to be the Son of God with power: but notwithstanding his first coming was in great humility, in much meanness and imbecility, he grew up as a tender plant, and was encompassed with infirmities, and at last was crucified through weakness. This therefore was to be understood of an after coming of his, which the apostle had wrote of, and made known in his former epistle, 1 Peter 1:7 and which he puts them in mind of in this, 2 Peter 3:1, nor is the word used of any other coming of Christ, and this will be with power; and it designs his more near coming to take vengeance on the Jewish nation, and deliver his people from the afflictions and persecution they laboured under, and which was with great power; see Matthew 14:3, or more remote, namely, at the last day, when there will be a great display of power in raising the dead, gathering all nations before him, separating them one from another, passing the final sentence on each, and executing the same in the utter destruction of the wicked, and the complete glorification of the saints.

But were eyewitnesses of his majesty; meaning, not of the glory of his divine nature by faith, and with the eyes of their understanding, while others only considered him as a mere man; nor of the miracles he wrought, in which there was a display of his glory and majesty, of all which the apostles were eyewitnesses; but of that glory and greatness which were upon him, when he was transfigured on the mount before them; then his face was as the sun, and such a glory on his whole body, that it darted through his clothes, and made them glitter like light, and as white as snow, and so as no fuller on earth could whiten them; at which time also Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious forms: and now this was a prelude and pledge of his power and coming, of his kingdom coming with power, and of his coming in his own, and his Father's glory, and in the glory of the holy angels. This was a proof that notwithstanding his meanness in his incarnate state, yet he was glorified, and would be glorified again; and this was a confirmation of it to the apostles, and might be to others: see Matthew 16:27. 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 teaches (compare 1Co 3:13). But compare also 2Pe 2:3, "feigned words."

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, etc., 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 (2Pe 1:1, including, but not restricted, as First Peter, to the churches in Pontus, etc.).

power—the opposite of "fables"; compare the contrast of "word" and "power," 1Co 4:20. 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 (2Pe 3:4): I, James and John, saw with our own eyes a mysterious sample of His coming glory.

were—Greek, "were made."

eye-witnesses—As initiated spectators of mysteries (so the Greek), we were admitted into His innermost secrets, namely, at the Transfiguration.

his—emphatical (compare Greek): "THAT great One's majesty."1:16-21 The gospel is no weak thing, but comes in power, Ro 1:16. The law sets before us our wretched state by sin, but there it leaves us. It discovers our disease, but does not make known the cure. It is the sight of Jesus crucified, in the gospel, that heals the soul. Try to dissuade the covetous worlding from his greediness, one ounce of gold weighs down all reasons. Offer to stay a furious man from anger by arguments, he has not patience to hear them. Try to detain the licentious, one smile is stronger with him than all reason. But come with the gospel, and urge them with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, shed to save their souls from hell, and to satisfy for their sins, and this is that powerful pleading which makes good men confess that their hearts burn within them, and bad men, even an Agrippa, to say they are almost persuaded to be Christians, Ac 26:28. God is well pleased with Christ, and with us in him. This is the Messiah who was promised, through whom all who believe in him shall be accepted and saved. The truth and reality of the gospel also are foretold by the prophets and penmenof the Old Testament, who spake and wrote under influence, and according to the direction of the Spirit of God. How firm and sure should our faith be, who have such a firm and sure word to rest upon! When the light of the Scripture is darted into the blind mind and dark understanding, by the Holy Spirit of God, it is like the day-break that advances, and diffuses itself through the whole soul, till it makes perfect day. As the Scripture is the revelation of the mind and will of God, every man ought to search it, to understand the sense and meaning. The Christian knows that book to be the word of God, in which he tastes a sweetness, and feels a power, and sees a glory, truly divine. And the prophecies already fulfilled in the person and salvation of Christ, and in the great concerns of the church and the world, form an unanswerable proof of the truth of Christianity. The Holy Ghost inspired holy men to speak and write. He so assisted and directed them in delivering what they had received from him, that they clearly expressed what they made known. So that the Scriptures are to be accounted the words of the Holy Ghost, and all the plainness and simplicity, all the power and all the propriety of the words and expressions, come from God. Mix faith with what you find in the Scriptures, and esteem and reverence the Bible as a book written by holy men, taught by the Holy Ghost.
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