2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
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(1) Simon Peter.—The marginal reading “Symeon” is to be preferred. “Simon” has probably been substituted as being more usual. The Geneva Bible, which our translators unfortunately sometimes follow when it is misleading, has “Simeon.” “Symeon,” of St. Peter, occurs elsewhere only Acts 15:14, in a speech of the strongly Jewish St. James. As being the more Jewish form of the name, it points to a Jewish Christian as the author; and as being unusual, it shows that the writer, if not the Apostle, is no slavish imitator. As coming from St. Peter, the Apostle of the circumcision, it is natural enough. The differences between this opening and that of 1 Peter are instructive. There, as approaching communities which might seem to belong to St. Paul, he carefully suppresses everything personal; he calls himself merely “Peter,” the name which Christ Himself had given him along with his high commission (Matthew 16:18), and “Apostle,” the title which stated his commission. Here, as coming a second time to those who now know him better (both through his former Epistle and through Silvanus), he adds personal designations. There, as if not venturing to depart greatly from his own peculiar field, he addresses himself mainly to the Jewish converts. Here, with more boldness, the natural result of increased familiarity, he addresses Gentile converts chiefly. (See Note on 1Peter 1:1.)

A servant and an apostle.—De Wette suspects a combination of 1Peter 1:1 with Jude 1:1. The coincidence is too slight to argue upon. (See Romans 1:1 and Note on Jude 1:1.) The amount of similarity between the opening verses of Jude and those of this Epistle is too small for any conclusions as to the dependence of one on the other. Although the word for “servant” strictly means slave, the English version is quite correct. (See on Romans 1:1.)

To them that have obtained.—The Greek word implies that they have not won it or earned it for themselves, but that it has been allotted to them. Comp. Acts 1:17, where the same word (rare in the New Testament) occurs in a speech of St. Peter. (See Note on “godliness,” 2Peter 1:3.) Another coincidence to be noticed is the way in which St. Peter speaks of the Gentile Christians (Acts 11:17) when charged with having visited “men uncircumcised,” and again (Acts 15:8-11) at the Council of Jerusalem; both remarkable parallels to this.

Like precious faith with us.—Not that all had an equal amount of faith, which would scarcely be possible; nor that their faith gave all an equal right to salvation, which the Greek could scarcely mean; but that all believed the same precious mysteries. (Comp. 1Peter 1:7.) It is delicately implied that “we as well as you have had it allotted to us; it is no credit to us; we are not superior to you.” “Us” may mean either the Apostles, or (more probably) the first Christians, as distinct from those converted later, i.e., Jewish as distinct from Gentile Christians. This shows that Gentile converts are chiefly addressed in this Epistle, as Jewish in the First Epistle. Gentiles would be more likely to be doubters respecting Christ’s return to judgment, than Jews well acquainted with Hebrew prophecies on the subject. Gentiles also would be more likely than Jews to fall into the excesses denounced in the second chapter, which bear a strong resemblance to the catalogue of heathen vices given by St. Paul in Romans 1 The idea that Christians are the antitype of the chosen people is prominent in St. Peter’s writings. (Comp. 2Peter 2:1, and 1Peter 1:10.) Note that no particular churches are mentioned. The Second Epistle is more “general” or “catholic” in its address than the First. Here again we have a mark of independence. A writer personating St. Peter, and referring to the former Letter (2Peter 3:1), would probably have taken care to make the address of the second letter tally exactly with that of the first.

Through the righteousness.—Better, in the righteousness. So Wiclif, Tyndale, and Rheims version. “Righteousness” is variously explained. Perhaps the best interpretation is “fairness, justice.” He has no respect of persons, and hence has given to all Christians, early or late, Jew or Gentile, a “like precious faith.”

Of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.—Better, of our God and (our) Saviour Jesus Christ. Here, as in Titus 2:13 (comp. 2Thessalonians 1:12), we are somewhat in doubt as to whether we have one or two Persons of the Trinity mentioned. Rigid grammar would incline us to make “God” and “Saviour” both apply to Christ. But rigid grammar alone is not always the safest guide in interpreting Scripture. The very next verse, independently of other considerations, seems to determine that both the Father and the Son are here mentioned. The mode of expression which causes doubt on the subject, perhaps indicates the writer’s perfect belief in the oneness of the Father with the Son. The addition of “Saviour” to the name of Jesus Christ is very frequent in this Epistle (2Peter 1:11, 2Peter 2:20; 2Peter 3:18; comp. 2Peter 3:2). It shows how completely “Jesus” had become a proper name, the exact signification of which was becoming obscured. “Saviour” does not occur in 1 Pet., but the cognate “salvation” does (2Peter 1:5; 2Peter 1:9-10; 2Peter 2:2). Both words point onwards to safety from perdition at the last. (Comp. St. Peter’s speech, Acts 5:31.)

2 Peter


2 Peter 1:1.

Peter seems to have had a liking for that word ‘precious.’ It is not a very descriptive one; it does not give much light as to the quality of the things to which it is applied; but it is a suggestion of one-idea value. It is interesting to notice the objects to which, in his two letters--for I take this to be his letter--he applies it. He speaks of the trial of faith as being ‘precious.’ He speaks {with a slight modification of the word employed} of Jesus Christ as being ‘to them that believe, precious.’ He speaks of the ‘precious’ blood of Christ. These instances are in the first epistle. In this second epistle we have the words of my text, and a moment after, ‘exceeding great and precious promises.’ Now look at Peter’s list of valuables; ‘Christ, Christ’s blood, God’s promises, our Faith, and the discipline to which that faith is subjected.’ These are things that the old man had found out to be of worth.

But then there is another word in my text that must be noted, ‘like precious.’ It brings into view two classes, to one of which Peter himself belongs--’us’ and ‘they.’ Who are these two classes? It may be that he is thinking of the immense difference between the intelligent and developed faith of himself and the other Apostles, and the rudimentary and infantile faith of the recent believers to whom he may be speaking. And, if so, that would be beautiful, but I rather take it that he is tacitly contrasting in his own mind the difference between the Gentile converts as a whole, and the members of the Jewish community who had become believers in Jesus Christ, and that he is repeating the lesson that he had learned on the housetop at Joppa, and had had further confirmed to him by the experience of Cæsarea, and that he is really saying exactly what he said when he defended himself before the Council in Jerusalem: ‘Seeing that God had given unto them the like gift that he did unto us, who was I, that I should withstand God?’ And so he looks out over all the Christian community, and ignores ‘the middle wall of partition,’ and says, ‘Them that have obtained like precious faith with us.’ I wish very simply to try to draw out the thoughts that lie in these words, and cluster round that well-worn and threadbare theological expression and Christian verity of ‘faith’ or ‘trust.’

I. And the first thing that I would desire to point you to is, what we learn here as to the object of faith.

Now those of you who are using the Revised Version will notice that there is a very slight, but important, alteration there, from the rendering in the old translation. We read in the latter: ‘Like precious faith with us through the righteousness, ...’ and that is a meaning that might be defended. But the Revised Version says, and says more accurately as far as the words go, and more truly as far as Christian thought goes, ‘them that have obtained like precious faith with us in the righteousness.’ Now, I daresay, it will occur to us all that that is a departure from the usual form in which faith is presented to us in the New Testament, because there, thank God! we are clearly taught that the one thing which faith grapples is not a thing but a Person. Christian faith is only human trust turned in a definite direction. Just as our trust lays hold on one another, so the object of faith is, in the deepest analysis, no doctrine, no proposition, not even a Divine fact, not even a Divine promise, but the Doer of the fact, and the Promiser of the promise, and the Person, Jesus Christ. When you say, ‘I trust so-and-so’s word!’ what you mean is, ‘I trust him, and so I put credence in his word.’ And Christianity would have been delivered from mountains of misconception, and many a poor soul would have felt that a blaze of light had come in upon it, if this had been clearly proclaimed, and firmly apprehended by preachers and by hearers, that the object of trust is the living Person, Jesus Christ, and that the trust which grapples us to Him is essentially a personal relation entered into by our wills and hearts far more than by our heads.

All that is being apprehended by the Christian Church to-day a great deal more clearly than it used to be when some of us were young. But we have the defects of our qualities. And this generation is accustomed far too lightly and superficially to say ‘Oh! I do not care about doctrines. I cleave to the living Christ!’ Amen! say I. But there is another question--What Christ is it that you are cleaving to? For our only way of knowing a person with whom we have no external acquaintance is by what we are told about him, and believe about him. And so, while we cannot assert too strongly that faith or trust in the living Christ, and not in a dogma, is the basis of real Christian life, we have need to be very definite and sure as to what Christ--which Christ--it is that we are trusting to? And there my text comes in, and tells us that faith is to grasp Christ as our righteousness; and another saying of the Apostle Paul’s comes in, who for once speaks of faith as being faith not only in the Christ, but in ‘His blood’:--

‘Jesus! Thy blood and righteousness,

My beauty are, my glorious dress.’

Brethren! you will not get beyond that. The Christ, trusting in whom we have life and salvation, is the Christ whose blood cleanses, whose righteousness clothes us poor, sinful men. So, while proclaiming with all emphasis, and rejoicing to press it upon all my brethren, that salvation comes by personal trust in the Person, I supplement and fill out, not contradict, that proclamation, when I further say that the Person by trusting in whom we are saved, is the Jesus whose blood cleanses and whose righteousness becomes ours. That righteousness is, in our text, contemplated as God’s, as being embodied in Christ’s, that from Him it may be imparted to us, if we will fulfil the condition on which alone it can be ours, viz., faith. It becomes ours, by no mere imputation which has not a reality at the back of it, but because faith brings us into such a vital union with Jesus Christ as that His righteousness, or at least a spark from the central flame, becomes ours, not only in reference to our exemption from the burden of our guilt, but in reference to our becoming conformed to the image of His dear Son, and created anew in righteousness and holiness. The object of faith is Christ, the Christ whose blood and righteousness cleanses and clothes sinful souls.

II. Let me ask you to look, in the next place, to what this text suggests to us about the worth of Christian faith.

Peter calls it precious. Consider its worth as a channel. There is a very remarkable expression used in the Acts of the Apostles, ‘The door of faith.’ A door is of little value in itself, worth a few shillings at the most, but if it opens the way into a palace then it is worth something. And all the preciousness that there is in faith comes, not from its intrinsic value, but from the really precious things which it gives into our hands. Just as the dyer’s hand may be tinged with royal purple, if he has been working in it, or a woman’s hand may be scented and made fragrant if she has been handling perfumes, so the hand of faith takes tint and fragrance from that with which it is conversant. It is precious because it is the channel by which all precious things flow into our hearts and lives. If Ladysmith is, as I suppose it is, dependent for its water supply on one lead pipe, the preciousness of that pipe is not measured by what it would fetch if it were put up to auction for its lead, but by that which flows through it, and without which Death would come. And my faith is the pipe by which all the water of life comes sparkling and rejoicing into my thirsty soul. It is the opening of the door ‘that the King of Glory may come in’; it is the taking down of the shutters that the sunshine may blaze into the darkened chamber; it is the grasping of the electric wire that the circuit may be completed. God puts out His hand, and we lay hold of it. It is not the outstretched hand from earth, but the down-stretched hand from heaven that makes the tottering man stand. So, dear friends, let us understand that salvation does not come as the reward of faith, but that the salvation is in the faith, because faith is the channel by which all God’s salvation pours into us. So there is nothing arbitrary in the way of salvation, as some shallow thinkers seem to propose, and there is no reason in the question, ‘Why does God make salvation depend upon faith?’ God could not but make salvation depend upon faith, because there is no other possible way by which the blessings which are gathered together into that one great pregnant word ‘salvation’ could find their way into a man’s heart but through the channel of his trust. Have you opened that channel? If you have not, you need not wonder it cannot be otherwise--that salvation does not come unto you.

Consider its worth as a defence. The Apostle in one place speaks about ‘the shield of faith.’ But there is nothing in the belief that I am safe to make me safe. It is very often a fatal blunder. All depends upon that or Him, to which or whom I am trusting for my safety. Put yourself beneath the true Shield--’The Lord God is a sun and shield’--and then you will be safe. Your way of running into the strong tower which alone, with its massive walls, protects us from all danger and from all sin, is by trusting Him.

Just as light things on a ship’s deck have to be lashed in order to be secured and lie still, you and I have to lash ourselves to Jesus Christ; then, not by reason of the lashings, but by reason of Him, we are fastened and secured.

Consider the worth of faith as a means of purifying. This very Apostle, in his great speech in Jerusalem, when vindicating the reception of the Gentiles into the Church, spoke of God as having ‘purified their hearts by faith.’ And here again, I say, there is no cleansing power in the act of trust. Cleansing power is in that which, by the act of trust, comes into my heart. Faith is not simple receptivity, not mere passive absorbing of what is given, but it is the active taking by desire as well as by confidence. And when we trust in Jesus Christ, His blood and righteousness, there flows into our hearts that Divine life which, like a river turned into a dung-heap, will sweep all the filth before it. You have to get the purifying power by faith. Ay! and you have to utilise the purifying power by effort and by work. ‘What God hath joined together, let not men put asunder.’

III. Now, lastly, note the identity of faith.

‘Like precious,’ says Peter, and, as I said, there may be defended a double application of the word, and two sets of pairs of classes may be supposed to have been in his mind. I do not discuss which of these may be the case, only I would suggest to you that from this beautiful gathering together of all the diversities of the Christian character, conception, and development into one great whole, we are taught that the one thing that makes a Christian is this trust. That is the universal characteristic; that is uniform, whatever may differ. Ah! how much and how little it takes to make a Christian. ‘Only faith?’ you say. Yes, thank God! not this, or that, not rites, not anything that a priest can do to you. Not orthodoxy; not morality; these will come, but trust in Christ and His blood and righteousness. England is a Christian country; is it? This is a Christian congregation; is it? You are a Christian; are you? Are you trusting in that Christ? If you are not; no! though you be orthodox up to the eyebrows, and though seven or seven hundred sacraments may have been given to you, and though you be a clean living man--all that does not make a Christian, but this does--’Like precious faith with us in the righteousness of God and our Saviour.’

Again, this great thought of the identity or uniformity of the one characteristic may suggest to us how Christian faith is one, under all varieties of form. There never has been in the Christian Church again, notwithstanding all our deplorable divisions and schisms, such a tremendous cleft as there was in the primitive Church between the Jewish and Gentile components thereof. But Peter flings this flying bridge across that abyss, and knits the two sides together, because he knows that away out yonder, amongst the Gentiles, and here in the little circle of the Jewish believers, there was the one faith that unifies all.

So, dear friends, there should be the widest charity, but no vagueness; for the Christian faith in Him which unifies and bridges over all differences, mental and theological, is the Christ by whose blood we are cleansed, with whose righteousness we are made righteous.

Again, from the same thought flows the other, of the identity of the uniform characteristic, at all stages of development or maturity. The mustard-seed and the tree, ‘which is greater than all herbs,’ have the same life in them. And the feeblest, tremulous little spark in some heart, just kindled, and scarcely capable of sustaining itself, is one with the flame leaping heaven-high, which lights up and cleanses the whole soul. So for those in advance, humility, and for those in the rear, hope. And something more than hope, for if you have the feeblest beginning of tremulous trust, you have that which only needs to be fostered to make you like Jesus Christ. Look at what follows our text: ‘Add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge,’ and so on, through the whole linked series of Christian graces. They all come out of that trust which knits us to Him who is the source of them all. So you and I are responsible for bringing our faith to the highest development of which it is capable.

Alas! alas! are we not all like this very Apostle, who, in an ecstasy of trust and longing, ventured himself on the wave, and as soon as he felt the cold water creeping above his knees lost his trust, and so lost his buoyancy, and was ready to go down like a stone? He had so little faith, that he was beginning to sink; he had so much that he put out his hand--a desperate hand it was--and cried, ‘Lord, save me!’ And the hand came, and that steadied him, and bore him up till the water was beneath the soles of his feet again. ‘Lord! I believe; help Thou my unbelief!’

2 Peter 1:1-2. To them that have obtained — Not by their own works, but by the free grace of God; like precious faith with us — The apostles; the faith of those who have not seen being of the same nature, value, and virtue, equally precious, with that of those who saw our Lord in the flesh; εν, in, or through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ — That is, faith in, and received through, the mercy (in consistence with the justice) of God the Father, and in and through the obedience unto death of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is according to the common translation. “But on what authority,” says Macknight, “our translators have rendered του θεου ημων και σωτηρος, of God and our Saviour, I know not.” The literal translation of the clause undoubtedly is, Faith in, or through, the righteousness, (namely, both active and passive,) of our God and Saviour, which is at once a principal object of saving faith, and that through which alone the justice of God is satisfied, and saving faith conferred upon us. Some, however, are of opinion that the relative our, in the first clause, though omitted in the second, is to be understood as repeated. The reading would then be, the righteousness of our God, and of our Saviour. But the propriety of this construction is justly questioned. Grace and peace — See on 1 Peter 1:2; through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord — Through the experimental, practical knowledge of the Father and of the Son, (who, as appears from the order of the original words, are both here intended,) even that knowledge which is communicated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, (see Matthew 11:27; Ephesians 1:17; 1 John 5:20,) and in which consisteth our eternal life, John 17:3, where see the note.

1:1-11 Faith unites the weak believer to Christ, as really as it does the strong one, and purifies the heart of one as truly as of another; and every sincere believer is by his faith justified in the sight of God. Faith worketh godliness, and produces effects which no other grace in the soul can do. In Christ all fulness dwells, and pardon, peace, grace, and knowledge, and new principles, are thus given through the Holy Spirit. The promises to those who are partakers of a Divine nature, will cause us to inquire whether we are really renewed in the spirit of our minds; let us turn all these promises into prayers for the transforming and purifying grace of the Holy Spirit. The believer must add knowledge to his virtue, increasing acquaintance with the whole truth and will of God. We must add temperance to knowledge; moderation about worldly things; and add to temperance, patience, or cheerful submission to the will of God. Tribulation worketh patience, whereby we bear all calamities and crosses with silence and submission. To patience we must add godliness: this includes the holy affections and dispositions found in the true worshipper of God; with tender affection to all fellow Christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travellers to the same country, heirs of the same inheritance. Wherefore let Christians labour to attain assurance of their calling, and of their election, by believing and well-doing; and thus carefully to endeavour, is a firm argument of the grace and mercy of God, upholding them so that they shall not utterly fall. Those who are diligent in the work of religion, shall have a triumphant entrance into that everlasting kingdom where Christ reigns, and they shall reign with him for ever and ever; and it is in the practice of every good work that we are to expect entrance to heaven.Simon Peter - Margin, "Symeon." The name is written either "Simon" or "Simeon" - Σίμων Simōn or Συμεών Sumeōn. Either word properly means "hearing;" and perhaps, like other names, was at first significant. The first epistle 1 Peter 1:1 begins simply, "Peter, an apostle," etc. The name Simon, however, was, his proper name - "Peter," or "Cephas," having been added to it by the Saviour, John 1:42. Compare Matthew 16:18.

A servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ - In the first epistle the word "apostle" only is used. Paul, however, uses the word "servant" as applicable to himself in Romans 1:1, and to himself and Timothy in the commencement of the epistle to the Philippians, Philippians 1:1. See the notes at Romans 1:1.

To them that have obtained like precious faith with us - With us who are of Jewish origin. This epistle was evidently written to the same persons as the former (Introduction, Section 3), and that was intended to embrace many who were of Gentile origin. Notes, 1 Peter 1:1. The apostle addresses them all now, whatever was their origin, as heirs of the common faith, and as in all respects brethren.

Through the righteousness of God - Through the method of justification which God has adopted. See this fully explained in the notes at Romans 1:17.

(The original is ἐν δικαιοσυνη en dikaiosunē, in the righteousness, etc., which makes the righteousness the object of faith. We cannot but regard the author's rendering of the famous phrase here used by Peter, and by Paul, Romans 1:17; Romans 3:21, as singularly unhappy. That Newcome used it and the Socinian version adopted it, would not make us reject it; but when the apostles state specially the ground of justification, why should they be made to speak indefinitely of its general "plan," or method. The rendering of Stuart, namely, "justification of God," is not more successful; it confounds the "thing itself" with the "ground" of it. Why not prefer the apostle's own words to any change or periphrasis? See the supplementary note at Romans 1:17).

God and our Saviour Jesus Christ - Margin, "our God and Saviour." The Greek will undoubtedly bear the construction given in the margin; and if this be the true rendering, it furnishes an argument for the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Middleton, Slade, Valpy, Bloomfield, and others, contend that this is the true and proper rendering. It is doubted, however, by Wetstein, Grotius, and others. Erasmus supposes that it may be taken in either sense. The construction, though certainly not a violation of the laws of the Greek language, is not so free from all doubt as to make it proper to use the passage as a proof-text in an argument for the divinity of the Saviour. It is easier to prove the doctrine from other texts that are plain, than to show that this must be the meaning here.



Authenticity and genuineness.—If not a gross imposture, its own internal witness is unequivocal in its favor. It has Peter's name and apostleship in its heading: not only his surname, but his original name Simon, or Simeon, he thus, at the close of his life, reminding his readers who he originally was before his call. Again, in 2Pe 1:16-18, he mentions his presence at the Transfiguration, and Christ's prophecy of his death! and in 2Pe 3:15, his brotherhood with Paul. Again, in 2Pe 3:1, the author speaks of himself as author of the former Epistle: it is, moreover, addressed so as to include (but not to be restricted to) the same persons as the first, whom he presupposes to be acquainted with the writings of Paul, by that time recognized as "Scripture" (2Pe 3:15, "the long-suffering of God," compare Ro 2:4). This necessarily implies a late date, when Paul's Epistles (including Romans) already had become generally diffused and accepted as Scripture in the Church. The Church of the fourth century had, besides the testimony which we have of the doubts of the earlier Christians, other external evidence which we have not, and which, doubtless, under God's overruling providence, caused them to accept it. It is hard to understand how a book palpably false (as it would be if Peter be not the author) could have been accepted in the Canon as finally established in the Councils of Laodicea, A.D. 360 (if the fifty-ninth article be genuine), Hippo, and Carthage in the fourth century (393 and 397). The whole tone and spirit of the Epistle disprove its being an imposture. He writes as one not speaking of himself, but moved by the Holy Ghost (2Pe 1:21). An attempt at such a fraud in the first ages would have brought only shame and suffering, alike from Christians and heathen, on the perpetrator: there was then no temptation to pious frauds as in later times. That it must have been written in the earliest age is plain from the wide gulf in style which separates it and the other New Testament Scriptures from even the earliest and best of the post-apostolic period. Daille well says, "God has allowed a fosse to be drawn by human weakness around the sacred canon to protect it from all invasion."

Traces of acquaintance with it appear in the earliest Fathers. Hermas [Similitudes, 6.4] (compare 2Pe 2:13), Greek, "luxury in the day … luxuriating with their own deceivings"; and [Shepherd, Vision 3.7], "They have left their true way" (compare 2Pe 2:15); and [Shepherd, Vision 4.3], "Thou hast escaped this world" (compare 2Pe 2:20). Clement of Rome, [Epistle to the Corinthians, 7.9; 10], as to Noah's preaching and Lot's deliverance, "the Lord making it known that He does not abandon those that trust in Him, but appoints those otherwise inclined to judgment" (compare 2Pe 2:5, 6, 7, 9). Irenæus, A.D. 178 ("the day of the Lord is as a thousand years"), and Justin Martyr seem to allude to 2Pe 3:8. Hippolytus [On Antichrist], seems to refer to 2Pe 1:21, "The prophets spake not of their own private (individual) ability and will, but what was (revealed) to them alone by God." The difficulty is, neither Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, nor the oldest Syriac (Peschito) version (the later Syriac has it), nor the fragment known as Muratori's Canon, mentions it. The first writer who has expressly named it is Origen, in the third century (Homily on Joshua; also Homily 4 on Leviticus, and Homily 13 on Numbers), who names it "Scripture," quoting 2Pe 1:4; 2:16; however (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.25]), he mentions that the Second Epistle was doubted by some. Firmilian, bishop of Cappadocia, in Epistle to Cyrpian speaks of Peter's Epistles as warning us to avoid heretics (a monition which occurs in the Second, not the First Epistle). Now Cappadocia is one of the countries mentioned (compare 1Pe 1:1 with 2Pe 3:1) as addressed; and it is striking, that from Cappadocia we get the earliest decisive testimony. "Internally it claims to be written by Peter, and this claim is confirmed by the Christians of that very region in whose custody it ought to have been found" [Tregelles].

The books disputed (Antilegomena), as distinguished from those universally recognized (Homologoumena), are Epistles Second Peter, James, Second and Third John, Jude, the Apocalypse, Epistle to Hebrews (compare Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.3,25]). The Antilegomena stand in quite a different class from the Spurious; of these there was no dispute, they were universally rejected; for example, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Revelation of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas. Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 348) enumerates seven Catholic Epistles, including Second Peter; so also Gregory Nazianzen (A.D. 389), and Epiphanius (A.D. 367). The oldest Greek manuscripts extant (of the fourth century) contain the Antilegomena. Jerome [On Illustrious Men], conjectured, from a supposed difference of style between the two Epistles, that Peter, being unable to write Greek, employed a different translator of his Hebrew dictation in the Second Epistle, and not the same as translated the First into Greek. Mark is said to have been his translator in the case of the Gospel according to Mark; but this is all gratuitous conjecture. Much of the same views pervade both Epistles. In both alike he looks for the Lord's coming suddenly, and the end of the world (compare 2Pe 3:8-10 with 1Pe 4:5); the inspiration of the prophets (compare 1Pe 1:10-12 with 2Pe 1:19-21; 3:2); the new birth by the divine word a motive to abstinence from worldly lusts (1Pe 1:22; 2:2; compare 2Pe 1:4); also compare 1Pe 2:9 with 2Pe 1:3, both containing in the Greek the rare word "virtue" (1Pe 4:17 with 2Pe 2:3).

It is not strange that distinctive peculiarities of STYLE should mark each Epistle, the design of both not being the same. Thus the sufferings of Christ are more prominent in the First Epistle, the object there being to encourage thereby Christian sufferers; the glory of the exalted Lord is more prominent in the Second, the object being to communicate fuller "knowledge" of Him as the antidote to the false teaching against which Peter warns his readers. Hence His title of redemption, "Christ," is the one employed in the First Epistle; but in the Second Epistle, "the Lord." Hope is characteristic of the First Epistle; full knowledge, of the Second Epistle. In the First Epistle he puts his apostolic authority less prominently forward than in the Second, wherein his design is to warn against false teachers. The same difference is observable in Paul's Epistles. Contrast 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:1; Php 1:1, with Ga 1:1; 1Co 1:1. The reference to Paul's writings as already existing in numbers, and as then a recognized part of Scripture (2Pe 3:15, 16), implies that this Epistle was written at a late date, just before Peter's death.

Striking verbal coincidences occur: compare 1Pe 1:19, end, with 2Pe 3:14, end; "His own," Greek, 2Pe 1:3, 2Pe 2:16; 3:17 with 1Pe 3:1, 5. The omission of the Greek article, 1Pe 2:13 with 2Pe 1:21; 2:4, 5, 7. Moreover, two words occur, 2Pe 1:13, "tabernacle," that is, the body, and 2Pe 1:15, "decease," which at once remind us of the transfiguration narrative in the Gospel. Both Epistles refer to the deluge, and to Noah as the eighth that was saved. Though the First Epistle abounds in quotations of the Old Testament, whereas the Second contains none, yet references to the Old Testament occur often (2Pe 1:21; 2:5-8, 15; 3:5, 6, 10, 13). Compare Greek, "putting away," 1Pe 3:21, with 2Pe 1:14; Greek, "pass the time," 1Pe 1:17, with 2Pe 2:18; "walked in," 1Pe 4:3, with 2Pe 2:10; 3:3; "called you," 1Pe 1:15; 2:9; 5:10, with 2Pe 1:3.

Moreover, more verbal coincidences with the speeches of Peter in Acts occur in this Second, than in the First Epistle. Compare Greek, "obtained," 2Pe 1:1 with Ac 1:17; Greek, "godliness," 2Pe 1:6, with Ac 3:12, the only passage where the term occurs, except in the Pastoral Epistles; and 2Pe 2:9 with Ac 10:2, 7; "punished," 2Pe 2:9, with Ac 4:21, the only places where the term occurs; the double genitive, 2Pe 3:2, with Ac 5:32; "the day of the Lord," 2Pe 3:10, with Ac 2:20, where only it occurs, except in 1Th 5:2.

The testimony of Jude, Jude 17, 18, is strong for its genuineness and inspiration, by adopting its very words, and by referring to it as received by the churches to which he, Jude, wrote, "Remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts." Jude, therefore, must have written after Second Peter, to which he plainly refers; not before, as Alford thinks. No less than eleven passages of Jude rest on similar statements of Second Peter. Jude 2, compare 2Pe 1:2; Jude 4, compare 2Pe 2:1; Jude 6, compare 2Pe 2:4; Jude 7, compare 2Pe 2:6; Jude 8, compare 2Pe 2:10; Jude 9, compare 2Pe 2:11; Jude 11, compare 2Pe 2:15; Jude 12, compare 2Pe 2:17; Jude 16, compare 2Pe 2:18; Jude 18, compare 2Pe 2:1; 3:3. Just in the same way Micah, Mic 4:1-4, leans on the somewhat earlier prophecy of Isaiah, whose inspiration he thereby confirms. Alford reasons that because Jude, in many of the passages akin to Second Peter, is fuller than Second Peter, he must be prior. This by no means follows. It is at least as likely, if not more so, that the briefer is the earlier, rather than the fuller. The dignity and energy of the style is quite consonant to what we should expect from the prompt and ardent foreman of the apostles. The difference of style between First and Second Peter accords with the distinctness of the subjects and objects.

The date, from what has been said, would be about A.D. 68 or 69, about a year after the first, and shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, the typical precursor of the world's end, to which 2Pe 3:10-13 so solemnly calls attention, after Paul's ministry had closed (compare Greek aorist tense, "wrote," past time, 2Pe 3:15), just before Peter's own death. It was written to include the same persons, and perhaps in, or about the same place, as the first. Being without salutations of individuals, and entrusted to the care of no one church, or particular churches as the first is, but directed generally "to them that have obtained like precious faith with us" (2Pe 1:1), it took a longer time in being recognized as canonical. Had Rome been the place of its composition or publication, it could hardly have failed to have had an early acceptance—an incidental argument against the tradition of Peter's martyrdom at Rome. The remote scene of its composition in Babylon, or else in some of the contiguous regions beyond the borders of the Roman empire, and of its circulation in Cappadocia, Pontus, &c., will additionally account for its tardy but at last universal acceptance in the catholic Church. The former Epistle, through its more definite address, was earlier in its general acceptance.

Object.—In 2Pe 3:17, 18 the twofold design of the Epistle is set forth; namely, to guard his readers against "the error" of false teachers, and to exhort them to grow in experimental "knowledge of our Lord and Saviour" (2Pe 3:18). The ground on which this knowledge rests is stated, 2Pe 1:12-21, namely, the inspired testimony of apostles and prophets. The danger now, as of old, was about to arise from false teachers, who soon were to come among them, as Paul also (to whom reference is made, 2Pe 3:15, 16) testified in the same region. The grand antidote is "the full knowledge of our Lord and Saviour," through which we know God the Father, partake of His nature, escape from the pollutions of the world, and have entrance into Christ's kingdom. The aspect of Christ presented is not so much that of the past suffering, as of the future reigning, Saviour, His present power, and future new kingdom. This aspect is taken as best fitted to counteract the theories of the false teachers who should "deny" His Lordship and His coming again, the two very points which, as an apostle and eye-witness, Peter attests (His "power" and His "coming"); also, to counteract their evil example in practice, blaspheming the way of truth, despising governments, slaves to covetousness and filthy lusts of the flesh, while boasting of Christian freedom, and, worst of all, apostates from the truth. The knowledge of Christ, as being the knowledge of "the way of righteousness," "the right way," is the antidote of their bad practice. Hence "the preacher" of righteousness, Noah, and "righteous Lot," are instanced as escaping the destruction which overtook the "unjust" or "unrighteous"; and Balaam is instanced as exemplifying the awful result of "unrighteousness" such as characterized the false teachers. Thus the Epistle forms one connected whole, the parts being closely bound together by mutual relation, and the end corresponding with the beginning; compare 2Pe 3:14, 18 with 2Pe 1:2, in both "grace" and "peace" being connected with "the knowledge" of our Saviour; compare also 2Pe 3:17 with 2Pe 1:4, 10, 12; and 2Pe 3:18, "grow in grace and knowledge," with the fuller 2Pe 1:5-8; and 2Pe 2:21; and 2Pe 3:13, "righteousness," with 2Pe 1:1; and 2Pe 3:1 with 2Pe 1:13; and 2Pe 3:2 with 2Pe 1:19.

The germs of Carpocratian and Gnostic heresies already existed, but the actual manifestation of these heresies is spoken of as future (2Pe 2:1, 2, &c.): another proof that this Epistle was written, as it professes, in the apostolic age, before the development of the Gnostic heresies in the end of the first and the beginning of the second centuries. The description is too general to identify the heresies with any particular one of the subsequent forms of heresy, but applies generally to them all.

Though altogether distinct in aim from the First Epistle, yet a connection may be traced. The neglect of the warnings to circumspection in the walk led to the evils foretold in the Second Epistle. Compare the warning against the abuse of Christian freedom, 1Pe 2:16 with 2Pe 2:19, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption"; also the caution against pride, 1Pe 5:5, 6 with 2Pe 2:18, "they speak great swelling words of vanity."


2Pe 1:1-21. Address: Exhortation to All Graces, as God Has Given Us, in the Knowledge of Christ, All Things Pertaining to Life: Confirmed by the Testimony of Apostles, and Also Prophets, to the Power and Coming of Christ.

1. Simon—the Greek form: in oldest manuscripts, "Symeon" (Hebrew, that is, "hearing), as in Ac 15:14. 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, Ro 1:1.

to them, &c.—He addresses a wider range of readers (all believers) than in the First Epistle, 2Pe 1:1, but means to include especially those addressed in the First Epistle, as 2Pe 3:1 proves.

obtained—by grace. Applied by Peter to the receiving of the apostleship, literally, "by allotment": as the Greek is, Lu 1:9; Joh 19:24. They did not acquire it for themselves; the divine election is as independent of man's control, as the lot which is east forth.2Pe 1:1-4 The apostle, saluting the Christians, admonisheth

them of the gifts and promises of the gospel, and

their tendency to promote a godly life.

2Pe 1:5-9 He exhorteth them to add to their faith such virtues

as would make it fruitful,

2Pe 1:10,11 and thereby to make their calling and election sure,

2Pe 1:12-15 He is careful to remind them hereof, knowing his

dissolution to be near,

2Pe 1:16-21 and urgeth the evidence of what he had seen and

heard in the holy mount in confirmation of Christ's

second coming, together with the word of prophecy,

which he recommendeth to their regard.

A servant and an apostle; i.e. such a servant as is likewise an apostle. The former agrees to all gospel ministers generally, the latter is a title of a greater eminency; and so he intimates, that he wrote to them not merely as an ordinary minister, but in the authority of an apostle, an officer of the highest degree in the church.

Like precious faith; not in respect of the degree or strength of it, but in respect of the object, Christ, and the benefits that come by it, justification, sanctification, adoption, &c., in which respect the faith of the weakest believer is as precious as that of the strongest.

With us; either with us apostles, or with us Jewish Christians, born or inhabiting in Judea.

Through the righteousness of God; the Greek preposition which we render through, may likewise be rendered with, as 2Pe 1:5 Act 7:38, in the church, that is, with the church; and so the sense is either:

1. Through the righteousness, i.e. truth and faithfulness, of Christ in his promises, whereof the faith of the saints was an effect: or:

2. Through the righteousness of Christ, as the meritorious cause of their faith: or:

3. With the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and made theirs upon their believing. They had obtained like precious faith as the apostles themselves and others had, together with the righteousness of Christ, an interest in which always accompanies faith, Rom 4:22.

And our Saviour Jesus Christ: there being but one article in the Greek, these words are to be understood conjunctly, the particle

and being but an explicative, and the sense is: Through the righteousness of our God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is God: see the like, 2Pe 1:11 3:18 Joh 20:28 Tit 2:14.

Simon Peter, a servant, and an apostle of Jesus Christ,.... The writer of this epistle is described first by his names, Simon Peter; the first of these was the name by which he was called from his infancy by his parents, and by which he was known when Christ called him to be a disciple and follower of him, and is the same with Simeon; and so it is read in most copies; see Acts 15:14 a name common with the Jews; the latter is what was given him by Christ at his conversion, John 1:4, and answers to Cephas in the Syriac language; and both signify a rock or stone, because he was built upon Christ, the rock and foundation, and chief corner stone, and with a view to his future solidity, firmness, and constancy: and he is next described by his character as a servant, not of sin, nor Satan, nor man, but Jesus Christ, whose servant he was, not only by creation, but by redemption and grace; and not merely a servant of his, in common with other believers, but in a ministerial way, as a preacher of the Gospel, which this phrase sometimes designs. The use of it shows the apostle's humility, his sense of obligation to Christ, and acknowledgment of him as his Lord, and that he esteemed it an honour to stand in such a relation to him: but to distinguish him from a common servant of Christ, and an ordinary minister of the word, it is added, "an apostle of Jesus Christ": one that was immediately sent by Christ, had his commission and doctrine directly from him, and a power of working miracles, in confirmation of his mission and ministry being divine, and an authority at large to go everywhere and preach the Gospel, plant churches, and put them in due order, and place proper persons over them. This is said to give weight and authority to his epistle: and further, in this inscription of the epistle, the persons are described to whom it is written, as follows,

to them that have obtained like precious faith with us; they were believers in Christ, who had a faith of the right kind; not a faith of doing miracles, which was not common to all, nor was it saving; nor an historical faith, or a mere assent to truths, nor a temporary one, or a bare profession of faith; but that faith which is the faith of God's elect, the gift of his grace, and the operation of his power; which sees the Son, goes to him, ventures on him, trusts in him, lives upon him, and works by love to him. This is said to be "precious", as it is in its own nature, being a rich and enriching grace, of more worth and value than gold that perisheth, or than thousands of gold and silver; it is not to be equalled by, nor purchased with the riches of the whole world; it is precious in its object, it being conversant with the precious person, precious blood, and precious righteousness and sacrifice of Christ, and is that grace which makes Christ, and all that is his, precious to souls; it is precious in its acts and usefulness; it is that grace by which men go to God and Christ, receive from them, and give all glory to them, and without which it is not possible to please God: to which add the durableness of it; it is an abiding grace, and will never fail, when the most precious things in nature do: and it is "like precious" with that the apostles had; for there is but one faith, and which is called a common faith, even common to all the elect; and which is the same in all, not as to degrees, for in some it is strong, and in others weak; or as to the actings of it, which are not in all alike, nor in the same persons at all times; in some it is only a seeing of the Son, his glory, fulness, and suitableness, and longing for views of an interest in him; in others a reliance on him, and trusting in him; and in others a holy confidence, and full assurance of being his: but then it is alike with respect to its nature, as it is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen; and as it works by love to Christ and his people; it springs from the same cause, the love and favour of God, and has the same object, Jesus Christ, and is followed with the salvation; for though it is but as a grain of mustard seed, yet, being genuine, the person that has it shall certainly be saved: wherefore, for the comfort and encouragement of these scattered believers, the apostle assures them, that their faith was the same as their brethren that dwelt at Jerusalem and in Judea, who believed in Christ, and even with them that were the apostles of Christ; and this he says they had obtained, not by their own merits or industry, but by the grace of God; for faith is not of a man's self, it is the gift of God, and the produce of his grace and power. Some have rendered it, "obtained by lot"; not by chance, but by the all wise, good, and powerful providence of God, ordering, directing, assigning, and giving this grace unto them. And which came to them

through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; or "of our God, and Saviour Jesus Christ", as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read; that is, of Christ Jesus, who is our God and Saviour: so that here is a testimony of the deity of Christ, as well as of his character as a Saviour, who is an able and a willing one, a full, complete, suitable, and only Saviour: and the reason why he is so is because he is truly and properly "God"; and why he is so to us, because he is "our" God: wherefore by "righteousness" here, cannot be meant the goodness and mercy of God, as some think, though faith undoubtedly comes through that; nor the faithfulness of God making good his purpose and promise of giving faith to his elect, as others think: but the righteousness of Christ, which is not the righteousness of a creature, but of God; that is wrought out by one that is God, as well as man, and so answerable to all the purposes for which it is brought in. Now faith comes "in", or "with" this righteousness, as the phrase may be rendered; when the Spirit of God reveals and brings near this righteousness to a poor sensible sinner, he at the same time works faith in him to look to it, lay hold upon it, and plead it as his justifying righteousness with God: or it comes "through" it; hence it appears that faith and righteousness are two distinct things; and that faith is not a man's righteousness before God, for it comes to him through it; as also that righteousness is before faith, or otherwise faith could not come by it; and, moreover, is the cause and reason of it; faith has no causal influence upon righteousness, but righteousness has upon faith: the reason why a man has a justifying righteousness is not because he has faith; but the reason why he has faith given him is because he has a justifying righteousness provided for him, and imputed to him.

Simon {1} Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the {a} righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

(1) A greeting, in which he gives them to understand that he deals with them as Christ's ambassadors, and otherwise agrees with them in the same faith which is grounded on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour.

(a) In that God, in standing by his promises, showed himself faithful, and therefore just to us.

2 Peter 1:1-2. Συμεὼν Πέτρος] The form most in harmony with the Semitic language: Συμεών, as a name of Peter, is to be found, besides here, only in Acts 15:14; otherwise, cf. Luke 2:25; Luke 3:30; Revelation 7:7; Acts 13:1. From the addition of the name itself, as little as from its form, can anything be concluded as to the genuineness (in opposition to Dietlein, Schott, Steinfass) or the non-genuineness of the epistle. The two names Σίμων Πέτρος are directly conjoined also in Matthew 16:16; Luke 5:8, etc.; elsewhere, too, the apostle is called: Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος. The addition of Συμεών serves to mark the author as a Jewish-Christian.[19]

δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος Ἰ. Χρ.] cf. Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1 (Php 1:1). δοῦλος expresses the more general, ἀπόστολος the more special official relation; cf. Meyer on Romans 1:1; Schott unjustly denies that δοῦλος has reference to the official relation. According to de Wette, the author has here combined 1 Peter 1:1 and Judges 1:1.

τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσι πίστιν] ἰσότιμος is inexactly translated in the Vulgate by coaequaliter; it is not equivalent to ἴσος (Acts 11:17 : ἴση δωρεά), but means: “having equal honour or worth.” De Wette’s interpretation is as incorrect: “to those who have obtained the same right to participate in faith with us.” The use of the words τιμή, τιμάω, in Peter’s epistle, does not prove that the expression has here reference specially to the divine privileges of the kingdom (Dietlein). By this word the author gives it to be understood, that the faith of those to whom he writes, has the same worth as that of those whom he designates by ἡμῖν; both have received one and the same faith (as to its objective contents) (Brückner, Besser, Wiesinger); Hornejus: dicitur fides aeque pretiosa, non quod omnium credentium aeque magna sit, sed quod per fidem illam eadem mysteria et eadem beneficia divina nobis proponantur.

The connection shows that by ἡμῖν all Christians (de Wette) cannot be understood; the word must only refer, either to Peter (Pott), or to the apostles (Bengel, Wolf, Brückner, Steinfass, Fronmüller), or to the Jewish-Christians generally (Nic. de Lyra, Dietlein, Besser, Wiesinger, Schott, Hofm.); the last is the correct application (cf. Acts 11:17; Acts 15:9-11). Wiesinger: “That the faith of the apostles should have a different value from that of those who through their preaching had become believers, is an idea totally foreign to the apostolic age.”

λαχοῦσι points out that faith is a gift of grace; Huss: sicut sors non respicit personam, ita nec divina electio acceptatrix est personarum (cf. Acts 1:17).

On the breviloquence of the expression, cf. “Winer, p. 579 [E. T. 778].

ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ Θεοῦ κ.τ.λ.] Luther translates: “in the righteousness, which our God gives;” thus δικαιοσύνη would here mean that gift of God’s grace which is the result of faith, whether it is to be understood of the state of justification (Schott), or the Christians’ manner of life conformed to the commandments of God (Brückner). If this view be adopted, however, δικαιοσύνη cannot be connected with πίστιν, for though ἐν may be regarded as equal simply to cum, or be taken in the sense of, being furnished with (thus Brückner formerly), it would always denote that πίστις is contained in δικαιοσύνη, which certainly does not correspond with the relation in which the two stand to each other; faith is not bestowed on the Christian in righteousness, but righteousness in faith. Hofmann joins ἐν δικ. directly with πίστιν, and understands by δικαιοσύνη here: “the righteousness which makes Christ our Saviour; that in which the world has the propitiation for its sins.” This interpretation assumes that Θεοῦ is predicate to Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (see below); besides, it is opposed by the circumstance that the context makes no allusion to any such nearer definition of the idea, whilst it is arbitrary to render πίστιν ἐν δικ.: “that faith which trusts in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.” Schott, Steinfass, and now, too, Brückner, connect δικ. with ἰσότιμον; the position of the words, however, is opposed to this, for were ἐν δικ. the closer definition of ἰσότιμον, it must have been placed directly beside it. Besides, a somewhat obscure thought results from this combination. The simple addition of ἐν δικ. does not assert that the faith of the one has equal value with the faith of the other in this, that in both cases it effects a δικαιοσύνη. δικαιοσύνη is here not a gift, but an attribute of God, or a characteristic of His dealings. Still the expression must not be taken as equivalent either to “kindness” (Eman. a Sa., Pott), or to: “faithfulness,” as regards the promises given by Him (Beza, Piscator, Grotius); for although δικαιοσύνη may sometimes come near to the above meanings, it is never identical[20] with them, cf. Meyer on Romans 3:25. Still less warrant is there for Dietlein’s view, that righteousness is here “as a kingdom, the totality of the divine action and revelation in contrast to this world full of sin and of uncompensated evil.” Wiesinger (and thus also Fronmüller) understand by δικαιοσύνη, “the righteousness of God and Christ, which has manifested itself in the propitiation for the sins of the world;” in opposition to which Brückner correctly remarks, that Christ’s work of atonement is not an act of His righteousness; further, “the righteousness of God which demands the death of the sinner” (Fronmüller), may be considered as causing the death of Christ, but not as producing faith. ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ, in harmony with ἸΣΌΤΙΜΟΝ, is rather that righteousness of God—opposed to every kind of ΠΡΟΣΟΠΩΛΗΨΊΑ—according to which He bestows the same faith on all, without respect of persons (cf. Acts 10:34 f.). ἘΝ is in meaning akin to ΔΙΆ, but it brings out more distinctly than it, in what the obtaining of the πίστις ἰσοτ. is grounded. The author’s thought is accordingly this: “in His righteousness, which makes no distinction between the one and the other, God has bestowed on you the same like precious faith as on us.”[21]

τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμ. καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰ. Χρ.] Many interpreters (Beza, Hemming, Gerhard, and more recently Schott and Hofmann) take τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμ. and σωτῆρος as a double attribute of Ἰησοῦ Χρ. Others (Wiesinger, Brückner, Fronmüller, Steinfass) separate the two expressions, and understand τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν of God the Father; and rightly so, although in the similar combination, 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 3:18, there be but one subject. For Θεός differs from κύριος in this, that it is never conjoined with Χριστός as a direct attribute, whilst κύριος is very often thus employed, as in the very next verse; see my commentary to Titus 2:13. There need be no hesitation in taking the article which stands before Θεοῦ with σωτῆρος also, as a second subject,—a statement which Schott and Hofmann have wrongly called in question; cf. (Winer, p. 118 [E. T. 162]) Buttmann, p. 84 ff. Dietlein, in his interpretation, adopts a middle course: “of our God and Saviour; and when I speak of God the Saviour, I mean the Saviour Jesus Christ.” But only this much is correct here, that the close conjunction points to the oneness of God and Christ of which the author was assured.—2 Peter 1:2. χάριςπληθυνθείη] as in 1 Peter 1:2. In this passage ἐν ἐπιγνῶσει τοῦ Θεοῦ κ. Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν is added. Here, too, ἐν is not, cum, but states in what the increase of grace has its origin, and by what it is effected (de Wette). This is the knowledge of God and Jesus, our Lord; cf. on this John 17:3; 2 Peter 2:20. Calvin: Dei et Christi agnitionem simul connectit, quia rite non potest, nisi in Christo, Deus agnosci. Although the ἐπίγνωσις here spoken of includes in it acknowledgment, yet it is erroneous to distinguish between ἐπίγνωσις and γνῶσις, by holding the former to be equivalent to acknowledgment; cf. the further discussions on the term ἐπίγνωσις in Wiesinger and Schott, which, however, especially in the case of the latter, are not without the mixing up of thoughts foreign to the idea. It is wrong to interpret ἐν by εἰς; Aretius: ut colant Deum, quemadmodum sese patefecit in Scripturis et ut coli vult. According to Dietlein, the thought intended to be expressed is that “grace and peace grow and increase from within the soul, outwards, and in thus growing they became ever more and more knowledge of the revealed God”(!).

[19] Bengel, assuming the authenticity of the epistle, observes not inaptly that Peter adds Συμεών, extremo tempore admonens se ipsum conditionis pristinae, antequam cognomen nactus erat.

[20] De Wette thinks that the author, in approximation to the Pauline views, may perhaps have understood the righteousness of God as bringing in righteousness,—or salvation,—or as redemptive righteousness, otherwise termed grace; and the righteousness of Christ as that love by which He undertook the work of salvation. But δικ. means neither grace nor love; and besides, it is altogether arbitrary to give the expression a different meaning with respect to Christ from that which it has when applied to God.

[21] Hofmann most unwarrantably maintains that, in this interpretation, ἐν is taken “in a sense which cannot be justified.”

2 Peter 1:1-2. The Greeting. “Simeon Peter, slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal honour with our own, through the justice of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you in the saving knowledge of our Lord.”

1. Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ] The Greek MSS. for the most part give the less usual form Symeon, which, as applied to St Peter, only meets us elsewhere in Acts 15:14. The variation may, it is obvious, be looked on from different points of view. On the one hand it may be urged, as against the genuineness of the Epistle, that the same writer would not have been likely to have used two different methods of describing himself, and to have spelt the name which he now uses, and which he had not used in the First Epistle, in a manner different from that which was current in the Gospels, or in the documents from which the Gospels were compiled. On the other hand, it may be urged that the writer of a spurious second letter, referring to the first, as in chap. 2 Peter 3:1, would not have been likely to put a stumbling-block in the way of the reception of his work by adopting a different form of opening. The most probable supposition is that the change was due to the employment of another amanuensis. It would be natural that Silvanus or Mark, both of whom were with St Peter when the First Epistle was written, should use the more common form, while, if some member of the Church of Jerusalem had been employed for the Second Epistle, it would be equally natural for him to use the form which appears, from Luke 2:25, Acts 15:14, to have been current in that city. The name is found, it may be noted, in this form, in the list of St James’s successors in the Bishopric of Jerusalem (Euseb. Hist. iv. 5). In the combination of “servant” and “apostle,” in place of “apostle” only, as in 1 Peter 1:1, we have a variation to which the remarks just made apply with equal force. A possible explanation, on the one hand, is that the writer of the Epistle (assuming its spuriousness) combined the forms of 1 Peter 1:1 and Jdg 1:1. A more probable supposition is that the consciousness of addressing a wider circle of readers than those of the Diaspora, to whom the First Epistle had been addressed, led the Apostle, in his humility, to follow St Paul’s example and to describe himself as “the servant” or slave of Christ for the sake of those to whom he wrote (Romans 1:1; Php 1:1; Titus 1:1).

to them that have obtained like precious faith with us] The Greek adjective rendered “like precious” (literally, equally precious) is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. Its use may perhaps be connected with that of the word “precious” in 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:19. In speaking of “us” the Apostle may either be asserting the full equality of blessedness between the Jews of the Diaspora and those of the mother Church of Jerusalem and the personal disciples of the Lord Jesus, or (addressing his Epistle to a wider circle than before, and therefore purposely altering the form of address) between the Gentile and the Jewish converts. They have, he says, “obtained” (the word carries with it the idea of obtaining by lot or by God’s appointment as distinct from a man’s own exertions, as in Luke 1:9, Acts 1:17) “a faith of equal worth with ours.” We ask, In what sense is faith used? Is it objective, faith as the truth which is to be believed, as in Jdg 1:3? or subjective, the faith that justifies and saves? Either meaning is tenable, and probably the Apostle was not careful to distinguish between the two, but the latter commends itself as more in harmony with St Peter’s language in Acts 15:9, where “faith,” as given to the Gentiles, is clearly used in its subjective sense.

through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ] Literally, in the righteousness. Grammatically, as in Titus 1:1, the word “God” as well as “Saviour” may be referred to Jesus Christ. It is, however, more consonant with the Apostolic usus loquendi (1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:3; Php 1:2 et al.) to refer “God,” though the word “father” is not joined with it, to the First Person of the Godhead. The “righteousness of God …” may be either (1) that which God gives and which He gives through Christ, or (2) the righteousness which is an eternal attribute of the Godhead. On the former supposition there would, to say the least, be something at variance with the usual language of the New Testament writers in saying that men “obtain faith by righteousness,” the usual statement being that “righteousness comes by faith.” It seems better, therefore, to take the latter view, and to refer the words to the fact just stated. It was in and by the righteousness of God, the absence in Him of any “respect of persons,” that Jew and Gentile had been placed on an equality. So taken the words present a suggestive parallel with Acts 10:34; Acts 15:8-9.

2 Peter 1:1. Συμεὼν Πέτρος, Simon Peter) At the beginning of his former Epistle he had only placed his surname: here he adds his name also; at the close of his life reminding himself of his former condition, before he had received his surname. The character of this Epistle agrees in a remarkable manner with the former Epistle of Peter, and with the speeches of the same apostle in the Acts. See note on ch. 2 Peter 2:22, 2 Peter 3:1. It contains three parts, as the former Epistle.

  I.  The Inscription, 2 Peter 1:1-2.

  II.  A renewed stirring up of a pure feeling; in which,—

1.  He exhorts those who are partakers of the same faith that they increase in the divine gifts, and give all diligence to their growth in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:3-11.

2.  He adds incitements:

1.  From the firmness of true teachers, 2 Peter 1:12-21.

2.  From the wickedness of false teachers, 2 Peter 2:1-223.  He guards them against scoffers:

1.  He refutes their error, 2 Peter 3:1-9.

2.  He describes the last day, with suitable exhortations, 2 Peter 3:10-14.

  III.  The Conclusion; in which

1.  He declares the agreement between himself and St Paul, 2 Peter 3:15-16.

2.  He repeats the sum of the Epistle, 2 Peter 3:17-18.

δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος, a servant and apostle) a servant, as of the Lord Jesus; an apostle of the same, as Christ.—ἰσότιμον, equally precious) Faith has its preciousness, inasmuch as it lays hold of precious promises; 2 Peter 1:4. The faith of those who have seen Jesus Christ, as Peter and the rest of the apostles, and of those who believe without having seen Him, is equally precious, flowing from Jesus Christ: it lays hold of the same righteousness and salvation; 1 John 1:3; 1 Peter 1:8.—ἡμῖν, with us) the apostles; 2 Peter 1:18.—λαχοῦσι, who have received) They did not acquire it for themselves.—ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, through the righteousness) This is the ground of the expression, equally precious. It is this righteousness of God which is prior to faith; for faith depends upon the righteousness. Respecting this righteousness of God, comp. Romans 1:17; Romans 3:26, notes. The title of Saviour (Σωτῆρος) is appropriately added.

Verse 1. - Simon Peter. "Symeon" seems to be the best-supported spelling in this place. The same form of the name is found in Luke 2:25 and Acts 13:1; it also occurs in Acts 15:14, where St. James refers to St. Peter's speech on the great question of the circumcision of Gentile Christians. It is the form always used in the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament. The old man's thoughts go back to his early years; he describes himself by the familiar name of his youth; he uses that Greek form of it which was most distinctively Jewish. But he joins with the old name, which spoke of Judaism, the new name which the Lord Jesus had given him - the name which describes him as a stone or rock, which indicates also his close connection with that Rock on which the Church is built, which is Christ. His names combine Hebrew and Greek, Jewish and Christian, associations. He is writing probably, as in his First Epistle, to Churches of mingled Jewish and Gentile elements. The first word of the Epistle supplies an argument for the genuineness of the Epistle. It is scarcely possible that an imitator, who was acquainted with the First Epistle (1 Peter 3:1), and shows, as some say, so much anxiety to identify himself with the apostle (1 Peter 1:12-18), would have announced himself by a name different from that used in the First Epistle, and would have adopted a form of the Hebrew name varying from that which occurs so frequently in the Gospels. A servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. St. Peter, like St. Paul, describes himself as a servant, literally, "a slave," a bondman of Jesus Christ. We are not our own; we are bought with a price; we have work to do for our Master. St. Peter's work was that of a missionary, an apostle sent into the world to win souls for Christ (comp. Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1:1). To them that have obtained like precious faith with us. The word rendered "obtained" (τοῖς λαχοῦσιν) means properly "to obtain by lot," as in Luke 1:9. It is noticeable that one of the few places in which it occurs in the New Testament is in a speech of St. Peter's (Acts 1:17); its use here implies that faith is a gift of God. The word for "like precious" equally precious) is found only here in the New Testament; it calls to our memory the πολὺ τιμιώτερον of 1 Peter 1:7, and indicates a correspondence with the First Epistle. St. Peter addresses this Epistle simply to those who have obtained an equally precious faith "with us." By the last words he may mean himself only, or the apostles generally, or, possibly, all Jewish Christians. He is writing apparently to the same Churches to which his First Epistle was addressed (verse 16 and chapter 1 Peter 3:1); he says that their faith is equally precious with that of the apostles, or perhaps that the Gentiles have received the like precious gift with the chosen people. By "faith" he may mean the truths believed, as Jude 1:3; or, more probably, faith in the subjective sense, the grace of faith, which receives those truths as a message from God (comp. 1 Peter 1:7). Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; rather, as in the Revised Version, in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Some commentators, as Luther, Estius, etc., understand by "righteousness" in this place, the righteousness which God gives, as in Romans 10:3, etc. But this seems unsuitable here; for faith is not given in righteousness, but rather righteousness in faith. Others take righteousness as the object of the faith - "to them that have Obtained faith in the righteousness;" i.e., who are enabled to believe in God's righteousness and to trust in it. This seems a forced interpretation. It is better to take the preposition as meaning "in the working of God's righteousness," in the sphere of its operation, and to understand "righteousness" as the attribute of God, his just and holy dealing with men. There is no respect of persons with God; in his righteousness he bestows the like precious faith on all who come to him, without distinction of race or country. According to the strict grammatical construction of the passage, "God" and "Saviour" are both predicates of "Jesus Christ," as in Titus 2:13. The First and Second Persons of the blessed Trinity are distinguished in the following verse, and this has led several commentators to think that the same distinction should be made here. It is true that the absence of a second article does not make it absolutely certain that the two words "God" and "Saviour" must be taken as united under the one common article, and so regarded as two predicates of "Jesus Christ;" but it furnishes at least a very strong presumption in favour of this view, especially as there is not here, as there is in Titus 2:13, any word like ἡμῶν to give definiteness to σωτῆρος (see Bishop Ellicott's note on Titus 2:13, and, on the other side, Alford's notes on both passages). The Lord Jesus is called "our Saviour" five times in this Epistle. The word does not occur in the First Epistle; but in St. Peter's speech (Acts 5:31) the apostle declared to the Sanhedrin that God had exalted Jesus "to be a Prince and a Saviour." 2 Peter 1:1Simon Peter

Note the addition of Simon, and see on 1 Peter 1:1. The best-attested orthography is Symeon, which is the form of his name in Acts 15:14, where the account probably came from him. This also is the Hebraic form of the name found in the Septuagint, Genesis 29:33, and elsewhere. Compare Revelation 7:7; Luke 2:25, Luke 2:34; Luke 3:30; Acts 13:1. The combined name, Simon Peter, is found Luke 5:8; John 13:6; John 20:2; John 21:15, and elsewhere, though in these instances it is given as Simon; Symeon occurring only in Acts 15:14. While his name is given with greater familiarity than in the first epistle, his official title, servant and apostle, is fuller. This combination, servant and apostle, occurs in no other apostolic salutation. The nearest approach to it is Titus 1:1.

Of Jesus Christ

The word Christ never occurs in the second epistle without Jesus; and only in this instance without some predicate, such as Lord, Saviour.

To them that have obtained (τοῖς λαχοῦσιν)

Lit., obtained by lot. So Luke 1:9; John 19:24. In the sense which it has here it is used by Peter (Acts 1:17) of Judas, who had obtained part of this ministry. In this sense it occurs only in that passage and here.

Like precious (ἰσότιμον)

Only here in New Testament. The word should be written like precious. Compare precious in 1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:6, 1 Peter 2:7. Not the same in measure to all, but having an equal value and honor to those who receive it, as admitting them to the same Christian privileges.

With us

Most probably the Jewish Christians, of whom Peter was one. Professor Salmond remarks, "There is much to show how alien it was to primitive Christian thought to regard Gentile Christians as occupying in grace the self-same platform with Christians gathered out of the ancient church of God." See Acts 11:17; Acts 15:9-11.


Frequently applied to Christ in this epistle, but never in the first.

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