2 Peter 1:5
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
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(5) And beside this.—Rather, and for this very reason. The Authorised version is quite indefensible, and is the more to be regretted because it obscures a parallel between this and 1 Peter. There also we are exhorted to regulate our conduct by God’s (1Peter 1:15; 1Peter 2:1; 1Peter 2:5). [In the Notes on 2Peter 1:5-8 use has been made of addresses On some Traits in the Christian Character. Camb. 1876.]

Giving all diligence.—Literally, bringing in all diligence to the side of God’s gifts and promises; making your contribution in answer to His. He has made all things possible for you; but they are not yet done, and you must labour diligently to realise the glorious possibilities opened out to you.

Add to your faith virtue.—Rather, in your faith supply virtue. The error comes from Geneva; all other English versions are right. The interesting word inadequately translated “add” occurs again in 2Peter 1:11, and elsewhere only in 2Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19. Everywhere but here it is translated “minister.” Sufficient explanation of the word will be found in Notes on 2Corinthians 9:10 and Galatians 3:5. The notion of rendering a service that is expected of one in virtue of one’s position fits in admirably here. God gives; His blessings and promises come from His free undeserved bounty; man renders, supplies, furnishes, that which, considering the benefits which he has received, is fairly required of him. Note that we are not told to supply faith; that comes from God (Ephesians 2:8), and the Apostle assumes that his readers possess it. “Virtue” is that which is recognised by all men as excellent; the excellence of man as man. Heathen moralists had drawn a noble picture of what man ought to be; the gospel gave the command to realise a yet nobler ideal, and also gave the power by which it could be realised.

And to virtue knowledge.—As before, and in your virtue [supply] knowledgei.e., in the virtue which each of you possesses. Virtue for each individual is the excellence corresponding to the talents committed to him. The word for “knowledge” here is not the compound used in 2Peter 1:2-3, but the simple substantive. It means, therefore, knowledge that still admits of growth, not yet ripe or complete. It is worth noting that the word for absolute knowledge, epistêmê, does not occur in the New Testament. By “knowledge” here is probably meant spiritual discernment as to what is right and what is wrong in all things; the right object, the right way, the right time.

2 Peter


2 Peter 1:5.

It seems to me very like Peter that there should be so much in this letter about the very commonplace and familiar excellence of diligence. He over and over again exhorts to it as the one means to the attainment of all Christian graces, and of all the blessedness of the Christian life. We do not expect fine-spun counsels from a teacher whose natural bent is, like his, but plain, sturdy, common sense, directed to the highest matter, and set aglow by fervent love to his Lord. The Apostle paints himself, and his own way of Christian living, when he thus frequently exhorts his brethren to ‘give all diligence.’ He says in this same chapter that he himself will ‘give diligence [endeavour, in Authorised Version] that they may be able after his decease to have these things always in remembrance.’ We seem to see Peter, not much accustomed to wield a pen, sitting down to what he felt a somewhat difficult task, and pointing the readers to his own example as an instance of the temper which they must cherish if they are to make anything of their Christian life. ‘Just as I labour for your sakes at this unfamiliar work of writing, so do you toil at perfecting your Christian graces.’

Now it strikes me that we may gain some instruction if we throw together the various objects to which in Scripture, and especially in this letter, we are exhorted to direct this virtue of diligence, and mark how comprehensive its range, and how, for all beauty of character and progress in the Divine life, it is regarded as an indispensable condition. Let us then look, first, at the homely excellence that is the master-key to all Christian maturity and grace, and then at the various fields in which we are to apply it.

I. Now as to the homely virtue itself, ‘giving all diligence.’

We all know what ‘diligence’ means, but it is worth while to point out that the original meaning of the word is not so much diligence as haste. It is employed, for instance, to describe the eager swiftness with which the Virgin went to Elizabeth after the angel’s salutation and annunciation. It is the word employed to describe the murderous hurry with which Herodias came rushing in to the king to demand John the Baptist’s head. It is the word with which the Apostle, left solitary in his prison, besought his sole trusty companion Timothy to ‘make haste so as to come to him before winter.’ Thus, the first notion in the word is haste, which crowds every moment with continuous effort, and lets no hindrances entangle the feet of the runner. Wise haste has sometimes to be content to go slowly. ‘Raw haste’ is ‘half sister to delay.’ When haste degenerates into hurry, and becomes agitation, it is weakness, not strength; it turns out superficial work, which has usually to be pulled to pieces and done over again, and it is sure to be followed by reaction of languid idleness. But the less we hurry the more should we hasten in running the race set before us.

But with this caution against spurious haste, we cannot too seriously lay to heart the solemn motives to wise and well-directed haste. The moments granted to any of us are too few and precious to let slip unused. The field to be cultivated is too wide and the possible harvest for the toiler too abundant, and the certain crop of weeds in the sluggard’s garden too poisonous, to allow dawdling to be considered a venial fault. Little progress will be made if we do not work as feeling that ‘the night is far spent, the day is at hand,’ or as feeling the apparently opposite but really identical conviction, ‘I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day. The night cometh when no man can work.’ The day of full salvation, repose, and blessedness is near dawning. The night of weeping, the night of toil, is nearly past. By both aspects of this brief life we should be spurred to haste.

The first element, then, in Christian diligence is economy of time as of most precious treasure, and the avoidance, as of a pestilence, of all procrastination. ‘To-morrow and to-morrow’ is the opiate with which sluggards and cowards set conscience asleep, and as each to-morrow becomes to-day it proves as empty of effort as its predecessors, and, when it has become yesterday, it adds one more to the solemn company of wasted opportunities which wait for a man at the bar of God. ‘All their yesterdays have lighted’ such idlers ‘to dusty death,’ because in each they were saying, ‘to-morrow we will begin the better course,’ instead of beginning it to-day. ‘Now is the accepted time.’ ‘Wherefore, giving all haste, add to your faith.’

Another of the phases of the virtue, which Peter here regards as sovereign, is represented in our translation of the word by ‘earnestness,’ which is the parent of diligence. Earnestness is the sentiment, of which diligence is the expression. So the word is frequently translated. Hence we gather that no Christian growth is possible unless a man gives his mind to it. Dawdlers will do nothing. There must be fervour if there is to be growth. The heated bar of iron will go through the obstacle which the cold one will never penetrate. We must gather ourselves together under the impulse of an all-pervading and noble earnestness, too deep to be demonstrative, and which does not waste itself in noise, but settles down steadily to work. The engine that is giving off its steam in white puffs is not working at its full power. When we are most intent we are most silent. Earnestness is dumb, and therefore it is terrible.

Again we come to the more familiar translation of the word as in the text. ‘Diligence’ is the panacea for all diseases of the Christian life. It is the homely virtue that leads to all success. It is a great thing to be convinced of this, that there are no mysteries about the conditions of healthy Christian living, but that precisely the same qualities which lead to victory in any career to which a man sets himself do so in this; that, on the one hand, we shall never fail if in earnest and saving the crumbs of moments, we give ourselves to the work of Christian growth; and that on the other hand, no fine emotions, no select moments of rapture and communion will ever avail to take the place of the dogged perseverance and prosaic hard work which wins in all other fields; and wins, and is the only thing that does win, in this one too. If you want to be a strong Christian--that is to say, a happy man--you must bend your back to the work and ‘give all diligence.’ Nobody goes to heaven in his sleep. No man becomes a vigorous Christian by any other course than ‘giving all diligence.’ It is a very lowly virtue. It is like some of the old wives’ recipes for curing diseases with some familiar herb that grows at every cottage door. People will not have that, but if you bring them some medicine from far away, very rare and costly, and suggest to them some course out of the beaten rut of ordinary, honest living, they will jump at that. Quackery always deals in mysteries and rare things. The great physician cures diseases with simples that grow everywhere. A pennyworth of some familiar root will cure an illness that nothing else will touch. It is a homely virtue, but if in its homeliness we practised it, this Church and our own souls would wear a different face from what it and they do to-day.

II. Note the wide field of action for this homely grace.

I can do nothing more--nor is it necessary that I should--than put before your mind, in a sentence or two, the various applications of it which our letter gives.

First, note that in our text, ‘giving all diligence, add to your faith.’ That is to say, unless you work with haste, with earnestness, and therefore with much putting forth of strength, your faith will not evolve the graces of character which is in it to bring forth. If, on the other hand, we set ourselves to our tasks, then out of faith will come, as the blossoms mysteriously and miraculously do out of an apparently dead stump, virtue, manliness, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and godliness, and brotherly mindedness, and charity. All that galaxy of light and beauty will shine forth on the one condition of diligence, and it will not appear without that. Without it, the faith, though it may be genuine, which lies in a man who is idle in cultivating Christian character, will bear but few and shrivelled fruits. The Apostle uses a very remarkable expression here, which is rendered in our Bible imperfectly ‘giving all diligence.’ He has just been saying that God has ‘given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, and exceeding great and precious promises.’ The Divine gift, then, is everything that will help a man to live a high and godly life. And, says Peter, on this very account, because you have all these requisites for such a life already given you, see that you ‘bring besides into’ the heap of gifts, as it were, that which you and only you can bring, namely, ‘all diligence.’ The phrase implies that diligence is our contribution. And the very reason for exercising it is the completeness of God’s gift. ‘On this very account’--because He has given so much--we are to lay ‘all diligence’ by the side of His gifts, which are useless to the sluggard.

On the one hand there are all great gifts and boundless possibilities as to life and godliness, and on the other diligence as the condition on which all these shall actually become ours, and, passing into our lives, will there produce all these graces which the Apostle goes on to enumerate. The condition is nothing recondite, nothing hard either to understand or to practise, but it is simply that commonplace, humdrum virtue of diligence. If we will put it forth, then the gifts that God has given, and which are not really ours unless we put it forth, will pass into the very substance of our being, and unfold themselves according to the life that is in them; even the life that is in Jesus Christ Himself, in all forms of beauty and sweetness and power and blessedness. ‘Diligence’ makes faith fruitful. Diligence makes God’s gifts ours.

Then, again, the Apostle gives an even more remarkable view of the possible field for this all-powerful diligence when he bids his readers exercise it in order to ‘make their calling and election sure.’ Peter’s first letter shows that he believed that Christians were ‘chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.’ But for all that he is not a bit afraid of putting the other side of the truth, and saying to us in effect. ‘We cannot read the eternal decrees of God nor know the names written in the Book of Life. These are mysteries above us. But if you want to be sure that you are one of the called and chosen, work and you will get the assurance.’ The confirmation of the ‘call,’ of the ‘election,’ both in fact and in my consciousness depends upon my action. The ‘diligence,’ of which the Apostle thinks such great things, reaches, as it were, a hand up into heaven and binds a man to that great unrevealed, electing purpose of God. If we desire that upon our Christian lives there shall shine the perpetual sunshine of an unclouded confidence that we have the love and the favour of God, and that for us there is no condemnation, but only ‘acceptance in the beloved,’ the short road to it is the well-known and trite path of toil in the Christian life.

Still further, one of the other writers of the New Testament gives us another field in which this virtue may expatiate, when the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts to diligence, in order to attain ‘the full assurance of hope.’ If we desire that our path should be brightened by the clear vision of our blessed future beyond the grave, and above the stars, and within the bosom of God, the road to that happy assurance and sunny, cloudless confidence in a future of rest and fellowship with God lies simply here--work! as Christian men should, whilst it is called to-day.

The last of the fields in which this virtue finds exercise is expressed by our letter, when Peter says, ‘Seeing that we look for such things, let us be diligent, that we may be found of Him in peace without spot, and blameless.’ If we are to be ‘found in peace,’ we must be ‘found spotless,’ and if we are to be ‘found spotless’ we must be ‘diligent.’ ‘If that servant begin to say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and to be slothful, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the lord of that servant will come in an hour when he is not aware.’ On the other hand, ‘who is that faithful servant whom his lord hath set ruler over his household? Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing?’ Doing so, and diligently doing it, ‘he shall be found in peace.’

What a beautiful ideal of Christian life results from putting together all these items. A fruitful faith, a sure calling, a cloudless hope, a peaceful welcome at last! The Old Testament says, ‘The hand of the diligent maketh rich’; the New Testament promises unchangeable riches to the same hand. The Old Testament says, ‘Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings.’ The New Testament assures us that the noblest form of that promise shall be fulfilled in the Christian man’s communion with his Lord here, and perfected when the diligent disciple shall ‘be found of Him in peace,’ and stand before the King in that day, accepted and himself a king.

2 Peter 1:5. And besides this — Besides your renouncing the corruption that is in the world, you must increase in all the graces of God’s Spirit, and in the virtues to which they naturally lead. Or, as αυτο τουτο is rendered by some learned critics, (the particle εις being supposed to be understood,) for this purpose, or for this very reason, namely, because God hath given you such great blessings; giving all diligence — Or, showing all earnestness, and making all haste, as σπουδην πασαν implies. The word παρεισενεγκαντες, rendered giving, literally signifies, bringing in by the by, or over and above; implying that God works the work, but not unless we are earnest and diligent. Our earnestness and diligence must follow the gift of God, and will be followed by an increase of all his gifts. Add to — And in, or by, the promises of God, and his other gifts, the graces here mentioned: superadd the latter without losing the former. The Greek word επιχορηγηαστε properly means, lead up as in a dance, one of these graces in, by, or after the other in a beautiful order. Add to (εν, in, or by) your faith that evidence of things not seen, termed before, the knowledge of God and of Christ, the root of all Christian graces; virtue — Or, courage; amidst all the difficulties, dangers, trials, and troubles you meet with, exercise that courage, or fortitude, whereby you may conquer all enemies and oppositions, and execute whatever faith dictates. In this most beautiful connection, each preceding grace leads to the following: each following tempers and perfects the preceding. They are set down in the order of nature, rather than the order of time: for though every grace bears a relation to every other, yet here they are so nicely ranged, that those which have the closest dependance on each other are placed together.

The propriety of the apostle’s exhorting those to whom he wrote, to add courage to their faith, will more clearly appear, if we recollect that, in the first age, the disciples of Christ were frequently accused before the heathen magistrates of being Christians, and that, “on such occasions, it was incumbent on them to acknowledge it, notwithstanding they exposed themselves thereby to every species of persecution; because, by boldly professing their faith, they not only encouraged each other to persevere in their Christian profession, but they maintained the gospel in the world. Accordingly Christ solemnly charged all his disciples to confess him before men, and threatened to inflict the severest punishment on those who denied him, Matthew 10:32-33.” — Macknight. And even in the present state of the world, true and vital religion will always, more or less, meet with opposition from the carnal and wicked, and will frequently expose those who possess it to no little persecution, especially in some countries; if not to imprisonment, and the spoiling of their goods, yet to contumely, reproach, revilings, and various insults; so that it is still necessary, if we would prove ourselves the genuine followers of Jesus, that we should add to our faith courage, or fortitude and firmness of mind, that we may stand in the evil day, and war a good warfare. And to your courage, knowledge — Wisdom, teaching you how to exercise it on all occasions. The word may include also a general knowledge of the doctrines, precepts, and promises of the gospel, and of the whole nature and design of Christianity; as also an acquaintance with the principal evidences of its truth and importance: for, without a full persuasion of these, our courage must want its proper support, and will desert us in the day of trial.

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.And beside this - Καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο Kai auto touto. Something here is necessary to be understood in order to complete the sense. The reference is to 2 Peter 1:3; and the connection is, since 2 Peter 1:3 God has given us these exalted privileges and hopes, "in respect to this," (κατὰ kata or διὰ dia being understood,) or as a "consequence" fairly flowing from this, we ought to give all diligence that we may make good use of these advantages, and secure as high attainments as we possibly can. We should add one virtue to another, that we may reach the highest possible elevation in holiness.

Giving all diligence - Greek, "Bringing in all zeal or effort." The meaning is, that we ought to make this a distinct and definite object, and to apply ourselves to it as a thing to be accomplished.

Add to your faith virtue - It is not meant in this verse and the following that we are to endeavor particularly to add these things one to another "in the order" in which they are specified, or that we are to seek first to have faith, and then to add to that virtue, and then to add knowledge to virtue rather than to faith, etc. The order in which this is to be done, the relation which one of these things may have to another, is not the point aimed at; nor are we to suppose that any other order of the words would not have answered the purpose of the apostle as well, or that anyone of the virtues specified would not sustain as direct a relation to any other, as the one which he has specified. The design of the apostle is to say, in an emphatic manner, that we are to strive to possess and exhibit all these virtues; in other words, we are not to content ourselves with a single grace, but are to cultivate all the virtues, and to endeavor to make our piety complete in all the relations which we sustain. The essential idea in the passage before us seems to be, that in our religion we are not to be satisfied with one virtue, or one class of virtues, but that there is to be.

(1) a diligent cultivation of our virtues, since the graces of religion are as susceptible of cultivation as any other virtues;

(2) that there is to be progress made from one virtue to another, seeking to reach the highest possible point in our religion; and,

(3) that there is to be an accumulation of virtues and graces - or we are not to be satisfied with one class, or with the attainments which we can make in one class.

We are to endeavor to add on one after another until we have become possessed of all. Faith, perhaps, is mentioned first, because that is the foundation of all Christian virtues; and the other virtues are required to be added to that, because, from the place which faith occupies in the plan of justification, many might be in danger of supposing that if they had that they had all that was necessary. Compare James 2:14, following In the Greek word rendered "add," ἐπιχορηγήσατε epichorēgēsate there is an allusion to a "chorus-leader" among the Greeks, and the sense is well expressed by Doddridge: "Be careful to accompany that belief with all the lovely train of attendant graces." Or, in other words, "let faith lead on as at the head of the choir or the graces, and let all the others follow in their order." The word here rendered "virtue" is the same which is used in 2 Peter 1:3; and there ks included in it, probably, the same general idea which was noticed there. All the things which the apostle specifies, unless "knowledge" be an exception, are "virtues" in the sense in which that word is commonly used; and it can hardly be supposed that the apostle here meant to use a general term which would include all of the others. The probability is, therefore, that by the word here he has reference to the common meaning of the Greek word, as referring to manliness, courage, vigor, energy; and the sense is, that he wished them to evince whatever firmness or courage might be necessary in maintaining the principles of their religion, and in enduring the trials to which their faith might be subjected. True "virtue" is not a tame and passive thing. It requires great energy and boldness, for its very essence is firmness, manliness, and independence.

And to virtue knowledge - The knowledge of God and of the way of salvation through the Redeemer, 2 Peter 1:3. Compare 2 Peter 3:8. It is the duty of every Christian to make the highest possible attainments in "knowledge."

5. And beside this—rather, "And for this very reason," namely, "seeing that His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2Pe 1:3).

giving—literally, "introducing," side by side with God's gift, on your part "diligence." Compare an instance, 2Pe 1:10; 2Pe 3:14; 2Co 7:11.

all—all possible.

add—literally, "minister additionally," or, abundantly (compare Greek, 2Co 9:10); said properly of the one who supplied all the equipments of a chorus. So accordingly, "there will be ministered abundantly unto you an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Saviour" (2Pe 1:11).

to—Greek, "in"; "in the possession of your faith, minister virtue. Their faith (answering to "knowledge of Him," 2Pe 1:3) is presupposed as the gift of God (2Pe 1:3; Eph 2:8), and is not required to be ministered by us; in its exercise, virtue is to be, moreover, ministered. Each grace being assumed, becomes the stepping stone to the succeeding grace: and the latter in turn qualifies and completes the former. Faith leads the band; love brings up the rear [Bengel]. The fruits of faith specified are seven, the perfect number.

virtue—moral excellency; manly, strenuous energy, answering to the virtue (energetic excellency) of God.

and to—Greek, "in"; "and in (the exercise of) your virtue knowledge," namely, practical discrimination of good and evil; intelligent appreciation of what is the will of God in each detail of practice.

And beside this, giving all diligence: here the apostle begins his exhortation, that since God had done so much for them, 2 Peter 1:3,4, they would likewise do their duty; and that their care and diligence in improving the grace they had received, might be added to his bounty in giving it them.

Add to; or, minister unto; or it may be a metaphor taken from the ancient way of dancing, in which they joined hands one with another, thereby helping and holding up one another.

Faith is here set forth as the first grace, and which (as it were) leads up, the rest following it, and attending upon it, yet all in conjunction one with another. Faith is set in the first place as the prime grace of a Christian, the foundation and root of all other, as being that without which nothing else can be pleasing to God, Hebrews 11:6. By

virtue he seems to understand universal righteousness, or a complication of all those graces by which faith is wont to work; and this being more general, he proceeds from it to others that are more special.

Knowledge; by this may be meant spiritual prudence, which governs and directs other virtues in their actings; and it is called knowledge, because it consists in the practical knowledge of the will of God: see 2 Corinthians 6:6 1 Peter 3:7.

And besides this, giving all diligence,.... "Or upon this", as the Syriac and Arabic versions read, bestow all your labour, diligence, and care; namely, on what follows, and that from the consideration of what goes before; for nothing can more strongly animate, and engage to the diligent exercise of grace and discharge of duty, than a consideration of the high favours, and free grace gifts of God, and the exceeding great and precious promises of his Gospel:

add to your faith virtue; or "with your faith", so the Arabic version renders it, and the like, in the following clauses. They had faith, even like precious faith with the apostles, not of themselves, but by the gift of God, and which is the first and principal grace; it leads the van, or rather the "chorus", as the word rendered "add" signifies; and though it is in itself imperfect, has many things lacking in it, yet it cannot be added to, or increased by men; ministers may be a means of perfecting what is lacking in it, and of the furtherance and joy of it, but it is the Lord only that can increase it, or add unto it in that sense, and which is not the meaning here: but the sense is, that as it is the basis and foundation of all good works, it should not stand alone, there ought to be virtue, or good works along with it, by which it may be perfected, not essentially, but evidentially, or might appear to be true and genuine; for by virtue may be either meant some particular virtue, as justice towards men, to which both the grace and doctrine of faith direct; and indeed pretensions to faith in Christ, where there is not common justice done to men, are of little account; or, as others think, beneficence to men; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "proceed to bounty by your faith"; and faith does work by love and kindness to fellow creatures and Christians; but this seems rather designed by brotherly kindness and charity, in 2 Peter 1:7 or boldness, courage, constancy, and fortitude, which ought to go along with faith. Where there is true faith in Christ, there should be a holy boldness to profess it, and constancy in it, and courage to fight the good fight of faith, and firmness of mind to stand fast in it, notwithstanding all difficulties and discouragements; or virtue in general here meant, not mere moral, but Christian virtues, which are the fruits of the Spirit of God, and of his grace; and differ from the other, in that they spring from the grace of God, are done in faith, by the assistance of the Spirit of Christ, and by strength received from him, and in love to him, and with a view to the glory of God; whereas moral virtues, as exercised by a mere moral man, spring from nature, and are performed by the mere strength of it, and are destitute of faith, and so but "splendida peccata", splendid sins, and proceed from self-love, from sinister ends, and with selfish views:

and to virtue, knowledge; not of Christ, mentioned 2 Peter 1:8 and which is included in faith, for there can be no true faith in Christ, were there not knowledge of him; but of the will of God, which it is necessary men should be acquainted with, in order to perform it; or else though they may seem zealous of good works, their zeal will not be according to knowledge; they ought to know what are virtues or good works in God's account, and what are the nature and use of them, lest they should mistake and misapply them; or of the Scriptures of truth, and of the mysteries of the Gospel, which should be diligently searched, for the increase and improvement of knowledge in divine things, and which has a considerable influence on a just, sober, and godly living; or by knowledge may be meant prudence and wisdom, in ordering the external conversation aright towards those that are without, and in showing good works out of it, to others, by way of example, and for the evidence of the truth of things, with meekness of wisdom.

{5} And beside this, giving all diligence, {h} add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

(5) Having laid the foundation (that is, having declared the causes of our salvation and especially of our sanctification) now he begins to exhort us to give our minds wholly to the true use of this grace. He begins with faith, without which nothing can please God, and he warns us to have it fully equipped with virtue (that is to say, with good and godly manners) being joined with the knowledge of God's will, without which, there is neither faith, neither any true virtue.

(h) Supply also, and support or aid.

2 Peter 1:5-6. καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο δέ] καὶδέ, equivalent to “but also,” “and also;” cf. Winer, p. 412 f. [E. T. 553 f.]; Buttmann, p. 312. καί adds something new to what goes before; δέ brings out that what is added is to be distinguished from what precedes.[29]

Neither ΠΕΡΊ nor ΚΑΤΆ nor ΠΡΌς is to be supplied to ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ, which stands here absolutely, equivalent to ΔΙʼ ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ: “for this very reason,” cf. Winer, p. 134 f. [E. T. 178], and refers back to the thought contained in ὡς πάνταδεδωρημένης, and further developed in the clauses following: “since ye have been made partakers of all that, therefore,” etc. Grotius: Deus fecit quod suum est, vos quoque quod vestrum est faciete. Dietlein takes ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ as a simple accusative dependent on ἘΠΙΧΟΡΉΣΑΤΕ (thus also Steinfass); but this combination, which would make ΤΟῦΤΟ refer to the subsequent ἘΝ Τῇ Π. ὙΜ. ΤῊΝ ἈΡΕΤΉΝ, or to Τ. ἈΡΕΤΉΝ alone, is opposed by the ΑὐΤΌ beside it, which looks back to what has gone before. Nor does Dietlein fail to see this, for he explains: “the announcements given are now to be produced in the form of Christian virtues;” this, however, results in a “straining” (Brückner) of the thought.

As regards the connection of clauses, the apodosis belonging to 2 Peter 1:3 begins with 2 Peter 1:5, not, however, in quite regular construction. Hofmann, on the other hand, holds that the apodosis conveying the exhortations begins already with ἽΝΑ in 2 Peter 1:4. He looks upon ἽΝΑ as depending on ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΉΣΑΤΕ, and considers that the two participial clauses, ἈΠΟΦΥΓΌΝΤΕς Κ.Τ.Λ. and ΚΑῚΠΑΡΕΙΣΕΝΈΓΚΑΝΤΕς, are to be closely connected with each other, and both together joined with the imperative; accordingly he translates: “Considering that His divine power hath given us all that is serviceable to life and godliness … ye should, in order thereby to become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world occasioned by lust, but for that very reason giving all diligence, supply virtue in and with your faith.” But opposed to this view is: (1) The intolerable cumbrousness of the construction; (2) The circumstance that although a dependent clause may precede the clause on which it depends, this may take place only when the clearness of the style does not thereby suffer, i.e. when the periods are so constructed that the dependent clause cannot, by any rule of language, be taken with a preceding clause,—but this is plainly not the case here; (3) The aorist γένησθε, instead of which the present would have been written; and finally, (4) The impossibility of here applying ΔΙᾺ ΤΟΎΤΩΝ to anything that goes before. This becomes the more obvious if the preceding secondary clause be considered as standing after the imperatival clause ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΉΣΑΤΕἈΓΆΠΗΝ.

] cf. Judges 1:3 : ΠᾶΣΑΝ ΣΠ. ΠΟΙΟΎΜΕΝΟς (Jos. Arch. xx. 9. 2 Peter 2 : ΕἸΣΦΈΡΕΙΝ ΣΠΟΥΔΉΝ); ΠΑΡΆ points out that believers on their side (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott) should contribute their part, namely, the ΣΠΟΥΔΉ, to what has here been given them. That ΠΑΡΆ has not here the implied idea of secrecy, is self-evident; but it is also unjustifiable when Hofmann asserts that ΠΑΡΕΙΣΦΈΡΕΙΝ ΣΠΟΥΔΉΝ means “the application of diligence, which endeavours after something already given in a different manner.”

ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΉΣΑΤΕ ἘΝ Τῇ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ ὙΜῶΝ ΤῊΝ ἈΡΕΤΉΝ] ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΕῖΝ, either “contribute,” i.e. your contribution to the work of salvation (de Wette), or more probably, according to the use of the word elsewhere in the N. T. (2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; cf. also 1 Peter 4:11), “to supply” (Brückner, Wiesinger, Hofmann); it is here placed as correlative to the term δεδώρηται, 2 Peter 1:4, and denotes “the gift which the believer gives in return for the gift of God” (Wiesinger, although the meaning of the word does not quite justify him in doing so, adds: “or more accurately, by which he again presents to God his own gift in the fruit it has produced”). Dietlein’s interpretation is erroneous: “to perform in dance.” This meaning the word never has. Even ΧΟΡΗΓΕῖΝ sometimes means “to lead a dance,” but not “to perform anything in dance.” The original meaning of ἘΠΙΧΟΡ. is: “to contribute to the expenses of a ΧΌΡΟς.” Schott’s assertion is arbitrary, “that ἘΠΙΧΟΡΗΓΕῖΝ signifies a supplying of what is due to one in virtue of an official or honorary position.”

Pott incorrectly explains the preposition ἘΝ by ΔΙΆ; de Wette inadequately by “in, with, of that which is already present, and to which something else should be added.” The sense is: since you have πίστις, let it not be wanting in ἈΡΕΤΉ. It is not meant: that to the ΠΊΣΤΙς, as something different from it, ἈΡΕΤΉ should be added; but ἈΡΕΤΉ belongs to ΠΊΣΤΙς, and for this reason the Christian must put it into practice. The same relation is preserved in the members which follow.[30] πίστις is presupposed as the origin (Oecumenius: θεμέλιος τῶν ἀγαθῶν καὶ κρηπίς) of all Christian virtues, and in the first instance of the ἀρετή, by which Oecumenius understands τὰ ἔργα; Gerhard: generale nomen omnium operum et actionum bonarum; Calvin: honesta et bene composita vita; it is best explained by strenuus animae tonus ac vigor (Bengel): “moral efficiency” (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.).[31]

ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν] ἡ γυῶσις is not here ἡ τῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀποκρύφων μυστηρίων εἴδησις (Oecum.), nor is it “the knowledge of God which the Christians possess” (Dietl.); but as the matter in hand here is the practical proof of the Christian temper, it must be understood as denoting the perception of that which the Christian as such has to do in all relations of life, and of how he has to do it (Besser, Wiesinger, Schott, Hofmann; Brückner, in agreement with this: “discretion”).[32]—2 Peter 1:6. The three virtues here named are: the ἐγκράτεια, the ὙΠΟΜΟΝΉ, and the ΕὐΣΈΒΕΙΑ.

, besides here, in Acts 24:25 and Gal. 6:22 (Titus 1:8 : ἘΓΚΡΑΤΉς; 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Corinthians 9:25 : ἘΓΚΡΑΤΕΎΟΜΑΙ), denotes the control of one’s own desires; ΤῸ ΜΗΔΕΝῚ ἈΠΟΣΎΡΕΣΘΑΙ ΠΆΘΕΙ (Oecumenius); cf. on Titus 1:8.[33] Compare this with the passage in Jes. Sir 18:30, where under the superscription ἘΓΚΡΆΤΕΙΑ ΨΥΧῆς there is the maxim: ὈΠΊΣΩ ΤῶΝ ἘΠΙΘΥΜΙῶΝ ΣΟΥ ΜῊ ΠΟΡΕΎΟΥ, ΚΑῚ ἈΠῸ ΤῶΝ ὈΡΈΞΕΏΝ ΣΟΥ ΚΩΛΎΟΥ.

is enduring patience in all temptations. Besser aptly recalls the proverb: abstine, sustine.

With ΕὐΣΈΒΕΙΑ, comp. 2 Peter 1:3; Dietlein, without sufficient justification, explains it here as: “the godly awe and respect in the personal, domestic relations of life.” If εὐσέβεια do not apply only to our relation to God (e.g. Dio Cass. xlviii. 5: διὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸν ἀδελφὸν εὐσέβειαν), the other object of it must in this case be definitely stated.

[29] Hofmann, without any reason, ascribes two different meanings to καὶδέ, by saying that “καὶδέ is either equal to ‘but now,’ or else to ‘but also;’ in the first case καί adds something further, which δέ points out to be something different, and must be added to what precedes by way of explanation; in the second case δέ adds something different, and καί intimates that it is added on to what precedes, which cannot do without it.” καὶδέ has in itself always the same signification; δέ only emphasizes the new element added by καί, whether this be merely a different one from what goes before, or altogether antithetical to it.

[30] Steinfass remarks: “ἐν conceives the accusatives as involute accusatives, and as elements of the previous datives;” this certainly is correct, but must be supplemented thus far, that the element of the preceding conception, expressed by the accusative, stands forth as a special grace, and thus becomes, as it were, the complement of it.

[31] Hofmann: “that disposition which shows itself in the doing of what is right and good.”

[32] Besser is undoubtedly right in trying to prove that Luther’s “modesty” has another signification than that in which the word is at present employed; still that expression does not altogether coincide with γνῶσις, which Luther understands as meaning that “circumspectness” which knows how to maintain the right moderation in all things.

[33] Hofmann unwarrantably disputes this interpretation by saying that ἐγκρ. is “that quality by which a person denies himself all that is unprofitable;” for the denying oneself that which is unprofitable, for which there is no desire, surely gives no proof whatever of ἐγκράτεια.

2 Peter 1:5-7. Faith is not only illumination but character. “Nor is this all. On your part bring the utmost earnestness to bear, and in your faith supply moral energy, and in your moral energy understanding, and in your understanding self-control, and in your self-control patient endurance, and in patient endurance piety, and in piety brotherly love, and in brotherly love love.”

5. and beside this, giving all diligence] Better, on this very account. The Apostle does not contemplate the elements of Christian holiness which he proceeds to specify as additions to our participation in the Divine Nature, but rather dwells on that very fact, as a reason for pressing onward in the Christian life with all diligence (better, perhaps, earnestness). The use of the word in Jdg 1:3 should be noticed as a parallelism. The Greek for “giving” (literally bringing in by the side of) is an unusual word, not found elsewhere in the New Testament, and seems chosen to express the thought that men, though rejoicing in God’s gifts, were yet to bring in collaterally, as it were, their own activity (comp. Php 2:13).

add to your faith virtue] The Greek word (epichorêgein) is a compound form of that which had been used in 1 Peter 4:11 (see note there as to its meaning and history) and furnishes an addition to the list of words common to the two Epistles. In the LXX. it occurs but once (Sir 25:22), and it may be noted that this is the only passage (unless Galatians 3:5 be another instance) where it is used of man’s activity and not of God’s. Thus taken, the more accurate rendering would be with and by your faith supply virtue, with virtue knowledge, and so on. The Greek cannot possibly bear the meaning of “adding to,” though the fact is of course implied. What is meant is that each element of the Christian life is to be as an instrument by which that which follows it is wrought out.

knowledge] The word is the simpler gnosis, placed here in its right relation to the fuller epignosis (see note on 2 Peter 1:2), to which it leads. The context is decisive against our taking it in the sense of a speculative apprehension of doctrinal mysteries, and we must think of the Apostle as meaning the moral discernment of those who “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17), who “have their senses exercised to distinguish between good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). This kind of knowledge is to be gained, as the Apostle teaches, by the practice of virtue.

2 Peter 1:5. Καὶ, even) also.—αὐτὸ τοῦτο, this very thing) The answer of the godly towards the Divine gifts is accurately expressed. ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ is used as it were adverbially, for ΚΑΤʼ ΑὐΤῸ ΤΟῦΤΟ, “according to this very thing.”—ΣΠΟΥΔῊΝ, diligence) Diligence comprises many things; 2 Corinthians 7:11, note; and in Peter the things which follow whence give diligence, 2 Peter 1:10, refers to this; and so, to endeavour, 2 Peter 1:15; 2 Peter 3:14.—παρεισενέγκαντες, introducing) παρά, by the way, indicates modesty. God acts: we are diligent.—ἐπιχορηγήσατε, supply, exhibit, minister additionally) The corresponding word is, shall be supplied or ministered, 2 Peter 1:11. Our diligence follows the gifts of God; an entrance into the kingdom follows our diligence.—ἐν τῇ πίστει, in the faith) This is called knowledge, 2 Peter 1:3, by which grace and truth are recognised; and God supplies this to us, just as He does life. Faith is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8 : therefore we are not commanded to minister additionally faith, but in faith those fruits which are mentioned, to the number of seven, faith leading the band, and love bringing up the rear.—ὑμῶν, your) Taken with faith; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 1:21.—τὴν ἀρετην, virtue) by which you may imitate the virtue of God, 2 Peter 1:3, and actively perform all things which the spiritual life undertakes. Every present step produces and renders easy that which follows: the following tempers and perfects the preceding. But this is the order of nature, rather than of time. Ἀρετὴ, virtue, [not in the common use of the term, but] a strenuous tone of mind and vigour; 1 Peter 1:13. This is the result of faith; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 4:16, at the beginning. Next in order is [the fruit of virtue] γνῶσις, knowledge or moderation; comp. Romans 15:14, note. Virtue makes us active, watchful, circumspect, separate [or discreet], so as to consider what is to be done or avoided, for the sake of God, ourselves, and others; and in what manner this is to be done, and where and when, etc.; 1 Corinthians 16:18, at the end. Next in order is ἐγκράτεια, abstinence. This is the result of γνῶσις, since it is this which distinguishes evil from good, and teaches us to flee from evil. Next in order is ὑπομονὴ, patience. Incontinence weakens the mind; continence banishes weakness, and adds strength. Next in order is εὐσέβεια, godliness: it sanctifies the natural affections towards parents and others, yea, even towards the Creator. Patience (ὑπομονὴ) removes all the hindrances to godliness. Next in order is φιλαδελφία, brotherly affection. He who has his natural affections sanctified, advances to στοργὴν, a natural affection, that is purely spiritual. Ἀγάπη, love to all, completes this company (chorus) of graces; Colossians 3:14, throughout. He who is rightly disposed towards his brethren, extends his love to those who are less nearly connected with him, and even to enemies. Hence it is evident how each present step produces and renders easy that which follows. Moreover, in what way each step which follows, tempers and perfects that which goes before, will readily appear, if this scheme be duly considered in a retrograde order. He who has love, will exercise brotherly affection without partiality. He who has brotherly affection, will perceive that godliness is altogether necessary. Εὐσεβὴς, the godly, will mix nothing stoical with τῇ ὑπομονῇ, his patience. To the patient man abstinence is easy. Ἐγκρατὴς, the continent man, with calmness of mind thoroughly weighs all things, and has γνῶσιν. Γνῶσις, knowledge, is on its guard, lest sudden impulse should carry away ἀρετὴν, its virtue. The opposites are connected in a similar manner in the case of the wicked: unbelief produces vice, etc.—γνῶσιν, moderation) 1 Peter 3:7, note.

Verse 5. - And beside this, giving all diligence; rather, but for this very cause also. Αὐτὸ τοῦτο is frequently used in this sense in classical Greek, but in the New Testament only here. It refers back to the last verse. God's precious gifts and promises should stimulate us to earnest effort. The verb rendered "giving" means literally "bringing in by the side;" it is one of those graphic and picturesque expressions which are characteristic of St. Peter's style. God worketh within us both to will and to do; this (both St. Paul and St. Peter teach us) is a reason, not for remissness, but for increased exertion. God's grace is sufficient for us; without that we can do nothing; but by the side (so to speak) of that grace, along with it, we must bring into play all earnestness, we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The word seems to imply that the work is God's work; we can do very little indeed, but that very little we must do, and for the very reason that God is working in us. The word (παρεισενέγκαντες) occurs only here in the New Testament. Add to your faith virtue; literally, supply in your faith. He does not say, "supply faith;" he assumes the existence of faith. "He that cometh unto God must believe." The Greek word (ἐπιχορήγησατε) means properly to "contribute to the expenses of a chorus;" it is used three times by St. Paul, and, in its simple form, by St. Peter in his First Epistle (1 Peter 4:11). In usage it came to mean simply to "supply or provide," the thought of the chorus being dropped. So we cannot be sure that the idea of faith as leading the mystic dance in the chorus of Christian graces was present to St. Peter's mind, especially as the word occurs again in verse 11, where no such allusion is possible. The fruits of faith are in the faith which produces them, as a tree is in its seed; they must be developed out of faith, as faith expands and energizes; in the exercise of each grace a fresh grace must issue forth. Virtue is well described by Bengel as "strenuus animi tonus et vigor;" it is Christian manliness and active courage in the good fight of faith. The word "virtue" (ἀρετή), with the exception of Philippians 4:8, occurs in the New Testament only in St. Peter - in this chapter three times, and in 1 Peter 2:9, thus forming one of the kinks between the two Epistles. And to virtue knowledge. St. Peter here uses the simple word γνῶσις, discretion, a right understanding, "quae malam a bono secernit, et mali fugam docet" (Bengel). This practical knowledge is gained in the manly self-denying activities of the Christian life, and leads on to the fuller knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις) of Christ (verse 8). 2 Peter 1:5Beside this (αὐτὸ τοῦτο)

Wrong. Render, for this very cause, as Rev. Lit., this very thing. Just as τί, what? has come to mean why? So the strengthened demonstrative acquires the meaning of wherefore, for this very cause.

Giving all diligence (σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες)

The verb occurs only here in New Testament, and means, literally, to bring in by the side of: adding your diligence to the divine promises. So Rev., adding on your part.

Add to your faith, etc

The A. V. is entirely wrong. The verb rendered add (ἐπιχορηγήσατε) is derived from χορός a chorus, such as was employed in the representation of the Greek tragedies. The verb originally means to bear the expense of a chorus, which was done by a person selected by the state, who was obliged to defray all the expenses of training and maintenance. In the New Testament the word has lost this technical sense, and is used in the general sense of supplying or providing. The verb is used by Paul (2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19), and is rendered minister (A. V.), supply (Rev.); and the simple verb χορηγέω, minister, occurs 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Corinthians 9:10. Here the Rev., properly, renders supply.

To your faith (ἐν τῇ πίστει)

The A. V. exhorts to add one virtue to another; but the Greek, to develop one virtue in the exercise of another: "an increase by growth, not by external junction; each new grace springing out of, attempting, and perfecting the other." Render, therefore, as Rev. In your faith supply virtue, and in your virtue knowledge, etc.


See on 2 Peter 1:3, and 1 Peter 2:9. Not in the sense of moral excellence, but of the energy which Christians are to exhibit, as God exerts his energy upon them. As God calls us by his own virtue (2 Peter 1:3), so Christians are to exhibit virtue or energy in the exercise of their faith, translating it into vigorous action.

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