2 Peter 1:6
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
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(6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.And in your knowledge [supply] self control, and in your self-control, patience, and in your patience, godliness. In other words, your discerning between good and evil must lead to avoiding the evil and choosing the good—i.e., to the control of your own lawless propensities; and in restraining these you must endure difficulties patiently; and your patience must not be the stolid defiance of the savage, or the self-reliant and self-satisfied endurance of the Stoic, but a humble and loving trust in God. Virtue and knowledge are energetic and progressive; they are exercised in developing the powers implanted in us. Self-control and patience are restrictive and disciplinary; they are exercised in checking and regulating the conflicting claims of many co-existing powers, so as to reduce all to harmony. There is special point in “self-control” being placed as the consequence of “knowledge.” The false teachers would insist that knowledge led to liberty, which with them meant emancipation from all control whatever. Self-mastery is to the world at large the opposite of liberty; to the Christian it is another name for it—that service which is perfect freedom. Patience to the world is to accept loss and suffering; to the Christian it is to win the best of prizes—“in your patience ye shall win your souls.”

2 Peter 1:6-7. And to knowledge, temperance — This virtue consists in a confirmed habit of ruling all the affections, passions, and appetites of our nature in a proper manner, by placing our affections on proper objects; by restraining our angry, peevish, envious, and unholy tempers, and by using moderation in gratifying our appetites. Christian temperance, indeed, includes the voluntary abstaining from all pleasure which does not lead to God, extending to all things inward and outward, and implying the due government of our thoughts and imaginations, as well as of our desires and designs. It is the using the world properly: so to use all outward, and so to restrain all inward things, that they may become a means of what is spiritual; a scaling-ladder to ascend to what is above. Intemperance is to abuse the world. He that uses any thing below, looking no higher, and getting no farther, is intemperate. He that uses the creature only so as to attain to more of the Creator, is alone temperate in all things, and walks as Christ himself walked; and to temperance, patience — Bear as well as forbear; sustain as well as abstain; take up your cross, as well as deny yourself, daily; and the more knowledge you have, do this the more: the more steadily and resolutely renounce your own will; submit to, and acquiesce in, the will of God; and indulge yourself the less. Knowledge puffeth up; and the great boasters of knowledge, the Gnostics, were those that turned the grace of God into wantonness, being lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and of course effeminate and unprepared to encounter any opposition, or to endure any hardship on account of truth and a good conscience. But see that your knowledge be attended with temperance, and your temperance with patience; and to patience, godliness — Its proper support; a continual sense of God’s wisdom, power, and goodness; of his holiness, truth, justice, and mercy; of his presence and providence, with a reverential, awful, filial, and loving fear of, and confidence in him. Otherwise your patience may be pride, surliness, stoicism; but it will not be Christianity. And to godliness, brotherly kindness — Sullenness, sternness, moroseness, are not consistent with genuine godliness. Sour godliness, so called, is of the devil. Of Christian godliness it may always be said:

“Mild, sweet, serene, and tender is her mood,

Nor grave with sternness, nor with lightness free;

Against example resolutely good,

Fervent in zeal, and warm in charity.”

And to brotherly kindness, love — The pure and perfect love of God and of all mankind. The apostle here makes an advance upon the preceding article, brotherly kindness, which seems only to relate to the love of Christians toward one another.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 to knowledge temperance - On the meaning of the word "temperance," see the Acts 24:25 note, and 1 Corinthians 9:25 note. The word here refers to the mastery over all our evil inclinations and appetites. We are to allow none of them to obtain control over us. See the notes at 1 Corinthians 6:12. This would include, of course, abstinence from intoxicating drinks; but it would also embrace all evil passions and propensities. Everything is to be confined within proper limits, and to no propensity of our nature are we to give indulgence beyond the limits which the law of God allows.

And to temperance patience - Notes, James 1:4.

And to patience godliness - True piety. Notes, 2 Peter 1:3. Compare 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Timothy 6:3, 1 Timothy 6:5-6, 1 Timothy 6:11.

6. Greek, "And in your knowledge self-control." In the exercise of Christian knowledge or discernment of God's will, let there be the practical fruit of self-control as to one's lusts and passions. Incontinence weakens the mind; continence, or self-control, moves weakness and imparts strength And in your self-control patient endurance" amidst sufferings, so much dwelt on in the First Epistle, second, third, and fourth chapters. "And in your patient endurance godliness"; it is not to be mere stoical endurance, but united to [and flowing from] God-trusting [Alford]. Temperance; a grace which represseth, and curbs in, not only sensual lusts, but all inordinate appetites, Galatians 5:22 Titus 1:8.

Patience; that Christian fortitude whereby we hear afflictions and injuries, so as to persevere in our duty without being moved by the evils that attend us in the doing of it.

Godliness; which respects our immediate duty to God, and comprehends all the duties of the first table. This is joined to

patience, as being that which teacheth us, in all we suffer, to acknowledge God’s providence, and promises of deliverance and recompence. And to knowledge, temperance,.... Avoiding all excess in eating and drinking, and all impure and unclean lusts; for it signifies nothing what a man knows, or professes to know, if his life is a scene of intemperance and debauchery: this seems to be levelled against the followers or Simon Magus, who ascertained salvation to knowledge, though the life was ever so impure, Moreover, this may include abstinence, not only from hurtful lusts, but from the use of things indifferent, when the peace and comfort of a weak brother are endangered; for then to knowledge must be added love, otherwise that knowledge will not be right, at least not rightly used; see 1 Corinthians 8:1,

and to temperance, patience; which is necessary to the running of the Christian race, which is attended with many difficulties and exercises; and under affliction from the hand of God, that there be no murmuring nor repining; and under reproaches and persecutions from men, that they faint not, and are not discouraged by them; and in the expectation of the heavenly glory: this is proper to be superadded to the former, because there may be intemperance in passion, as well as in the use of the creatures; a man may be inebriated with wrath and anger, and overcome with impatience, as well as with wine and strong drink:

and to patience, godliness; either internal, which is distinguished from bodily exercise, or outward worship, and lies in the inward and powerful exercise of grace, as faith, hope, love, fear, &c. and the Syriac version here renders it, "the fear of God": or rather external, and intends the whole worship of God, as prayer, praise, hearing of the word, and attendance on all ordinances.

{6} And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

(6) He brings up certain and other principal virtues, of which some pertain to the first table of the law, others to the last.

2 Peter 1:6. ἐγκράτειαν: “self-control”: accompanied by, and arising from, knowledge, and not a mere product of fear or submission to authority. ὑπομονήν: “steadfastness”—not turned aside from the faith by trial and suffering (cf. Luke 8:15, Romans 5:3 ff.). The desponding doctrine of the false teachers would itself call for ὑπομονή in the readers. Mayor compares the Aristotelian καρτερία (cf. Hebrews 11:27). εὐσέβειαν. In the Epistle the false teachers are ἀσεβεῖς (cf. note on 2 Peter 1:3).6. and to knowledge temperance] Better, as before, and by knowledge temperance. The word for “temperance” has a wider range than the modern sense of the English term. “Self-government” or “self-control” would be better equivalents. In Sir 18:30 we have, under the heading in the LXX. of “self-control of the soul” (ἐγκράτεια ψυχῆς), what may almost be called a definition in the form of a precept, “Go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself from thine appetites.” The word is not common in the New Testament, but appears in Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23.

and to temperance patience] Better, endurance, the Greek noun expressing a more active phase of character than the English, bearing up against evils, and continuing steadfast under them. The cognate verb is translated “endure” in Matthew 10:22 and elsewhere.

to patience godliness] See note on 2 Peter 1:3 for the latter word.2 Peter 1:6. Ἐγκράτειαν, abstinence) which avoids evil desires. Abstain.—ὑπομονὴν, patience) by which adversities and adversaries are endured. Sustain [have endurance].—εὐσέβειαν, godliness) By which the faithful look to God above all things. Εὐσέβεια may be affection towards relatives, parents, brothers, etc.; but it is a sanctified affection. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:4.Verse 6. - And to knowledge temperance; rather, self-control (ἐγκράτεια). The words ἐκράτεια ψυχῆς are the heading of a section in the Greek of Ecclus. 18:30, and are followed immediately by the maxim, "Go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself from thine appetites." This self-control extends over the whole of life, and consists in the government of all the appetites; it must be learned in the exercise of that practical knowledge which discerns between good and evil. True knowledge leads on to self-control, to that perfect freedom which consists in the service of God; not to that liberty promised by the false teachers, which is licentiousness. And to temperance patience; and to patience godliness. The practice of self-control will result in patient endurance; but that endurance will not be mere stoicism; it will be a conscious submission of our human will to the holy will of God, and so will tend to develop and strengthen εὐσέβεια, reverence and piety towards God (see note on verse 3). Temperance (ἐγκρατεία)

Self-control; holding the passions and desires in hand. See 1 Corinthians 9:25.

Patience (ὑπομονήν)

Lit., remaining behind or staying, from μένω, to wait. Not merely endurance of the inevitable, for Christ could have relieved himself of his sufferings (Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 12:3; compare Matthew 26:53); but the heroic, brave patience with which a Christian not only bears but contends. Speaking of Christ's patience, Barrow remarks, "Neither was it out of a stupid insensibility or stubborn resolution that he did thus behave himself; for he had a most vigorous sense of all those grievances, and a strong (natural) aversation from under going them;...but from a perfect submission to the divine will, and entire command over his passions, an excessive charity toward mankind, this patient and meek behavior did spring." The same writer defines patience as follows: "That virtue which qualifieth us to bear all conditions and all events, by God's disposal incident to us, with such apprehensions and persuasions of mind, such dispositions and affections of heart, such external deportment and practices of life as God requireth and good reason directeth (Sermon XLII., "On Patience").


See on 2 Peter 1:3. The quality is never ascribed to God.

Brotherly kindness (φιλαδελφίαν)

Rev. renders, literally, love of the brethren.

Charity (ἀγάπην)

There seems at first an infelicity in the rendering of the Rev., in your love of the brethren love. But this is only apparent. In the former word Peter contemplates Christian fellow-believers as naturally and properly holding the first place in our affections (compare Galatians 6:10, "Especially unto them which are of the household of faith"). But he follows this with the broader affection which should characterize Christians, and which Paul lauds in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, the love of men as men. It may be remarked here that the entire rejection by the Rev. of charity as the rendering of ἀγάπη is wholesome and defensible. Charity has acquired two peculiar meanings, both of which are indeed included or implied in love, but neither of which expresses more than a single phase of love - tolerance and beneficence. The A. V. in the great majority of cases translates love; always in the Gospels, and mostly elsewhere. There is no more reason for saying "charity suffereth long," than for saying, "the charity of God is shed abroad in our hearts," or "God is charity."

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