2 Peter 1:2

Our text strikes the key-note of the Epistle - the need of watchfulness against error. Scripture demands a clear knowledge of revealed truth. On this the maintenance of spiritual life depends; to swerve from Divine truth is to suffer spiritual loss.

I. A GREAT INCREASE OF SPIRITUAL BLESSING IS POSSIBLE TO THE BELIEVER. "Grace and peace" we may take as including all spiritual good. Grace is God's part therein; peace is man's. God's attitude towards us is grace; our attitude towards him, for that is the end of righteousness, is to be peace. Between these two lies all that pertains to life and godliness. And the apostle says this may be multiplied to the Christian.

1. Because of the great capacity of his nature. The life imparted in regeneration has almost unlimited possibilities; it is Heaven's germ, from which will be developed the pure and perfect spirit which will gaze on the face of God, and reflect his glory. The believer is joint-heir with Christ; where Christ is, he is to be. Heaven will be a constant advance into the character of God; that is the capacity of spiritual life in the soul, "filled with all the fullness of God."

2. Because God has already given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. The power which God is prepared to manifest towards his people is equal to that which raised Christ from the helplessness of the grave to the supreme dominion of the universe. And in what way, but in giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness? Who can enumerate what is included in that "all things"? We do not always realize that with Christ God has already "freely given us all things." True, he holds them still, but it is on our behalf.

3. Because what we receive is through the Divine glory and virtue. In the Revised Version the third verse reads thus: "He hath called us by his own glory and virtue;" and that is the ground of our hopes, and triumphs over our sense of ill desert. God's glory is his mercy, and it is set free to exercise itself by Christ in the atonement; and he finds there the reason why he should enrich us.

II. THIS INCREASE OF BLESSING DEPENDS ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. God does not give us mature spiritual blessings, but rather supplies us with the means of acquiring them. When we can do anything to secure the answer to our prayers, God gives the answer by blessing our own efforts, and, apart from the effort, the answer does not come. He will not give spiritual enrichment to spiritual inaction. In answer to our prayers for grace and peace to be multiplied, God shows us how we may have it.

1. The means of spiritual increase is the knowledge of himself. Scripture invariably makes spiritual good to rest on the knowledge of God. For instance: Security - "They have escaped the corruptions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Peace - "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." Strength - "The people that do know their God shall be strong." Obedience - "Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." Love - "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is Love." Our Lord Jesus Christ sums it up in one sentence, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent? But there is a difference between knowing about God, and knowing God, and the difference is vital; the one knowledge is fruitful, the other barren. There is a natural connection between the increase of knowledge and the increase of grace.

2. Knowledge quickens desire. We cannot know God without longing to possess more of him and of what he has to give; and that longing means prayer for more, which will be answered, and effort for more, which will be successful.

3. Knowledge increases faith. Faith being the hand by which we appropriate and so possess. Why do we not take God as our own, with a confidence nothing can shake? To a great extent because we do not know him - how real he is, how vast his love, how infinitely trustworthy his nature. If we only knew more of him, we should hold him in the embrace of a strong, restful assurance.

4. Knowledge tends to participation. Personal acquaintance with God must have incalculable results. We should have a new power constraining us to righteousness. The grace and peace of his own nature would reflect themselves in us.

III. THIS INCREASE OF KNOWLEDGE SHOULD BE THE BELIEVER'S AIM. The difference in spiritual stature comes from different degrees of spiritual knowledge: then how can we know God better?

1. Greater knowledge is granted as the result of obedience. Unless God reveal himself, we cannot know him; and he reveals himself to him who lives in his fear. Sin blinds and deafens us; to do wrong is to put ourselves further from the knowledge of God; to do right is to thin the veil that hides him from us. If you would know him, obey him.

2. Greater knowledge is granted as the fruit of study and fellowship. It is only in face-to-face communion with God, such as is possible through the teaching of his Word, that we can really know him; therein he speaks to us, and in prayer we speak to him.

3. Greater knowledge is granted as the end of Divine discipline. That we may know him is the object of many of our sorrows. Sickness is often God shutting the busy soul up to himself. Trouble is often God showing us how tender a Father he is. Darkness is often God compelling us to look up -

"Darkness revealing worlds of light
We never saw by day." Presently the need of discipline will be ended, and from knowing God in part, we shall enter into his presence. - C.N.

A light that shineth in a dark place.
I. In showing THE CORRECTNESS OF THIS DESCRIPTION, I would begin with reminding you that by the "dark place" we must understand this world in relation to its spiritual condition. But in the midst of all this darkness a light has still been shining, and that light is the Word of God.

II. TO ILLUSTRATE IT BY A REFERENCE TO FACTS. Has it not uniformly come to pass that true religion has flourished or decayed in exact proportion to the degree in which the Bible has been disseminated or suppressed?

1. In practically applying the subject, the first inference which I shall deduce from it is that suggested by St. Peter himself in the text — seeing that there is such a light shining in a dark place, "ye will do well that ye take heed to it." Bear in mind the purpose for which it was vouchsafed: not to gratify a vain curiosity, not to puff up with fleshly wisdom, but to make wise unto salvation, to enlighten, convert, and purify the soul. Bear in mind that it is not enough to live under the light; you must also walk in the light. It is not enough that the light is around you; it must be also in you. You may have your understanding enlightened with Scriptural truths, and yet your heart may be "a dark place."

2. Seeing that there is such a light shining in a dark place, ye will do well to aid the diffusion of it. Having "taken heed to it" yourselves, let it be your care to extend the blessing of it to others. Can you, indeed, do otherwise?

(E. Cooper, M. A.)


1. One use, of course, is to prove the truth and faithfulness of God's Word, establishing by implication His foreknowledge.

2. Another use of unfulfilled prophecy is guidance and direction.

3. Unfulfilled prophecy is also for warning both to the Church and to sinners — to the Church, that they may be found ready, with their loins girt, overcoming the evil, and waiting for the glory; to the world, that they may have opportunity to escape, or, if they refuse, be left without excuse in the rejection of the truth.

4. Hope is specially strengthened and sustained through the communication of what is to come.

5. Among many other uses of unfulfilled prophecy is the answer which it affords to the questionings of infidelity.

II. THE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH PROPHETICAL LANGUAGE AND ITS STATEMENTS SHOULD BE INTERPRETED. To the question, "How can we certainly discover the right way of interpreting unfulfilled prophecy," we answer at once, "By observing how God has interpreted prophecy in what has been fulfilled already."

III. Let us now proceed to discuss in a few words the one pre-eminently great event of unfulfilled prophecy — THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. This is the great focus of prophetic light, and all other events and circumstances are gathered in beautiful symmetry around it.


(C. J. Goodhart, M. A.)

I. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT A GOOD MAN MAY BE IN THE DARK. Was not David in the dark (2 Samuel 22:29)? Was not Job in the dark (Job 19:8)? A good man may live and dwell in a place or town where no means of grace are; in a poor, dark, and ignorant corner of the world. Did not Job dwell in the land of Uz? As a good man may be offended and stumbled, so he may stumble into some mistakes and errors; erroneous times are dark times: every error is darkness, as truth is light. Ye see how it is in a room where there are many pictures; though ye see some of them presently, yet others have a silken curtain drawn before them, which ye see not immediately: so here, though God do reveal much unto you, yet there is a silken curtain that is still drawn before some truths, and therefore even a good man may be much mistaken. And if a good man may be under some temptation and sin, then he may be in the dark.

II. THOUGH A GOOD MAN MAY BE IN THE DARK, YET HE HATH SCRIPTURE LIGHT TO WALK BY. God hath not left him comfortless, and without light, in obscure darkness. But have not even wicked men this light also of the Scripture, to walk by in their darkness? I answer, They have it as a blind man hath the sun. And though a wicked man doth hear and may read the Scripture, and know many truths which are therein contained, yet he doth not know the greatness of them. But may not a good man's eyes be held from this Scripture light? When he is converted, then are his eyes said to be opened, then is he anointed with the unction of the Holy One, and doth know all things necessary unto his salvation. He doth not shut his own eyes against any Scripture light. He knows more than he is able to utter and he feels more than he can speak. And though some Scripture truths may be hidden from him sometimes, yet he hath his intervals of sight. And though a good man may be in the dark, yet God doth not leave him so.

III. THIS SCRIPTURE LIGHT IS THE MOST EXCELLENT, SAFE, AND SURE LIGHT: it is the light of lights; the most excellent light of all under God in Christ. For —

1. It is a true light. There is God seen especially, and Christ seen; there also you see yourself and your own dirty face; there also you see the creatures that are in the room with you, and their emptiness; the emptiness of men, and of all comforts and relations.

2. As it is a true light, so it is an admirable and wonderful light. In other knowledges, the more ye know, the less ye admire; but in Scripture knowledge, the more light ye have, and the more ye know, the more you will lift up your hands and admire, at your own ignorance and God's grace.

3. As it is an admirable light, so it is a safe and sure light. Other false lights do lead men into fens and bogs; but we have a more sure and safe light, and the more of it falls upon your eye, the more is your eye preserved.

4. As it is a safe and sure light, so it is a pleasant and satisfying light. Light is pleasant to the eye, and the eye ordinarily is not satisfied with seeing: but this is that light which doth bring men to rest; for when a man knows what shall be his portion for ever, then his heart is at rest, and not before.

5. As it is a pleasant, satisfying light, so it is a full and sufficient light, able to make the man of God perfect unto salvation. What state can you be in, but the Scripture will find a commandment for your rule, and a promise for your assistance and reward?

6. As it is a full and sufficient light, so it is a clear light, a light that shineth; it hath no thief in it, as many lights and candles have: not that there are no hard things therein, and difficulties. Yet what truth is in all the Scripture, which is necessary to salvation, but doth lie plain and clear? (Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Romans 10:6).

7. As it is a clear light, so it is the best light in the world, the most excellent light, a light beyond all other things which do pretend to light.(1) Wherein doth this Scripture light exceed or go beyond revelations or visions, and the light thereof?(a) This Scripture light, as you have seen, is a full light, a light which did shine forth at once in and by Jesus Christ. Revelations and visions are more particular; though God did sometimes speak in that way and manner, yet then He spake drop by drop; but now He hath, in these last days, spoken His full mind by His Son. These were but as the apples which did fall from the tree of wisdom; but in the gospel and Scripture, ye have the whole tree itself.(b) Scripture light is the highest light; Scripture dispensation the highest dispensation: the dispensation of visions and revelations was of a lower rank.(c) This Scripture light is a more sure and certain light: for if God should now speak unto you by visions, or visional revelations, how would you know that this were the voice of God, and not a delusion of Satan?(d) There is no danger in tending upon and taking heed to this Scripture light. But if men do attend to revelations and visions, how easily may they be drawn to despise the Scripture, and such as do wait thereon!(e) Why but, you will say, may not God speak by extraordinary visions and revelations, in these days of ours? Though God may thus speak to some of His servants, yet if I have an itching desire after visions and revelations it is ill.(2) As for dreams and voices, the Scripture or the written Word of God, is more excellent than those; and the light of Scripture is the best light in compare with any light that may come from them.(3) As for impressions made upon the soul, whether by a particular word or without it; the Scripture, or the written Word of God, is more sure than those; and the light thereof the best and most excellent light in comparison with the light of impressions. If I do make an impression the certain judge of doctrines, then am I much deceived.(4) As for that light and law of grace which is in the saints, the light of the Scripture is beyond and more excellent than that. The light and law within us here is imperfect, for we see but in part, and know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9); but the Word of God written, the Scripture and the light thereof, is perfect (Psalm 19.). The law of grace within, and the light within, is not able to convince others. Though experience be a great help to our faith, yet, take it alone, abstracted from the Word, and it cannot heal our unbelief. But though experience be the parent of hope, yet it is not the ground of our faith; it is an help unto faith, but not the first ground of our faith.(6) As for Divine providence, the Scripture is a more sure light than it. For God doth sometimes try us by His providence. So He led the children of Israel in the wilderness forty years to try them, and to know what they would do, and to humble them. But the Scripture is the rule of our doing, and therefore a more safe and sure light to walk by. And if the providence of God extendeth unto all our actions, good and evil, and to evil as well as unto what is good, then there is no certain rule or judgment to be made up from thence.(7) As for human reason and the light thereof, Scripture light is more excellent than it. For though human reason be a beam of Divine wisdom, yet if it be not enlightened with a higher light of the gospel, it cannot reach unto the things of God as it should. And as mere human reason cannot make a sufficient discovery of sin, so it cannot strengthen against sin and temptation: temptations answered by reason will return again; it cannot convert the soul. "But the Word of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Though the light of reason be good, yet it is not a saving light. It is revelation light from the gospel that doth bring to heaven: mere human reason cannot do it. Is there then no use of reason and of the light thereof? Yea, much, not only in civil things but in the things of God, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

IV. As Scripture light is the most excellent light, the best and most sure light, so IT IS OUR DUTY, THE DUTY OF ALL THE SAINTS AND PEOPLE OF GOD, TO TAKE HEED THEREUNTO, and that especially in their dark times and places. Yet further, ye shall do well that ye take heed thereunto, for the doctrine of the gospel written is —

1. The Word of the Son of God. The more excellent the person is that speaks unto you, the more diligently ye will take heed unto what he saith.

2. As the Scripture is the Word of the Son, so it is the only rule of our lives. Now that which is the only rule of our lives, we are in special manner to take heed unto.

3. As the Scripture and the Word of God written is the only rule, so it is that salt which doth season all your enjoyments. It is the rule and measure of your worship; for if you do not worship according to the appointments of God in His written Word, your worship is but idolatry and superstition. It is the great relief of your souls in time of temptation. It is that which sanctifieth all your outward comforts, even amongst the creatures (1 Timothy 4:4). And shall the Word of God written be such a blessed treasure, and shall we not take heed thereunto?

4. As it is the salt of all your comforts, so it is, and shall be, your judge at the great day. But the text saith, "That we shall do well to take heed thereunto, until the day dawn, and day-star arise in our hearts": but the day hath dawned on me, and the day-star hath arisen in my heart; and therefore now, what need I take heed to the Scripture or the written Word any longer? I answer, Yea, still you have need to do it: for did not the day dawn and the day-star arise on the hearts of the apostles and Christians in their days, according to your sense and meaning? yet they still attended on the written Word of God. But why are the saints and people of God to take heed unto the Scripture and the written Word of God especially in their dark times and seasons? I answer, Because they are then in most danger of stumbling and falling: he that walketh in the dark, stumbleth; and who is not then apt to fall? But by taking heed to this sure light, they shall be kept from the power of their darkness. What must we do, that we may take heed and attend unto Scripture? Ye must do three things —

I.Ye must attend to know and understand it.

II.Ye must attend to keep it. And —

III.Ye must attend to walk by the same. And —

I. For your knowledge in and understanding of the Scripture, and the written Word of God, ye must —

1. Observe, keep, and hold fast the letter of it; for though the letter of the Scripture be not the Word alone, yet the letter with the true sense and meaning of it, is the Word.

2. If you would have the true knowledge, and understand the Scripture, and so behold this great light in its full glory and brightness, you must diligently inquire into the true sense and meaning of it, for the true sense and meaning is the soul thereof.

II. But secondly, and more practically: if you would so understand the Scripture, that you may take heed thereunto, as to a light shining in your dark state, then — You must go to God for the Spirit; for without it ye cannot understand the mind of God in the Scripture: no man knows the mind of Paul but by the spirit of Paul; nor the mind of Peter but by the spirit of Peter; no man knows the mind of Christ but by the Spirit of Christ: stand therefore under gospel dispensations, where the Spirit breathes. Take heed of a worldly, fleshly mind; fleshly sins do exceedingly blind the mind from the things of God, and a worldly mind cannot savour them. Yet take heed that you be not too indulgent to your own condition, disposition, or opinion. It is a good speech of Hilary: He is the best interpreter of Scripture that doth rather bring his sense from the Scripture than carry his sense to the Scripture. If you do desire so to understand the Scripture, as it may be a light to all your paths; then be sure that you put nothing else in commission with it for your rule. It is with the Scripture in this respect, as with God, Christ, and the Spirit; if you come to God for help, yet if you join another god in commission with Him, He will not give down His help. And so here: though you come, and tend, and wait upon God in the Scripture, yet if there be anything else which you do make your joint rule with the Scripture, any light within you, or precept of man without you, it will not give down its light to you, but you will be left in the dark.

III. Yet one thing more. If you would take heed to the Scripture, you must so heed the same, as you may walk thereby. Therefore prize it much: who takes heed to that which he does not prize? Therefore, also, get your heart affected with love to every truth which you know; for because men receive not the truth in the love thereof, therefore God doth give them up to strong delusions: men take heed unto what they love. And therefore that you may heed it so as to walk thereby, let it be your continual companion, going where you go; if you go into the fields, oh! let the Word go with you; if into your calling, oh! let the Scripture and the written Word of God be with you. Thus shall you take heed unto it, as to a light shining in a dark place.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

Until the day dawn
The words admit of two rather different meanings. They may refer to the light which sometimes breaks upon the heart after prayer or meditation. I would suppose that you are a real inquirer after truth. You have been searching for it long and earnestly, but the dark places in the Bible — those dark places which underlie all great truths — and the dark places in your own heart are many. You cannot see any light. Least of all can you see that you have yourself any part or lot in the matter. The day cometh and also the night, for the night is as much a part of the coming as the day. It will come in its own appointed time, and not a moment sooner. The day's dawn will arise exact to its moment. Or it may be thus. You have lost the light which you once enjoyed. Something has come between your soul and God, and now all is dark. What shall you do? Pray on, repent on, confess on, plead on a little longer. It only wants your perseverance "until the day dawn." Or perhaps you say, "I have never known any of the rapturous views which some speak of." It is not given to everybody in the same degree, but to each as he needs it, or as he can bear it. The nights are as needful as the days to all the processes of nature. A brightened day of Christian experience may be yet waiting for you. Do not let hope, or faith, or courage fail until it dawn. Meanwhile, that "until" is a very important part of the blessing. Many a good thing has lost all its goodness simply because it came too soon. Do not hurry on the morning. God knows best how long your night shall be. But there is another interpretation which belongs to the text with equal or greater appropriateness. "The day." The day of all days for this world is the Advent of Christ. That day which will throw over this earth a light never seen before, and clothe it with the most brilliant splendour. Of the exact period of that day's dawn we have been most wisely and mercifully kept in ignorance. Is, then, this life all night? Why speak of the day dawning as if it is all now so very dark? It is all comparative. This life is a very happy life; this world is a beautiful world; but we all find that colour changes its hue under contrast. To-morrow's exceeding joy may make a bright yesterday look dull, however pleasant it was. And when Jesus comes with His glory, and the heavens are new, and the earth is new, all that is now the holiest, and loveliest and best — tainted as it all is with sin and change and sorrow — it will all look like a shadow. Still it is not to disparage the present, but to exalt the future, that we are told to wait "until the day dawn." To all the mysteries of our world and being, to the chaos of our thoughts, to the dark things within and around us on every side, the key, the true solution is "until the day dawn." Bear that key with you, and it will unlock the whole year. Expect and be always looking for more and more light, till one by one the shadows flee away, and the whole orb of truth rises in his majesty, and "the day dawn."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The daystar arise
There is a difference between "the dawn" and the "day-star." The light of "the dawn" is general; the "daystar" gives the thought a focus and fixes it to one spot. "The dawn "is to the whole world; "the day-star "arises in our hearts. What "the day-star" is, is left without a shadow of a doubt. For Christ has singled it out as the last title which He claims in the whole Bible. "I am the bright and morning star." As "the morning star "He comes to us in the night of waiting, doubt, and sorrow. "The day-star" is the morning close at hand. "The dawn" is the day begun. Yet they can never be divided. "The dawn" must soon be full day, and "the day-star" loses itself in the risen sun. Now trace, for a moment, the connection which lies in the allegory — between "the dawn" and "the day-star." I will give one or two instances. You have been reading your Bible, and searching into some of the deep things there. You are a sincere inquirer after truth, but for a while it is all dark; and when it is the darkest, just before the light is going to break, a thought comes into your mind; it gives you a fresh view of the whole subject; it gets clearer and clearer; it spreads like "the dawn" over the hills; in another bound it unveils itself to you. Why? Whence comes this "dawn"? Is it from the head, or is it from the heart? Certainly from the heart. There is Christ in it. "The daystar" is in that "dawn." You feel it. The day "dawned" when "the day-star arose in your heart." And so Christ made the night of your ignorance turn into the day of your joy. I will take it thus. Some sin has gradually darkened your mind. It throws its deep shadow over everything. You cannot find forgiveness, and your whole life is wrapped in gloom. The night of your life becomes thicker and thicker. You pray; there is no answer. You repent; but there is no peace. When almost suddenly — as it seems to you — a hope seems to spring up, things begin to look brighter, despair ceases, praise and hope find their way to your thoughts. There is a "dawn"! But whence? Christ and His tender love has come nearer to you. He reveals Himself to you as your complete and all-sufficient Saviour. All is changed. Why? "The day-star" has "risen in your heart." Or see what shall be presently. The second Advent of Christ is breaking upon this earth. A new day shall burst. This is wonderful. Are you frightened at the solemnities of that hour — the convulsions of nature — the rolling of the heavens up into a scroll — the sight of God! Do they appal you? No. You are calm; you rejoice. Why? For "the day-star" is there, and long before, He has been "the day dawn" in your soul. He is yours. You know Him. He has "risen in your heart," and now has come the noontime of your joy! Now let us observe a little more concerning "the day-star." And first I notice that it "ariseth" of its own free action, of the very necessity of its being; in its very nature it ariseth. It must "arise." We do not make the day-star "arise"; neither do we make Jesus come into our poor dark hearts. He does it of His own free grace and favour. He comes of His own necessity. Such is His love He cannot but choose to come. He "arises" in your heart. The expression shows that it is gradual. "He arises." He goes higher and higher. The light gets stronger, and we see Him more and more. And where the days are His, we know that there will be day — perfect day. The great question for every one of us is, "Is that day-star yet arisen in my heart? If not, why?" Are you wilfully hindering it? Are you turning away from it?

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

(Luke 1:78, 79; 2 Peter 1:19): — Christ has two incarnations — the one outside of man, the other inside; two births — the one in the manger, the other in the soul.

I. His OBJECTIVE birth or rising. "The day-spring from on high," etc. This day-star arose in Bethlehem. First, the origin of this rising. "Through the. tender mercy of our God." God's sovereign, compassionate, boundless love was the cause. Secondly, the purpose of this rising. "To give light to them that sit in darkness." This was the condition of the world — in moral night, ignorant, polluted, miserable.

II. His SUBJECTIVE birth or rising. "The day-star arise in your hearts." Christ is in His disciples

(1)as the dominant object of affection,

(2)as the dominant theme of thought,

(3)as the dominant motive of action.

III. His objective and subjective rising COMPARED. Both agree in this. They are from the "tender mercy of our God." But the following are points of difference: First, the objective rising exists independently of the subjective; but not the subjective without the objective. In other words, unless Christ had been born in the manger He would never have been born by faith in the human soul. Secondly, the objective rising may become a curse, the subjective never. The man who does not receive Christ into the heart, but continues to reject Him, is injured immensely by the fact of His outward revelation. Thirdly, the objective rising is independent of human choice or effort, but not the subjective. Fourthly, the objective rising is not a matter of consciousness; the subjective is. That Christ came into the world can only be proved by logic and dealing with known facts; consciousness, the strongest and ultimate proof, can yield no testimony to the fact. But the subjective rising is a matter of consciousness. Conclusion: Learn — first, what personal Christianity is; secondly, what the duty of the preacher is. Try to get Christ, and not creeds, into human souls.


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