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2 Peter 1:5-11 Commentary (ESVSB and Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

(‭2 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭5-11‬)
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

1:5 supplement your faith. Peter exhorts Christians not merely to confess faith in Christ but actually to live as he taught. He is not saying that works are a prerequisite for salvation but rather is arguing that faith must take concrete form in life. All the virtues listed in vv. 5–7 are results of faith, so faith is listed first, while love (the ultimate result of faith) is listed last (v. 7; cf. 1 Tim. 1:5). Virtue translates Greek aretē; see note on 2 Pet. 1:3.

1:6 Godliness translates Greek eusebeia, “devoutness, piety, devotion to God” (also in vv. 3, 7; 3:11; see 2 Tim. 3:5).

1:8–11 Living an Effective Life for Christ. Peter explains the necessary relationship between regeneration and a life that reflects the virtues inherent in the knowledge of Christ.

1:8 if these qualities are yours and are increasing. A lifelong pattern of growth in Christlike character is expected of Christians and is the key to fruitful ministry. By contrast, knowledge (Gk. epignōsis) of . . . Christ is ineffective and unfruitful unless accompanied by a life that increasingly exhibits the qualities of vv. 5–7.

1:9 The one who lacks these qualities (cf. vv. 5–7) is spiritually blind and has forgotten that he was cleansed (cf. Titus 3:5–7) from his sins. This lack of fruit could exist because a person’s “cleansing” was merely an external reformation that did not come from a truly changed heart. But it could also describe a genuine Christian who has fallen into serious error regarding the Christian life. Only God knows the person’s true status (cf. 2 Tim. 2:19).

1:10 Christians should be diligent to make their calling and election (Gk. eklogē) sure (Gk. bebaios, “reliable, unshifting, firm”). God calls believers to faith through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14), but he has also chosen (elected) 1:10 Christians should be diligent to make their calling and election (Gk. eklogē) sure (Gk. bebaios, “reliable, unshifting, firm”). God calls believers to faith through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14), but he has also chosen (elected) them “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). But God’s grace in salvation should not be taken for granted. Growing in the Christlike virtues mentioned in 2 Pet. 1:5–7 will give believers increasing confidence that God really did call them and really did elect them to salvation before the foundation of the world. Thus their election becomes “sure,” as a sure foundation. Those who practice these qualities .  .  . will never fall, probably meaning apostasy (falling away from the faith). Good works are evidence of and give assurance of salvation, though they are never the basis for it. Peter’s wording does not imply that true followers of Christ can ever apostatize; those who do so were never really “called,” “elected,” or born again (cf. notes on John 6:39; 6:40; 10:26–29; 1 Thess. 1:4; Heb. 6:4–8).

1:11 in this way. That is, by doing the things Peter mentions in vv. 5–10. This way of life is the path into the eternal kingdom of Christ. Those who practice these qualities will be richly provided with the reward of eternal life. Some interpreters think “richly” indicates degrees of blessing and reward both in this life and in heaven. Others think that eternal life is itself the reward in view, in contrast to the prospect facing the false teachers.

2Pe 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 fullness 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 worshiper 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.