Introduction and Greeting
1This letter is from Simeon # 1:1 Or “Simon,” the Greek form of the Hebrew-Aramaic name Simeon. Simeon means “he who hears.” Peter (the Rock) was the nickname given to him by Jesus; Simeon was his real name. Peter, a loving servant # 1:1 Or “bond-servant.” From a Hebraic mind-set, this would imply a choice of remaining a servant even when freedom was offered. Thus, “a loving servant.” and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to those who have been given a faith # 1:1 Even our faith has been given to us from a loving Father. Because our faith is equally precious as that of the apostles, we share an equal standing in the privileges and blessings of the kingdom realm of God. as equally precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. # 1:1 In his opening verse, Peter points us to the deity of Jesus Christ—“God and Savior, Jesus Christ”—referring to one person. Some have described Peter’s words to be the most clear and direct testimony to the truth of Christ’s equality with God. 2May grace and perfect peace cascade over you # 1:2 Or “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” as you live in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
God’s Generous Grace
3Everything we could ever need for life and godliness # 1:3 It is possible that this is a hendiadys, which would then mean “a life of godliness” (complete devotion). Everything we need to reflect God’s true nature has already been given to us. See Eph. 1:3. has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. # 1:3 Or “called us by his glory and goodness.” 4As a result of this, he has given you # 1:4 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is plural, “us.” magnificent promises # 1:4 The Greek sentence that extends from vv. 3–5 is somewhat ambiguous. It could also be read as “Through a glorious manifestation of his goodness he has imparted to us his magnificent promises.” that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises # 1:4 That is, by claiming these tremendous promises as our very own. Faith always releases the power of the Word of God. we can experience partnership # 1:4 The Greek word koinonos means “to participate as a partner, to partake of, to be a companion with, to have fellowship with” the divine nature. This is one of the great mysteries of our faith, that God shares his nature with us. We are given birth by the Holy Spirit to be God’s true sons and daughters, and every father imparts his DNA and his “nature” to his children. The Greek word physis (nature) is taken from the word phyō, which means “to give birth, produce, bring forth, or to grow up.” Christ lives in us and transforms us into his very own likeness. In Christ we share with him the divine nature. We will all bear the image of the man from heaven, Jesus Christ. See Rom. 8:9–25; 1 Cor. 15:12–57. with the divine nature, by which you have escaped # 1:4 The Greek word apopheugō also carries the connotation of being “acquitted.” the corrupt desires that are of the world.
Faith’s Ladder of Virtue
5So devote yourselves # 1:5 Or “by having added your intense effort.” The Aramaic can be translated “by being under the weight of all these gifts.” to lavishly supplementing # 1:5 The Greek word epichorēgeo means “to fully support the chorus” or “to completely choreograph.” your faith with goodness, # 1:5 Or “integrity, virtues of courage, nobleness, and moral valor.”
and to goodness add understanding,
6and to understanding add the strength of self-control,
and to self-control add patient endurance,
and to patient endurance add godliness, # 1:6 Or “reverence.”
7and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, # 1:7 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek. This mercy would include forgiveness and forbearance to those who fail.
and to mercy toward others add unending love. # 1:7 It is possible to view this passage like an unfolding of faith. “Out of your faith will emerge goodness, and out of goodness will emerge understanding (of God), and out of understanding (of God) will emerge inner strength (self-control), and out of inner strength will emerge patient endurance, and out of patient endurance will emerge godliness, and out of godliness will emerge mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and out of mercy will emerge love.” It is also possible to view this passage as a mathematical equation. Faith + goodness = understanding. Goodness + understanding = inner strength. Understanding + inner strength = patience. Inner strength + patience = godliness. Patience + godliness = mercy. And godliness + mercy = love.
8Since these virtues are already planted deep within, # 1:8 The Greek word hyparchō means to “begin below” (or “within,” like a plant growing beneath the ground). and you possess them in abundant supply, # 1:8 Or “abounding” (repeatedly being more than enough). they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately. 9But if anyone lacks these things, he is blind, constantly closing his eyes to the mysteries of our faith, # 1:9 Although the Greek word myōpazō can mean “nearsighted,” it is a compound word taken from the base word mystērion (mystery), and optonomai (to look upon, to behold). The implication is that when the virtues of the divine nature are not flourishing in believers, it is because they are “closing [their] eyes” to the mysteries of our faith, i.e., Christ in us, the hope of glory. See Col. 1:27. and forgetting his innocence—for his past sins have been washed away. # 1:9 The Aramaic can be translated “he is still searching for the purification of his original sins.”
10For this reason, beloved ones, # 1:10 Or “brothers [and sisters].” be eager to confirm and validate # 1:10 The Aramaic adds the phrase “by your good deeds.” The implication is that by developing the virtues Peter has spoken of in vv. 3–7, we validate God’s calling and choice of us. that God has invited you to salvation # 1:10 We have a confident assurance that we have been chosen and called to salvation by God himself. This is a firm foundation on which to build our lives. We can grow in that confidence as we see the work of the Spirit bearing spiritual fruit through our lives. See Gal. 5:22–23; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 3:10, 14. The Greek for “invited you” is klēsis, which means “to invite [summon] to a feast.” and claimed you # 1:10 The Greek word for “claimed as his own” is eklogē (from his logos word). God spoke and you were his. You are meant to be a “chosen word” from his mouth, and you will not return to him void, but you will accomplish what he has destined for you to do. as his own. If you do these things, you will never stumble. 11As a result, the kingdom’s gates will open wide to you as God choreographs # 1:11 This is the Greek word epichorēgeo, which can mean “richly provide” (for the choir) or “choreograph.” The Lord of the dance will richly welcome you into his eternal kingdom. See Zeph. 3:17. your triumphant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah.
12I won’t hesitate to continually remind you of these truths, even though you are aware of them and are well established in the present measure of truth you have already embraced. # 1:12 Or “in the measure of truth that has reached you.” The implication is that there is yet more truth for every follower of Jesus to learn and embrace. 13And as long as I live # 1:13 Or “as long as I am in this tent.” I will continue to awaken you with this reminder, 14since our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has clearly revealed that my departure is near. # 1:14 Or “that the removal of my tent is soon,” a euphemism for Peter’s death. See John 21:18–19. The apostle Peter knew that death was coming soon for him. Indeed, in AD 68 he was crucified upside down in Rome, at his own request, so as not to die in the same manner as Jesus. 15Indeed, I’m passionate # 1:15 Or “make every effort.” to share these things with you so that you will always remember them after my exodus from this life.
16We were not retelling some masterfully crafted legend when we informed you of the power and appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, # 1:16 A possible hendiadys, “the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power” or “the appearing of our powerful Lord Jesus Christ.” The Aramaic can be translated “the power and comingness of our Master, Jesus Christ.” for we saw his magnificence and splendor unveiled before our very eyes. # 1:16 See Matt. 17:1–8; Mark 9:1–7; Luke 9:27–36. 17Yes, Father God lavished upon him radiant glory and honor when his distinct voice spoke out of the realm of majestic glory, # 1:17 A possible periphrastic reference to God, “the transcendent glory.” endorsing him with these words: This is my cherished Son, marked by my love. All my delight is found in him! # 1:17 Or “On him my favor rests.” The Aramaic can be translated “in whom I am fulfilled.” 18And we ourselves heard that voice resound from the heavens while we were with him on the holy mountain.
19And so we have been given the prophetic word—the written # 1:19 The phrase prophetic word, or “word of prophecy,” when found in Christian writing through the second century is used only for Old Testament Scriptures. See Peter Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 207; Gene Green, Jude and 2 Peter (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 227; David Walls and Max Anders, The Holman New Testament Commentary: 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1999), 113. See also Isa. 8:20; Luke 24:25; John 6:45. message of the prophets, made more reliable and fully validated by the confirming voice of God on the Mount of Transfiguration. # 1:19 The comparative adjective bebaioteron (more reliable) serves as a predicate adjective. “And we have the prophetic word as more certain,” meaning that the transfiguration confirmed (made more certain) the witness of the Old Testament Scriptures to Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God, who brought his eternal kingdom on earth (2 Peter 1:11). The witness of God’s Spirit through the transfiguration complements the witness of the Old Testament Scriptures in 2 Peter 1:19—both confirm that Jesus is the Messiah, God’s Son, who will return to rule on earth. See Peter Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 207. What is said to be made more certain or reliable is “the written message of the prophets.” This has bothered some commentators in that it places experience ahead of the prophetic word, so they argue that the prophetic word makes the transfiguration more certain, citing later Jewish opinion that even a voice (bat qol) from heaven could not overrule a Scripture. That, however, is not what the grammar of the text indicates. Instead, we see that “the written message of the prophets” is what is made more certain/reliable. See also M. Zerwick and M. Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament, 3rd rev. edition (Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1988), 719; Lewis R. Donelson, 1 and 2 Peter and Jude (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2010), 234: “This means that the account of the transfiguration makes OT prophecy more reliable. . . . The giving of honor and glory to Jesus at the transfiguration reinforces the credibility of OT prophecies about the messiah”; D. P. Senior and D. J. Harrington, 1 Peter, Jude and 2 Peter (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2008), 257: “The idea seems to be that the transfiguration and all that pertains to Jesus fulfills and thus confirms what the prophets said and so makes them even ‘all the more reliable’ ”; the same view was also held by the well-known Greek scholar of the early twentieth century; A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures of the New Testament, vol. 6 (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1931), p. 157. And you will continue to do well if you stay focused on it. For this prophetic message is like a piercing light # 1:19 Or “lamp.” See Ps. 119:105. shining in a gloomy place # 1:19 This dismal or dark/murky place can be both the world in which we live and the human heart bathed in the light of truth, displacing gloom and darkness. See Isa. 9:1. until the dawning of a new day, # 1:19 See Luke 1:78. when the Morning Star # 1:19 Or “Light Bearer.” The Aramaic can be translated “until the sun rises in your hearts.” See Rev. 22:16. rises in your hearts. # 1:19 This is not simply a far-off future event of Christ’s coming but the internal promise of his light and power subduing our hearts, as Christ rises within us like the dawning of the new day and like the morning star. The dawn conquers the night, and the morning star promises the new day appearing.
20You must understand this at the outset: Interpretation of scriptural prophecy requires the Holy Spirit, for it does not originate from someone’s own imagination. # 1:20 The Greek text is somewhat ambiguous and can be translated in three ways: (1) No prophecy can be interpreted by the prophet’s own imagination; that is, they didn’t make things up. (2) No prophecy can be interpreted by itself, for other Scriptures are needed to understand and interpret biblical prophecy. (3) No prophecy can be interpreted by one’s own imagination, for the help of the Holy Spirit, who inspired it, is needed to interpret it. The Aramaic can be translated “No prophecy is ever fulfilled as soon as it is written.” 21No true prophecy comes from human initiative but is inspired by the moving of the Holy Spirit upon those # 1:21 Some Greek manuscripts have “holy men” (and women). who spoke the message that came from God. # 1:21 This is a clear reference to the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures. It is God’s words spoken (prophecy) and written, as given by the Holy Spirit. God speaks through people his inspired and trustworthy words. See also 2 Tim. 3:16–17.