2 Peter 1
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Greeting. 1 [a]Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ: 2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge[b] of God and of Jesus our Lord.
II. Exhortation to Christian Virtue
The Power of God’s Promise.[c] 3 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him(A) who called us by his own glory and power.[d] 4 Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.(B) 5 [e]For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge,(C) 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, 7 devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. 8 If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 (D)Anyone who lacks them is blind and shortsighted, forgetful of the cleansing of his past sins. 10 [f]Therefore, brothers, be all the more eager to make your call and election firm, for, in doing so, you will never stumble. 11 For, in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
Apostolic Witness. 12 [g]Therefore, I will always remind you of these things, even though you already know them and are established in the truth you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this “tent,”[h] to stir you up by a reminder, 14 since I know that I will soon have to put it aside, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me.(E) 15 I shall also make every effort to enable you always to remember these things after my departure.
16 We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming[i] of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.(F) 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father[j] when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”(G) 18 We[k] ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 (H)Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 [l]Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, 21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.
- 1:1 Symeon Peter: on the authorship of 2 Peter, see Introduction; on the spelling here of the Hebrew name Šim‘ôn, cf. Acts 15:14. The greeting is especially similar to those in 1 Peter and Jude. The words translated our God and savior Jesus Christ could also be rendered “our God and the savior Jesus Christ”; cf. 2 Pt 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18.
- 1:2 Knowledge: a key term in the letter (2 Pt 1:3, 8; 2:20; 3:18), perhaps used as a Christian emphasis against gnostic claims.
- 1:3–4 Christian life in its fullness is a gift of divine power effecting a knowledge of Christ and the bestowal of divine promises (2 Pt 3:4, 9). To share in the divine nature, escaping from a corrupt world, is a thought found elsewhere in the Bible but expressed only here in such Hellenistic terms, since it is said to be accomplished through knowledge (2 Pt 1:3); cf. 2 Pt 1:2; 2:20; but see also Jn 15:4; 17:22–23; Rom 8:14–17; Hb 3:14; 1 Jn 1:3; 3:2.
- 1:3 By his own glory and power: the most ancient papyrus and the best codex read “through glory and power.”
- 1:5–9 Note the climactic gradation of qualities (2 Pt 1:5–7), beginning with faith and leading to the fullness of Christian life, which is love; cf. Rom 5:3–4; Gal 5:6, 22 for a similar series of “virtues,” though the program and sense here are different than in Paul. The fruit of these is knowledge of Christ (2 Pt 1:8) referred to in 2 Pt 1:3; their absence is spiritual blindness (2 Pt 1:9).
- 1:10–11 Perseverance in the Christian vocation is the best preventative against losing it and the safest provision for attaining its goal, the kingdom. Kingdom of…Christ, instead of “God,” is unusual; cf. Col 1:13 and Mt 13:41, as well as the righteousness of…Christ (2 Pt 1:1).
- 1:12–19 The purpose in writing is to call to mind the apostle’s witness to the truth, even as he faces the end of his life (2 Pt 1:12–15), his eyewitness testimony to Christ (1 Pt 1:16–18), and the true prophetic message (2 Pt 1:19) through the Spirit in scripture (2 Pt 1:20–21), in contrast to what false teachers are setting forth (2 Pt 2).
- 1:13 Tent: a biblical image for transitory human life (Is 38:12), here combined with a verb that suggests not folding or packing up a tent but its being discarded in death (cf. 2 Cor 5:1–4).
- 1:16 Coming: in Greek parousia, used at 2 Pt 3:4, 12 of the second coming of Christ. The word was used in the extrabiblical writings for the visitation of someone in authority; in Greek cult and Hellenistic Judaism it was used for the manifestation of the divine presence. That the apostles made known has been interpreted to refer to Jesus’ transfiguration (2 Pt 1:17) or to his entire first coming or to his future coming in power (2 Pt 3).
- 1:17 The author assures the readers of the reliability of the apostolic message (including Jesus’ power, glory, and coming; cf. note on 2 Pt 1:16) by appeal to the transfiguration of Jesus in glory (cf. Mt 17:1–8 and parallels) and by appeal to the prophetic message (2 Pt 1:19; perhaps Nm 24:17). Here, as elsewhere, the New Testament insists on continued reminders as necessary to preserve the historical facts about Jesus and the truths of the faith; cf. 2 Pt 3:1–2; 1 Cor 11:2; 15:1–3. My Son, my beloved: or, “my beloved Son.”
- 1:18 We: at Jesus’ transfiguration, referring to Peter, James, and John (Mt 17:1).
- 1:20–21 Often cited, along with 2 Tm 3:16, on the “inspiration” of scripture or against private interpretation, these verses in context are directed against the false teachers of 2 Pt 2 and clever tales (2 Pt 1:16). The prophetic word in scripture comes admittedly through human beings (2 Pt 1:21), but moved by the holy Spirit, not from their own interpretation, and is a matter of what the author and Spirit intended, not the personal interpretation of false teachers. Instead of under the influence of God, some manuscripts read “holy ones of God.”