Second Peter

Chapter 1

Blaine Robison, M.A.

 Published 2 October 2017 (in progress)

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Scripture Text: The Scripture text of Second Peter used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Other Scripture quotations may be taken from published versions. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions.

Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud Abbreviations.

Grammar: Unless otherwise indicated the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise GreekEnglish Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), given as "BDB."  The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament). The abbreviation LXX stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. The LXX with English translation may be found here.

See the General Introduction to the Letters of Peter, and introduction to Second Peter for background information on this letter.

Chapter Outline

Greeting, 1:1-2

Growth in Spiritual Virtues, 1:3-11

Purpose of the Letter, 1:12-15

Inspiration for the Message, 1:16-21

Greeting, 1:1-2

1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Yeshua the Messiah, To those equally privileged with us, having obtained His faithfulness, by means of the righteousness of our God, and our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah.

Simon: Grk. Sumeōn, the Greek translation of Heb. Shimn ("Shee-mown"), meaning "he has heard," and used in the LXX for Simeon the second son of Jacob and Leah (Gen 29:33) and then the tribe descended from him (Num 1:22-23). The apostle may well have been named in honor of the patriarch. This spelling of his name occurs elsewhere only in Acts 15:14, on the lips of Jacob, the Lord's half brother. Many MSS of this letter have the spelling of Grk. Simōn, most likely as a correction (Metzger 629), as it is in the rest of the Besekh. It is noteworthy that even though Yeshua gave Simon another name he only used "Simon" in directly addressing him (Luke 7:40; 22:31; Mark 14:37; John 21:15-17).

Peter: Grk. Petros, personal name meaning 'a stone' (BAG, Mounce), although Thayer says the name signifies a stone, a rock, a ledge or a cliff, and Danker defines the name as "rockman." The name does not occur at all in the LXX or earlier Jewish literature, which suggests that Simon is the first man to bear the name. Josephus does mention a man named Peter about thirty years later (Ant. XVIII, 6:3). Peter was married (Mark 1:30; 1Cor 9:5) and had a home in Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29). Together with Andrew they engaged in a business of fishing from the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:2-3; John 21:3), including working in partnership with the sons of Zebedee (Luke 5:10).

Petros translates the name Kpha ("rock"), a loanword in Hebrew (BDB 495). The name was given to him by Yeshua (John 1:42). The name of Petros occurs frequently in the apostolic narratives (150 times), but only four times in the apostolic letters. Paul refers to Peter by his appointed name (spelled "Cephas") 8 times in his letters (1Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal 1:18; 2:9, 11, 14), but only twice by his Greek name (Gal 2:7, 8). Peter's birth name in Hebrew was Shimon ("he has heard") or Simon, and this fact is stressed several times (Matt 4:18; 10:2; Acts 10:5, 18, 32; 11:13).

The combination name "Simon Peter" occurs twenty times, all but three in the Book of John. The name of Peter's father is given in John 1:42 and 21:15-17 as John (Grk. Iōannēs; Heb. Yochanan). Little considered by commentators is Simon's family ancestry. Yeshua addressed him as "Simon Barjona" (Heb. bar Yona) (Matt 16:17), which means that Simon's family descended from the prophet Jonah. Yeshua appointed Peter as the leader of the group of apostles (Matt 16:18-19; John 21:15-17) and Paul later identified him as one of the three pillars of the Messianic community (Gal 2:9). For an overview of Simon Peter's life see Simon Peter: Fisherman-Apostle.

a servant: Grk. doulos can mean either slave or servant, and in Greek and Roman culture referred to persons viewed as owned property totally and unquestioningly at the behest of the owner. In the LXX doulos translates the Heb. ebed, which did include the meaning of doulos but with a much broader application. In the Tanakh ebed is especially used of household servants, those who worked for the King and those who served God, especially service in the temple (DNTT 3:593). Other leaders in the apostolic era regarded themselves servants of the Lord; e.g., Paul (Rom 1:1), Apollos (1Cor 3:5), Timothy (Php 1:1), Epaphras (Col 1:7), Tychicus (Col 4:7), Jacob (Jas 1:1), Jude (Jude 1:1) and John (Rev 1:1).

and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative and, also, even; (2) adversative and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. See my note on the significance of conjunctions in the Besekh.

an apostle: Grk. apostolos was used in Greek and Roman culture for a delegate, ambassador, envoy, messenger, emissary or official representative. Apostolos occurs one time in the LXX where it translates shaluach, Qal pass. part. of the verb shalach (SH-7971), "sent," in 1Kings 14:6 of Ahijah (Heb. Achiyyah, "brother of Yah) the prophet. Josephus also uses apostolos one time of a group of Jewish ambassadors sent to Rome to complain about the appointment of Archelaus (Ant. XVII, 11:1). Apostolos appears in no other early Jewish literature. First century Judaism institutionalized the office of shaliach, who acted as an official messenger or a proxy for and with the full authority of the sender. Jastrow defines the title as messenger, agent or deputy (1579). The Mishnah says, "the agent [Heb. shaliach] is as the one who sends him" (Ber. 5:5).

Messengers might represent a bridegroom (Kidd. 2:1) or a congregation (Hullin 24b; 96a), or be sent to announce the new moon (R.H. 1:3), or perform some other religious errand (Sukk. 26a; Meilah 21b). The shaliachs mission was "limited in scope and duration by definite commission and terminating on its completion" (DNTT 1:128). In the apostolic writings the term "apostle" is specifically applied to the original Twelve (Matt 10:2), then Mattathias (Acts 1:25-26), Paul (Acts 14:14), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Jacob (the brother of Yeshua, Gal 1:19), and Andronicus and Junia (Rom 16:7). The apostles of Yeshua were so named because they had "seen the Lord," either during his earthly ministry or after his resurrection (John 20:25; Acts 9:27; 1Cor 9:1; 15:5-9; 1Jn 1:1) and were approved to speak with authority on His behalf.

Messianic Jewish versions avoid using the English "apostle," because of its association with Christianity. Thus, the OJB has shliach, the CJB, HNV and TLV have "emissary" and MW has "ambassador." However, the men Yeshua appointed clearly chose this Greek word to identify themselves and elevated its meaning at the same time. An apostle of the King of Israel is no minor office.

of Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Yhoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). In the LXX Iēsous renders both Heb. Yeshua and Heb. Yhoshua, which were common names. Six men bear the name Yeshua, translated as "Jeshua" in English versions (1Chr 24:11; 2Chr 31:15; Ezra 2:6; 3:2; Neh 3:19; 8:7). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew.

the Messiah: Grk. Christos, the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. The English "Christ" transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it. In Greek culture christos comes from chriein, to rub lightly, and in its secular use had no religious connotation at all (DNTT 2:334). Christos was chosen deliberately by the Jewish translators of the LXX to render Mashiach and in so doing infused new meaning into the Greek word. The Heb. title Mashiach means 'anointed one' or 'poured on.' Mashiach was used in the Tanakh for the Messiah, Ps 2:2 and Dan 9:25-26, and this usage defined the term in the first century A.D. Among Christians the translation of "Christ" tends to obscure Yeshua's Jewish identity.). For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his titles and Messianic expectation see my web article Who is Yeshua?

To those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. equally privileged: Grk. isotimos, adj., equal in value or prestige, of equal privilege. equally precious. The word occurs only here in the Besekh. with us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Many versions treat the dative case as one of possession, "ours" (CSB, CJB, ESV, MSG, NASB, NEB, NIV, NJB, NRSV, RSV, TLV), but its position in the text points to it being a dative of indirect object, indicating the one for whom or in whose interest an act is performed. The translation of "with us" is found in a number of versions (CEV, DRA, HNV, KJV, LITV, MW, NKJV, OJB, WEB, YLT). The question is: how should "with us" be interpreted?

By taking the pronoun as a possessive Stern (as Christian interpreters) assumes that Peter is addressing the letter to Messianic Gentiles and "ours" refers to Messianic Jews. However, Peter makes it clear in 3:1 that he wrote the second letter to the same disciples as received the first letter, i.e., Messianic Jews (1Pet 1:1; 2:11). In other words, the recipients of the letter were primarily Jewish disciples of Yeshua residing in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Congregations in the apostolic era did include proselytes and God-fearing Gentiles, but that fact does not have a material bearing on how the pronoun here should be interpreted.

having obtained: Grk. lagchanō, aor. part., may mean (1) of the end product of casting of lots; obtain by lot, draw; or (2) of the process of casting lots; having a drawing , determine by lot. The first definition is intended here. The translation of the verb is from Thayer. Peter uses the verb in Acts 1:17 of Judas in saying that along with the other eleven disciples he was "allotted" a share of the ministry. Peter is saying that the recipients of this letter are also the beneficiaries of a divine allocation. Most versions obscure the Jewish idiom with the simple translation of "received." His faithfulness: Grk. pistis incorporates two primary facets of meaning, first that which causes trust and faith, i.e., faithfulness or reliability, and second, trust or confidence in an active sense (BAG).

All versions translate the noun as "faith," except the CJB, which translates pistis as "trust." Stern prefers "trust" to more clearly signify to English-speakers the confident reliance on God, as opposed to mere mental assent. The use of pistis in the LXX provides important insight into the word. Pistis is used two times to render Heb. emun, 'faithfulness' (SH-529; BDB 53; Deut 32:20; Prov 13:17), but over 20 times renders Heb. emunah, firmness, steadfastness, or fidelity (SH-530; BDB 53), mainly of men's faithfulness (1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; 22:7; Jer 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; Hos 2:20), but also of God's faithfulness (Ps 33:4; Lam 3:23; Hab 2:4). Pistis also translates Heb. aman (SH-539), to confirm, to support (Jer 15:18); amanah (SH-548), fixed support (Neh 9:38; 11:23; SS 4:8); and emet (SH-571), firmness, faithfulness, or truth (Prov 14:22; Jer 28:9; 33:6).

A number of versions change the Greek word order slightly to offer a translation quite different from what I believe Peter intended:

"To: Those who have been given the same kind of trust as ours" (CJB)

"To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours" (ESV)

"To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours" (NASB)

"To those who have received a faith as precious as ours" (NIV)

"To those who have received a faith as precious as ours" (NRSV)

"To those who have received a faith equal to ours" (TLV)

Christian interpretation treats pistis here an allotment or gift of God's grace, in the same manner as Paul supposedly declared in Ephesians 2:8. However, I maintain that Paul meant "For by grace are you saved through [God's] faithfulness, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." In other words, grace is the gift and it is offered because of God's faithfulness to His promises. Since God's grace is given out of His faithfulness, then no one can boast (Eph 2:9). The LXX usage of pistis clearly emphasizes that the intended meaning of pistis is faithfulness. So, Peter is not talking about the individual's exercise of trust or faith but a gift that had been received by divine allotment, namely God's faithfulness. This faithfulness was manifested in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that these disciples had received while in Jerusalem for Shavuot and responded to Peter's proclamation of the good news of the Messiah (Acts 2:9, 37-41).

by means of: Grk. en, prep., the root meaning is "within," (DM 105), and here denotes means. the righteousness: Grk. dikaiosunē, a state that is in accord with standards for acceptable or anticipated behavior, uprightness, righteousness, justice. In the LXX dikaiosunē normally renders Heb. tsedaqah (SH-6666), first used in Genesis 15:6 of Abraham's faithfulness being considered as righteousness. The noun is often used to describe the character of God (Ps 5:8; 35:24; Isa 5:16; 42:21; Jer 9:24), as well as the Davidic king, the Messiah (Ps 72:1; Jer 23:5) (DNTT 3:354). of our: Grk. hēmeis, genitive case. Stern comments that "the righteousness of our God consists in his forbearance in regard to sins committed before Yeshua came, and his making people righteous on the ground of Yeshuas faithfulness to God when dying on behalf of sinners (Rom 3:2526)." The righteousness of Yeshua is the sinlessness which made his dying on behalf of sinners a genuine atonement (1Pet 3:18).

God: Grk. theos, God or god; here the God of Israel, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe as described in Scripture (Gen 1─3; John 1:1-3). In the LXX theos primarily renders the name of Elohim, the Creator (2568 times), but sometimes YHVH (300 times) (DNTT 2:67-70). Given the plural nature of Elohim the full triunity of God must be represented in theos. The only God in existence is the God who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Gen 1:1) and who chose Israel out of all the nations on the earth for a covenantal relationship (Ex 19:5; Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9).

Thus, theos is not just a representative word for monotheism. God is a Person, not a philosophical construct. In the Besekh theos is used overwhelmingly for the God of Israel. The God of Israel is the only God there is. The deities of all other religions and cults are the product of Satan-inspired imagination. Other religions do not worship the same God as Christians and Jews, because if they did they would not hate Jews and Israel and they would bow down to the Jewish Messiah.

and: Grk. kai, conj. our: The use of hēmeis to refer to God seems to also apply to the following noun. Savior: Grk. sōtēr, one who liberates from real or threatening harm or loss, savior, deliverer, or benefactor. In the LXX sōtēr renders the Heb. yeshu'ah ("one who brings deliverance") and the participle moshia a derivative of the verb yasha ("to save") (DNTT 3:217), which is another form of the word hoshia and is related to Yeshuas own name (Matt 1:21). Sōtēr appears to be a technical term for the judge-deliverers in the time of the tribal confederacy (Jdg 3:9, 15), but the overwhelming usage of sōtēr in the Tanakh is applied to the God of Israel. God, as Savior, delivers from things outward, such as enemies (Ex 14:30; 1Sam 4:3; 2Sam 3:18), and things inward, such as sin (Ezek 36:29). God delivers people who are contrite and humble (Ps 34:19).

In the Besekh sōtēr occurs 24 times and always refers to a divine deliverer. The title is used 8 times of the God of Israel (Luke 1:47; 1Tim 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jude 1:25), and the rest of Yeshua (here; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Eph 5:23; Php 3:20; 2Tim 1:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2Pet 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 1Jn 4:14). Thus in the Besekh sōtēr builds on the foundation already established in the Tanakh.

Yeshua the Messiah: See the previous mention. The translation of Christian versions of "our God and Savior Jesus Christ" seems intended to interpret Peter's words as asserting the deity of Yeshua. I placed a comma after "God," to reflect the Jewish sensibilities exercised in the apostolic letters. Three early English versions (Coverdale, KJV-1611, and Mace,) and two modern versions (Phillips and REV) offer this punctuation. I don't believe Peter intended to assert the deity of Yeshua here. Rather, he simply distinguishes Yeshua from God (Elohim, the triune Godhead). In the Besekh Yeshua's possession of divine attributes and the oneness of the God of Israel are always carefully differentiated.

Indeed, whenever either "Messiah" or "Yeshua" and "God" are mentioned together in the same verse they are clearly distinguished (cf. Rom 1:1, 7-8; 2:16; 3:22; 5:1, 8, 11, 15; 6:11, 23; 7:4, 25; 8:9, 17, 34, 39; 9:5; 10:9; 14:18; 15:5-8, 16-17, 30; 16:20, 27). There is no equivocation in the Besekh that Yeshua is the image of the invisible God and agent of creation (John 1:1; 2Cor 4:4; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2-3), but no verse says, "God is Yeshua." Such a statement might confuse the Son with the Father, even though they are one (John 10:30; 17:11, 21). The enigma of the unity of the Son and Father is captured in Philippians 2:6, "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."

2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied through the knowledge of God, and of Yeshua our Lord;

Grace: Grk. charis, a disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient. In various contexts charis may mean (1) graciousness, attractiveness; (2) favor, grace, gracious care or help, goodwill; (3) practical application of goodwill, benefaction; (4) exceptional effects produced by divine grace over and above what others experience; (5) thanks, gratitude (BAG). In the LXX charis occurs about 190 times of which only about 75 have a Heb. equivalent. Among the equivalents charis renders Heb. hn (favor, inclination) most frequently (61 times) (DNTT 2:116).

to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. Wishing God's favor upon someone was a typical Jewish greeting. and: Grk. kai, conj. peace: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which may be in reference to (1) a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships; or (2) a state of well-being, used Hebraically as a greeting or as characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor. In the LXX eirēnē renders Heb. shalom (SH-7965), completeness, soundness, welfare, or peace (BDB 1022).

be multiplied: Grk. plēthunō, aor. pass. opt., cause to become more in number; increase, multiply. The optative mood depicts strong contingency or possibility. There is no definite anticipation of realization, but sees what is conceivable. So the verb represents a wish. The verb also illustrates that "grace" and "peace" are not simple greetings, but two of the greatest blessings that God gives to people. through: Grk. en, prep. Many versions have "in," but others have "through" to denote instrumentality (CSB, CEB, GW, ISV, KJV, NEB, NIV, NJB, NOG, TEV).

the knowledge: Grk. epignōsis, knowledge with the connotation of personal acquaintance, insight or perception. The noun occurs 20 times in the Besekh, 18 of which are in letters of Paul and the other two in this letter. Peter may have borrowed the word from Paul since his letters to congregations in Asia Minor (Galatia, Ephesus, and Colossae) were written before this one (cf. 2Pet 3:15). of God: the triune Creator and God of Israel. See the previous verse. and: Grk. kai, conj. of Yeshua: See the previous verse. Peter's point seems to be that grace and peace are multiplied in increasing measure as our personal knowledge of God grows more intimate.

our: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) one in control through possession, and therefore owner or master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, thus lord or master. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, the great majority to replace Heb. YHVH, translated in Christian versions as upper case LORD and in Messianic Jewish versions as ADONAI. Kurios also occurs a number of times to translate Heb. adn ("lord," 190 times) and ba'al ("lord, husband," 15 times) in reference to men to whom respect is owed (DNTT 2:511).

Kurios is the principal title by which disciples and members of the public addressed Yeshua during his earthly ministry. The frequent use of kurios in the apostolic letters to refer to Yeshua is not intended to imply deity (though perhaps not excluding it), but as the Heb. adn, to acknowledge Yeshua as the owner-master of his disciples.

Growth in Spiritual Virtues, 1:3-11

3 as his divine power having given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him having called us to his own glory and excellence.

as: Grk. hōs, an adverbial form of the relative pronoun hos which is generally used in comparison, but here introduces a result. Some versions (ESV, NIV, NLT, NRSV, RSV, TEV, TLV) don't translate the adverb at all. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. divine: Grk. theios, adj., manifesting the characteristics of God's nature, thus permitting all people to know Him by observing His attributes (HELPS). The term occurs only three times in the Besekh, once in Paul's speech in Athens (Acts 17:29) and two times in this letter (also the next verse). power: Grk. dunamis, inherent ability or power residing in the nature of humans (individually or as a group) or God; ability, competence, power, might, strength. The attribution of "divine power" is of Yeshua.

having given: Grk. didōmi, perf. pass. part., to give (a voluntary transfer), the context determining whether the focus is on generosity or some other rationale for the giving. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, to give, used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person; i.e., the followers of Yeshua. all things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. that pertain: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a relative pronoun. to: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near" or "facing," generally depicts motion toward a destination or goal ("to, toward").

life: Grk. zōē, the state of being alive in the physical sense in contrast to being dead; life. The Besekh not only uses zōē in its normal meaning of physical existence on planet earth in the presence age, but over forty times for life that continues into the next age and eternity, half of which are in the writings of John. In the LXX zōē renders Heb. chay (SH-2416, alive, living) with both literal and figurative uses. The life from God is spiritual abundant life (John 10:10), working inside the individual to not only solve the sin problem, but to give meaning and purpose to our existence.

and: Grk. kai, conj. godliness: Grk. eusebeia, loyalty, piety, reverence and fear of God. In Scripture and the LXX (esp. 4Macc.) eusebeia is only used of the duty which man owes to God, a characteristic highly valued in Jewish culture (BAG). The term properly indicates someone's inner response to the things of God which shows itself in godly piety or reverence (HELPS). In the LXX eusebeia occurs twice without Hebrew equivalent (Prov 1:7; 13:11) and then twice for Heb. yirah (SH-3374), fear, in the construct of "fear of ADONAI" (Isa 11:2; 33:6).

through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. the knowledge: Grk. epignōsis. See the previous verse. of the one: Grk. ho, definite article. having called: Grk. kaleō, aor. part., may mean (1) express something aloud; say, call, summon; (2) solicit participation; call, invite; or (3) identify by name or give a term to, call. The second meaning applies here. us: Grk. hēmeis. to his: Most versions insert "by his" to imply that the following clause denotes the means of calling. A few versions have "to his" to emphasize the object of the calling (AMPC, CJB, ESV, OJB, RSV). own: Grk. idios, adj., belonging to oneself, one's own. glory: Grk. doxa, originally meant opinion, conjecture, praise or repute in secular Greek in regard to what one thought about a person or thing.

In the LXX doxa renders Heb. kabd (pronounced "kah-vohd"), "abundance, honor, glory" (SH-3519; BDB 458); first in Genesis 31:1. Kabd does include the meanings of dignity of position, reputation of character and the reverence due to or ascribed to someone, and is frequently used for the honor brought or given to God (e.g., Ps 29:1; Isa 42:12). Above all, kabd expresses God's glory and power, the luminous manifestation of His presence and the glorious revelation of Himself, his kingly majesty and absolute perfection. During the inter-testamental period doxa-kabd was applied to the realities of heaven, God's throne and angelic majesties. In the Besekh doxa is a continuation of the underlying Hebrew concept (DNTT 2:45).

and: Grk. kai. excellence: Grk. aretē, virtue or moral excellence, which is displayed to enrich life (HELPS). In the LXX aretē renders Heb. hod (SH-1935), splendor, majesty, vigor (Hab 3:3; Zech 6:13) and Heb. tehillah (SH-8416), praise or song of praise (Isa 42:8, 12; 43:21; 63:7). The term appears frequently in the Apocryphal works Wisdom of Solomon (4:1; 5:13; 8:7) and 4th Maccabees (1:1 +16t). Blum and Thayer suggest that this last clause reflects the means that God uses to effect salvation, but there is something else here. For Peter, as with his fellow apostle John, the glory and excellence of Yeshua were manifested first in the incarnation (John 1:14), and then the miraculous signs Yeshua performed (John 2:11), which enhanced the reputation of the Son of God (John 11:4). The clause also hints at the glorious transfiguration of Yeshua, which Peter witnessed (Luke 9:28-32) and of which he will speak of later in this chapter (verses 17-18).

Strictly speaking "glory and excellence" are not the means of salvation, which was accomplished by Yeshua becoming a sin offering. Rather, having been called to follow Yeshua disciples are thus called to share in the glory and excellence of their Savior and Master (cf. John 17:22). On the human side "glory and excellence" could be synonymous with "life and godliness" resulting from divine enablement. Disciples are called to be like their Master.

4 through which He has given great and precious promises to us, so that through these you might become sharers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world by desire.

through: Grk. dia, prep. See the previous verse. which: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. The plural pronoun probably refers to the glory and excellence of God in the previous verse. He has given: Grk. didōmi, perf. pass. See the previous verse. great: Grk. megas, adj., exceeding a standard and therefore impressive; great, large. and: Grk. kai, conj. precious: Grk. timios, adj., having recognized value in the eyes of the beholder; of great price, precious, honored (HELPS). promises: pl. of epangelma, a promise voluntarily or spontaneously made, used only of God's promises. The noun occurs only twice in the Besekh, both in this letter (3:13). to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person.

so that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed, in order that, so that, that. through: Grk. dia. these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this, these. you might become: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. subj., 2p-pl., to transfer from one state or condition to another, which may be expressed in one of three ways: (1) come into being birth or natural process; be born or produced; (2) exist through application of will or effort by a person; be made, be performed; or (3) undergo a state of existence, change or development; come to be, become, take place, happen, occur, arise, be, appear, come, arrive. The third meaning applies here. sharers: pl. of Grk. koinōnos, a one in close association with; participant, sharer, partner.

of the divine nature: See the previous verse. having escaped: Grk. apopheugō, aor. part., a full breaking away from the previous situation; flee from, escape. the corruption: Grk. phthora, a process of disintegration or deterioration; decay, rottenness, decomposition, ruin, corruption, destruction. in: Grk. en, prep. the world: Grk. kosmos, has a variety of uses in the Besekh and other Jewish literature, including (1) the orderly universe; (2) the human race, mankind; (3) the earth as the place of habitation; and especially (4) everything of mankind that opposes God and is depraved of character (BAG). The fourth meaning applies here. In the LXX kosmos is used to render a variety of words, but only a few times with a meaning similar to the Besekh. The meaning of kosmos as "the world of mankind" is only found in Apocryphal writings (Wis., 2nd Macc., 4th Macc.) (DNTT 1:522).

by: Grk. en. desire: Grk. epithumia may mean either (1) a strong feeling or interest, 'desire' or (2) an inordinate or improper desire, 'craving.' In the LXX epithumia occurs about 50 times and normally translates the Heb. avvah to express (a) a morally neutral desire (e.g. Deut 12:15, 20); (b) a praiseworthy desire (e.g. Gen 31:30; Prov 10:24; 13:12); or (c) an evil desire opposed to God's will (e.g. Num 11:4, 34, Deut 5:21; 9:22). Several versions (as the KJV) translate epithumia with "lust," but its common association with sexual sin makes it a poor choice in this context. A number of versions insert the word "evil" to qualify the meaning of "desire." I think a more accurate way to view this "desire" is "self-centered."

 

Works Cited

BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. London: Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.

Blum: Edwin A. Blum, 1 & 2 Peter. Zondervan Corp., 1989-1999. Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, Software version 2.6.

DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.

Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 3 Vols., ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.

Fruchtenbaum: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel's Bible Commentary: The Messianic Jewish Epistles. Ariel Ministries, 2005.

Green: Michael Green, 2 Peter and Jude. IVP Academic, 1987. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 18.

Jastrow: Marcus Jastrow, Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1903, 1926. Online.

Metzger: Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1994.

Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.

Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Vol. 2. Zondervan Pub. House, 1980.

Robertson: Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 Vols. Broadman Press, 1933. (Parsons CD-ROM Version 2.0, 1997)

Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889. online.

Copyright 2016 Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.