What the Bible says
2 Peter 1:5-7 talks about how we need to add knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to our faith in order to make it grow. This is a great commentary because it shows how we need to put effort into our faith in order to make it grow.
2 Peter 1:5-7
These verses give the practical application of verses 1-4. In verse 1, we are called to make our calling and election sure. This can only be done by making “every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” These are character traits that should be evident in the life of a believer.
If these things are truly being developed in our lives, then we will not fall away. We have seen in other passages that it is possible for a believer to fall away (1 John 2:19; Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31). But if these character traits are evident in our lives, it will be much less likely that we will fall away.
Our entrance into heaven is not based on our works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but these things do evidence that we are truly saved. And as verse 7 says, if we do these things, we will never stumble.
2 Peter 1:8-11
In 2 Peter 1:8-11, the apostle Peter tells us that if we want to make our calling and election sure, we need to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to our faith. This is not a checklist of things we need to do in order to earn salvation; rather, it is a list of character traits that should be evident in the life of a true believer. As we grow in our faith and allow God to work in us, these things will become more and more evident in our lives.
2 Peter 1:12-15
I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
2 Peter 1:16-21
These verses form the conclusion of this great Epistle. The Apostle had been reminding his readers of all that God had done for them, and was about to do, in giving them His kingdom; and he now bids them to be always on the watch, lest they should lose all by carelessness and sin. Accordingly, he first of all urges upon them the duty of earnestly adding virtue to their faith (2 Peter 1:5-7), and then goes on to speak of knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, as graces which they were to cultivate (2 Peter 1:8); and in order that they might be more zealous in so doing, he points out to them the great reward which God had laid up in store for those who overcome (2 Peter 1:11). He has now come to the end of his argument; and he accordingly sums it all up in a few forcible words.
In these verses the Apostle Peter urges Christians to make sure they are doing everything they can to live holy lives. He says that if they add virtue (goodness) to their faith, knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience (perseverance), godliness (love for God), brotherly kindness (love for others), and charity (unselfishness), then they will receive rewards from God.
What commentators say
Adam Clarke (1760-1832) was a Methodist theologian and biblical scholar. He is chiefly remembered for writing a commentary on the Bible which took him 40 years to complete.
Clarke was born in Ireland and educated at Methodist academies in Dublin and Weslyan institutions in England. In 1782 he was appointed a preacher by John Wesley and soon became a popular leader of the Methodist movement.
While Clarke was respected by Wesley and other leaders of the Methodist movement, he was not always in agreement with them. In particular, Clarke held to Arminian rather than Calvinist theology, leading to some disagreements on the issue of predestination. However, these disagreements did not lessen Clarke’s respect for Wesley or his contributions to the Methodist movement.
In addition to his commentary on the Bible, Clarke also wrote treatises on a variety of theological topics. He died in 1832, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most respected biblical commentators of his day.
Albert Barnes was an American theologian and Bible commentator. He is best known for his commentary on the New Testament, which was first published in the early 1800s.
In his commentary on Matthew 5:22, Barnes says:
“The word ‘Raca,’ which is used here, denotes, properly, one who is empty-headed; one who is good for nothing; one who is trifling and vain. It has passed into a proverb to denote one who is worthless and good-for-nothing.”
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
“The four Evangelists stand side by side like the living creatures in Ezekiel’s vision (Eze_1:5-14). They present the Gospel under different aspects, but all likewise ‘echo’ round about Him who is the ever-blessed center and ‘ Beginning of the creation of God’ (Rev 1:5; Joh 1:1). Throughout, He is uniformly and definitely named ‘Jesus Christ.’ The ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rev 1:9) refers to His humanity as anointed with the Holy Spirit above His fellows for His Messianic office (Isa 61:1; Luk 4:18; Act 10:38); the Father addresses Him as such from heaven at His baptism, and at His transfiguration. The Father again bears testimony to Him from heaven as ‘my beloved Son’ (Mat 3:17; Mat 17:5). In contrast with this definite, personal testimony borne to Jesus as the Messiah, He is never once called so in Revelation. The Old TestamentMessianic titles of ‘Christ,’ ‘the Son of man,’ and ‘the Root and Offspring of David’ are used of Him (Rev 22:16). The personal name Jesus occurs fifty times in Revelation statedly or impliedly [In chap. i. it occurs four times Rev 1:1, Rev 1:4-8 inclusive], while in no other book of Scripture does it occur nearly so often.” According to Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Lexicon, this name “Yeshua” is an otherwise unattested Hebrew form of Yehoshua (“Joshua”), meaning “YHWH [יהוה] is salvation.”
What it means for us today
When we live our lives in expectation of the Lord’s return we are motivated to do His will. We are not looking to be blessed by Him in this life but rather to be a blessing to others. This verse is a reminder that our focus should be on eternity and not on temporary things.
One application of these verses is that we should never give in to false teaching, even if it means suffering. We are to stand firm in the truth, regardless of what others may say or do.
How does this passage apply to us today?
There are several ways that this passage applies to us today. First, we see that we are to be diligent in our studies and in our application of the truths that we learn. We are not to be content with simply hearing the Word, but we are to study it diligently so that we can understand it and apply it to our lives.
Secondly, we see that we are to be living holy lives. We are not to allow sin to have dominion over us, but are to be living according to God’s standards. This means that we need to be constantly growing in our knowledge of God and His will for our lives so that we can please Him more and more.
Finally, we see that as Christians, we are looking forward to the return of Christ. We are not to be heedless or lazy, but are to be eager for His coming. When He returns, He will judge the world in righteousness and all who have believed in Him will receive eternal life.
How does this passage apply to us today? In what ways are we called to live out our faith?
We are called to live out our faith by being obedient to God, living holy lives, and being steadfast in our belief.