SIMON PETER: Simeon Petros:
W Griffith-Thomas -
The opening words (2Pe 1:1,2)
are marked by characteristic thoughts that run through the entire
letter—for example, faith,
righteousness, Savior, knowledge. Then a foundation is at once laid (2Pe
1:3,4) in a statement of the divine gifts by which alone the Christian
life becomes possible...Simon Peter. The double name recalls the twofold
aspect of his life—before and after discipleship to Christ. This
combination of names is not found in St. Mark or Acts. The recurrence to
the old name of the early days is an illustration of an old man’s
reminiscences. The Greek is “Simeon,” as in Acts 15:14.
Simon Peter (Peter,
Simon) - It is always interesting to me how the higher
critics question the authorship of books of the Bible, including Peter's
second letter! Peter could not have been much clearer! We must believe
the inerrant, fully inspired word and grow in our faith. The alternative
is to criticize with arrogant (in my opinion) academic erudition and
shoot holes in our faith, which is founded on the sure word of prophecy!
Simon Peter - This same name
occurs 18x in 18v in the NT - Matt 16:16; Luke 5:8; John 6:68; 13:6, 9,
24, 36; 18:10, 15, 25; 20:2, 6; 21:2, 3, 7, 11, 15; 2Pet 1:1
Latin = Petrus) is a masculine proper noun which means a "stone" and
generally a smaller stone than the feminine form petra which
refers to a massive rock or a foundation boulder (eg Mt 7:24-note).
Peter is the Greek equivalent of the Syriac or Aramaic name
Cephas (Kephas from Aramaic kay fah) which was
assigned to Simon by Jesus.
not always a model of rock-like (petros is a symbol of
imperturbability as determined from used in Greek literature) firmness.
Note for example his actions in Gethsemane, his denial three times of
Christ, his unsuccessful attempt at walking on water and his conduct at
Antioch (Gal 2:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21) where he is
called Cephas. Despite all this Peter was clearly the
leader of Jesus’ disciples, the spokesman for the Twelve and one of the
three closest to Jesus.
known by several different names in the New Testament as indicated by
the following passages.
Matthew says he
Simon who was called Peter
"the names of the twelve apostles are
these: The first, Simon,
who is called Peter..." (Mt 10:2)
refers to him as "Simon Peter" (Mt 16:16) at his
confession to Jesus that "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living
and said to him,
Blessed are you, Simon Barjona
("Bar-jonas" = son of Jonah or John) for, because flesh and blood did
not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say
to you that you are Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (petra) I
will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. (Mt
At the inception
of Jesus' ministry the apostle John records another name for Peter
writing that his brother Andrew
"brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked
at him, and said, "You are Simon the
son of John;
you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter)."
(Jn 1:42) (Article
has this note on Peter's name writing that "Thayer says of petros the Greek word
from which we get the name Peter, “an appellative proper name,
signifying ‘a stone, rock, ledge, or cliff,’ used metaphorically of a
soul hard and unyielding, and so resembling a rock,” and says that it is
so used in classical writings. Defining petra the feminine form of the
word, he says that this word means “a rock, large stone,” and was used
metaphorically to refer to a man like a rock by reason of his firmness
and strength of soul."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
See nice summary
of Scriptures relating to Peter in the
Thompson Chain Ref
Peter here uses both his
names, Simon or Simeon, which was his first name, and signifies
“hearing with acceptance,” and happy are they who have the hearing ear
and the receptive heart; and then there is what I may call his Christian
name, the name which Christ gave him, Petros, or Cephas, a rock or
learn to hear well, since faith cometh by hearing, may hope to obtain
even greater stability of character than Peter had.
Observe that Peter calls himself “a
servant of Christ.” There is no higher honor than to be a servant of
God. “To serve God is to reign.” An ancient philosopher was the
author of that maxim, and Christianity fully endorses it. He is a true
king who is a servant of God.
In this respect, all believers are on a level with Peter, but here is
his distinguishing title, “an apostle of Jesus Christ,” a sent one,
one who had seen the Lord, and who could bear personal testimony to the
fact of his existence, his death, and his resurrection. Hence the
apostleship has ceased, since there are no longer any who lived in our
Lord’s days upon the earth.
Mark the reason why this Epistle, like the first, is caned “the general
Epistle of Peter,” since it is addressed, not to any one church, as
Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians but to all saints, not to the Hebrews
alone, but to the Gentiles as well. It is a general Epistle, addressed
to all those who have “obtained like precious faith.”
These words were written by the
apostle Peter many centuries ago, yet they come to us as fresh as if he
had written them but yesterday, and may God grant us grace to profit
from them as they are read by us today! After the apostle’s titles comes
the salutation of his Epistle
Peter was pleased to be able to
write those words. There was a time when he had thrice denied his
Master, but now he is glad to call himself “a servant of Jesus
Christ.” Once he had said, “I know not the man,” but now he claims
that he has been sent out by that glorious
Lord to be his apostle, a sent one, "a servant and an apostle of Jesus
Christ." Probably he had ringing in his ears, at that moment, those
blessed words, “Feed My sheep; feed My lambs;” and he was going to do
that work again in this his second general Epistle.
These Epistles are not written to everybody. Some readers do not seem to
remember this fact. This one is written, says the apostle, to them that
have obtained like precious faith with us. The faith of the weakest
believer in Jesus is the same kind of faith as that which was found in
Simon Peter, who stands among the very first of the worthies in the
College of Apostles.” Like precious faith with us.”
Only think of it, you whose faith
is of a very trembling sort, which might be well described as “little
faith.” Yet yours is “like precious faith” with that of Peter and the
rest of the apostles.
The tiniest diamond is as truly a
diamond as the Kohinoor, and the smallest faith, if it be really the
work of the Spirit of God, is “like precious faith” with that of the
Dr. Congdon once
approached Bible teacher R. A. Torrey, complaining he could get nothing
out of his Bible study.
“Please tell me how to study it so
that it will mean something to me.”
“Read it,” replied Dr. Torrey.
“I do read it.”
“Read it some more.”
“Take some book and read it twelve
times a day for a month.”
Dr. Congdon later
“My wife and I read 2 Peter three or
four times in the morning, two or three times at noon, and two or three
times at dinner. Soon I was talking 2 Peter to everyone I met. It seemed
as though the stars in the heavens were singing the story of 2 Peter. I
read 2 Peter on my knees, marking passages. Teardrops mingled with the
crayon colors, and I said to my wife,
“See how I have ruined this part of
“Yes,” she said, “but as the pages
have been getting black, your life has been getting white.”
Dr. Kenneth Gangel
offers a summary of the reasons Peter wrote his second letter.
This final impassioned plea to grow in Christian maturity and guard
against false teachers was precipitated by the fact that [Peter’s] time
was short (2Peter 1:13-15) and that these congregations faced immediate
danger (2Peter 2:1-3). He also desired to refresh their memories (2Peter
1:13) and stimulate their thinking (2Peter 3:1-2) so they would remember
his teaching (2Peter 1:15).... And he encouraged his readers with the
certainty of Christ’s return (2Peter 3:1-16).”
(Simon) was his name before Christ called him (Jn 1:42).
Later Jesus added "Peter" --
say to you that you are
(petra - projecting rock, mass of rock, even a massive cliff) I will
church; and the
Hades will not
overpower it." (Mt 16:18).
clearly states that he is the author. Later he reminds his readers that
letter I am
writing to you..." (2Pe 3:1-note).
He further underscores the authenticity of his authorship teaching that
tales when we
known to you the
coming of our
Christ but we were
eyewitnesses of His
majesty" (2Pe 1:16-note,
Mt 17:1, 2, 3, 4).
Despite these clear statements of authenticity, the liberal commentators
(another good reason
to always do your own
Inductive Bible Study before you read the commentaries,
including the one you are reading now!) have generated more controversy over 2 Peter’s
authorship and rightful place in the canon of Scripture than over almost any
other NT book. The so called "early church fathers" were also slow in giving it their
acceptance. It is interesting that none of the church fathers refers to 2 Peter by name until Origen near
the beginning of the third century! The ancient church historian,
Eusebius included 2 Peter in his list of "disputed books", along
with James, Jude, 2 John, and 3 John. Even the leading Reformers only
hesitatingly accepted 2 Peter authenticity.
for an in depth analysis of who wrote
Peter will first describe
the Christian life, because before he described the counterfeit, he described
the genuine. The best way to detect the lie is to be thoroughly familiar
with the truth (cf Hebrews 5:14-note).
A BOND-SERVANT AND: doulos
(Dt 15:12,16, Ex 21:5, 6)
Peter's placement of "bondservant"
first well illustrates the principle set down by the Master in (Mk
10:43, 44, 45).
The teaching seems to have "taken root" so to speak. How about you? Do
you see genuinely yourself first as the Lord's bondservant?
W Griffith-Thomas -
His title: servant and
apostle (compare Ro 1:1; Titus 1:1). Here we see the two sides of
the Christian life—his general relationship as a servant, and his
special position as an apostle. The order of the two is worth noting.
William Barclay - Peter calls
himself the servant of Jesus Christ. The word is doulos (1401) which
really means slave. Strange as it may seem, here is a title, apparently
one of humiliation, which the greatest of men took as a title of
greatest honour. Moses the great leader and lawgiver was the
doulos (1401) of God (Deuteronomy 34:5; Psalms 105:26; Malachi 4:4).
Joshua the great commander was the doulos (1401) of God (Joshua
24:29). David the greatest of the kings was the doulos (1401) of
God (2 Samuel 3:18; Psalms 78:70). In the New Testament Paul is
the doulos (1401) of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus
1:1), a title which James (James 1:1), and Jude (Jude 1:1
) both proudly claim. In the Old Testament the prophets are the
douloi (1401) of God (Amos 3:7; Isaiah 20:3). And in the New Testament
the Christian man frequently is Christ's doulos (1401) (Acts
2:18; 1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 4:12; 2 Timothy
2:24). There is deep meaning here.
[word study]) is the most abject, servile Greek
term for a slave of the five words that were used to describe one who
serves another. In the NT doulos refers to one who
serves another (the Lord) without regard for his own personal interests.
John Henry Jowett's discussion of the
freedom of the Lord's bondslave.
124x in 117v - Matt 8:9; 10:24f; 13:27f; 18:23, 26ff, 32; 20:27;
21:34ff; 22:3f, 6, 8, 10; 24:45f, 48, 50; 25:14, 19, 21, 23, 26, 30;
26:51; Mark 10:44; 12:2, 4; 13:34; 14:47; Luke 2:29; 7:2f, 8, 10; 12:37,
43, 45ff; 14:17, 21ff; 15:22; 17:7, 9f; 19:13, 15, 17, 22; 20:10f;
22:50; John 4:51; 8:34f; 13:16; 15:15, 20; 18:10, 18, 26; Acts 2:18;
4:29; 16:17; Rom 1:1; 6:16f, 20; 1 Cor 7:21ff; 12:13; 2 Cor 4:5; Gal
1:10; 3:28; 4:1, 7; Eph 6:5f, 8; Phil 1:1; 2:7; Col 3:11, 22; 4:1, 12; 1
Tim 6:1; 2 Tim 2:24; Titus 1:1; 2:9; Philemon 1:16; Jas 1:1; 1 Pet 2:16;
2 Pet 1:1; 2:19; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:1; 2:20; 6:15; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 13:16;
15:3; 19:2, 5, 18; 22:3, 6. NAS = bond-servant(11),
bond-servants(12), bondslave(3), bondslaves(8), both men and women(8),
servants(1), slave(58), slave's(1), slaves(39).
Doulos is derived from the
verb deo which means “to bind.” Thus a doulos is
one bound to another.
In the Greek culture
doulos described a person who served involuntarily
and had no choice as to whether he would serve or not. Peter and Paul elevate
the term doulos to the
level of a servant in the OT where doulos was one who has chosen to
remain a slave of his master (Dt 15:12,16, Ex 21:5, 6). The word doulos
therefore pictures the absolute surrender of
a man or woman to their Master. The slave is
totally devoted to the loving Master! And it is the slave's love for the
Master which motivates this full surrender.
Beloved, using this working
definition, would Peter or Paul describe you as a doulos of the Lord
Jesus? If not, what are you unwilling to submit to Jesus?
Doulos emphasizes that
the believer is no longer his own but
that he has been bought at great price for a holy purpose (1Pe 1:18, 19-note,
A doulos as used by Peter and Paul described a man or
woman who was in a permanent relation of
servitude to another. Their will was altogether consumed in the
will of the master.
In using doulos
one must not understand the term in the sense of distasteful,
involuntary servitude from which the slave desires to escape but rather
reflective of the spiritual yieldedness of one totally devoted to his
loving Lord. Peter uses doulos to emphasize his
submission to His Master's will. Peter is saying in
essence I have no life of my own, no will of my own, no purpose of my own,
and no plan of my own having been purchased at great price (1Pe 1:18,
Peter's impetuous self will (with which we all quickly identify)
wherewith he used to
wished" (Jn 21:18)
had long since been subdued and he now gladly acknowledged Christ's
ownership and Lordship over his life. All I have and all I am and all I will ever be is
from Christ and is subject to Him as my Lord. What a difference in
Peter's mindset the
Spirit of God made at Pentecost as we think of his behavior
before the Cross (cf. Jn 21:18),
after the Cross and Pentecost for then Peter's every thought, breath, and effort
a result of his complete submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. (cf Amos
3:7, Jer 7:25). And so it should also
be for every saint, every disciple of the Lord.
Christian as a "Doulos" of God
• To call the
Christian the doulos of God means that he is
inalienably possessed by God. In the ancient world a master
possessed his slaves in the same sense as he possessed his tools.
A servant can change his master; but a slave cannot. The Christian
inalienably belongs to God.
• To call the Christian the doulos of
God means that he is unqualifiedly at the disposal of God. In the
ancient world the master could do what he liked with his slave; he
had even the power of life and death over him. The Christian has
no rights of his own, for all his rights are surrendered to God.
• To call the Christian the doulos of
God means that he owes an unquestioning obedience to God. A
master's command was a slave's only law in ancient times. In any
situation the Christian has but one question to ask: "Lord, what
will you have me do?" The command of God is his only law.
• To call the Christian the doulos of
God means that he must be constantly in the service of God. In the
ancient world the slave had literally no time of his own, no
holidays, no leisure. All his time belonged to his master. The
Christian cannot, either deliberately or unconsciously,
compartmentalize life into the time and activities which belong to
God, and the time and activities in which he does what he likes.
The Christian is necessarily the man every moment of whose time is
spent in the service of God. (Barclay
that the word "doulos"
one who was born as a slave. This classical usage fits in very
well with the doctrinal significance of the word as it is used in the
Christian system. Sinners are born into
slavery to sin at physical birth, and into a loving, willing, glad
servitude to Jesus Christ by regeneration. The word referred to one
whose will is swallowed up in the will of another. Before salvation, the
sinner’s will is swallowed up in the will of Satan [see 2Ti 2:26-note, also Torrey's Topic "Spiritual
Bondage"]. After salvation has wrought its beneficent work in
his being, his will is swallowed up in the sweet will of God. The word
spoke of one who is bound to another in hands which only death can
break. The sinner is bound to Satan in bands which only death can break.
In the case of the believing sinner, his identification with the Lord
Jesus in His death on the Cross broke the bands which bound him to
Satan. Now, the believer is bound to Christ in bands which only death
can break. But the Lord Jesus will never die again, and since He is the
life of the saint, that saint will never be severed from his Lord, but
will be His loving bondslave for time and eternity. Again, doulos refers
to one who serves another to the disregard of his own interests. Before
salvation, the sinner served Satan to his own detriment. Since he has
been saved, a Spirit-filled believer serves his Lord with an abandon
that says, “Nothing matters about me, so long as the Lord Jesus is
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST:
apostolos Iesou Christou:
[word study] from apo = from + stello
= send forth) refers to one sent forth by another and at times in the NT
carried the broad meaning of one who is sent as a messenger or delegate
with instructions from a group or an individual (cf 2Cor 8:23, Php 2:25-note).
80x in 79v - Matt 10:2; Mark 3:14; 6:30; Luke 6:13; 9:10; 11:49; 17:5;
22:14; 24:10; John 13:16; Acts 1:2, 26; 2:37, 42f; 4:33, 35ff; 5:2, 12,
18, 29, 40; 6:6; 8:1, 14, 18; 9:27; 11:1; 14:4, 14; 15:2, 4, 6, 22f;
16:4; Rom 1:1; 11:13; 16:7; 1 Cor 1:1; 4:9; 9:1f, 5; 12:28f; 15:7, 9; 2
Cor 1:1; 8:23; 11:5, 13; 12:11f; Gal 1:1, 17, 19; Eph 1:1; 2:20; 3:5;
4:11; Phil 2:25; Col 1:1; 1 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 1:1; 2:7; 2 Tim 1:1, 11;
Titus 1:1; Heb 3:1; 1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; 3:2; Jude 1:17; Rev 2:2;
18:20; 21:14. NAS = apostle(19), apostles(52), apostles'(5),
messenger(1), messengers(1), is sent(1).
In the present context Peter uses apostle
in its more common restricted meaning to denote one of the 12 disciples
whom Jesus chose, trained, and commissioned to be His representatives.
In Acts 1:21, 22
Peter delineates the necessary qualifications of this latter select
"Therefore it is
necessary that of the
men who have
time that the
went in and out
day that He was
taken up from
with us of His
Thus an apostle was an ambassador representing Jesus and possessing the authority and power of
was a technical word in secular Greek used of one sent from someone else
with credentials on a mission. Peter was an ambassador of Jesus Christ
sent by Him with credentials in the form of miracles, and on a mission,
that of proclaiming the gospel, the good news of salvation by grace
available to all who would believe.
undoubtedly conveys Peter's deep sense of personal humility and his keen
sense of delegated authority.
Vincent makes the point that of all the non-Pauline epistles
Peter’s alone puts forward his apostleship (cf
1Pe 1:1-note) in the introduction. He is addressing churches with which he had no
immediate connection, and which were distinctively Pauline. Hence he
appeals to his apostleship in explanation of his writing to them,
and as his warrant for taking Paul’s place.
Christ expresses the
source of Peter's authority.
(Iesous) being His human name, received before His birth
as an indication of His saving work through the incarnation (Mt 1:21)
and is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua (He 4:8-note
which means "Jehovah is Salvation".
Spurgeon commenting on Matthew 1:21 wrote that...
The angel spake to Joseph the name in
a dream: that name so soft and sweet that it breaks no man’s rest, but
rather yields a peace unrivalled, the peace of God. With such a dream
Joseph’s sleep was more blessed than his waking. The name has evermore
this power, for, to those who know it, it unveils a glory brighter than
dreams have ever imagined. (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit)
is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew title Messiah and means "the
anointed one" (cf Ps 2:2, Acts 4:26).
the God Man was indeed the promised Christ
or Messiah. Peter's belief in this simple but profound
truth arose from his association with Him on earth (cf. Andrew's
proclamation to his brother Peter that "We
Christ" Jn 1:41, "Simon
Peter answered "You are the Christ, (the Messiah) the Son of the living
God" Mt 16:16) and received unshakable confirmation as witnesses of His resurrection
and ascension ("This
which we are
crucified." Acts 2:32, 33, 34, 35,
TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED:
hemin lachousin (AAPMPD):
Peter immediately identifies the
recipients as those who have an a unique spiritual experience, clearly
implying that this message was addressed to all who had accepted the
gospel of Jesus Christ.
Their spiritual position: To
those who … have received a faith as precious as ours. In 1 Peter the
Christians are first of all described by their geographical position.
Here they are only described by their spiritual experience. Precious
is a word characteristic of Peter’s two letters (see 1Pe 1:7, 19; 2:6,
7). How is faith precious? Because it links us to God; it keeps
us safe in God and is the channel of spiritual purification (Acts 15:9;
Gal 2:20; Heb11:6; 1Pe 1:5). In speaking of their faith as being as
precious as ours, the apostle shows his tact and courtesy in putting
himself on the same level of spiritual privilege. Received
implies divine lot or gift. (The same word is used in Lk 1:9 and Jn
means to obtain by lot (as used by Homer in Greek writings; eg, to
obtain by fate by the will of the gods) and so to obtain something as a
portion (to receive, to obtain). Lagchano speaks of what comes to
someone always apart from his own efforts.
Lagchano is a distinctive verb used only 4x in the NT...
Luke 1:9 according to the
custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the
temple of the Lord and burn incense.
Comment: The Mishna informs us
that the various offices of priests and Levites in the daily service
were determined by lot, a practice described here by Luke. Offering
incense was a special privilege, granted each priest only once, and
decided by lot.
John 19:24 They said therefore
to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to
decide whose it shall be"; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "They
divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast
Acts 1:17 "For he was counted
among us (the original 12 disciples of Jesus), and received his
portion in this ministry."
Comment: Here Peter uses lagchano
referring to Judas Iscariot. God makes the decision, and thus the
thought is that of the allotment of a share in the apostolic ministry.
2Peter 1:1 (note)
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who
have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of
our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
What Peter seems to be
teaching by using the verb lagchano is that the salvation
he and his readers had had obtained was not the
result of any personal merit or self effort on their part, but was an
"allotted" as a gift from God.
the common idea of attainment is
present, but with the usual sense of allotment in the background.
Attainment to faith is not a human achievement but is by divine
allotment. God does not merely grant the possibility of faith; he
effects it (cf ) As a divine gift, faith is the epitome of grace; hence
attaining to faith is by God's gracious decision, yet closely linked
with his righteousness. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
not attained by anything his readers did but was the result of
God’s grace, which is His undeserved and unmerited favor.
which speaks of a past completed action. At the moment we believed in
the name of the only begotten Son of God, we were "allotted our portion"
of the "full package" (see 'isotimos'
below). When we
were regenerated we passed from death to life, from hopelessness to
hope, from futile thinking to the mind of Christ, we were made
complete in Christ. Thanks be to God
for His incredible gift! (2Cor 9:5)
A FAITH: pistin:
[word study]) refers to a firm persuasion that something is
true. Contrary to popular thinking "faith"
is not just giving mental assent to truth but includes a surrender of
one's will to that truth which results in a conduct in keeping with that
surrender. Simply stated, faith shows itself to be genuine Biblical
saving faith by the changed life in the one expressing the faith. Peter uses
here to mean the capacity to believe (Eph 2:8, 9-note).
Even though faith or belief express the human side of salvation, God
still must grant ("allot" would fit with the present
context) that faith.
True faith that saves one's soul includes
at least three main elements
(1) firm persuasion or firm conviction,
surrender to that truth and
(3) a conduct emanating fr that
surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life. (Click
for W E Vine's similar definition of faith)
The highly respected theologian
Louis Berkhof defines genuine faith in essentially the same way
noting that it
intellectual element (notitia), which is
“a positive recognition of
the truth”; an emotional element (assensus), which includes “a
deep conviction of the truth”; and a volitional element (fiducia),
which involves “a personal trust in Christ as Savior and Lord,
including a surrender … to Christ.” (Louis
Berkhof, Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939)
Larry Richards has an
excellent discussion on faith writing that...
Originally this word group seems
linked with a more formal contract between partners. It stressed
faithfulness to the agreement made or trustworthiness in keeping
promises. In time the use expanded. In the classical period, writers
spoke of trust in the gods as well as trust in people. In the Hellenic
era, "faith in God" came to mean theoretical conviction about a
particular doctrine, a conviction expressed in one's way of life. As
different schools of philosophy and religion developed, the particular
emphasis given pistis was shaped by the tradition within which it was
used. The NT retains the range of meanings. But those meanings are
refined and reshaped by the dynamic message of the gospel.
The verb (pisteuo) and noun
(pistis) are also used with a number of prepositions. "To believe
through" (dia) indicates the way by which a person comes to faith (Jn
1:7; 1Pe 1:21-note). "Faith en" indicates the realm in which faith
operates (Ep 1:15-note;
2Ti 3:15-note). The most important
construction is unique to the NT, an invention of the early church
that expresses the inmost secret of our faith. That construction links
faith with the preposition eis, "to" or "into." This is never
done in secular Greek. In the NT it portrays a person committing
himself or herself totally to the person of Jesus Christ, for our
faith is into Jesus.
(Ed note: Leon Morris in
"The Gospel According to John"
agrees with Richards writing that “Faith, for John, is an activity
which takes men right out of themselves and makes them one with Christ”
indicating that Morris likewise understands the Greek preposition
eis in the phrase pisteuo eis, to be a significant
indication that NT faith is not just intellectual assent but includes
a “moral element of personal trust.")
One other aspect of the NT's use of
faith words is fascinating. Usually the object of faith is Jesus. Only
twelve verses have God as the object of faith (Jn 12:44; 14:1; Acts
16:34; Ro 4:3-note,
Ro 4:24-note; Gal 3:6;
1Pe 1:21-note). Why? The reason is clearly expressed by Jesus himself: "I am
the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except
through me" (Jn 14:6). God the Father has revealed himself in the Son.
The Father has set Jesus before us as the one to whom we must entrust
ourselves for salvation. It is Jesus who is the focus of Christian
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Wuest in his study of pistis
and the related words in this family, pisteuo and pistos, explains
When these words refer to the faith
which a lost sinner must place in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved,
they include the following ideas; the act of considering the Lord Jesus
worthy of trust as to His character and motives, the act of placing
confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do, the act of
entrusting the salvation of his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus,
the act of committing the work of saving his soul to the care of the
Lord. This means a definite taking of one’s self out of one’s own
keeping and entrusting one’s self into the keeping of the Lord Jesus. (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
William Barclay notes that...
Faith begins with receptivity. It
begins when a man is at least willing to listen to the message of the
truth. It goes on to mental assent. A man first hears and then agrees
that this is true. But mental assent need not issue in action. Many a
man knows very well that something is true, but does not change his
actions to meet that knowledge. The final stage is when this mental
assent becomes total surrender. In full-fledged faith, a man hears the
Christian message, agrees that it is true, and then casts himself upon
it in a life of total yieldedness.
Faith is relying on what God has done rather than on one’s own
efforts. In the Old Testament, faith is rarely mentioned. The word
trust is used frequently, and verbs like believe and rely
are used to express the right attitude to God. The classic example is
Abraham, whose faith was reckoned as righteousness (Ge 15:6). At
the heart of the Christian message is the story of the cross: Christ’s
dying to bring salvation. Faith is an attitude of trust in which
a believer receives God’s good gift of salvation (Acts 16:30,31) and
lives in that awareness thereafter (Gal 2:20-note;
cf He 11:1-note).
Faith is the only thing that gives God His proper place,
and puts man in his place too. C. H. Mackintosh, explains that faith
God exceedingly, because it proves that we have more confidence in His
eyesight that in our own.”
Charles Swindoll commenting on faith and obedience in John
3:36 concludes that...
In 3:36 the one who “believes in the
Son has eternal life” as a present possession. But the one who “does not
obey the Son shall not see life.” To disbelieve Christ is to
disobey Him. And logically, to believe in Christ is to
obey Him. As I have noted elsewhere, “This verse clearly indicates
that belief is not a matter of passive opinion, but decisive and
obedient action.” (quoting J. Carl Laney)...Tragically many people are
convinced that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, so long as you
are sincere. This reminds me of a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown
is returning from a disastrous baseball game. The caption read, “174 to
nothing! How could we lose when we were so sincere?” The reality is,
Charlie Brown, that it takes more than sincerity to win the game of
life. Many people are sincere about their beliefs, but they are
sincerely wrong!" (Swindoll,
C. R., & Zuck, R. B. Understanding Christian Theology.: Thomas Nelson
Publishers) (This book is
recommended if you are looking for a very readable, non-compromising
work on "systematic theology". Wayne Grudem's work noted above is
John MacArthur adds that
like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just understanding
the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseparable from repentance,
surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those responses
can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than believing
itself is solely a human effort.
Spurgeon says that...
does not grow in man's heart by nature. It is a thing which is
obtained. It is not a matter which springs up by a process of
education, or by the example and excellent instruction of our
parents. It is a thing which has to be obtained. Not imitation,
but regeneration; not development, but conversion. All our good
things come from without us. Only evil can be educed from within
us. Now, that which
is obtained by us must be given to us; and well are we taught in
Scripture that “faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Although faith is the act of man, yet it is the work of God.
“With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;” but that heart
must, first of all, have been renewed by divine grace before it
ever can be capable of the act of saving faith. Faith, we say, is
man's act, for we are commanded to “believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ,” and we shall be saved. At the same time, faith is God's
gift, and wherever we find it, we may know that it did not come
there from the force of nature, but from a work of divine grace.
How this magnifies the grace of God, my brethren, and how low this
casts human nature! Faith. Is it not one of the simplest
things? Merely to depend upon the blood and righteousness of the
Lord Jesus Christ, does it not seem one of the easiest of
virtues? To be nothing, and to let him be everything--to be
still, and to let him work for me, does not this seem to be the
most elementary of all the Christian graces?" (If you have questions about Biblical faith or whether your faith
is genuine, let me encourage you to take a moment and read
Spurgeon's entire sermon (Click
And so God
initiates faith when the
Holy Spirit awakens the dead soul in response to hearing the Word of God
(cf. Acts 11:21; Acts 16:14,
mystery is this precious gift! (Ro 3:24-note).
We don't deserve it and we couldn't have done anything to earn it. All
things are from Him and through Him and to Him. To God be the glory!
Maclaren has an interesting discussion of faith...
PETER seems to have had a liking for
that word ‘precious. ’ It is not a very descriptive one; it does not
give much light as to the quality of the things .to which it is applied;
but it is a suggestion of one-idea value. It is interesting to notice
the objects to which, in his two letters-for I take this to be his
letter — he applies it. He speaks of the trial of faith as being
‘precious.’ He speaks (with a slight modification of the word employed)
of Jesus Christ as being ‘to them that believe, precious.’ He speaks of
the ‘precious’ blood of Christ. These instances are in the first
epistle. In this second epistle we have the words of my text, and a
moment after, ‘exceeding great and precious promises.’ Now look at
Peter’s list of valuables; ‘Christ, Christ’s blood, God’s promises, our
Faith, and the discipline to which that faith is subjected.’ These are
things that the old man had found out to be of worth.
But then there is another word in my text that must be noted, ‘like
precious.’ It brings into view two classes, to one of which Peter
himself belongs — ‘us’ and ‘they.’ Who are these two classes? It may be
that he is thinking of the immense difference between the intelligent
and developed faith of himself and the other Apostles, and the
rudimentary and infantile faith of the recent believers to whom he may
be speaking. And, if so, that would be beautiful, but I rather take it
that he is tacitiy contrasting in his own mind the difference between
the Gentile converts as a whole, and the members of the Jewish community
who had become believers in Jesus Christ, and that he is repeating the
lesson that he had learned on the housetop at Joppa, and had had further
confirmed to him by the experience of Caesarea, and that he is really
saying exactly what he said when he defended himself before the Council
in Jerusalem: ‘Seeing that God had given unto them the like gift that he
did unto us, who was I, that I should withstand God?’ And so he looks
out over all the Christian community, and ignores ‘the middle wall of
partition,’ and says, ‘Them that have obtained like precious faith with
us.’ I wish very simply to try to draw out the thoughts that lie in
these words, and cluster round that well-worn and threadbare theological
expression and Christian verity of ‘faith’ or ‘trust.’
I. And the first thing that I would desire to point you to is, what we
learn here as to the object of faith.
Now those of you who are using the Revised Version will notice that
there is a very slight, but important, alteration there, from the
rendering in the old translation. We read in the latter: ‘Like precious
faith with us through the righteousness,...’ and that is a meaning that
might be defended. But the Revised Version says, and says more
accurately as far as the words go, and more truly as far as Christian
thought goes, ‘them that have obtained like precious faith with us in
the righteousness.’ Now, I daresay, it will occur to us all that that is
a departure from the usual form in which faith is presented to us in the
New Testament, because there, thank God! we are clearly taught that the
one thing which faith grapples is not a thing but a Person. Christian
faith is only human trust turned in a definite direction. Just as our
trust lays hold on one another, so the object of faith is, in the
deepest analysis, no doe-trine, no proposition, not even a Divine fact,
not even a Divine promise, but the Doer of the fact, and the Promiser of
the promise, and the Person, Jesus Christ. When you say, ‘I trust
so-and-so’s word!’ what you mean is, ‘I trust him, and so I put credence
in his word.’ And Christianity would have been delivered from mountains
of misconception, and many a poor soul would have felt that a blaze of
light had come in upon it, if this had been clearly proclaimed, and
firmly apprehended by preachers and by hearers, that the object of trust
is the living Person, Jesus Christ, and that the trust which grapples us
to Him is essentially a personal relation entered into by our wills and
hearts far more than by our heads.
All that is being apprehended by the Christian Church to-day a great
deal more clearly than it used to he when some of us were young. But we
have the defects of our qualities. And this generation is accustomed far
too lightly and superficially to say ‘Oh! I do not care about doctrines.
I cleave to the living Christ.’ Amen! say I. But there is another
question — What Christ is it that you are cleaving to? For our only way
of knowing a person with whom we have no external acquaintance is by
what we are told about him, and believe about him. And so, while we
cannot assert too strongly that faith or trust in the living Christ, and
not in a dogma, is the basis of real Christian life, we have need to be
very definite and sure as to what Christ — which Christ — it is that we
are trusting to? And there my text comes in, and tells us that faith is
to grasp Christ as our righteousness; and another saying of the Apostle
Paul’s comes in, who for once speaks of faith as being faith not only in
the Christ, but in ‘His blood’: —
‘Jesus ! Thy blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress.’
Brethren! you will not get beyond
that. The Christ, trusting in whom we have life and salvation, is the
Christ whose blood cleanses, Whose righteousness clothes us poor, sinful
men. So, while proclaiming with all emphasis, and rejoicing to press it
upon all my brethren, that salvation comes by personal trust in the
Person, I supplement and fill out, not contradict, that proclamation,
when I further say that the Person by trusting in whom we are saved, is
the Jesus whose blood cleanses and whose righteousness becomes ours.
That righteousness is, in our text, contemplated as God’s, as being
embodied in Christ’s, that from Him it may be imparted to us, if we will
fulfil the condition on which alone it can be ours, viz., faith. It
becomes ours, by no mere imputation which has not a reality at the back
of it, but because faith brings us into such a vital union with Jesus
Christ as that His righteousness, or at least a spark from the central
flame, becomes ours, not only in reference to our exemption from the
burden of our guilt, but in reference to our becoming conformed to the
image of His dear Son, and created anew in righteousness and holiness.
The object of faith is Christ, the Christ whose blood and righteousness
cleanses and clothes sinful souls.
II. Let Me Ask You To Look, In The Next Place, To What This Text
Suggests To Us About The Worth Of Christian Faith.
Peter calls it precious. Consider its
worth as a channel. There is a very remarkable expression used in the
Acts of the Apostles, The door of faith’ (Acts 14:27). A door is
of little value in itself, worth a few shillings at the most, but if it
opens the way into a palace then it is worth something. And all the
preciousness that there is in faith comes, not from its intrinsic value,
but from the really precious things which it gives into our hands. Just
as the dyer’s hand may be tinged with royal purple, if he has been
working in it, or a woman’s
hand may be scented and made fragrant
if she has been handling perfumes, so the hand of faith takes tint and
fragrance from that with which it is conversant.
It is precious because it is the
channel by which all precious things flow into our hearts and lives. If
Ladysmith is, as I suppose it is, dependent for its water supply on one
lead pipe, the preciousness of that pipe is not measured by what it
would fetch if it were put up to auction for its lead, but by that which
flows through it, and without which Death would come.
And my faith is the pipe by which all
the water of life comes sparkling and rejoicing into my thirsty soul.
It is the opening of the door that
the King of Glory may come in’ (Ps 24:9)
It is the taking down of the shutters
that the sunshine may blaze into the darkened chamber
It is the grasping of the electric
wire that the circuit may be completed.
God puts out His hand, and we lay
hold of it. It is not the outstretched hand from earth, but the
down-stretched hand from heaven that makes the tottering man stand.
So, dear friends, let us understand
that salvation does not come as the reward of faith, but that the
salvation is in the faith, because faith is the channel by which all
God’s salvation pours into us. So there is nothing arbitrary in the way
of salvation, as some shallow thinkers seem to propose, and there is no
reason in the question, ‘Why does God make salvation depend upon faith?’
God could not but make salvation depend upon faith, because there is no
other possible way by which the blessings which are gathered together
into that one great pregnant word ‘salvation’ could find their way into
a man’s heart but through the channel of his trust. Have you opened that
channel? If you have not, you need not wonder it cannot be otherwise —
that salvation does not come unto you.
Consider its worth as a defence. The
Apostle in one place speaks about ‘the shield of faith.’ (Ep 6:16-note)
But there is nothing in the belief that I am safe to make me safe. It is
very often a fatal blunder. All depends upon that or Him, to which or
whom I am trusting for my safety. Put yourself beneath the true Shield —
‘The Lord God is a sun and shield’ (Psalm 84:11) — and then you will be
safe. Your way of running into the strong tower
alone, with its massive walls, protects us from all danger and from all
sin, is by trusting Him. (See
God's Name-A Strong Tower)
Just as light things on a ship’s deck
have to be lashed in order to be secured and lie still, you and I have
to lash ourselves to
Jesus Christ; then, not by
reason of the lashings, but by reason of Him, we are fastened and
Consider the worth of faith as a
means of purifying. This very Apostle, in his great speech in Jerusalem
when vindicating the reception of the Gentiles into the Church, spoke of
God as having ‘purified their hearts by
And here again, I say, there is no cleansing power in the act of trust.
Cleansing power is in that which, by the act of trust, comes into my
heart. Faith is not simple receptivity, not mere passive absorbing of
what is given, but it is the active taking by desire as well as by
confidence. And when we trust in Jesus Christ, His blood and
righteousness, there flows into our hearts that Divine life which, like
a river turned into a dung-heap, will sweep all the filth before it. You
have to get the purifying power by faith. Ay! and you have to utilize
the purifying power by effort and by work. ‘What God hath joined
together, let not men put asunder.’
III. Now, lastly, note the
identity of faith.
‘Like precious,’ says Peter, and, as I said, there may be defended a
double application of the word, and two sets of pairs of classes may be
supposed to have been in his mind. I do not discuss which of these may
be the case, only I would suggest to you that from this beautiful
gathering together of all the diversities of the Christian character,
conception, and development into one great whole, we are taught that the
one thing that makes a Christian is this trust. That is the universal
characteristic; that is uniform, whatever may differ. Ah! how much and
how little it takes to make a Christian. ‘Only faith?’ you say. Yes,
thank God! not this, or that, not rites, not anything that a priest can
do to you. Not orthodoxy; not morality; these will come, but trust in
Christ and His blood and righteousness. England is a Christian country;
is it? This is a Christian congregation; is it? You are a Christian; are
you? Are you trusting in that Christ? If you are not; no! though you be
orthodox up to the eyebrows, and though seven or seven hundred
sacraments may have been given to you, and though you be a clean living
man — all that does not make a Christian, but this does — ‘Like precious
faith with us in the righteousness of God and our Saviour.’
Again, this great thought of the identity or uniformity of the one
characteristic may suggest to us how Christian faith is one, under all
varieties of form. There never has been in the Christian Church again,
notwithstanding all our deplorable divisions and schisms, such a
tremendous cleft as there was in the primitive Church between the Jewish
and Gentile components thereof. But Peter flings this flying bridge
across that abyss, and knits the two sides together, because he knows
that away out yonder, amongst the Gentiles, and here in the little
circle of the Jewish believers, there was the one faith that unifies
So, dear friends, there should be the widest charity, but no vagueness;
for the Christian faith in Him which unifies and bridges over all
differences, mental and theological, is the Christ by whose blood we are
cleansed, with whose righteousness we are made righteous.
Again, from the same thought flows the other, of the identity of the
uniform characteristic, at all stages of development or maturity. The
mustard-seed and the tree, ‘which is greater than all herbs,’ have the
same life in them. And the feeblest, tremulous little spark in some
heart, just kindled, and scarcely capable of sustaining itself, is one
with the flame leaping heaven-high, which lights up and cleanses the
whole soul. So for those in advance, humility, and for those in the
rear, hope. And something more than hope, for if you have the feeblest
beginning of tremulous trust, you have that which only needs to be
fostered to make you like Jesus Christ. Look at what follows our text:
‘Add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge,’ and so on,
through the whole linked series of Christian graces. They all come out
of that trust which knits us to Him who is the source of them all. So
you and I are responsible for bringing our faith to the highest
development of which it is capable.
Alas! alas! are we not all like this very Apostle, who, in an ecstasy of
trust and longing, ventured himself on the wave, and as soon as he felt
the cold water creeping above his knees lost his trust, and so lost his
buoyancy, and was ready to go down like a stone? He had so little faith,
that he was beginning to sink; he had so much that he put out his hand —
a desperate hand it was — and cried, ‘Lord, save me!’ (Mt 14:30) And the
hand came, and that steadied him, and bore him up till the water was
beneath the soles of his feet again. ‘Lord! I believe; help Thou my
unbelief!’ (Mark 9:24)
(2 Peter 1:1 Like Precious Faith)
OF THE SAME KIND AS OURS: tois isotimon:
the same kind (2472)
(isotimos from isos = equal +
time = price, worth or merit of some object) (Only used here in
Scripture) means of equal
value or honor, equally precious or esteemed equal to. Of the same
kind or same value. In regard to faith the idea is faith with the same
privilege as the apostles. In other words, the recipients of this letter
(and believers today) are not less advantaged than the apostles! Isotimos was used to designate equal in rank, position,
honor, standing, price, or value. It was used in the ancient world with
strangers and foreigners who were given equal citizenship in a city.
Vincent says that isotimos
does not mean
"in the same measure to all, but having equal value and
honor to those who receive it, as admitting them to the same Christian
privileges.” How priceless is this gift of faith which admits us to the
salvation which God has provided through the death and resurrection of
His Son! And what an honor is conferred upon those who are the
recipients of this gift of faith!"
is variously translated
"as precious as ours" (NET Bible),
"as valuable as ours" (ISV),
standing with ours" (Eng Std Version),
an equal privilege of) like precious" (Amplified),
love the sound of the Spanish translation
fascinating that this burly old fisherman gravitates so often to a
"soft" sounding word like "precious" (1Pe
1:7, 19, 2:4, 6, 7, 3:4, 2Pe 1:3- See
William Barclay on isotimos
- Peter puts this very vividly, using a word which would at once strike
an answering chord in the minds of those who heard it. Their faith is
equal in honour and privilege. The Greek is isotimos (Greek 2472); isos
(Greek 2470) means "equal" and time (Greek 5092) means "honour." This
word was particularly used in connection with foreigners who were given
equal citizenship in a city with the natives. Josephus, for instance,
says that in Antioch the Jews were made isotimoi (Greek 2472), equal in
honour and privilege, with the Macedonians and the Greeks who lived
there. So Peter addresses his letter to those who had once been despised
Gentiles but who had been given equal rights of citizenship with the
Jews and even with the apostles themselves in the kingdom of God. Two
things have to be noted about this great privilege which had been
extended to the Gentiles. (a) It had been allotted to them. That is to
say, they had not earned it; it had fallen to them through no merit of
their own, as some prize falls to a man by lot. In other words, their
new citizenship was all of grace. (b) It came to them through the
impartial justice of their God and Saviour Jesus Christ. It came to them
because with God there is no "most favoured nation clause"; his grace
and favour go out impartially to every nation upon earth. (2 Peter
1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
The word "same
kind" or “precious”
(Webster: "of great value or high price", "highly esteemed or
cherished", "dear", "very costly")
is isotimon, made up of isos, “equal
in quantity or quality” and time “value, price, honor or
esteem rendered towards something.” Isotimon was used for
foreigners who had been granted the privileges of citizenship which were
equal to those of the native born. Josephus, for
instance, says that in Antioch the Jews were made "isotimoi",
equal in honour and privilege, with the Macedonians and the Greeks who
lived there. So Peter addresses his letter to those who had once
been despised Gentiles but who had been given equal rights of
citizenship with the Jews and even with the apostles themselves in the
kingdom of God. And so Peter emphasizes that all Christians
have received the same precious, priceless saving faith. There are no
first and second class Christians in spiritual, racial, or gender
(cf. Gal 3:28).
The compound word (isotimon) means either “like in honor” or
“like in value” & here modifies "faith" thus emphasizing
that the faith given the recipients of Peter's letter by
God was of equal honor & privilege as that given to the original
indeed a blessed equality here, for the poorest little-faith who ever
crept into heaven on its hands and knees, has a like precious faith
with the mighty apostle Peter. I say, brethren, if the one be gold, so
is the other; if the one can move mountains, so can the other; for
remember, that the privileges of mountain moving, and of plucking up
the trees, and casting them into the sea, are not given to great faith,
but “if ye have faith as a grain of mustard weed,” it shall be done.
Little faith has a royal decent and is as truly of divine birth as is
the greatest and fullest assurance which ever made glad the heart of
man, hence it ensures the same inheritance at the last, and the same
safety by the way. It is “like
He tells us too, that faith is “precious,” and is it not
precious? for it deals with precious things, with precious
promises, with precious blood, with a precious redemption,
with all the preciousness of the person of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. Well may that be a precious faith which supplies
our greatest want, delivers us from our greatest danger, and admits us
to the greatest glory. Well may that be called “precious faith,”
which is the symbol of our election, the evidence of our calling, the
root of all our graces, the channel of communion, the weapon of
prevalence, the shield of safety, the substance of hope, the evidence of
eternity, the guerdon (reward) of immortality, and the passport
of glory. O for more of this inestimably precious faith.
Precious faith, indeed it is.
Considering the context of this letter, Peter's inclusion of this
description of the saint's faith suggests that he may have been
contrasting their genuine faith in Christ with the "pre-Gnostic"
doctrines of the false teachers who often spoke of an "inner circle" of
special knowledge attainable by and available to only a privileged few.
Or false teachers may have been touting their spiritual superiority and
Peter is emphasizing that we are all in "Spirituality 101" so to speak.
And with a single specific Greek word Peter refutes any false notions
that are being promulgated.
Our faith is esteemed in God's eyes as equal to that of the great
apostle Peter. What's practical import does this have in our everyday
life? If this is true of our faith, why is the Christian life of many
believers in America so "bland & anemic"? Faith is like a muscle. We
must exercise our faith for it to ''grow'' (2Pe 1:5-note,
cf 1Pe 2:2-note)
to it's full potential which is that we would be ''complete in Christ''
As ours (2254)
(hemin - dative case plural of ego) -
''OURS''? This could refer to the original apostles.
If so the idea would be that even the privilege of being with Jesus
physically gained no one greater spirituality than another later
believer. Or "ours" could refer to ''all Jewish Christians". Or
refer to Gentile recipients who are being told by Peter that their faith
carries the same privileges as the Jews. In sum "ours" probably refers
to the apostles & others who saw Jesus face to face when one compares
this verse with (1:16)
where Peter refers to ''we...were eyewitnesses''. The
point then would be that although the recipients (either because of
geographical constraints or by virtue of the fact that 30 years have now
passed since Christ was present) had not seen Christ just as BELIEVERS
today have not had a face to face encounter with Jesus, our faith is of
no less value for KINGDOM WORK. This should encourage us greatly.
Despite no personal face to face encounter with Christ as Peter had, we
have a faith as valuable as Peter's. So let us all be diligent to press on toward the goal.
J H Jowett...
WHEN I had read this passage through
many times in my effort to discover the inwardness and sequence of the
apostle’s thought, there leapt into my mind the great watchword of the
“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!”
My text seemed to
accept the proffered ministry of the watchword, and deigned to express
itself through the heightened and glorified clarion of the Revolution.
Here is the secret of liberty: “A bondservant and apostle of Jesus
Christ.” [Verse 1]
And here is the basis of equality: “They that have
obtained an equally precious faith with us.”
And here is the very genius
of fraternity: “Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of
God and of Jesus our Lord,” [2Pe 1:2]
Here, then, we have the apostolic
evangel of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Here is the secret of liberty: “A bondslave of Jesus.” [2Pe 1:1]
At the heart of all true freedom
there is a certain bondage.
restraint is always self-destructive.
The man who will not be bound to
or anybody is always the most enslaved.
societies are compelled to have some rules, and the making of a rule
always implies the forging of a chain. Liberty must be limited if it is
to be possessed. Every type of freedom has its chains. That is true of
intellectual freedom. A man who would be intellectually free must pay
obeisance to certain laws of thought. Mental disorder is a dark
enslavement. The movement that springs from obedience to the laws of
thought is a fruitful freedom. Free thought begins in wearing a chain;
the mental freeman is at heart a slave.
That is true also of political
freedom. Political freedom consists in the recognition of individual
rights. To assert my brother’s rights is to state a limit to my own.
Here again we start with a chain. We recognise limitations. The real
political freeman is at heart a slave. And this is true also of moral
freedom; no man is morally free who does not pay homage to his
conscience. Moral freedom springs from the sense of obligation. Apart
from that ligament, that bond, the whole body of the moral life falls
limb from limb in inextricable chaos and confusion.
Now let us lift the argument up to the highest type of freedom, the
glorious freedom of the spirit. A great writer has denned the French
notion of liberty as political economy and the English notion of liberty
as personal independence. The Christian conception of liberty is
inclusive of these, but infinitely greater.
The most spacious of all
liberties is liberation from self,
and this kind of freedom springs from
True freedom in the spirit
begins in bondage to the
Lord of Life.
I am not surprised, therefore, that the; Apostle Peter
and the Apostle Paul, men who sing so loudly and so triumphantly of the
wealth and plenteousness of their freedom, should begin by proclaiming
themselves the Master’s slaves. “Paul, a bondslave of Jesus.” “Peter, a
bondslave and apostle of Jesus Christ.”
Bondage is the secret
“Peter, a bondslave.” Let us see what is implied in this suggestive
First, the term “bondslave”
implies the acknowledgment of a fact. He is a slave. He has been bought.
He is the Lord’s property. A great price has been paid for him. The
apostle thought of his Master’s weary days and nights, of the tears and
agonies of Gethsemane, of the shame and darkness and abandonment of
Calvary. By all this expenditure on the part of the Saviour the apostle
had been bought. He acknowledged his Master’s rights; he was his
Secondly, the term “bondslave”
implies the assumption of an attitude. The apostle puts himself in the
posture of homage and obedience. His eye was ever watching the Master,
his ear was ever listening. He was a slave, but not servile. I do not
know what word just expresses it; I have been unable to find one. But
this I know, that if we would learn what “slave” means in my text
we must go to the love-sphere and seek the interpretation there.
We must go where the lover slaves for the loved, and yet calls her
slavery exquisite freedom. A real loving mother, slaving for her child,
would not change her slavery for mines of priceless wealth or for
unbroken years of cushioned ease. “Thy willing bondslave I.”
And thirdly, to be a slave
implies the discharge of a mission. “Peter, a bondslave and apostle.” He
is sent forth to do the Master’s will. The Master bids; he goes.
Anywhere! Through the long, dusty, tiring highways of righteousness, or
to the valley of gloom; “through the thirsty desert or the dewy mead.”
His not to reason why,
His not to make reply,
His but to do and die!
But in that bondage the apostle finds
a perfect freedom. All the powers of his being are emancipated and sing
together in glorious liberty. Life that is fundamentally bound becomes
like an orchestra, every faculty constituting a well-tuned instrument,
and all of them co-operating in the production of a harmony which is
well-pleasing in the ears of God.
And here we have the basis of equality:
“To them that have obtained an
equally precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God.” [2Pe
Let us rearrange the words a little.
This I think is the meaning: in the righteousness of God, the absolute
justice and fairness of God, you have obtained an equally precious faith
with us. God in His righteousness has, in this consummate gift of faith,
made us gloriously equal.
Now look at that. Where does the
apostle begin his reasoning about our primary equality? He begins with
the righteousness of God. God is perfectly fair. He is no
respecter of persons. I know this faith is troubled and disturbed by the
material inequalities we see around us. Here is my little one safe at
home in bed, and here is another little one, not much older, out upon
the streets in the late night hungry and cold. Is God fair? Here is a
good man in chronic pain; here is a bad man in health and wealth and
honour. Yet God is righteous in His purpose! He does not treat us like
puppets and marionettes. He has endowed us with brain and conscience and
heart and will, and He has committed to us the power by which many of
these gross in justices can be rectified.
If the Church of the living God were
to awake from her sleep to day (Ed: Jowett wrote in the 1800's!)
you and I know how much could be done to rearrange material comforts,
and to crush and destroy many things which make for misery, disease, and
death. While our sword is rusting, and our couch has almost become our
tomb (Ed: Even before television!), do not let us raise a mere
debating-society topic and ask the question: Is God fair? It is for our
own dignity, and for the disciplining and perfecting of the race, that
our God has committed unto us the power by which many of these
burdensome iniquities may be removed.
But, leaving all these, let it be
said that in the great primary things, the things out of which all other
equalities take their spring, we may be grandly equal. We may all obtain
an equally precious faith, the faith-dynamic which can remove mountains.
Faith itself is a gift of God, and in this all men may be equal. You and
Paul! The Salvation Army Captain and Martin Luther!
“Precious faith,” the apostle calls
it, precious because of the wealth which through it comes into the life.
“Faith buys wine and milk,” says an old commentator. Faith goes into the
country of God among His vineyards, and out among His fields, and eats
and drinks the rare and sweet and toothsome things. I say that in this
great primary matter we may all be equal, and in this fundamental
equality all other healthy equalities will find their impulse and
And lastly, we have here the genius of fraternity.
“Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of
Jesus.” [2Pe 1:2]
How deep and exquisite is the spirit of fraternity!
What do these people seek for one another? Knowledge! “Knowledge of the
Lord.” And this means the advanced stages of a science, the most perfect
learning, the riper unfoldings of the glory of God. They are ambitious
for one another, that spiritual obscurities may be clarified, and that
the partial may be perfected. A little while ago, at the dawning of the
day, I looked out over a great stretch of country from the vantage
ground of a lofty summit. I could only see things dimly, in vague and
imperfect outline. There beneath me lay stretched out into the far
distance a long, white streak of dull silver; and there rested a grey
cloud; and yonder loomed a dark botch which seemed to be a remnant of
the departing night. But the light came on apace, and my knowledge was
advanced and perfected. The thin white streak turned out to be a river!
The bank of grey mist revealed itself as a lake! The dark botch, which
seemed like the belated baggage of the night, revealed itself as a
“The glory of the Lord shall be
revealed.” (Isa 40:5)
“Now I know in part, but then. . .!”
“Grace to you and peace be multiplied
in the knowledge of God.” (2Pe 1:1)
Out of this advanced and advancing
knowledge there is to come a multiplication of grace and peace. Grace is
to be multiplied; the single drops are to become showers; the solitary
rays are to glow like the noon. And peace is to be multiplied, deepened,
heightened, and enriched! Is not this the very genius of fraternity?
What thing more beautiful can brotherhood grow than wishes and
intercessions like these? (Epistles
of St. Peter)
BY THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OUR GOD
AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST: en
dikaiosune tou theou hemon kai soteros Iesou Christou:
(Righteousness Jer 33:16; Ro 1:17; 3:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26; 1Co 1:30;
2Co 5:21; Php 3:9) (Savior: Isaiah 12:2; 43:3,11; 45:15,21; 60:16 Lk
1:47; Titus 2:13)
Their spiritual foundation.
Through the righteousness (2Pe 1:1KJV) is literally “in the
righteousness” and probably refers to God’s righteousness as the object
of our faith (see Ro 1:17; Ro 3:26). Some think, however, that the
reference here is not to the righteousness that makes atonement
but to the justice of God that gives equally to all. Note the use of the
phrase God and Savior, probably referring to our Lord since there
is no article with the second substantive (see 2Pe 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18;
[word study] from
= being proper or right in the sense of being fully
justified being in accordance with what God requires) conveys the idea
of conforming to a standard or norm. In Biblical terms it is that which
is acceptable to God and in keeping with what God is in His holy
Dikaiosune - 92x in 86v - Matt 3:15; 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1, 33; 21:32;
Luke 1:75; John 16:8, 10; Acts 10:35; 13:10; 17:31; 24:25; Rom 1:17;
3:5, 21f, 25f; 4:3, 5f, 9, 11, 13, 22; 5:17, 21; 6:13, 16, 18ff; 8:10;
9:30f; 10:3ff, 10; 14:17; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 3:9; 5:21; 6:7, 14; 9:9f;
11:15; Gal 2:21; 3:6, 21; 5:5; Eph 4:24; 5:9; 6:14; Phil 1:11; 3:6, 9; 1
Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22; 3:16; 4:8; Titus 3:5; Heb 1:9; 5:13; 7:2; 11:7,
33; 12:11; Jas 1:20; 2:23; 3:18; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:14; 2 Pet 1:1; 2:5, 21;
3:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 10; Rev 19:11; 22:11. NAS = right(1),
is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that
He approves, and all that He provides through the gospel of Jesus
righteousness comes from a root word that means “straightness.” It
refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard.
Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and
source of all righteousness. God is totally righteous because He is
totally as He should be. The righteousness of God could be succinctly
stated as that which is all that God is, all that He commands, all that
He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides (through Christ).
character and actions are used to define the standard of
righteousness ("self righteousness"), their attempts always fall
short of God's perfect standard. Jesus emphasized the inability of man's
to satisfy God's perfect standard declaring
surpasses that of the
Pharisees, you will not
heaven." (Mt 5:20-note)
that through the righteousness of God is added by Peter
order that they might know that they did not obtain faith through their
own efforts or strength, but through God’s favor alone."
Peter’s point is that believers share the equal gift of salvation
because God’s righteousness is imputed to them. So, not only do they
have faith because God gives it to them, they are saved only because God
imputes righteousness to them (see 1Co 1:29, 30, 31; ).
Believers share the equal gift of salvation because God’s righteousness
is imputed (see discussion of
Romans 4 notes)
or reckoned to them. That righteousness recognizes no distinction
between people except that the sins of some are more heinous than
others. So, not only do they have faith because God gives it to them,
they are saved only because God imputes righteousness to them. Our Lord
Jesus Christ has three “spiritual commodities” that can be secured from
nobody else: righteousness, grace, and peace. When you trust Him as your
Saviour, His righteousness becomes your righteousness and you are given
a right standing before God (2Co 5:21).
You could never earn this righteousness; it is the gift of God to
those who believe.
Our God and Savior - In the Greek
there is only one definite article (tou)
modifying both "God" (theos)
[word study]) a construction which demands that we translate
it as “our God and Savior,
Can you discern the importance of such a seemingly small detail? Peter
is teaching the indubitable Divine Nature of Jesus Christ. So much for the argumentative
skeptics who claim that the Bible does not clearly state that Jesus
Christ is both Savior and God. Wrong! Peter does!
Wuest has an excellent summary of the
meaning of the names "Jesus" and "Christ"
"The names, “Jesus”
and “Christ” have important meanings. “Jesus” is the
English spelling of the Greek word Iesous. This, in turn, is the
Greek spelling of the Hebrew word which in English is “Jehoshua,”
and which means, “Jehovah saves.” Thus, there are three cardinal
doctrines of the Christian faith in the name “Jesus,” the deity
of our Lord, His humanity, and His sacrificial atonement.
Jehovah could not save sinners except on the basis of justice satisfied,
this, in order that He might maintain His righteous government. Justice,
to be satisfied, demanded that sin be paid for, and only God can satisfy
His own demands. So, He in the person of His Son, stepped down from His
judgment throne in heaven, and took upon Himself the guilt and penalty
of human sin. But He could not do this except by the incarnation and the
Cross. The word “Christ” is the English spelling of the Greek
Christos which means “the anointed,” and this Greek word is
the translation of the Hebrew word which comes into our language in the
name “Messiah.” In the case of the Gospel according to Matthew,
the name is a designation of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of Israel. In
the Church epistles, it speaks of Him as the Anointed of God."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
rescue from peril > from saos = safe; delivered)
(Click detailed word study on
soter) refers to the agent of salvation or
deliverance, the one who rescues, delivers, saves and preserves. Anyone
who saves or delivers can be called a deliverer or rescuer (a soter).
Soter - 24x in 24v - Luke
1:47; 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Eph 5:23; Phil 3:20; 1 Tim 1:1;
2:3; 4:10; 2 Tim 1:10; Titus 1:3f; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11;
2:20; 3:2, 18; 1 John 4:14; Jude 1:25. NAS = Savior (24x)
Dictionary notes that
In secular Greek usage the gods are
deliverers both as helpers of human beings and as protectors of
collective entities (e.g., cities); this is the case with Zeus, Apollo,
Poseidon, the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux, Heracles, Asclepius as the
helper of the sick, and Serapis; it is true also for philosophers (Dio
Chrysostom Or. 32.8) and statesmen (Thucydides v.11.1; Plutarch
Cor. 11, also in inscriptions and elsewhere). In the Hellenistic
ruler cult "theos soter" (god our savior) is attested in writings and
inscriptions as a title of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. Inscriptions in
the eastern part of the Empire called Pompey “Soter and Founder,” Caesar
“Soter of the World,” and Augustus “Soter of Humankind.” Hadrian had the
title "Soter of the Kosmos" (Balz,
H. R., & Schneider, G. . Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament.
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans)
soter as a title of divinities such as Asclepius, the god of
healing. Soter was used by the mystery religions to refer to their
divinities. At an early date soter was used as a title of honor
for deserving men, e.g., Epicurus (300BC) was called "soter" by his
followers. As discussed below, soter was used as a designation of the
"deified" ruler, e.g., Ptolemy I Soter (323-285BC).
writes that the name soter...
was given by the ancients to deities,
especially tutelary deities, to princes, kings, and in general to men
who had conferred signal benefits upon their country, and in the more
degenerate days by way of flattery to personages of influence;
used of God as the source of salvation - the Deliverer, the
Preserver, the Protector, the Healer, the One Who rescues man from
danger or peril and unto a state of prosperity and happiness.
used of Jesus Christ as the agent sent by God to bring
deliverance to sinful mankind.
Some of the first to call Jesus
the Savior were not Jews but Samaritans!...
"and they (Samaritans) were saying to
the (Samaritan) woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we
believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is
indeed the Savior of the world." (John 4:42)
Soter is a frequent title
given to the Father (as Source of salvation) and to the Son (as the
Agent of salvation) in the epistle to Titus:
"the commandment of God our Savior"
"Grace and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Savior" (Titus 1:4-note),
"showing all good faith that they may
adorn the doctrine of God our Savior" (Titus 2:10-note)
"looking for the blessed hope and the
appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus
"Whom (the Spirit) He (Father) poured
out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." (Titus 3:6-note).
Note the clear involvement of the
Trinity in salvation in these verses from Titus.
writes that the name soter
"was given by the ancients to
deities, to princes, kings, and in general, to men who had conferred
signal benefits upon their country, and in the more degenerate days, by
way of flattery, to personages of influence." (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
The Romans looked
upon their emperor as a "savior" in that he held mankind together
under the great Roman power, providing peace and order, prosperity and
protection. In the Cult of Caesar, the state religion of Rome, the
emperor was actually known as the "Saviour of the world" (at
least 8 Roman emperors carried this title)! He was a "Saviour" in that
he held mankind together under the great Roman power, providing peace
and order, prosperity and protection. In contrast to the Cult of the
Caesar, was the "Cult of Christ", in which the Lord Jesus was worshipped
as the Saviour God. The former ruled over the temporal affairs of his
subjects and was one of their gods. The latter was Saviour in the sense
that He saved the believer’s soul from sin and exercised a spiritual
control over his life. To recognize our God as the Saviour of the world
instead of the Emperor was a capital offense, for this recognition was a
blow at the very heart of the Roman Empire and explains the reason for
the bloody persecution of Christians.
healed others were referred to in the Greek culture as "saviors".
Human physicians might be able to heal physical sickness but only the
Great Physician can heal sin sickness. As alluded to above, in Greek
mythology various gods were called soteres (plural) an epithet
applied especially to Asclepius, the "god of healing". How tragic to
call mere mortals and figments of men's imagination "saviors".
judgment long ago on those who worship these so-called "saviors"
declaring that ''They have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden
idol, and pray to a god who cannot save (Hebrew word is yasha
from which is derived Yeshua the Hebrew equivalent of "Jesus"!).'' (Isa
also used 24 times in the Greek translation of the OT (Septuagint),
virtually always describing God as Savior. For example,
Psalm 27:1 translated from the Greek
reads "The Lord is my light and my Saviour" compared to the
translation from Hebrew -- "The LORD is my light and my salvation."
Other OT uses
Soter describing God - Dt 32:15; 1Sa10:19; Neh 9:27; Ps 24:5;
25:5; 27:1, 9; 62:2, 6; 65:5; 79:9; 95:1; Isa12:2; 17:10; 45:15,21;
62:11; Mic7:7; Hab 3:18)
Savior (soter) adds that
savior is “one who brings salvation,” and the word salvation
was familiar to the people of that day. In their vocabulary, it meant “deliverance
from trouble,” particularly “deliverance from the enemy.” It also
carried the idea of “health and safety.” A physician was
looked on as a savior because he helped deliver the body from
pain and limitations. A victorious general was a savior
because he delivered the people from defeat. Even a wise official
was a savior because he kept the nation in order and delivered it
from confusion and decay. It requires little insight to see how the
title “Saviour” applies to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is, indeed, the
Great Physician who heals the heart from the sickness of sin. He is the
victorious Conqueror who has defeated our enemies—sin, death, Satan, and
hell—and is leading us in triumph (2Cor 2:14ff). He is “God and our Saviour” (2Pe
1:1-note), “our Lord and Saviour” (2Pe
and “the Lord and Saviour” (2Pe 2:20-note).
In order to be our Saviour, He had to give His life on the cross and die
for the sins of the world. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)