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2 Peter 1:3

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As his Divine power - His power, which no power can resist, because it is Divine - that which properly belongs to the infinite Godhead.

Hath given unto us - Δεδωρημενης· Hath endowed us with the gifts; or, hath gifted us, as Dr. Macknight translates it, who observes that it refers to the gifts which the Holy Spirit communicated to the apostles, to enable them to bring men to life and godliness; which were,

  1. A complete knowledge of the doctrines of the Gospel.
  • Power to preach and defend their doctrines in suitable language, which their adversaries were not able to gainsay or resist.
  • Wisdom to direct them how to behave in all cases, where and when to labor; and the matter suitable to all different cases, and every variety of persons.
  • Miraculous powers, so that on all proper and necessary occasions they could work miracles for the confirmation of their doctrines and mission.
  • By life and godliness we may understand,

      1. a godly life; or,

    2. eternal life as the end, and godliness the way to it; or,

      3. what was essentially necessary for the present life, food, raiment, etc., and what was requisite for the life to come.

    As they were in a suffering state, and most probably many of them strangers in those places, one can scarcely say that they had all things that pertained to life; and yet so had God worked in their behalf, that none of them perished, either through lack of food or raiment. And as to what was necessary for godliness, they had that from the Gospel ministry, which it appears was still continued among them, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which were not withdrawn; and what was farther necessary in the way of personal caution, comfort, and instruction, was supplied by means of these two epistles.

    That hath called us to glory and virtue - To virtue or courage as the means; and glory - the kingdom of heaven, as the end. This is the way in which these words are commonly understood, and this sense is plain enough, but the construction is harsh. Others have translated δια δοξης και αρετης, by his glorious benignity, a Hebraism for δια της ενδοξου αρετης· and read the whole verse thus: God by his own power hath bestowed on us every thing necessary for a happy life and godliness, having called us to the knowledge of himself, by his own infinite goodness. It is certain that the word αρετη, which we translate virtue or courage, is used, 1 Peter 2:9, to express the perfection of the Divine nature: That ye may show forth τας αρετας, the virtues or Perfections, of him who hath called you from darkness into his marvellous light.

    But there is a various reading here which is of considerable importance, and which, from the authorities by which it is supported, appears to be genuine: Του καλεσαντος ἡμας ιδια δοξῃ και αρετῃ, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own glory and power, or by his own glorious power. This is the reading of AC, several others; and, in effect, of the Coptic, Armenian, Syriac, Ethiopic, Vulgate, Cyril, Cassiodorus, etc.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    According as his divine power hath given unto us - All the effects of the gospel on the human heart are, in the Scriptures, traced to the power of God. See the notes at Romans 1:16. There are no moral means which have ever been used that have such power as the gospel; none through which God has done so much in changing the character and affecting the destiny of man.

    All things that pertain unto life and godliness - The reference here in the word “life” is undoubtedly to the life of religion; the life of the soul imparted by the gospel. The word “godliness” is synonymous with piety. The phrase “according as” ( ὡς hōs) seems to be connected with the sentence in 2 Peter 1:5, “Forasmuch as he has conferred on us these privileges and promises connected with life and godliness, we are bound, in order to obtain all that is implied in these things, to give all diligence to add to our faith, knowledge,” etc.

    Through the knowledge of him - By a proper acquaintance with him, or by the right kind of knowledge of him. Notes, John 17:3.

    That hath called us to glory and virtue - Margin: “by.” Greek, “through glory,” etc. Doddridge supposes that it means that he has done this “by the strengthening virtue and energy of his spirit.” Rosenmuller renders it, “by glorious benignity.” Dr. Robinson (Lexicon) renders it, “through a glorious display of his efficiency.” The objection which anyone feels to this rendering arises solely from the word “virtue,” from the fact that we are not accustomed to apply that word to God. But the original word ( ἀρετή aretē) is not as limited in its signification as the English word is, but is rather a word which denotes a good quality or excellence of any kind. In the ancient classics it is used to denote manliness, vigor, courage, valor, fortitude; and the word would rather denote “energy” or “power” of some kind, than what we commonly understand by virtue, and would be, therefore, properly applied to the “energy” or “efficiency” which God has displayed in the work of our salvation. Indeed, when applied to moral excellence at all, as it is in 2 Peter 1:5, of this chapter, and often elsewhere, it is perhaps with a reference to the “energy, boldness, vigor,” or “courage” which is evinced in overcoming our evil propensities, and resisting allurements and temptations. According to this interpretation, the passage teaches that it is “by a glorious Divine efficiency” that we are called into the kingdom of God.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    and by showing why the great day of Christ's coming was delayed, with a description of its awful circumstances and consequences; and suitable exhortations to diligence and holiness are given. * Exhortations to add the exercise of various other graces to faith (1-11) The apostle looks forward to his approaching decease. (12-15) And confirms the truth of the gospel, relating to Christ's appearing to judgment. (16-21)
    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Faith unites the weak believer to Christ, as really as it does the strong one, and purifies the heart of one as truly as of another; and every sincere believer is by his faith justified in the sight of God. Faith worketh godliness, and produces effects which no other grace in the soul can do. In Christ all fulness dwells, and pardon, peace, grace, and knowledge, and new principles, are thus given through the Holy Spirit. The promises to those who are partakers of a Divine nature, will cause us to inquire whether we are really renewed in the spirit of our minds; let us turn all these promises into prayers for the transforming and purifying grace of the Holy Spirit. The believer must add knowledge to his virtue, increasing acquaintance with the whole truth and will of God. We must add temperance to knowledge; moderation about worldly things; and add to temperance, patience, or cheerful submission to the will of God. Tribulation worketh patience, whereby we bear all calamities and crosses with silence and submission. To patience we must add godliness: this includes the holy affections and dispositions found in the true worshipper of God; with tender affection to all fellow Christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travellers to the same country, heirs of the same inheritance. Wherefore let Christians labour to attain assurance of their calling, and of their election, by believing and well-doing; and thus carefully to endeavour, is a firm argument of the grace and mercy of God, upholding them so that they shall not utterly fall. Those who are diligent in the work of religion, shall have a triumphant entrance into that everlasting kingdom where Christ reigns, and they shall reign with him for ever and ever; and it is in the practice of every good work that we are to expect entrance to heaven.
    Ellen G. White
    That I May Know Him, 160.1

    According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3. TMK 160.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 31

    The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the Word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the Word that they have neglected to follow. 3SM 31.1

    The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.—Testimonies for the Church 5:663, 664. 3SM 31.2

    Testimonies to Bring Plain Lessons From the Word—In the Scriptures God has set forth practical lessons to govern the life and conduct of all; but though He has given minute particulars in regard to our character, conversation, and conduct, yet in a large measure, His lessons are disregarded and ignored. Besides the instruction in His Word, the Lord has given special testimonies to His people, not as a new revelation, but that He may set before us the plain lessons of His Word, that errors may be corrected, that the right way may be pointed out, that every soul may be without excuse.—Letter 63, 1893 (See Testimonies for the Church 5:665.) 3SM 31.3

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    Ellen G. White
    The Ministry of Healing, 409

    Like our Saviour, we are in this world to do service for God. We are here to become like God in character, and by a life of service to reveal Him to the world. In order to be co-workers with God, in order to become like Him and to reveal His character, we must know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself. MH 409.1

    A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character. MH 409.2

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