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2 Peter 1:5

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And beside this - Καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο Kai auto toutoSomething here is necessary to be understood in order to complete the sense. The reference is to 2 Peter 1:3; and the connection is, since 2 Peter 1:3 God has given us these exalted privileges and hopes, “in respect to this,” ( κατὰ kataor διὰ diabeing understood,) or as a “consequence” fairly flowing from this, we ought to give all diligence that we may make good use of these advantages, and secure as high attainments as we possibly can. We should add one virtue to another, that we may reach the highest possible elevation in holiness.

Giving all diligence - Greek, “Bringing in all zeal or effort.” The meaning is, that we ought to make this a distinct and definite object, and to apply ourselves to it as a thing to be accomplished.

Add to your faith virtue - It is not meant in this verse and the following that we are to endeavor particularly to add these things one to another “in the order” in which they are specified, or that we are to seek first to have faith, and then to add to that virtue, and then to add knowledge to virtue rather than to faith, etc. The order in which this is to be done, the relation which one of these things may have to another, is not the point aimed at; nor are we to suppose that any other order of the words would not have answered the purpose of the apostle as well, or that anyone of the virtues specified would not sustain as direct a relation to any other, as the one which he has specified. The design of the apostle is to say, in an emphatic manner, that we are to strive to possess and exhibit all these virtues; in other words, we are not to content ourselves with a single grace, but are to cultivate all the virtues, and to endeavor to make our piety complete in all the relations which we sustain. The essential idea in the passage before us seems to be, that in our religion we are not to be satisfied with one virtue, or one class of virtues, but that there is to be.

(1)adiligent cultivation of our virtues, since the graces of religion are as susceptible of cultivation as any other virtues;

(2)that there is to be progress made from one virtue to another, seeking to reach the highest possible point in our religion; and,

(3)that there is to be an accumulation of virtues and graces - or we are not to be satisfied with one class, or with the attainments which we can make in one class.

We are to endeavor to add on one after another until we have become possessed of all. Faith, perhaps, is mentioned first, because that is the foundation of all Christian virtues; and the other virtues are required to be added to that, because, from the place which faith occupies in the plan of justification, many might be in danger of supposing that if they had that they had all that was necessary. Compare James 2:14, following In the Greek word rendered “add,” ἐπιχορηγήσατε epichorēgēsatethere is an allusion to a “chorus-leader” among the Greeks, and the sense is well expressed by Doddridge: “Be careful to accompany that belief with all the lovely train of attendant graces.” Or, in other words, “let faith lead on as at the head of the choir or the graces, and let all the others follow in their order.” The word here rendered “virtue” is the same which is used in 2 Peter 1:3; and there ks included in it, probably, the same general idea which was noticed there. All the things which the apostle specifies, unless “knowledge” be an exception, are “virtues” in the sense in which that word is commonly used; and it can hardly be supposed that the apostle here meant to use a general term which would include all of the others. The probability is, therefore, that by the word here he has reference to the common meaning of the Greek word, as referring to manliness, courage, vigor, energy; and the sense is, that he wished them to evince whatever firmness or courage might be necessary in maintaining the principles of their religion, and in enduring the trials to which their faith might be subjected. True “virtue” is not a tame and passive thing. It requires great energy and boldness, for its very essence is firmness, manliness, and independence.

And to virtue knowledge - The knowledge of God and of the way of salvation through the Redeemer, 2 Peter 1:3. Compare 2 Peter 3:8. It is the duty of every Christian to make the highest possible attainments in “knowledge.”

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.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And beside this - Notwithstanding what God hath done for you, in order that ye may not receive the grace of God in vain;

Giving all diligence - Furnishing all earnestness and activity: the original is very emphatic.

Add to your faith - Επιχορηγησατε· Lead up hand in hand; alluding, as most think, to the chorus in the Grecian dance, who danced with joined hands. See the note on this word, 2 Corinthians 9:10; (note).

Your faith - That faith in Jesus by which ye have been led to embrace the whole Gospel, and by which ye have the evidence of things unseen.

Virtue - Αρετην· Courage or fortitude, to enable you to profess the faith before men, in these times of persecution.

Knowledge - True wisdom, by which your faith will be increased, and your courage directed, and preserved from degenerating into rashness.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 554

Years ago I saw that our people were far behind in obtaining that knowledge which would qualify them for positions of trust in the cause. Every member of the church should put forth efforts to qualify himself to do work for the Master. To each has been appointed a work, according to his ability. Even now, at the eleventh hour, we should arouse to educate men of ability for the work, that they may, while occupying positions of trust themselves, be educating by precept and example all who are associated with them. 5T 554.1

Through a selfish ambition some have kept from others the knowledge they could have imparted. Others have not cared to tax themselves by educating anyone else. Yet this would have been the very best kind of work they could have done for Jesus. Says Christ: “Ye are the light of the world,” and for this reason we are to let our light shine before men. 5T 554.2

If all that the Lord has spoken in reference to these things had been heeded, our institutions would today occupy a higher and holier place than they do. But men have been satisfied with small attainments. They have not sought with all their might to rise in mental, moral, and physical capabilities. They have not felt that God required this of them; they have not realized that Christ died that they might do this very work. As the result they are far behind what they might be in intelligence and in the ability to think and plan. They could have added virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge, and thus have become strong in the Lord. But this they have failed to do. Let each go to work now with a firm determination to rise. The present need of the cause is not so much for more men as for greater skill and consecration in the laborers. 5T 554.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 94

Your children have come up, instead of being brought up and educated to the end that they might become Christians. In many respects your cattle have received better treatment than your children. You have not done your duty to your children, but have left them to grow up in ignorance. You have not realized the responsibility you took upon yourself in bringing into the world so numerous a flock, that you were in a great measure accountable for their salvation. You cannot throw off this responsibility. You have robbed your children of their rights by not interesting yourself in their education and instructing them patiently and faithfully in regard to forming characters for heaven. Your course has done much to destroy their confidence in you. You are exacting, overbearing, tyrannical; you fret, and scold, and censure, and by so doing wean their affections from you. You treat them as though they had no just rights, as though they were machines to turn in your hands according to your pleasure. You provoke them to wrath, and often discourage them. You do not give them love and affection. Love begets love, affection begets affection. The spirit which you manifest toward your children will be reflected upon you. 2T 94.1

You are in a critical condition, and have no true sense of it. It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a patient man. First temperance, then patience. You have so long lived for self, and followed the imagination of your own heart, that you cannot discern sacred things. Your lustful appetite and passions have controlled you. The higher order of mental organs has been weakened and controlled by the lower, baser organs. The animal propensities have been gaining strength. When reason is left to be controlled by appetite, the high sense of sacred things is impaired. The mind is debased, the affections are unsanctified, and the words and acts testify what is in the heart. God has been displeased and dishonored by your conversation and your deportment. Your words have not been select and well chosen; low, vulgar conversation comes naturally to your lips, even in the presence of children and youth. Your influence in this respect has been bad. 2T 95.1

Your example has not been right, and you have stood directly in the way of your own children, and the children of Sabbathkeepers, seeking the Lord. Your course, in this respect, cannot be too severely censured. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Your heart needs to be purified, cleansed, sanctified, through obedience to the truth. Nothing can save you but a thorough conversion—a true sense of your sinful ways and a thorough transformation by the renewing of your mind. 2T 95.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 552

These small tracts of four, eight, or sixteen pages can be furnished for a trifle from a fund raised by the donations of those who have the cause at heart. When you write to a friend you can enclose one or more without increasing postage. When you meet persons in the cars, on the boat, or in the stage who seem to have an ear to hear, you can hand them a tract. These tracts should not at present be scattered promiscuously like the autumn leaves, but should be judiciously and freely handed to those who would be likely to prize them. Thus our publications and the Publishing Association will be advertised in a manner that will result in much good. 1T 552.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 147

Many teachers permit their minds to take too narrow and low a range. They do not keep the divine plan ever in view, but are fixing their eyes upon worldly models. Look up, “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” and then labor that your pupils may be conformed to His perfect character. Point the youth to Peter's ladder of eight rounds, and place their feet, not on the highest round, but on the lowest, and with earnest solicitation urge them to climb to the very top. 6T 147.1

Christ, who connects earth with heaven, is the ladder. The base is planted firmly on the earth in His humanity; the topmost round reaches to the throne of God in His divinity. The humanity of Christ embraces fallen humanity, while His divinity lays hold upon the throne of God. We are saved by climbing round after round of the ladder, looking to Christ, clinging to Christ, mounting step by step to the height of Christ, so that He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the rounds of this ladder. All these graces are to be manifested in the Christian character; and “if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10, 11. 6T 147.2

It is no easy matter to gain the priceless treasure of eternal life. No one can do this and drift with the current of the world. He must come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean. No one can act like a worldling without being carried down by the current of the world. No one will make any upward progress without persevering effort. He who would overcome must hold fast to Christ. He must not look back, but keep the eye ever upward, gaining one grace after another. Individual vigilance is the price of safety. Satan is playing the game of life for your soul. Swerve not to his side a single inch, lest he gain advantage over you. 6T 147.3

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