Lesson 1
II Peter 1:1-9

E-Mail - Henry Mahan

(Vs. 1) This epistle was written by Simon Peter in his old age, shortly before he was to be martyred· As he put it in Verse 14, "shortly I must put off this tabernacle." First he calls himself a bond-servant of Christ and second, an apostle· He was sent by Christ, had his commission and doctrine directly from the Lord Jesus, and had a power to work miracles (Heb. 2:3-4).

The epistle is addressed to believers in Christ who have, by the grace of God, obtained LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH.

(Vs. 2) Peter prays for them a multiplication of GRACE and PEACE. The grace of God toward us is infinite in Christ, our Lord; and we have PERFECT PEACE toward God in Christ. The grace and peace of God know no degrees in themselves, yet the manifestations of grace and peace TO us and IN us are capable of being increased. Throughout the Word of God (as I grow in the knowledge of Christ), there will be new discoveries of the love and favor of God to my soul; there will be a growth in the internal graces of love, joy, humility, and faith; there will be an increase in spiritual peace in believing and a fulness of peace in trials and afflictions (I Peter 2:1-2).

(Vs. 3) By His Divine purpose and power, God has given to us ALL THINGS that are necessary, needful, and suited to spiritual life (I Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:10; Col. 1:12). Through a knowledge of Christ, Who has called us by and to His own glory and excellence, we have all things that PERTAIN to eternal life, all things that give a RIGHT to it, and all things that EQUIP us for it.

(Vs. 4) By His glory, power, and righteousness Christ has given to us exceeding great and precious promises. The promises of the new and everlasting covenant are forgiveness, sanctification, union with Christ, and eternal life. By these promises we are made partakers of a new nature, a new man, and a new life (which is Christ formed in us--Gal. 2:20; Gal. 4:19). By the presence and ruling power of this new nature, we escape, not the corruption and depravity of human nature (which is present as long as we are in the world), but the corrupt manners, vices, conduct, and principles of this world. Our new nature makes us inwardly seek holiness and outwardly avoid the prevailing corruption of the times.

(Vs. 5-7) "Beside this," or from the consideration of the free grace of God toward us and the precious promises of His gospel, we should seek to grow in the exercise of grace and good works.

"Add to your faith VIRTUE." Faith is the foundation and basis of all good works; however, faith does not and cannot stand alone (James 2:17-20). Virtue here is not just morality but CHRISTIAN VIRTUE, which is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

"And to virtue KNOWLEDGE," knowledge of the will of God that we may perform it, knowledge of the Scriptures that we may walk therein, wisdom and intelligence in regard to our conduct and conversation that we might be good witnesses for Christ.

"And to knowledge TEMPERANCE," avoiding excess in eating and drinking, socializing, materialism, entertainment, and anything that engaged in to excess would hinder spiritual growth and fellowship (Rom. 14:14-15; I Tim. 4:3-5).

"And to temperance PATIENCE." Patience is necessary to a Christian walk; for we are faced with reproach from men, trial from God, and difficulties from within ourselves. A man may be overcome by anger, pride, jealousy, envy, and self-pity, as well as by strong drink.

"And to patience GODLINESS," or "the fear of the Lord." This includes both inward and outward worship of the Lord–an attitude of thanksgiving, submission, praise, active prayer, and hearing of the Word.

"And to godliness BROTHERLY KINDNESS," without which godliness or external worship and religious profession would be a vain show. Love and brotherly kindness are evidences of regeneration (John 13:35; Eph. 4:32).

"And to brotherly kindness CHARITY" to all people, even our enemies. Charity is more extensive in its objects and acts than brotherly kindness.

(Vs. 8-9) As these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep you from being empty and unfruitful in your spiritual life. He that is without these graces and growth is shortsighted, seeing only what is near him and what concerns him and ignoring what God has done for him (or what he professes that God has done).

Henry Mahan is pastor of
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.