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Bible Commentaries
2 Peter 1

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

2 Peter 1:1-2 . Simon Peter, the Greek is Symeon, as in two other places of the Greek text. To them that have obtained like precious faith, the christians of every name. Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Isaiah 45:8. Romans 3:20. Middleton, on the Greek article, says that this is spoken of one Person, the same as in Titus 2:13. The argument is fair, because God the Father is the fountain of deity. The like argument applies to verse the second. Grace and peace through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:3. Christ being called God our Saviour, he is to us what he was to Abraham. Genesis 17:7.

2 Peter 1:3 . According to his divine power; for we are blessed in Christ according to the fulness of the promises, and according to his abundant mercy. The inestimable love of God is the source whence all our comforts flow. The two words, δοξα and αρετη , glory and virtue, are used here emphatically to denote the glory to which we are called, as in Romans 8:21; or the courage and constancy with which we should confess the truth.

2 Peter 1:4 . Whereby, δῖ ων ; the antecedent is, God our Saviour, the ever- living and self-existent God, as appears from Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17. He ever lives to perform to posterity what he promised to the fathers in past ages. He has given us in the grand chain of our calling, exceeding great and precious promises in the new covenant, to allure us from corruption, and to make us partakers of the divine nature; or to give us a new heart, and a right spirit, that this new nature may be in us what concupiscence is in the world.

The manner in which the promises have been given is particularly worthy of remark. When Abraham was afraid of the cruel kings of Canaan, God said, “Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield and exceeding great reward.” Such also were the seasonable promises which he gave to Paul, in Corinth, in prison, and when at sea. As the clouds rise out of the ocean, and water all the plains in their course, and descend on the droughty mountains, so the precious promises, after watering all ages of the church, descend on the hill of Zion with the rich treasures of grace reserved for the latter day. Our weak faith underrates the inestimable value of the promises, which contain all the treasures of grace and glory.

2 Peter 1:5-7 . Add to your faith virtue. Faith, embracing the promises, must be vigorous, must display its energies from the interior life which the promises communicate, by boldly confessing the truth. This faith, which renews the heart, must be associated with the knowledge of Christ, the grace, which according to Paul, gave him confidence concerning the stability of the churches. Temperance, the grace which commands the passions, regulates the affections, and the appetite, in diet, in dress and behaviour, and patience in bearing afflictions. Godliness, which by conversing with heaven, sheds a glory on all our walk and outward conduct. And particularly so in brotherly kindness, regarding the brethren with affection and goodwill. If we love God for himself, we shall love the brethren as his children.

2 Peter 1:8-9 . If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The true way to attain the knowledge of the Lord is to do his will: he is blind that seeks it in any other way. The fathers in Christ have known him that is from the beginning.

2 Peter 1:10 . Give diligence to make your calling and election sure, as the husbandman is indefatigable in all the labours of agriculture to ensure, with the blessing of heaven, a joyful harvest. This exhortation associates with all others of a like nature. Give diligence that ye may be found of him in peace so run that ye may obtain let no man take thy crown. A world of snares and dangers require cautions.

2 Peter 1:12-15 . I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things. St. Peter had the crown of martyrdom before him, as the Lord had showed him, and remarkably so. John 21:18. Thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, to be nailed to the cross, as Origen testifies in Eusebius.

2 Peter 1:16-18 . We have not followed cunningly devised fables, ingeniously composed with intent to deceive, which Erasmus opposes to the rustic simplicity of truth. We were eye-witnesses of his majesty, of the honour and glory he received on the mount, when a voice proceeding from the excellent glory said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Yes, we testify this in life, and under the aspects of death, that we saw this glory and heard this voice. We know therefore on whom we have believed, and are sure that this Saviour is the Son of God.

2 Peter 1:19 . We have also a more sure word of prophecy. So John Calvin reads, and our version, made in Swisserland, has copied the difficulty. The adverb also disturbs the sense. The Mons version is worse. Mais nous avons les oracles des prophetes, dont la certitude est plus affermie. Certainly St. Peter did not meant to say, that any oracle of the prophets was more sure than the testimony of the three disciples, who saw the glory, and heard the voice upon the mount. Erasmus relieves us here: he refers the word of prophecy to the voce Patris, the voice of the Father. This is equivalent to, And therefore we have a more sure word of prophecy, surpassing any thing that the seers ever witnessed; to which ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. The critics are not agreed here. Some say that the jews, not yet enlightened by the gospel, would do well to attend to the prophets, as to the light of the stars till Christ, the sun of righteousness, should arise and shine into their hearts. Others think, and with fairer ground, that the present state of our christian knowledge is but in its infancy, and must be so till the light himself shall be revealed from heaven. Now we know in part, till that which is perfect shall come.

2 Peter 1:21 . Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man. The version is uncouth. The reading of the Vulgate is preferable: “prophecy never came by the will of man.” All is glory in the characters of revelation. The truths of God must not be confounded with the reasonings of men.


This blessed apostle, now about to receive the martyrs’ crown, lived in the centre of a divine lustre. His heart overflowed with heaven, and all good wishes to the churches. Faith and righteousness, grace and peace, he multiplies in benedictions on the church, through the knowledge of God, which exalted the christians so much above the heathen; and the knowledge of Christ, which placed them so far above the jews. Did we but know the treasures of the gospel, and the hope which is laid up for us in heaven, we should not be so indifferent about our high calling.

This grace, and all these privileges, are consonant to the great and precious promises anciently given us in the Messiah. These promises we may compare to the tree of life. I will be thy God. This is the trunk of the tree: pardon, adoption, the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, and deliverance in all trials by the promised presence of God to the end, are the great branches of the tree, extending to every case, and every possible want of the church. How great and precious are they in their nature, how balmy and seasonable in their application in the ministry, and when whispered to the heart by the Holy Spirit. They lie scattered in the scriptures as the flowers which be-spangle the meadows, encouraging and inviting timid man to escape corruption, and return to God.

After we have so escaped, or come out from among the wicked, we must diligently grow in grace by the aid of the promises. To faith, virtue must he added, having courage to confess the truth in defiance of the world. To knowledge of the truth, and of morality, must also be added, a deeper acquaintance with God in his works and ways. Temperance, or rather abstinence, the due care of the body, to prove that grace reigns within. Patience in tribulation, deeper piety, and a martyr’s love to the brethren in Christ, will complete a constellation of virtues in the christian, and make him shine as the firmament.

A good man’s lustre in heaven shall infinitely surpass his appearance on earth. Here he is often called hypocrite and deceiver, and his infirmities are construed into lies and crimes; but in heaven an abundant entrance shall be administered to his soul. Nothing is so elevating as the idea of Christ presenting a glorified spirit faultless to the Father with exceeding joy. All his sins forgiven and buried in oblivion; all his conflicts, his victories, his virtues recounted with the adorning lustre of the Saviour’s merit. Melt, oh my soul, at the idea, and caution thyself anew against relapsing into any sin, or the slightest aberration from this most holy faith. Yea, give all diligence to win the prize, and make thy calling and election sure.

The reality, the proof and assurance of this hope, that is in us, crowns the whole. The apostles have not followed a cunningly devised fable in preaching this gospel to the world. They were eye-witnesses of the Lord’s honour and glory when he was transfigured on the mount. David, personating the Father, had often called him Son; but the apostle had a more sure and firm word of prophecy. They heard the Father’s voice pronounce the title of his beloved Son, who was of ineffable generation, and who is the image of his eternal glory. The evidence is beyond dispute, and the christian’s ear on this head can bear no dispute. To this word of prophecy we must take heed till the day-star, the Lord himself, arise in our hearts. While the two disciples were going to Emmaus, and heard these prophecies expounded, their hearts burned within them; and the noble eunuch also hearing Philip expound Isaiah 53:0. was converted to God, and went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:0. Let believers also keep the promises before them till the Light himself shall come from heaven, and shed eternal day upon his church. Then shall darkness and death be for ever done away.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Peter 1". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-peter-1.html. 1835.
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