A Dispensational Approach

II Peter

   I. Introduction   1:1

A. The Author

1. A Servant

2. An Apostle

B. The Addressees

  II. INVOCATION   1:2-3

A. The Petition

B. The Power

C. The Provision

D. The Promises


“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Pet. 1:5-7)

The first key word we find in this passage is add. It comes from an interesting Greek word that has a very picturesque background. In its noun form, it was used of one who paid for a chorus to perform. The ancient Greeks, especially the Athenians, produced lavish plays. Each play required a very large, very expensive chorus. The wealthy men who paid for these performances were entitled the choregos, which is the noun form of the word translated add. It came to mean “to furnish lavishly.” So the Holy Spirit, through the pen of the Apostle Peter, is telling his readers to equip themselves lavishly with the virtues in the passage.

The starting point is faith. We are saved by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. To faith, we are to add (equip ourselves lavishly with) virtue. This word means purity or moral excellence. It should be the identifying mark of a Christian. We rejoice in salvation by grace through faith and are thrilled to proclaim the grace message, and we should never adulterate this message. But we should also remember that this “salvation by grace through faith” is unto, or for the purpose of, good works.

Next in the sequence comes knowledge. This is gnosis, the ordinary word for knowledge, especially the practical knowledge of what pleases God and what we should avoid in our Christian walk.

The next virtue is one that is missing in our 21st century culture. It is temperance, or self-control. It was used primarily of controlling our passions. It is that virtue that controls its desires until they are sanctified in holy marriage. It is that which makes possible faithful commitment of one man to one woman “till death do us part.” Our culture today, controlled largely by Hollywood and the media, is based on instant gratification. We are reaping the harvest of STD’s and illegitimate babies, one parent homes and conditions that breed crime. Unfortunately, these evils have crept gradually into Christian communities as well as the world. Not since the Roman Empire have we seen society so given over to selfish gratification of the lusts of the flesh. But this self-control is also needed in child rearing. Our children must be taught respect for authority and respect for age. When I began teaching in the public schools more than 50 years ago, practically all the parents were very cooperative with the teacher. Our “discipline problems” were the children talking to each other, chewing gum, or running in the hall. Not once did it occur to us that a child might bring liquor, drugs or a gun to school. Now most city schools have one or more policemen on duty, and guns and bombs are becoming commonplace. The child who does not recognize parental and school authority is very likely to grow up resisting the authority of the laws of the land.

(To Be Continued)