The apostle Peter declared, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (II Pet. 1:16). Before we dive very deep into the verse, notice that Peter changed from saying “I” (v. 12-15) to “we” (v. 16-19). Peter includes other apostles in this section. The reason why is made apparent from verse 16.
Peter assures those reading that “we” (apostles) have not followed cunningly devised fables when “we” made known to “you” (Christians) the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He insists as well, that they were “eyewitnesses of His majesty.” What are “cunningly devised fables”? This phrase means, “to continue in plausible error” (Strong’s). The word “fables” means what you think it means, “fiction, tale, myth” (Strong’s). Peter states in no uncertain terms that what he (and the other apostles) was writing and preaching is not a myth, is not in error, nor merely some tale being told about a non-existent person. Peter and the apostles did not spend time in jail (Acts 4-5, 12, 16:25-34), suffer ridicule (Acts 2:13, 17:32), and risk their very lives (Acts 12:3-4, 14:19; Jn. 21:18-19; II Pet. 1:14) for a myth!
Based on his promise of reminding the brethren of the things they had already been taught, verse 16 encourages brethren that they have not been taught a myth or some error. They were told the truth by those who have risked their lives for its preservation!
So it is today. By God’s providence, the Bible is in our hands. It tells us the truth (Jn. 17:17). It speaks of our salvation (Rom. 5:8; Mk 16:16), how to stay saved (I Cor. 15:58), and of our Advocate when we sin (I Jn. 2:1). “Cunningly devised fables” didn’t endure 2000 years of time, ridicule, criticism, oppression, tyrants, love, worldliness, faith, and obedience! Only God’s inspired word could last to this present day - and it HAS! Let us be thankful for what we have in our possession and marvel that these are not fables, but the truth! These are not writings of mere men, but the writings inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20-21; I Cor. 2:12-13). Let us then believe these words, obey them, and teach them to a new generation who can also marvel at the providence of Almighty God!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
I imagine II Peter 1:5-8 is one of the more well-known passages in II Peter. I can remember as a child being instructed to memorize the list of things to add to your faith by my Bible class teacher, Mrs. Opal Mullis. I am glad I learned this passage. Memorizing this passage allows me to take a moment and reflect on how much or how little I have grown in those areas (II Cor. 13:5).
For those who have, or would want to memorize this list, don’t forget the very beginning statement where Peter says, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith …” (II Pet. 1:5). The NET says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith ….” The NAS says, “applying all diligence, in your faith supply ....” Perhaps we have thought of our faith as a static thing, a binary thing. You either have it, or you don’t. God says that we can add to our faith. By implication, we must also understand that if we can add to our faith, we can also diminish it.
Notice also that adding to our faith is not an involuntary action in this passage. It is not like a teenager’s “growth spurt”! Adding requires diligence (eagerness, earnestness, care, Strong’s), or as the NET says, “Make every effort.” Being a Christian is not for the faint-hearted, and it is not for the lazy (II Tim. 2:15)! Peter declares this when he reminds Christians the world-over to be diligent to grow! I find it interesting that this book begins and ends with the admonishment to grow (II Pet. 1:5, 3:18).
Dear Christian, are you growing in your faith? Are you making the earnest effort to increase and add those character traits to your faith that will result in being fruitful and will prevent a spiritual fall (II Pet. 1:8, 10)? If not, why not? Adding to your faith is a daily work. It cannot be ignored without suffering harmful spiritual consequences (II Pet. 1:9).
Make the diligent, determined effort to add to your faith today and every day that you live!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
II Peter 1:4 completes the thought from verse 3. Since God has “given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” Christians are also recipients of God’s precious promises and made “partakers of the divine nature” since we have escaped the corruption of the world. What does this mean to Christians? While it is a “mouthful” to read, the truth behind it is simple.
Peter is merely reminding Christians that we are the recipients of God’s “exceeding great and precious promises.” This is an overwhelming thought when we think of all of the promises God has made to His children. The beautiful thing is that God has not forgotten us, and we have access to His many promises as a result of being in Christ.
“By these” promises, we are also made “partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). What does this phrase mean? A way that helped me understand was to think about other times when the word “partaker” is used in Scripture. Often, the Bible speaks about a man “partaking” in sin with someone else (I Cor. 10:20-21; Eph. 5:6-7, 11; II Jn. 11). In other words, the Bible is saying do not have fellowship with those in sin. In II Peter, though, we find just the opposite. Since this is God’s blessings, and bestowed promises under consideration, this text encourages us to be a partaker, share, or have fellowship with God!
Just think -- that which was lost at Eden has been restored in Christ! Though our sins are many, they can be forgiven (Acts 2:38)! Though we have been separated from God because of sin (Isa. 59:1-2), we have the opportunity to enjoy fellowship (be partakers) with God once more in Christ! Since we have escaped “the corruption that is in the world through lust,” we have access to blessings we might not have considered before. We have these because we “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” delivered through the apostles, and now are “made free from sin” (Rom. 6:17-18). Now is the time to enjoy the fellowship we have with God!
If you read this and realize that you are not a Christian, then why not become one today? Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24; Heb. 11:6), repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3; Acts 17:30), confess your faith in Christ (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10) and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16). When you do this, you can have access to God’s blessings, His promises, and be in fellowship or a partaker of the divine nature. What’s stopping you from doing what the Lord says? Obey today (II Cor. 6:2; Heb. 5:9)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
II Peter 1:3 tells us that God has “given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” What does this mean? What can I learn from such a statement? I know I usually write these short articles, but I am making an exception today. Brother R.L. Whiteside wrote on this subject years ago, and I think he explains this verse better than I could. Please read his writing and benefit from his wisdom on II Peter 1:3.
“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” (II Pet. 1:3). We are in the habit of saying that God has given us in the gospel, everything that is essential to life and godliness, but Peter goes a little farther than that and affirms that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. There is a difference. To illustrate: There are certain things that are essential to an automobile, and there are other things that pertain to an automobile but are not essential to it. When you have all things that are essential to an automobile, you can go to a supply house and purchase a lot of extras that pertain to an automobile. But suppose you have all the essentials of an automobile, and then you add all the things that pertain to an automobile, nothing else could be added that would make it any more complete. God has not only given us all things that are essential to life and godliness, but He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
But do religious people believe it? If so, why all these flummeries that God has said nothing about? If you will read the verse again, you will notice that He has given us all these things through the knowledge of Christ. The knowledge of Christ means the knowledge that has been revealed about Him -- the gospel of Christ. Hence, through the gospel God has not only given us all things that are essential to life and godliness, but all things that pertain to life and godliness. If there is, therefore, anything in your religion that did not come to you through the gospel, it does not so much as pertain to life and godliness. Is it not time to check up on our religion and see if we have anything that we cannot find in the New Testament? Any person of intelligence can do that for himself.
(Whiteside, R.L., The Kingdom Of Promise And Prophecy, p. 42)
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (II Pet. 1:2). Read this verse again carefully because I don’t know of any two things more sought-after in this world right now than grace and peace. Grace (put simply, unmerited favor) and peace (lack of hostile feelings toward another or toward you) are things that soothe the soul of man. We clamor for this in a world where many are hostile and uncaring. Look around, and in the US, rioting seems to occur daily right now. Police departments are threatened with being “unfunded” (This has already happened in some cities. Think about the consequences of no police protection in an area.) and many atrocities are committed by people claiming to be “oppressed.” Our social media is often filled with those who seem more ready to “bite and devour” (Gal. 5:15) than to love and understand. Yes, there are those still willing to talk and work out differences, but this rarely happens in a “tweet” or a Facebook message. This is something that happens one-on-one when we can face one another and talk and understand our differences.
Why the lack of grace and peace? I thought we were “enlightened” and above petty differences! Have we not grown beyond the petty bickering and the turmoil of the past? Without God, the answer is no (Jer. 10:23). Man continues to sin (Rom. 3:23), and he remains in his downward spiral so long as he refuses to acknowledge God and His truth (Jn. 17:17).
In contrast, grace and peace are “multiplied” (not merely “added”) “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (II Pet. 1:2). What a concept! When we strive to know God and strive to learn what Christ taught us while on this earth, this is when grace and peace are multiplied to us! How much time are YOU spending in God’s word? Availing yourself of the knowledge found in Scriptures will multiply grace and peace for you. Rejecting it will not bring grace and peace of any kind.
Haven’t we spent enough years NOT reading God’s word? Why not take some time (30 days perhaps?) and read God’s word daily. Then be amazed at how you are benefited by the knowledge of God and Jesus when you apply it to your life.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs