2 Peter 1:12-21 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does Peter inform the church he always stands ready to do (see verse 12 printed below?) To what is Peter referring? Note 2 Peter 1:5-7,10-11 (printed below)

Therefore I will always stand ready to remind you of these things, even though you know and are established in the truth that is present with you. (2 Peter 1:12)

Now, for this very reason, giving all your effort, add virtue to your faith, and add knowledge to virtue, (6) and add self-control to knowledge, and add perseverance to self-control, and add godliness to perseverance, (7) and add brotherly affection to godliness, and add love to brotherly affection… (10) Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to authenticate your calling and election; for by doing these things you will never be lost. (11) By following this course the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be made wide open for you. (2 Peter 1:5-7,10-11)

Peter informs the church of his intention to “always stand ready to remind you about these things.” Peter is referring to the things of which he wrote in the previous verses, namely, the need to diligently build a life of Christian virtue upon the foundation of our Christian faith (verses 5-7). Peter acknowledges the fact that these Christian people possessed the truth. Nevertheless, Peter states that it is his purpose to “remind the church of these things.” Far from apologizing for being repetitive or redundant, Peter views it as his duty to ever remind the church of the importance of leading a godly life.

2. What is Peter’s purpose in reminding the church of their need to develop their Christian life? See 2 Peter 1:13 (printed below)

However, I think that it is right for me, as long as I am still in this “tent” of my earthly body, to stir you up by reminding you of these things (2 Peter 1:13)

Peter reveals that his ultimate purpose is “to stir you up,” (to inspire the church’s zeal and devotion to Christ) and he intends to accomplish this by “reminding you of these things” (namely, our calling to develop and to lead a godly life). We need to consistently, even constantly, be aroused to our Christian duties and exhorted to keep our eyes upon Christ, because we encounter so many distractions.

3. Why does Peter feel a sense of urgency to carry out his ministry of exhorting the church to remain faithful to Christ and to cultivate their spiritual life? See 2 Peter 1:14-15 (printed below)

…knowing that the departure from my “tent” is soon to occur, just as our Lord Jesus Christ has informed me. (15) So then, I will make every effort to insure that after my departure, you may at all times remember these things. (2 Peter 1:14-15)

Peter was urgent to make every effort to stir up the Christian to love his Savior and live for Him, because Peter knew that the time of his departure out of this earthly life was drawing near. Spiritual fathers in the faith may here learn a lesson from Peter: use your remaining time to arouse the younger generation for Christ—by prayer, by example, by exhortation, by testimony that what truly matters is the spiritual life. Peter’s concern is that these Christian people be established in the faith and continue in the faith even after he has departed this life and entered into glory.

4. What assurance does Peter give the church in verses 16-18 (printed below?) To what event is Peter referring?

We were not following cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and glorious appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ; on the contrary, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) He received honor and glory from God the Father when such a word as this was spoken to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” (18) And we heard this word coming out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)

The apostle Peter assures us that he and the rest of the apostles were eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty. In contrast to the Greek and Roman religions, the apostles were not handing down fables and myths when they preached about the glory of Jesus. On the contrary, they personally witnessed His transfiguration and heard the voice of God when they were with Christ on the holy mountain (note Matthew 17:1-8). That historical event of Christ’s transfiguration, personally witnessed by the apostles Peter, James, and John, was a preview of Christ’s final coming in glory at the end of the age.

5. Besides the eyewitness testimony of the apostles concerning Christ’s deity and glory, what else does the church possess? See 2 Peter 1:19-21 (printed below)

Also, we have the absolutely reliable prophetic word. It is good for you to adhere to it as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star arises in your hearts. (20) Above all, be sure of this: No prophecy of Scripture is the prophet’s own interpretation of the divine will; (21) for no prophecy was ever produced by an act of the human will. On the contrary, men spoke from God as they were led by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Beside the eyewitness account of the transfiguration by the apostles, we also possess the prophetic word that is “absolutely reliable.” The “prophetic word” is a reference to the Scriptures, and we learn that they are absolutely reliable because they are given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—the Greek text literally states, “being carried by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.” Therefore, we are exhorted by Peter to pay close attention to the Scriptures and hold on to them; we are to hold on to the Scriptures as one holds onto a shining lamp in a dark place.