Setting

In view of the false doctrines that threaten the faith of the believers, Peter begins his epistle with an earnest call to grow in the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus. He reminds them of God’s abundant grace and urges the believers to respond to this grace with a diligent and active faith.

Key Verse

(1:10)

Did You Know...?

1. Brotherly kindness (philadelphia; 1:7) denotes warm affection for one another. The word often is used of the love of friends.
2. Love (agape; 1:7): “Such love entails the treatment of things with value or respect, and consequently, action which is done for the benefit of that object.” [ref]

Outline

  • Blessing of Knowing God
    (1:1-4)
  • Diligence in the Knowledge of Christ
    (1:5-11)
  • Careful Reminder
    (1:12-15)
  • Truthful Testimony
    (1:16-21)

Segment Analysis

  • 1:1-4

    1.

    What is the “righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2)? What does it have to do with our precious faith?

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    The righteousness of God refers to the divine nature of justice and mercy, which He demonstrated by imparting righteousness to (justifying) believers (Rom 3:21-22). Therefore, it is by the righteousness of God and Jesus Christ, not our goodness, that we have obtained our precious faith.

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  • 2.

    What does this paragraph teach about the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ?

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    God’s grace and peace, and all things that pertain to life and godliness, come to us through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ (2-3). Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we come to know God and receive His gift of eternal life.

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  • 3.

    What can we learn from verses 3 and 4 about the effect and goal of God’s salvation?

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    God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (3). This means that the purpose of salvation is to give us a new life that reflects God’s likeness. Verse 4 further elaborates that the effect of salvation is deliverance from the corruption of sinful desires, and the goal of salvation is that we may conform to God’s nature.

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  • 1:5-11

    4.

    Describe the two kinds of believers mentioned in this paragraph.

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    The first type of believer diligently seeks spiritual growth, leads an active godly life, and will enter God’s kingdom with abundance. The second type of believer is barren, unfruitful, shortsighted, has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins, and even stumbles.

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  • 5.

    What clues in this paragraph indicate that the growth of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ comes by experience?

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    To be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be active in our spiritual life. Verses 5 to 7 exhort us to be diligent in adding one spiritual quality after another. On the other hand, according to verse 9, those who are lacking in these qualities have forgotten that they ought to lead godly lives. Verse 10 once again urges us to be diligent in doing what is commanded earlier in 5-7. Thus, the way to build up our knowledge of the Lord is by practicing His word diligently and constantly aiming for a life of holiness. It is in doing that we appreciate and understand God’s divine nature as found in Jesus Christ.

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  • 6.

    Verse 8 teaches us that we should not only have the qualities listed in 5 to 7 but abound in them. For each of the qualities, think about how you can abound in it (cf. 8).

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  • 7a.

    What prevents us from stumbling in our faith (10)? Why?

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    If we diligently seek spiritual growth by abounding in spiritual qualities, we will never stumble. A Christian stumbles when he slumbers and gives the enemy a foothold. When we do not equip ourselves with the full armor of God and strengthen our relationship with the Lord, we are naturally vulnerable. Therefore, the best defense against the temptations of the evil one is to be active in doing God’s word.

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  • 7b.

    What does it mean to make our call and election sure?

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    This verse does not suggest that we can secure God’s call and election with good deeds, for God’s call and election do not depend on our efforts. Rather, it teaches us that our spiritual growth is an evidence of God’s calling, and our diligence in good works will be a testimony that God’s saving grace has indeed taken its effect in our lives (cf. Eph 2:10).

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  • 1:12-15

    8.

    What does Peter predict about himself?

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    He will shortly put off his tent. By this he refers to his departure from this world (cf. 2Cor 5:1-2).

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  • 9a.

    In this paragraph what does Peter say repeatedly that he will do?

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    He will continue to remind the believers what they already know.

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  • 9b.

    Why is this task so important?

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    The purpose of the reminder is to “stir up” the believers (13). Without constant reminders, it is easy to forget the necessity of spiritual growth, fall into slumber, and even stumble in the faith. Furthermore, the reminder is all the more necessary in light of the threat of false teachings that threatens to undermine the believers’ faith in the Lord.

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  • 1:16-21

    10a.

    What does Peter want to convince the believers about in this paragraph?

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    The power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (16), i.e. the Lord’s return.

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  • 10b.

    What two things does Peter use to confirm his message?

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    Testimony by eyewitnesses of the Lord’s majesty (16-18) and the prophecy of Scripture (19-21).

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  • 11a.

    Which event does Peter allude to regarding the majesty of the Lord Jesus?

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    The Transfiguration (cf. Mt 17:1-8; Mk 9:2-8; Lk 9:28-36).

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  • 11b.

    How does this event relate to the power and coming of the Lord Jesus?

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    On the mountain where Jesus transfigured, He displayed His glory and majesty, and God spoke about Him in a voice from heaven. The disciples witnessed the glorified Son of Man, who will come again to the world in like manner. Thus, Peter confirms the truthfulness of the Lord’s glorious coming with His personal testimony.

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  • 12a.

    How is the prophetic word like the light in darkness until the dawning of day and rising of the morning star?

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    God’s prophetic word gives us hope in despair and shows us the path of righteousness. It will guide us until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (the dawn and the rising of the morning star refer to Christ’s coming; cf. Rom 13:11-12; Rev 22:16).

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  • 12b.

    What reason does Peter give for the trustworthiness of prophecy?

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    Prophecy does not come by the will of man but by the movement of the Holy Spirit (20-21). The prophetic word is the very word of God, spoken through the prophets of God. Because prophecies are inspired by God, who is truthful and knows all things, we can safely trust their guidance.

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  • 12c.

    What should be our attitude towards the prophecies of Scripture?

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    We must heed them (19). This means paying close attention to them and obeying them carefully.

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  • Final Thoughts

    13.

    With Peter’s exhortations in mind, what measures do you need to take in order to strengthen your knowledge of the Lord Jesus?

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