The key word in II Peter is “knowledge.” II
Peter 1:2 says grace and peace are multiplied through
3 says knowledge gives us everything pertaining to life
and godliness. Vss.
5-6 says we must add and increase knowledge. II
Peter 1:8 says we are to be fruitful in knowledge. Twice,
Peter gives instruction saying, “Know this first of all” (II
Peter 1:20; 3:3). Finally, Peter concludes the letter by
encouraging the brethren to “grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter’s emphasis on
knowledge is well-founded. Isaiah
5:13 says, “My people go into exile for their lack of
4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of
knowledge.” According to Peter if we get this right we will have
grace and peace (1:2),
we will be fruitful and useful (1:8)
and we will not stumble but gain a sure entrance into the eternal
kingdom of God (1:10-11).
Therefore, we need to pay attention to what Peter says about where
and how to get knowledge.
Where do we gain knowledge?
Twice Peter explains how we can gain the knowledge that
multiplies grace and peace.
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which
you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts”
“You should remember the words spoken beforehand by the
holy prophets and the commandment of Lord and Savior spoken by
your apostles” (II
To Peter, the long and short of gaining knowledge that
leads to salvation is get into the word, pay attention to it and
be constantly reminded of it. Jesus rebuked the Sadducees in Matthew
22:29, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor
the power of God.” They did not know God because they did not
know God’s word. Consider John
20:30-31. John said he wrote the story of Jesus so we
might believe in Him. One of the main purposes of scripture is to
introduce us to Jesus, to the Father and to the Holy Spirit.
We may get a great deal of good from our personal thoughts.
Self-help books abound and I am a foremost fan of them. Modern
philosophers may abound with great discussion. Theologians and
religious leaders may say great things. Preachers and teachers may
be eloquent and teach us a great deal. However, if we want
everything pertaining to life and godliness, we must always get
back to the Bible as our basis (II
Why go to the Bible?
It is from the Spirit, not man (II
Modernist “Christians” claim the Bible is nothing more
than the spiritual literature of various Jewish and Christian
cultures, giving us a window into what those cultures thought
about God and His world. Peter, however, says very clearly—the
scriptures are not a matter of man’s interpretation. When we
open our Bibles we are not reading just what men thought about God
based on their experiences. That is a good thing considering Proverbs
14:12—“There is a way which seems right to a man, but
its end is the way of death.” Also Jeremiah
10:23—“Nor is it in man who walks to direct his
The prophetic word is from the Holy Spirit. Paul said only
the Spirit knows the mind of God and we have received the
Spirit’s word (I
Corinthians 2:10-13). From the word of the Spirit we can
learn what God has freely given to us. We should turn to scripture
to know Jesus, to know God, to know the Spirit because this is
God’s word about Himself.
Made more sure by eyewitness testimony (II
Peter 1:19, it appears that Peter is specifically
referring to the Old Testament writings which foretold the coming
of Christ (I
Peter 1:10-12). He explains that we ought to pay heed to
the prophetic word because we have eyewitness testimony that what
was foretold took place exactly as was prophesied.
Peter says that the reports of the coming of the Christ
according to prophecy were not cunningly devised fables. He was an
eyewitness, as were others. John made the same point in I
John 1:1-4. He also highlighted his eyewitness perspective
21:24. The main point to understand is since we have
eyewitness testimony that the promised coming of the Messiah as
sacrifice and savior occurred, then we can rest assured that the
scriptural promises of His return as judge will also occur. We
should turn to the scripture to know God, because the parts that
can be verified have been.
It is a light to guide us (II
Peter explains our need to get into the word by describing
it as a light in a dark place. We are surrounded by all kinds of
opinions and thoughts. As we said earlier, none of these can help,
they are all darkness. God’s word however is a light. Psalm
119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a
light to my path.”
Peter’s word picture describes us as on the path to
heaven. However, it is so dark we cannot make out the path. If we
step off the path or head down an incorrect fork in the road,
destruction awaits. How are we going to be able to see to follow
God’s narrow and strait way (Matthew
7:13-14)? God’s word is the light that shines before us,
directing us to heaven. We must look into the Bible, because it
alone is the light that displays the way we should go.
False teachers abound (II
Perhaps the most important reason for us to simply stick
with the Bible is that false teachers abound. According to II
Peter 2:18-19, they will speak arrogant words. They will
entice us with deceit. They will appeal to our natural desires.
They will promise freedom. But all they will deliver is corruption
Peter 2:20-22 explains if we allow ourselves to be enticed
back into the ways of the world by destructive teaching, our
latter state will be worse than if we had simply never know the
way of righteousness. He reemphasized the point in II
Peter 3:16. If we distort or twist the scriptures, we will
be destroyed. There is only one way to avoid the errors of false
teaching. Stick with the Bible. Stay in it and never deviate (II
How do we gain knowledge from the Bible?
There are no magic formulas for knowing God through His
scriptures. There are three principles we must follow.
studying until you get it.
Peter 1:19, Peter said we must pay attention to God’s
word until the light dawns in our heart. You may talk to others.
You may read commentaries. You may read other resources. You must
always get back to the scripture and study it until it sinks in.
This corresponds to Ephesians
1:18, in which Paul prayed that the eyes of our heart be
enlightened. This does not say pay attention until the Spirit
makes us understand, but that by careful, consistent attention to
God’s word, we will be enlightened.
studying to get more.
According to II
Peter 1:5, 8, knowledge must always be increasing. Never
believe you have learned enough. Read and reread and reread.
Study, study and study some more. Dig deeper and deeper into
God’s word, learning more and more, increasing in your
studying to remember what you already got.
Peter 1:12-15, Peter said he was going to do everything he
could to remind these brethren of all they had learned through
God’s prophetic word while he was a live and even after he was
dead. Then he reemphasized this need for constant reminder in II
Peter 3:1-2. Often times, the first step of falling away
is to believe we do not need certain teachings anymore because we
have already figured them out. Always remind yourself of the light
you have already discovered by continual study. The Hebrew writer
explains why this is so important in Hebrews
5:11-6:3. The Christians could not grow in knowledge
because they had forgotten the basics they had already learned.
As Peter concluded his letter, he summarized saying, “You
therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so
that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and
fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II
Peter 3:17-18). We must be on our guard against error. Our
only defense is knowledge. Our great source of knowledge is
Scripture. Let’s just stick with that, heeding it until it sinks
in and then constantly reminding ourselves what we have learned.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ