A word study in 2 Peter 1:5-11
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,” (2 Peter 1:5).
“Knowledge” means “primarily a seeking to know, an enquiry, (an) investigation,…
especially of spiritual truth.”
The definition is not limited to the attaining of information; rather it means gathering information and translating it into action in a Christian’s life. It means the learner will be able to discern what is good and what is evil and be better able to please God.
Contextually, we learn that knowledge is necessary for us to receive grace and peace (verse 2) and to partake of the divine nature (verse 4). We can never be what God wants us to be until we delve into God’s word, learn the principles there, and put those principles into action in our lives.
“…and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10).
In describing the one who has committed himself to God, Paul has just mentioned several fleshly activities and emotions that one must eliminate from his life. In this verse, he describes the other side of the coin—that is, the person who has “put on the new man” in Christ.
As years come and go, we change in behavior and actions because we gain more knowledge and because we learn from our experiences. As a result, we renew ourselves so that we can be better.
There is no better time for Christians to facilitate this renewal than at the beginning of a new year. We look inwardly so that we can determine how serious we really are about our Christianity. And if we are serious about this introspection, we will make decisions, based upon God’s word, that will change our lives and attitudes.
Once we make those decisions, it remains for us to be sure we carry through with them—only then can we realize the real benefits that will move us along in our quest for Christian growth.
Second in a series of studies in Psalm 1
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:2-3).
Continuing his description of the man who wants to be blessed (verse 1), the psalmist moves from his description of what this person is not to a description of what he is. Key words here are “delight” and “meditates.”
Delighting in something means we take extreme pleasure in it. So, delighting in the law of the lord means it is the center of our lives—and, actually, we know it is God’s law that keeps us out of the way of the wicked and fortifies us against their temptations.
Meditating is giving deep thought to something. Not only do we delight in God’s law but we give serious consideration to what it teaches.
The person who has this kind of attitude and behavior is “like” a tree. A tree that is planted in the appropriate place has plenty of water and nutrients to cause it to be covered with leaves and to produce fruit as it is supposed to. The person living in the way described here will be successful in his quest to find God.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
Having just completed a discussion of the public worship of the church, the Apostle Paul broadens his scope in giving this instruction: he says not only in worship but in all aspects of living the Christian life, the Colossians should be mindful of the name or the authority of Jesus.
It is because of His power and His authority that spiritual activities here have any meaning to the Father in heaven—that is, it is because of Jesus that our adherence to God’s word counts toward our eternal inheritance. And we should be filled with thankfulness for this wonderful spiritual benefit.
Paul was leading the Colossians against false teachers who wanted to equate other beings with Jesus. Even though we may not be in the same position as the Colossians in this regard, we benefit greatly from this admonition. Every word and every deed should be guided by the authority of Jesus.
“But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).
When this simple but meaningful statement was made in the first century, the apostles and some other helpers were beginning to spread the gospel and establish the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
These early Christians were quite successful in their efforts, even though they faced adversities—and these adversities included that they were spreading a new religion, they faced opposition from both Jews and Gentiles as well as the Romans, and severe persecutions loomed on the horizon.
Here’s where the “Yes, But…” label comes in. In spite of these circumstances, the borders of the kingdom were spread quickly, sending us a powerful message that we should never allow challenges, no matter how severe, to deter us from fulfilling our role as an active soldier of Christ.
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).
In attempting to convince the Corinthians that his teaching does not come from other men, the Apostle Paul assures them that his message comes from God through God’s own Spirit.
And in this verse, Paul is specific in that he narrows the point down to the very words he is using, thus confirming verbal inspiration. Inspiration means “God-breathed”—that is, God breathed His message into the messenger and had him communicate His message with total accuracy.
The message for us is that we are to accept the scriptures with full assurance that they come from God and that we are to put them into practice in our lives in humble and confident submission.
“So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:20).
The Apostle Paul was in Ephesus when the incidents in this chapter took place. To confirm that he was endowed with special miraculous gifts, he had performed unusual miracles in this city and among the brethren there.
Such power as he displayed indeed impressed the Ephesians because of their fascination with magicians and exorcists. His powers were so unusual that they knew his miracles were different from those with which they were acquainted.
Because of his influence, the people gave up their former mysterious arts and were converted to the true way. As a result, the church continued to prosper “mightily.”
Even though we don’t have miraculous powers as they did, we do have the ability to do many things that will have a positive impact on the church today. Scriptures are emphatic that each of us is to use the talents with which we have been blessed so we can be an instrument in the growth of the Lord’s church.
“They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Boer, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet” (2 Peter 2:15-16).
One of the most fascinating stories in the Old Testament is the story of Balaam and his donkey, who balked at going forward in spite of the fact that Balaam beat him three times. The donkey, of course, saw an angel with a drawn sword in the way ahead.
As Peter is trying to impress on those to whom he writes the importance of following the “right way”—that is, the way of God—he uses Balaam as an example of one who defied God’s way so that he could do what he wanted to.
Peter emphasizes that the false teachers among these people are just like Balaam: they are unrighteous—he has already described them as depraved, self-serving, evil men whose only desire is to please the flesh. His point is that they are not to listen to these false teachers because they will lead them to the same condemnation that Balaam received.
The same principle applies to us today. We are not to listen to false teachers who twist God’s word to suit their own agenda or who promote modern ideas to win people to themselves. Rather, we need to listen to Balaam’s donkey—that is, we pay attention to the warnings that can alert us to departures from God’s word.
Thought for the Week.07-10-16. A Shield Against Temptation
“Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
Whatever we value the most we put into the storehouse of our memory so that we can call it up when we need it. That is the point David is making in this verse.
David knew the demands of life would, at times, tug against his heart and perhaps entice him to be tempted to sin. To fortress himself against those times, he dedicated himself to stay close to the word of God so that he could overcome the temptation.
If King David needed such a fortress, surely we today need it too. Temptations come to all of us, and we need strength to overcome. Hiding God’s word within our hearts will provide us with that strength and will help us in overcoming when we are enticed to sin.