SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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2 Peter

Chapter 1

The Keynote of Victory—The first chapter of Second Peter is full of instruction, and strikes the keynote of victory. The truth is impressively forced upon the mind by the way it is presented in this chapter. Let us more abundantly recommend the study of these words, and the practicing of these precepts (Letter 43, 1895). 7BC 942.9

1-3. No Standstill in the Christian Life—[2 Peter 1:1-3 quoted.] What a grand theme this is for contemplation—the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Contemplating Christ and His righteousness leaves no room for self-righteousness, for the glorifying of self. In this chapter there is no standstill. There is continual advancement in every stage of the knowledge of Christ (Letter 43, 1895). 7BC 942.10

2, 5-7. See EGW on Romans 6:1-4. 7BC 942.11

4 (Hebrews 10:23). God Behind All His Promises—Promises are estimated by the truth of the one who makes them. Many men make promises only to break them, to mock the heart that trusted in them. Those who lean upon such men lean upon broken reeds. But God is behind the promises He makes. He is ever mindful of His covenant, and His truth endureth to all generations (Manuscript 23, 1899). 7BC 942.12

(Ephesians 2:1-6; see EGW on Genesis 2:7; Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15.) Partakers of the Divine Nature—We must learn of Christ. We must know what He is to those He has ransomed. We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, and so escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity.... [Ephesians 2:1-6 quoted.] ... 7BC 943.1

As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good. Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we cooperate with God in overcoming Satan's temptations. God works, and man works, that man may be one with Christ as Christ is one with God. Then we sit together with Christ in heavenly places. The mind rests with peace and assurance in Jesus (The Review and Herald, April 24, 1900). 7BC 943.2

The Enabling Grace of God—In His Word God reveals what He can do for human beings. He molds and fashions after the divine similitude the characters of those who will wear His yoke. Through His grace they are made partakers of the divine nature, and are thus enabled to overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is God who gives us power to overcome. Those who hear His voice and obey His commandments are enabled to form righteous characters. Those who disregard His expressed commands will form characters like the propensities that they indulge (Letter 44, 1903). 7BC 943.3

One With God—It is a knowledge of the perfection of the divine character, manifested to us in Jesus Christ, that opens up to us communion with God. It is by appropriating the great and precious promises that we are to become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 7BC 943.4

What possibilities are opened up to the youth who lay hold of the divine assurances of God's Word! Scarcely can the human mind comprehend what is the breadth and depth and height of the spiritual attainments that can be reached by becoming partakers of the divine nature. The human agent who daily yields obedience to God, who becomes a partaker of the divine nature, finds pleasure daily in keeping the commandments of God; for he is one with God. It is essential that he hold as vital a relation with God as does the Son to the Father. He understands the oneness that Christ prayed might exist between the Father and the Son (Letter 43, 1895). 7BC 943.5

5-7. Graces to Grow Up Together—We are to add to faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. You are not to think that you must wait until you have perfected one grace before cultivating another. No; they are to grow up together, fed continually from the fountain of charity; every day that you live, you can be perfecting the blessed attributes fully revealed in the character of Christ; and when you do this, you will bring light, love, peace, and joy into your homes (The Review and Herald, July 29, 1890). 7BC 943.6

5-11 (Philippians 2:12, 13). Daily Diligence Needed—Temptation must be met and resisted. Day by day the spiritual battle goes on. Day by day we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It is God that works in us, to will and to do of His good pleasure. Every soul is to strive with “all diligence” to add constantly to his spiritual attainments, strengthening every grace, increasing in efficiency that he may grow in usefulness and holiness, as a fruit-bearing tree in the Lord's garden. He is to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. True religion leads to the cultivation of the gifts that make a man more precious in God's sight than the gold of Ophir. 7BC 943.7

“All diligence” means much. It means a daily diligence. There is danger that we shall be blind in regard to the working of satanic agencies, and that we shall be ensnared by Satan's alluring temptations. Therefore the word comes to us, “Giving all diligence,” add to your character the graces that will make you strong to resist evil. “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off.” He does not realize his spiritual poverty [2 Peter 1:10, 11 quoted] (Letter 144, 1903). 7BC 943.8

6. Temperance Precedes Patience—“And to temperance patience.” An intemperate man never can be a patient man. Temperance comes first, and then patience (Manuscript 49, 1894). 7BC 944.1

10 (John 1:12; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 1 Peter 1:2, 18-20; see EGW on Romans 11:4-6; Ephesians 1:4, 5, 11; Hebrews 7:25). Election Price Paid for All—There could be no such thing as one not prepared for heaven entering heaven. There is no such thing as a human being sanctified and fitted for the heavenly kingdom not having an election to that kingdom. God elects those who have been working on the plan of addition. The explanation is given in the first chapter of Second Peter. For every human being, Christ has paid the election price. No one need be lost. All have been redeemed. To those who receive Christ as a personal Saviour will be given power to become the sons and daughters of God. An eternal life insurance policy has been provided for all. 7BC 944.2

Whom God elects, Christ redeems. The Saviour has paid the redemption price for every soul. We are not our own; for we are bought with a price. From the Redeemer, who from the foundation of the world has chosen us, we receive the insurance policy that entitles us to eternal life (Letter 53, 1904). 7BC 944.3

Election Within Our Reach—There is the election of God on the condition of practice, and there is no other election in the Bible. Election is within our reach. “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (Manuscript 49, 1894). 7BC 944.4

10, 11 (see EGW on Revelation 11:1). The Best Life Insurance—[2 Peter 1:10, 11 quoted.] Here are your life-insurance papers. This is not an insurance policy the value of which some one else will receive after your death; it is a policy that assures you a life measuring with the life of God—even eternal life. O what an assurance! what a hope! Let us ever reveal to the world that we are seeking for a better country, even a heavenly. Heaven has been made for us, and we want a part in it. We cannot afford to allow anything to separate us from God and heaven. In this life we must be partakers of the divine nature. Brethren and sisters, you have only one life to live. O let it be a life of virtue, a life hid with Christ in God (The Review and Herald, May 26, 1904). 7BC 944.5

(See EGW on 1 John 3:1.) Benefits Secured by the Elect—It depends upon your course of action as to whether or not you will secure the benefits bestowed upon those who, as the elect of God, receive an eternal life-insurance policy (Manuscript 81, 1900). 7BC 944.6

14, 15. See EGW on Acts 8:9-24. 7BC 944.7

21 (2 Timothy 3:16). Inspiration of the Bible Writers—God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired Word to finite man. This Word arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world; bequeathed to them, that by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven. 7BC 944.8

Those who think to make the supposed difficulties of Scripture plain, in measuring by their finite rule that which is inspired and that which is not inspired, had better cover their faces, as Elijah when the still small voice spoke to him; for they are in the presence of God and holy angels, who for ages have communicated to men light and knowledge, telling them what to do, and what not to do, unfolding before them scenes of thrilling interest, waymark by waymark in symbols and signs and illustrations. 7BC 944.9

And He has not, while presenting the perils clustering about the last days, qualified any finite man to unravel hidden mysteries, or inspired one man or any class of men to pronounce judgment as to that which is inspired or is not. When men, in their finite judgment, find it necessary to go into an examination of Scriptures to define that which is inspired and that which is not, they have stepped before Jesus to show Him a better way than He has led us. 7BC 944.10

I take the Bible just as it is, as the Inspired Word. I believe its utterances in an entire Bible.... 7BC 944.11

Simplicity and plain utterance are comprehended by the illiterate, by the peasant, and the child as well as by the full-grown man or the giant in intellect. If the individual is possessed of large talents of mental powers, he will find in the Oracles of God treasures of truth, beautiful and valuable, which he can appropriate. He will also find difficulties, and secrets and wonders which will give him the highest satisfaction to study during a long lifetime, and yet there is an infinity beyond. 7BC 945.1

Men of humble acquirements, possessing but limited capabilities and opportunities to become conversant in the Scriptures, find in the Living Oracles comfort, guidance, counsel, and the plan of salvation as clear as a sunbeam. No one need be lost for want of knowledge unless he is willfully blind. 7BC 945.2

We thank God that the Bible is prepared for the poor man as well as for the learned man. It is fitted for all ages and all classes (Manuscript 16, 1888). 7BC 945.3

The writers of the Bible had to express their ideas in human language. It was written by human men. These men were inspired of the Holy Spirit. Because of the imperfections of human understanding of language, or the perversity of the human mind, ingenious in evading truth, many read and understand the Bible to please themselves. It is not that the difficulty is in the Bible. Opposing politicians argue points of law in the statute book, and take opposite views in their application and in these laws. 7BC 945.4

The Scriptures were given to men, not in a continuous chain of unbroken utterances, but piece by piece through successive generations, as God in His providence saw a fitting opportunity to impress man at sundry times and divers places. Men wrote as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. There is “first the bud, then the blossom, and next the fruit,” “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” This is exactly what the Bible utterances are to us. 7BC 945.5

There is not always perfect order or apparent unity in the Scriptures. The miracles of Christ are not given in exact order, but are given just as the circumstances occurred, which called for this divine revealing of the power of Christ. The truths of the Bible are as pearls hidden. They must be searched, dug out by painstaking effort. Those who take only a surface view of the Scriptures, will, with their superficial knowledge, which they think is very deep, talk of the contradictions of the Bible, and question the authority of the Scriptures. But those whose hearts are in harmony with truth and duty will search the Scriptures with a heart prepared to receive divine impressions. The illuminated soul sees a spiritual unity, one grand golden thread running through the whole, but it requires patience, thought, and prayer to trace out the precious golden thread. Sharp contentions over the Bible have led to investigation and revealed the precious jewels of truth. Many tears have been shed, many prayers offered, that the Lord would open the understanding to His Word. 7BC 945.6

The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposes. 7BC 945.7

The stamps of minds are different. All do not understand expressions and statements alike. Some understand the statements of the Scriptures to suit their own particular minds and cases. Prepossessions, prejudices, and passions have a strong influence to darken the understanding and confuse the mind even in reading the words of Holy Writ.... 7BC 945.8

The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers. 7BC 945.9

It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words and thoughts receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God (Manuscript 24, 1886). 7BC 945.10

Finite Vehicles of Thought—The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words. Thus is shown God's condescension. He meets fallen human beings where they are. The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education. Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven's glory (Letter 121, 1901). 7BC 946.1