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What does it mean that He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)?

pertain to life and godliness

The apostle Peter reminds believers in Jesus to be diligent in faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5–7). He explains that God, by His divine power, “has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3a, ESV). God has done this through the true knowledge of Him “who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3b, ESV).

Peter wants his readers to abound in grace and mercy through the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 1:2). In this pivotal first chapter, Peter emphasizes the importance of really knowing God the Father and Jesus, whom Peter refers to as “our God and Savior” (2 Peter 1:2). The knowledge of God is possible because God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the Scriptures—God’s “very great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

Peter explains a little later that he and the other disciples didn’t follow cleverly devised tales when they spoke of the glory of Jesus. In fact, they had seen His glory firsthand (2 Peter 1:16). They heard God the Father’s audible endorsement of Jesus on the mountain (2 Peter 1:17–18). But, remarkably, Peter explains that the prophetic word—God’s revealed written Word—is even more trustworthy than their own experience. Believers “have the prophetic message as something completely reliable” (2 Peter 1:19). Peter urges his readers to “pay close attention” to that (verse 19, NLT). He cautions them against misusing those prophetic writings, instructing them that God’s revelation (through prophecy) is not for people to interpret as they will (2 Peter 1:20). Rather, those who would be students of God’s written revelation understand that true prophecy wasn’t derived by human will. God’s revelation was communicated when the Holy Spirit moved select men who then spoke from God (2 Peter 1:21).

God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) by revealing Himself through this prophetic process. Because God chose to reveal Himself that way, Peter warns his readers against false prophets who teach falsehood (2 Peter 2:1–3). They should remember what the prophets said and the words of Jesus recounted by the apostles (2 Peter 3:2). God had revealed Himself in the Hebrew Scriptures, using people chosen as prophets. Then God chose to speak through His Son, Jesus (Hebrews 1:1–2). Jesus announced the coming of the Holy Spirit who would guide the disciples to remember all that Jesus taught them (John 14:26). They were the ones the Holy Spirit moved and who spoke from God (2 Peter 1:21). It was through them that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

Paul also taught that the Scriptures were God-breathed and useful to provide what we need to be fully equipped (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Jesus often reminded His audience that “it is written” (for example, Matthew 4:4–10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24, 31; etc.). Jesus pointed people back to the text of Scripture and commissioned His disciples to record what He had said. Then He commissioned Paul to bear witness (Acts 9:15). Peter categorized Paul’s writings as “Scripture” that was the result of the wisdom God gave him (2 Peter 3:15–16).

God desires our sanctification, and He sees to it that we can live a godly life. He has already given us everything we need—all things that pertain to life and godliness are ours by God’s divine power (2 Peter 1:3).

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Questions about 2 Peter

What does it mean that He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)?
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This page last updated: November 8, 2022