2 Peter 1:10-11 assures, “if ye do these things ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
If ye do what things? The context takes one back to 2 Peter 1:5-7. Let’s notice:
1. Add to your faith.
Most take this as a reference to personal faith. That is: Peter is starting with the understanding that they had belief and trust in God (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17). Based upon this faith, they were (and we are) to add these other traits.
The definite article is present. Therefore, some have taken this objectively (Acts 6:7; Galatians 1:23; Jude 3). The literal reading is “the faith of you.” Thus some take this to mean that God has provided the system of faith (2 Peter 1:5 cf. 1:3) and man is to supply or add these characteristics which follow.
Either way, the meaning does not change much for it is from objective faith that personal faith is derived (Romans 10:17). It all starts with God’s word and our personal trust.
Note: On the wording “add to your faith” KJV or “supply to your faith” ASV – the original word was a term used in music. “As here used, the graces which adorn the Christian’s character are to be chorused into a grand symphony…” (Guy Woods Commentary on Peter, John and Jude, page 150).
The word has to do with “strength,” ”might,” or “power.” Here it has to do with inner strength and courage. Adam Clark remarks, “courage or fortitude, to enable you to profess the faith before men”. The NASB renders it “moral excellence”.
We as God’s people must add to our faith the courage to do the right thing regardless of others, faith like that of Joshua (Joshua 24:15). 1 Corinthians 16:13 reads, “watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men (be brave NKJV, act like men NASB), be strong.” 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The fearful will not make it (Revelation 21:8; John 12:42-43; cf. Matthew 10:28, 32).
The word “knowledge” appears in every chapter of this book, 5 times in this chapter alone (2 Peter 1:2, 3, 5, 6, 8; 2:20; 3:18). A total of 16 times it appears in some form in this book (know: 2 Peter 1:12; 3:17 / knowest: 2 Peter 2:9 / knowing: 2 Peter 1:14; 1:20; 3:3 / knowledge: 2 Peter 1:2, 3, 5, 6, 8; 2:20; 3:3 / known: 2 Peter 1:16; 2:21; 2:21). We are commanded to spiritually grow (2 Peter 3:18). This growth comes by feeding upon the word of God (1 Peter 2:1-3). God expects us to develop ourselves into teachers of His word (Hebrews 5:12). Adam Clark comments on this growth in knowledge “…by which your faith will be increased, and your courage directed, and preserved from degenerating into rashness”.
The ASV, NASB, NKJV and the ESV all render this word “self control”. Thayer writes “self control… the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions esp. his sensual appetites.”
The Christian life requires self-control. The Christian is to keep under control: (1) tongue (James 1:26; Ephesians 4:29); (2) temper (Proverbs 16:32; 29:20; Ephesians 4:26; James 1:19-20); (3) body (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 9:27); (4) thought (2 Corinthians 10:5); and (5) entire being (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20).
The NASB and the NKJV renders this “perseverance”. The ESV reads “steadfastness”. Zondervan’s parallel New Testament renders this “endurance”. The word means (literally) “to abide under”. The idea is of being able to stand even under great weight like a beast of burden.
We, as Christians, need to be steadfast, consistent, and enduring in spite of the difficulties and hardships in life. It is not enough to start toward the promised land; we need to finish the course (1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9; 2 Timothy 4:6-7; Hebrews 12:1).
This word appears four times in this book (2 Peter 1:3, 6, 7; 3:11). The word means according to Vine’s “eu=well, and sebomai=to be devout… denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is pleasing to Him.” Thayer says the word included the idea of “reverance, respect… piety toward God”. Adam Clark commented, “piety toward God… not only worshipping God with every becoming outward act, but adoring, loving, and magnifying Him in the heart.”
The Bible indicates that God wants us to follow Him, not just out of a sense of obligation and necessity, but out of love. Read Matthew 15:8; Mark 12:30; John 4:24; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 9:7.
7. Brotherly kindness
The ASV reads “love of the brethren.” The ESV reads “brotherly affection.”
As brothers and sisters in Christ we are a part of one family. Paul told Timothy to treat the older men and women in the church as fathers and mothers, and the younger men and women as brothers and sisters (1 Timothy 5:1-2 cf. Mark 10:2; 10:29-30). Hebrews 13:1 exhorts “Let brotherly love continue.” 1 Peter 2:17 instructs “Love the brotherhood.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 urges that in this we “increase more and more”. Paul desired that Christians hearts be “knit together in love”. (Colossians 2:1-2). Again, He writes pleading with Christians to be “forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Jesus said, “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another.” (John 13:35).
I believe that nearly all current translations render this “love.” This is agape love.
This takes it a step farther. While we are to have phileo love for our brethren. Agape love is owed to all. Agape love is not necessarily an emotional closeness or friendship kind of love; it is a concern for others which manifests itself in Godly living and in the characteristics mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13. Vine’s, “Christian love… is not an impulse from the feelings. It does not always run with natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom affinity is discovered… love seeks the welfare of all.” Agape love is not an impulse of feeling but a deliberate exercise of the will. Christians are to do what is right unto others because it is right. (See Luke 6:32-33; 14:12-13).
These traits are to be pursued with “all diligence” (2 Peter 1:5, cf. 1:10) or as the ESV puts it “every effort” (2 Peter 1:5). If you, brother or sister Christian, will do these things you will be in heaven in the end!