Monday, July 30, 2012


Well, so far we’ve considered the qualities of both virtue and knowledge. Peter continues to instruct, saying to supplement our knowledge with self-control. As in previous posts, let’s consider the Strong’s Concordance definition for self-control:


self-control: the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites

Self-control is a vital quality in implementing the increased knowledge we gain as we spend time in His Word. God speaks to us individually, and He will tell us what He expects. Sometimes He will instruct us to remove things from our lives - things that may not be “bad” in any way except that they are keeping us from growing in intimacy with Him. Sometimes He will instruct us to add things to our lives - things to improve our spiritual, emotional, physical, and even social lives. Some examples in my own life have included eliminating some forms of entertainment or certain types of foods and adding spiritual disciplines, social interaction, or healthier foods and exercise.

Until next time, consider … what is one specific way you can strengthen your self-control “muscle” in your every day life?

Monday, July 23, 2012


Peter continues in this passage by instructing us to supplement our virtue with knowledge. Strong’s Concordance defines knowledge (gnosis) as a general intelligence or understanding…”the general knowledge of Christian religion; the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced; esp. of things lawful and unlawful for Christians; moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living.”

This implies that our ethical and moral code, our virtuous living, needs to be founded in a knowledge of what God expects from us, but not simply knowing what He tells us to do, but also actually DOING it (“such as is seen in right living”). Therefore, we need to be both reading the Word of God (to learn what He expects from us) and applying what we have learned from our reading. Read it. Do it. :)

Until next time, consider … what is one specific way you can strengthen your knowledge “muscle” in your every day life?

Monday, July 16, 2012


The first characteristic Peter instructs us to supplement our faith with is virtue. Strong’s Concordance defines virtue (arete) as: “A virtuous course of thought, feeling and action, virtue, moral goodness, any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity.” Nave’s Topical Bible adds “excellence,” “chastity,” and “courage” to this definition.

We often think of virtue as purity, in word, thought, and deed. While I do believe this characteristic includes this type of purity, in my opinion the idea of “moral excellence” is larger than that. My mother used to say God wants us “to do what is right just because it’s right.” Not because there is any reward in it, but just because it is the moral, ethical thing to do.

Until next time, consider … what is one specific way you can strengthen your virtue “muscle” in your every day life?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Supplementing Faith

After a longer than anticipated delay (please accept my apologies!), let's continue our study of 2 Peter 1:3-8 by looking at the beginning of verse 5:

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…”

What is faith? The Greek word used here, pistes, refers to belief. Believing God - knowing that God exists and is Creator and Ruler of all, and the provider of eternal life through Christ, and believing Christ - knowing that Jesus is the Messiah, the ONE through Whom we obtain eternal salvation! Our salvation is a gift, through faith - this believing God (see Ephesians 2:8). (Note, not believing IN God, but believing God….)

It bears repeating, our salvation is a gift, through faith. We cannot earn it through any effort. And while our spiritual growth requires our effort, we do not cause our growth, no matter how many good things we do. God causes our growth as we obey the Holy Spirit’s voice. Promptly (delayed obedience equals disobedience).

This passage is telling us to “make every effort to supplement [our] faith.” To, earnestly and diligently, strive to supplement, or enhance, our faith with additional qualities. This could be approached much like physical exercise. As we exercise physical muscles they grow stronger and we find it easier to do things that might have previously found difficult. In this same way, we are to exercise the “muscles” of these characteristics. Using these qualities in our daily lives, as we learn how to live out our faith, is a choice we make, and continue to make, as we go through each day.

Why should we put forth the effort? “For this very reason,” because of Who God is and because by His ability He has given us freedom and everything we need to live a victorious life!

Next time, we will look at the first characteristic Peter identifies - virtue. Until then, consider this - what is the difference between believing IN God, and BELIEVING God? Please feel free to share thoughts in the comments!