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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

Vs 2 - Knowledge

02.2.4

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;”  2 Pet 1:2.

 

Grace is one of those wonderful words that take on whole new meanings within the Christian context.  It would seem that the unmerited favor of God is poured out on us.  Further, not only do we find ourselves within this favorable light, but it has consequences for us here and now.  We find that, within God's favor, we come to experience a deep and transforming peace.

 

Note, however, that this “grace and peace” is not simply provided to us, but is provided “in” the knowledge of God.  What does this word “in” mean?  The word that appears in the Greek text is the word εν.  While this word will be discussed at greater length later, suffice it to say here that it can be translated as either a locative of place (ex.:  He met her in the church), or as an instrumental of means (ex.:  There is honor in work).  The first meaning, locative of place, indicates that within the context of the dative (in this case knowledge/ἐπιγνώσει) one is able to obtain these benefits.  The latter meaning, instrumental of means, indicates that the dative (knowledge) is the cause or means by which the benefit is obtained.  The Greek grammar leaves open the agency of change, but does clearly indicate that 'the knowledge of God' is crucial in obtaining 'grace and peace'.

 

This interpretation is enhanced by the choice of the Greek word ἐπιγνώσει (knowledge).  Greek contains several words that can be translated into our English word 'knowledge'.  This word includes the concept of understanding, but extends the idea so that one is seen as having a depth of knowledge that can only come from experience.  The use of the word here teaches that one does not simply intellectually know something of God, but that one has experienced something of the power of God in his life.  This is not just a 'head knowledge', but is a transformative 'heart knowledge'.

 

Notice that the term knowledge/ἐπιγνώσει is used in both verse 2 and verse 3.  In both of these verses ἐπιγνώσει is the means for producing good things in our lives.  In verse 2 it is 'grace and peace' that are provided 'by' ἐπιγνώσει.  In verse 3 'everything pertaining to life and godliness' are provided through ἐπιγνώσει.  These uses of ἐπιγνώσει clearly indicate that our experience of coming to know Jesus Christ personally is so powerful that our lives are changed radically.  Note that this whole chapter of 2 Peter is concerned with the transformation of our lives into something more closely approximating Christ, and that our relationship and 'knowledge' of Him is the motive force that carries the whole process forward.  Without that transformative personal relationship the entire process of sanctification would founder.

 

Consider Bigg (1901, p. 253): "If we compare vers. 5, 6, 8, there appears to be a difference intended between γνώσιs and ἐπιγνώσiς.  The former, as in 1 Pet. iii. 7, appears to denote good sense, understanding, practical wisdom; the latter is used of the knowledge of Christ.  Ἐπιγνώσiς is used by Plutarch of scientific knowledge, for instance, of music; and St. Peter may mean that the knowledge of Chist is the master-science, the ἀχιτεκτονική. . . . Christ's divine power has given to us apostles πάντα τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν [πάντα = everything (interpolated), for life and godliness] through the knowledge of Him that called us.  When He called us, He gave us the knowledge of Himself and, through that knowledge as the means, all that fosters life and Christian conduct."

 

Again, Bigg (1901, p. 259): ". . . the Christian progress begins with ἐπιγνώσiς (διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως) and is in ἐπιγνώσiςἘπιγνώσiς is the germ which makes progress possible, and is developed by the progress, but is not represented here as the goal to which the progress tends. . . . this knowledge, which grows with our growth, might very well be said to be the issue of all our strivings.  But it is also their root, and this is the point which St. Peter wishes to bring out."

 

Thus, this verse teaches us that there is something so powerful about God that coming to meet Him is enough to transform our lives.  Our lives come to be filled with a peace that we derive as we become aware of His unmerited favor.  It is just this causal relationship that the next dozen or so verses will expand.  It is just this relationship that this psychological theory will seek to clarify.