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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

'Add' One Step to Another

02.4.8

The Greek word in our text translated as 'add' is επιχορηγησατε.  The root for this term is the word χορηγεω which speaks of a person appointed by the state to pay the expenses to support a chorus performing a Greek play.  These producers competed with each other for the honor of sponsoring the plays as well as competing in the lavishness with which they equipped the players.  This meaning is accentuated by the prefix επι which signals that the meaning of the root word should be emphasized. Thus, one is not simply to 'add' the virtues, but to add them abundantly.  Thus, the term came to mean “providing more than is barely demanded” (Wuest, 1973a, vol. 2, p. 23).  Slightly later Wuest (1973a, vol. 2, p. 23) defines it as:  “to supply in copious measure, to provide beyond the need, to supply more than generously.”   Thayer (1976, p. 246) defines this term as:  “To supply or furnish abundantly.”

 

The word we are considering, επιχορηγησατε, is a 2nd Person, Plural, Imperative, Aorist, Active verb.  As a 2nd person, plural, the author is addressing the readers: “you” must do this thing.

 

This word 'add' is the only verb found in verses 5 - 7.  It supplies the action for the entire list of virtues.  The Greek language allows a single verb to be operative in this way across a variety of clauses.  This verb is the active force for everything described in verses 5 thru 7.  Thus, whatever meaning we derive from this verb must be applied in all steps of the developmental process.

 

Consider if you will the meaning of imperative verbs generally.  “The imperative is the mood of command or entreaty - the mood of volition.  It is the genius of the imperative to express the appeal of will to will” (Dana & Mantey, 1957, p. 174). While the imperative MAY imply an entreaty, an Imperative is most frequently used in the New Testament as a command or directive (Dana & Mantey, 1957, p. 175 & 176).  Thus, this imperative will be understood as a command by this author.

 

One interesting consequence of commands is that the hearer may choose not to obey them.  Thus, as this imperative appears at the head of this sequence of spiritual development, it should be understood as to direct us in how we SHOULD develop, and not be understood as describing how we necessarily WILL develop.  It is very important that we understand this.  God’s moral law is not like His law of gravity!  Thus, this sequence speaks of a moral 'should' when describing the development process, as opposed to an inevitably occurring 'will'.

 

The verb we are considering here, επιχορηγησατε is an Active verb.  As it is also an imperative, we must be actively involved in our own growth.  We must participate.  We must actively do something, and be involved in our growth.  “The virtues enumerated immediately afterwards are to be the contribution of man to meet what God gives” (James, 1912, p. 12).

 

Not only does this word teach us that are we to be actively involved in our spiritual growth, but the rest of this sentence supports this view.  The phrase often translated as "applying all diligence" is σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες in the Greek.  The term παρεισενέγκαντες is a nominative, plural, masculine, aorist, participle.  It can be translated as:  “'To contribute besides' to something” (Thayer, 1976, p. 487).  Interestingly, “the verb occurs only here in the New Testament” (Vincent, 1886, p. 678).  The term σπουδὴν is an accusative, singular and can be translated as:  “to desire earnestly” (Thayer, 1976, p. 584).  This Accusative describes the extent of the “contribution” described by the Nominative above.  The boundaries of our “contributing” should be limited only by our earnestness.  Thus, there should be few or no limits on our “contributing”.  Finally, the term πᾶσαν is an Accusative, singular, feminine and can be translated as: “all” (Thayer, 1976, p. 492).  This Accusative describes the extent of the “earnest desiring” described by the other Accusative above.  The boundaries of our “earnest desiring” should not be limiting, for we should have “all” earnestness.  Thus, there should be, again, few or no limits on our “earnest desiring”.

 

This phrase supplements the call of επιχορηγησατε that we lavishly add the enumerated character qualities.  It teaches us that we should enthusiastically strive with real effort to make these qualities ours.  Recall that in 2 Peter 1:3 & 4 God is described as having given us "precious and magnificent promises" to which we are directed to  desire with all earnestness to continue to make our contribution.  “ . . . literally, to bring in by the side of: adding your diligence to the divine promises.” (Vincent, 1886, p. 679).  By the use of the word παρεισενέγκαντες we are exhorted to add our efforts to what God has already done to facilitate our spiritual growth.  This contribution, through our diligence, is something we do to influence the extent, speed, and quality of our Sanctification.  Thus, we have a real impact upon our lives in Christ.

 

Recall that in 2 Peter 1:10 we were exhorted to be “diligent to make certain about His calling . . ."  Clearly, here too we find, we are to be active in our spiritual growth process.  Further, we note that as we "practice" the Second Peter qualities we will not stumble.  Note that, here too, the Greek verb for “practicing” is a present, active, participle.  This verb implies we are to be active on a continuing basis in the process of our sanctification.

 

To summarize:  what are the implications of the verb επιχορηγησατε?  We are expected to be actively involved in our spiritual development.  We need to strive diligently in furthering the process of our development.  And yes, we can choose to strive to grow or not and we can choose to go in directions other than those mandated.  The choice is ours, and the effort should be ours as well.