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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

22 June, 2024

 

Commentators on Sequencing

02.4.6

In the previous sections, I have considered the sequentiality of the 2 Peter list of virtues from several different perspectives.  It has been my goal to present as convincing a set of arguments as possible favoring the case that this listing is meant to be a sequence.

 

This issue has been considered for centuries.  Below find multiple commentators and what they have said on this topic.  While obviously not exhaustive, it is my hope that these commentators will provide insight into the thinking of the Church about this passage of Scripture.

 

 

My comments on these author's comments are [bracketed] and below the original commentary.  Students seeking the complete references for these quotations are referred to the Reference List and the list of Recommended Links at the end of the Exegesis section.

 

Commentators Agreeing on Sequentiality

 

Alford, H.  (1878, p. 392; PDF p. 682).

"but the εν is each time used of that which is assumed to be theirs, and the exhortation is, to take care that, in the exercise of that, the next step is developed:"

 

[This author clearly agrees with the instrumental nature of the dative.  It is also consistent with the sequencing theorized.]

 

 

Bauer, W.  (1979, p. 326).

" . . . Godliness as a result of steadfastness and cause of brotherly love 2 Pt. 1: 6f . . . "

 

[While limited in scope, Bauer clearly understands the Greek grammar as indicating sequentiality in the 2 Peter 1 5:7 passage.]

 

 

Barclay, W.  (2017, p. 352).

"To keep climbing up the latter of the virtues is to come nearer and nearer to knowing Jesus Christ;  and the further we climb, the further we are able to climb."

 

[Barclay clearly stresses the 'ladder of virtues' which stresses the sequentiality of 2 Peter.]

 

 

Beecher, H. W.  (1977, p. 33).

"It does not say “add to” in the original; it says, “Provide,” or “develop in.” It is as if he had had in his mind the thought of a plant."

 

[The comment directly above would seem to apply here as well.]

 

 

Bell, B.  (2017, p. 3-4).

"The more we climb up the ladder of virtues is to come ever nearer to knowing J.C.  Also, the further we climb, the further we are able to climb!"

 

[By using the metaphor of a 'ladder of virtues' Bell seems to agree with the classical understanding that 2 Peter should be read as a sequence.]

 

 

Bigg, C. (1902, p. 257).

"The moral and spiritual life is regarded as a germ which is expanded by effort, one step leads on to another, and each step is made by the co-operation of the human will with the divine."

 

[Bigg clearly sees the different terms as growing from the original faith and being added one after another.]

 

 

Bigg, C.  (1902, p. 258).

"Faith is here conceived of as in Heb. xi. 1, 3, as strong conviction, belief which determines action; this is the heavenly germ, which, if diligently fostered by obedience, issues in love, the perfection of the spiritual life."

 

[Bigg clearly sees the entire sequence growing from faith and leading to love.]

 

 

Burkitt, W. (1844B, p. 696;  PDF p. 701).

"That there is a concatenation both of graces and duties, they must not be separated, they will not live single; where there is one grace in sincerity, there is a constant care to secure all the rest; and where a Christian, for conscience sake, performs one duty, he will make conscience of all the rest;"

 

[This one is sorta unclear regarding sequentiality, though he SEEMS to come down on a pro-sequentiality position.]

 

 

Cochrane, E. (1965, p. 74 & 78).

"The statement is not 'add to' but rather 'supply with' or as the Greek suggests 'superadd.'  Just as though Peter had said, 'You will find that each grace gained will help you to gain other graces.  Every new grace or improved one will help bring to perfection other graces.'"

 

"We are supply by our faith this quality of moral excellence, uprightness of conduct, virtue."

 

[This author clearly agrees with the instrumental nature of the dative.  It is also consistent with the sequencing theorized.]

 

 

Deffinbaugh, B.  (3 Jul 2004).  7th point under Observations.

"(7) A purposeful order and relationship is evident in this list of character qualities.  This list of character qualities is not presented in a way that suggests a random order.  Each quality builds upon the qualities before it.  The sequence of qualities begins with faith and ends with love.  These qualities are similar to the ingredients in a cake recipe where all ingredients are needed, but they should be added in the proper order."

 

[OK.  That is supportive of the 2 Peter Theory]

 

 

Dummelow, J. R.  (1909, p. 1050).

"The Christian life is not a mere adding of qualities together, but a growth.  Virtue is in faith, as the flower is in the seed; the complete fruit is love."

 

[This note is consistent with the instrumental interpretation of the dative.  The 'seed' is what produces the 'flower'.  Notice by understanding things in this way, the sequential nature of the listing is supported.]

 

 

Fleming, D. C. (2005, p. 1).

"Faith that is genuine will produce lives of moral goodness, but only if believers apply some determination and effort. True Christians will want to increase in the knowledge of God, and this will teach them self-control and endurance, leading to godliness. As they know more of God and his ways, they will love others more (5-7)."

 

[Fleming seems to come down squarely on the pro-sequence side of the argument.]

 

 

Huther, J. E.  (1887, p. 382).

"The sense is: 'since you have πίστις, let it not be wanting in ἀρετή.' It is not meant, that to the πίστις, as something different from it, ἀρετή should be added ; but ἀρετή belongs to πίστις, and for this reason the Christian must put it into practice.  The same relation is preserved in the members which follow.  πίστις is presupposed as the origin (Oecumenius : θεμέλιος τών αγαθῶν καὶ κρηπίς [foundation of good and evil]) of all Christian virtues, and in the first instance of the ἀρετή, by which Oecumenius understands τὰ ἔργα [the works];"

 

[Huther seems to come down squarely on the pro-sequence side of the argument.  His position seems very compatible with the Instrumental.]

 

 

Huther, J. E.  (1887, p. 382 Footnote).

"1 Steinfass remarks: "ὲν [in] conceives the accusatives as involute accusatives, and as elements of the previous datives;" this certainly is correct, but must be supplemented thus far, that the element of the preceding conception, expressed by the accusative, stands forth as a special grace, and thus becomes, as it were, the complement of it."

 

[As above, Huther seems to come down squarely on the pro-sequence side of the argument.  His position seems very compatible with the Instrumental.]

 

 

Huther, J. E.  (1887, p. 383).

"Although the different virtues here are not arranged according to definite logical order, yet the way in which they here belong to each other is not to be mistaken.  Each of the virtues to be shown forth forms the complement of that which precedes, and thus gives rise to a firmly-linked chain of thought, ἀρετή supplies the complement of πίστις, for faith without virtue is wanting in moral character, and is in itself dead;  that of ἀρετή is γνῶσις, for the realizing of the moral volition is conditioned by comprehension of that which is needful in each separate case ; that of γνῶσις is ἐνκράτεια, for self-control must not be wanting to volition and comprehension ; that of ἐνκράτεια is ὑπομονή, for there are outward as well as inward temptations to be withstood; that of ὑπομονή is εὐσέβεια, for only in trustful love to God has the ὑπομονή firm support; that of εὐσέβεια the φιλαδελφία, for "he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen ? " (1 John iv. 20) ; that of φιλαδελφία the ἀγάπη, for without the latter the former would degenerate into poor narrowheartedness.  Thus, in that the one virtue is the complement of the other, the latter produces the former of itself as its natural outcome; Bengel: praesens quisque gradus subsequenlem parit et facilem reddit, subsequens pnorem temperal ac perficit.  [each present step begets the next one and makes it easy to follow the previous one moderates and completes]"

 

[As above, Huther seems to come down squarely on the pro-sequence side of the argument.  However, he clearly does not understand the spiritual 'dynamics' that underlie the arrangement.]

 

 

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D.  (1880, p.444).

"Each grace being assumed, becomes the stepping-stone to the succeeding grace; and the latter in turn qualifies and completes the former."

 

[Clearly these commentators see a sequential 'adding' of one virtue to another.]

 

 

Ironside, H. A. (1947, p. 70).

"A better figure perhaps is that of a growing tree: an acorn, for instance, falls into the ground;  The seed germinates, strikes its roots downward, and its branches shoot upward; and that acorn becomes an entire oak-tree with all its various parts.  Faith is like the acorn - a living faith, that should characterize us as devoted Christians."

 

[Ironside here clearly parallels the comment of Dummelow above.  Our understanding of it should also parallel Dummelow's.]

 

 

Lumby, J. R. (1893, p. 246).

"And the lines on which such progress will go he now describes as though each new step were evolved from, and were a natural development of, that which preceded it.  The faith which the Christian holds fast is the gift of God, and it contains the germs of every grace that can follow.  These the believer is to foster with diligence."

 

[By describing each successive virtue as a 'natural development of' the preceding one, Lumby also seems consistent with understanding the dative as instrumental.  As such, here too, the sequentiality of the list is supported.]

 

 

Maclaren, A.  (1910, p. 177-178 & 203).

"Add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge,’ and so on, through the whole linked series of Christian graces. They all come out of that trust which knits us to Him who is the source of them all."

 

"If, on the other hand, we set ourselves to our tasks, then out of faith will come, as the blossoms mysteriously and miraculously do out of an apparently dead stump, virtue, manliness, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and godliness, and brotherly mindedness, and charity."

 

[Maclaren's phrasing seems instrumental.  His use of the 'blossom' metaphor adheres to the instrumental understanding of the dative.  (Where does 'Manliness' come from?  Αρετε?  Then why have 'Virtue'?  Why would this be the only quality doubled?  Are they doubled because he sees Αρετε to be ably translated by either virtue or manliness, making them synonyms?)]

 

 

Macmillan, H.  (1977, p. 29).

"They are not like the links of an iron chain, manufactured separately, and mechanically added to each other; but they are like the living cells of a growing plant, in which one cell gives birth to another, and communicates its own qualities to it."

 

[This one clearly is arguing for the instrumental as opposed to the locative, although he comes down on the pro-sequential side of the argument.]

 

 

Moffatt, J.  (1928, p. 181; PDF p. 193, l. 1).

"The positive response to the divine PROMISES is now sketched (5-7) in a series of seven Christian graces or acquirements with which FAITH is to be supplied.  FAITH here, as in ver. 1, is the personal belief which is fundamental.  But it must be provided with RESOLUTION, moral and mental energy."

 

[Moffatt (probably better than any other commentator) seems to understand what the author is driving towards spiritually in the 2nd Peter listing.  The larger context of the quote above makes abundantly clear that Moffatt believes the 2nd Peter listing is intended to be read as a sequence.  Whether the dative is instrumental or locative is unclear.]

 

 

Plumptre, E. H.  (1893, p. 166-167, l. 49;   PDF p. 173-174).

"The Greek cannot possibly bear the meaning of 'adding to,' though the fact is of course implied.  What is meant is that each element of the Christian life is to be as an instrument by which that which follows it is wrought out."

 

[Plumptre clearly rejects the locative and embraces the instrumental form.  This approach, again, is supportive of the sequence understood.]

 

 

Reicke, B.  (1964, p. 153).

"More specifically according to vs. 5b-7 they are to let one gift 'further' the other so that the basic gift of faith promotes virtue (cf. vs. 3), virtue promotes knowledge, etc."

 

[Reicke clearly supports the instrumental interpretation, and very concretely supports the sequencing of the 2nd Peter listing.]

 

 

Wheaton, D. H. (1994, p. 1390).

"Because Christians have these resources (the power and the promises) Peter urges the importance (make every effort) of the goal (growth to be like Jesus) and spells out the steps towards it . . . Faith must express itself in action (goodness) and this experience deepens our knowledge of God.  Knowing him will deepen our knowledge of ourselves and where we need to exercise self-control.  This in turn calls for perseverance, which is developed by keeping in view the worthwhile goal of v 4 – godliness.  The attitude to God facilitates a new openness to our fellow-Christians (brotherly kindness), and this in turn blossoms into unreserved and unrestricted love – coping-stone (sic.) of the whole edifice . . ."

 

[Wheaton clearly understands the sequential nature of the text and presents one of the best understandings of the process of growth!]

 

 

Vincent, M. R.  (1886, p. 679).

"The A.V. exhorts TO ADD one virtue to another; but the Greek, TO DEVELOP ONE VIRTUE IN THE EXERCISE OF ANOTHER: 'an increase by growth, not by external junction;  each new grace springing out of, attempting, and perfecting the other.'"

 

[Vincent stresses his understanding that the instrumental is the preferred understanding of the dative.  While not as clearly stated, he does support the sequencing of the virtues found in the 2nd Peter text.]

 

 

Some Commentators are Unclear on Sequentiality

 

Black, M.  (1998, p.163 & 164)

"The list might first appear to demand a stair step approach to Christian virtues, so that one must take them in order and master one before moving to the next.  Such an understanding, however, probably overextends the meaning of this common rhetorical device.  While the first and last (faith and love) must begin and end the list, the others may not necessarily build on each other (as those in Romans 5:3-5 do).  Peter is simply drawing attention to the importance of these interrelated characteristics of holy living."

 

"This list in 2 Peter is unusual among New Testament writings in that the virtues are arranged in a successive order, each being added to the one before.  Only Romans 5:3-5 has a similar pattern."

 

[On p. 163 he recognizes the Greek grammar, but comes down on the side of non-sequentiality.  On p. 164 he seems to agree with sequentiality.  He seems inconsistent.]

 

 

Calvin, J.  (1855, p. 373, Footnote 1).

"Some, like Bishop Warburton, have very ingeniously attempted to shew that there is here a regular order and gradation;  but it is not the order of cause and effect.  Different things are mentioned, and what is added, has in some way or another a connexion with the previous word.  To faith add virtue or moral conduct;  that virtue may be rightly formed, add knowledge;  that knowledge may be gained, add temperance;  that temperance may continue, add patience or perseverance;  that perseverance may be retained, add godliness or piety, that is, prayer to God;  that godliness may not be alone, add brotherly-kindness;  and that brotherly kindness may be enlarged, add love to all mankind.  The word added has a connexion with the immediately previous word, as the way, means, or an addition.-Ed"

 

[Note:  This is NOT a quote from Calvin.  This is a quote from his editor and translator, John Owen.  It's filed under Calvin's name because Calvin is the author of the text where the footnote appears.  Any other entry would be confusing.]

 

 

Constable, T. L.  (2021, p. 20).

"Peter said add in and mix together, as in a recipe, the following ingredients to produce a mature godly life. He used a literary device common in his day to impress upon us the importance of giving attention to each virtue. Unlike other New Testament ethical lists (except Romans 5:3-5) Peter used a literary device called sorites (also called climax or gradatio). Sorites (from the Gr. soros, a heap) is a set of statements that proceed, step by step, to a climactic conclusion through the force of logic or reliance upon a series of indisputable facts. Each new statement picks up the last key word or phrase of the preceding one. {Footnote 1: See H. A. Fischel, "The Uses of Sorites (Climax, Gradatio) in the Tannaitic Period," Hebrew Union College Annual44 (1973):119.}"

 

"Other examples of sorites are in Romans 8:29-30; Romans 10:14-15; and James 1:15. We should not infer that before we can work on the third virtue we must master the second, and so on. This literary device simply arranges the virtues in a random order but presents them so each one receives emphasis. The total effect is to create the impression of growing a healthy tree, for example, in which several branches are vital."

 

[Constable seems confused in this text.  Initially it seems that he was supporting the sequential nature of 2 Peter.  He describes a Sorites as "a set of statements that proceed, step by step, to a climactic conclusion".  After seeming to be sequential, he then expresses the view that 2 Peter "arranges the virtues in a random order".  Thus we are left with what seems like confusion.  For more on Sorites see the section that follows.]

 

 

Mayor, J. B.  (1907, p. 90 & 91;  PDF p. 306, l. 37 & p. 307, l. 7).

(1)  "Faith is the foundation of a series of seven virtues, each of which is apparently described as rooted in the preceding."

 

"Since faith is the root of the Christian life . . . ,the other virtues may be said to be contained in it."

 

[The two sections of Mayor's comment seem to come down on both sides of the sequencing issue.  The first seems clearly to support the 2nd Peter sequencing.  The second section would seem to imply the latter virtues developing in almost any order, growing from faith.  The metaphor of being 'rooted' could be understood as either a locative or an instrumental.  It seems to place the agency in the virtue added, instead of the prior virtue.]

 

 

Mounce, R. H.  (1982, p. 109).

"One writer has suggested that instead of reading 'TO your faith add goodness' we should translate 'BY MEANS OF your faith develop goodness.'  While the interpretation is acceptable, it goes beyond what the text intends."

 

[Note that this is an unsupported assertion.]

 

 

Plummer, A. (1877-9A, p. 445, rt. col. l. 54).

"Each in this noble chain of virtues prepares the way for the next, and is supplemented and perfected by it.  It begins with faith, and it ends (like St. Paul's list of virtues, Col. iii. 12-14) with charity.  But we must not insist too strongly upon the order in the series, as being either logically or chronologically necessary.  It is natural order that is here given, but not the only one."

 

[He SEEMS to acknowledge the sequentiality of the virtues, but winds up being somewhat flexible about them in the final analysis.  Sounds sorta like the Peter Theory.]

 

 

Wuest, K. S.  (1973a, p. 23-24).

[Wuest begins by quoting Vincent.]  "The exhortation is that in the faith which the saints exercise in the Lord Jesus, they should provide for virtue.  The believer exercises faith in the Lord Jesus to supply his needs, to guide him along life's way.  He should also exercise faith for the generating of virtue in his inner being by the Holy Spirit."

 

[Wuest is somewhat unclear here.  This statement could be compatible with either the instrumental or the locative.  Instead of the 'faith' producing 'virtue', 'they' are providing it or it is being generated 'by the Holy Spirit'.  It could be that they/Holy Spirit, almost as an external agency, are placing the virtue within (locative) faith.  Yet, when the providing or generating is being done, 'the saints' are busy exercising their 'faith', so an instrumental could be understood.  Wuest is very firm supporting the sequencing of the 2nd Peter listing, though in the broader context of his comments.]

 

 

Some Commentators Treat The Case As Locative

 

Leaney, A. R. C.  (1967, p. 107).

"...just as the chorus already existed but needed supplementing with equipment, so FAITH is taken to exist already but to need supplementing."

 

 

Riley, W. B.  (1931, p. 196-197).

"I have noticed builders laying stone upon stone.  They were not content to smooth their surfaces and so fit them closely, but to make them fast they covered one with mortar and laid the other into that.  Just such an idea is in the original of our text.  It is not, 'Add to your faith virtue', as in the common version, but instead it is, 'lay virtue into your faith'."

 

 

Commentators Not Seeing A Sequence

 

Barnes, A.  (1848, PDF p. 251, l. 33, left).

"Add to your faith virtue - It is not meant in this verse and the following that we are to endeavor particularly to add these things one to another in the order in which they are specified, or that we are to seek first to have faith, and then to add to that virtue, and then to add knowledge to virtue rather than to faith, &c. The order in which this is to be done, the relation which one of these things may have to another, is not the point aimed at;  nor are we to suppose that any other order of the words would not have answered the purpose of the apostle as well, or that any one of the virtues specified would not sustain as direct a relation to any other, as the one which he has specified.  The design of the apostle is to say, in an emphatic manner, that we are to strive to possess and exhibit all these virtues;  in other words, we are not to content ourselves with a single grace, but are to cultivate all the virtues, and to endeavor to make our piety complete in all the relations which we sustain."  (emphasis in the original).

 

[I have respected Dr. Barnes for quite some time.  I have used his thinking in several different contexts.  On this occasion, however, I believe he's got it wrong.]

 

[It seems that he has understood the grammar associated with these verses.  He sets up the sequential interpretation as the straw man that he intends to demolish by stating:  ". . . we are to seek first to have faith, and then to add to that virtue, and then to add knowledge to virtue rather than to faith, etc."  He even seems to recognize this sequential interpretation is "the one which he has specified."  The word 'he' in the preceding quote seems to refer back to 'the apostle' which appears in a previous clause of the same sentence.]

 

[If Barnes is to disagree with 'the apostle', it would seem reasonable for him to explain why his understanding is to be preferred.  In the first sentence he states that ". . . It is not meant . . " to add the qualities sequentially.  Yet, this is a simple bald-faced assertion.  No rationale is given for it.  He then goes on to state that a sequential adding is ". . .  not the point aimed at . . ."  When he tells us that a sequential understanding is not what 'the apostle' intends to say, again, this is an unsupported statement.]

 

[He does provide a modest defense of his position by stating ". . .  any other order of the words would not have answered the purpose of the apostle as well . . ." (negative struck out to make the meaning of the double negative in the text read more clearly in this selection).  While one may wish to argue such a proposition, he has presented no evidence for this contention either.  My assumption is that the writers of the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit and that 2 Peter is part of the Scriptures.  If one is to disagree with the inspired apostle, compelling reasons for that disagreement are needed.  If Barnes wishes us to reject the clear, grammatical teaching of this passage, which he seems to understand as demonstrated above, he will have to present us with more than simple, unsupported assertions.]

 

[Also note that Barnes speculates that the 'design of the apostle' is that 'we are to strive to possess and exhibit all these virtues'.  It seems clear that Peter wishes us to exhibit all the virtues, as Barnes states, and doing so will not be undercut by following the sequence mandated in this passage.  So, doing what the apostle mandates and adding sequentially will meet the concern Barnes voices for acquiring all the qualities.]

 

 

Calvin, J.  (1855, PDF p. 372-373, l. 42).

“There is not here, however, properly a gradation as to the sense, though it appears as to the words; for love does not in order follow patience, nor does it proceed from it.  Therefore the passage is to be thus simply explained, 'Strive that virtue, prudence, temperance, and the things which follow, may be added to your faith.'"

 

[It seems that the contrast between “sense” and “words” may imply that this commentator has a clear understanding of the exegesis of the text (words) (acknowledging that the Greek describes a sequence) without having an understanding of the underlying spiritual dynamics (sense) (the sense of the passage).]

 

['love does not in order follow patience'  According to Peter, it does, though not directly.]

 

[Love and patience held to be non-sequential based upon what evidence?]

 

 

Coffman, J. B.  (1979, Text p. 5).

"Before leaving this, it should be noted that there is no mandate in these verses for adding these graces in the particular order of their appearance in the list. As Barnes observed, 'The order in which this is to be done is not the point at all.'"

 

[This author misquotes Barnes (1987, p. 251.)  'The order in which this is to be done, the relation which one of these things may have to another, is not the point aimed at;']

 

[Aside from the appeal to the authority of Albert Barnes, there is no argument articulated for why he takes this position.]

 

[When he says ‘there is no mandate . . . for adding these graces in the particular order’ he overlooks the imperative verb 'add' in verse 5 which commands us to do so.]

 

 

Cramer, G. H.  (1967, p. 90).

"Although Peter begins his scale or stock of graces with VIRTUE, this is not necessarily the first grace that the babe in Christ develops.  Some logical relationship may be inherent, and certainly virtue, moral power or vigor of soul, is basic to the developing of Christian graces."

 

[The phrase “Some logical relationship may be inherent” indicates a lack of understanding of how persons develop along this pathway.]

 

[The flexibility implied parallels the general theoretical perspective of the 2nd Peter theory.  See the discussion on the imperative verb driving the sequence.]

 

 

Cranfield, C. E. B.  (1960, p. 177).

"With regard to the list which follows it is probably right to decide with Calvin that there is no carefully worked out 'gradation as to the sense, though it appears as to the words; for love does not in order follow patience, nor does it proceed from it.'"

 

[Cranfield's use of the words 'probably right' seems to indicate uncertainty.]

 

[Comments on Calvin, above, apply here too.]

 

 

Davids, P. H.  (2011, p. 47).

"The order of virtues does not seem to be significant, although the number seven (including πίστις, 'commitment') may indicate a fully rounded virtuous character."

 

[Davids clearly does not think there is a sequentiality implied in the listing, but he provides no evidence for this position.  Also, he seems to have miscounted the number of virtues discussed in the text.]

 

 

James, M. R.  (1912, p.12;  PDF p. 76).

"ἐν. The force of the preposition is not clear.  It may import that each of the virtues named is to be infused or grafted into that which precedes.  But the order in which the virtues are set out does not seem to bear very strict investigation.  The base on which all is founded is belief in Christ, and the culmination is love to God and man.  The intermediate steps, we feel, might admit of variation or addition."

 

[The use of “not clear”, “may”, “seem”, and “we feel” indicates his uncertainty.  Note that he provides no rationale for his uncertainty.]

 

[The statement about the “intermediate steps” does parallel the general theoretical approach taken by the theory that the imperative can be disobeyed and the qualities added or not, in sequence or not.]

 

 

Lillie, J.  (1854, p. 4;  PDF p. 22).

"Each Christian grace lies contiguous to every other – (and hence great stress is not to be put on the order of enumeration) – though of the whole domain faith is the centre and citadel."

 

[Clearly anti-sequential, but little justification provided for his conclusion.]

 

 

Mayor, J. B.  (1907, Notes p. 91).

“Faith is the foundation of a series of seven virtues, each of which is apparently described as rooted in the preceding.”  [He later goes on to state]  "It is not quite so clear that each of the series is in like manner dependent on that which immediately precedes, though this would suit 1, 2, and 7."

 

[His first statement accepts an exegesis indicating sequentiality, and then undercuts this acceptance by indicating that he doesn't seem to see an underlying thread tying them together.]

 

['not quite so clear' and 'seem' indicate uncertainty.]

 

[Mayor's second use of the term 'series' probably should be read as 'each item of the series']

 

[Mayor considers Faith as the basis and considers the other seven virtues to be added to it, thus: 1 = Virtue, 2 = Knowledge, 7 = Agape]

 

 

Mayor, J. B.  (1907, Notes p. 91).

"In none of the longer biblical catalogues, whether of virtues or vices, does the arrangement seem to rest on any more distinct principle than that in our text."

 

[Mayor references Gal 5:22, 2 Cor 2:4, 1 Tim 6:11, & Rev 2:19 as the 'biblical catalogues'.]

 

[This statement seems unclear regarding whether 2 Peter has 'distinctness' vs. the others, or whether all are similarly not 'distinct'.  In his search for 'distinctness', Mayor, oddly, ignores the grammar of the text.]

 

[Mayor's seeming inability to find any 'distinct principle' in the 2 Peter list is exactly what the 2 Peter Theory is designed to provide.]

 

 

Mounce, R. H.  (1982, p. 109).

"The arrangement of the eight virtues is rhetorical.  They do not represent eight steps to be taken in that specific order.  Like the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 they are various facets of mature Christian character."

 

[This is a bald assertion with minimal support.]

 

[Also, the Greek text of the Beatitudes has no explicit, grammatical sequencing, so using it as a comparison for this issue would be inappropriate.]

 

 

Powers, D. G.  (2010, p.184).

"There seems to be no discernable (sic) logical or spiritual significance to the sequence.  'Only two virtues have a clearly intelligible place in the list:  pistis ('faith') in the first place, and agapē ('love') in last place' (Bauckham 1983, 185).  The other virtues are presented at random."

 

[This is a bald assertion with minimal support.]

 

 

Summary

 

It is the conclusion of this author that the 2 Peter list should be understood as a sequence of virtues.  Those authors that think otherwise tend to have weak arguments that compare 2 Peter to other lists that do not have explicit sequencing implied, or these authors cannot conceive how the virtues could be arranged in this fashion and make any spiritual sense.  One would have hoped that, if they were ignorant of what the author was trying to say by his sequencing, they would have accepted the sequencing that is obviously in the text and simply confessed their ignorance.

 

The reader is referred to the next section on Sorites that speaks directly to the concern expressed regarding this Greco-Roman rhetorical style by many of the commentators above that disagreed with sequentiality.