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2 Peter Sequence Exegesis Preface

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End Notes

02.4.0

The goal of this section is to describe the Grammar of the Greek text of 2 Peter 1:5-7.  It is hoped that, once you have read and appreciated the 'pearls' contained within, you will be convinced that the original language the text was written in clearly delineates a sequence of Christian Spiritual growth.

 

We will begin by discussing the Cases that the terms appear in.  Unlike English, that specifies the roles each word plays in a sentence via word-position, the Greek language, like many of the Romance Languages, uses various endings on the words to specify their roles in the sentence.  By understanding these roles better we will better understand what Peter was trying to communicate.  Specifically, the 2 Peter sequence is composed of seven pairs of 'virtues'.  Each pair is composed of one Dative and one Accusative.  This author proposes that the Instrumental of Means is the best understanding of the first term in each pair, the Dative, though the Locative of Sphere would also work.  The Accusative of Direct Object is seen as the only tenable option for understanding the second term of each pair.  Such a rendering would result in a description of each pair that specifies that the first term (the Dative) of each pair would be the means by which the second term (the Accusative) would be produced.  Such an understanding would clearly result in a sequence.

 

After considering the Cases of the terms, we will then turn to a consideration of the Definite Articles that precede each of the nouns in the passage.  These articles are cast in cases identical to those discussed above.  As a result, the understanding of the cases arrived at from the 'virtues' listed should also be applied to their definite articles.

 

Immediately before each pair is presented, the Greek word ἐν is presented.  The third section will consider this word.  We find that the use of the Instrumental in the Datives would lead this word to be translated as 'by'.  Thus we are left with an interpretation of each pair of terms as:  'by your faith add virtue', and so forth throughout the entire listing.

 

Between each pair of terms the Greek particle δέ appears.  This seems best translated as 'and'.  As this particle appears between each pair of terms, it would be best understood as saying that: 'add the first pair and then add the second pair and then add the third pair, . . .'  This construction teaches that each pair of terms is to be linked to all the other pairs listed.  Everything is bound together and is not separable.

 

Taken as a whole, this passage of Scripture is so grammatically constrained and repetitive in style that is has been regularly described as 'wooden'.  It is rigid in it's grammar and inflexible in it's usage.  Stilted is another word that comes to mind.  However one describes it, it is clear that Peter was very concrete and clear in his use of grammar in order to specify that these terms are to form a sequence of growth from the foundation of Faith in Christ to the heights of Christian Love.

 

The reader will also find a discussion of the meaning and implications of the single verb present in this passage, 'add'.  As a result, it's action is to be undertaken across all seven of the pairs of 'virtues'.  It will be noted that this term means to 'supply abundantly' and is in the imperative case.  Being an imperative implies that one is commanded by the Lord to do what is asked.  Even so, one is free to decide how to respond to this command.  This command is in the realm of Moral Law and not Natural Law.  It is clear that we should be active in 'adding' these 'virtues' in our lives.

 

Following all this you will find several pages of Comment by a wide variety of theologians.  Various essays are also included to provide you, the reader, with further insight into several of the points made in this section.  One of these essays specifically clarifies modern concern about this passage regarding the possible use of the rhetorical 'Sorites'.  Specifically, it will explain why this is ultimately not an issue in this situation and concludes that the 2 Peter sequence is intended to be just that, a sequence.

 

 

 

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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023