In 2003, I found out I was going to be a daddy. It was at the same time one of the happiest and scariest days of my life. I was excited at the prospect of being a father but also scared at the idea of having that much responsibility. I was working at the time for a call center doing technical support and I knew it was not a good enough job as far as pay and benefits. Therefore, I went back to school to study accounting. With the knowledge I gained, I was able to get a better job here in the Nashville area so that I could do a better job taking care of my family. The knowledge I gained improved my life. In a much more significant way the knowledge of God that I have acquired over the years since He graciously chose to call me to salvation has improved my life infinitely more. As we study this verse today, we will see that in contrast to false teaching and counterfeit knowledge, true knowledge of God is the greatest spiritual blessing we could receive.
I think it is important for us to notice that Peter writes in verse 3 that the spiritual blessings we are given come to us “…through the true knowledge of Him…” This “true knowledge” (Greek “epignosis” 1922) is not special, mystical knowledge that comes through human effort or contemplation as the false teachers who pestered these believers asserted. Rather, the knowledge that Peter refers to come as the result of God taking the initiative to reveal Himself to humans by the process of divine revelation. Peter says in the beginning of this verse that the source of our spiritual blessing from God is “His divine power”. The word divine translates the Greek word “theios” (2304) and it describes an attribute of God rather than His character in its essence or totality. In other words, we do not become little gods as some false teachers today proclaim. We become more like Jesus as we learn more and apply what we’ve learned but we are not going to ever be God. The source of His revelation was not only a revelation of His attributed but also a revelation of His supreme might. Peter uses a word “dunamis” (1411) which is translate here as “power”. The Greek word “dunamis” is the root word of dynamo, dynamite, and dynamic. It implies the ability to do something. God, in His power, reveled Himself to Moses who wrote the 1st five books of the Old Testament. Throughout the Bible, God took the initiative to reveal Himself to people until finally He revealed Himself in the perfect, Holy Scriptures. He revealed things that were going to happen before they happened. He comforted the hearts of the sorrowful. He proclaimed His holiness and the penalty for sin. He did all of this according to His “divine power” when He revealed Himself in Scripture. In fact, His divine power still works through scripture today as He continues to convict people of their sins and draw them to Himself.
Peter goes on to describe the scope of the blessing we have from God. He says that God’s divine power has given us “everything that pertains to life and godliness”. The Christian does not lack the resources needed to live a life pleasing to God. God has held nothing back. In the context in which Peter wrote this, we should remember that the false teachers were telling people that there was special or secret knowledge that they needed to really be godly. You could almost say it was the Bible plus other stuff. Peter is saying here that God’s revelation is complete and that a believer, having that revelation, does not posses an inferior or second class knowledge for which some sort of additional education is needed. Peter says that God has given all believers “everything” needed for “life and godliness”.
I once heard someone say that “When all else fails, read the instructions”. The Bible was not just given so that we could fill up bookshelves and blogs writing about it or so preachers would have something to do between rounds of golf. God revealed Himself in scripture so that you and I would know how to live. More importantly, as Peter write, we will know how to live a godly life. We see the holiness and righteousness of God. We read about the punishment for sin. We see the mistakes of men and women in scripture who failed to make God honoring choices as an example of what not to do. Finally, we see the times when people made choices that honored the Lord and we are encouraged to follow in their footsteps. Throughout the pages of scripture, we see practical admonition and examples, both positive and negative, that apply to our everyday life. As we read and study scripture, we see that we do truly have “everything pertaining to life and godliness”. We can praise God that He took the initiative to reveal Himself to us by “His divine power”.
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible Copyright 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.