Fruitful in the Knowledge of the Lord
2 Peter 1:8
Knowledge is one of the themes of 2 Peter.
There are two Greek words for “knowledge” used here.
They both have the same root.
The word γνῶσις/gnō‘·sis is used here in 1:5-6; 3:18.
This is knowledge signified in general intelligence and understanding.
The word ἐπίγνωσις/ĕ·pig’·nō·sis is used in 1:2-3, 8; 2:20.
The prefix επι– is an intensifier.
So this is precise and correct knowledge.
“It is bringing me better acquainted with a thing I knew before; a more exact viewing of an object that I saw before afar off” (Trench).
It’s like the difference between seeing pictures of a place and actually visiting.
Another major theme of 2 Peter is concerning false doctrines.
With precise and correct knowledge, we will be much less likely to fall for such false teachings.
One can only reach precise and correct knowledge if they first have general understanding.
Preview: Benefits of Knowledge; Growing in Knowledge.
Benefits of Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις/ĕ·pig’·nō·sis).
Grace is multiplied to you in this knowledge (2 Pet. 1:2).
This starts out as a common greeting in letters at this time: grace and peace.
Then he goes on to say it is achieved through knowledge!
We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8), through unmerited favor.
Recall that a necessary component of grace is teaching (Tit. 2:11-12).
And when we are taught, our knowledge increases.
When we hear (taught) the word of God, faith comes.
While we are saved by grace, it is through faith that comes by hearing/being taught (Eph. 2:8).
Grace not only comes by knowledge, but can be multiplied by knowledge!
Peace is multiplied to you in this knowledge (2 Pet. 1:2).
There is a saying: “Ignorance is bliss” (Eccl. 1:18).
If you don’t know about a particular thing, you’re not going to worry about it.
How can both these ideas be true? Depends on the kind of knowledge!
Certainly those who are deep in the news might be more weary than those ignorant of political machinations.
But it’s the knowledge of the Lord that brings peace.
Because then you know how to please Him, how to make things right, how to do right.
Then you know about the grace of God that saves us.
You know you don’t have to be perfect, but you should work to make your “call and election sure.”
All that pertains to life and godliness come through knowledge (2 Pet. 1:3).
We will talk more about godliness later.
We cannot have access to the words of live before we know them.
Who has the words of life? Jesus (John 6:68).
This is spiritual life in Christ so that we are no longer separated from Him by our sin, but reconciled to God in Christ.
How can we know these words of life? Read and study them!
This can help us to increase our godliness as well.
Great and precious promises are given by this knowledge (2 Pet. 1:4).
These promises are so great that we can be partakers of the divine nature.
This is the nature of God and his righteousness and holiness.
By this knowledge, we can escape the sin and corruption that is in this world.
We will not be ignorant of the devices of devil, the way he tempts us (2 Cor. 2:11).
And we will be more likely to spot the way of escape the Lord promises us so that we may bear with temptation without succumbing (1 Cor. 10:13).
The means by which we escape the pollutions of this world (2 Pet. 2:20).
This world is polluted by sin and corruption.
We can escape it by knowing better, but we must also have a desire to do better.
There is the possibility of being entangled again in the lusts and pollution this world is littered with even with all the right knowledge.
Judas Iscariot was a disciple of Christ, sat with Him, ate with Him, learned from Him, witnessed all His miracles, and yet even someone such as he fell from grace.
Knowledge is vitally important, but without virtue (a desire to do right), it does your soul no good.
Growing in Knowledge (γνῶσις/gnō‘·sis).
Peter encourages his readers to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:14-18).
Why? One reason is so that you are not led away in the error of the wicked (2 Pet. 3:17).
It is the untaught (ignorant/unlearned) and unstable (unsteadfast) people who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16).
How do we grow in knowledge so that we are no longer ignorant?
How do we learn anything? We study it!
Back then they had knowledge given miraculously (1 Cor. 12:8).
Today we are to study that which was given miraculously—God’s Word.
When I first encountered the church of Christ and was converted, I described attending worship like I was going to school, except my soul depended on it.
That is not entirely accurate, but there are many similarities.
When we go to worship, we hear preaching, which is similar to a lecture, though they are typically more self-contained.
You can take notes to help you remember or study later.
Our Bible classes have more interaction, questions and comments are welcome, and typically build on one another.
All these are services for you to help you build your knowledge!
On top of that, we have our Ladies Bible Class every other Thursday.
There are gospel meetings and other events in the area we can go to.
There is Polishing the Pulpit and other lectureships every year as well.
If you ask, we can have a Bible study with you personally (and we might offer to have specific studies with you, too).
We want to help you add knowledge to your faith and virtue!
Some of us are practiced at studying.
Ultimately how you study depends on what works for you.
There are some typical ways in which we as humans learn.
As preachers in the Lord’s church, we are trained to present the message in a way that is easy to digest and remember.
We recognize there is a lot to learn, especially for those who are new.
But there’s an old riddle one of my high school teachers taught me: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It’s the same with any subject, including the Bible.
We try to break down complicated things into manageable and digestible pieces.
We utilize repetition as well, along with reading, asking questions, etc.
The good news is the final exam isn’t in a couple weeks—probably.
There will be plenty of tests and trials on the way, however.
You have the rest of your life to study, to train, to grow!
This is an expectation that God has of you.
Make growing in the knowledge of Him a priority in your life (Matt. 6:33).
Gaining knowledge (γνῶσις/gnō‘·sis) is one step to gaining knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις/ĕ·pig’·nō·sis).
Having a general understanding is one step to having precise and clear knowledge.
In your gaining of knowledge, you will become better acquainted with things you knew before.
For example, before today, I’m sure many of you knew about Jesus healing a leper, but how many of you considered the ramifications of Jesus touching one? Or what exactly biblical leprosy was?
You knew something of these things before, but now you are more acquainted, your knowledge is better and more complete than it was yesterday.
How does this knowledge help you? In many ways, but at the very least, it helps you have a better understanding of God’s Word.
Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις/ĕ·pig’·nō·sis) can be had when you possess all these traits (2 Pet 1:5-9).
You will be fruitful in the knowledge of Him.
Without them, you are shortsighted, perhaps even blind.
It’s like trying to go somewhere you’ve never been without directions or a GPS.
You simply don’t know where to go or how to get there.
Without that knowledge, you will get lost, never reaching your desired destination.
Without the knowledge of Christ, you will never reach Him.
Knowledge is so very important.
Hosea tells us that God’s people are destroyed .. why? (Hos. 4:6).
If we reject knowledge, go more for emotionalism, then He will reject us.
Knowledge is not the end-all-be-all, but without it we are lost.
Through knowledge, we …
Have grace and peace.
Have life and godliness.
Are assured of God’s promises.
Can escape the pollutions of this world.
Let us grow in knowledge so we can abound in these things.
Adding knowledge to virtue and faith helps us make our salvation assured.
We can then be fruitful in the knowledge of Him!
But this is only a step along the way—next week self-control!
We can know what the truth is—it will make us free (John 8:32).
Contained in that truth is what we must do to be saved.
Because of the grace He bestowed upon us, we have a responsibility to respond.
We respond by faith, a faith that motivates us to obey Him.
He tells us that if we believe in His gospel and are baptized we will be saved (Mark 16:16).
Now that you know, will you make things right with Him today?