2 Peter 1:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Peter 1:6, NIV: and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;

2 Peter 1:6, ESV: and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

2 Peter 1:6, KJV: And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

2 Peter 1:6, NASB: and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,

2 Peter 1:6, NLT: and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,

2 Peter 1:6, CSB: knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,

What does 2 Peter 1:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verses 3 and 4, Peter told us that Christians have, by faith, become participants in the divine nature. We are fully equipped to lead the lives God calls us to. Then in verse 5, he stated that we must "make every effort" to add a list of Christlike qualities to (or alongside of) our faith. Taken together, this list of qualities describe the life of a Christian who is participating in God's nature. As shown in this list, there is a logical order to these characteristics. Each one is a necessary requirement for the quality which follows.

First, since we have been equipped to live like Jesus, we must work to add goodness, or "moral excellence," to our faith. This means that we will work to do good, by God's power, in the world now, as Jesus would in our place. This goodness becomes the foundation for the rest of these qualities.

We are also to add knowledge. This is a deeper understanding of our God, through His Word, and prayer, and so forth, which informs our goodness. Merely wanting to do good is not enough; we must know what good is by knowing God.

Next, we must add self–control. Without the ability to control ourselves, our knowledge of good, and the desire to do it, are both worthless. Self-control is the moment-by-moment restraint of our urges. This is the ability to make the right choice, in those moments when temptation strikes us.

Then we must add perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to practice self–control over time. Our sprints of doing good turn into marathons. Our moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, day-by-day choices eventually turn into lifestyles. Perseverance is the ability to maintain self-control, even when the pressure of temptation continues to attack us.

Next, we add godliness. This keeps our goodness from being merely human goodness. This is godly goodness. This is a moral excellence which reflects the nature of God Himself instead of the temporary, earth–bound "goodness" of men.

Peter will continue to add links in this chain of spiritual growth in the next verse.