The book of 2 Peter focuses on false teachers and heretical teachings that infiltrate the church. It is an epistle that warns and instructs believers to fend off destructive theology.
After reading through the book, I suddenly realized that the epistle begins and concludes with the same kind of exhortation.
“ Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,” (2 Peter 1:2)
“…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ means to grow in knowing doctrine. It means studying the word and having a good grasp of the correct doctrine. This is essential to being able to detect false teaching. It is like being armed with the right weapons and knowing how to use them. If you don’t have the right weapons and don’t know how to use those weapons, you cannot defend your position.
Commentators say the word “knowledge” is used in this epistle in different forms about 16 times, and the book is only 3 chapters long!
I love how Spurgeon comments on the passage in 2 Peter chapter 1.
Study well the Scriptures, and get knowledge; for a knowledge of doctrine will tend very much to confirm faith. Try to understand God’s Word; let it dwell in thy heart richly.
And we see that God has provided everything we need in His Word, to be equipped to serve Him and defend our faith:
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Now, notice a particular word used in verse 5. It says “give all diligence“.
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
The Greek word for diligence used here is spoudē (σπουδή). The first meaning of this word is actually “to hasten, haste”. So the apostle Peter is urging all readers to “hurry up” and not neglect these aspects of spiritual growth. And look how beautifully interconnected the Word of God is- the apostle Paul uses the same exact Greek root word when he writes to Timothy exhorting him to waste no time in gaining a good grasp of doctrine:
“Be diligent (spoudazō; σπουδάζω = make haste) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
We live in increasingly evil days. There are many false teachings invading the church. As a believer you cannot be neutral on these issues. You have to take a side, and it must be the side of truth.
A wise man once said:
“Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right, and almost right.” – C. Spurgeon