- In the course of this quarter, we have delved into the meanings of a number of Christian attributes. We have discovered that individually they are important facets of Christian character. We began the series with lessons on humility, forgiveness, and obedience. However, for the purpose of this overview, we will focus on the subjects mentioned in our text in Peter.
- Considering the key verse, why are the attributes mentioned in our text so important?
- What does it mean to be barren and unfruitful?
- Why was faith the first attribute that Peter mentioned—the one to which he admonishes us to add the others?
- The definition of virtue, as used when the King James version of the Bible was translated, includes “courage and spiritual fortitude.” Why would Peter have felt it necessary to add this characteristic after one has established his faith through an experience of salvation?
- Peter admonishes the Christian to add “knowledge.” What is one way this knowledge is acquired? See John 5:39 and Romans 15:4. How does it apply to Christian growth?
- One who gets too involved in study can be on dangerous ground (Ecclesiastes 12:12). How can “temperance” in our lives be of value? Cite some possible dangers in carrying the studying or gaining of knowledge to an extreme.
- We read in James 1:4, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” In what way might temperance and patience be connected?
- How can we, as mere human beings, possess and demonstrate godliness? Name some of the qualities of this attribute.
- The term “brotherly kindness” implies the exhibiting of love toward our brother. How would you differentiate this from the “charity” which is mentioned in verse 7 of our text as the final ingredient in Peter’s formula?
- When followed completely, how does the formula given in our text produce a fruit-bearing Christian? What is it about these particular qualities, when well-balanced within a life, that makes them an influence on others?
- To what extent are the instructions of this lesson optional?
The Apostle Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has given us a formula. We read: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” It is promised that “if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8). With a promise such as this, we would do well to dig deep into the full meanings of these qualities. We, as Christians, must add them to our spiritual character so we can fulfill Christ’s charge to us to bring forth fruit.
It is possible that Peter presented these attributes in an intended progression. Taking these attributes as a basis for our quarter, we have included several others which are important to the development of Christian character.
As you study each of these lessons, be aware of how these attributes overlap and build on each other.