2 Peter 1:16-18

2 Peter 1:16-18
Trinity Sunday – A Women’s Lectionary


16 For we did not followA cleverly devisedB mythsC when we made known to you the powerD and comingE of our LordF JesusG Christ,H but we had been eyewitnessesI of his majesty.J

Notes on verse 16

A “follow” = exakoloutheo. 3x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + akoloutheo (follow, accompany on the path with; to follow, particularly as disciple) {from a (with) + keleuthos (road or way)}. This is to follow, imitate, obey, of yield to. It includes following a leader’s example and/or authority.
B “cleverly devised” = sophizo. 2x in NT. From sophos (wise, clever, skilled, learned, cultivated); related to saphes (clear). This is to instruct or give wisdom. Here, it is forming sophisms, which means going forward with errors that seem reasonable on the surface.
C “myths” = muthos. 5x in NT. Perhaps from the same as mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth). This is a story, idle tale, or myth. It could be a word or a saying. It could be a true narrative or an invented tale or even a falsehood. This is where the word “myth” comes from.
D “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
E “coming” = parousia. From pareimi (to be present, have come) {from para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + eimi (to be, exist)}. This is presence, coming, arrival, advent. Properly, it was the term for an official visit of a king or someone else with formal authority. It is used specifically in the New Testament to refer to Jesus’s second coming.  
F “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
G “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
H “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
I “eyewitnesses” = epoptes. 1x in NT. From epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + horao (to see, experience, perceive, to stare at or discern). This is an on-looker, spectator, or eyewitness.
J “majesty” = megaleiotes. 3x in NT. From megaleios (magnificent, splendid, grand, perfection); from megas (great or large in a literal or figurative sense). This is splendor, magnificence, being superb, majesty, greatness, or glory.

17 For he received honorK and gloryL from GodM the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the MajesticN Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved,O with whom I am well pleased.”P 18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven,Q while we were with him on the holyR mountain.

Notes on verses 17-18

K “honor” = time. From tino (to pay, be punished, pay a penalty or fine because of a crime); from tio (to pay respect, value). This has to do with worth or something’s perceived value. Literally, it means price, but figuratively, it means the honor or value one sees in someone or something else. It can be esteem or dignity. It can also mean precious or valuables.
L “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
M “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
N “Majestic” = megaloprepes. Related to “majesty” in v16. 1x in NT. From megas (see note J above) + prepo (what is fitting or proper, suitable). This is literally “that which is fitting of one who is great.” So, it can be magnificent, superb, sublime, excellent, transcendent, etc.
O “Beloved” = agapetos. From agape (love, goodwill, benevolence; God’s divine love); from agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is Beloved or very dear one. It is a title for the Messiah, but also for Christians. Properly, this is one who personally experiences God’s love.
P “am well pleased” = eudokeo. Related to “glory” in v17. From eu (good, well, well done) + dokeo (see note L). This is to think well of, to be pleased or resolved. Properly, this is what someone finds good or acceptable – approving of some action or generally thinking well of.
Q “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
R “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

Image Credit: West Window depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus, from St. Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam, Co. Galway, Ireland.

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