Eight Ways to Increase Our Effectiveness in Christ-Part Three
2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Let’s continue our look at 2 Peter 1:5-9. So far, we studied about how our faith in Jesus provides the foundation upon which we build everything else and added an understanding of what virtue means. If you missed those lessons, you can read them here or here.
The next quality we should add to faith and virtue is knowledge. Although, we use this word interchangeably with understanding and wisdom, there are some differences.
Knowledge normally refers to information or facts. Understanding takes the knowledge and illuminates it, like the proverbial light bulb turning on when information is comprehended and goes deeper than head knowledge. Finally, we have wisdom which applies the understanding. In looking at the concordance, the meaning in 2 Peter 1:5 appears to more closely align with understanding.
However, whether knowledge or understanding, both words indicate a need to study God’s word. By reading and studying the Bible, we grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him and how we are to conduct our lives. Without spending time in Scripture, we can’t learn about our Creator and Savior. Yet, that is what this verse commands if we are to live effective lives for Him.
Depending on what we read, it can be difficult to understand certain passages of Scripture. It often helps to study with other believers or to use Bible study books or online tools to assist in a deeper understanding of His Word. Additionally, studying with others helps keep our perspective balanced. We don’t want to risk taking verses and twisting them to suit our desires when that is not what God intended. Studying with mature Christians often provides that balance. And should always ask the Holy Spirit to help us clearly understand a passage's meaning.
It also helps to study a little at a time and not take on too much at once. Starting out by studying more complex passages or large sections of text can quickly overwhelm us. Starting small, reflecting on what we are learning, and then how we can apply it in our lives yields greater returns for increasing our effectiveness for Christ than handling too much at once.
I encourage you in the coming week, to stay committed to daily study of God’s Word. Or if you are currently not doing so, start now. Even a few verses a day can help us grow and learn more about who God is and how He wants us to live. Every minute will be worth the effort.
Next week we will study the fourth quality that supplements our faith – self-control. I hope you will join me.