2-Peter - 1:9

9 For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 2-Peter 1:9.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.
For he that hath not these things with him, is blind, and groping, having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
for he with whom these things are not present is blind, short-sighted, and has forgotten the purging of his former sins.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purified from his old sins.
for he with whom these things are not present is blind, dim-sighted, having become forgetful of the cleansing of his old sins;
But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
For the man in whom they are lacking is blind and cannot see distant objects, in that he has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his old sins.
For the man who has not these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having no memory of how he was made clean from his old sins.
For he who does not have these things at hand is blind and groping, being forgetful of his purification from his former offenses.
Surely the person who has not these virtues is shortsighted even to blindness, and has chosen to forget that they have been purified from their sins of the past!

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

But he that lacketh these things. He now expresses more clearly that they who profess a naked faith are wholly without any true knowledge. He then says that they go astray like the blind in darkness, because they do not see the right way which is shewn to us by the light of the gospel. [1] This he also confirms by adding this reason, because such have forgotten that through the benefit of Christ they had been cleansed from sin, and yet this is the beginning of our Christianity. It then follows, that those who do not strive for a pure and holy life, do not understand even the first rudiments of faith. But Peter takes this for granted, that they who were still rolling in the filth of the flesh had forgotten their own purgation. For the blood of Christ has not become a washing bath to us, that it may be fouled by our filth. He, therefore, calls them old sins, by which he means, that our life ought to be otherwise formed, because we have been cleansed from our sins; not that any one can be pure from every sin while he lives in this world, or that the cleansing we obtain through Christ consists of pardon only, but that we ought to differ from the unbelieving, as God has separated us for himself. Though, then, we daily sin, and God daily forgives us, and the blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins, yet sin ought not to rule in us, but the sanctification of the Spirit ought to prevail in us; for so Paul teaches us in 1-Corinthians 6:11, "And such were some of you; but ye are washed," etc.


1 - "He is blind, (manu palpans) stroking with the hand," is Calvin's; the Vulgate is manu tentans, "feeling with the hand:" but the original word means, "closing the eyes," according to the Greek grammarians, Hesychius and Suidas: "He is blind, closing his eyes." -- Ed.

But he that lacketh these things is blind - He has no clear views of the nature and the requirements of religion.
And cannot see afar off - The word used here, which does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, (μυωπάζων muōpazōn,) means to shut the eyes; i. e., to contract the eyelids, to blink, to twinkle, as one who cannot see clearly, and hence to be "near-sighted." The meaning here is, that he is like one who has an indistinct vision; one who can see only the objects that are near him, but who has no correct apprehension of objects that are more remote. He sees but a little way into the true nature and design of the gospel. He does not take those large and clear views which would enable him to comprehend the whole system at a glance.
And hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins - He does not remember the obligation which grows out of the fact that a system has been devised to purify the heart, and that he has been so far brought under the power of that system as to have his sins forgiven. If he had any just view of that, he would see that he was under obligation to make as high attainments as possible, and to cultivate to the utmost extent the Christian graces.

But he that lacketh these things - He, whether Jew or Gentile, who professes to have Faith in God, and has not added to that Faith fortitude, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and universal love; is blind - his understanding is darkened, and cannot see afar off, μυωπαζων, shutting his eyes against the light, winking, not able to look truth in the face, nor to behold that God whom he once knew was reconciled to him: and thus it appears he is wilfully blind, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins - has at last, through his nonimprovement of the grace which he received from God, his faith ceasing to work by love, lost the evidence of things not seen; for, having grieved the Holy Spirit by not showing forth the virtues of him who called him into his marvellous light, he has lost the testimony of his sonship; and then, darkness and hardness having taken place of light and filial confidence, he first calls all his former experience into doubt, and questions whether he has not put enthusiasm in the place of religion. By these means his darkness and hardness increase, his memory becomes indistinct and confused, till at length he forgets the work of God on his soul, next denies it, and at last asserts that the knowledge of salvation, by the remission of sins, is impossible, and that no man can be saved from sin in this life. Indeed, some go so far as to deny the Lord that bought them; to renounce Jesus Christ as having made atonement for them; and finish their career of apostasy by utterly denying his Godhead. Many cases of this kind have I known; and they are all the consequence of believers not continuing to be workers together with God, after they had experienced his pardoning love.
Reader, see that the light that is in thee become not darkness; for if it do, how great a darkness!

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and (i) cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
(i) He that has not an effectual knowledge of God in him, is blind concerning the kingdom of God, for he cannot see things that are afar off, that is to say, heavenly things.

But he that lacketh these things,.... Or in, and with whom, they are not; that is, these virtues, as the Arabic version reads, as faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity; where the principles of those things are not, and they are not exercised and performed, such an one
is blind: let him boast ever so much of his light and knowledge, and value himself upon it, and expect to be saved by it, let him live as he will; for he has no true knowledge of God, as in Christ, as the God of all grace, as his covenant God and Father; nor does he know what it is to have communion with him in Christ; he only professes to know him in words, while in works he denies him; nor has he any right knowledge of Christ, only notional and general, not spiritual, experimental, particular, and practical; he does not see the Son, so as truly to believe in him; he has no true sight of his beauty, suitableness, and fulness, and of him for himself; nor any experience of the work of the Spirit of God upon his heart, whom he neither receives, sees, nor knows spiritually, any more than the world itself does; nor does he see the plague of his own heart, the corruptions of his nature, and the exceeding sinfulness of sin; nor has he any true spiritual light into the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, only a form of godliness, without the power of it: and therefore, whatever natural understanding of things he has, he is spiritually blind,
and cannot see afar off: at least, not the good land that is afar off, the kingdom of heaven; the invisible glories of the other world; things that are not seen, which are eternal, which one that has true faith has a glimpse and sight of; nor Christ, who is in heaven at the right hand of God, and the things of Christ, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, carried within the vail; nor even what is within himself, the sins of his heart, the pollution of his nature, and the evil that dwells there; he sees not that he is poor, and wretched, and miserable, but fancies himself to be rich, and in need of nothing; he sees nothing but outward things, the things of time and sense, worldly and earthly things, which are near him, and all around him, which he minds, on which his heart is set, and he pursues with rigour. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "trying with the hand", as blind men do, feeling and groping to find the way; see Acts 17:27,
and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins; not by baptism, from the sins committed before it, for that does not purge from any sins, old or new, but that which it leads the faith of believers to, for pardon and cleansing, even the blood of Christ; but this also, and purification by it, is not meant here, though generally interpreters give this as the sense, and understanding it of the sin of ingratitude in such a person, who had received so great a benefit by Christ, and was unmindful of it; since it cannot be thought that one so described as above should ever have had his conscience purged by the blood of Christ from his old sins, or those before conversion, unless it be by profession; and then the sense is, that he has forgotten that he once professed to have been purged from all his sins by Christ; which, if he had, would have made him zealous of good works, and put him upon glorifying Christ both in body and spirit. The Ethiopic version renders it, "and he hath forgot to purge himself from old sins"; which he would have been concerned for, had he had a true and spiritual knowledge of Christ, and his Gospel, and an application of the exceeding great and precious promises of it, or had been made a partaker of the divine nature through them; see 2-Corinthians 7:1, but the words are better rendered agreeably to the original text, "and hath forgotten the purification of his old, or former sins"; or "sins of old"; as they are rendered by the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; that is, he does not consider, nor think of it, that he was a sinner of old, a sinner in Adam, that he was conceived and shapen in sin, and went astray, and was called a transgressor from the womb; he does not think that he stands in any need of being purged from former sins; and is entirely unmindful of, and neglects, the purification of them by the blood of Christ.

But--Greek, "For." Confirming the need of these graces (2-Peter 1:5-8) by the fatal consequences of the want of them.
he that lacketh--Greek, "he to whom these are not present."
blind--as to the spiritual realities of the unseen world.
and cannot see afar off--explanatory of "blind." He closes his eyes (Greek) as unable to see distant objects (namely, heavenly things), and fixes his gaze on present and earthly things which alone he can see. Perhaps a degree of wilfulness in the blindness is implied in the Greek, "closing the eyes," which constitutes its culpability; hating and rebelling against the light shining around him.
forgotten--Greek, "contracted forgetfulness," wilful and culpable obliviousness.
that he was purged--The continually present sense of one's sins having been once for all forgiven, is the strongest stimulus to every grace (Psalm 130:4). This once-for-all accomplished cleansing of unbelievers at their new birth is taught symbolically by Christ, John 13:10, Greek, "He that has been bathed (once for all) needeth not save to wash his feet (of the soils contracted in the daily walk), but is clean every whit (in Christ our righteousness)." "Once purged (with Christ's blood), we should have no more consciousness of sin (as condemning us, Hebrews 10:2, because of God's promise)." Baptism is the sacramental pledge of this.

He that lacketh these things. The qualities named in 2-Peter 1:5-7.
Is blind. Shows that he has a defective moral vision.
Cannot see afar off. Is short sighted; does not see what his future good requires.
Hath forgotten. If he could remember how he was cleansed from his own sinful state, he would show greater diligence lest he should again fall into sin.
Wherefore . . . the more diligence. Diligence to the end is needful in order to salvation.
Calling and election. The calling is first in order; the election comes when we accept the call.
Sure. Our own efforts are needed to make them sure.
For if ye do these things. Those named above. Thus we will make the "calling and election sure." For then we shall never fall.
An abundant entrance. We will be richly prepared for entrance.
Into the eternal kingdom. The heavenly kingdom.

But he that wanteth these - That does not add them to his faith. Is blind - The eyes of his understanding are again closed. He cannot see God, or his pardoning love. He has lost the evidence of things not seen. Not able to see afar off - Literally, purblind. He has lost sight of the precious promises: perfect love and heaven are equally out of his sight. Nay, he cannot now see what himself once enjoyed. Having, as it were, forgot the purification from his former sins - Scarce knowing what he himself then felt, when his sins were forgiven.

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