It is written:

2 Peter 1:5-7-But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

Peter here teaches us about some of the “Christian Graces” (as they are often called) which Christians must continue to add to their life. One of these graces is “virtue.”

The word translated here as virtue had some interesting meanings. First, it carried with it the idea of that which was morally excellent.

Wiersbe has noted:

“The first quality of character Peter listed was virtue. We met this word in 2 Peter 1: 3, and it basically means “excellence.” To the Greek philosophers, it meant “the fulfillment of a thing.” When anything in nature fulfills its purpose, that is “virtue—moral excellence.” The word was also used to describe the power of the gods to do heroic deeds. The land that produces crops is “excellent” because it is fulfilling its purpose. The tool that works correctly is “excellent” because it is doing what a tool is supposed to do. A Christian is supposed to glorify God because he has God’s nature within; so, when he does this, he shows “excellence” because he is fulfilling his purpose in life. True virtue in the Christian life is not “polishing” human qualities, no matter how fine they may be, but producing divine qualities that make the person more like Jesus Christ.” (Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Alert (2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude): Beware of the Religious Impostors 24 (Kindle Edition); Colorado Springs, CO; David C. Cook)

Moral excellence is something which is what we strive for as followers of Jesus.

The word also carried with it the meaning of courage.

Barclay has written:

“(2) To faith must be added what the Revised Standard Version calls virtue and we have called courage. The word is aretē; it is very rare in the New Testament, but it is the supreme Greek word for virtue in every sense of the term. It means excellence. There are two ways in which it may be understood. (a) Aretē is what we might call operative or efficient excellence. To take two examples of its usage from widely differing spheres–it can be used of land which is fertile; and it can be used of the mighty deeds of the gods. Aretē is that virtue which makes someone a good citizen and friend; it is that virtue which makes someone an expert in the technique of living a good life. (b) Aretē often means courage. The Greek historian and philosopher Plutarch says that God is a hope of aretē, not an excuse for cowardice. In 2 Maccabees, we read of how Eleazar died rather than be false to the laws of God and his ancestors; and the story ends by saying that in his death he left an example of noble courage (aretē) and a memorial of virtue, not only to the young, but also to the nation (2 Maccabees 6: 31). In this passage, it is not necessary to choose between these two meanings; they are both there.” (William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter (The New Daily Study Bible), 347-348 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press)

Christians must continue to grow in their courage in this world which is often so opposed to Jesus and His Word. We must not give in to fear in the face of hostile powers of darkness that would overwhelm us. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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