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I have a question regarding the first sentence of 2 Peter 1:19:

καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον
We have also a more sure word of prophecy.

In my understanding, the natural and literal way to translate this sentence would be: "And we have the prophetic word as a sure thing..." However, it seems that all the reputed translations add the word "more": "a more sure word.." What is the reason for adding it to the phrase though the word "more" has no trace in the greek text?

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  • This seems to me like a "Greek question". The answer is very useful to me, so I am thankful, but not sure yet what to think.
    – Jesse
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 12:52

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The issue in 2 Peter 1:19 is how to translate βεβαιότερον (bebaioteron) from the root "bebaios", an advective meaning sure, secure, steadfast, secure.

The word at hand is βεβαιότερον which is an adjective - Accusative Masculine Singular - Comparative form and so must be translated "more sure".

(Recall that adjectives like this could be "certain", "more certain", or "most certain". Here we have the second case, of more certain.)

Thus, we have various translations of this word as:

  • NIV: Completely reliable
  • ESV: more fully confirmed
  • BSB: confirmed beyond doubt (this version is a bit of a stretch)
  • BLB: more certain
  • NASB: more sure
  • CSB: strongly confirmed (this is also a stretch)
  • CEV: even more certain
  • WBT: more sure
  • YLT: more firm etc.

One assumes that if Peter is using a comparative adjective, we must ask, More certain than what? It is presumably the "myths" of v16. That, is, believers that Peter was addressing have greater certainty of truth (than cleverly devised myths) because of the personal witness of the apostles which is made even more certain by the prophetic word.

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