"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness". 2 Peter 1:3 NIV

"...who called us to his own glory and excellence". 2 Peter 1:3 ESV

What are the considerations for the Greek "idia" to be best translated either "to" or "by"?

I think "called..to" suggests destiny. And "called..by" the effective means.

[Personal note: my church has recently gone from NIV to ESV].


The text of 2 Peter 1:3 is divided (see UBS5/NA28 for details) between the readings

  • UBS5/NA28: ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ = to/by His own glory and excellence
  • W&H, Byzantine, Orthodox, TR: διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀρετῆς = via/by His own glory and excellence

The textual evidence is not conclusive as UBS5 regards their chosen reading as {B} = confident but not certain. However, I do not believe that it is really essential to decide between these two alternatives because both are consistent with NT theology as demonstrated by 2 Cor 3:18 -

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

  • Phil 2:5 - Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:
  • Heb 12:2, 3 - Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
  • 1 Cor 2:16 - “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
  • Col 3:1-4 - Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Note that these verse teach two things:

(a) that Jesus draws us toward Himself (if we are willing) and the imitation of His life and character

(b) we are transformed into that character of Jesus by beholding the perfect of Jesus via the miracle of the Holy Spirit

This is all contained in the 2 Peter 1:3 - we are called BY the His glory and excellence toward that glory and excellence. BOTH are intended.


He has called us "by" or "to" his own glory in 2 Peter 1:3?

The difference is due to manuscript variations.


Some MSS. give the simple dative of the instrument (ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ), and others the preposition with the genitive (διὰ δόξης).

At https://biblehub.com/2_peter/1-3.htm, 18 versions use "by" and only 3 use "to".

2 Peter 1:3 NIV:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.


who called us to his own glory and excellence

OP: I think "called..to" suggests destiny. And "called..by" the effective means.

Both can be justified theologically. I prefer ESV in this case. Later in the same chapter:

17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Jesus received glory. We are to receive this same glory by being the children of God. ESV is better than NIV for this interpretation. We are destined to Jesus' glory.

  • I appreciate your answer+1. Can we still make a judgement and have reasons for a preference?
    – C. Stroud
    Oct 1 at 14:34
  • Good follow-up. I added.
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 1 at 14:55

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