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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Lessons from the Epistles of Peter (II)

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Lesson 2 Sabbath, July 13, 2024

Diligently Ascending the Ladder

MEMORY TEXT: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness” (2 Peter 1:5, 6).

“Peter presents to us the ladder of true sanctification, the base of which rests upon the earth, while the topmost round reaches to the throne of the Infinite. We cannot with one effort reach the topmost round of this ladder. We must climb round after round. It is in this struggle that we are in danger of becoming dizzy, and fainting and falling, unless we keep our eyes upward, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”—The Review and Herald, December 1, 1885.

Suggested Reading:   The Ministry of Healing, pp. 497-502

Sunday July 7


a. What step follows when diligently building our faith? 2 Peter 1:5 (first part).

“After receiving the faith of the gospel, our first work is to seek to add virtuous and pure principles, and thus cleanse the mind and heart for the reception of true knowledge.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 552.

“It is a continual struggle to be always on the alert to resist evil; but it pays to obtain one victory after another over self and the powers of darkness. . . .

“Without pure, unsullied virtue, none can ever rise to any honorable eminence. But noble aspirations and the love of righteousness are not inherited. Character cannot be bought; it must be formed by stern efforts to resist temptation. The formation of a right character is the work of a lifetime, and is the outgrowth of prayerful meditation united with a grand purpose. The excellence of character that you possess must be the result of your own effort. Friends may encourage you, but they cannot do the work for you. Wishing, sighing, dreaming, will never make you great or good. You must climb. Gird up the loins of your mind, and go to work with all the strong powers of your will.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 87.

Monday July 8


a. Describe the type of knowledge we are called to attain in ascending Peter’s ladder. 2 Peter 1:5 (last part); John 17:3.

“The apostle presents before the believers the ladder of Christian perfection, every step of which represents continual advancement in the knowledge of God, and in the climbing of which there is to be no standstill. . . .

“Having received the faith of the gospel, the next work of the believer is to add to his character virtue, and thus cleanse the heart and prepare the mind for the reception of the knowledge of God. This knowledge is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation; and it is this alone that can make one like God in character. Through the knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, are given to the believer ‘all things that pertain unto life and godliness.’ No good gift is withheld from him who sincerely desires to obtain the righteousness of God.”—The Review and Herald, September 19, 1912.

“We must learn of Christ. We must know what He is to those He has ransomed. We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, and so escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity. . . .

“As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good. Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we cooperate with God in overcoming Satan’s temptations. God works, and man works, that man may be one with Christ as Christ is one with God.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 943.

b. Name a second kind of knowledge necessary in Christian growth. Psalm 77:6; 2 Corinthians 13:5.

“In order to receive help from Christ, we must realize our need. We must have a true knowledge of ourselves. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. Only as we see our utter helplessness and renounce all self-trust, shall we lay hold on divine power.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 316.

Tuesday July 9


a. Upon what subject do inspired teachers of the Gospel dwell? Acts 24:24, 25; Philippians 4:5.

“I spoke to the people about one hour and a half upon Peter’s ladder of sanctification consisting of eight rounds. I dwelt upon temperance and the importance of parents’ teaching their children self-denial, and self-control, guarding the appetite and taste from indulgence at the expense of mental, moral, and physical strength.

“The lessons upon self-control and self-denial are to be received by education, in childhood and youth. The appetite is to be restrained and educated, and this is the responsible work that devolves upon parents. The youth in generations past have been the index to society.

“If parents had done their duty in spreading the table with wholesome food, discarding irritating and stimulating substances, and at the same time had taught their children self-control, and educated their characters to develop moral power, we should not now have to handle the lion of intemperance. After habits of indulgence have been formed, and grown with their growth and strengthened with their strength, how hard then for those who have not been properly trained in youth to break up their wrong habits and learn to restrain themselves and their unnatural appetites. How hard to teach such ones and make them feel the necessity of Christian temperance, when they reach maturity. The temperance lessons should commence with the child rocked in the cradle.”—The Review and Herald, May 11, 1876.

b. What is next in the ladder—and why? 2 Peter 1:6 (first part).

“God gives man no permission to violate the laws of his being. But man, through yielding to Satan’s temptations to indulge intemperance, brings the higher faculties in subjection to the animal appetites and passions, and when these gain the ascendency, man, who was created a little lower than the angels, with faculties susceptible of the highest cultivation, surrenders to the control of Satan. And he gains easy access to those who are in bondage to appetite. Through intemperance, some sacrifice one-half, and others two-thirds, of their physical, mental, and moral powers. Those who would have clear minds to discern Satan’s devices, must have their physical appetites under the control of reason and conscience. The moral and vigorous action of the higher powers of the mind is essential to the perfection of Christian character.”—The Health Reformer, March 1, 1878.

Wednesday July 10


a. How does temperance lead to the next essential quality in the ladder? 2 Peter 1:6 (middle section); Luke 21:19.

“Any habit or practice which will weaken the nerve and brain power or the physical strength disqualifies for the exercise of the next grace which comes in after temperance—patience. . . .

“A man who is intemperate, who uses stimulating indulgences—beer, wine, strong drinks, tea and coffee, opium, tobacco, or any of these substances that are deleterious to health—cannot be a patient man. So temperance is a round of the ladder upon which we must plant our feet before we can add the grace of patience. In food, in raiment, in work, in regular hours, in healthful exercise, we must be regulated by the knowledge which it is our duty to obtain that we may, through earnest endeavor, place ourselves in right relation to life and health.”—Our High Calling, p. 69.

b. How does temperance aid in the development of patience—and why are both so important in the last days of earth’s history? Revelation 14:12.

“The abuses of the stomach by the gratification of appetite are the fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. And this is a fruitful source of church trials. Therefore in order for the people of God to be in an acceptable state with Him, where they can glorify Him in their bodies and spirits which are His, they must with interest and zeal deny the gratification of their appetites, and exercise temperance in all things. Then may they comprehend the truth in its beauty and clearness, and carry it out in their lives, and by a judicious, wise, straightforward course give the enemies of our faith no occasion to reproach the cause of truth.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 618, 619.

Thursday July 11


a. What is the exercise of patience to develop in us? 2 Peter 1:6 (last part).

“Impatience brings strife and accusation and sorrow; but patience pours the balm of peace and love into the experiences of the home life. When we exercise the precious grace of patience toward others, they will reflect our spirit, and we shall gather with Christ. Patience will seek for unity in the church, in the family, and in the community. This grace must be woven into our lives. Every one should mount this round of progress, and add to faith, virtue, and temperance, the grace of patience.

“ ‘And to patience, godliness.’ Godliness is the fruit of Christian character. If we abide in the Vine, we shall bear the fruits of the Spirit. The life of the Vine will manifest itself through the branches. We must have a close and intimate connection with heaven, if we bear the grace of godliness. Jesus must be a guest in our homes, a member of our households, if we reflect His image and show that we are sons and daughters of the Most High. Religion is a beautiful thing in the home. If the Lord abides with us, we shall feel that we are members of Christ’s family in heaven. We shall realize that angels are watching us, and our manners will be gentle and forbearing. We shall be fitting up for an entrance into the courts of heaven, by cultivating courtesy and godliness. Our conversation will be holy, and our thoughts will be upon heavenly things.

“Enoch walked with God. He honored God in every affair of life. In his home and in his business, he inquired, ‘Will this be acceptable to the Lord?’ And by remembering God, and following His counsel, he was transformed in character, and became a godly man, whose ways pleased the Lord.”—The Review and Herald, February 21, 1888.

Friday July 12


1. Why do I need to cultivate active and passive Christian virtues?

2. How can I get to know God better—and why is this essential right now?

3. In what areas of life do I need to exercise greater temperance?

4. Why is patience so vital in an increasingly hostile and aggressive society?

5. Where and how is godliness manifested, as exemplified by Enoch?

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