“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge.”
We now come to the second term of arithmetic. The first word was “multiply” (2 Pe 1:2), and now we have the word “add.”
We obtain the English words “chorus and choreograph” from the Greek word “add.” “Add” comes from three Greek words: chorus, to bring, and beside. To “add” is to bring something to the side of the chorus. Metaphorically, it means to make every effort to provide abundantly for someone. This word came to mean to defray the expenses of a chorus. The idea is to supply something more than that which already exists. “Add” is a term of grace.
The Greek drama used this word by 600 B.C. The Greeks gave choral performances of dancing and singing at festivals honoring Dionysius (the god of wine and fertility). Generally, a benefactor selected by the state paid the chorus’s expenses for these ancient Greek plays. He defrayed the costs of the staging, chorus, and dance group. He also provided the money for training and costuming the chorus. They called this citizen the “choregus.” This provision was a duty connected with the state religion.
In ancient Greece, the chorus was a band of singers and dancers who performed on occasions of ceremony. Even during the acting out of comedy or tragedy, the chorus remained in front of the stage, singing and dancing to fill in the pauses.
These tragedies were a series of dramatic episodes separated by choral odes. Three actors generally performed these episodes. The actors wore masks to indicate the nature of the character they represented.
All performances were religious in nature. Almost all surviving ancient tragedies that we know about were based on myths. The hero was generally confronted with a moral choice. His struggle against hostile forces ended in defeat and often in his death because of some tragic flaw in his character. Therefore, the hero is great but not perfect (virtuous). The hero then passes from fortune to misfortune. A Greek tragedy never portrayed a bad person going from happiness to misery. This kind of thinking would violate their senses. The hero was always well-known and prosperous but not permanently virtuous.
Misfortune was not brought about by vice or depravity. There is no poetic justice whereby the hero gets his come-up-ance for some wrong he did. He comes to a tragic end by failure or error in judgment. Otherwise, it is not a true tragedy. The ideas of the good prospering and the evil suffering were not in their mind.
Providing for these great plays meant great expense to the benefactor. “Add” came to mean lavishly supply. The Christian is to copiously or lavishly stock his life with the virtues that follow. Do you incur costs to advance your faith?
By “adding” one character component to another, we develop one quality in the exercise of another. Each new grace vaults out of the other.
2 Co 9:10, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”
Col. 2:19-20, “And not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. 20Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations.”
2 Peter 1:11, “for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Since “add” is a term of grace, God wants us to provide for our own character out of grace toward ourselves. We need to make sure we add character to our spiritual lives.
God provides whatever we need to live the Christian life.
We often mistakenly judge God by how we do things. We make others pay for what we do for them. God does not make us pay. He gives out of His grace, and God wants us to give out of grace. In this case, God wants us to give to us out of grace. He wants us to supply for our spiritual needs the character He supplies.
Some Christians operate in a sphere of fear. They never know whether they have God’s approval or not because they know of no definite standard whereby believers gain God’s blessing. They constantly operate in fear of some bolt of lightning streaking down on them. They have no idea of the finished work of Christ for them.
This attitude is like getting out of a Jetplane and trying to help push it along. God does not need any help. God does not bless your business because you give to Him. He blesses you because He is the God of “all grace” (1 Pe 5:10).
Thank you for this. Helpful to know more about the Greek word for supply / add.
I think you need to correct one of the Bible quotations:
2 Peter 1:11, “Whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.” You don’t mean that verse surely?!
Luther, thanks for calling attention to the typo on this page. Should you find further mistakes, please indicate.