To virtue (moral excellence) we are to add knowledge (2 Pet. 1:5). The Greek word in this passage for knowledge is gnosis, moral wisdom through investigation (see Thayer & Vine’s). It is essential to the fruitful life of a Christian (2 Pet. 1:8).

We are not to gain a knowledge of the world, but of the righteousness of God (Rom. 16:19; 1:16-17). This will only come through an investigation of God’s word (Rom. 10:17). It is not inherent in man, nor is it today revealed by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:7-13; 13:8-13). Rather, God inspired men to write His will and through His providence it is preserved for us (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:22-25). We are now commanded to read it to gain an understanding of God’s will (Eph. 3:3-4; 5:17).

Those who claim to have knowledge or give you knowledge, but what they say is not found in the book of knowledge, only possess “what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim. 6:20). What they are really putting forth is cancerous poison that ends up killing men spiritually (2 Tim. 2:16-18). Thus, it is to be rejected.

The knowledge God commands us to add to our virtue is precious, not poisonous. The Psalmist said, The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb (Psa. 19:7-10).

It takes time, energy and effort to add knowledge. Not one moment will be wasted in gaining this knowledge. Therefore, apply yourself to increasing your moral wisdom by investigating God’s word.

Steven F. Deaton