Revelation 2:19: Spiritual Progress

Updated: Apr 1, 2019

Verse 19:[1] (Rev. 2:2) I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.


I know thy works; the works of the ministry of this church were such as Christ knew, not only with a knowledge of comprehension, but approbation also.[2]



[Faith and charity[3]] Excellent yokefellows, as in Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 6:23; etc. (Grotius).


[And service, etc., καὶ τὴν διακονίαν] And ministration (Beza, Piscator), that is, Good deeds to the poor (Grotius, similarly Beza, Piscator, Pareus, Durham), to the saints (Piscator, Beza). Thus that word is taken in 2 Corinthians 9:1,[4] 12, 13[5] (Grotius). Others: the performance of thy ministry with diligence (Cluverus, similarly Menochius).


And charity; such were his charity to Christians that were in distress. And service; his diligence in his ministration. And faith; his faith, and adherence to Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel.


[And patience] That is, Constancy in bearing adversities (Grotius, similarly Pareus), for Christ’s sake (Pareus).


And thy patience; his meek bearing of his crosses and trials. And thy works; his other works, the fruit of faith and love.


Spiritual Progress

[The last more than the prior] That is, thy progress in piety, fidelity, and patience (Cluverus): Thy works to be more in number, livelier in degree, and more spiritual in the mode of rendering (Durham). The commendation of the Bishop is great, that not only does he not crack under long labor and ills, but he progresses daily unto better things (Grotius).


And the last to be more than the first; and his proficiency both in spiritual habits, and good works, the fruits of them.

[1] Greek: Οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα, καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν διακονίαν, καὶ τὴν πίστιν καὶ τὴν ὑπομονήν σου, καὶ τὰ ἔργα σου, καὶ τὰ ἔσχατα πλείονα τῶν πρώτων.


[2] See, for example, Psalm 1:6.


[3] The Vulgate places faith before love in the ordering.


[4] 2 Corinthians 9:1: “For as touching the ministering (τῆς διακονίας) to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you…”


[5] 2 Corinthians 9:12, 13: “For the administration (ἡ διακονία) of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration (τῆς διακονίας ταύτης) they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men…”




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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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