2 Peter 1:5-9
The book of 2nd Peter was written by the apostle Peter, most believe, while he was in prison in Rome. The infiltration of false teachers throughout the churches in Asia Minor was causing great concern, therefore Peter wrote this letter as a warning, to be read in the provinces in Asia Minor, and to encourage the Christains to gain knowledge so that they could stand firm against those that were teaching against the principles of Christianity.
The first step toward 'guarding' our souls against false teachers is, of course, faith. Without a strong conviction there is no cornerstone to support our beliefs. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that... without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Adding other 'graces' into our lives would be futile without faith.
Verses 5-9 list the graces we, as faithful Christians, are to continually strive to increase in our lives. We are to make a diligent effort to continue to grow in our knowledge, to be as Christ~like as we can here on earth. A knowledge that comes from a demonstration of the Christ-like graces
5.But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,
faith~ strong assurance, conviction
add to your faith virtue,
virtue~moral excellence, goodness
to virtue knowledge,
knowledge~correct insight, truth understood and applied
to knowledge self-control,
self-control~self-discipline, controlling one's desires, being self restrained
to self-control perseverance,
perseverance~patience, endurance in doing what is right; never giving in to temptation or desires
to perseverance godliness,
godliness~ godly character out of devotion to God, to live reverently, loyally, and obediently towards God
to godliness brotherly kindness,
brotherly kindness~mutual sacrifice for one another
and to brotherly kindness love.
love~active goodwill towards those in need
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.