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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Peter 3

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-18

Antidote Against Despising the Day of the Lord. Exhortation. Doxology

2 Peter 3 may be subdivided into three parts: (a) 2 Peter 3:1-7. ’This Second Epistle is a reminder of what prophets and apostles have said. Those who would understand it must first know that, though mockers will deny this, there will be an end of the present world by fire, as once it was overwhelmed by water. This will be a day of judgment and destruction for the ungodly. (b) 2 Peter 3:8-13. As for the delay, which induces some to doubt this, time to God is not what it is to us, and His delay is due to His longsuffering will that men should be saved. When the day does come, it will be sudden, and since it is surely approaching, we ought to be preparing the way for it by holy living. (c) 2 Peter 3:14-18. Be holy then, and consider that God’s longsuffering is a means of attaining spiritual health. This is the teaching of St. Paul’s letters, though some mischievously pervert their meaning. Do you keep free from error and grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, to whom be glory now and when that day of eternity shall come.’ The mockers may be different persons, but are probably the same as the false teachers. Here, as in 2 Peter 2, the Apostle speaks of an evil which is expected in the future, but of which he already sees the signs: cp. Acts 20:30; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-9.

1. This second epistle.. I now write] RV ’This is now.. the second epistle that I write’: see Intro. Your pure minds by way of remembrance] RV ’your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance.’

2. Us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour] RV ’of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles.’ Prophets of old and Apostles now have alike uttered the commandment of Christ: cp. 1 Peter 1:11.

3. Shall come.. scoffers] RV ’mockers shall come with mockery,’ a repetition in the style of 1 Pet.

4. The fathers] i.e. the men of Old Testament times: cp. Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:1.

5. Willingly are ignorant of] RV ’wilfully forget.’ That by the word of God, etc.] RM ’that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and through water, by the word of God’ (cp. Genesis 1:2); a thing is made both out of and through its material. What the mockers forgot was that God who made can also break up what He has made by His word. Note the emphatic position: cp. Hebrews 11:3.

6. Whereby] i.e. by means of the water and of the word: cp. Hebrews 11:7, ’word’ and ’fire.’

8. Be not ignorant] RV ’forget not’: cp. 2 Peter 3:5. Another characteristic repetition.

That one day, etc.] from Psalms 90:4.

9. Not willing] RV ’not wishing’; in spite of this different word we are reminded of 1 Timothy 2:4.

10. As a thief in the night] cp. 1 Thessalonians 5:2. RV ’as a thief’: cp. Matthew 24:43. All through this passage the Apostle has in mind the prophecy of our Lord which is recorded in that chapter The elements] the parts into which we might, roughly speaking, divide the world, e.g. earth, sea, sky. But the heavenly bodies (RM) may be meant. The works that are therein] i.e. the processes of nature. Hence the expression, ’shall be discovered’ (RM), is quite appropriate: cp. 1 Peter 1:7.

11. Conversation] RV ’living.’

12. Hasting unto] RV ’earnestly desiring,’ RM ’hastening.’ It is written in the Talmud, ’If Jews exercised penitence for one day, Messiah would straightway come.’ Wherein] RV ’by reason of which.’ The Day of God is the cause. ’There will be a judgment,’ not, ’the world will come to an end,’ is the point of this c.

13. According to his promise] given in Isaiah 65:17. After all, the world will be renewed rather than destroyed: cp. Revelation 21:5. Wherein dwelleth righteousness] cp. Revelation 22:3.

14. Such things] RV ’these things,’ i.e. new heavens, new earth, righteousness.

That ye may be found] the same word as that which is translated ’discovered’ in 2 Peter 3:10 (RM). There may be a reference back to it: whatever the earth and the works therein may be found to be, take care that you are found in peace.

15. Hath written] RV ’wrote.’ Such teaching is found in Romans and in the Pastoral Epistles (Romans 2:4 cp. Acts 17:30; 1 Timothy 2:4), but the letters referred to in this v. may not be preserved in our collection of St. Paul’s Epistles. As the author of this Epistle has noticed, patience and confidence in God’s patient working out of His purpose is everywhere characteristic of St. Paul.

16. The other Scriptures] RV ’.. scriptures.’ The Scriptures proper of the Apostolic Church were the books of the OT. But the letters of the Apostles were read publicly in the churches to whom they were addressed, and in others: see Colossians 4:16. Hence they would gradually come to be called ’scriptures’ also. Here, as perhaps in 2 Timothy 3:16, we discern the beginning of this habit.

18. Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of] RV ’grow in the grace and knowledge of.’ Grace is the gift of, as knowledge is directed towards, Christ. ’Grow’ sums up in one word the admonitions of 1 and 2 Pet. For ever] RM ’unto the day of eternity.’ This is the goal of hope in both Epistles.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-peter-3.html. 1909.
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