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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

2 Peter 3

Verses 1-4

Warning of the Coming of Scoffers In 2 Peter 3:1-4 the apostle Peter warns the believers that scoffers will come and mock those who believe in the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

2 Peter 3:1 “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you” Comments - Peter’s reference to a previous epistle in 2 Peter 3:1 leads many conservative scholars to suggest that he was referring to the epistle of 1 Peter. This means these two Petrine epistles had the same group of recipients, and that they were written within a short period of time to one another with a similar purpose.

2 Peter 3:1 “in both which” Comments - The Greek phrase ( ε ̓ ν αἷς ) is made up of the preposition ε ̓ ν and a plural pronoun αἷς , so that Peter is referring to both of his epistles addressed to the churches of northern Asia Minor, whose purpose was to stir up their pure minds. Thus, the NKJV says, “in both of which…” The AmpBible reads, “In (both of) them…”

2 Peter 3:1 “I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” Comments The description of stirring up means to wake up or arouse. When we bring to mind those things w have been taught in the past, we begin to talk about them and to renew our efforts to practice them in our lives.

2 Peter 3:2-3 Scripture Reference - We find a similar passage to 2 Peter 3:2-3 in Jude 1:17-18.

Jude 1:17-18, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”

2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

2 Peter 3:2 “Savior” - Comments Our Saviour is our Deliverer from sin and bondage to this world.

2 Peter 3:2 Comments - 2 Peter 3:2 refers to words spoken both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament when it refers to the prophets and apostles. God used the office of the prophet to write the Old Testament and the office of the apostle to write the New Testament. When the prophets of old died, the Old Testament canon was closed, and when the apostles of the Lamb died, the New Testament canon was closed. According to 2 Peter 3:2 the words of the New Testament apostles are place on equal authority with the Old Testament prophets.

Therefore, when 2 Peter 2:1 refers to false prophets, he is contrasting them to those who truly stood in that office to deliver unto Israel the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament canon. This is reflected in the statement by Peter, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21)

2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2 Peter 3:3 “Knowing this first” - Comments - Peter first reminds us of scoffers.

2 Peter 3:3 “that there shall come in the last days scoffers” - Comments - We are in last days, beginning with the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17). Peter explains in 2 Peter 3:8 that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. Thus, the word “days” used in this verse can refer to several thousand-year periods. Since the days of the early apostles until today, a period of two thousand years has elapsed. Peter used the term “last days” rather than saying the last few thousand years.

Acts 2:17, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”

Scoffers one ones who mock and ridicule others. In the Greek text we find the Hebrew idiom using two words, which are translated “scoffers in scoffing.” Note other English versions:

ASV, “ mockers shall come with mockery”

Rotherham, “ with scoffing, scoffers”

2 Peter 3:3 “walking after their own lusts” Comments - These mockers live their lives to satisfy their own lusts.

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

2 Peter 3:4 “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” Comments - The phrase in 2 Peter 3:4 where the scoffers say that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” is obviously a false statement. The earth changed its physical characteristics after the Flood, so that things no longer operated at they did in the beginning of creation. Such statements echo the beliefs of today’s evolutionists, who claim that natural selection governs the fate of future generations of animals as well as mankind. Such “scientists” believe and assume that the earth has continued under the same constant physical properties and constant change since the beginning of time with no catastrophic floods to alter things. For example, they think that soils deposits and sedimentation was laid down over millions of years, and that the fossils found within these sedimentary layers can be dated by calculating today’s rates of sedimentation. They ignore the testimonies throughout the earth that a great Flood did occur. The upheaval of mountains serves as a testimony of the Flood. The great crack that runs around the earth and divides it into shifting plates, which cause earthquakes and volcanic activities is another witness. The massive extinction of animals such as the dinosaurs is another witness, as we now have archeological and geological evidences that men and dinosaurs co-existed at the same time on the earth. At the time of the Flood the earth was tilted on its axis. Its magnetic fields were altered. The seasons of the earth were altered. These scoffers do not believe that a Judgment Day is coming because they do not believe that a Judgment Day came in the past in the form of the Great Flood of Noah’s time. Before the Flood, the earth was smaller, atmospheric pressures were different, and the heavenly bodies were not violently shifted and changing as they are today. Plants and animals grew much larger because of these different physical properties that existed on the earth. Such scoffers say that the earth has continued in one constant state since its beginning.

2 Peter 3:4 Comments - In past times, scoffers have said that nothing has changed. We see this in a number of Old Testament Scriptures:

Isaiah’s time:

Isaiah 5:19, “That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!”

Jeremiah’s time:

Jeremiah 7:15, “And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.”

Ezekiel’s time:

Ezekiel 11:3, “Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.”

Ezekiel 12:22-25, “Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.”

In Jesus' time:

Matthew 24:48, “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;”

Obviously, things are not as they were at the time of creation. However, the carnal mind sees no change in the times, and he has no faith in God’s Word that its prophecies will come to pass. We have testimonies all across the world of the great Flood that destroyed the earth during the time of Noah. Yet, these people ignore this witness of divine judgment. Since the time of creation, the characteristics of the earth have drastically changes because of the Flood. We see a reference to the earth before the flood in 2 Peter 3:5, after the flood in 2 Peter 3:6 and its pending destruction in the last days in 2 Peter 3:7.

Verses 1-13

Our Perseverance: The Certainty of Christ’s Return 2 Peter 3:1-13 places emphasis upon the believer’s perseverance in the midst of those who deny the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Warning of the Coming of Scoffers 2 Peter 3:1-4

2. The Story of Creation 2 Peter 3:5-7

3. The Certainty of the Second Coming 2 Peter 3:8-10

4. Our Call to Perseverance 2 Peter 3:11-13

Verses 5-7

The Story of Creation - As we study the Scriptures we find that there are a number of passages that reveal the events in the Story of Creation. We have the testimony of the Father’s role in Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:4 as the One who has planned and foreknown all things. We have the testimony of the Son’s role in John 1:1-14 as the Word of God through whom all things were created. In Proverbs 8:22-31, we have the testimony of the role of the Holy Spirit in creation as the Wisdom and Power of God. Job 38:1 to Job 39:30 reveals the majesty and glory of God Almighty by describing the details of how His creation came into existence. 2 Peter 3:5-7 refers to the story of creation with emphasis upon God’s pending destruction of all things in order to judge the sins of mankind. Hebrews 11:3 tells us how it is by faith that we understand how the world was created by the Word of God. We can many other brief references to the creation of the earth throughout the Scriptures.

2 Peter 3:5-7 tells us that the heavens and the earth were created by God’s Word (2 Peter 3:5), that they were destroyed by His Word with a flood (2 Peter 3:6), and are now kept by His Word (2 Peter 3:7), and will be soon be destroyed with fire by His word (2 Peter 3:7).

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:5 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old” Comments - The role of God’s Word in creation “escapes their notice, or it has been hidden from them because of the hardness of their hearts. They are ignorant because they want to be so, and God gives them over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:20-32).

There are a number of passages in the Scriptures that record the events of the creation of the heavens and earth, which testify to the creative power of God’s spoken word:

Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3, “And God said…”

Psalms 33:6, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Hebrews 11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

2 Peter 3:5 “and the earth standing out of the water and in the water” Comments Strong says the Greek verb ( συνι ́ στημι ) (G4921) literally means, “to set together.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 16 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as “commend 10, approve 2, consist 1, make 1, stand 1, stand with 1.” There are a number of views taken on how to translate this verb.

1. Standing Out of A few English versions translate this phrase to mean that the earth stood out from, or was separated from, the waters.

KJV, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:”

Weymouth, “…and an earth, the latter arising out of water and extending continuously through water, by the command of God;

1. Compacted - Within the context of this passage, the word is sometimes translated to mean that the solid elements of the earth were collected together and separated from the waters on the third day of creation (Genesis 1:9). Thus, Strong says it means, “to place together, to set one with another, to put together by way of composition or combination, to put together, unite parts into one whole.”

ASV, “and an earth compacted out of water and amidst (through) water, by the word of God.”

Rotherham, “on account of water and by means of water, compacted, by God’s word.”

That is, the earth was not only separated from the water on the third day of creation. It is held together by the properties of water. The modern sciences of physics and chemistry support the statement that water ( H 20 ) had strong adhesive properties, so that a lump of dirt with all the water removed will becomes dust or loose, dry sand. It will have no ability to hold together. The famous Dust Bowl in the Midwestern United States in the 1930’s testifies to this fact.

2. Existing - The Greek verb συνι ́ στημι is more often translated “to continue, to endure, to exist” ( BDAG), meaning the earth was formed and exists from water and in the midst of water by the spoken Word of God.

Beck, “…and formed the earth out of water and with water.”

Goodspeed, “…and an earth which had been formed at God’s command out of water and by water,”

NIV, “…the earth was formed out of water and with water.”

RSV, “and an earth formed out of water and by means of water.”

“out of the water and in the water” Charles Bigg understands “out of the water” to mean the earth emerged up out of the water, where it lay under, describing separation of land and water in Genesis 1:9. The phrase “in the water” is taken as the instrumental of means, “by means of water.” He then understands this phrase to say that the earth was formed out of the waters below it, and it continues to exist because of the rain coming down from above. [108]

[108] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude, in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 293.

2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

2 Peter 3:6 Comments - Almighty God using the same water that he separated from the earth on the third day of creation, and using the same water to hold together the earth by its adhesive properties, these same waters were then used by God to destroy the old world by a flood of water. The phrase “being overflowed with water” refers to the flooding of the water over the land. This resulted in the destruction of the old world, which perished.

2 Peter 2:5, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

2 Peter 3:7 “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store” Comments - The heavens and earth “which are now” refers to the time after the flood, when the characteristics of the heavens and earth were dramatically altered. The same Word of God that created them, and then destroyed the earth by a flood, is the same word that is keeping them in existence until the time of God’s climatic judgment upon mankind.

2 Peter 3:7 “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” Comments - The heavens and earth are reserved “for the fire” ( πυρι ) that is coming on the Day of Judgment to destroy ungodly men. While the first earth was destroyed by a flood of water (2 Peter 3:6), the existing heaven and earth will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:7).

Verses 8-10

The Certainty of the Second Coming In 2 Peter 3:8-10 the apostle Peter reaffirms the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2 Peter 3:8 Comments - 2 Peter 3:8 reveals to us that God does not dwell in the realm of time. Note that Peter took this statement from Psalms 90:4.

Psalms 90:4, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness” - Comments Webster says the English verb “slack” means “ to be negligent .” To “count slackness” means to “consider something slow in coming. The Lord is not delaying his promise. Man measures time in days, but God measures time in thousand year periods. This verse is saying that the Lord is not behind schedule, although many of man's days may pass. From man's perspective, it appears to delay (as some men count slackness), but from God's perspective He is in His time schedule.

The promise refers to Jesus’ Second Coming. The next verse will call this event the “Day of the Lord.” In 2 Peter 3:12 he will refer to it again as the “Day of God.”

2 Peter 3:9 “but is longsuffering to us-ward” - Comments - Why is God waiting patiently?

Isaiah 30:18, “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you , and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.”

2 Peter 3:9 Comments - If Jesus returned while I was lost in sin, I would have spent eternity in hell. Praise the Lord that He did not come before my conversion. The delay of His Return allows many the opportunity to repent and believe and be saved.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” Scripture Reference:

Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

2 Peter 3:10 “in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” - Word Study on “noise” Strong says the Greek word “noise” ( ρ ̔ οιζηδο ́ ν ) (G4500) means, “whizzingly, i.e. with a crash.” BDAG says it means, “with a hissing or crackling sound, with a roar, with great suddenness.”

Word Study on “melt” Strong says the Greek word “melt” ( λυ ́ ω ) (G3089) means, “break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un)loose, melt, put off.” BDAG says this word describes “the parts of the universe, as it is broken up and destroyed in the final conflagration.”

Word Study on “with fervent heat” Strong says the Greek word “with fervent heat” ( καυσόω ) (G2741) means, “to set on fire.” BDAG says it is used passively to mean, “be consumed by heat, burn up.”

2 Peter 3:10 Comments - 2 Peter 3:10 refers to the Day of the Lord. This passage of Scripture raises the question of whether God will absolutely destroy the existing heavens and earth in the Day of the Lord, or will He simply remodel them, and restore them to their original glory. Some suggest that God will remodel this old earth that has been subjected to vanity and decay. The description in this passage looks very much like God will melt and dissolve all physical elements into vapor and re-create a new heavens and a new earth.

Scripture References There are a number of Scriptures that refer to Jesus Christ coming as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15).

Matthew 24:43-44, “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Revelation 3:3, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”

Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

Verses 11-13

Our Call to Perseverance - 2 Peter 3:11-13 calls us to persevere in the faith in light of the Coming of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

2 Peter 3:11 Comments Our conversation describes our lifestyle and conduct. Our godliness refers to our walk with God and acts of godly deeds.

2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

2 Peter 3:12 Word Study on “looking for” BDAG says the Greek word “looking for” ( προσδοκάω ) (G4328) means, “wait for, look for, expect.”

2 Peter 3:12 Word Study on “hasting” BDAG says the Greek word “hasting” ( σπεύδω ) (G4692) means, “strive for.”

2 Peter 3:12 Comments - This world is not permanent.

Illustration - As a child, I grew up in a wooded area. All of my young childhood, my two brothers and I played and build forts in these woods. Then, one day, the pulpwood company that owned the land and cut down every tree. They even plowed the ground in order to replant a new crop of trees. Our little world of playing in the woods ended dramatically and unexpectedly.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

2 Peter 3:13 Comments - The prepositional phrase “wherein” ( ε ̓ ν οἷς ) takes as its antecedents both the heavens and the earth. In other words, righteousness will dwell in the new heavens as well as on the new earth. We easily acknowledge the unrighteousness upon earth today and our future hope of righteousness covering the new earth in eternity, where no sin dwells; but this plural pronoun includes the characteristics of the new heavens as well. 2 Peter 3:13 implies that the heavens were corrupted at the time of the Fall along with the earth and its creatures. Paul teaches in Romans 8:19-21 that all of creation eagerly awaits for the redemption of the sons of men, so that it will also be delivered from its bondage of corruption as well. This must include the heavens, since it is necessary to do away with the present heaven as a part of God’s eternal plan of full redemption for all of His creation.

2 Peter 3:13 Scripture References - There are a number of references to the righteousness that will characterize the new heavens and earth.

Isaiah 60:21, “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.”

Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”

Verses 14-16

Our Glorification: The Implications of Christ’s Return - 2 Peter 3:14-16 places emphasis upon our future glorification and the implications of Christ’s Return. The apostle Peter tells us to be diligent to live a godly lifestyle so that we may obtain salvation. Peter is not using the word “salvation” in this passage in its narrow sense by referring to our initial salvation experience. Rather, Peter is referring to our entrance into Heaven through the process of sanctification. He then refers to the Pauline epistles for an explanation of this salvation.

Paul the apostle, in his epistles, laid the foundation for the doctrine of the early Church. The Catholic Epistles emphasize perseverance in the Christian faith, but the Pauline epistles establish doctrine. Thus, Peter refers to the doctrine of salvation which Paul laid down in his epistles, which doctrine is sometimes hard to understand, and is often twisted. This salvation includes the process of foreknowledge, justification, sanctification and glorification, which we may summarize in the phrase “divine election.”

Comparison of Peter and Paul Regarding Their Understanding of the Office and Ministry of Jesus Christ - Andrew Wommack notes that although Peter had spent more time with Jesus than Paul, it was Paul who received more revelation of who Jesus Christ was as the Son of God. Paul had the experience of knowing Christ Jesus only in His glorified, spiritual existence, while Peter walked with Jesus in the natural for years in His pre-glorified body. Thus, Paul focused entirely upon spiritual insights of the revelation of Jesus Christ, while Peter struggled with his physical senses in understanding these divine truths. [109] This illustrates the statement made by Jesus Christ when He told the Thomas, “…because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

[109] Andrew Wommack, “Sermon,” Andrew Wommack Bible Conference, Kampala, Uganda 3 June 2010.

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

2 Peter 3:14 “be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” - Comments The two-fold description of being “ ἄσπιλοι καὶ ἀμώμητοι ” (without spot or blemish) alludes to the animal sacrifice offered in Temple worship. This phrase is used by Peter in his first epistle (1 Peter 1:19) and similar phrases are found frequently in early Christian literature. [110] J. Ramsey Michaels says the Greek word α ̓́ σπιλος is not a Hebrew “ceremonial term” and it is not found in the LXX; however, the Greek word α ̓ μω ́ μητος is ceremonial, being used in the LXX (Numbers 19:2). [111]

[110] Richard J. Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 50 (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on 2 Peter 3:14.

[111] J. Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 49, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 3.0b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2004), comments on 1 Peter 1:19.

Numbers 19:2, “This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:”

1 Peter 1:19, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

That is, we are to be found with no sin at His Coming (2 Corinthians 11:2).

2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

2 Peter 3:15 “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” Comments - In other words, we must consider this long delay of His coming as an opportunity for us to be saved and prepared for this event. Peter has just said that the Lord “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

2 Peter 3:15 “even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you” Comments - Charles Bigg notes that scholars are divided on what particular Pauline epistle that Peter was referring to in 2 Peter 3:15. He says it makes no difference because in his next statement Peter notes that Paul speaks of these issues in all of his epistles. [112]

[112] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude, in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 300.

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:16 “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things” Comments - Peter refers to Paul speaking in the present tense, rather than having spoken in the past. Thus, Bigg suggests that Paul was still alive at the time of this writing, [113] and it would have been towards the end of both of their lives, since Peter refers to his near departure (2 Peter 1:14), and Paul’s many epistles.

[113] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude, in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 299.

2 Peter 3:16 “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest” - Comments - BDAG says that the Greek word ἀμαθής (unlearned) refers to “heretics” within the context of this epistle There are a number of illustrations in the book of Acts where Paul’s adversaries twisted his teachings in order to bring an end to his ministry (Acts 21:21; Acts 21:27-29; Acts 24:5-6). In Paul’s epistle to the Romans he asks rhetorical questions as if to recall the debates he encountered in the synagogues through his years of ministry (Romans 3:7-8; Romans 6:1).

Acts 21:21, “And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.”

Acts 21:27-29, “And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)”

Acts 24:5-6, “For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.”

Romans 3:7-8, “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.”

Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

However, the phrase “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest” also reflects an ignorant uneducated person in general. It has been my experience as a missionary that a simple-minded person can be unstable in his beliefs and easily persuaded by other.

2 Peter 3:16 “as they do also the other scriptures” Comments - In 2 Peter 3:16 Peter equates Paul's writings to other divinely inspired Old Testament Scriptures. The New Testament church, because of its Jewish heritage, immediately incorporated the Old Testament Scriptures into its daily worship. However, these new believers quickly realized that some of the Old Testament teachings, such as the Law of Moses, must now be interpreted in light of the New Covenant. We see this challenge taking place at the first council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:0.

Acts 15:1-2, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.”

In addition to the recognition of the Old Testament, the apostles realized that they had been given the authority to reveal the new covenant with as high authority as they held the Jewish Old Testament. According to 2 Corinthians 3:1-11, they were appointed ministers of this new covenant.

The major requirement for all of the New Testament writings to be considered “divinely inspired Scripture” was apostolic authority. These twenty-seven books had to have been either written by one of the twelve apostles, or either been imposed by these apostles upon the churches as an “instrument” of the Church, to be read and obeyed by all. Thus, we see the Gospels and Paul’s epistles being read in gatherings alongside the Old Testament Scriptures, and being elevated to equal authority as other sacred Scripture.

Therefore, Paul’s qualifications as a minister of the new covenant was elevated to a level higher than others due to the fact that God had given him the calling of writing much of the New Testament. Paul realized that his writings were on an equal level of authority as the Old Testament Scriptures.

Therefore, Paul held the authority to speak on the level of authority that Christ Jesus spoke while on this earth.

Note similar Scriptures that indicate how the New Testament writings became elevated by apostolic authority to become equal to the Old Testament Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 14:37, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

Colossians 4:16, “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”

1 Thessalonians 4:2, “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:27, “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.”

2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”

1 Timothy 5:18, “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”

1 Peter 1:12, “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”

Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

Verses 17-18

Conclusion: Closing Summary Statement In 2 Peter 3:17-18 the apostle Peters makes a closing remark with a warning not to fall away, then he offers the remedy, which is to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, which emphasizes the secondary theme of this epistle. Peter opened this epistle with a similar warning in 2 Peter 1:10, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2 Peter 3:17 Word Study on “being led away” Strong says the Greek word “being led away” ( συναπάγω ) (G4879) means, “to take off together, i.e. transport with, seduce, yield.” BDAG says it means, “lead away or carry off with.”

Comments - For example, Barnabas was carried away with Peter’s hypocrisy:

Galatians 2:13, “And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”

In contrast, Paul was grounded in the faith:

Acts 20:24, “ But none of these things move me , neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

Scripture References:

Matthew 7:13, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction , and many there be which go in thereat:”

Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

Colossians 1:23, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel , which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

1 Thessalonians 3:3, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.”

2 Peter 3:17 Comments - Peter has already said that some believers were led away in error in 2 Peter 2:18-22. Being allured by the deceptive promises of false teachers, they fall back into the pollutions of the world. Thus, his closing remarks in 1 Peter 3:17 again warns Christians not to be overcome by this error. Therefore, this passage of Scripture debunks the doctrine of Once-Saved-Always-Saved.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” Comments - As we receive His Word by faith and walk in His Word by faith, we begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. As a result, the “fruits” and “gifts” of the Holy Spirit will begin to manifest through us as naturally as an apple grows on an apple tree, though the apple tree takes no thought of how it grows. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

“For I have not purposed simply to bring you into My family and have you remain as babes or children. I am concerned with your maturity: your growth in wisdom and knowledge of things pertaining to Myself; with the perfection of your ministry; and with the producing of the fruits of the Spirit in your life. And so to this end, I have provided for you the “ministries” and “gifts” of My Holy Spirit. As ye receive these by faith, and as ye walk in these by faith, so that I am allowed to manifest Myself through you in this way, ye will find that ye will grow in Me, yea, grow in grace and in your knowledge of Me , and ye will find the “fruits” of the Spirit will begin to appear in thy life quiet naturally, even as apples appear on the apple tree, though the tree takes no thought and experiences no effort or anxiety.” [114]

[114] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 120.

Growing in Grace - Noah found grace in God’s eyes because he walked with God (Genesis 6:8-9). We can fall out of favor with God through disobedience (Galatians 5:4), so, “Grow in favor with God”.

Genesis 6:8-9, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”

Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace .”

As we faithfully serve the Lord, God’s grace will be bestowed upon us more and more than when we began to serve Him. Blessed be his mighty name.

Growing in Knowledge How do we grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? We do so by studying the Bible diligently. Also, note a similar statement:

Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God ;”

2 Peter 3:18 “Amen” Comments - In the Textus Receptus the word “Amen” is attached to the end of all thirteen of Paul’s epistles, as well as to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and to the General Epistles of Hebrews , 1 and 2 Peter , 1 and 2 John, and to the book of Revelation. However, because “Amen” is not supported in more ancient manuscripts many scholars believe that this word is a later liturgical addition. For example, these Pauline benedictions could have been used by the early churches with the added “Amen.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.