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Bible Commentaries
2 Peter 3

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

Beloved. Occurring four times in this chapter.

Second - I write. An incidental testimony to the authorship of the second epistle.

Pure minds [ειλικρινη διανοιαν] . The latter word is singular, not plural. Hence, as Rev., mind. The word rendered pure is often explained tested by the sunlight; but this is very doubtful, since eilh, to which this meaning is traced, means the heat, and not the light of the sun. Others derive it from the root of the verb eiJlissw, to roll, and explain it as that which is separated or sifted by rolling, as in a sieve. In favor of this etymology is its association in classical Greek with different words meaning unmixed. The word occurs only here and Philippians 1:10. The kindred noun eijlikrineia, sincerity, is found 1 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 2:17. Rev., here, sincere.

Mind [διανοιαν] . Compare 1 Peter 1:13; and see on Mark 12:30.

Verse 3

Scoffers walking [εμπαικται πορευομενοι] . This is the reading followed by A. V. But the later texts have added ejmpaigmonh, in mockery, occurring only here, though a kindred word for mockings [εμπαιγμων] is found Hebrews 11:36. This addition gives a play upon the words; and so Rev., "Mockers shall come with mockery, walking," etc.

Verse 4

From the beginning of the creation [απ αρχης κτισεως] . Not a common phrase. It occurs only Mark 10:6; Mark 13:19; Revelation 3:14. Fell asleep [εκοιμηθησαν] . A literal and correct translation of the word, which occurs frequently in the New Testament, but only here in Peter. Some have supposed that the peculiarly Christian sense of the word is emphasized ironically by these mockers. It is used, however, in classical Greek to denote death. The difference between the pagan and the Christian usage lies in the fact that, in the latter, it was defined by the hope of the resurrection, and therefore was used literally of a sleep, which, though long, was to have an awaking. See on Acts 7:60.

Verse 5

This they willingly are ignorant of [λανθανει αυτους τουτο θελοντας] . Lit., this escapes them of their own will. Rev., this they wilfully forget.

The heavens were. But the Greek has not article. Render, there were heavens. So, too, not the earth, but an earth, as Rev.

Standing [συνεστωσα] . Incorrect; for the word is, literally, standing together; i e., compacted or formed. Compare Colossians 1:17, consist. Rev., compacted.

Out of the water. Again no article. Render out of water; denoting not the position of the earth, but the material or mediating element in the creation; the waters being gathered together in one place, and the dry land appearing. Or, possibly, with reference to the original liquid condition of the earth - without form and void.

In the water [δι υδατος] . Omit the article. Dia has its usual sense here, not as Rev., amidst, but by means of. Bengel : "The water served that the earth should consist." Expositors are much divided as to the meaning. This is the view of Huther, Salmond, and, substantially, Alford.

Verse 6

The world that then was [ο τοτε κοσμος] . Lit., the then world. The word for world is literally order, and denotes the perfect system of the material universe.

Being overflowed [κατακλυσθεις] . Only here in New Testament. Cataclysm is derived from it.

Verse 7

The heavens - which now are [οι νυν ουρανοι] . A construction similar to the then world (ver. 6). The now heavens, or the present heavens. Kept in store [τεθησαυρισμενοι] . Rev., stored up. Lit., treasured up. The same word which is used in Luke 12:21, layeth up treasure. Sometimes with the kindred noun qhsaurouv, treasures, as Matthew 6:19; lit., treasure treasures.

Unto fire. Some construe this with treasured up; as Rev., stored up for fire; others with reserved, as A. V.; others again give the sense stored with fire, indicating that the agent for the final destruction is already prepared.

Verse 9

Is not slack [ου βραδυνει] . Only here and 1 Timothy 3:15. The word is literally to delay or loiter. So Septuagint, Genesis 43:10, "except we had lingered." Alford's rendering, is not tardy, would be an improvement. The word implies, besides delay, the idea of lateness with reference to an appointed time.

Come [χωρησαι] . Move on, or advance to.

Verse 10

The day of the Lord. Compare the same phrase in Peter's sermon, Acts 2:20. It occurs only in these two passages and 1 Thessalonians 5:2. See 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14.

As a thief. Omit in the night. Compare Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:4; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15.

With a great noise [ροιζηδον] . An adverb peculiar to Peter, and occurring only here. It is a word in which the sound suggest the sense (rhoizedon); and the kindred noun, rJoizov, is used in classical Greek of the whistling of an arrow; the sound of a shepherd 's pipe; the rush of wings; the plash of water; the hissing of a serpent; and the sound of filing. The elements [στοιχεια] . Derived from stoicov, a row, and meaning originally one of a row or series; hence a component or element. The name for the letters of the alphabet, as being set in rows. Applied to the four elements - fire, air, earth, water; and in later times to the planets and signs of the zodiac. It is used in an ethical sense in other passages; as in Galatians 4:3, "elements or rudiments of the world." Also of elementary teaching, such as the law, which was fitted for an earlier stage in the world 's history; and of the first principles of religious knowledge among men. In Colossians 2:8, of formal ordinances. Compare Hebrews 5:12. The kindred verb stoicew, to walk, carries the idea of keeping in line, according to the radical sense. Thus, walk according to rule (Galatians 6:16); walkest orderly (Acts 21:24). So, too, the compound sustoicew, only in Galatians 4:25, answereth to, lit., belongs to the same row or column with. The Greek grammarians called the categories of letters arranged according to the organs of speech sustoiciai. Here the word is of course used in a physical sense, meaning the parts of which this system of things is composed. Some take it as meaning the heavenly bodies, but the term is too late and technical in that sense. Compare Matthew 24:29, the powers of the heaven.

Shall melt [λυθησονται] . More literally, as Rev., shall be dissolved. With fervent heat [καυσουμενα] . Lit., being scorched up.

Verse 11

To be dissolved [λυομενων] . So Rev. But the participle is present; and the idea is rather, are in process of dissolution. The word and all therein is essentially transitory.

Ought ye to be [υπαρχειν] . See on ch. 2 Peter 1:8.

Conversation [αναστροφαις] . See on 1 Peter 1:15. Rev., living. Godliness [ευσεβειαις] . See on ch. 2 Peter 1:3. Both words are plural; holy things and godliness.

Verse 12

Looking for [προσδοκωντας] . The same verb as in Luke 1:21, of waiting for Zacharias. Cornelius waited (Acts 10:24); the cripple expecting to receive something (Acts 3:5).

Hasting unto [σπευδοντας] . Wrong. Rev., earnestly desiring, for which there is authority. I am inclined to adopt, with Alford, Huther, Salmond, and Trench, the transitive meaning, hastening on; i e., "causing the day of the Lord to come more quickly by helping to fulfil those conditions without which it cannot come; that day being no day inexorably fixed, but one the arrival of which it is free to the church to hasten on by faith and by prayer" (Trench, on "The Authorized Version of the New Testament "). See Matthew 24:14 : the gospel shall be preached in the whole world," and then shall the end come. "Compare the words of Peter, Acts 3:19 :" Repent and be converted, "etc.," that so there may come seasons of refreshing "(so Rev., rightly); and the prayer," Thy kingdom come. "Salmond quotes a rabbincal saying," If thou keepest this precept thou hastenest the day of Messiah. " This meaning is given in margin of Rev.

Wherein [δι ην] . Wrong. Rev., correctly, by reason of which.

Melt [τηκεται] . Literal. Stronger than the word in vv. 10, 11. Not only the resolving, but the wasting away of nature. Only here in New Testament.

Verse 13

We look for. The same verb as in ver. 12. It occurs three times in 12 - 14.

New [καινους] . See on Matthew 26:29.

Verse 14

Without spot and blameless. See on ch. 2 Peter 2:13.

Verse 16

Hard to be understood [δυσνοητα] . Only here in New Testament. They that are unlearned and unstable [οι αμαθεις και αστηρικτοι] . Both words are peculiar to Peter. On the latter, see on ch. 2 Peter 2:14.

Wrest (streblousin). Only here in New Testament. Meaning, originally, to hoist with a windless or screw; to twist or dislocate the limbs on a rack. It is a singularly graphic word applied to the perversion of scripture. The other scriptures [τας λοιπας γραφας] . Showing that Paul 's epistles were ranked as scripture. See on Mark 12:10.

Verse 17

Being led away [συναπαχθεντες] . Better, Rev., carried away. It is the word used by Paul of Barnabas, when he dissembled with Peter at Antioch. "Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation" (Galatians 2:13).

Of the wicked [αθεσμων] . See on ch. 2 Peter 2:7.

Fall from [εκπεσητε] . Lit., "fall out of." Compare Galatians 5:4. Steadfastness [στηριγμου] . Only here in New Testament. See on ch. 2 Peter 1:12. ===1 John 1:0


The term [καθολικη] , catholic or general, applied to the Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, was used from the second century onward in the sense of something addressed to the faithful generally, as distinguished from Christians of particular nations or cities, as the Galatians or Ephesians. Hence, Clement of Alexandria speaks of the letter of Acts 15:0 as "the catholic letter of all the Apostles, given to the faithful." The term was also used of letters specially addressed, but with a general application, which made no claim to canonical authority.

In the later Western Church the group of letters known as catholic was called canonical through a mistaken interpretation of the words of Junilius, who referred to the letters of James, 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John 1:0 as added by many to the collection of canonical books. This was understood to mean that the term canonical applied to those books peculiarly.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/2-peter-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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