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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Peter 3

 

 

Verse 1

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

Now. 'This now a second letter I write.' Therefore he lad lately written the former letter. The seven Catholic letters were written by James, John, and Jude, shortly before their deaths: while having the prospect of being for some time alive, they felt writing less necessary (Bengel).

Unto you. The second letter, though more general in its address, included especially the same persons as the first was addressed to.

Pure , [ eilikrinee (Greek #1506)] - 'pure when examined by sunlight:' adulterated with no error. Opposite to Ephesians 4:18. Alford, The mind, in relation to the outer world, being turned to God (the Sun of the soul), and not obscured by fleshly regards.

By way of , [ en (Greek #1722)] - 'in putting you in remembrance' (2 Peter 1:12-13). Ye already know (2 Peter 3:3): it is only needed that I remind you (Jude 1:5).


Verse 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:

Prophets - of the Old Tenement.

Of us. Vulgate reads, 'and of the commandment of the Lord and Saviour (declared) by YOUR apostles' (so Romans 11:13) - the apostles wing live among you at present, in contrast to the Old Testament "prophets."


Verse 3

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, Knowing this first - from the apostles.

Shall come. Their very scoffing shall confirm the prediction. Scoffers. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, add, '(scoffers) in (i:e., with) scoffing' [ en (Greek #1722) empaigmonee (Greek #1701)] (Revelation 14:2, end).

Walking after their own lusts - (2 Peter 2:10; Jude 1:16; Jude 1:18): their sole law, unrestrained by reverence for God.


Verse 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.

(Compare Psalms 10:11; Psalms 73:11.) Presumptuous scepticism and lawless lust, setting nature and its laws above the God of nature and revelation, and arguing from the continuity of nature's phenomena that there can be no interruption to them, was the sin of the antediluvians, and shall be that of the scoffers in the last days. Where - implying it would have taken place before this, if ever it was to take place, but that it never will. The promise - which you, believers, are so continually looking for (2 Peter 3:13).

His - Christ's: the subject of prophecy from the earliest days. The fathers - to whom the promise was made, who rested all their hopes on it. All things - in the natural world: sceptics look not beyond this. As they were - continues as we see them to continue. From the time of the promise of Christ's coming as King being given to the fathers, down to the present, all things have continued, as now, from "the beginning of creation." The "scoffers" are not atheists, nor do they maintain that the world existed from eternity. They recognize a God, but not the God of revelation. They reason from seaming delay against the fulfillment of God's word.


Verse 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: Refutation of their scoffing from Scripture history.

Willingly - willfully: they do not wish to know. Their ignorance is voluntary. Are ignorant of - in contrast to 2 Peter 3:8, "be not ignorant of this." [ Lanthanei (Greek #2990) ... lanthaneto (Greek #2990), 'This escapes THEIR notice (sagacious philosophers though they think themselves): let this not escape YOURS.'] They shut their eyes to the Scripture record of creation and the deluge: the latter is parallel to the coming judgment by fire; as Peter remembered Jesus' words (Luke 17:26-27).

By the word of God - not by a fortuitous concurrence of atoms (Alford). Of old - `from of old:' from the first beginning. A confutation of their objection, 'all things continue as they were FROM THE BEGINNING OF CREATION.' Before the flood, the same objection to the possibility of it might have been as plausibly urged. The heavens (sky) and earth have been FROM OF OLD, how unlikely that they should not continue so? But the flood came in spite of their reasonings; so will the conflagration of the earth come in spite of the "scoffers" of the last days, changing the whole order of things (the "world" [ kosmos (Greek #2889)], 'order'), and introducing the new heavens and earth (2 Peter 3:13). Earth standing out of , [ sunestoosa (Greek #4921)] - 'consisting of,' 'formed out of the water.' The waters under the firmament were at creation gathered together into one place, and the dry land emerged out of, and above them.

In , [ di' (Greek #1223) hudatos (Greek #5204)] - 'by means of the water,' as an instrument (along with fire), in the changes wrought on the earth's surface, to prepare it for man. Held together BY the water. The earth arose out of the water by the efficacy of the water itself (Tittmann). Berosus, the Chaldean, records the tradition in Babylon of a great flood under Xisuthrus, who built the ark. So the Egyptian and Hindu monuments. The Chinese record a great flood under the emperor Yao. So the Greeks, under Deucalion and Pyrrha. The beginning of established government is referred by the Greeks to Minos; by the Hindus to Menu; the Assyrian Nines; the Egyptian first mortal king, Menes: all have the root MEN, which appears in Nimrod.


Verse 6

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: Whereby , [ Di' (Greek #1223) hon (Greek #3739)] - (plural). By means of which heavens and earth (in respect to the WATERS which flowed together from both) the then world perished (i:e., in respect to its occupants, men and animals, and its existing order: not was annihilated): for in the flood "the fountains of the great deep were broken up" from the earth:

(1) below, and "the windows of heaven"

(2) above "were opened." The earth was deluged by that water out of which it had originally risen.


Verse 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.

(Compare Job 28:5, end.)

Which are now - `the postdiluvian world.' In contrast to "that then was," 2 Peter 3:6. The same. So A B, Vulgate; but 'Aleph (') C read 'His' (God's).

Kept in store - `treasured up.' Reserved - "kept." It is only God's keeping which holds together the present state of things until His time for ending it.


Verse 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.

Be not ignorant - as those scoffers (2 Peter 3:5). Besides the refutation (2 Peter 3:5-7) drawn from the deluge, he adds another (addressed more to believers) - God's delay in fulfilling His promise is not, like men's delays, owing to inability or fickleness in keeping His word, but through "long-suffering."

This one thing - as the consideration of chief importance (Luke 10:42). One day ... thousand years. Psalms 90:4, Moses says, Thy eternity, knowing no distinction between a thousand years and a day, is the refuge of us creatures of a day. Peter views God's eternity in relation to the last day. It seems to us short-lived beings long in coming; but with the Lord the interval is irrespective of the idea of long or short. His eternity exceeds all measures of time. To His divine knowledge future things are present. His power requires not long delays for performing His work. His long-suffering excludes men's impatient expectation. He can do the work of a thousand years in one day: so in 2 Peter 3:9, He has always the power to fulfill His "promise."

Thousand years as one day. No delay is long to God: as to a man of countless riches a thousand guineas are as a single penny. God's oeonologe (eternal-ages-measurer) differs wholly from man's horologe (hour-glass). His gnoomon (dial-pointer) shows all the hours at once in the greatest activity and in perfect repose. To Him the hours pass neither more slowly nor more quickly than befits His economy. There is nothing to make Him need to hasten or delay the end. "With the Lord" (Psalms 90:4) silences all objections, on the ground of man's incapability of understanding this (Bengel).


Verse 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.

Slack - tardy, late, as though the due time were already come. (Hebrews 10:37, "Will not tarry.") His promise - which scoffers cavil at (2 Peter 3:4). It shall be surely fulfilled (2 Peter 3:13). Some - the "scoffers."

Count - the delay to result from "slackness." Long-suffering - waiting until the full number of those appointed to "salvation" (2 Peter 3:15) shall be completed.

To us-ward. 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate, have [ di' (Greek #1223) humas (Greek #5209)] 'for your sake;' B C, 'toward you' [ eis (Greek #1519) humas (Greek #5209)].

Any - not desiring that any, even the scoffers, should perish, which would result if He did set give apace for repentance.

Come - `go and be received to repentance' [ chooreesai (Greek #5562), go and find room for repentance] (cf. Greek, Mark 2:2; John 8:37).


Verse 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 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. The certainty, suddenness, and concomitants, of the coming of the day of the Lord. Faber argues that the millennium. etc., must precede Christ's literal coming; not follow it. But "the day of the Lord" comprehends the whole series of events, beginning with the premillennial advent, and ending with the destruction of the wicked, final conflagration, and general judgment (which last intervenes between the conflagration and the renovation of the earth).

Will come. But (notwithstanding the mockers, and the delay) come and be present the day of the Lord SHALL.

As a thief. Peter repeats his Lords image (Luke 12:39; Luke 12:41) in the conversation in which he took a part: so also Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:2) and John (Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15).

The heavens - which the scoffers say shall "continue" as they are (2 Peter 3:4; Matthew 24:35; Revelation 21:1). With a great noise , [ roizeedon (Greek #4500)] - a noise like a whizzing arrow, or the crash of devouring flame. Elements - the world's component materials (Wahl). As "the works" in the earth are distinguished from "the earth," so by "elements" after "the heavens," Bengel explains 'the works therein'-namely, the sun, moon, and stars (as Theophilus of Antioch, pp. 22, 148, 228; and Justin Martyr, 'Apology,' 2:, 44, use stoicheia). Rather, as "elements" is not so used in Scripture Greek, the component materials of "the heavens," (including the heavenly bodies (mentioned in the world's destruction, as in its creation): it clearly belongs to "the heavens," not to "the earth," etc.

Melt - be dissolved, as in 2 Peter 3:11. The works ... therein - of nature and of art.


Verse 11

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

Then. So 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate; but B C substitute ( houtos (Greek #3778)) 'thus' for "then:" a happy refutation of the 'thus' of the scoffers, 2 Peter 3:4, "AS they were."

Shall be , [ luomenoon (Greek #3089)] - 'are being (in God's appointment, soon to be fulfilled) dissolve;' implying the certainly, as though actually present.

What manner of persons - how watchful, prayerful, zealous! To be - not mere existence [ einai (Greek #1511)], but [ huparchein (Greek #5225)] a sate in which one is supposed to be (Tittmann). What men ye ought to be found, when the event comes! This is "the holy commandment" (2 Peter 3:2; 2 Peter 2:21).

Conversation and godliness , [ anastrofais (Greek #391), eusebeiais (Greek #2150)] - behaviours (toward men), pieties (toward God), in their manifold manifestations.


Verse 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?

Hasting unto - with the utmost eagerness praying for, and contemplating, the Saviour as at hand. The Greek may mean 'hastening onward the day of God;' not that God's time is changeable, but God appoints us as instruments of accomplishing those events which must be first before the day can come. By praying for His coming, furthering the preaching of the Gospel for a witness to all nations, and bringing in those whom 'the long-suffering of God' waits to save, we hasten the coming of the day of God. [ Speudoo (Greek #4692) is always in New Testament neuter, not active; but the Septuagint use it actively.] Christ says, "Surely I come quickly. Amen." Our part is to speed this consummation by praying, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

The coming , [ teen (Greek #3588) parousian (Greek #3952)] - 'personal presence:' usually, of the Saviour. The day of God. God has given many myriads of days to men: one shall be the "day of God" Himself. Wherein - rather ( di' (Greek #1223) heen (Greek #3739)), 'on account of (owing to) which' day.

Heavens - the upper and lower regions of the sky. Melt. Our igneous rocks show they were once liquid.


Verse 13

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Nevertheless - in contrast to the destructive effects of the day of God stand its constructive effects. As the flood was the earth's baptism, eventuating in its renovation and partial deliverance from 'the curse,' so its baptism with fire shall purify it, to be the renovated abode of regenerated man, wholly freed from the curse. His promise - (Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22.) "We" is not emphatic. New heavens - new atmospheric, surrounding the renovated earth. Righteousness - dwelleth in that world as its home, all pollutions having been removed; all other enjoyments are the accidents; righteousness is the essence of heavenly enjoyment.


Verse 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.

That ye may be found of him , [ autoo (Greek #846)] - 'in His sight' (Alford): at His coming in person. In peace - toward God, your own consciences, and your fellow-men, and as its consequence eternal blessedness: 'the God of peace' will effect this for you.

Without spot - at the coming marriage feast of the Lamb: in contrast to 2 Peter 2:13, "Spots they are and blemishes ... while they feast," not having on the King's pure wedding garment.

Blameless - (1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.)


Verse 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; Account that the long-suffering ... is salvation - is designed for the salvation of those yet to be gathered in: whereas those scoffers 'count it (the result of) slackness' on the Lord's part (2 Peter 3:9). Our beloved brother Paul - beautiful love and humility. Peter praises the very letters which contain his condemnation (Galatians 2:9-14): a practical exhibition of 2 Peter 3:14, "in peace." According to the wisdom given unto him - Paul's own language (1 Corinthians 3:10, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder"). Inspired wisdom "GIVEN" him, not acquired in human schools.

Hath written [ egrapsen (Greek #1125) aorist] -'wrote;' a thing wholly past: Paul was either dead or had ceased Hath written , [ egrapsen (Greek #1125), aorist] - 'wrote;' a thing wholly past: Paul was either dead or had ceased to minister to them.

Unto you - Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians; the same whom Peter addresses. Colossians 3:4 refers to Christ's second coming. The letter to the Hebrews, too (addressed not only to the Palestinian, but secondarily to the Hebrew Christians everywhere), may be referred to, as Peter primarily addresses in both letters the Hebrew Christians of the dispersion (note, 1 Peter 1:1); Hebrews 9:27-28; Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:37, 'speak of these things' (2 Peter 3:16) which Peter has been handling-namely, the coming of the day of the Lord; delayed through His "long-suffering," yet near and sudden.


Verse 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.

Also in all his letters. Romans 2:4 is similar to 2 Peter 3:15, beginning. The Pauline letters were by this time the common property of all the churches. The "all" implies they were now completed. The Lord's coming is handled, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 2 Peter 3:11 : cf. 2 Peter 3:10. Peter distinguishes Paul's letter, or letters, "TO YOU," from "all his (other) letters," showing that definite churches, or particular classes of believers, are meant by "you."

In which - letters. ['Aleph ( a ) A B read the feminine relative ( hais (Greek #3739)); not as C ( hois (Greek #3739)), 'in which things.']

Some things hard to be understood - namely, concerning Christ's coming, the man of sin, and the apostasy, previously. 'Paul seemed thereby to delay Christ's coming to a longer period than the other apostles, whence some doubted it altogether' (Bengel). Though there be some things hard to be understood, there are enough besides plain, easy, and sufficient for perfecting the man of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). There is scarce anything drawn from the obscure places, but the same in other places may be found most plain' (Augustine). It is our own prejudice, foolish expectations, and carnal fancies, that make Scripture difficult (Jeremy Taylor). Unlearned - not those wanting human learning, but lacking the learning imparted by the Spirit. The humanly learned have been often deficient in spiritual learning, and originated most heresies. Compare 2 Timothy 2:23, a different word, "unlearned" [apaideutous], 'untutored.' When religion is studied as a science, nothing is more abstruse; when studied to know and practice our duty, nothing is easier.

Unstable - not established in what they have learned; shaken by every difficulty; who, in perplexing texts, instead of comparing them with other Scriptures, waiting until God by His Spirit make them plain, hastily adopt distorted views.

Wrest - strain and twist [ streblousin (Greek #4761)], as with a hand-screw, what is straight in itself: e.g., 2 Timothy 2:18.

Other scriptures. Paul's letters were by this time recognized in the Church as scripture:' a term never applied, in any of the fifty places where it occurs, except to the Old and New Testament writings. Men in each church having discernments of spirits, would have prevented any uninspired writing from being put on a par with the Old Testament word of God; the apostles' lives were providentially prolonged-Paul's and Peter's at least to thirty-four years after Christ's resurrection; John's, to thirty years later; so that fraud in the canon is out of question. The first three gospels and Acts are included in "the other scriptures;" perhaps all the New Testament books, except John and Revelation, written later.

Unto their own destruction - not through Paul's fault (2 Peter 2:1).


Verse 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.

Ye - warned by the case of those "unlearned and unstable" persons (2 Peter 3:16). Know ... before - the event.

Led away with - the term, as Peter remembers, used by Paul of Barnabas' being 'carried' [ sunapeechthee (Greek #4879)] (Galatians 2:13), led away with, Peter and the other Jews in their hypocrisy. Wicked , [ athesmoon (Greek #113)] - 'lawless,' as 2 Peter 2:7.

Fall from - grace (Galatians 5:4): the true source of "stedfastness" or stability in contrast with the "unstable" (2 Peter 3:16): "established" (2 Peter 1:12): all kindred terms (Jude 1:20-21).


Verse 18

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Grow - not only do not "fall from" (2 Peter 3:17), but grow onward: the secret of not going backward (Ephesians 4:15).

(The) grace, and ... knowledge of ... Christ - the grace of which Christ is the author; the knowledge of which Christ is the object.

Forever , [ eis (Greek #1519) heemeran (Greek #2250) aioonos (Greek #165)] - 'to the day of eternity:' the day that has no end; "the day of the Lord," beginning with the Lord's coming.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-peter-3.html. 1871-8.

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Saturday, November 16th, 2019
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