Sureness of Christ's Coming, and Its
Accompaniments, Declared in Opposition to Scoffers about to
Arise. God's Long Suffering a Motive to
Repentance, as Paul's Epistles Set Forth; Concluding Exhortation to Growth in the Knowledge of
1. now—"This now a second Epistle I
write." Therefore he had lately written the former Epistle. The seven
Catholic Epistles were written by James, John, and Jude, shortly before
their deaths; previously, while having the prospect of being still for
some time alive, they felt it less necessary to write [Bengel].
unto you—The Second Epistle, though
more general in its address, yet included especially the same
persons as the First Epistle was particularly addressed to.
pure—literally, "pure when examined by
sunlight"; "sincere." Adulterated with no error. Opposite to
"having the understanding darkened." Alford explains, The mind, will, and affection, in
relation to the outer world, being turned to God [the Sun of the
soul], and not obscured by fleshly and selfish regards.
by way of—Greek, "in," "in
putting you in remembrance" (2Pe 1:12, 13). Ye already know (2Pe 3:3); it is only needed that I remind
2. prophets—of the Old Testament.
of us—The oldest manuscripts and
Vulgate read, "And of the commandment of the Lord and Saviour
(declared) by YOUR apostles" (so
"apostle of the Gentiles," Ro 11:13)—the apostles who live among
you in the present time, in contrast to the Old Testament
3. Knowing this first—from the word of
shall come—Their very scoffing
shall confirm the truth of the prediction.
scoffers—The oldest manuscripts and
Vulgate add, "(scoffers) in (that is, 'with')
scoffing." As Re 14:2,
"harping with harps."
walking after their own lusts—(2Pe
2:10; Jude 16, 18). Their own
pleasure is their sole law, unrestrained by reverence for God.
4. (Compare Ps 10:11; 73:11.) Presumptuous skepticism and lawless
lust, setting nature and its so-called laws above the God of nature and
revelation, and arguing from the past continuity of nature's phenomena
that there can be no future interruption to them, was the sin of the
antediluvians, and shall be that of the scoffers in the last days.
Where—implying that it ought to have
taken place before this, if ever it was to take place, but that it
the promise—which you, believers, are
so continually looking for the fulfilment of (2Pe 3:13). What becomes of the promise which you
talk so much of?
his—Christ's; the subject of
prophecy from the earliest days.
the fathers—to whom the promise
was made, and who rested all their hopes on it.
all things—in the natural
world; skeptics look not beyond this.
as they were—continue as they
do; as we see them to continue. From the time of the promise of
Christ's coming as Saviour and King being given to the fathers, down to
the present time, all things continue, and have continued, as they
now are, from "the beginning of creation." The "scoffers" here are
not necessarily atheists, nor do they maintain that the world existed
from eternity. They are willing to recognize a God, but not the God
of revelation. They reason from seeming delay against the
fulfilment of God's word at all.
5. Refutation of their scoffing from Scripture
willingly—wilfully; they do not
wish to know. Their ignorance is voluntary.
they … are ignorant of—in
contrast to 2Pe 3:8, "Be
not ignorant of this." Literally, in both verses, "This escapes THEIR notice (sagacious philosophers though
they think themselves)"; "let this not escape YOUR notice." They obstinately shut their eyes to
the Scripture record of the creation and the deluge; the latter is the
very parallel to the coming judgment by fire, which Jesus mentions, as
Peter doubtless remembered.
by the word of God—not by a fortuitous
concurrence of atoms [Alford].
of old—Greek, "from of old";
from the first beginning of all things. 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 the flood might have been
urged with the same plausibility: The heavens (sky) and earth have been
FROM OF OLD, how unlikely then that they
should not continue so! But, replies Peter, 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 present "world," or as Greek means, "order"), and
introducing the new heavens and earth (2Pe 3:13).
earth standing out of—Greek,
"consisting of," that is, "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, &c.—rather, "by means
of the water," as a great 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
6. Whereby—Greek, "By which"
(plural). By means of which heavens and earth (in respect to the
WATERS which flowed together from
both) the then world perished (that is, in respect to its
occupants, men and animals, and its then 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.
7. (Compare Job 28:5, end).
which are now—"the postdiluvian
visible world." In contrast to "that then was," 2Pe 3:6.
the same—Other oldest manuscripts
read, "His" (God's).
kept in store—Greek, "treasured
reserved—"kept." It is only God's
constantly watchful providence which holds together the present state
of things till His time for ending it.
8. be not ignorant—as those scoffers are
3:5). Besides the refutation
of them (2Pe 3:5-7)
drawn from the history of the deluge, here he adds another (addressed
more to believers than to the mockers): 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 (Lu 10:42).
one day … thousand years—(Ps 90:4): Moses there 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: that day 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 all future things
are present: His power requires not long delays for the performance of
His work: His long-suffering excludes all impatient expectation and
eager haste, such as we men feel. He is equally blessed in one day and
in a thousand years. He can do the work of a thousand years in one day:
so in 2Pe
3:9 it is said, "He is not
slack," that is, "slow": He has always the power to fulfil His
thousand years as one day—No delay
which occurs is long to God: as to a man of countless riches, a
thousand guineas are as a single penny. God's œonologe
(eternal-ages measurer) differs wholly from man's horologe
(hour-glass). His gnomon (dial-pointer) shows all the hours at
once in the greatest activity and in perfect repose. To Him the hours
pass away, neither more slowly, nor more quickly, than befits His
economy. There is nothing to make Him need either to hasten or delay
the end. The words, "with the Lord" (Ps 90:4, "In Thy sight"), silence all man's
objections on the ground of his incapability of understanding this
9. slack—slow, tardy, late;
exceeding the due time, as though that time were already come. Heb 10:37, "will not tarry."
his promise—which the scoffers cavil
3:4, "Where is the promise?"
It shall be surely fulfilled "according to His promise" (2Pe 3:13).
count—His promise to be the result of
long-suffering—waiting until the full
number of those appointed to "salvation" (2Pe 3:15) shall be completed.
to us-ward—The oldest manuscripts,
Vulgate, Syriac, &c., read, "towards YOU."
any—not desiring that any, yea, even
that the scoffers, should perish, which would be the result if He did
not give space for repentance.
come—go and be received to
repentance: the Greek implies there is room for their
being received to repentance (compare Greek, Mr 2:2; Joh
10. The certainty, suddenness, and concomitant
effects, of the coming of the day of the Lord. Faber argues from this that the millennium, &c.,
must precede Christ's literal coming, not follow it. But
"the day of the Lord" comprehends the whole series of events, beginning
with the pre-millennial advent, and ending with the destruction of the
wicked, and final conflagration, and general judgment (which last
intervenes between the conflagration and the renovation of the
will—emphatical. But (in spite of the
mockers, and notwithstanding the delay) come and be present the
day of the Lord SHALL.
as a thief—Peter remembers and repeats
his Lord's image (Lu 12:39, 41) used in the conversation in which he
took a part; so also Paul (1Th 5:2) and
John (Re 3:3; 16:15).
the heavens—which the scoffers say'
shall "continue" as they are (2Pe 3:4; Mt 24:35; Re
with a great noise—with a rushing
noise, like that of a whizzing arrow, or the crash of a
elements—the component materials of
the world [Wahl]. However, as "the
works" in the earth are mentioned separately from "the earth," so it is
likely by "elements," mentioned after "the heavens," are meant "the
works therein," namely, the sun, moon, and stars (as Theophilus of Antioch [p. 22, 148, 228]; and
Justin Martyr [Apology, 2.44],
use the word "elements"): these, as at creation, so in the destruction
of the world, are mentioned [Bengel].
But as "elements" is not so used in Scripture Greek, perhaps it
refers to the component materials of "the heavens," including
the heavenly bodies; it clearly belongs to the former clause,
"the heavens," not to the following, "the earth," &c.
melt—be dissolved, as in 2Pe 3:11.
the works … therein—of nature
and of art.
11. Your duty, seeing that this is so, is to
be ever eagerly expecting the day of God.
then—Some oldest manuscripts
substitute "thus" for "then": a happy refutation of the "thus" of the
scoffers, 2Pe 3:4
(English Version, "As they were," Greek, "thus").
shall be—Greek, "are
being (in God's appointment, soon to be fulfilled) dissolved"; the
present tense implying the certainty as though it were actually
what manner of men—exclamatory.
How watchful, prayerful, zealous!
to be—not the mere Greek
substantive verb of existence (einai), but (huparchein)
denoting a state or condition in which one is supposed to
be [Tittmann]. What holy men ye ought to
be found to be, when the event comes! This is "the holy commandment"
mentioned in 2Pe 3:2.
godliness—Greek, plural: behaviors (towards
men), godlinesses (or pieties towards God) in their
manifold modes of manifestation.
12. hasting unto—with the utmost
eagerness desiring [Wahl], praying
for, and contemplating, the coming Saviour as at hand. The Greek
may mean "hastening (that is, urging onward [Alford]) the day of God"; not that God's eternal
appointment of the time is changeable, but God appoints us as
instruments of accomplishing those events which must be first before
the day of God 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. The Greek verb is always in New
Testament used as neuter (as English Version here), not active;
but the Septuagint uses it actively. Christ says, "Surely
I come quickly. Amen." Our part is to speed forward this
consummation by praying, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Re 22:20).
"presence" of a person: usually, of the Saviour.
the day of God—God has given many
myriads of days to men: one shall be the great "day of God"
wherein—rather as Greek, "on
account of (or owing to) which" day.
heavens—the upper and lower regions of
melt—Our igneous rocks show that they
were once in a liquid state.
13. Nevertheless—"But": in contrast to
the destructive effects of the day of God stand its constructive
effects. As the flood was the baptism of the earth, eventuating in a
renovated earth, partially delivered from "the curse," so the baptism
with fire shall purify the earth so as to be the renovated abode of
regenerated man, wholly freed from the curse.
his promise—(Isa 65:17;
66:22). The "we" is not
emphatical as in English Version.
new heavens—new atmospheric heavens
surrounding the renovated earth.
righteousness—dwelleth in that
coming world as its essential feature, all pollutions having been
14. that ye … be found of him—"in
His sight" [Alford], at His coming;
plainly implying a personal coming.
without spot—at the coming marriage
feast of the Lamb, in contrast to 2Pe 2:13, "Spots they are and blemishes while
they feast," not having on the King's pure wedding garment.
blameless—(1Co 1:8; Php 1:10; 1Th 3:13; 5:23).
in peace—in all its aspects, towards
God, your own consciences, and your fellow men, and as its consequence
eternal blessedness: "the God of peace" will effect this for
15. account … the long-suffering … is
salvation—is designed for the salvation of those yet to be
gathered into the Church: whereas those scoffers "count it (to be the
result of) slackness" on the Lord's part (2Pe 3:9).
our beloved brother Paul—a beautiful
instance of love and humility. Peter praises the very Epistles which
contain his condemnation.
according to the wisdom given unto
him—adopting Paul's own language, 1Co 3:10, "According to the grace of God
which is given unto me as a wise master-builder."
Supernatural and inspired wisdom "GIVEN"
him, not acquired in human schools of learning.
hath written—Greek aorist,
"wrote," as a thing wholly past: Paul was by this time either
dead, or had ceased to minister to them.
to you—Galatians, Ephesians,
Colossians, the same region as Peter addresses. Compare "in
3:14, a practical exhibition
of which Peter now gives in showing how perfectly agreeing Paul (who
wrote the Epistle to the Galatians) and he are, notwithstanding
the event recorded (Ga 2:11-14). Col 3:4 refers to Christ's second coming.
The Epistle to the Hebrews, too (addressed not only to the Palestinian,
but also secondarily to the Hebrew Christians everywhere), may be
referred to, as Peter primarily (though not exclusively) addresses in
both Epistles the Hebrew Christians of the dispersion (see on 1Pe 1:1). Heb 9:27, 28; 10:25, 37, "speak of these things" (2Pe 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.
16. also in all his epistles—Ro 2:4 is very similar to 2Pe 3:15, beginning. The Pauline Epistles were by
this time become the common property of all the churches. The
"all" seems to imply they were now completed. The subject of the Lord's
coming is handled in 1Th 4:13; 5:11; compare 2Pe 3:10 with 1Th 5:2. Still Peter distinguishes Paul's
Epistle, or Epistles, "TO YOU," from
"all his (other) Epistles," showing that certain definite
churches, or particular classes of believers, are meant by "you."
in which—Epistles. The oldest
manuscripts read the feminine relative (hais); not as Received
Text (hois), "in which things."
some things hard to be
understood—namely, in reference to Christ's coming, for
example, the statements as to the man of sin and the apostasy, before
Christ's coming. "Paul seemed thereby to delay Christ's coming to a
longer period than the other apostles, whence some doubted altogether
His coming" [Bengel]. Though there be
some things hard to be understood, there are enough besides, plain,
easy, and sufficient for perfecting the man of God. "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
unlearned—Not those wanting
human learning are meant, but those lacking the learning
imparted by the Spirit. The humanly learned have been often
most deficient in spiritual learning, and have originated many
heresies. Compare 2Ti 2:23, a
different Greek word, "unlearned," literally, "untutored." When
religion is studied as a science, nothing is more abstruse; when
studied in order to know our duty and practice it, nothing is
unstable—not yet established in what
they have learned; shaken by every seeming difficulty; who, in
perplexing texts, instead of waiting until God by His Spirit makes them
plain in comparing them with other Scriptures, hastily adopt distorted
wrest—strain and twist (properly with
a hand screw) what is straight in itself (for example, 2Ti 2:18).
other scriptures—Paul's Epistles were,
therefore, by this time, recognized in the Church, as "Scripture": a
term never applied in any of the fifty places where it occurs, save to
the Old and New Testament sacred writings. Men in each Church having
miraculous discernment of spirits would have prevented any
uninspired writing from being put on a par with the Old Testament word
of God; the apostles' lives also 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 three first Gospels and Acts are included in "the other
Scriptures," and perhaps all the New Testament books, save John and
Revelation, written later.
unto their own destruction—not through
Paul's fault (2Pe 2:1).
17. Ye—warned by the case of those
"unlearned and unstable" persons (2Pe 3:16).
knowing … before—the event.
led away with—the very term, as Peter
remembers, used by Paul of Barnabas' being "carried," Greek,
"led away with" Peter and the other Jews in their hypocrisy.
wicked—"lawless," as in 2Pe 2:7.
fall from—(grace, Ga 5:4: the true source of) "steadfastness" or
stability in contrast with the "unstable" (2Pe 3:16): "established" (2Pe 1:12): all kindred Greek terms.
Compare Jude 20, 21.
18. grow—Not only do not "fall from"
3:17), but grow
onward: the true secret of not going backward. Eph 4:15, "Grow up into Him, the Head,
grace and … knowledge of …
Christ—"the grace and knowledge of Christ" [Alford rightly]: the grace of which
Christ is the author, and the knowledge of which
Christ is the object.
for ever—Greek, "to the day of
eternity": the day that has no end: "the day of the Lord," beginning
with the Lord's coming.