2 Peter Chapter 3

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THE principal design of this chapter is to demonstrate, in opposition to the objections of scoffers, that the Lord Jesus will return again to this world; that the world will be destroyed by fire, and that there will be a new heaven and a new earth; and to show what effect this should have on the minds of Christians. The chapter, without any very exact arrangement by the author, essentially consists of two parts.

I. The argument of the objectors to the doctrine that the Lord Jesus will return to the world, and that it will be destroyed, 2 Pet 3:1ff. In doing this, the apostle (2 Pet 3:1, 2 Pet 3:2) calls their attention to the importance of attending diligently to the things which had been spoken by the prophets, and to the commands of the apostles, reminding them that it was to be expected that in the last days there would be scoffers who would deride the doctrines of religion, and who would maintain that there was no evidence that what had been predicted would be fulfilled, 2 Pet 3:3. He then 2 Pet 3:4 adverts to the argument on which they professed to rely, that there were no signs or indications that those events were to take place; that there were no natural causes in operation which could lead to such results; and that the fact of the stability of the earth since the time of the creation, demonstrated that the predicted destruction of the world could not occur.

II. The argument of Peter, in reply to this objection; a strong affirmation of the truth of the doctrine that the Lord Jesus will return; that the earth and all which it contains will be burned up; that there will be a new heaven and a new earth; and the effect Which the prospect of the coming of the Lord Jesus, and of the destruction of the world by fire, should have on the minds of Christians, 2 Pet 3:5ff.

(1.) The arguments of Peter, in reply to the objection from the long-continued stability of the earth, are the following:

(a.) He refers to the destruction of the old world by the flood -- a fact against which the same objections could have been urged, beforehand, which are urged against the predicted destruction of the world by fire, 2 Pet 3:6f. With just as much plausibility it might have been urged then that-the earth had stood for thousands of years, and that there were no natural causes at work to produce that change. It might, have been asked where the immense amount of water necessary to drown a world could come from; and perhaps it might have been argued that God was too good to destroy a world by a flood. Every objection which could be urged to the destruction of the world by fire, could have been urged to its destruction by water; and as, in fact, those objections, as the event showed, would have had no real force, so they should be regarded as having no real force now.

(b.) No argument against this predicted event can be derived from the fact that hundreds and thousands of years are suffered to elapse before the fulfillment of the predictions, 2 Pet 3:8, 2 Pet 3:9. What seems long to men is not long to God. A thousand years with him, in reference to this point, are as one day. He does not measure time as men do. They soon die; and if they cannot execute their purpose in a brief period, they cannot at all. But this cannot apply to God. He has infinite ages in which to execute his purposes, and therefore no argument can be derived from the fact that his purposes are long delayed, to prove that he will not execute them at all.

(c.) Peter says (2 Pet 3:15, seq.) that the delay which was observed in executing the plans of God should not be interpreted as a proof that they would never be accomplished, but as an evidence of his long-suffering and patience; and, in illustration of this, he refers to the writings of Paul, in which he says that the same sentiments were advanced. There were indeed, he says, in those writings, some things which were hard to be understood; but on this point they were plain.

(2.) A strong affirmation of the truth of the doctrine, 2 Pet 3:9, 2 Pet 3:10, 2 Pet 3:13. He declares that these events will certainly occur, and that they should be expected to take place suddenly, and without any preintimations of their approach -- as the thief comes at night without announcing his coming.

(3.) The practical suggestions which Peter intersperses in the argument illustrative of the effect which these considerations should have on the mind, are among the most important parts of the Chapter:

(1.) We should be holy, devout, and serious, 2 Pet 3:11.

(2.) We should look forward with deep interest to the new heavens and earth which are to succeed the present, 2 Pet 3:12.

(3.) We should be diligent and watchful, that we may be found on the return of the Saviour "without spot and blameless," 2 Pet 3:14.

(4.) We should be cautious that we be not seduced and led away by the errors which deny these great doctrines, 2 Pet 3:17 and

(5.) we should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Pet 3:18.


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

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: edit

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

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. edit

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: edit

6: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: edit

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. edit

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. edit

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. edit

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. edit

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

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? edit

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

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. edit

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; edit

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. edit

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. edit

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. edit

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