2 Peter 3
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
IV. The Delay of the Second Coming
Denial of the Parousia. 1 [a]This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; through them by way of reminder I am trying to stir up your sincere disposition, 2 to recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and savior through your apostles.(A) 3 Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers[b] will come [to] scoff, living according to their own desires(B) 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?[c] From the time when our ancestors fell asleep, everything has remained as it was from the beginning of creation.”(C) 5 They deliberately ignore the fact that the heavens existed of old and earth was formed out of water and through water[d] by the word of God;(D) 6 through these the world that then existed was destroyed,(E) deluged with water.[e] 7 The present heavens and earth have been reserved by the same word for fire, kept for the day of judgment and of destruction of the godless.(F)
8 [f]But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years[g] and a thousand years like one day.(G) 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.(H) 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,[h] and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.(I)
Exhortation to Preparedness.[i] 11 Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought [you] to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,(J) 12 [j]waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,(K) because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. 13 But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth[k] in which righteousness dwells.(L)
14 Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. 15 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you,(M) 16 speaking of these things[l] as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
V. Final Exhortation and Doxology[m]
17 Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.(N) 18 But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. [Amen.](O)
- 3:1–4 The false teachers not only flout Christian morality (cf. Jude 8–19); they also deny the second coming of Christ and the judgment (2 Pt 3:4; cf. 2 Pt 3:7). They seek to justify their licentiousness by arguing that the promised return of Christ has not been realized and the world is the same, no better than it was before (2 Pt 3:3–4). The author wishes to strengthen the faithful against such errors by reminding them in this second letter of the instruction in 1 Peter and of the teaching of the prophets and of Christ, conveyed through the apostles (2 Pt 3:1–2; cf. Jude 17); cf. 1 Pt 1:10–12, 16–21, especially 16–21; Eph 2:20.
- 3:3 Scoffers: cf. Jude 18, where, however, only the passions of the scoffers are mentioned, not a denial on their part of Jesus’ parousia.
- 3:4–7 The false teachers tried to justify their immorality by pointing out that the promised coming (parousia) of the Lord has not yet occurred, even though early Christians expected it in their day. They thus insinuate that God is not guiding the world’s history anymore, since nothing has changed and the first generation of Christians, our ancestors (2 Pt 3:4), has all died by this time. The author replies that, just as God destroyed the earth by water in the flood (2 Pt 3:5–6, cf. 2 Pt 2:5), so he will destroy it along with the false teachers on judgment day (2 Pt 3:7). The word of God, which called the world into being (Gn 1; Ps 33:6) and destroyed it by the waters of a flood, will destroy it again by fire on the day of judgment (2 Pt 3:5–7).
- 3:5 Formed out of water and through water: Gn 1:2, 6–8 is reflected as well as Greek views that water was the basic element from which all is derived.
- 3:6 Destroyed, deluged with water: cf. 2 Pt 2:5; Gn 7:11–8:2.
- 3:8–10 The scoffers’ objection (2 Pt 3:4) is refuted also by showing that delay of the Lord’s second coming is not a failure to fulfill his word but rather a sign of his patience: God is giving time for repentance before the final judgment (cf. Wis 11:23–26; Ez 18:23; 33:11).
- 3:8 Cf. Ps 90:4.
- 3:10 Like a thief: Mt 24:43; 1 Thes 5:2; Rev 3:3. Will be found out: cf. 1 Cor 3:13–15. Some few versions read, as the sense may demand, “will not be found out”; many manuscripts read “will be burned up”; there are further variants in other manuscripts, versions, and Fathers. Total destruction is assumed (2 Pt 3:11).
- 3:11–16 The second coming of Christ and the judgment of the world are the doctrinal bases for the moral exhortation to readiness through vigilance and a virtuous life; cf. Mt 24:42, 50–51; Lk 12:40; 1 Thes 5:1–11; Jude 20–21.
- 3:12 Flames…fire: although this is the only New Testament passage about a final conflagration, the idea was common in apocalyptic and Greco-Roman thought. Hastening: eschatology is here used to motivate ethics (2 Pt 3:11), as elsewhere in the New Testament. Jewish sources and Acts 3:19–20 assume that proper ethical conduct can help bring the promised day of the Lord; cf. 2 Pt 3:9. Some render the phrase, however, “desiring it earnestly.”
- 3:13 New heavens and a new earth: cf. Is 65:17; 66:22. The divine promises will be fulfilled after the day of judgment will have passed. The universe will be transformed by the reign of God’s righteousness or justice; cf. Is 65:17–18; Acts 3:21; Rom 8:18–25; Rev 21:1.
- 3:16 These things: the teachings of this letter find parallels in Paul, e.g., God’s will to save (Rom 2:4; 9:22–23; 1 Cor 1:7–8), the coming of Christ (1 Thes 4:16–17; 1 Cor 15:23–52), and preparedness for the judgment (Col 1:22–23; Eph 1:4–14; 4:30; 5:5–14). Other scriptures: used to guide the faith and life of the Christian community. The letters of Paul are thus here placed on the same level as books of the Old Testament. Possibly other New Testament writings could also be included.
- 3:17–18 To avoid the dangers of error and loss of stability, Christians are forewarned to be on guard and to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pt 1:2) of Christ. The doxology (2 Pt 3:18) recalls 1 Pt 4:11. Some manuscripts add Amen.
2 Peter 3
New International Version
The Day of the Lord
3 Dear friends,(A) this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders(B) to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets(C) and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.(D)
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days(E) scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.(F) 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?(G) Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”(H) 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word(I) the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.(J) 6 By these waters also the world of that time(K) was deluged and destroyed.(L) 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire,(M) being kept for the day of judgment(N) and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.(O) 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,(P) as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient(Q) with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.(R)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.(S) The heavens will disappear with a roar;(T) the elements will be destroyed by fire,(U) and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a](V)
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward(W) to the day of God and speed its coming.[b](X) That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.(Y) 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,(Z) where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless(AA) and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience(AB) means salvation,(AC) just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.(AD) 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable(AE) people distort,(AF) as they do the other Scriptures,(AG) to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard(AH) so that you may not be carried away by the error(AI) of the lawless(AJ) and fall from your secure position.(AK) 18 But grow in the grace(AL) and knowledge(AM) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.(AN) To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.(AO)