2 Peter 3
The Passion Translation
The Coming of the Lord
3 Beloved friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you[a] in which I’ve attempted to stir you up and awaken you to a proper mind-set.[b] 2 So never forget both the prophecies spoken by the holy prophets of old and the teaching[c] of our Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.[d]
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days mockers[e] will multiply, chasing after their evil desires. 4 They will say, “So what about this promise of his coming?[f] Our ancestors are dead and buried, yet everything is still the same as it was since from the beginning of time until now.”
5 But they conveniently overlook that from the beginning, the heavens and earth were created by God’s word. He spoke and the dry ground separated from the waters. 6 Then long afterward he destroyed the world with a tremendous flood by those very waters.[g] 7 And now, by the same powerful word, the heavens and the earth are reserved for fire,[h] being kept for judgment day, when all the ungodly will perish.
8 So, dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape your notice: a single day counts like a thousand years to the Lord Yahweh,[i] and a thousand years counts as one day.[j] 9 This means that, contrary to man’s perspective, the Lord is not late with his promise to return, as some measure lateness. But rather, his “delay” simply reveals his loving patience toward you, because he does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance.[k]
10 The day of the Lord will come and take everyone by surprise—as unexpected as a home invasion. The atmosphere will be set on fire and vanish with a horrific roar, and the heavenly bodies[l] will melt away as in a tremendous blaze. The earth and every activity of man will be laid bare.[m] 11 Since all these things are on the verge of being dismantled, don’t you see how vital it is to live a holy life? We must be consumed with godliness 12 while we anticipate and help to speed up the coming of the day of God,[n] when the atmosphere will be set on fire and the heavenly bodies consumed in a blaze. 13 But as we wait, we trust in God’s royal proclamation to be fulfilled. There are coming[o] heavens new in quality, and an earth new in quality, where righteousness will be fully at home.[p]
Preparation for the Coming of the Lord
14 So, my beloved friends, with all that you have to look forward to, may you be eager to be found living pure lives when you come into his presence,[q] without blemish and filled with peace. 15 And keep in mind that our Lord’s extraordinary patience simply means more opportunity for salvation,[r] just as our dear brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He consistently speaks of these things in all of his letters, even though he writes some concepts that are overwhelming to our understanding, which the unlearned and unstable love to twist to their spiritual ruin, as they do to other Scriptures.[s]
Grow in God’s Grace
17 As for you, divinely loved ones, since you are forewarned of these things, be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip on the truth. 18 But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.[t] May he receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen!
- 3:1 This would indicate that Peter is writing to the same people as his first letter (Galatia, Cappadocia, and the Roman province of Asia).
- 3:1 Or “a pure mind” or “sincere intention.” The Aramaic can be translated “awaken your beautiful memories.”
- 3:2 Or “commandment.”
- 3:2 Peter places “your apostles” on the same level as the Old Testament prophets as to their trustworthiness and in setting the standard for living a life of purity for God.
- 3:3 Or “deceivers.”
- 3:4 This is the Greek word parousia, which can also mean “presence” or “arrival” or “visitation.” The Aramaic can be translated “Where is the kingdom that he brought?”
- 3:6 Verses 5–6 are translated from the Aramaic. The Greek could be translated “The word of the Lord formed the heavens and the earth out of water and by means of water. And it was destroyed by the submerging of the world of that day—destroyed by water.”
- 3:7 The Aramaic can be translated “the earth is being kept as a hayloft (or pile of hay) for the fire.”
- 3:8 As translated from the Aramaic.
- 3:8 Peter gives us an incredible interpretive key to understand time from the Lord’s perspective. A day and a thousand years can both be symbolic. See also Ps. 90:4.
- 3:9 The Aramaic is quite different and can be translated “The Lord does not treat his kingdom like a dutiful chore, as some people consider it, like the treatment of a temporary laborer. But he pours out his Spirit on your behalf, since he does not wish that anyone should perish but that everyone should come into grace.”
- 3:10 Or “elements.”
- 3:10 The Aramaic can be translated “The earth and its works will be refined.”
- 3:12 Peter is teaching us that the church has the ability to speed up (and, by implication, slow down) the coming of the day of God. The closer we get to Christ, the closer will be his coming. “The day of God” is an equivalent phrase to the “day of the Lord.”
- 3:13 As translated from the Aramaic. The Aramaic word for promise is best translated “royal proclamation.”
- 3:13 See Isa. 65:17; 66:22. There is coming a day when all will live according to God’s perfect will for their lives and righteousness will be at home on earth and in every heart. This will be the day when justice reigns on earth. The Aramaic can be translated “We expect from his promise a new sky and a new earth in which the virtuous people will dwell.”
- 3:14 Although this is clearly implied, it is based on the dative pronoun autō, which does not indicate agency (by him), but in his presence (before him).
- 3:15 See 2 Peter 3:9. The Aramaic can be translated “Consider the Lord’s outpouring of [his] Spirit as salvation.”
- 3:16 This is not meant to imply that we cannot understand the Bible, but that there are certain concepts that are difficult to understand. The Bible is the only book whose Author is present every time it is read. The Holy One is the Divine Author of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16) and is the one who can open our hearts to understand truth. It is when we twist the Scriptures to fit our understanding that we are distorting its truth. Note also that Peter places Paul’s letters in the same category as the “other [inspired] Scriptures.”
- 3:18 The Aramaic does not use the imperative but makes it more of a decree: “You continue to be nourished in grace and in the intimate knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, and of God the Father.” Spiritual growth is yielding to the grace of God and having passion to know Jesus Christ intimately. In time, we grow into his beautiful image.