2 Peter 1-3
Growth in Christian Virtue
1 [a]Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Jesus Christ,
To those who have [b]received and possess [by God’s will] a precious faith of the [c]same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be multiplied to you in the [true, intimate] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through [d]true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has bestowed on us His precious and magnificent promises [of inexpressible value], so that by them you may escape from the immoral freedom that is in the world because of disreputable desire, and become sharers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason, applying your diligence [to the divine promises, make every effort] in [exercising] your faith to, [e]develop moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge (insight, understanding), 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, steadfastness, and in your steadfastness, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly affection, and in your brotherly affection, [develop Christian] love [that is, learn to unselfishly seek the best for others and to do things for their benefit]. 8 For as these qualities are yours and are increasing [in you as you grow toward spiritual maturity], they will keep you from being useless and unproductive in regard to the true knowledge and greater understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is blind—shortsighted [closing his spiritual eyes to the truth], having become oblivious to the fact that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, believers, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [be sure that your behavior reflects and confirms your relationship with God]; for by [f]doing these things [actively developing these virtues], you will never stumble [in your spiritual growth and will live a life that leads others away from sin]; 11 for in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly provided to you.
12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them and are established in the truth which is [g]held firmly in your grasp. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this earthly tent, to inspire you by reminding you, 14 knowing that the laying aside of this earthly tent of mine is imminent, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 Moreover, I will diligently endeavor [to see to it] that even after my departure you will be able, at all times, to call these things to mind.
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories or myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were [h]eyewitnesses of His majesty [His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty]. 17 For when He was invested with honor and [the radiance of the [i]Shekinah] glory from God the Father, such a voice as this came to Him from the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], [j]“This is My Son, My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased and delighted”—(A) 18 and we [actually] heard this voice made from heaven when we were together with Him on the holy mountain.(B)
19 So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [k]morning star arises in your hearts.(C) 20 [l]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
The Rise of False Prophets
2 But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will subtly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine. Their sentence [of condemnation which God has decreed] from a time long ago is not idle [but is still in force], and their destruction and deepening misery is not asleep [but is on its way].
4 [m]For if God did not [even] spare angels that sinned, but threw them into [n]hell and sent them to pits of gloom to be kept [there] for judgment; 5 and if He did not spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought [the judgment of] a flood upon the world of the ungodly;(D) 6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;(E) 7 and if He rescued righteous [o]Lot, who was tormented by the immoral conduct of unprincipled and ungodly men(F) 8 (for that just man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by what he saw and heard of their lawless acts), 9 then [in light of the fact that all this is true, be sure that] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and how to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially [p]those who indulge in the corrupt passions of the sin nature, and despise authority.
Presumptuous and reckless, self-willed and arrogant [creatures, despising the majesty of the Lord], they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas even angels who are superior in might and power do not bring a reviling (defaming) accusation against them before the Lord.(G) 12 But these [false teachers], like unreasoning animals, [mere] creatures of instinct, born to be captured and destroyed, reviling things they do not understand, will also perish in their own corruption [in their destroying they will be destroyed], 13 suffering wrong [destined for punishment] as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a delight to revel in the daytime [living luxuriously]. They are stains and blemishes [on mankind], reveling in their [q]deceptions even as they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, constantly looking for sin, enticing and luring away unstable souls. Having hearts trained in greed, [they are] children of a curse. 15 Abandoning the straight road [that is, the right way to live], they have gone astray; they have followed the way of [the false teacher] Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness;(H) 16 but he was rebuked for his own transgression: a mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.(I)
17 These [false teachers] are springs without water and mists driven by a tempest, for whom is reserved the gloom of black darkness. 18 For uttering arrogant words of vanity [pompous words disguised to sound scholarly or profound, but meaning nothing and containing no spiritual truth], they beguile and lure using lustful desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error. 19 They promise them liberty, when they themselves are the slaves of depravity—for by whatever anyone is defeated and overcome, to that [person, thing, philosophy, or concept] he is continually enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world by [personal] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, their last condition has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have [personally] known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to have turned back from the holy commandment [verbally] handed on to them. 22 The thing spoken of in the true proverb has happened to them, “The dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “A sow is washed only to wallow [again] in the mire.”(J)
Purpose of This Letter
3 Beloved, I am now writing you this second letter. In this [as in the first one], I am stirring up your untainted mind to remind you, 2 that you should remember the words spoken in the past [about the future] by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior given by your apostles [His personally chosen representatives].
The Coming Day of the Lord
3 First of all, know [without any doubt] that mockers will come in the last days with their mocking, following after their own human desires 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming [what has become of it]? For ever since the fathers fell asleep [in death], all things have continued [exactly] as they did from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they willingly forget [the fact] that the heavens existed long ago by the word of God, and the earth was formed [r]out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water.(K) 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people.
8 Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.(L) 9 The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
A New Heaven and Earth
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish with a [mighty and thunderous] roar, and the [material] elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are on it will be [s]burned up.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be [in the meantime] in holy behavior [that is, in a pattern of daily life that sets you apart as a believer] and in godliness [displaying profound reverence toward our awesome God], 12 [while you earnestly] look for and await the coming of the day of God. For on this day the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the [material] elements will melt with intense heat!(M) 13 But in accordance with His promise we expectantly await new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.(N)
14 So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him [at His return] spotless and blameless, in peace [that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him]. 15 And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]; just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him [by God], 16 speaking about these things as he does in all of his letters. In which there are some things that are difficult to understand, which the untaught and unstable [who have fallen into error] twist and misinterpret, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of [t]unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], 18 but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
- 2 Peter 1:1 Two early manuscripts read Simeon, the direct transliteration of the Hebrew. The only other place this spelling appears in the NT is in Acts 15:14.
- 2 Peter 1:1 From a Greek word meaning to obtain by lot, emphasizing the fact that salvation is not something gained because of personal effort, but is received as an undeserved gift because of God’s grace.
- 2 Peter 1:1 I.e. equal in rank, honor and privilege.
- 2 Peter 1:3 There is no “secret knowledge” or “better way” or alternative belief system which God has revealed to some unique group or teacher. The truth is available to everyone.
- 2 Peter 1:5 Lit supply.
- 2 Peter 1:10 I.e. developing the moral virtues outlined in vv 5-7.
- 2 Peter 1:12 Lit present with you.
- 2 Peter 1:16 A reference to the transfiguration (Matt 17:1ff).
- 2 Peter 1:17 The word “Shekinah” does not appear in Scripture, but has been used by both Christians and Jews to describe the visible divine Presence of God (the brilliant light of the divine), in such things as the burning bush, the cloud and the pillar of fire that led the Hebrews in the wilderness, and the Presence of God that rested between the cherubim over the mercy seat of the ark.
- 2 Peter 1:17 With these words God affirms the deity of Jesus and His divine essence.
- 2 Peter 1:19 Lit light-bringer.
- 2 Peter 1:20 Or For you know.
- 2 Peter 2:4 This verse begins one of the longest sentences in the NT. The sentence concludes in v 10a.
- 2 Peter 2:4 For emphasis Peter uses a word (tartarus) from Greek mythology describing a hell reserved for the most horrendous of people to emphasize the terrible doom awaiting false prophets and teachers who manipulate and twist the truth of the gospel message.
- 2 Peter 2:7 Lot was the nephew of Abraham and the son of Haran. He traveled with his uncle to Canaan and eventually settled in Sodom because of its proximity to good grazing land for his flocks. Peter presents a side of Lot not easily inferred from the OT account.
- 2 Peter 2:10 In the descriptions that follow, Peter may specifically have in mind the false teachers of whom he spoke in vv 1-3.
- 2 Peter 2:13 One early ms reads love feasts.
- 2 Peter 3:5 Peter is not referring to the creation of earth from water, but to the appearance of land masses from the water that had covered the earth in the early stages of creation. His point is that the mockers who will claim that things continue to be just as they always have been will be overlooking the fact that the status quo, as they see it, took an act of God to create in the first place, and God has already intervened in the history of the world once to wipe out mankind by a cataclysmic flood (v 6; cf Gen 6; 7).
- 2 Peter 3:10 Two early mss have “discovered” instead of “burned up.” It is possible that Peter means something like “discovered for what they really are—temporary creations.”
- 2 Peter 3:17 I.e. the people who teach a distorted doctrine.
The Warnings of History to the Ungodly
To those who are the called (God’s chosen ones, the elect), dearly loved by God the Father, and kept [secure and set apart] for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you [filling your heart with the spiritual well-being and serenity experienced by those who walk closely with God].
3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I was compelled to write to you [urgently] appealing that you [c]fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith which was once for all [d]handed down to the saints [the faith that is the sum of Christian belief that was given verbally to believers]. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed [just as if they were sneaking in by a side door]. They are ungodly persons whose condemnation was predicted long ago, for they distort the grace of our God into decadence and immoral freedom [viewing it as an opportunity to do whatever they want], and deny and disown our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 Now I want to remind you, although you are fully informed once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe [who refused to trust and obey and rely on Him].(A) 6 And angels who did not keep their own designated place of power, but abandoned their proper dwelling place, [these] He has kept in eternal chains under [the thick gloom of utter] darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the adjacent cities, since they in the same way as these angels indulged in gross immoral freedom and unnatural vice and sensual perversity. They are exhibited [in plain sight] as an example in undergoing the punishment of everlasting fire.(B)
8 Nevertheless in the same way, these dreamers [who are dreaming that God will not punish them] also defile the body, and reject [legitimate] authority, and revile and mock angelic majesties. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil (Satan), and [f]arguing about the body of Moses, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him, but [simply] said, “The Lord rebuke you!”(C) 10 But these men sneer at anything which they do not understand; and whatever they do know by [mere] instinct, like unreasoning and irrational beasts—by these things they are destroyed. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone the [defiant] way of Cain, and for profit they have run headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of [mutinous] Korah.(D) 12 These men are hidden reefs [elements of great danger to others] in your [g]love feasts when they feast together with you without fear, looking after [only] themselves; [they are like] clouds without water, swept along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted and lifeless; 13 wild waves of the sea, flinging up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of deep darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was about these people that [h]Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, when he said, “Look, the Lord came with [i]myriads of His holy ones 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the [j]ungodly of all the ungodly deeds they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh and cruel things ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16 These people are [habitual] murmurers, griping and complaining, following after their own desires [controlled by passion]; they speak arrogantly, [pretending admiration and] flattering people to gain an advantage.
Keep Yourselves in the Love of God
17 But as for you, beloved, remember the [prophetic] words spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They used to say to you, “In the last days there will be scoffers, following after their own ungodly passions.”(E) 19 These are the ones who are [agitators] causing divisions—worldly-minded [secular, unspiritual, carnal, merely sensual—unsaved], devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on [the foundation of] your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], pray in the Holy Spirit, 21 and keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy but with fear, loathing even the clothing spotted and polluted by their shameless immoral freedom.(F)
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
- Jude 1:1 Jude and James were among the younger half brothers of Jesus (Mark 6:3).
- Jude 1:1 James was a prominent leader in the early church (Acts 15).
- Jude 1:3 Lit contend earnestly.
- Jude 1:3 There is no “secret knowledge” or “better way” or alternative belief system which God has revealed to some unique group or teacher. The truth is available to everyone.
- Jude 1:5 Two early mss read Jesus.
- Jude 1:9 In Jewish tradition, Michael claimed to be Moses’ teacher and was present when God put Moses to death (Midrash on Deut 11:10). Jude’s point is that if the archangel Michael had such respect for Satan’s power, then mere humans are extremely foolish to insult or show disrespect to angelic beings. This does not mean that true Christians cannot or should not engage in spiritual warfare with satanic forces; quite the contrary (Eph 6:12; James 4:7). But they should follow Michael’s example and act only as legitimate representatives of Christ who are in good standing with Him.
- Jude 1:12 The early church frequently met together for a communal meal followed by the Lord’s Supper.
- Jude 1:14 The descendant of Seth (Gen 5:18-24).
- Jude 1:14 A Greek word meaning “ten thousand” in the singular. It is often used to refer to vast numbers of people or things that are virtually beyond counting.
- Jude 1:15 The purpose of the repetition is to emphasize the punishment determined for the false teachers.