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3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 3:2 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: 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 3:4 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.

3:5 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: 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 3:7 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.

3:8 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.

3:9 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.

3:10 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.

3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 3:12 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? 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

3:15 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; 3:16 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.

3:17 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.

3:18 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.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 2 Peter
Book: 2 Peter
Chapter: 3

The design here is to remind of Christ's final coming to
judgement. (1-4) He will appear unexpectedly, when the present
frame of nature will be dissolved By Fire. (5-10) From thence is
inferred the need for Holiness, and stedfastness in the Faith.

1-4 The purified minds of Christians are to be stirred up, that
they may be active and lively in the work of Holiness. There
will be scoffers in the last days, under the Gospel, men who
make Light of Sin, and mock at Salvation By Jesus Christ. One
very principal article of our Faith refers to what only has a
promise to Rest upon, and scoffers will attack it till our Lord
is come. They will not believe that he will come. Because they
see No changes, therefore they fear not God, Ps 55:19. What he
never has done, they fancy he never can do, or never will do.

5-10 Had these scoffers considered the dreadful vengeance with
which God swept away a whole world of ungodly men at once,
surely they would not have scoffed at his threatening an equally
terrible Judgment. The heavens and the Earth which now are, By
the same Word, it is declared, will be destroyed By Fire. This
is as sure to come, as the Truth and the power of God can make
it. Christians are here taught and established in the Truth of
the coming of the Lord. Though, in the account of men, there is
a vast difference between one Day and a thousand years, yet, in
the account of God, there is No difference. All things past,
present, and future, are ever before him: the delay of a
thousand years cannot be So much to him, as putting off any
thing for a Day or for an Hour is to us. If men have No
knowledge or belief of the eternal God, they will be very apt to
think him such as themselves. How hard is it to form any
thoughts of eternity! What men count slackness, is
long-suffering, and that to us-Ward; it is giving more time to
his own people, to advance in knowledge and Holiness, and in the
Exercise of Faith and patience, to abound in good Works, doing
and suffering what they are called to, that they may bring Glory
to God. Settle therefore in your hearts that you shall certainly
be called to give an account of all things done in the body,
whether good or evil. And let a humble and diligent walking
before God, and a frequent judging of yourselves, show a firm
belief of the future Judgment, though many live as if they were
never to give any account at all. This Day will come, when men
are secure, and have No expectation of the Day of the Lord. The
stately palaces, and all the desirable things wherein
worldly-minded men seek and place their happiness, shall be
burned up; all sorts of creatures God has made, and all the
Works of men, must pass through the Fire, which shall be a
consuming Fire to all that Sin has brought into the world,
though a refining Fire to the Works of God's Hand. What will
become of us, if we set our affections On this Earth, and make
it our portion, seeing all these things shall be burned up?
Therefore make sure of happiness Beyond this visible world.

11-18 From the doctrine of Christ's second coming, we are
exhorted to purity and Godliness. This is the effect of real
knowledge. Very exact and universal Holiness is enjoined, not
resting in any low Measure or degree. True Christians look for
new heavens and a new Earth; freed from the vanity to which
things present are subject, and the Sin they are polluted with.
Those only who are clothed with the Righteousness of Christ, and
sanctified By the Holy Ghost, shall be admitted to Dwell in this
Holy place. He is Faithful, who has promised. Those, whose sins
are pardoned, and their peace made with God, are the only safe
and happy people; therefore follow after peace, and that with
all men; follow after Holiness as Well as peace. Never expect to
be found at that Day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idle
in this your Day, in which we must finish the work given us to
do. Only the diligent Christian will be the happy Christian in
the Day of the Lord. Our Lord will suddenly come to us, or
shortly Call us to him; and shall he find us idle? Learn to make
a right use of the patience of our Lord, who as yet delays his
coming. Proud, Carnal, and corrupt men, seek to wrest some
things into a seeming agreement with their wicked doctrines. But
this is No reason why St. Paul's Epistles, or any other part of
the Scriptures, should be laid aside; for men, left to
themselves, pervert every Gift of God. Then let us seek to have
our minds prepared for receiving things hard to be understood,
By putting in practice things which are more easy to be
understood. But there must be self-denial and suspicion of
ourselves, and submission to the authority of Christ Jesus,
before we can heartily receive all the truths of the Gospel,
therefore we are in great danger of rejecting the Truth. And
whatever opinions and thoughts of men are not according to the
Law of God, and warranted By it, the believer disclaims and
abhors. Those who are led away By error, fall from their own
stedfastness. And that we may avoid being led away, we must seek
to grow in all Grace, in Faith, and virtue, and knowledge.
Labour to know Christ more clearly, and more fully; to know him
So as to be more like him, and to Love him better. This is the
knowledge of Christ, which the Apostle Paul reached after, and
desired to attain; and those who taste this effect of the
knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, will, upon
receiving such Grace from him, give thanks and praise him, and
join in ascribing Glory to him now, in the full Assurance of
doing the same hereafter, for ever.