2 Peter 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,
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(11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved.—For “then” we ought probably to read “thus,” seeing that all these things are thus to be dissolved. The original is present in form, but rightly translated by the future, being the prophetic present, i.e., the future prophetically regarded as present.

What manner of persons.—Not so much a question as an exclamation. In any case, the sentence should run on to the end of 2Peter 3:12. To put an interrogation at “to be” or at “godliness,” and make what follows an answer to the question, would be stiff and frigid, and very unlike the fervour of this Epistle.

Ought ye to be.—We might fairly translate, ought ye to be found. The Greek implies that the state is one that has continued for some time before the day comes.

In all holy conversation and godliness.—Literally, in holy behaviours and godlinesses. (See Notes on 2Peter 1:3 and 2Peter 2:7.) The plurals indicate a variety of acts. They occur in this passage only.

2 Peter 3:11-12. Seeing then that all these things — Which our eyes behold; shall be dissolved — And we shall be spectators of their dissolution, being raised from the dead before, or at the time of, its taking place; what manner of persons ought ye to be — How serious, how watchful, how free from levity and folly, how disengaged from, and dead to, this lower world, with all it contains; how unmoved by the trifling changes which are now continually occurring, the comparatively insignificant losses and gains, honour and reproach, pleasure and pain! How heavenly-minded, having our thoughts and affections set upon that world, with its riches, glories, and joys, which is durable and eternal; in all holy conversation — With men; and godliness — Toward God. Looking for — Earnestly desiring; and hasting unto — Or hasting on, (as σπευδοντας may signify,) namely, by your earnest desires and fervent prayers; the coming of the day of God — Fitly so called, because God will then make such a display of his glorious perfections as was never made before; of his power, in raising all the dead, and transforming all the living in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and in destroying the present world, and preparing for his people a new heaven and a new earth; of his wisdom, in showing that he knew, and will now bring into judgment, all the thoughts, desires, and designs, the dispositions, words, and actions of all the thousands of millions of human beings that had lived on earth in the different ages of the world; of his justice, in rendering unto every man, with infinite exactness, according to his works, and recompensing tribulation to those that troubled his saints and servants; of his mercy and love in justifying, at his judgment-seat, his believing and obedient people, and in conferring upon them an incorruptible and eternal inheritance; and of his truth, in punctually fulfilling all his promises and threatenings, and making good all his declarations. Wherein the heavens being on fire, &c. — The apostle repeats his former testimony, because of its great importance. Macknight, however, thinks that, by the elements, in this verse, we are not to understand, as in 2 Peter 3:10, the heavens or atmosphere, but the elements of which this terraqueous globe is composed; namely, earth and water, and every thing which enters into the composition of these substances, and on which their constitution and form depend. Hence, 1st, In speaking of them, he uses an expression which he did not use in 2 Peter 3:10. There his words were, The elements, burning, λυθησονται, shall be dissolved; here he says, The elements, burning, τηκεται, (for τακησεται,) shall melt; a “word which is applied to the melting of metals by fire. Wherefore, as the elements signify the constituent parts of any thing, the expression, shall melt, applied to the constituent parts of the terraqueous globe, intimates that the whole, by the intense heat of the conflagration, is to be reduced into one homogeneous fluid mass of burning matter. Consequently, that it is not the surface of the earth, with all the things thereon, which is to be burned, as some have imagined, but the whole globe of the earth.” And that he is here speaking of these elements, and consequently of the destruction of this earth, appears still further by the promise made in the next verse.

3:11-18 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.Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved - Since this is an undoubted truth.

What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness - In holy conduct and piety. That is, this fact ought to be allowed to exert a deep and abiding influence on us, to induce us to lead holy lives. We should feel that there is nothing permanent on the earth that this is not our abiding home; and that our great interests are in another world. We should be serious, humble, and prayerful; and should make it our great object to be prepared for the solemn scenes through which we are soon to pass. An habitual contemplation of the truth, that all that we see is soon to pass away, would produce a most salutary effect on the mind. It would make us serious. It would repress ambition. It would lead us not to desire to accumulate what must so soon be destroyed. It would prompt us to lay up our treasures in heaven. It would cause us to ask with deep earnestness whether we are prepared for these amazing scenes, should they suddenly burst upon us.

11. Your duty, seeing that this is so, is to be ever eagerly expecting the day of God.

then—Some oldest manuscripts substitute "thus" for "then": a happy refutation of the "thus" of the scoffers, 2Pe 3:4 (English Version, "As they were," Greek, "thus").

shall be—Greek, "are being (in God's appointment, soon to be fulfilled) dissolved"; the present tense implying the certainty as though it were actually present.

what manner of men—exclamatory. How watchful, prayerful, zealous!

to be—not the mere Greek substantive verb of existence (einai), but (huparchein) denoting a state or condition in which one is supposed to be [Tittmann]. What holy men ye ought to be found to be, when the event comes! This is "the holy commandment" mentioned in 2Pe 3:2.

conversation … godliness—Greek, plural: behaviors (towards men), godlinesses (or pieties towards God) in their manifold modes of manifestation.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved; seeing the coming of the Lord will be so terrible, as to bring with it the consumption of the world, and the destruction of these things here below, upon which we are so apt to set our affections.

What manner of persons ought ye to be; how prudent, accurate, diligent, zealous, and every way excellent persons! The Greek word is often used by way of admiration of some singular excellency in persons or things, Matthew 8:27 Mark 13:1 Luke 1:29.

In all holy conversation and godliness: the words in the Greek are both in the plural number, and may imply not only a continued course of holy walking throughout our whole time, but likewise diligence in the performance of all sorts of duties, and exercise of all those various graces wherewith the Spirit of God furnisheth believers in order thereto.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,.... By fire; the heaven with all its host, sun, moon, and stars, clouds, meteors, and fowls of the air; the earth, and all that is upon it, whether of nature, or art; and, since nothing is more certain than such a dissolution of all things,

what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? not as the scoffers and profane sinners, who put away this evil day far from them, but as men, who have their loins girt, and their lights burning, waiting for their Lord's coming; being continually in the exercise of grace, and in the discharge of their religious duties, watching, praying, hearing, reading; living soberly, righteously, and godly; guarding against intemperance and worldly mindedness, and every worldly and hurtful lust.

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

(11) An exhortation to purity of life, setting before us that horrible judgment of God, both to bridle our wantonness, and also to comfort us, so that we are found watching and ready to meet him at his coming.

2 Peter 3:11-12. τούτων οὖν πάντων λυομένων] τούτων πάντων refers to all the things before mentioned, and not only, as Hofmann thinks, to the immediately preceding ἔργα. As regards the reading οὕτως, instead of the Rec. οὖν, it is indeed not supported by the preponderance of authorities; it deserves, however, the preference because it (equivalent to: “as has before been stated”) is more significant than the reading οὖν. The present λυομένων is explained by Winer, p. 321 [E. T. 430]: “since all this is in its nature destined to dissolution; the lot of dissolution is, as it were, already inherent in those things” (thus also Dietlein, de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger); but it is more correct to find expressed in the present the certainty of the event, which is, no doubt, as yet future (similarly Schott), especially as the passing away of all things, as it is formerly described, is in consequence not of their nature, but of the will of God as Judge. Hofmann denies, indeed, any reference to the future, remarking: the present participial clause brings out that this is the fate of the subject; but this fate is one which is realized only in the future.

ποταποὺς δεῖ κ.τ.λ.] As regards its arrangement, this period, as far as the end of 2 Peter 3:12, is divided by many into two portions, of which the first closes either with ὑμᾶς (Pott, Meyer in his translation) or with εὐσεβείαις (Griesbach, Fronmüller), and forms a question to which the second half supplies the answer. But opposed to this construction is the word: ποταπούς, which in the N. T. is never used as indirect interrogation, but always in exclamation. Consequently the whole forms one clause, which has a hortative sense (so, too, Hofmann),[100] and before which may be supplied for the sake of clearness: “consider therefore.” The sense is: “since all that passes away, consider what manner of persons you ought to be;” Gerhard: quam pie, quam prudenter vos oportet conservari; yet ΠΟΤΑΠΌς (in classical writers generally ΠΟΔΑΠΌς) is not equivalent to quantus (Bretschneider, de Wette-Brückner), but to qualis.

ἘΝ ἉΓΊΑΙς ἈΝΑΣΤΡΟΦΑῖς ΚΑῚ ΕὐΣΕΒΕΊΑΙς] The plural marks the holy behaviour and the piety in their different tendencies and forms of manifestation. These words may be taken either with what precedes (so most commentators) or with what follows (thus Steinfass); the latter is to be preferred, since the force of ΠΟΤΑΠΟΎς would only be weakened by this adjunct.

ΠΡΟΣΔΟΚῶΝΤΑς ΚΑῚ ΣΠΕΥΔΟΝΤΑς ΤῊΝ ΠΑΡΟΥΣΊΑΝ Τῆς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ἩΜΈΡΑς] not: “so that,” but: “since ye … in holy walk … look for.”

Most of the earlier interpreters arbitrarily supply εἰς to ΣΠΕΎΔΟΝΤΑς; Vulg.: exspectantes et properantes in adventum; Luther: “hasten to the day.” Others attribute to the word the meaning: “to expect with longing,” but this force it never has; in the passages quoted in support of it the word rather means: “to prosecute anything with zeal,” e.g. Pind. Isthm. v. 22: σπεύδειν ἀρετάν; Isaiah 16:5, LXX.: ΣΠ. ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗΝ; but then the object is always something which is effected by the action of the ΣΠΕΎΔΟΝΤΟς; the original signification of hastening, hurrying, is to be kept hold of here. That by which this hastening is to be accomplished is to be gathered from 2 Peter 3:11, namely, by an holy walk and piety. The context nowhere hints that it is to be accomplished only by prayer[101] (Hofmann, following Bengel).

The expression: τὴν παρουσίαν τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμέρας, occurs nowhere else; with ἡ τ. Θεοῦ ἡμ., cf. 2 Peter 3:10 and Titus 2:13; to παρουσίαν Steinfass arbitrarily supplies “τοῦ Χριστοῦ.”

διʼ ἣν οὐρανοὶ κ.τ.λ.] A resumption of what is said in 2 Peter 3:10.

διʼ ἥν may be referred either to τὴν παρουσίαν (Steinfass, Hofmann) or to τῆς τ. Θ. ἡμέρας; in both cases the sense remains substantially the same. It is to be taken neither as equivalent to per (like διά, c. gen.), nor in a temporal sense (Luther: “in which”); but it denotes here, as it always does, the occasioning cause, equal to “on account of” (Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott; cf. Winer, p. 373 [E. T. 498]). Dietlein translates correctly, but arbitrarily explains the phrase by: “in whose honour as it were.”

πυρούμενοι] cf. Ephesians 6:16; Dietlein falsely: “in that they will burn;” the part. is present, not future.

τήκεται] de Wette: “τήκεται must not be taken strictly as meaning to be melted, as if στοιχ. were to be conceived of as a solid mass, it can be regarded as synonymous with λύεσθαι;” the reference to Isaiah 34:4, LXX.: καὶ τακήσονται πᾶσαι αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν (cf. Micah 1:4), cannot fail to be recognised.[102] Gerhard: cum tota mundi machina, coelum, terra et omnia quae sunt in ea sint aliquando peritura, ideo ab inordinata mundi dilectione cor nostrum abstrahentes coelestium bonorum desiderio et amore flagremus.

[100] Hofmann, however, does not urge the N. T. usage of ποταπούς in favour of this construction, but “the want of purpose and coldness of dividing the thought into question and answer.”

[101] De Wette gives substantially the correct interpretation: “They hasten the coming of the day, in that by repentance and holiness they accomplish the work of salvation, and render the μακροθυμία, ver. 9, unnecessary;” and Wiesinger further adds: “and positively bring it on by their prayers” (Revelation 22:17).

[102] Although this passage does not finally settle the dispute, whether an entire destruction, an annihilation, or only a transformation of the state of the world is to be looked for, whether the world is to be destroyed by fire, quoad substantiam suam, or quoad qualitates suas, still it gives more support to the second than the first idea, since, in spite of the strong expressions which the writer makes use of, it is not decidedly stated that the world will be dissolved into nothing.

2 Peter 3:11-16. The ethical value of the Parousia expectation. “Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, how great an effect it ought to exercise on our whole moral and religious life, as we look forward to and hasten the coming of the day of God. The skies shall be set on fire and dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fiercest heat, but we look for new skies and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness shall find a home. Wherefore, beloved, with such expectations, endeavour to be found in peace, spotless and blameless. Do not reckon the long-suffering of our Lord as an opportunity for licence, but as a means of salvation, as our beloved brother Paul wrote you in the wisdom granted to him. He indeed spoke in all his letters of these things, in which there are some things hard to be understood, which ignorant and unstable persons wrest, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

11. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved] Literally, Seeing therefore that all these things are being dissolved. The Greek participle is in the present tense, and is probably used to convey the thought that even now the fabric of the earth is on its way to the final dissolution. If with some of the better MSS. we read “shall thus be dissolved,” instead of “then,” the participle must be taken as more definitely future, being coupled, as in that case it must be, with the manner as well as the fact of the dissolution.

ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness] It should be noted, though it cannot well be expressed in English, that both the Greek nouns are in the plural, as expressing all the manifold forms in which holy living (see note on 1 Peter 1:15) and “godliness” shew themselves. The verb for “be” is that which emphatically expresses a permanent and continuous state. The thought implied is that the belief in the transitoriness of all that seems most enduring upon earth should lead, as a necessary consequence, to a life resting on the eternal realities of truth and holiness.

2 Peter 3:11. Λυομένων, since they are being dissolved) The present tense; as though it were now taking place: thus in 2 Peter 3:12, τήκεται, are melting. On the fourth of the six days of creation, the stars also were made, Genesis 1:16. They also shall be dissolved together with the earth. They are mistaken, who restrict the history of the creation and the description of this destruction only to the earth and to the quarter of the heaven which is nearer to the earth, but feign that the stars are more ancient than the earth, and that they will survive the earth. It is not to the heaven only which surrounds the earth, but to the heavens, that both dissolution and restoration are ascribed, 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:13.—δεῖ, ought you to be) This is the commandment mentioned in 2 Peter 3:2. Others thus place the stops—ὑμᾶς;—εὐσεβείαις προσδοκῶντας.[22]—ἀναστροφαῖς, in your conversations) [i.e. dealings and whole walk] as regards the affairs of men.—εὐσεβείαις, in all godliness) as regards divine things.

[22] Tisch. and Lachm. read no interrogation.—E.

Verse 11. - Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved; rather, seeing that all these things are being dissolved. The participle is present, and implies the certainty of the event foretold, and, perhaps, also that the germs of that coming dissolution are already in being, that the forces which are ultimately to bring about the final catastrophe are even now at work. Some of the better manuscripts read, instead of οϋν, then, οὕτως, thus: "seeing that all these things are thus being dissolved." What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? The Greek word for "what manner of persons" means literally, "of what country;" it seems to point to the great truth that God's people are fellow-citizens of the saints, that the commonwealth of which they are citizens is in heaven. The word for "to be" is the emphatic ὑπάρχειν, which denotes original, essential, continuous being. (On the word for "conversation" (ἀναστροφαῖς, behaviour, conduct), see note on 1 Peter 1:15.) Both this noun and the following are plural in the Greek, and therefore mean "in all aspects and forms of holy conduct and godliness." Some commentators connect these last words, "in all holy conversation and godliness," with the next verse: "looking in all holy conversation," etc. Some, again, understand this verse as asking a question, which is answered in the next; but the Greek word for "what manner of persons" (ποταπός) seems to be used in the New Testament as an exclamation only, not interrogatively. 2 Peter 3:11To be dissolved (λυομένων)

So Rev. But the participle is present; and the idea is rather, are in process of dissolution. The world and all therein is essentially transitory.

Ought ye to be (ὑπάρχειν)

See on 2 Peter 1:8.

Conversation (ἀναστροφαῖς)

See on 1 Peter 1:15. Rev., living.

Godliness (εὐσεβείαις)

See on 2 Peter 1:3. Both words are plural; holy livings and godlinesses.

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