You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Know these things before.—Seeing that I have forewarned you of the certain appearance, conduct, and success of these false teachers and scoffers. “Forewarned, forearmed.”
Being led away with.—The Greek word occurs only thrice in the New Testament—here, Romans 12:16, and Galatians 2:13. In Romans 12:16 its meaning is a good deal different (see Note there). In Galatians 2:13 it has the same meaning as here; and, strangely enough, it is of Barnabas being “carried away with” the dissimulation of Peter and his associates.
The error of the wicked.—Better, the error of the lawless (2Peter 2:7), but not “the seduction” or “deceit of the lawless,” as some would render it. It is the same word as occurs at the end of 2Peter 2:18, and it implies wandering from the path, but not leading others astray. The context, not the word itself, shows that there was seduction. “The lawless” are the false teachers and scoffers.
Fall from your own stedfastness.—Referring back to 2Peter 1:10-12, just as 2Peter 3:18 refers back to 2Peter 1:5-8; showing how complete is the coherence between the beginning and ending of the Epistle. (Comp. Galatians 5:4.) This “steadfastness” will be based on belief in Christ’s coming, and on the hope of entering into His kingdom, and thus will be in marked contrast to the unbelief of the “unstable” in 2Peter 3:16. The word for “steadfastness” occurs nowhere else.
The entire absence of directions—which St. Jude gives rather elaborately—as to how these evil men and their victims are to be treated by sound Christians is in favour of the priority of this Epistle. When evil men begin to arise, the first impulse is to avoid them and their ways, and to this course St. Peter exhorts his readers. When such men have established themselves and gained proselytes, people begin to consider how to deal with the seducers and to win back the seduced, and to these points St. Jude directs his readers.2 Peter 3:17-18. Therefore, seeing ye know these things before — Respecting the coming of the Lord to judgment, in what an awful manner the scene will close, and what dreadful vengeance will be executed on all the wicked, and especially on those that pollute the Church of Christ, into which they have professed to enter; and that scoffers will arise and ridicule the promise of Christ’s coming, as also the danger there is of misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Scriptures, and so of being seduced and perverted thereby. Here St. Peter teaches that one great purpose for which the prophets were inspired to foretel the corruptions which were to arise in the church, and the evils which were to befall the sincere disciples of Christ, was to put them on their guard against these corruptions, and to arm them with fortitude to bear persecutions. Beware — Be on your guard; lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, (αθεσμων, the lawless,) fall from your own steadfastness — In the faith and practice of the gospel; that steadfastness which, by God’s assistance, you have hitherto retained. But — To prevent this falling away; grow in grace — In every Christian temper; and in order thereto, conscientiously and diligently use the means appointed. And in the knowledge of Christ — That is, in faith, the root of all piety and virtue; faith implying that knowledge of him which is communicated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, mentioned Ephesians 1:17, and promised John 16:14. To him be glory, εις ημεραν αιωνος, to the day of eternity — An expression naturally flowing from that sense which the apostle had felt in his soul throughout this whole chapter. Eternity is a day without night, without interruption, without end. Amen — Dr. Benson remarks, that when this word is placed at the beginning of a sentence, it is an earnest asseveration. In the conclusion of a sentence, it imports an earnest wish that it may be so. The doxology, with which this epistle concludes, is evidently directed to Christ, as are some of the other doxologies in Scripture.
With the error of the wicked - Wicked men. Such as he had referred to in 2 Peter 2, who became public teachers of religion.
Fall from your own steadfastness - Your firm adherence to the truth. The particular danger here referred to is not that of falling from grace, or from true religion, but from the firm and settled principles of religious truth into error.
knowing … before—the event.
led away with—the very term, as Peter remembers, used by Paul of Barnabas' being "carried," Greek, "led away with" Peter and the other Jews in their hypocrisy.
wicked—"lawless," as in 2Pe 2:7.
fall from—(grace, Ga 5:4: the true source of) "steadfastness" or stability in contrast with the "unstable" (2Pe 3:16): "established" (2Pe 1:12): all kindred Greek terms. Compare Jude 20, 21.Seeing ye know these things, which I have been now writing to you of, viz. That the Judge will certainly come; or, that heretics, deceivers, and scoffers will come; or both may be comprehended.
Beware lest ye also; as well as others have been.
Fall from your own stedfastness; the stedfastness of your faith. This admonition he gives them, not to discourage them with fear of apostacy, but to awaken them to that holy care which would be a means to prevent it; and so to keep them from security, and trust in themselves, not to weaken their faith, and reliance on the promise.
beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked; from the simplicity of the Gospel, along with such wicked men, that wax worse and worse, deceivers and being deceived, by giving into any of their errors which respect the grace of God, or the person and offices of Christ, or particularly his second coming; be upon the watch and guard against them, having previous notice of them, for they lie in wait to deceive: lest ye
fall from your own steadfastness; which was proper to them, and which, by the grace of God, they had, and retained, both in the faith of Christ and doctrine of the Gospel; for though the saints can never finally and totally fall into sin, or from the truth, yet they may fall from their steadfastness, both as to the exercise of the grace of faith, and as to their profession of the doctrine of faith; and to be fluctuating, hesitating, and doubting in either respect, must be very uncomfortable and dishonourable.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Peter 3:17-18. Concluding exhortation and doxology.
ὑμεῖς οὖν] Conclusion from what goes before.
προγινώσκοντες] “since ye know it beforehand;” i.e. that such false teachers as have been described will come; not: “that the advent of Christ will take place,” nor: “that the consequences of the στρεβλοῦν will be the ἀπώλεια” (Schott).
φυλάσσεσθε, ἵνα μή] Since φυλάσσεσθε is nowhere else construed with ἵνα μή, ἵνα κ.τ.λ. is not to be taken as an objective clause, but as one expressive of purpose; “consequently special emphasis lies on φυλάσσεσθε” (Schott).
τῇ τῶν ἀθέσμων πλάνῃ συναπαχθέντες] The ἄθεσμοι (cf. chap. 2 Peter 2:7) are the aforementioned ἐμπαῖκται and Libertines.
πλάνη is not: “seduction” (Dietlein: leading astray of others), for the word never has this meaning (not even in Ephesians 4:14); nor would the συν in the verb agree with this, but, as in chap. 2 Peter 2:18 : “moral-religious error;” with συναπαχθέντες, “carried away along with,” cf. Galatians 2:13, and Meyer on Romans 12:16.
ἐκπέσητε τοῦ ἰδίου στηριγμοῦ] With ἐκπίπτειν, cf. Galatians 5:4, and Meyer in loc.
στηριγμός, ἅπ. λεγ., is the firm position which any one possesses (not: the fortress; Luther); here, therefore, the firm position which the readers as believing Christians take up; cf. 2 Peter 1:12; antithesis to the ἀμαθεῖς καὶ ἀστήρικτοι, 2 Peter 3:16. Dietlein explains the word quite arbitrarily of the “remaining at peace in the church.”—2 Peter 3:18. αὐξάνετε δέ] Antithesis to the ἐκπέσητε; the remaining in the firm position can take place only where the αὐξάνειν is not lacking. Calvin: ad profectum etiam hortatur, quia haec unica est perseverandi ratio, si assidue progredimur. Hofmann incorrectly connects this imperative with φυλάσσεσθε, to which it is supposed to be related as a further addition; this view is opposed by δέ.
ἐν χάριτι καὶ γνώσει τοῦ κυρίου κ.τ.λ.] does not state “the means and the origin of the growing” (Schott), but that in which they should grow or increase; αὐξάνειν, without any nearer definition, would be too bald in presence of the ἵνα μὴ … ἐκπέσητε κ.τ.λ. With regard to the two ideas: χάρις and γνῶσις, Aretius says: illud ad conversationem inter homines refero, quae gratiosa esse debet; hoc vero ad Dei cultum, qui consistit in cognitione Christi; this explanation is wrong; χάρις can be only either the grace of God, so that the sense of the exhortation would be, that they should seek to acquire the grace of God in ever richer measure (Hornejus, etc.); or—and this is preferable—the state of grace of the Christians (according to Calvin, etc.: the sum of the divine gifts of grace).
The γνῶσις is here specially mentioned, because the author regarded it as the living origin of all Christian activity.
The genitive: τοῦ κυρίου κ.τ.λ., is taken by de Wette, Brückner agreeing with him, with reference to χάρις, as the subjective, with reference to γνῶσις, as the objective genitive; in like manner Hofmann. This twofold reference of the same genitive is inconceivable; if it belong to both ideas, it can only be the gen. auctoris (Dietlein, Steinfass); but since it is more natural to explain it in connection with γνῶσις as gen. objec., ΧΆΡΙς must be taken as an independent conception.
Finally, the doxology, applied to Christ; Hemming: testimonium de divinitate Christi, nam cum tribuit Christo aeternam gloriam, ipsum verum Deum absque omni dubio agnoscit.
The expression: ΕἸς ἩΜΈΡΑΝ ΑἸῶΝΟς, is to be found only here; Bengel takes ἩΜΈΡΑ in contrast to the night: aeternitas est dies, sine nocte, merus et perpetuus; this is hardly correct; most interpreters explain the expression as equivalent to tempus aeternum, synonymous with εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, 1 Peter 1:25, or with ΕἸς ΤΟῪς ΑἸῶΝΑς, Romans 16:27; this is too inexact; ἩΜΈΡΑ ΑἸῶΝΟς is the day on which eternity, as contrasted with time, begins, which, however, at the same time is eternity itself.
ἈΜΉΝ] cf. Judges 1:25.
 Hofmann, indeed, appeals to Romans 15:4; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; but these passages do not prove what they are meant to prove.2 Peter 3:17-18. Final exhortation. “Having then, brethren, been forewarned, be on your guard lest you fall from your own foundation, carried away by the error of lawless men. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and in the day of eternity.”17. beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked] Better, of the lawless ones, as in chap. 2 Peter 2:7. It is noticeable that while St Paul had used the word for being “led away” of Barnabas as being influenced by the Judaizing teachers at Antioch (Galatians 2:13), St Peter here applies it to those who were persuaded by teachers at the opposite pole of error. Comp. note on chap. 2 Peter 2:1. The word for “error” is prominent in the Epistles to which St Peter has referred in the preceding verses (Ephesians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:11).
fall from your own stedfastness] The “steadfastness” of the readers of the Epistle as contrasted with the unstable or unsteadfast of 2 Peter 3:16 is acknowledged; but they are warned that it requires care and watchfulness to preserve it. He does not assume any indefectible grace of perseverance. The tense of the verb in “lest ye fall” indicates that it would be a single and decisive act.2 Peter 3:17. Ὑμεῖς) ye, warned by the injury of others.—προγινώσκοντες) knowing the danger beforehand.—στηριγμοῦ, from your defence) [“Stedfastness”] Comp. 2 Peter 3:16; 2 Peter 1:12. This defence is grace. Comp. Judges 1:21.Verse 17. - Ye therefore, beloved, seeing that ye know these things before. The pronoun "ye" is emphatic; others have gone astray; "continue ye faithful." The construction is participial, and there is no expressed object; literally, "knowing before," i.e., that false teachers will arise. Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness; rather, as in the Revised Version, lest, being carried away... ye fall. It is interesting to notice that the word rendered "led or carried away" is used by St. Paul, in Galatians 2:13, of St. Barnabas, who, along with St. Peter himself, was then "carried away" with the dissimulation of the Judaizers. The word rendered "wicked," rather "lawless," is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in chapter 2 Peter 2:7. The word for "steadfastness" (στηριγμός) occurs only here.
Better, Rev., carried away. It is the word used by Paul of Barnabas, when he dissembled with Peter at Antioch. "Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation" (Galatians 2:13).
Of the wicked (ἀθέσμων)
See on 2 Peter 2:7.
Fall from (ἐκπέσητε)
Lit., "fall out of." Compare Galatians 5:4.
Only here in New Testament. See on 2 Peter 1:12.
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