2 Peter 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:
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(2) By the holy prophets.—Appealed to before in 2Peter 1:19. (Comp. Jude 1:17.) The coherence of the Epistle as a whole comes out strongly in this last chapter: 2Peter 3:1 recalls 2Peter 1:12-13; 2Peter 3:17 recalls 2Peter 1:10-12; 2Peter 3:18 recalls 2Peter 1:5-8. In this verse the Apostle commends the warnings of the Old Testament and the New Testament, as to the coming of Christ, to Christians throughout all ages.

The commandment of us the apostles of the Lord.—“Of us” is, beyond all doubt, a false reading; it should be “of you,” or “your.” The Greek is somewhat awkward, owing to the number of genitives, but the order of the words is conclusive as to the meaning—the commandment of your Apostles (or rather) of the Lord and Saviour. The commandment is at once a commandment of the Apostles and of the Lord. “The Apostles of the Lord” must not be taken together, as in our version. The expression “your Apostles” may be taken as a mark of genuineness rather than of the contrary. It is at least not improbable that a true Apostle, having once stated his credentials (2Peter 1:1), would sink his own personality in the group of his colleagues from a feeling of humility and of delicacy towards those whom he was addressing, especially when they owed their Christianity mainly to other Apostles than himself. It is not improbable that a writer personating an Apostle would have insisted on his assumed personality and personal authority here.

What commandment is meant? Surely not the whole Christian law; but either the command to beware of false teachers (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:11; Mark 13:22; Romans 16:17; Ephesians 5:6; 2Timothy 4:3), or, more probably, what is the main subject of this Epistle, to be ready for Christ’s coming (Matthew 24:36-39; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:40; 1Thessalonians 5:2-4).

3:1-4 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.That ye may be mindful of the words - Of the doctrines, the truths; the prophetic statements. Jude Jde 1:18 says that it had been foretold by the apostles, that in the last days there would be scoffers. Peter refers to the instructions of the apostles and prophets in general, though evidently designing that his remarks should bear particularly on the fact that there would be scoffers.

Which were spoken before by the holy prophets - The predictions of the prophets before the advent of the Saviour, respecting his character and work. Peter had before appealed to them 2 Peter 1:19-21, as furnishing important evidence in regard to the truth of the Christian religion, and valuable instruction in reference to its nature. See the notes at that passage. Many of the most important doctrines respecting the kingdom of the Messiah are stated as clearly in the Old Testament as in the New Testament (compare Isaiah 53:1-12), and the prophecies therefore deserve to be studied as an important part of divine revelation. It should be added here, however, that when Peter wrote there was this special reason why he referred to the prophets, that the canon of the New Testament was not then completed, and he could not make his appeal to that. To some parts of the writings of Paul he could and did appeal 2 Peter 3:15-16, but probably a very small part of what is now the New Testament was known to those to whom this epistle was addressed.

And of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour - As being equally entitled with the prophets to state and enforce the doctrines and duties of religion. It may be observed, that no man would have used this language who did not regard himself and his fellow apostles as inspired, and as on a level with the prophets.

2. prophets—of the Old Testament.

of us—The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read, "And of the commandment of the Lord and Saviour (declared) by YOUR apostles" (so "apostle of the Gentiles," Ro 11:13)—the apostles who live among you in the present time, in contrast to the Old Testament "prophets."

The words which were spoken before by the holy prophets; the word of prophecy, 2 Peter 1:19: he joins the prophets and apostles together, as concurring in their doctrine, and so useth it as an argument to persuade them to constancy in the faith of the gospel, that what the apostles preached to them was confirmed by what the prophets under the Old Testament had taught before, Acts 26:22 Ephesians 2:20.

And of the commandment of us; by this he means the whole doctrine of the gospel preached by him and the other apostles: see 2 Peter 2:21 1Jo 3:23.

The apostles of the Lord and Saviour; who was the author of this commandment, and the principal in giving it, and from whom the apostles received it, who were but ministers and instruments in delivering it to others.

That ye may be mindful,.... This is an explanation of the above mentioned end of his writing this and the other epistle; which was, that those saints might be mindful of two things more especially:

of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets; that is, the prophets of the Old Testament, who were holy men of God, and therefore their words are to be regarded, and retained in memory; the Gospel itself was spoken by them, and so was Christ, and the things relating to his person and offices, and to his incarnation, sufferings, and death, and the glory that should follow; and indeed the apostles said no other than what they did, only more clearly and expressly; and particularly many things, were said by them concerning the second coming of Christ to judge the world, and destroy it, and to prepare new heavens and a new earth for his people, which is what the apostle has chiefly in view; see Jde 1:14;

and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour; that is, Jesus Christ, as Jde 1:17 expresses it, and the Ethiopic version adds here; and which likewise, and also the Syriac version, and some ancient copies, read, "our Lord and Saviour", and omit the us before the apostles; by whom are meant the twelve apostles of Christ, of which Peter was one, and therefore says, "us the apostles"; though the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions, and the Complutensian edition, read "your apostles", and so the Alexandrian copy; but the former is the received reading: now "the commandment" of these intends either the Gospel in general, so called because it was the commandment of our Lord to his apostles to preach it; and therefore the word "commandment", in the original, stands between "us the apostles", and "the Lord and Saviour", as being the commandment of the one to the other; unless it can be thought any regard is had to the new commandment of love, or that of faith, inculcated both by Christ and his apostles; John 13:34; or rather, particularly the instructions, directions, and predictions of the apostles concerning the second coming of Christ, and what should go before it, as appears from the following words, and the parallel place in Jde 1:17, the words of the prophets and apostles being here put together, show the agreement there is between them, and what regard is to be had to each of them, and to anything and every thing in which they agree.

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:
2 Peter 3:2. Cf. Judges 1:17; in Jude mention is not made of the apostles, but only of the prophets.

μνησθῆναι] Infin. of purpose: “in order that ye may remember,” equivalent to εἰς τὸ μνησθῆναι (Vorstius).

τῶν προειρημένων ῥημάτων ὑπὸ τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν] This applies evidently to the Old Testament prophets; and with especial reference to the prophecies which relate to the παρουσία of Christ (cf. 2 Peter 3:4 and chap. 2 Peter 1:19).[84] The Vulg. wrongly translates: ut memores sitis eorum quae praedixi verborum a sanctis prophetis (or sanctorum prophetarum).

καὶ τῆς τῶν ἀποστόλων ὑμῶν ἐντολῆς τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος] On the commonly accepted reading ἡμῶν, a double interpretation has been given; some, making ἡμῶν depend on ἐντολῆς, for the most part regard τῶν ἀποστόλων as in apposition to ἡμῶν, thus: “of our, the apostles’, command” (Luther: “the commandment of us, who are the apostles of the Lord;” thus, too, Calvin, Hornejus, Wolf, Pott, Dietlein, etc.); whilst Bengel more correctly takes ἡμῶν as in apposition to ἀποστόλων, as in Acts 10:41 : μάρτυσιἡμῖν; for otherwise ἡμῶν must have stood before ἀποστόλων; cf. also 1 Corinthians 1:18. Others, again, hold that ἡμῶν is dependent on ἀποστόλων; thus de Wette: “the commandment of our apostles of the Lord, i.e. of the apostles who have preached to us, and are sent from the Lord.” But against this interpretation is the circumstance, that whilst he elsewhere in the epistle designates himself as an apostle, the author of the epistle would thus make a distinction between himself and the apostles.[85] On the true reading: ὑμῶν, the gen. τοῦ κυρίου does not, as was for the most part formerly assumed, depend on ἀποστόλων, but on ἐντολῆς (Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, Steinfass); either in the sense: “the commandment … of the Lord of the apostles, i.e. the commandment of the Lord, which the apostles have proclaimed;” or: “τοῦ κυρίου is added by way of supplement to ἐντολ.,” and the expression is to be left as it stands originally: “your command of the apostles, of the Lord, i.e. which the Lord has given” (Brückner; thus also Wiesinger, Schott); the latter is to be preferred. No doubt the parallel passage in Jude runs: ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν; but the whole epistle, and especially this passage of it, shows that the author of our epistle, even if he had Jude’s composition before him, in no way bound himself slavishly to individual expressions in it. According to Wiesinger, Schott, Steinfass, by the ἀπ. ὑμ. Paul and his fellow-labourers are meant; this, too, is more probable than that the apostle included himself among them.

By ἐντολή is here, as little as in chap. 2 Peter 2:21, to be understood the gospel or the Christian religion (or, as Dietlein thinks: “the announcement, i.e. the historical proclamation, of those predictions of the prophets, partly fulfilled, partly yet unfulfilled, which was entrusted to the apostles”); but ἐντολή means here, as it always does, the commandment; according to de Wette: “the commandment to guard against the false teachers,” after 1 Timothy 4:1 ff. But it is more appropriate, and more in harmony with the connection of thought, to understand by it the command to lead a Christian life, in expectation of the second coming of Christ (Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner); cf. chap. 2 Peter 2:22, 2 Peter 1:5 ff., 2 Peter 3:12.

[84] Of course τὰ προειρημένα ῥήματα does not mean “what has been said before,” but “the words aforetime spoken,” and Hofmann did not require to insist upon it; the more so that the contrary is not asserted in the commentaries against which his argument is directed.

[85] De Wette thinks, indeed, that here the non-apostolic writer has involuntarily betrayed himself; but, as Stier justly observes, it can indeed hardly be supposed that the writer should have “so grossly failed to keep up the part” which he had distinctly assumed.

2 Peter 3:2. Borrowed from Judges 1:17. μνησθῆναι: epexegetical infinitive. See grammatical note. καὶ τῆς τῶν ἀποστόλων, κ.τ.λ. Double possessive genitive “of the Lord’s command delivered by your apostles”. Chase (op. cit. p. 811 a) suggests that διά should be inserted after τῆς, and compares the title of the Didache, διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. ἐντολή = teaching of our Lord on the fulfilment of the moral law, cf. 2 Peter 2:21, John 12:50. ἀποστόλων: Are the Twelve meant? cf. Introd. pp. 103–4. Probably ἀπ. signifies just those from whom they received the first knowledge of the gospel, accredited missionaries of the Church. The word is used of Epaphroditus, Php 2:25, and of other than apostles, 2 Corinthians 8:23.

2. the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets] The conjunction of “prophets” and “apostles” here is so entirely after the pattern of the like combination in Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:11, that there can scarcely be a doubt that the writer meant at least to include the New Testament prophets who had spoken of the coming of the Lord, and whose predictions were now derided.

the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour] The better MSS., with an overwhelming weight of authority, give of your Apostles. It is obvious that the reading thus supported gives a special interest to the words. They are a distinct recognition like that in 1 Peter 5:12, and here in 2 Peter 3:15, of the Apostleship of St Paul and his fellow-workers. The Asiatic Churches were to remember his commandment (such, for example, as the rule of life in Ephesians 4-6.), and to fashion their lives accordingly.

2 Peter 3:2. Προφητῶν, by prophets) Judges 1:14.—τῶν ἀποστόλων, ἡμῶν, of us, the apostles) In apposition, as Acts 10:41. Others read, τῶν ἀποστόλων ὑμῶν,[14] of your apostles; who live among you at the present time, in antithesis to the ancient prophets. Comp. the apostle of the Gentiles, Romans 11:13.—τοῦ Κυρίου, of the Lord) This is to be taken with the apostles.

[14] ABC Vulg. read ὑμῶν: Rec. Text, with cursive MSS. of later date, ἡμῶν.—E.

Verse 2. - That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets. "That ye may be mindful" is represented by one word in the Greek (μνησθῆναι); compare the exact parallel in Luke 1:72. Great stress is laid on the word of prophecy in both Epistles (see 1 Peter 1:10-12 and 2 Peter 1:19). And of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour; rather, as in the Revised Version, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles. All the best manuscripts read ὑμῶν here. It is a remarkable expression; but Christ's apostles can be rightly called the apostles of those to whom they are sent, as being their teachers, sent to them for their benefit; just as the angels of God are called also the angels of Christ's little ones (Matthew 18:10). Compare also "the angels of the seven Churches" in the Revelation. St. Peter shows an intimate knowledge of several of St. Paul's Epistles, and of that of St. James; he is writing to the Churches addressed in his First Epistle, most of which were founded by St. Paul or his companions. We must therefore understand this passage, as well as verse 15 of this chapter, as a distinct recognition of the apostleship of St. Paul. The translation of the Authorized Version, "the apostles of the Lord and Saviour," involves a violent disturbance of the order; it seems best to make both genitives depend on "commandment:" "your apostles' commandment of the Lord;" the first genitive being that of announcement, the second of origin. The commandment was announced by the apostles, but it was the Lord's commandment. (For the double genitive, comp. James 2:1 and Acts 5:32. For the whole verse, see the parallel passage in Jude 1:17.) 2 Peter 3:2
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