This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:2 Peter 3:1-2. The doctrines and precepts delivered by the prophets and apostles, being the most effectual means of preserving the Christian converts from being seduced by the false teachers spoken of in the preceding chapter, the apostle begins this with informing the brethren that his design in writing both his epistles was to bring these doctrines and precepts to their remembrance. And as one of the greatest of these men’s errors was their denying the coming of Christ to judge the world, and destroy this mundane system, he first exhorts the brethren to recollect what the holy prophets had anciently spoken on this subject, together with the commandments of the apostles of Christ to their disciples, to expect and prepare for these events. His saying, This second epistle I now write, &c., implies that he had written a former one to the same people, and he here affirms that in them both he had one great end in view, which was to stir up their minds (which he terms pure, or rather sincere, as ειλικρινη more properly signifies) to keep in remembrance and lay to heart what had been already taught them on these important subjects, so as to be properly influenced by it. The holy prophets intended, who had spoken of these things, were chiefly Enoch, mentioned Jdg 1:14-15; David, Psalm 50:1-6; Psalm 75:8; and Daniel 12:2.
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:
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,2 Peter 3:3. Knowing this first — That your faith in the prophetic word may not be shaken, but that you may be armed and prepared for the trial; that there shall come in the last days — The expression here used, επ’ εσχατου των ημερων, is different from υστεροις χρονοις, future, or latter times, (1 Timothy 4:1,) and from εσχαταις ημεραις, the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1. It is also different from επ’ εσχατων των χρονων, these last times, 1 Peter 1:20. And it probably means the last part of the days of the world’s duration. Scoffers — Or mockers, who shall ridicule the expectation of such awful events, and deride the truths, promises, and threatenings of the divine word; walking after their own lusts — Influenced by their appetites and passions, and their earthly and sensual inclinations. Here the apostle has laid open the true source of infidelity, and of men’s scoffing at religion. “They may pretend to religion,” as Dr. Benson says, “but they are governed by sense and appetite, and they take refuge in infidelity, and scoff at religion, to make themselves easy in their vices.” “When the apostle wrote this passage, there were Epicureans and others among the Gentiles, and Sadducees among the Jews, who ridiculed the promises of the gospel concerning the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, the destruction of the earth, and a future state of rewards and punishments. Wherefore, seeing the scoffers, of whom St. Peter here speaks, had not yet appeared, but were to come in the last period of the duration of the world, it is probable that they were to arise in the church itself. Accordingly they are reproved, (2 Peter 3:5,) for being wilfully ignorant of the Mosaic history of the creation and of the deluge; and Jude says, (Judges 1:18-19,) the scoffers separated themselves from other Christians, and had not the Spirit, though they pretended to be inspired. The evil of scoffing at the doctrines and promises of the gospel may be learned from Psalm 1:1, where scoffing at religion is represented as the highest stage of impiety.” — Macknight.
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.2 Peter 3:4-6. Where is the promise of his coming — To raise the dead, judge mankind, and destroy the earth? We see no sign of any such thing. The promise of Christ’s coming we have Matthew 15:27, The Son of man shall come in his glory, &c.; John 14:3, I will come and receive you to myself, &c., and in many other passages of the gospel; a promise which was renewed by the angels at our Lord’s ascension, and is spoken of in many passages of the epistles, especially in those of St. Paul. By representing Christ’s promised coming as a delusion, the scoffers set themselves and others free from all fear of a future judgment, and bereft the righteous of their hope of reward. For since the fathers fell asleep — Since our ancestors died; all things — Heaven, earth, air, water; continue as they were from the beginning of the creation — Without any such material change as might make us believe they will ever have an end. So say these scoffers. For this they willingly are ignorant of — As if he had said, It is from their ignorance, their gross, affected ignorance, that they argue after this manner. He says willingly ignorant, to signify that they had sufficient means of knowing better, but that they did not care to know or consider any thing respecting it. That by the word of God — His almighty word, which bounds the duration of all things, so that it cannot be either longer or shorter; the heavens — As by the heavens here the apostle means the atmosphere which surrounds this earth, the plural is put for the singular by a change of the number very common in the Scriptures; were of old — Anciently before the flood; and the earth standing — Or subsisting, (as συνεστωσα more properly signifies,) out of the water — Which had before covered it, namely, emerging from it by the divine command, (the earth being formed out of the chaos, which had been previously brought into existence for that purpose,) and the liquid element retiring to the channels prepared for it; and in the water — By which God appointed that it should be surrounded, nourished, and supported, water being the life of the vegetable creation; whereby — Δι’ ων, by which things, thus constituted; the world that then was — The whole antediluvian race, with all the brute animals, except such as were with Noah in the ark; being overflowed with water, perished — Perhaps δι’ ων, by which things, refers to the heavens mentioned above, and may relate to the windows of heaven being opened, as the expression is Genesis 7:11, and pouring forth upon the earth a destructive deluge of water. The apostle means that these scoffers did not consider God’s power manifested in making the world, which must enable him also to destroy it if he pleased, and that they had little reason for saying that all things continued as they were from the creation.
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:
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
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.2 Peter 3:7. But — Though the destruction of the old world by water shows that the present world may be destroyed, I do not say it will be destroyed by water. No: the heavens and the earth, which are now — This whole sublunary world; by the same word — Which at first created them, and afterward destroyed them, and then again restored them; are kept in store — Τεθησαυρισμενοι εισι πυρι τηρουμενοι, are treasured up and preserved for fire; that is, preserved from a deluge for the purpose of being burned. Therefore the earth is not always to remain, but is to suffer a destruction even more terrible than the former; at the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men — The day when God will judge the world, and punish the ungodly with everlasting destruction. “In regard that Hammond and some other celebrated commentators understand this prophecy as a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, it will be proper here to inform the reader, that in support of their interpretation they appeal to the ancient Jewish prophecies, where, as they contend, the revolutions in the political state of empires and nations are foretold in the same forms of expression with those introduced in St. Peter’s prediction. The following are the prophecies to which they appeal: Isaiah 34:4; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10; Joel 2:30-31; Amos 8:9; Haggai 2:6; Matthew 24:29. Now it is remarkable, in these prophecies none of the prophets have spoken, as Peter has done, of the entire destruction of this mundane system, nor of the destruction of any part thereof. They mention only the rolling of the heavens together as a scroll, the obscuring of the light of the sun and of the moon, the shaking of the heavens and the earth, and the falling down of the stars. Whereas Peter speaks of the utter destruction of all the parts of this mundane system by fire. This difference affords room for believing that the events foretold by the prophets are different in their nature from those foretold by the apostle; and that they are to be figuratively understood, while those predicted by the apostle are to be understood literally. To this conclusion likewise the phraseology of the prophets, compared with that of the apostle, evidently leads. For the prophetic phraseology, literally interpreted, exhibits impossibilities; such as the rolling of the heavens together as a scroll, the turning of the moon into blood, and the falling down of the stars from heaven as the leaf of a tree. Not so the apostolic phraseology. For the burning of the heavens, or atmosphere, and its passing away with a great noise, and the burning of the earth and the works thereon, together with the burning and melting of the elements, that is, of the constituent parts of which this terraqueous globe is composed, are all things possible, and therefore may be literally understood; while the things mentioned by the prophets can only be taken figuratively. This, however, is not all. There are things in the apostle’s prophecy which show that he intended it to be taken literally. As, 1st, He begins with an account of the perishing of the old world, to demonstrate, against the scoffers, the possibility of the perishing of the present heavens and earth. But that example would not have suited his purpose unless, by the burning of the present heavens and earth, he had meant the destruction of the material fabric. Wherefore the opposition stated in this prophecy between the perishing of the old world by water, and the perishing of the present world by fire, shows that the latter is to be as real a destruction of the material fabric as the former was. 2d, The circumstances of the present heavens and earth being treasured up and kept, ever since the first deluge, from all after deluges, in order to their being destroyed by fire at the day of judgment, shows that the apostle is speaking of a real, and not of a metaphorical destruction of the heavens and the earth. 3d, This appears likewise from the apostle’s foretelling, that after the present heavens and earth are burned, a new heaven and a new earth are to appear, in which the righteous are to dwell for ever. 4th, The time fixed by the apostle for the burning of the heavens and the earth, namely, the day of judgment and punishment of ungodly men, shows that the apostle is speaking, not of the destruction of a single city or nation during the subsistence of the world, but of the earth itself, with all the wicked who have dwelt thereon. These circumstances show that this prophecy, as well as the one recorded 2 Thessalonians 1:9, is not to be interpreted metaphorically of the destruction of Jerusalem, but should be understood literally of the destruction of our mundane system, and of the general judgment.”
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.2 Peter 3:8. Be not ye ignorant — Whatever they are; of this one thing — Which casts much light on the point in hand; that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day — This is an allusion to Psalm 90:4, where Moses had said, A thousand years in thy sight are as one day, which words St. Peter applies with regard to the period intervening between the time when he wrote, and the last day; denoting thereby, 1st, God’s eternity, whereby he exceeds all measure of time in his essence and in his operation: 2d, His knowledge, to which all things past, or to come, are present every moment: 3d, His power, which needs no long delay in order to bring his work to perfection: and, 4th, His long-suffering, which excludes all impatience of expectation and desire of making haste. But it must be observed, that neither the apostle nor the psalmist meant that God does not perceive any difference between the duration of a day and that of a thousand years; but that these differences do not affect either his designs, or actions, or felicity, as they do those of finite creatures. So that what he brings to pass on the day he declares his purpose, is not more certain than what he will bring to pass a thousand years after such declaration. In like manner, what is to be brought to pass a long time after his declaration, is not less certain than if it had been done when declared. See Abernethy’s Sermon’s, vol. 1. p. 218. The apostle’s meaning is in substance, that in one day, yea, in one moment, he could do the work of a thousand years; therefore he is not slow, he is always equally able, equally ready to fulfil his promise; and a thousand years, yea, the longest time, is no more delay to the eternal God than one day is to us: therefore he is longsuffering; he gives us space for repentance without any inconvenience to himself. In a word, with God time passes neither slower nor swifter than is suitable to him and his economy. Nor can there be any reason why it should be necessary for him either to delay or hasten the end of all things. How can we comprehend this? If we could have comprehended it, St. Peter needed not to have added, with the Lord.
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.2 Peter 3:9. The Lord is not slack — Ου βραδυνει, does not delay, or is not slow; concerning his promise — To fulfil it, as if the time fixed for the fulfilment of it were past; for it shall surely be fulfilled in its season; but is long-suffering, to us-ward — Children of men; not willing that any should perish — Any human being, any soul that he hath made. That is, he is not primarily willing; his first will, with regard to the whole posterity of Adam, hath been and is, that they should be eternally saved; and as a proof of it he hath given his Son a ransom for all; (1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 2:9;) hath commanded his gospel, that is, the glad tidings of salvation, to be preached to all, to every human creature, (Mark 16:15,) and, to help man’s weakness, causes his grace, even his saving grace, (as η χαρις η σωτηριος literally signifies,) to appear to, or to visit and strive with, all men, in order to their repentance, faith, and new obedience. But if they reject his counsel against themselves, which they are under no necessity of doing, by continuing impenitent, unbelieving, and disobedient, then, secondly, he wills, and that justly, that they should perish, for they are accountable to him, their rightful Lawgiver, Governor, and Judge, and he will judge them, and all the world, in righteousness.
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.2 Peter 3:10. But — Notwithstanding the long-suffering of God; the day of the Lord — The day of the consummation of all things, and of final judgment; will come, and that as a thief in the night — Because thieves commonly break into houses in the nighttime, and occasion great fear to those who are within, any sudden, unexpected event, especially such as occasioned terror, was compared, by the Hebrews, to the coming of a thief in the night. The suddenness, therefore, and unexpectedness of the coming of the day of the Lord, and the terror which it will occasion to the wicked, are the circumstances in which it will resemble the coming of a thief, and not that it will happen in the night-time. In the which the heavens — That is, the aerial heavens, the atmosphere which surrounds this earth, and which the apostle calls the heavens, because Moses had called it so; shall pass away — The passing away of the heavens and the earth does not mean, it seems, that they will be removed to another part of space, or that they will be annihilated; but that, being burned, their form and constitution will be changed much more, probably, than the constitution or form of the old world was by the flood; destruction by fire being more complete and dreadful than destruction by water; with a great noise — Surprisingly expressed by the very sound of the original word, ροιζηδον. “That the thundering noise occasioned by the burning of the whole heavens, or atmosphere, will be terrible beyond description, may be conjectured by considering what a noise is made by those small portions of the air which are burned when it thunders, or which are set in commotion in a storm.” But how much greater will be the noise arising from the general conflagration of the whole earth, with all that it contains. And the elements shall melt with fervent heat — Καυσουμενα λυθησονται, burning shall be dissolved. The word στοιχεια, rendered elements, signifies the first principles, or constituent parts of any thing. Hence it denotes the principles of science, (Hebrews 5:12,) as well as the principles of bodies. Estius understands by the word the elements of which this terraqueous globe is composed; but as the melting of these is mentioned 2 Peter 3:12, Macknight is of opinion “that, in this verse, the apostle is speaking of the electrical matter, the sulphureous vapours, the clouds, and whatever else floats in the air, all which, burning furiously, will be disunited and separated.” The earth also, and the works that are therein — Whether of nature or of art; shall be burned up — And has not God already abundantly provided for this?
1st, By the stores of subterranean fire, which are so frequently bursting out at Ætna, Vesuvius, Hecla, and many other burning mountains; 2d, by the ethereal (vulgarly called electrical) fire, diffused through the whole globe; which, if the secret chain that now binds it up were loosed, would immediately dissolve the whole frame of nature; 3d, By comets, one of which, if it touch the earth in its course toward the sun, must needs strike it into that abyss of fire. If in its return from the sun, when it is heated (as a great man computes) two thousand times hotter than a red-hot cannon ball, it must destroy all vegetables and animals long before their contact, and soon after burn it up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,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.
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?
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.2 Peter 3:13. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, &c. — That is, “Though the present frame of things shall be dissolved by fire, yet we look for another, a more durable and perfect state; new heavens and a new earth — New and everlasting abodes, which the divine mercy will then open to our enraptured view, into which it will conduct us, and in which perfect righteousness, holiness, and felicity, shall dwell for ever;” Revelation 21:1-7; Revelation 22:1-5. Some expositors suppose that these lower heavens and this earth, having been melted down by a general conflagration, shall thereby be refined, and that God will form them into new heavens and a new earth for the habitation of the righteous; a supposition which seems to be favoured by St. Peter, Acts 3:21, where he speaks of the restitution of all things, which God hath promised by the mouth of all his holy prophets; by St. Paul, Romans 8:21, where he says, The creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of destruction; and also by the Lord Jesus himself, whose words (Revelation 21:5) are, Behold, I make all things new. As St. Peter had a revelation from Christ that he would create new heavens and a new earth, he might justly call that his promise; but the patriarchs and believing ancients were not without the expectation of such an inheritance. See Genesis 17:7; Daniel 12:2; Hebrews 11:10-16.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.2 Peter 3:14-15. Wherefore, beloved — Bearing these great truths in your minds, give up your whole souls to their influence; and, seeing that ye look for such things — Since you expect the coming of Christ to destroy the present mundane system, and to create a new heaven and earth, and since death, which will confirm your title to this inheritance, or your exclusion from it, for ever, is fast approaching, and may come both very soon and very unexpectedly; be diligent — Σπουδασατε, the same word that is used chap. 2 Peter 1:10, which implies not only the diligent use of all the means of grace, and the practice of universal holiness and righteousness, in consequence of repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, with the active exertion of every gift of nature and of grace, but the doing all this earnestly and without delay; relying not on any power of your own, but on the influence of the Divine Spirit, for all the help you stand in need of; that ye may be found of him — Christ, when he cometh; in peace — With God, being justified by grace through faith, Romans 5:1; without spot — Cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and renewed after the divine image; and, as an evidence thereof, blameless — In behaviour toward God, your fellow-creatures, and yourselves; having, in consequence of your regeneration, lived soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, and adorned the doctrine of God your Saviour in all things. And — Instead of considering his delaying to come as a proof that he will never come, account that delay, and his long-suffering — Thereby manifested; salvation — Designed to promote your salvation, and the salvation of many others; giving sinners space for repentance, and an opportunity to prepare for these solemn and awful scenes, and so becoming a precious means of saving many more souls. As our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him — That admirable insight into, and understanding of, the mysteries of the gospel, which appears in all his epistles, and was given to him by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; hath written to you — This refers not only to the single sentence preceding, but to all that went before. This epistle of Peter being written to those to whom the first epistle was sent, the persons to whom St. Paul wrote concerning the long-suffering of God, and the other subjects here referred to, were the Jewish and Gentile Christians in the Lesser Asia. Accordingly, we know he wrote to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians, and to Timothy, things which imply that God’s mercy in sparing and bearing with sinners, is intended for their salvation; and that an awful judgment, and an eternal state of happiness or misery, await all mankind.
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;
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.2 Peter 3:16. As also in all his epistles — From this it appears that Peter had read Paul’s epistles; and, as he speaks not of some but of all of them, it is probable that Paul was dead when St. Peter wrote this, namely, a little before his martyrdom, as appears from 2 Peter 1:14. And seeing that Paul, in his epistle to the Romans 2:4, and to the Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 10:38, wrote that the long-suffering of God was intended for salvation, by mentioning that circumstance, Peter intimated that he knew Paul to be the author of the epistles to the Romans, and to the Hebrews. Speaking in them of these things — Paul, in all his epistles, hath spoken of the things written by Peter in this letter. For example: he hath spoken of Christ’s coming to judgment, 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Titus 2:13; and of the resurrection from the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:22; Php 3:20-21; and of the burning of the earth, 2 Thessalonians 1:8; and of the heavenly country, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; and of the introduction of the righteous into that country, 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 12:14-24; and of the judgment of all mankind by Christ. In which are some things hard to be understood — According to the greatest number of MSS. the apostle does not say, εν αις, in which epistles, but εν οις, in or among which things; namely, the things which Paul had written concerning Christ’s coming to judgment, the burning of the earth, the heavenly country, and the introduction of the righteous into that country. The Alexandrian, however, and six other MSS. read here, εν αις, in which epistles. This, Beza says, is the true reading, because he thinks it would have been improper in Peter to say that Paul had written obscure ly concerning subjects of which Peter himself had written more things hard to be understood than any Paul had written in any part of his epistles, Nevertheless “the common reading may be retained, because the antecedent to the neuter relative, οις, may be a word not expressed, but understood, namely, γραμμασι, which signifies letters or epistles, Acts 28:21. On this supposition Peter’s meaning will be, In which epistles there are some things hard to be understood.” Barclay, in his Apology, explains this of the 9th chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, in which there are some things that seem to be contrary to God’s long-suffering to all, and which are very liable to be perniciously wrested; which they that are unlearned — Who are not taught of God, or are unteachable, as Estius translates the word αμαθεις, here used; namely, persons whose passions blind their understanding, and make them averse to the truth, or whose prejudices, indispose them to admit it: and the unstable — The wavering, unsettled, double-minded, or men of two minds, as St. James’s word, διψυχοι, signifies; who have no real, steady love of piety, but sometimes follow it, sometimes desert it, as good or bad inclinations happen to predominate in them. Whereas the stable are those who have a firm, unshaken, and warm attachment to the religion of Jesus: wrest — “The original word, στρεβλουσιν, signifies to put a person to the torture, to make him confess some crime laid to his charge, or reveal some secret which he knows. Applied to writings it signifies, by far-fetched criticisms and unsupported senses of words, to make a passage speak a meaning different from what the author intended. Hence in our language we have the expression, to torture words. Of this vice they are most commonly guilty who, from pride of understanding, will receive nothing but what they can explain. Whereas, the humble and teachable receive the declarations of revelation according to their plain, grammatical, unconstrained meaning, which it is their only care to attain, by reading the Scriptures frequently and with attention.” — Macknight. As they do also the other scriptures — In this clause Peter expressly acknowledges Paul’s epistles to be a part of the Scriptures, and therefore to have been written by divine inspiration. The affection with which Peter on this occasion speaks of Paul, and the honourable testimony which he bears to his writings, deserves great praise. He had been formerly rebuked by Paul before the brethren at Antioch for refusing to keep company with the Gentile converts; but if at that time he felt any displeasure at Paul for that rebuke, which we nowhere learn that he did, he had long ago laid it aside, and probably, instead of thinking ill of Paul on that account, had for many years admired him for his bold and steady testimony to the truth.
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.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.
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.