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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am
writing to you; through them by way of reminder I am trying to stir up your
to recall the words previously spoken by the
holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and savior through your apostles.
Know this first of all, that in the last days
scoffers 2 will come (to) scoff, living according to their
and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming?
3 From the time when our ancestors fell asleep, everything
has remained as it was from the beginning of creation."
They deliberately ignore the fact that the
heavens existed of old and earth was formed out of water and through water 4
by the word of God;
through these the world that then existed was
destroyed, deluged with water. 5
The present heavens and earth have been
reserved by the same word for fire, kept for the day of judgment and of
destruction of the godless.
6 7 But do not ignore this
one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a
thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some
regard "delay," but he is patient with you, not wishing that any
should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
8 and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and
the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it
will be found out.
9 Since everything is to be dissolved in this
way, what sort of persons ought (you) to be, conducting yourselves in holiness
10 waiting for and hastening the coming of the
day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the
elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise we await new
heavens and a new earth 11 in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these
things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
And consider the patience of our Lord as
salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him,
also wrote to you,
speaking of these things 12
as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand
that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they
do the other scriptures.
Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned,
be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall
from your own stability.
But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our
Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity.
1 [1-4] The false teachers not only
flout Christian morality (cf ⇒ Jude 1:8-19); they
also deny the second coming of Christ and the judgment (⇒ 2
Peter 3:4; cf ⇒ 2 Peter 3:7). They seek to
justify their licentiousness by arguing that the promised return of Christ has
not been realized and the world is the same, no better than it was before
(⇒ 2 Peter 3:3-4). The author wishes to strengthen
the faithful against such errors by reminding them in this second letter of the
instruction in 1 Peter and of the teaching of the prophets and of Christ,
conveyed through the apostles (⇒ 2 Peter 3:1-2; cf
⇒ Jude 1:17); cf ⇒ 1 Peter
1:10-12, ⇒ 16-21, especially
⇒ 2 Peter 3:16-21; ⇒ Eph
2  Scoffers: cf Jude 18, where,
however, only the passions of the scoffers are mentioned, not a denial on their
part of Jesus' parousia.
3 [4-7] The false teachers tried to
justify their immorality by pointing out that the promised coming (parousia) of
the Lord has not yet occurred, even though early Christians expected it in
their day. They thus insinuate that God is not guiding the world's history
anymore, since nothing has changed and the first generation of Christians, our
ancestors (⇒ 2 Peter 3:4), has all died by this
time. The author replies that, just as God destroyed the earth by water in the
flood (⇒ 2 Peter 3:5-6, cf ⇒ 2
Peter 2:5), so he will destroy it along with the false teachers on
judgment day (7). The word of God, which called the world into being (Genesis
1; ⇒ Psalm 33:6) and destroyed it by the waters of a
flood, will destroy it again by fire on the day of judgment (⇒ 2
4  Formed out of water and through
water: ⇒ Genesis 1:2, ⇒ 6-8
is reflected as well as Greek views that water was the basic element from which
all is derived.
5  Destroyed, deluged with water:
cf ⇒ 2 Peter 2:5; ⇒ Genesis
6 [8-10] The scoffers' objection
(⇒ 2 Peter 3:4) is refuted also by showing that
delay of the Lord's second coming is not a failure to fulfill his word but
rather a sign of his patience: God is giving time for repentance before the
final judgment (cf ⇒ Wisdom 11:23-26; ⇒ Ezekiel
18:23; ⇒ 33:11).
7  Cf ⇒ Psalm
8  Like a thief:
⇒ Matthew 24:43; ⇒ 1 Thes
5:2; ⇒ Rev 3:3. Will be found out: cf 1 Cor
3, 13-15. Some few versions read, as the sense may demand, "will not be
found out"; many manuscripts read "will be burned up"; there are
further variants in other manuscripts, versions, and Fathers. Total destruction
is assumed (⇒ 2 Peter 3:11).
9 [11-16] The second coming of Christ
and the judgment of the world are the doctrinal bases for the moral exhortation
to readiness through vigilance and a virtuous life; cf
⇒ Matthew 24:42,
⇒ 50-51; ⇒ Luke 12:40;
⇒ 1 Thes 5:1-11; ⇒ Jude
10  Flames . . . fire: although
this is the only New Testament passage about a final conflagration, the idea
was common in apocalyptic and Greco-Roman thought. Hastening: eschatology is
here used to motivate ethics (⇒ 2 Peter 3:11), as
elsewhere in the New Testament. Jewish sources and ⇒ Acts
3:19-20 assume that proper ethical conduct can help bring the
promised day of the Lord; cf ⇒ 2 Peter 3:9. Some
render the phrase, however, "desiring it earnestly."
11  New heavens and a new earth:
cf ⇒ Isaiah 65:17;
⇒ 66:22. The divine promises will be fulfilled
after the day of judgment will have passed. The universe will be transformed by
the reign of God's righteousness or justice; cf ⇒ Isaiah
65:17-18; ⇒ Acts 3:21;
⇒ Romans 8:18-25; ⇒ Rev
12  These things: the teachings of
this letter find parallels in Paul, e.g., God's will to save
(⇒ Romans 2:4; ⇒ 9:22-23;
⇒ 1 Cor 1:7-8), the coming of Christ
(⇒ 1 Thes 4:16-17; ⇒ 1 Cor
15:23-52), and preparedness for the judgment (⇒ Col
1:22-23; ⇒ Eph 1:4-14;
⇒ 4:30; ⇒ 5:5-14). Other scriptures:
used to guide the faith and life of the Christian community. The letters of
Paul are thus here placed on the same level as books of the Old Testament.
Possibly other New Testament writings could also be included. 3, 17-18: To
avoid the dangers of error and loss of was more pressing. But such
doxostability, Christians are forewarned to be on guard and to grow in grace
and knowledge (⇒ 2 Peter 1:2) of Christ. The
doxology (⇒ 2 Peter 3:18) recalls
⇒ 1 Peter 4:11. Some manuscripts add Amen.
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