2 Peter iii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 3. Scoffers[1] with deceit, (such as make a jest of all revealed religion) walking according to their own lusts, as if they might indulge themselves in every thing which their inclinations prompt them to, saying: where is his promise, or his coming? They have no belief nor regard for what has been revealed concerning the coming of Christ to judge every one, to reward the good, and punish the wicked. Such were the Sadducees, who believe not the immortality of the soul, nor the resurrection; such were at all times those atheistical men, who endeavoured to persuade themselves that all religion is no more than a human and politic invention; of this number are they who some in our days call free-thinkers. St. Peter here gives us the words of these unbelieving libertines, whom he calls scoffers: where, they say, is his promise? those pretended promises of God, those predictions and menaces in the Scriptures? what appearance of Christ’s coming to judge the world? for, since the Fathers slept, ever since the death of the patriarchs and prophets, all things continue. (Witham)

Ver. 5. For this they are wilfully ignorant of. The ignorance of these unbelievers is wilful and inexcusable, when they question the existence of a Supreme Being, of a future state, wherein God will reward the good and punish the wicked; when they laugh at all the miracles, and all the extraordinary effects of God’s power and justice, such as was the general flood or deluge, by which God destroyed the wicked by an inundation of waters. And as our blessed Saviour said of those, who would not believe in the days of Noe[Noah], “They were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage,…and they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Mattew xxiv. 38. 39.) (Witham)

Ver. 10. The heavens, &c. He puts the faithful in mind not to regard these profane scoffers, but to be convinced of the truths revealed, and that the world shall be destroyed a second time by fire. Reflect that the time of this life, and all the time that this world shall last, is nothing to eternity, which has no parts, no beginning, nor end; so that in the sight of God, who is eternal, a thousand years are no more to be regarded than one day, or one moment. The long time that hath hitherto passed, must not make you think that God is slack as to his promises, or that they shall not infallibly come to pass at the time and moment appointed by his divine providence. God’s infinite mercy, and his love for mankind, bears patiently with the provocations of blind and unthinking sinners, not willing that any of them should perish, but that they should return to him by a sincere repentance and true penance, and be saved. But watch always, according to the repeated admonition of our blessed Redeemer. (Mark xiii. 37. &c.) For both the day of your death, and the day of the Lord to judge the world, will come like a thief, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 11. Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, that the world, and all things in the world, shall pass in a short time, set not your affections upon them: let your life and conversation be holy. According to the divine promises, look for new heavens, and a new earth, where justice is to dwell, whither sinners shall not enter, but the just only, in a new state of never-ending happiness. Make it then your endeavour to be found in the sight of God spotless and blameless; and look upon the long forbearance of God, who defers to punish sinners as they deserve, to be an effect of his mercy, and for your salvation. (Witham)

Ver. 15-16. As also our most dear brother, Paul,…hath written to you. He seems to mean in his epistle to the Hebrews or converted Jews, (Chap. x. 37.) where he says: yet a little while,…and he that is to come, will come, and will not delay. — In which are some things hard to understand, especially by unlearned, ignorant people, unstable, inconstant, not well grounded in faith, and which they wrest,[2] as they do also the other scriptures, by their private interpretations, to their own perdition. (Witham)

Ver. 17. Being forewarned, therefore, and knowing these things before, take heed not to be led away by the errors of such false and unwise teachers, whatever knowledge they boast of, as did the Gnostics. But make it your serious endeavour to increase in grace by God’s assistance, in the true knowledge of our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to whom, as being one God with his eternal Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory now, and for all eternity. Amen. (Witham)


[1] Ver. 3. In deceptione illusores; the true reading in the Greek is, as Dr. Wells has restored it, en empaigmone empaiktai, illusione illudentes.

[2] Ver. 16. Depravant, streblousin, detorquent. It is a speech, says Mr. Legh, on strebloo, borrowed from torturers, when they put an innocent man on the rack, and make him speak what he never thought. They deal, says he, with the Scriptures as chemists sometimes deal with natural bodies, torturing them to extract out of them what God and nature never put in them.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Against scoffers, denying the second coming of Christ, he declares the sudden dissolution of this world; and exhorts to holiness of life.

1 This second epistle behold I write to you, dearly beloved, in which I excite by admonition your sincere mind:

2 That you may be mindful of those words which I told you before from the holy prophets, and of your apostles, of the precepts of the Lord and Saviour.

3 Knowing this first, *that in the last days there shall come scoffers with deceit, walking according to their own lusts,

4 Saying: *Where is his promise or his coming? For, since the fathers slept, all things continue so from the beginning of the creation.

5 For this they are wilfully ignorant of, that the heavens were before, and the earth, out of water and through water, consisting by the word of God:

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.

7 But the heavens which now are, and the earth, by the same word are kept in store, reserved for fire unto the day of judgment, and of the perdition of wicked men.

8 But be not ignorant, my beloved, of this one thing, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine: but acts patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.

10 *But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth, and the works that are in it, shall be burnt up.

11 Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness,

12 Expecting, and hastening unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the burning heavens shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the heat of fire?

13 *But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promise, in which justice dwelleth.

14 Wherefore, dearly beloved, expecting these things, endeavour diligently, that you may be found before him spotless and blameless in peace,

15 *And account the long-suffering of our Lord, salvation: as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you,

16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things: in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as also the other Scriptures, to their own perdition.

17 You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, beware; lest, being led away by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.

18 But increase in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and unto the day of eternity. Amen.



3: 1 Timothy iv. 1.; 2 Timothy iii. 1.; Jude i. 18.

4: Ezechiel xii. 27.

10: 1 Thessalonians v. 2.; Apocalypse iii. 3. and xvi. 15.

13: Isaias lxv. 17. and lxvi. 22.; Apocalypse xxii. 1.

15: Romans ii. 4.