2 Peter 3:9-13

9 1The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise 2as some count slowness, but 3is patient toward you,[a]4 not wishing that any should perish, but 5that all should reach repentance.
10 But 6the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then 7the heavens will pass away with a roar, and 8the heavenly bodies[b] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[c]
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, 9what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
12 10waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and 11the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
13 But according to his promise we are waiting for 12new heavens and a new earth 13in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:9-13 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 PETER 3

In this chapter the apostle makes mention of the end and design of his writing this second epistle; foretells that there would be scoffers at the coming of Christ in the last days; describes the coming of Christ and the burning of the world; and closes with the use saints should make of these things. The end of his writing both this and the former epistle was to put the persons he writes unto in mind of the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, delivered by the prophets and apostles, 2Pe 3:1,2; and then, agreeably to what the prophets had said, he predicts that there would be scoffers in the last day; who are described by their sinful course of life, and by their words, what they would say concerning the coming of Christ, and their reasoning about it, 2Pe 3:3,4; which arose from their ignorance of the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of the situation of them; and is refuted by showing that things have not remained as they were from the creation; that the earth standing in and out of the water, as it was capable of being overflowed with a flood, so it perished by one; and that the present heavens and earth are reserved and prepared for a general burning at the day of judgment, in which wicked men will be destroyed, 2Pe 3:5-7; but let these men scoff as they will, the length of time since the promise of Christ's coming was made should be no objection with the saints to the performance of it; since the longest term of time is nothing with God, however considerable it may be with men, 2Pe 3:8; besides, the reason of the coming of Christ being deferred, is not owing to any dilatoriness in the performance of the promise, but to the longsuffering of God towards his elect, being unwilling that anyone of them should be lost, but that all should be brought to repentance, 2Pe 3:9; but as for the coming of Christ, that is certain, and will be sudden; at which time will be the general conflagration, which is described in a very awful manner, 2Pe 3:10-12; and the use to be made of such a tremendous dispensation by the saints is to live a holy and godly conversation, 2Pe 3:11; to be eagerly looking for the coming of Christ, 2Pe 3:12, and to expect, according to his promise, new heavens and a new earth, in which will dwell righteous persons, 2Pe 3:13; and to be diligent to be found in peace at that day, 2Pe 3:14; and to account the longsuffering of God salvation; and the whole of this account, and the use of it, is strengthened by the testimony of the Apostle Paul, of whom, and of his epistles, a character is given, 2Pe 3:15,16; and the epistle is concluded with some cautions and exhortations to the saints, to beware lest they should be carried away with the errors of wicked men, and so fall from any degree of steadfastness in the faith; and to be concerned for a growth in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus, to whom glory is to be ascribed for ever and ever, 2Pe 3:17,18.

2 Peter 3:9-13 In-Context

7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,

Cross References 13

  • 1. Habakkuk 2:3; Hebrews 10:37
  • 2. [Ecclesiastes 8:11; Revelation 2:21]
  • 3. Isaiah 30:18; Luke 18:7
  • 4. Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Ezekiel 33:11
  • 5. 1 Timothy 2:4
  • 6. See Matthew 24:43
  • 7. [Revelation 6:14; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1]; See Matthew 24:35
  • 8. Isaiah 34:4; [Isaiah 24:19; Micah 1:4; Nahum 1:5]
  • 9. 1 Peter 1:15
  • 10. [Luke 12:36; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13; Jude 21]
  • 11. See ver. 10
  • 12. Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; Revelation 21:1
  • 13. Isaiah 60:21; Revelation 21:27

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Some manuscripts on your account
  • [b]. Or elements; also verse 12
  • [c]. Greek found; some manuscripts will be burned up
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.