2 Peter 3:1

(1, 2) Just as the two halves of the first main portion of the Epistle are linked together by some personal remarks respecting his reason for writing this Epistle (2Peter 1:12-15), so the two predictions which form the second main portion are connected by personal remarks respecting the purpose of both his Epistles.

(1) This second epistle, beloved, I now write.--Rather, This now second epistle I write, beloved; or, This epistle, already a second one--implying that no very long time has elapsed since his first letter, and that this one is addressed to pretty much the same circle of readers. There is no indication that the first two chapters are one letter, and that this is the beginning of another, as has been supposed. With this use of "now," or "already," comp. John 21:14.

Pure minds.--The word for "pure" means literally "separated"--according to one derivation, by being sifted; according to another, by being held up to the light. Hence it comes to mean "unsullied." Here it probably means untainted by sensuality or, possibly, deceit. In Philippians 1:10, the only other place where it occurs in the New Testament, it is translated "sincere." (Comp. 1Corinthians 5:8; 2Corinthians 1:12; 2Corinthians 2:17.) The word for "mind" means "the faculty of moral reflection and moral understanding," which St. Peter, in his First Epistle (2Peter 1:13), tells his readers to brace up and keep ready for constant use. These very two words are found together in a beautiful passage in Plato's Phaedo, 66A.

By way of remembrance.--We have the same expression in 2Peter 1:13, and the translation in both cases should be the same--stir up in putting you in remembrance.

Verse 1. - This Second Epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; literally, this Epistle already a second one I write unto you. The ἤδη ("already") implies that the interval between the two Epistles was not long. The expression "beloved," four times repeated in this chapter, shows the apostle's affectionate interest in his readers; and the word "second" forces us to make our choice between the Petrine authorship of the Epistle or the hypothesis of a direct forgery. In both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance; literally, in which, i.e., "Epistles;" the word "second" implied an allusion to a First Epistle. St. Peter repeats the words which he had used in chapter 2 Peter 1:13, "I think it meet... to stir you up by putting you in remembrance." Mind (διάνοια) is the reflective faculty (see 1 Peter 1:13); that faculty should be exercised in holy things. The thoughts that pass through the Christian's mind should be holy thoughts; his mind should be pure. The word rendered "pure" (εἰλικρινής) occurs in Philippians 1:10 (where see note); the corresponding substantive is found in 1 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 2:17. It is said of things which can bear to be judged in the sunlight, and so means "pure, clear," or (according to another possible etymology) "unmixed," and so "genuine, sincere."

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.This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you,.... This is a transition to another part of the epistle; for the apostle having largely described false teachers, the secret enemies of the Christian religion under a profession of it, passes on to take notice of the more open adversaries and profane scoffers of it; and from their ridicule of the doctrine of Christ's second coming, he proceeds to treat of that, and of the destruction of the world, and the future happiness of the saints: he calls this epistle his "second epistle", because he had written another before to the same persons; and that the author of this epistle was an apostle, is evident from 2 Peter 3:2; and which, compared with 2 Peter 1:18 shows him to be the Apostle Peter, whose name it bears, and who was an eyewitness to the transfiguration of Christ on the mount, Matthew 17:1, he addresses these saints here, as also in 2 Peter 3:8, under the character of "beloved"; because they were the beloved of God, being chosen by him according to his foreknowledge, and regenerated by him, according to his abundant mercy; and were openly his people, and had obtained mercy from him, and like precious faith with the apostles; and were also the beloved of Christ, being redeemed by him, not with gold and silver, but with his precious blood; for whom he suffered, and who were partakers of his sufferings, and the benefits arising from them, and who had all things given them by him, pertaining to life and godliness, and exceeding great and precious promises; and were likewise beloved by the apostle, though strangers, and not merely as Jews, or because they were his countrymen, but because they were the elect of God, the redeemed of Christ, and who were sanctified by the Spirit, and had the same kind of faith he himself had. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "my beloved"; and the Ethiopic version, "my brethren": his end in writing both this and the former epistle follows;

in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance; that this was his view both in this and the former epistle, appears from 1 Peter 1:13; he calls their minds pure; not that they were so naturally, for the minds and consciences of men are universally defiled with sin; nor are the minds of all men pure who seem to be so in their own eyes, or appear so to others; nor can any man, by his own power or works, make himself pure from sin; only the blood of Christ purges and cleanses from it; and a pure mind is a mind sprinkled with that blood, and which receives the truth as it is in Jesus, in the power and purity of it, and that holds the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. Some versions, as the Vulgate Latin and Arabic, render the word "sincere", as it is in Philippians 1:10; and may design the sincerity of their hearts in the worship of God, in the doctrines of Christ, and to one another, and of the grace of the Spirit of God in them; as that their faith was unfeigned, their hope without hypocrisy, and their love without dissimulation, and their repentance real and genuine; but yet they needed to be stirred up by way of remembrance, both of the truth of the Gospel, and the duties of religion; for saints are apt to be forgetful of the word, both of its doctrines and its exhortations; and it is the business of the ministers of the word to put them in mind of them, either by preaching or by writing; and which shows the necessity and usefulness of the standing ministry of the Gospel: the particulars he put them in mind of next follow.

2 Peter 2:22
Top of Page
Top of Page