2 Peter 3:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Peter 3:4, NIV: "They will say, 'Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'"

2 Peter 3:4, ESV: "They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”"

2 Peter 3:4, KJV: "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, NASB: "and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue just as they were from the beginning of creation.'"

2 Peter 3:4, NLT: "They will say, 'What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'"

2 Peter 3:4, CSB: "saying, "Where is his 'coming' that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.""

What does 2 Peter 3:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Peter warned that false teachers among the Christians would be "scoffers" or "mockers." Here in verse 4, we see what they are mocking: the return of Christ. According to the Bible, Jesus will return in glory to be revealed to all as Lord and to judge the people of the world (John 14:1–3). False teachers dispute this claim.

The essence of this deceptive mocking is the claim that we know better than God. At least, we know when things should occur better than God does. The false teachers seem to be saying, "Jesus promised He would come back, but that was too long ago. The world just keeps going on and on in the same way it always has. So Jesus must not be coming back." As a result, these deceivers convince others that God's other promises are not true. If there is no return of Christ, their argument goes, there must not be a judgment coming for sin. So God must not really care about our sin. So it's acceptable to be "free" and do whatever you feel like doing. This, of course, is both false and dangerous thinking.

The false teachers point back to the deaths—the "falling asleep"—of the Jewish fathers or ancestors. In other words, the men who made the prophecies about the return of Christ were long dead. When Peter wrote these words, even some of the apostles who had predicted the return of Jesus were already passed away. In our modern day, of course, these predictions are even older, and the men who made them even longer dead. Yet the world keeps ticking along in the way it always has.

For all of recorded history, the false teachers argue, the physical world has been operating in a normal, predictable, uniform way. In some disciplines, this perspective is sometimes called "uniformitarianism." Spiritual events may have taken place, but the "real world" never varies. This can lead to a wrong conclusion about spiritual matters: that God will not intervene in the physical world. That God always lets it go along its natural course.

Peter will dismantle this view in the next few verses.