What does 2 Peter 3:1 mean?
ESV: This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,
NIV: Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.
NASB: Beloved, this is now the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of a reminder,
CSB: Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder,
NLT: This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory.
KJV: This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
NKJV: Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder),
Verse Commentary:
In the previous chapters, Peter has fully condemned the false teachers plaguing Christians in the early church. Here in chapter 3, Peter continues with a new focus. He refers to his readers as beloved, from agapētoi in the original Greek. This word is related to the Greek word for selfless, sacrificial love, agape. Selecting this word demonstrates how dearly Peter loves those he writes to, as well as their status in God's sight. As Christians, we are truly and always God's beloved ones.

Peter notes that this is his second letter to these readers. Scholars disagree about whether the book of 1 Peter was the first letter or whether 2 Peter follows some other document meant for a different set of readers. In either case, Peter's purpose in writing has been consistent: to remind Christians of what they already know and to urge them to act on it.

More specifically, he writes to stimulate them to wholesome thinking, or to stir up their "sincere minds." The Greek term here is eilikrinē. This literally means something found to be pure when examined by sunlight. A common legend is that the English word "sincere" comes from two Latin words which translate to "without wax." The story goes that crafty pottery salesmen would sometimes use wax to disguise cracks in their pottery. When held up to the sun, though, light would show through the wax, revealing the deception. A pot held up to the sun and found to be flawless was "without wax," or "sincere:" hiding no faults. In truth, the word sincere is not based in those Latin terms, and seems to come from words relating to wholeness and purity. As an analogy, however, the story still has some merit.

Peter wants his readers to be clear and self-controlled in their thinking. We should be focused on what matters, without any weak spots obscured by worthless ideas.
Verse Context:
2 Peter 3:1–13 includes Peter’s dismantling of the arguments of the false teachers. They will scoff because Christ’s promised return has not yet happened, and the world continues on as if nothing will ever change. Peter reminds Christians that God made the world and Noah’s flood is evidence that He is willing to alter it in order to bring judgment on the sins of humanity. In the coming judgment, everything will be destroyed and laid bare with fire. Christians look forward to the new heavens and earth which will come after.
Chapter Summary:
Peter dismantles the arguments of false teachers working to mislead Christians in the early church. He counters their idea that since Jesus has not yet returned, He must not be coming. Peter reminds His readers that God created the world. The flood of Noah's day is evidence that He is willing to bring judgment on the earth for sin. God is not late, He is patient and merciful. But the day of the Lord will come eventually. Everything will be destroyed. A new heaven and earth will be established. Christians should live as if that’s true.
Chapter Context:
After thoroughly condemning the false teachers in chapter 2, Peter now dismantles their arguments. These deceivers scoff that Christ has not returned as promised. We should doubt Christ's return, they say, since the world goes along as it always has and always will. Peter reminds his readers that God is the one who made the world. Noah’s flood is evidence of His willingness to alter the course of nature in order to bring judgment on humanity for sin. Christians should be looking forward to the new heavens and earth, rejecting false teaching, and leading holy lives.
Book Summary:
Apparently written shortly before his death in the AD 60s, 2 Peter may have been written to the same audience as 1 Peter, which was Christians scattered by persecution. Peter writes this letter to encourage Christians to live out the purpose of their lives in Christ. He warns readers to beware of teachers who claim to be believers, but present a false version of Christianity. And, Peter calls on all Christians to eagerly watch and wait for the return of the Lord.
Accessed 5/18/2024 6:30:45 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.