What does 2 Peter 3:12 mean?
ESV: 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!
NIV: as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
NASB: looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
CSB: as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming. Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat.
NLT: looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.
KJV: Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
NKJV: looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
Verse Commentary:
This completes a thought begun in verse 11. Peter asked a probing question: Since God's judgment on the earth is coming and everything will destroyed by fire, how should Christians live today before that judgment arrives? The false teachers were asking the opposite question: Since there (supposedly) is no judgment, why not sin? To the deceivers, Christians would then be "free" to indulge in sexual immorality.

Peter insists that the judgment will come. The destruction will happen. Knowing that this is true should change how we choose to live now. In verse 11, Peter wrote that we should lead holy and godly lives. Now he finishes the sentence by saying we should live this way in anticipation of the day of God's judgment. It makes sense that we would anticipate the return of Christ. It's not that we long for the destruction of everything in fire, but we do long for Christ to come and make all things right. We long for justice. We long for all to see His glory.

And, according to English translations, we live holy lives in order to "hasten" that day of judgment. It's difficult to grasp exactly what Peter means by this. He describes our choice to lead holy lives using the Greek word speudontas, which can mean "quickly," "make haste," or "to speed up." However, the same word can also mean to deeply desire something. We can't use this verse to claim that our effort will actually cause that day to arrive more quickly. After all, God's timing is not our timing. And yet, in some sense, God's perfect timing for the return of Christ and the following judgment is connected to the holy lifestyles of His people. Peter means for us to be motivated by that truth.

The verse concludes by restating what Peter wrote in verse 10: The day of the Lord will bring the destruction of the heavens—meaning the sky, not God's heaven—by fire. The elements or heavenly bodies will melt. In any case, everything will be destroyed (v. 11).
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 6:22:28 PM
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