What does 2 Peter 3:16 mean?
ESV: as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
NIV: He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
NASB: as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
CSB: He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
NLT: speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
KJV: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
NKJV: as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
Verse Commentary:
Having praised the apostle Paul as a beloved brother speaking with wisdom given by God, Peter now acknowledges that some of Paul's writings are hard to understand. He also refers to Paul's writing as "Scripture." Both of these are important ideas.

First, this reveals that at least some of Paul's letters were already considered the Word of God, even as early as Peter's day. Peter recognized that Paul spoke with authority and on behalf of the Lord. That helps to confirm that the New Testament writers and apostles were not competing with each other; they understood they were together delivering God's words to God's people.

Secondly, though, some of Paul's writings were hard to understand. We have certainly seen the same with Peter's letters. The best way to understand some Bible passages is not always clear or obvious. Unfortunately, according to Peter, there are those who see difficult passages as an opportunity to distort the overall truth of God's Word. Either due to ignorance or instability, they twist the meaning of a difficult passage to try to make Scripture say what it actually does not.

God takes His word seriously, and He holds accountable those who distort His meaning. Peter warns that destruction comes to those who do so.

This leaves us in tough spot: how should we handle difficult-to-understand passages? Peter doesn't answer that question directly. However, the implication is that we should not use an obscure or difficult passage to contradict the clear teaching of other Scriptures. Reasonable and honest Christians may disagree quite strongly over the meaning of some things in the Bible. However, we cross a dangerous line when we distort the meaning of any passage to try to support our position on some theological argument.

The bottom line is that all of us must handle God's Word with respect, honesty, and a healthy dose of fear about getting it wrong—even when it's hard to understand.
Verse Context:
2 Peter 3:14–18 concludes Peter’s letter. Because Christians are looking forward to the new heavens and earth, we should be working now to set aside sin and live in peace with God. Peter acknowledges that Paul is a writer of Scripture. False teachers twist the words of God. Since Christians know God’s Word, though, we are responsible not to be misled by the false teachers. Instead, we should continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and to give Him glory.
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 4/24/2024 6:22:29 PM
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