New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 second epistle. This shows that Peter’s second epistle was addressed to the same general audience as the first. They, therefore, would already have knowledge of what he had written before, but now he was giving them additional instruction in light of the difficult days coming and his own approaching demise. The Lord’s return might even have been very soon, as far as they knew, for it was always imminent. Surely Peter’s message of the first century is even more needed and appropriate today in the twenty-first century.
3:1 pure minds. It is vital that Christians in the last days “stir up” their minds, not just their emotions, but exactly the opposite seems to be happening today.
3:1 remembrance. See also II Peter 1:13. It is easy to forget the more important truths when we are being bombarded continuously by the trivial.
3:2 words which were spoken. Peter would remind us here again of “the more sure word of prophecy” to which we should “take heed” (II Peter 1:19). The words “spoken before by the holy prophets” are simply the Old Testament Scriptures.
3:2 commandment of us. The teachings of “the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” were largely known by verbal transition to the churches of Peter’s day, although they probably had seen some of Paul’s epistles (note II Peter 3:15,16) and possibly also had access to Mark’s gospel account (note I Peter 5:13). In any case, these have all now been collected and recognized as the New Testament Scriptures. Peter is, therefore, urging us to stir up our minds by both the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures, for this will be more and more important as the world’s rebellion against God intensifies and the coming of the Lord draws near. This very same theme was emphasized by Paul in his last epistle, just before his death, especially in his own closing exhortations (II Timothy 2–4).
3:3 first. “First” means “First of all,” or “of primary importance.” Compare II Peter 1:20. It is vitally important both to understand this key characteristic of the last days (that is, the denial of both creation and consummation), and also to know and practice the divinely inspired Scriptures.
3:3 last days. The context here is set in the last days. Although we must not set dates, these aspects of the last days are surely more characteristic of our own times than any time before us. At least, we are closer to the last days than anyone has ever been before! Thus Peter’s exhortation and analysis surely fits us better than anyone before us.
3:3 their own lusts. People of the last days, by and large, will be almost entirely motivated by self-interest, and will be unconcerned about God’s purposes, either for themselves or for the world as a whole. They will mock God’s Word. This word is used thirteen times in the New Testament, twelve of which speak of mocking Christ.
3:4 the promise of his coming. In Peter’s time, the early Christians were really looking for the Lord’s return, and there have been sporadic periods of prophetic interest in the nineteen long centuries since. The far greater part of the world’s population, however, is utterly indifferent to this hope, and even most of those who are working for global change today are working to bring in a world system based on evolutionary humanism rather than looking for God to return to His creation. In fact, most of the world’s people do not even believe in a personal Creator God at all, let alone His divine incarnation in Christ and His great plan of salvation. They are too busy “walking after their own lusts.”
3:4 beginning of the creation. The pseudo-scientific rationale for this indifference to the promised consummation of all things when Christ returns is their belief that there was never any real creation of all things in the beginning. The things that continue today, they say, are the things that have always been, and therefore always will be. This is the so-called principle of uniformity. According to this principle, it is assumed that the processes that govern nature today have always been the same in the past, so that the present is the key to the past. Since no creation is occurring today, it never happened in the past either. “All things continue”—not just after creation was finished, but “from the beginning of creation.” Thus, what people have called “creation” was accomplished by the same natural processes that continue to operate today. This means, then, that “creation” has been proceeding so slowly over long ages as to be quite unobservable in the mere few thousand years of human records. This remarkable belief is evolutionary uniformitarianism, and it completely dominates the scientific and educational establishments of every nation in the world today. It has been made the basic premise of origins and meaning, not only in science and history, but also in the social sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and practically every other discipline of study and practice in the world. This indeed is a most remarkable fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy, and surely must indicate that these days really are “the last days,” unless somehow the Lord brings about a great revival of truth in the world’s schools.