2 Peter 3:11-13 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

2 Peter 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed (PPPNPG) in this way, what sort of people ought (3SPAI) you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: touton autos panton luomenon (PPPNPG) potapous dei (3SPAI) huparchein (PAN) humas en hagias anastrophais kai eusebeiais,

Amplified: Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NET: Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, (NET Bible)

NLT: Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living! (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: In view of the fact that all these things are to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be? Surely men of good and holy character, (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: All these things in this manner being in process of dissolution, what exotic persons is it necessary in the nature of the case for you to be in the sphere of holy behaviors and pieties

Young's Literal: All these, then, being dissolved, what kind of persons doth it behoove you to be in holy behaviours and pious acts?


As elsewhere in the NT, Peter reminds his readers of the strong link between Christian hope and daily conduct.

All these things - What things? "the earth and its works will be burned up" (2Pe 3:10)

Are to be destroyed (3089) (luo) literally means to untie or loose from ropes or straps. Luo means to cause something to cease to exist or come to an end and includes the idea of setting something free.

Luo - 42x in 39v -NAS = annuls(1), break(1), breaking(1), broke down(1), broken(4), destroy(2), destroyed(3), loose(2), loosed(2), putting an end to(1), release(1), released(7), removed(1), take off(1), unbind(1), untie(8), untied(1), untying(4).

Matt 5:19; 16:19; 18:18; 21:2; Mark 1:7; 7:35; 11:2, 4f; Luke 3:16; 13:15f; 19:30f, 33; John 1:27; 2:19; 5:18; 7:23; 10:35; 11:44; Acts 2:24; 7:33; 13:25, 43; 22:30; 27:41; 1 Cor 7:27; Eph 2:14; 2 Pet 3:10ff; 1 John 3:8; Rev 1:5; 5:2; 9:14f; 20:3, 7.

In an example of the literal use of luo, after Lazarus had returned to life, Jesus instructed them

Unbind (luo - aorist imperative = do this immediately) him and let him go (Jn 11:44)

The universe is pictured as "unraveling at the seams" so to speak. In Colossians Paul teaches that…

He (Jesus) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col 1:17-note)

In 1 Samuel we read…

He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them. (1Samuel 2:8) (Comment: Although some think "pillars" refers to world leaders, others favor this as a reference to the cosmos and God's sustaining power, an interpretation I favor - see Ps 75:3 "The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah." See Spurgeon's comment)

Luo is used of breaking the seal of the book in Re 5:2 (notes), and of releasing the devil for a short time in Re 20:3 (note).

Three times in three verses Peter uses luo to picture the dissolution of the old heavens and earth, purging them from sin and corruption (Romans 8:20, 21-note) and preparing the way for the perfect, sinless, incorruptible (1Peter 1:5-note) new heavens and new earth.



Prophecy promotes purity - The question I am frequently asked is "Why study prophecy? Prophecy is just a focus on sensationalism and just leads to strife and discord. Is it really practical? Peter would answer a resounding "Yes!" Beloved, you can mark it down, what (Who) you are looking for will strongly influence what (how) you are living for! (See 1Jn 3:2,3-note) If you are a believer and are focused on this world which is passing away (and even its lusts! 1Jn 2:17-note), then you are living a "dying life!" God wants you to be watchful, ever mindful that He might tell His Son today to "Go get Your Bride." Paul said that believers are the only people who really know how to live in the temporal word for "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2Cor 4:18-note) This begs the question what are you living for… for time or Eternity?

What manner of persons (4217) (potapous) does not introduce a question, but an exclamation of astonishment like "how astonishingly excellent you ought to be". In light of the promised judgment, Peter challenged his readers to live in keeping with their Christian hope -- allowing their anticipation of Christ's return to impact their daily behavior."

Jamieson and Fausset phrase the exclamation

How watchful, prayerful, zealous!

The sense is of Peter's exhortation is…

“Since all these things will pass away and since you are entering the glorious eternal state, consider the type of persons you ought to be! Or this way as a more direct declaration: "How astoundingly, how astonishingly excellent you ought to be."

OUGHT YOU TO BE: dei (3SPAI) huparchein (PAN) humas:

Ought (1163) (dei) refers to obligation including the idea of owing a debt to someone.

Dei describes that behavior and lifestyle (present tense) which is necessary in view of the truth about the end of all things. Paul in a similar way when confronted with the greatness of the gospel and the lostness of mankind, felt

"under obligation (indebted = dei) both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish." and so he was "eager to preach the gospel" (see note Ro 1:14-15).

Are you like Paul? Do you sense an obligation to live with an eternal perspective? "If you don't, you should" Peter is saying.

The Living Bible conveys the idea:

"And so since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives we should be living!" “How astoundingly excellent you ought to be!”

Peter has issued us all a straightforward challenge to conform our lives to God’s holy standard in light of the certainty of coming judgment (cf. 2Co 5:9-note, 2Co 5:10-note).

Hiebert adds that the verb "ought"

"indicates the abiding obligation resting upon believers to manifest moral maturity as an abiding possession."

Be (5225) (huparcho) is distinct from the mere verb of existence (einai), for huparcho denotes a state or condition in which one is supposed to be.

Huparcho is in the present tense indicating that these qualities are to be constantly present. Scoffers, questioning the Lord’s coming with its ensuing judgment on them, lead ungodly lives. By contrast, Jesus’ followers are to continually be in a state or condition of holiness and godliness.

In his first epistle Peter addressed his readers as "those who reside as aliens" thus describing them as sojourners, visitors here for a short time, waiting for the culmination of our citizenship in heaven (1Peter 1:1-note). Later in the letter Peter exhorts them writing…

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. (see note 1 Peter 2:11)

Heaven is our real home and we need to live accordingly.

IN HOLY CONDUCT: en hagiais anastrophais:


In (en) - In the "sphere" of holiness. The "air" you breathe is holy. The path you take is holy. The power you depend on is holy (The Holy Spirit). Walk in holy conduct!

In light of the certainty of God's judgment, two writers, Peter and Paul, admonish believers to live godly and holy lives.

Holy Conduct is God's will for His children. Like Father, like son. In 1Thessalonians 4:3 Paul writes that…

this is the will of God, your sanctification (holiness); that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality (see note 1Thessalonians 4:3)


Holy (40) (hagios) means set apart, sanctified, consecrated. Hagios is translated "saint" in many NT passages. Every saint's position in Christ is holy, but here Peter calls for the experiential holiness. He is saying let your practice match your position.

Hagios describes not just who we are now in Christ but how we should then live — set apart from sin and from evil and dedicated unto God.

If we really believe what Peter has just written, it will be reflected in the way we live, and the way we live gets down to our personal choices: What I will do with my time, my $$, etc (realizing of course that none of these things are mine but His and that we are now acting as stewards who will one day be held accountable in regard to how we handled the Master's riches!)

So Peter is trying to MOTIVATE us because he knows that this world and ALL (did you catch that? ALL.) is passing away soon to be dissolved in a roaring flame sent by God… the only fruit that saints can be assured will endure this holy fire is the fruit borne by abiding in the Holy Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conduct (391) (anastrophe from verb anastrepho) refers to how we conduct ourselves with a focus on our everyday behavior.

Conduct refers to our external actions and behavior whereas the next word godliness describes an internal heart attitude of reverence.

In classical Greek, the verb (anastrepho from aná =again, back + strepho = turn) meant among other things to turn one’s self about, to turn back, round, or about, to dwell in a place. The noun anastrophe, means a turning back or about, occupation in a thing, a mode of life or behavior. Note that the ideas of “a mode of life” and “one’s behavior” are derived from the fact of one’s activity.

Thayer says that the related verb form (anastrepho) means “to conduct or behave one’s self, to walk,” the latter meaning not referring here to the physical act of walking but to the act of determining our course of conduct and the carrying out of that determined course of action. In the biblical use of the word, the moral and spiritual aspect of one’s manner of life is in view here in 2 Peter.

Saints are set apart for God's purposes and should be different but not odd. If we are (holy, wholly) different, we will attract people (1Pe 2:13-note ; 1Pe 3:15-note). If we are odd, we will repel them.

After presenting the truths about future events, Peter now exhorts the saints to a quality of life that should characterize those who are " looking upward". A similar "pattern" is seen In his first epistle, where after presenting the great exposition on the truth about our salvation in 1Pe 1:1-12, Peter exhorts his readers -

"gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Now with minds firmly fixed on "future grace", he calls for them to manifest a behavior congruent with their belief -

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." (1Pe 1:14-note; 1Pe 1:15,16-note).

Are you investing in a world that will soon be burned or in a world that will endure eternally and is totally unaffected by the vagaries of the stock market? See commentary on Mt 6:21.

John Piper adds…

I saw that old black plaque with the silver chain and white writing almost every day while I was growing up. It hung in our stairway in Greenville. Now it hangs in our kitchen for our sons to see. It says,

Only one life, 'twill soon be past.
Only what's done for Christ will last.

That's the point of 2Pe 3:11: everything is going to be burned up but the fruits of holiness. A life lived for the world will go naked into judgment; a life lived for Christ will be laden with eternal riches. When the main doors are opened at the Metrodome you get blown out with a tremendous gust of wind because of the air pressure inside. Picture a person at the first Metrodome tropical bird show, who spends all day collecting bird feathers in the dome. And then with the biggest and best collection of bird feathers in his arms (of which he is very proud) he comes to the door of the dome. The door opens and his feathers are blown all over 5th Street and Chicago Avenue. Ridiculous? Yes. But it is a flattering picture of the person who tries to build meaning for his life with money or professional reputation or art or hobbies. It' s all going to be blown away and he will stand before Christ utterly shamed. The lesson is this: put your life under the spotlight of eternity; assess it from God's vantage point. And devote yourself to what will last (cf. Mt 6:19, 20, 21-note 1Cor 7:31 1Jn 2:17). " (Click entire sermon)

Related Resource:

AND GODLINESS: ka eusebeiais:


What is "Godlikeness"? In one word "Jesus" - Fix your eyes on Jesus! (Heb 12:1-note, cf 1Cor 11:1, 1Pe 2:21-note, 1Jn 2:6)

Godliness (2150) (eusebeia from eu = good + sebomai = worship) means literally "good worship". Eusebeia reflects an attitude of one's life to live with a sense of His presence and a desire motivated by love ( = obedience Jn 14:15) to be pleasing to Him in all things we say, do and think. The godly man lives above the petty things of life, the passions and pressures that control the lives of others. The godly man seeks to do the will of God (Romans 12:2-note) and, as he does, he seeks the welfare of others, making the kind of decisions that are right and noble, not taking the "easy" path simply to avoid either pain or trial, and doing what is right because it is right and because it is the will of God. That's Biblical godliness!

Godliness (eusebeia) means literally to worship well and describes a person whose life is devoted to pleasing God and is lived out as an act of worship (not just a "Sunday type experience"). (2Peter 1:4-note)

Eusebeia - 15x in 15v - Acts 3:12; 1Ti 2:2; 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 5, 6, 11; 2Ti 3:5; Titus 1:1; 2Pet 1:3, 6, 7; 3:11

Eusebeia depicts a life characterized by a personal piety which reverently seeks to do what is pleasing to God. Thus the saint's lives must present a marked contrast to that which the false teachers permitted and practiced. Everything material has the stamp of oblivion upon it. The things of which men boast, the things for which they live are passing things at best. To live for material things is to live for the temporary. Common sense tells us to turn from the tinsel and toys of this world and live in holiness and godliness.

In light of the truth of the Day of God, we must make a choice of living for eternity rather than time, of emphasizing the spiritual rather than the material, of choosing the permanent over the passing.

John MacArthur has an excellent summary of the practical meaning of holy conduct and godliness

Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to the way I live my life, godliness refers to the spirit of reverence within me by which I live my life. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so he is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty. Click below for two full messages on this vitally important topic (and other related messages)

John Walvoord: "The early church lived in constant expectation of the coming of the Lord for His church." 

Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ's first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ's second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ--an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ's first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second! - Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27.

Beloved, what (Who) you are looking for
will (should) radically impact what (Who) you are living for!

So what Peter is describing here is what believers need to be in heart (cf Pr 4:23-note), attitude, motive, behavior, action, and duty.

It is also notable that holy conduct and godliness are plural in the Greek which conveys the idea that these attributes extend to all aspects of our life.

The BOOK you are writing  (J. R. Miller, "Counsel and Help" 1907)

"You ought to live holy and godly lives." 2 Peter 3:11

The only way to have a stainless and beautiful year at its close—is to keep the days, as they pass, all pure and sweet, with the loveliness of holy, useful living.

It is thus, in little days—that our years come to us. We have but the one small fragment to fill and beautify at a time.

The year is a book, and for each day—one fair white page is opened before us.

And we are artists, whose duty it is to put something beautiful on the page.

Or we are poets, and are to write some lovely thought, some radiant sentence, on each leaf as it lies open before us.

"That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." 1 Timothy 2:2

Leaning Towers - The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is going to fall. Scientists travel yearly to measure the building's slow descent. They report that the 179-foot tower moves about one-twentieth of an inch a year, and is now seventeen feet out of plumb. They further estimate that by the year 2007 the 810-year-old tower will have leaned too far and will collapse onto the nearby ristorante, where scientists now gather to dis­cuss their findings. Quite significantly, the word pica means "marshy land," which gives some clue as to why the tower began to lean even before it was completed.

We know that some things, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, are destined to collapse. But what about the Golden Gate Bridge, the World Trade Center Towers, the Rock of Gibraltar, and the Rocky Mountains? Like that tower, they too are resting on "soft founda­tions." They too will fall one day—at a time already determined on God's calendar.

Maybe it doesn't seem pressing because we think we'll pass from this earthly scene long before that great judgment day comes. That's not how Peter responded. The inevitable collapse of all things made him think about the eternal society built on righteousness and truth, a society that would continue, even after Gibraltar is gone. It moti­vated him to build his life on Christ, the only foundation that will never crumble. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our main business in this world
is to secure an interest in the next

2 Peter 3:12 looking for (PAPMPA) 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 ! (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: prosdokontas (PAPMPA) kai speudontas (PAPMPA) ten parousian tes tou theou hemeras, di' en ouranoi puroumenoi (PPPMPN) luthesontai (3PFPI) kai stoicheia kausoumena (PPPNPN) teketai. (3SPPI)

Amplified: While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NET: while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God. Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the heavenly bodies will melt away in a blaze! (NET Bible)

NLT: You should look forward to that day and hurry it along--the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: who live expecting and earnestly longing for the coming of the day of God. True, this day will mean that the heavens will disappear in fire and the elements disintegrate in fearful heat, (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which [day] heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and elements burning up are being melted. 

Young's Literal: waiting for and hasting to the presence of the day of God, by which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements with burning heat shall melt;

LOOKING FOR: Prodokontas (PAP):

Related resources:

Here Peter presents the concept of expectation.

Since I am headed for eternal glory, since I am going to be a citizen of God's eternal Kingdom, since I am going to be delivered from the day of the Lord to enter into the eternal day of God, I should be living in expectation of that.

Looking (4328) (prosdokao from prós = towards - adds the idea of “mental direction” to the already existing meaning of the verb + dokáo = look for denoting direction of one's mind toward something) means literally to look forward toward, to wait for, to look for, to anticipate. It means to give thought to something that is in the future and the context indicates whether one does this looking/waiting in a hopeful sense, with a longing, with fear (wait with anxiety, live in suspense), or in a neutral state of mind. It describes the attitude saints should have as anticipating, waiting with watchfulness, being in expectation.

It is notable that this is the third time Peter uses prosdokao in this chapter! Peter continually links waiting with watching.

Prosdokao is in the present tense indicating that this is one's habit or lifestyle. Are you continually looking for the return of your Lord? It will radically impact what you are living for!

Thayer writes that prosdokao

denotes mental direction; from Aeschylus and Herodotus down; to expect (whether in thought, in hope, or in fear); to look for, wait for: when the preceding context shows who or what is expected

Prosdokao is variously translated "expecting", "look eagerly for", "waiting for", "live expecting".

There are several words with meaning closely related to prosdokao:

Prosdokao: 16x in 15v - NAS = expect, 2; expecting, 2; look, 4; looking, 2; state of expectation, 1; waited, 1; waiting, 2; watching, 1.

Mt 11:3; 24:50; Lk 1:21; 3:15; 7:19, 20; 8:40; 12:46; Acts 3:5; 10:24; 27:33; 28:6; 2Pe 3:12, 13,1 4:

Prosdokao occurs 5 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Deut 32:2; Ps 69:20; 104:27; 119:166; Lam 2:16) and the focus is on God and His acts. For example the psalmist writes…

I hope (LXX = prosdokao = wait for expectantly) for Thy salvation, O LORD, and do Thy commandments. (Psalm 119:166)

John the Baptist's disciples came to Jesus…

and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for (prosdokao) someone else?" (Mt 11:3)

Luke uses prosdokao to describe the attitude of the people while Zacharias was in the Temple…

And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. (Luke 1:21) (Comment: Here the waiting is coupled somewhat with fear and anticipation).

Luke records that…

Now while the people were in a state of expectation (prosdokao) and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he might be the Christ, (Luke 3:15) (Comment: How wonderful if Christ's church in America were in such a state! How much saltier salt and brighter light the church might be in a land growing spiritually darker each day!)

In Acts 3 Luke uses prosdokao again recording the attitude of the lame man (who had been lame from his mother's womb) toward Peter…

And he began to give them his attention, expecting (prosdokao) to receive something from them. (Acts 3:5)

Prosdokao describes the attitude of those on the isle of Malta when Paul was smitten by the viper and they waited and watched expecting him to swell up. (Acts 28:6)

But they were expecting (prosdokao) that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

In this context the waiting is with apprehension concerning impending danger or trouble. The point is that they watched expectantly because they knew it was a certainty (that Paul would fall over dead) and that it could happen any time! That's the idea inherent in the verb "looking." It's an attitude of expectancy and pictures one whose mind is continually turning to the future while enduring the present evil age around them. A characteristic mark of the genuine believer is that of habitual expectation of the "parousia" (of Christ & of the Day of God) and which produces a powerful motive to holiness and godliness.

Fanny Crosby (who ironically was physically blind!) caught the "vision" of expectant living in this stanza from Blessed Assurance --

"Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in his love."
(Play hymn)

Read that third line again and ponder how the various actions and attitudes are interrelated. If a blind saint can have this Godward "eyesight", how much more should those of us who can see the majestic mountains, the glorious sunsets, the countless stars, etc?

Study and be motivated by the following "real life" examples of Godward, godly "looking" --

  • Jacob as he prepares to die (Ge 49:18)
  • Job - blameless, upright, fearing the LORD, turning away from evil (Job14:14)
  • Isaiah, the prophet (Isa 8:17)
  • Micah, the prophet (Mic 7:7)
  • Simeon, righteous and devout (Lk 2:25)
  • Anna the prophetess (Lk 2:38)
  • Joseph of Arimathea (Mk 15:43)

The present tense of prosdokao calls for this to be a continual expectant looking -- the habit of our lives should be to keep "looking up for our redemption draweth night". Are you eagerly awaiting the day of the Lord, but even more importantly are you living like it could be today?

Godward looking…
motivates godly living

Instead of living in fear of the future and fear of judgment and fear of the day of the Lord, you live in holy eagerness, you live with that 1Cor 16:22 word Maranatha on your lips, come, Lord, living constantly in desirous expectation.

J. Vernon McGee adds

Today we see a lot of careless, slipshod living, but also a great emphasis on prophecy. (Ed note: consider the "Left Behind" Series popularized in 2000-2003) I hear people say, “Oh, I’m waiting for the Lord to come!” Brother, my question is not whether you are looking for the Lord to come, but how are you living down here? How you live down here determines whether or not you are really looking for the Lord to come.

The purpose of prophetic truth is not speculation but motivation! It is unfortunate when people run from one prophetic conference to another, filling their notebooks, marking their Bibles, drawing their charts, and yet not living their lives to the glory of God. In fact, some of the saints battle each other more over prophetic interpretation than perhaps any other subject. Beloved, things ought not to be this way.

AND HASTENING: ka speudontas (PAP):

Hastening (4692) (speudo) can have two meanings, both possible within the context. One meaning conveys the idea of doing something hurriedly and of causing something to happen or come into being by exercising special effort (i.e., hastening).

The other meaning is that of earnestly desiring which would make good sense in the context and which is certainly easier to explain then the first meaning. If Peter intends the former meaning, then it appears he is urging his readers to be God's instruments in furthering the divine purpose. What this specifically means is the subject of considerable speculation, but suffice it to say that it seem reasonable to say that it calls for holy lives that open the door for holy lips in evangelism and intercession.

Hastening can mean eagerly desiring that something will happen.

  • looking for and earnestly desiring (ASV)
  • expecting and earnestly longing for the coming of the day of God (Phillips)
  • wait and earnestly long for (Amplified)
  • looking for and truly desiring (BBE)
  • look forward to the day of God and eagerly wait for it to come (GWT 0
  • wait for the day of God and look forward to its coming (Int'l Children's Bible)

Christians are not to fear the future day of God, but eagerly hope for it.

One of the greatest motives for holy conduct and godliness is


John Piper adds this thought:

We don't hasten the Day in an absolute sense because Acts 1:7 teaches that the Father has fixed the times and seasons by his own authority and Jesus said in Mk 13:22 that the Father knows the hour of the Son's return. But from our vantage point we can hasten the Day by fulfilling the pre-conditions of Christ's return, namely the preaching of the gospel to all the nations (Mk. 13:10) and the repentance of the full number of the Gentiles who must come in before the end (Ro 11:25-note). Evidently Peter believes that lives of holiness and godliness will indeed fulfill these conditions and hasten the Day of God.

Lenski offers a word about trying to understand 'hastening:

We need not labor the sense by taking speudo in the sense of "hasten", speed up the coming of the day of the Lord so that it will come sooner than it would otherwise come… This verb is widely used in the sense of "to be eager", which fits perfectly here as the intensifying synonym of "expecting".

THE COMING OF THE DAY OF GOD: ten parousia tes tou theou hemeras:

Coming (3952) (parousia) (Click study of parousia) means not just the coming but conveys more of a sense of the presence of this glorious day.

In 2 Peter 1:16 (note) parousia refers to the "power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".

Here the definite article in the Greek which defines this coming… day as a very specific day for which the saints have been longing for now over 4000 years and we enter in to the eternal bliss of Christ's Millennium kingdom followed by the new heavens and new earth and the presence of God.

In your study of parousia note that this term refers to more than a single day because the NT uses also emphasize a personal bodily presence of Jesus Christ. Parousia then is not the presence of an event or of a place but the presence of a Person.

Day of God - As discussed in the notes on the preceding page (click for summary chart "Three Divine Days in the End Times") the “Day of the Lord” is not the same as the “day of God”, which refers to the eternal state, immediately preceded in God's timetable by the purging of the old heavens and earth and the appearance of new heavens and earth. Paul taught that after Christ had defeated the last enemy death, He would deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1Co 15:24, 25, 26, 27, 28) which would be the eternal kingdom described (Revelation 21-22).

When the day of God comes, man’s “day” will be over. The corrupting of the universe by man and Satan will have been terminated and judged, finally and forever. To reiterate the day of God refers to the eternal state which follows the final phase of the Day of the Lord when the heavens and earth will be destroyed. The day of God is the Day of God's complete and final triumph and for this reason it is a day we should wait for and earnestly desire.

Will you meet me in the Homeland,
Shall we both reach Heav’n at last,
When the training days are ended,
And life’s journeys all are past?

He has promised soon to take me
Where the King shall fill my gaze,
Will your voice with mine be blended
In that perfect hymn of praise?


The heavens (3772) (ouranos) means sky and by extension heaven, the over-arching, all-embracing heaven beneath which is the earth and all that is therein.

Will be destroyed (3089) (luo - see above) and means to loose that which is bound and so to set free and is the present context to be dissolved.

Burning (4448) (puroo from púr = fire) means to be ignited or set on fire, to be kindled, to burn, flame set on fire.

MacArthur comments on the nature of the destruction:

Please note this, the day of the Lord is not the result of any natural process. It is not the result of any natural calamity. It is not the result of some nations using nuclear weapons. It is not the result of any man or any natural event or natural cataclysm. It is a divine judgment by Almighty God through the power of Christ to whom He has committed the judgment. It is the work of God… When God's day arrives the final destruction has taken place. Man's day is over. That's why it's the day of God. It's not man's day anymore. His corruption of the universe and that of fallen angels is finally judged.

AND THE ELEMENTS WILL MELT WITH INTENSE HEAT: ka stoicheia kausoumena (PPPNPN) teketai (3SPPI):

Elements (4747) (stoicheion from stoicheo = march in rank from stoíchos = row) describes something orderly in arrangement as for example one of a row and hence a component or element. In most of its uses, it denotes an elementary or fundamental principle in a subject or discipline. It refers to the first principles of something.

Stoicheion (“elements”) refers to the basic building blocks of matter, such as atomic and subatomic particles.

A stoicheion was originally a line of things as for example a line of soldiers, but came to refer to the ABC's, and then to any elementary knowledge. Stoicheion also refers to any first thing from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise. It originally denoted the line (rank) of elements and hence, the basic order of a structure.  Stoicheia (plural, "elements") therefore can refer to the basic constituents (make up) of the cosmic and human order.

In other words, stoicheion refers to the basic components of something, the basic unit of which a series is composed. It can refer to the things that constitute the foundation of learning, i.e., the fundamental principles. For example, in grammar, stoicheion would be the ABCs. In speech, stoicheion would be the basic sounds. In geometry stoicheion would be the axioms. In mathematics it would be a basic unit such as a point or a line. In language theory stoicheion would be the individual constituent parts of a syllable or word, its “smallest constituent parts,” while in music it would be the individual tone. In the NT, stoicheion is used as a religious technical term describing the elementary doctrines, the fundamental teachings or the basic principles of the religion, whether it be Judaism, asceticism, paganism, etc (see below).

In some instances stoicheion represents the supernatural powers or forces regarded as having control over the events of this world. Some commentators apply this meaning to the interpretation of the passages in Colossians 2 and Galatians 4 (see below).

Thayer writes that stoicheion is derived "from stoichos = a row, rank, series; hence, properly, that which belongs to any stoichos, that of which a stoichos is composed; hence "any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise; an element, first principle"… the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline; e. g. of mathematics"

Vincent writes that "stoicheion is derived from stoichos, 'a row,' this term means 'one of a row or series;' hence, a component or element. The name for the letters of the alphabet, as being set in rows.  Applied to the four elements – fire, air, earth, water; and in later times to the planets and signs of the zodiac.  It is used in an ethical sense in other passages; as in Gal 4:3, 'elements or rudiments of the world.'  Also of elementary teaching, such as the law, which was fitted for an earlier stage in the world's history; and of the first principles of religious knowledge among men.  In Col 2:8, of formal ordinances.  Compare Heb 5:12.  The kindred verb stoichéō 'to walk,' carries the idea of 'keeping in line'."

Abbot-Smith, "stoicheion) properly means, one of a row (stoichos) or series" referring to "the elements or rudiments of knowledge (so Aristotle, etc.) or the material elements of the universe (so Plato; LXX) and finally the demons or tutelary spirits of nature (Enoch., Test. Sol., al.)."

The kindred verb stoicheo, to walk, carries the idea of keeping in line, to keep in step, to walk orderly and then to conform to virtue and piety. (cf "keep in step [stoicheo] with the Spirit" Gal 5:25-note).

Stoicheion is always plural and means the basic parts, the rudiments, or the components of something.

Among the ancient Greek philosophers, stoicheion designated the basic and essential elements of the universe, including the four elements of the world -- earth, water, air, and fire. In other words, stoicheion refers to basic elements from which everything in the world is made and of which it is composed. Peter's use in 2Pe 3:10, 12 conveys this specific meaning. Later stoicheion was also used to refer to the planets (heavenly bodies) and the signs of the zodiac ("the 12 stoicheia of the heavens ").

Stoicheion - 7 times in 7 verses in the NAS (Gal 4:3, 9; Col 2:8, 20; Heb 5:12; 2 Pet 3:10, 12) and is translated: elemental things, 2; elementary, 1; elementary principles, 2; elements, 2; principles, 1.

Stoicheion is used as a reference to the basic elements or rituals of human religion in Galatians 4:3, 9, Paul writing…

Gal 4:3: So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. (Comment: Here stoicheion refers to the elemental practices of Judaism)

Gal 4:9: But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? (Comment: Among the weak and worthless elemental things to which some of the Galatians were returning was the ritualistic observance of days and months and seasons and years)

In Colossians Paul uses stoicheion in his warning to the saints to

Colossians 2:8 See to it (present imperative) that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles (stoicheion) of the world, rather than according to Christ. (see note Colossians 2:8) (Comment: In this context the "elementary principles" probably refers to various Jewish rituals, ceremonies, and ordinances by which men hoped to obtain God’s favor)

Colossians 2:20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (see note Colossians 2:20-23) (Comment: Paul is saying that if the Colossian saints adopt the practices of asceticism [practice of strict self-denial as a spiritual discipline] they are practicing a worldly system of religion, based on elementary principles)

The writer of Hebrews chides his readers declaring that…

by this time you ought (a strong word which conveys the sense that this is your duty or obligation) to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles (stoicheion) of the oracles of God (a striking synonym for the Scriptures), and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (see note Hebrews 5:12) (Comment: In this context stoicheion refers to the first or basic principles of Christian doctrine, the "ABC's" so to speak. It denotes what an initiate or observer encounters first.)

Here is Vine's summary of stoicheion

a, the substance of the material world, 2Peter 3:10, 12

b, the elementary principles of religion, whether Jewish, here, or Gentile, Colossians 2:8, 20, or both, Gal 4:3, 9

c, the elementary principles (the “ABC”) of the Old Testament as a revelation from God, Hebrews 5:12-note (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )

Will melt (5080) (teko) means literally that the elements are continually (present tense) being (passive voice) liquefied, and in context the present tense is used with a view to future tense fulfillment. The present tense depicts the coming event as a vivid reality (cf Isa 34:4 where the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew uses teko).

Teko does not imply the annihilation of matter but rather suggests an alteration of its form.

Intense heat (2741) (kausoo) means literally being (passive voice) continually (present tense) set on fire with fervent heat. It was a medical term describing a patient burning with fever.

2 Peter 3:13 But according to His promise we are looking for (1PPAI) new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (3SFPI) (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kainous de ouranous kai gen kainen kata to epaggelma autou prosdokomen, (1PPAI) en ois dikaiosune katoikei. (3SFPI)

Amplified: But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness (uprightness, freedom from sin, and right standing with God) is to abide. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NET: But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides. (NET Bible)

NLT: But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: but our hopes are set not on these but on the new Heaven and the new earth which he has promised us, and in which nothing but good shall live. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: But heavens new in quality and an earth new in quality according to His promise we are looking for, in which righteousness is permanently at home. 

Young's Literal: and for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise we do wait, in which righteousness doth dwell;

BUT ACCORDING TO HIS PROMISE WE ARE LOOKING FOR: kata to epaggelma autou prosdokomen (1PPAI):

Note the literal rendering emphasizes the New Heavens and New Earth

and for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise we do wait, in which righteousness doth dwell

Promise (1862) (epaggelma from epaggello = to announce that one is about to do or furnish something from epi = upon, intensifies meaning + aggelos = messenger or aggello = to tell or declare) is a declaration of intention, an announcement, or a promise to do something with implication of obligation to carry out what is stated and here represents God's Word that He will bring into being a new heavens and a new earth.

The English word promise conveys the idea of assurance such as the assurance that one will do something or that something will happen. It may be a declaration of what one will do or refrain from doing. It can also refer to a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act

The only other NT use of epaggelma (no uses in LXX) is also in Second Peter…

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (see note 2Peter 1:4) (Comment: Here epaggelma refers to the content of that which God promises)

What promise? In the Old Testament the psalmist records a prophetic promise:

Of old Thou didst found the earth and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure and all of them will wear out like a garment, like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. (Ps 102:25, 26) (Comment: The change of course speaks of the new heavens and new earth.)

Through the prophet Isaiah God promised Israel…

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing, And her people for gladness. (Isaiah 65:17-18)

Did you notice what Isaiah said? One of the great realities of eternity is you will have no memory of time. You will be consumed in the new heaven and the new earth and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

Through Isaiah God also promised Israel

For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "So your offspring and your name will endure. (Isaiah 66:22)

Paul elaborates on God's promise of renovation of this present creation writing that…

the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope (not "hope so" but an absolute assurance of future good) that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (see notes Romans 8:20; 8:21)

John writes that…

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (see note Revelation 21:1)

We are looking for - In contrast to the preceding verse, here Peter says we and so unites himself with other believers who are looking the fulfillment of our Christian hope.

Looking for (4328) (prosdokao) is used in 2Pe 3:12,13, 14. One clue to "key words" is repetition so clearly prosdokao is a key word in this section. What message do you think Peter is attempting to get indelibly into our minds? With an attitude of excitement and expectation we should wait for the Lord’s return.

Our "head knowledge" should translate to heart transformation and an ever increasing desire to conduct lives in holiness and discipline ourselves for godliness. The certainty and imminency of the Parousia of the King and of the Day of God should not be cause for spiritual elitism but for heartfelt humility for God "has told you O man what is good & what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness & to walk humbly with your God?" By the power of His Spirit motivated by these precious and magnificent promises may we all conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of our Father in heaven.

Piper notes that Peter is not saying

think what you might lose in the age to come," but, "Look what you gain

In 1899, evangelist D. L. Moody grew ill in Kansas City, canceled his engagements, and returned home to Northfield, Massachusetts. He lugged himself up to his bedroom to dress for dinner, but felt so exhausted that he took to bed. On December 22, he suddenly opened his eyes and spoke clearly: “Earth recedes! Heaven opens before me.” His son, sitting near him, suggested he was dreaming. “This is no dream, Will,” Moody replied. “It is beautiful! It is like a trance! If this is death, it is sweet! God is calling me, and I must go!” The family gathered around. “This is my triumph!” said Moody. “This is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years.” His face suddenly lit up. “Dwight! Irene! I see the children’s faces!” His funeral was conducted at 10 a.m. on December 26, 1899, by C. I. Scofield, and he was laid to rest atop Northfield’s Mount Hermon.

NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH IN WHICH RIGHTEOUSNESS DWELLS: kainous de ouranous kai gen kainen en ois dikaiosune katoikei (3SFPI):


New (2537) (kainos) in both uses in this verse does not refer to new in terms of time but new in the sense that it brings into the world a new quality of thing which did not exist before. The heavens and earth will be of a new kind and heretofore unprecedented, and as Trench says will be "fresh" as contrasted to the old heavens and earth which were "outworn, the effete or marred through age."

The old universe has been corrupted by sin which permeates it with its destructive effects, this effect extending to all of nature, animate and inanimate and even to the heavens and the heavenly bodies therein. All shall become new for on that day fire shall make them new. The new shall be fresh and glorious, with no trace of the stigmata wrought by the ravages of sin upon the old. Hallelujah! Since every trace of unrighteousness is forever purged by fire, Peter notes that a new moral order will reign, for then "Righteousness" will dwell in the land.

Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune) is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It means the new world order will have a rightness about it and will be be as it should be, holy and upright, in accordance with God’s standard.

Righteousness conforms to a standard or norm which is itself in keeping with what God is in His holy character. Jeremiah prophesies of the Messiah, the Righteous One, saying that Jehovah

shall raise up for David a Righteous Branch and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely and this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our Righteousness." (Jeremiah 23:5, 23:6)


with righteousness He will judge the poor & decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth (Isaiah 11:4-note)

The present heavens and earth, as beautiful as they are, are under the divine curse placed upon them because of Adam’s sin, the one to whom God declared "Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life." (Ge 3:17) The new heavens and earth, new in quality, free from any curse, will surely be beautiful beyond the wildest expectation of man.

Dwells (present tense = continually! Hallelujah!)(2730) (katoikeo from kata which intensifies the meaning of the verb oikeo = dwell, reside in, inhabit as one's abode from oikos = a house) means literally to settle down (be at home, dwell) in a place so to take up permanent abode or residence.

Barth writes that katoikeo denotes permanent habitation as opposed to sojourning or an occasional visit. And thus katoikeo means to dwell in a more permanent sense than paroikeo which means to dwell in a temporary sense (synonymous with sojourn = to stay as a temporary resident - used of strangers who have no rights of citizenship and no settled home - e.g., Abraham by faith "lived {paroikeo} as an alien in the land of promise as in a foreign land, dwelling {katoikeo} in tents" see note Hebrews 11:9-note).

Katoikeo is also used figuratively in the NT to describe Paul's prayer for God's Spirit to give inner strengthening to believers…

so that Christ may dwell (katoikeo) in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love… (see note Ephesians 3:17)

Here in 2Peter katoikeo is used in the figurative sense (see more discussion below) of righteousness taking up residence on the new heavens and new earth!

In Acts we read that…

the Most High does not dwell (katoikeo) in houses made by human hands; as the prophet (see Isa 66:1) says (Acts 7:48)

In Colossians Paul emphasizes the unquestioned deity of Christ as the God-Man writing that…

it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell (katoikeo - permanent abode) in Him (see note Colossians 1:19)

For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells (katoikeo) in bodily form (see note Colossians 2:9)

Katoikeo is used 44 times in 40 NT verses

Matt. 2:23; 4:13; 12:45; 23:21; Lk. 11:26; 13:4; Acts 1:19-20; 2:5, 9, 14; 4:16; 7:2, 4 (2x), Acts 7:48; 9:22, 32, 35; 11:29; 13:27; 17:24, 26; 19:10, 17; 22:12; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:19; 2:9; Heb. 11:9; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 2:13 (2x); Rev 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10 (2x); Rev 13:8, 12, 14 (2x); 17:2, 8

There are over 485 uses of katoikeo in the Septuagint (LXX) which will not be listed here to preserve space. It is however interesting to note that the second use in the OT is somewhat similar to the last uses in Revelation (see "earth dwellers" below)…

And it came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled (Lxx = katoikeo) there. (Genesis 11:2) (Comment: It was here at Babel that men rebelled against God's will, which is the same place they will rebel in the Revelation! Some things really don't change much!)

Katoikeo is translated as follows in the NAS: dwell(17), dwelling(1), dwells(3), dwells within(1), live(7), lived(7), living(4),resided(1), residents(1), settled(2).

Note that there are 13 uses of katoikeo in Revelation, most describing unbelievers who are "earth dwellers" (this is as good as it will ever get for them!) which are warned in Revelation 8…

And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell (present tense) on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" (see note Revelation 8:13)

John sums up the belief and fate of these earth dwellers writing…

The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go to destruction. And those who dwell (present tense) on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. (See note Revelation 17:8) (Comment: Clearly these are those who refuse the Gospel and whose names are not written in the book of life.)

Understanding the meaning of katoikeo helps us envision the glorious picture Peter is painting of a righteousness that is no longer a "sojourner, wanderer or guest", but is a "permanent, safe and secure resident" in our new eternal home. In that glorious new day there will no longer be those among us who wantonly violate or rebelliously oppose God's standards of what is right. All entering this "brave new world" (in marked contrast to the counterfeit "Brave New World" of Aldous Huxley) will be in perfect agreement with God's sovereign will and rule. Prophetic revelation assures every believer that God's program for mankind will not only lead to a cataclysmic judgment and radical extirpation of evil but will just as surely culminate in His eternal reign in righteousness. And all God's people cry "Thanks be to God for His glorious redemption!"

In the final analysis, Righteousness is a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ (1Co 1:30), Who will take up His rightful position of permanent residence and rule over and among His "special, peculiar people", those redeemed from every lawless deed and every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

John elaborates on this promised divine utopia explaining that

the tabernacle of God is among men and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them… and He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said "Write, for these words are faithful and true. (see notes Revelation 21:1; 21:2; 21:3;21:4;21:5)

Let's summarize the end time sequence of events, recognizing that not everyone will agree because they don't accept a literal interpretation of Scripture as the most normal, natural and accurate and the big point of disagreement is the 1000 year reign which spiritualized or interpreted figuratively by many.

So to recap the events:

  1. First, the Lord Jesus comes to Rapture His church out,
  2. Then comes phase one so to speak of this extended time period called the day of the Lord, which is initiated by the Great Tribulation.
  3. In the last three and one-half years of the 7 year period described by Daniel.
  4. Then saints come back to earth at the end of the Great Tribulation and reign with Christ for one thousand years in glorified bodies.
  5. At the end of that time Satan is unleashed and leads one final rebellion which is in a sense the second phase of the Day of the Lord, separated from the first phase by 1000 years. (See Millennium 2 - events leading up to the Millennium)
  6. At this time Satan is defeated and God destroys the universe and usher the redeemed of the Lord into the day of God and the new heavens and earth.

That's what we have been redeemed for and that great event is what we should be eagerly anticipating so that we live with expectation. Remember that "the best is yet to come"!

Seeing that saints have such a glorious future, is it any wonder Peter exhorts us to expectant living. O, weary pilgrim, have the embers of your first love grown cold? Drink deeply of Peter's exhortations and the Spirit will renew your mind and restore your passion for His kingdom and His glory.