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2 Peter 3:16 - Exposition

As also in all his Epistles. The true reading is probably ἐν πάσαις ἐπιστολαῖς without the article. The words, therefore, do not imply the existence of a complete collection of St. Paul's Epistles, but mean only "in all Epistles which he writes." Speaking in them of these things; that is, of the day of God, the end of the world, etc. St. Peter was acquainted with other Epistles of St. Paul besides those addressed to the Asiatic Churches. There are evident indications of his knowledge of the Epistles to the Thessalonians and Corinthians, as well as of that to the Romans. In which are some things hard to be understood. The manuscripts vary between ἐν οἷς and ἐν αἷς . The first reading would refer to the words immediately preceding—"these things;" "among the subjects on which St. Paul wrote there are some things," etc. The second would refer to "all his Epistles," and would mean that there are certain difficulties in St. Paul's Epistles generally. St. Peter does not tell us what difficulties were in his thoughts—whether St. Paul's teaching about "the man of sin," and "the day of the Lord," or his doctrine of justification by faith, and his assertion of Christian liberty, which might be perverted into anti-nomianism by such men as the false teachers censured in Romans 2:1-29 . The word δυσνόητος , "hard to be understood," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest; rather, the ignorant and unsteadfast. Both words are peculiar to this Epistle; the last occurs also in 2 Peter 2:14 , the first here only in the New Testament. The verb also translated "wrest" ( στρεβλοῦσιν ) is found only here; it means "to twist with a windlass," and so "to strain, to torture, to distort." As they do also the other Scriptures. This passage is of the greatest interest, as showing that some of St. Paul's Epistles had by this time taken their place in the estimate of Christians by the side of the sacred books of the Old Testament, and were regarded as Holy Scripture. By "the other Scriptures" St. Peter means the Old Testament, and also, perhaps, some of the earlier writings of the New, as the first three Gospels and the Epistle of St. James. St. Paul, in 1 Timothy 5:18 , quotes a passage which seems to come from Luke 10:7 as Scripture. Unto their own destruction; literally, their own destruction of themselves. The use of both adjective and pronoun intensifies the meaning (comp. Luke 2:1 , Luke 2:12 ).

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