My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Saturday, January 19, 2008

2 Peter 3

By soon, he meant, whenever

Summary:
This is my second letter to remind you. Remember that people will mock you, thinking that the end will not come. They have forgotten how powerful God is. Maybe we expected the end by now, but remember that God sees time differently, and he wants all people to be saved. The Day will come unexpectedly though.

So live a holy life! A new heaven and a new earth is coming! Be patient as Paul has said. Understand his words well, and don't distort them. Watch out!

Key verse:
9. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

My thoughts:
I have to admit that the excuses for the end not coming and the reference to Paul as scripture both support a late date for this letter, but they do not preclude an early date either. It would change our view of the church in the 60s somewhat, but I'm not so arrogant to think that humanity had that clear a grasp on what the 60s church was like anyway. We have opinions, but we mostly just don't know.

Anyway, we are here 2000 ish years later and the end has still not come, and 2 Peter provides us a scriptural basis on how Jesus' return has always been 'soon' but still hasn't happened yet. Basically it goes on the idea that God's timing works differently, and that it'll come when we least expect it. That's fair enough for me!

Paul's letters seem to be a growth-inducing agar plate for heresy in the early church. Paul spoke so much on so many new and controversial ideas, and was so determined in his views, that some had distorted his writings into very unChristian things, and Peter is warning against these. Admittedly these probably make the most sense in terms of someone like the second-century Marcion, but it is not impossible that some of Paul's letters had begun to be distributed and distort by the end of Peter's life. It isn't impossible that they had become so well read amongst the small amount of early Christians that it wasn't ridiculous to refer to the old testament as 'other Scriptures'. Early Judaism seemed, to me, to have quite a liberal approach to accepting writings as scripture of some sort. Anything would be considered scripture by some! Even Wikipedia!

As the freaky table in Nelson Cathedral says, be prepared...

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