Join us as we study through 2 Peter verse by verse. Our discussion questions, teaching points, and applications can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.
2 Peter 3:10-18 Inductive Bible Study With Discussion Questions – Small Group Online Study Guide
I. Waiting for the new heavens and earth (10-13)
II. Be diligent to grow in grace (14-18)
I. Waiting for the new heavens and earth (10-13)
- What is the “day of the Lord?”
- What will it be like?
- What will happen to the heavenly bodies?
- What are “all these things” which are going to be dissolved?
- How does knowing that the earth is temporary affect how we live in it today?
- What should you do while you are waiting for these things to happen?
- Is there anything you can actually do to “hasten” the coming of the day of God?
- What do you think the end of verse 12 means? Will the universe itself be destroyed?
- What will the new heaven and earth be like? Why is a new heaven and earth necessary?
Joel 2:31 – The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
Isaiah 65:17 – For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
Isaiah 66:22 – For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.
Revelation 21:1 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
John 9:4 – While it is daytime, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
Isaiah 60:19-21 – The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.
1. The day of the Lord –
Activity – Study the following list of Bible verses about the day of the Lord. If you are studying in a group split into small groups to read and discuss the verses and answer the questions:
- What do you learn about the day of the Lord?
- What will it be like?
- What is the purpose of it?
- What are some of the things that will happen during it?
- What does this event teach us about God? About people?
Verses to discuss:
- Isaiah 24:21-22
- Zephaniah 1:14-18
- Isaiah 13:9-11
- Ezekiel 30:3-4
- Joel 3:12-14
- Amos 5:18-20
- 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
- Zephaniah 3:8
The day of the Lord refers to a still future event, when God will come and bring judgment on the the world for its extreme wickedness. In some sense now is the “day of man.” Men everywhere are doing whatever they like. Like in the time of the judges, they are doing “what is right in their own eyes.” When you ask “what do you believe in?” many people will pridefully answer, “I believe in myself.” The works of man are visible, towering into the sky. The works of God are less easily seen.
But the day of the Lord is coming. He will appear. There will be a reckoning. Jesus will come to bring judgment upon all of those who continue to rebel against Him. The Lord is always present. Every day ultimately belongs to God. But that day it will be clear and visible to all. No one will be able to deny His existence. There will be no more pretending that man is the ultimate power. God will show Himself to be.
Sometimes this day is also called the “day of wrath” (See Zephaniah 1:14-18, Romans 2:5). It is the same series of events as what the New Testament refers to as the “tribulation.”
Mark 13:19 – For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.
2. Will come like a thief – Although God warns about this event repeatedly throughout the Bible, many people will not be prepared for it. There will in fact be even more signs (Luke 21:11) that this day is drawing closer, but most people will ignore them. The wise (believers) will read this passages and know what is coming. But the world is full of fools who say in their heart that “there is no God.” No amount of signs or warnings can convince them.
Thieves do not call ahead and announce “I am coming tomorrow.” Neither will God announce the exact day that He is coming.
Imagine a homeowner who lives in an area known for crime. His neighbors warn him that he should install a lock on the door. But he doesn’t want the expense. He thinks, “Nothing happened yesterday. I will be fine.” Well, sooner or later a thief is going to come to his house. He could have listened to the warnings and prepared, but that would have been inconvenient. So he chose the easier route of doing nothing and paid the price.
In the day of the Lord, there will be many people like this. Caught unaware, they will wish that they had paid attention to the signs and prepared themselves spiritually, but it will be too late.
3. And then…- When will these things happen?
The day of the Lord comes first. And at some point after that the below description of the melting of the universe will happen. The sequence is important to take note of. For those who hold to the pre-tribulation and pre-millennial view of eschatology, would interpret the burning up of this world to happen after the conclusion of the millennium.
Thus the new heavens and the new earth are introduced as the very last step prior to the eternal state of believers, after all of the other events in Revelation happen. God will finish dealing with this earth (rapture, tribulation, millennium) and then destroy this world.
4. The heavenly bodies and the earth will be dissolved – Once before there has been a global judgment, the flood in Genesis. But the coming judgment will be universal, and it will be far worse. Simply put, the entire universe will be melted with fire, its very elements dissolved. There is speculation that it will be an atomic reaction which will disintegrate the particle building blocks of our world, atoms, neutrons, protons, and electrons. The earth will be destroyed. The heavenly bodies (stars, planets, galaxies) will be destroyed.
Revelation 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
God created the world in six days. He began it. And He will also have the last say. As easily as He started, He will end it. Take note that this will not be the end of everything. In verse thirteen we see there will be a new heavens and a new earth.
Everything we see is temporary. Your job is temporary. Money and your bank account are temporary. The most prized possessions you own will not last. The man-made seven wonders of the world will all be destroyed by fire. And the natural wonders of the world (Mt. Everest, Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, etc.) will all be melted.
Application: What does this mean for you? How should this knowledge affect how you live?
5. Live godly and holy lives while you wait – The focus of 2 Peter is on false teachers and their wicked lifestyles. In the previous passages we have seen that false teachers mock the very idea of a coming judgment saying, “where is the promise of His coming?” Denying the coming judgment gave them an excuse to revel in their sinful lifestyles while telling themselves that they could get away with it.
But here we see that a correct understanding of the coming judgment impacts real believers by encouraging us to live godly and holy lives. The logic is very simple:
- God will come to judge sin.
- Therefore I should not sin!
Note how the lives of “holiness and godliness” directly contrast with the lifestyle of the false teachers, which is described in 2 Peter 2:14-14, 19 as “reveling,” “full of adultery,” “insatiable for sin,” “hearts trained in greed,” and “slaves of corruption.”
Application: The coming judgment on the day of the Lord should motivate you to live a holy life.
6. Waiting for and hastening the coming day of God – Here we see a bit of a difference. The event referred to is called the “day of God,” and not “the day of the Lord.” Peter likely wrote it differently because believers are not focused on waiting/hastening the day of the Lord. The judgment of the world is necessary, but it is not something which really excites us or makes us look forward to it. But we do look forward to being with God face to face. We look forward to the eternal state. God’s wrath toward sin is part of the road to get to that point, but our focus and hope is on being with God, hence Peter says we are waiting for the day of God, the day when we can be with Him forever.
The word “hastening” could be confusing. Can we speed up God’s arrival? While it would be presumptuous for us to think that we can somehow cause Jesus to come back sooner, there is at least some connection between our work for Him in the world and His return.
So we should be preaching the gospel to reach the goal of proclaiming it throughout the world. And we should be praying for His return. At the same time, the word “hasten” in Greek can also have the meaning of “eagerly expect” and “look forward to.” And it may be that this what Peter has in mind here.
Application: Are you looking forward to Jesus’ return? Can you honesty say that you would hope He returns today? Consider these questions yourselves and if there is anything which causes you to hesitate then you must deal with it before the Lord. It should be our greatest desire to see Him face to face.
7. A new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells – A distinctive of the new heavens and earth is that righteousness will dwell there. The world we are in now is corrupt, polluted by sin to its very core. The new one created by God will be perfect, pure, and holy, forever untarnished by sin.
II. Be diligent to grow in grace (14-18)
- What is the “therefore” there for? How does verse 14 connect with the preceding verses?
- What does verse 14 say you should do while you are waiting?
- How is the patience of the Lord salvation (verse 15)?
- How does Peter view Paul?
- How does Peter view Paul’s writings? Why is this important?
- If a Bible passage is hard to understand, what should you do?
- How might a person lose his stability? Does this happen all at once or gradually? What are some of the gradual steps that this may take?
- What key point can we get from Peter’s conclusion in verse 18?
Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
2 Corinthians 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
2 Peter 3:8-9 – But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Proverbs 25:2 – It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Psalm 1:2 – But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
1. Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish – Peter emphasizes again his point from verses 11-12, namely that believers should be diligent to grow spiritually and serve God while they are waiting for Christ’s return.
Application: Christians are not to be lazy. When Jesus ascended after His resurrection, the angel said to the disciples “why do you stand looking into heaven?” (Acts 1:11) The implication is that they had work to do!
I once had a friend who had become a believe. His parents were very upset. They forbid him from attending Bible study or going to church. To enforce this, they would call him up at random times by video call and ask him to do a 360 degree video proving that he wasn’t in a Bible study. He then talked further to his parents and discovered that there was a Christian sect near their hometown. The so called believers in this group didn’t do any work. Instead they apparently sat around waiting for Jesus to return. Therefore my friend’s parents thought that Christians were all like this with their heads in the clouds awaiting Jesus’ return.
God calls us to be diligent for Him. And one thing we are to be diligent in, is our character. We should be growing in sanctification on a daily basis.
2. Count the patience of our Lord as salvation – In 2 Peter 3:9 we saw the connection between God’s patience and our salvation. He is patient with the whole world, giving time for people to repent and turn to Him. Beyond this, He is patient with us as individuals. If He stepped in to judge us the first time we sinned, there would have been no opportunity for us to be saved.
God’s patience means that we had an opportunity to hear and accept the gospel. It also means that other sinners in the world, like false teachers, are given ample opportunities to repent. Next time you ask yourself, “why does God allow that preacher to keep spreading lies?” remember this verse and thank God for His patience.
3. Some of Paul’s letters are hard to understand – Not all Scripture is easy to grasp. Deep and sometimes complicated doctrines are taught. And Paul’s writings can be some of the most complicated. One example of his difficult to understand teachings is found in Galatians 4:21-31, where he writes about the allegory of Hagar and Sarah.
Application: What should you do when you encounter hard to grasp passages?
We should do what Proverbs 25:2 mentions and search it out. The easy way out is to skip over ignore teachings which we can’t at first understand. But the journey of discovery is very important, not just the final destination. Spending time to research and study God’s Word is very beneficial. The process of searching out the truth will help you get closer to God.
Here is a simple application. Choose one passage you can’t understand and devote yourself to diligent study of it. Share your discoveries with someone.
4. People seek to twist the Scriptures so do not be led astray – False teachers take advantage of the flock by deceiving those who haven’t taken time to thoroughly study God’s Word. They can make clever sounding arguments. Like Satan in his temptation of Jesus, these deceivers will even use Scripture, twisting it to their own ends. If you do not make a habit of studying the Word for yourself, you are setting yourself up as a ripe target for false teaching.
The absolute best defense against false teachers is to know the truth. And you can know the truth by putting in the time to studying it.
5. Paul’s writings are part of the Scriptures – Peter calls Paul’s writings “Scriptures.” For a Jew in New Testament times, they called the Old Testament Scriptures. Scriptures were the most sacred of all writings, those writings which were inspired by God, His very message to us. By putting Paul’s writings into this category, Peter is acknowledging that Paul’s writings were inspired by God and therefore to be part of the canon.
Thus this verse is a key verse in defending the belief that all of the Bible (New and Old Testament is canon inspired by God.)
2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All Scripture is inspired by God.” This includes Paul’s writings. From an apologetic standpoint, Peter’s or Paul’s claim to be writing Scripture is not enough in itself to prove the fact. There are many other reasons to believe Scripture is inspired by God.
However, you would expect that if the apostles were indeed speaking for God, that they would be aware of this and would say so, and we see that in such verses as this they do.
6. Grow in grace and knowledge – Peter closes with what could very well sum up the entire letter. He has been warning the believers about false teachers. Concerned that they would be led astray in their faith, he highlights the evil lifestyle and coming doom of all false teachers.
Believers must not fall into their trap. Instead they must grow in grace and knowledge. As they study God’s Word diligently, they will become more and more stable in their faith, being strengthened even more against false teaching.
All of these thoughts are connected.
- Step 1: Don’t listen to false teachers or follow their lifestyles.
- Step 2: Study God’s Word to protect yourself against their teachings.
- Step 3: As you study the Bible you will grow in grace and knowledge.
- Step 4: Growing in grace and knowledge will help prevent you from being led astray by false teachers.
Application: Share one thing you will do that you learned during the study of 2 Peter to protect yourself from false teaching.
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