3:3 Above all, understand this: 1 In the last days blatant scoffers 2 will come, being propelled by their own evil urges 3 3:4 and saying, 4 “Where is his promised return? 5 For ever since 6 our ancestors 7 died, 8 all things have continued as they were 9 from the beginning of creation.” 3:5 For they deliberately suppress this fact, 10 that by the word of God 11 heavens existed long ago and an earth 12 was formed out of water and by means of water. 3:6 Through these things 13 the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water. 3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 14
1 tn Grk “knowing this [to be] foremost.” Τοῦτο πρῶτον (touto prwton) constitute the object and complement of γινώσκοντες (ginwskonte"). The participle is loosely dependent on the infinitive in v. 2 (“[I want you] to recall”), perhaps in a telic sense (thus, “[I want you] to recall…[and especially] to understand this as foremost”). The following statement then would constitute the main predictions with which the author was presently concerned. An alternative is to take it imperativally: “Above all, know this.” In this instance, however, there is little semantic difference (since a telic participle and imperatival participle end up urging an action). Cf. also 2 Pet 1:20.
2 tn The Greek reads “scoffers in their scoffing” for “blatant scoffers.” The use of the cognate dative is a Semitism designed to intensify the word it is related to. The idiom is foreign to English. As a Semitism, it is further incidental evidence of the authenticity of the letter (see the note on “Simeon” in 1:1 for other evidence).
3 tn Grk “going according to their own evil urges.”
4 tn The present participle λέγοντες (legontes, “saying”) most likely indicates result. Thus, their denial of the Lord’s return is the result of their lifestyle. The connection to the false teachers of chapter 2 is thus made clear.
5 tn Grk “Where is the promise of his coming?” The genitive παρουσίας (parousia", “coming, advent, return”) is best taken as an attributed genitive (in which the head noun, promise, functions semantically as an adjective; see ExSyn 89-91).
6 tn The prepositional phrase with the relative pronoun, ἀφ᾿ ἧς (af’ |h"), is used adverbially or conjunctively without antecedent (see BDAG 727 s.v. ὅς 1.k.).
7 tn Grk “fathers.” The reference could be either to the OT patriarchs or first generation Christians. This latter meaning, however, is unattested in any other early Christian literature.
8 tn The verb κοιμάω (koimaw) literally means “sleep,” but it is often used in the Bible as a euphemism for the death of a believer.
9 tn Grk “thus,” “in the same manner.”
10 tn The Greek is difficult at this point. An alternative is “Even though they maintain this, it escapes them that…” Literally the idea seems to be: “For this escapes these [men] who wish [it to be so].”
12 tn Or “land,” “the earth.”
13 tn The antecedent is ambiguous. It could refer to the heavens, the heavens and earth, or the water and the word. If the reference is to the heavens, the author is reflecting on the Genesis account about “the floodgates of the heavens” being opened (Gen 7:11). If the reference is to the heavens and earth, he is also thinking about the cosmic upheaval that helped to produce the flood (Gen 6:11). If the reference is to the water and the word, he is indicating both the means (water) and the cause (word of God). This last interpretation is the most likely since the final nouns of v. 5 are “water” and “word of God,” making them the nearest antecedents.
14 tn Grk “the ungodly people.”