Contend Earnestly: 2 Peter 3:9 - Defining "any"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

2 Peter 3:9 - Defining "any"

I just finished reading a book by Richard Belcher called "A Journey in Grace," a theological novel on the doctrines of Grace. Check out my book review by clicking on title and scrolling down a little...anyways...always have had a tough time with 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Knowing if I could just understand who the "any" was then I could understand who the "you" was referring to being that the "any" obviously points to the same people referred to by the "you" and the "all" toward the end of the verse. The first time I read the verse as a young Christian I naturally came out thinking that God kind of keeps Christ from coming again HOPING that some more sinners would choose Him.

Questions that naturally came to me was, "When would God say 'enough is enough'"and send Christ back for His return" and "why," "What would cause God to say 'enough is enough'" Did His patience run out? Does He really "wish" like we think of it? Meaning does He sit up in heaven just pacing back and forth hoping myself or others will eventually choose Him? I couldn't see that either.

After all these questions and some study before, that really never answered my question on who the "any" were (if I could definitely answer this all the other questions mentioned earlier would be answered), I found an answer in this book that quenched my thirst for an answer.

The "any" in this verse is plural in the Greek which can mean "certain ones," "certain men" or "one." Here is the clincher to understand what the word really means, thanks to the good ole Englishman's Concordance. Look at what Matthew 12:38...

Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

The term "certain" is the exact same word in the Greek text for "any" used in 2 Peter 3:9, therefore the text obviously doesn't mean that God wishes that every single man and woman on this earth from eternity past, present and future would come to Him. As the text plainly shows that only a certain of the scribes and Pharisees and not all of them answered. Even better the same Greek word is even used in this very same verse! The word "some" when Peter writes saying..."as some count slowness."

You want more? Quickly...gotta go to bed...the "all" at the end of the verse can't mean every single person ever lived or who ever will, being that "all" in the Bible never emphatically means every single person and actually in the Greek it can also mean "as many as." Many references but I will give you just one...

For thou (Paul) shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen or heard

Acts 22:15

Of course Paul was not going to Christ's witness to literally every single man on the earth, so we should not take that "all" literally always means "every single human being" It is used many other times as well with the same connotation. (Mark 1:5; Matthew 10:22; John 3:26)

God is truly amazing with the inspiration of His Scriptures, clearing up once again a text hard to understand in the lame English language from just studying the original wonder He used the Greek and Hebrew instead of the simple English language that is sooooooo rad dude :)


Anonymous said...

This is a good article, Seth. You say almost exactly the same things that this video showed:

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