1 This is now, my dearly loved ones, the second letter I am writing to you; in both of them, as a reminder, I want to stir up your sincere thoughts 2 to remember the words spoken to you in the past by the holy prophets, and what the Lord and Savior commanded you through your apostles. 3 First of all, you should understand that, in the final days, mockers with evil desires will come [to you] saying, mockingly, 4 "Why has the promise of a coming Messiah [not been fulfilled yet]? After all, since the time our ancestors died, everything has continued the same, even since the beginning of creation!" 5 But, these people intentionally forget that the heavens, which existed long ago, and the earth, which was formed out of water and by water, [were created] by the word of God. 6 [And] it was by water that the world, which existed at that time, perished in a great flood [of Noah's day]! 7 But, by means of the same word [of God], the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, awaiting the judgment and destruction [by God], along with [its] ungodly people.
8 But do not forget this one thing, my dearly loved ones, that as the Lord [counts time], one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about keeping His promise, like some people are, but is [simply] being patient with you, since He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but He wants everyone to repent [i.e., change their hearts and lives].
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief [i.e., unexpectedly]. At that time the heavens will pass away with a loud noise and the elements [Note: This refers either to the heavenly bodies or to the material components of the universe], will be dissolved with intense heat. And the earth and its works [i.e., its activities] will be burned up. [Note: Some translations render this phrase as it is in some ancient manuscripts, "will be disclosed," or "will be laid bare"]. 11 Since all these things are [certain] to be destroyed, what kind of persons should you be, [if not like those] living holy lives, and in a godly manner, 12 [while] looking forward to, and earnestly desiring the day of God to come, when the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved by fire and the elements [See verse 10] will melt with intense heat. 13 But, since God has promised it, we look forward to new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will prevail.
14 So, my dearly loved ones, while you are waiting for these things [to happen], do your best to be found at peace with God, pure and blameless in His sight. 15 And consider [that] the patience of the Lord means [further opportunities for] salvation, [just] as our dearly loved brother Paul also wrote to you, using the wisdom given to him by God. 16 He spoke about these things in all of his letters, which contain some parts that are difficult to understand. [Because of this], ignorant and unstable people twist [his writings], just as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dearly loved ones, since you know about these things ahead of time, be on your guard so that you are not led astray by the error of lawless people, and [thus] fall from your own stability [i.e., your safe or secure position in Christ]. 18 But grow in the unearned favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May He be honored both now and forever. May it be so.