2 Peter 3:8-10 One Day Is As A Thousand Years

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. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[b] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed

One Day Is As A Thousand Years

We have a limited perspective as humans and none of us should forget that.  We live, at most, to just over 100 years old.  Some of my friends are already gone.  Our view of history is skewed.  The God who is outside of time can see all things at once in ways that we can not.  He created time, and I guess that means he created history.  He will know when it comes to an end and he will take his own sweet time about it.  He has patience with people.  He wants to save them.  He has given a way that will lead people back to himself.

I take a diversion here because of the challenge to my Calvinist perspective.  If God knows who will be saved and predestines them, how can it say that he is waiting so that more people would reach repentance?  Doesn’t imply he is waiting for them to choose repentance rather than choosing them?  I would say that he is waiting for the lect who are not yet saved, but I do acknowledge that the text can be used by Arminians as a seeming support to their case.

Also, the fact that this earth is destroyed clarifies my thoughts about renewal.  I have heard some say that the earth is renewed rather than destroyed and built again.  I am confused on the issue.  It does seem like ‘dissolved’ is a synonym for ‘destroyed’.  However, I could see how something can be refined by being burned up and then dissolved may describe a process by which it is reconstituted.  At what level is it important for us to understand these details?  Probably not too important.  The thrust is that justice will be done on the earth and the creation and its inhabitants will be exposed.

Exposed.  I am afraid of involuntary exposure.  We all have things that we are ashamed of.  It is good to confess sin and process it voluntarily in this life.  However, it requires places of safety and security.  Are we willing to provide those places of healing and disclosure before terrible judgment reveals all things at the end of the age.


You could come back today.  I do not live with a constant expectation, but as I grow older it becomes more sustainable.  I am not afraid of your coming.  I wish that all this world would end, and that your own would be with you.  Now I see you in ways that are incomplete and unsustained.  I want to be constantly aware of your presence and to live with a giddy expectation of your return.


  1. Why does Peter explain that one day is as a thousand years?
  2. Why would some have thought God was slow?
  3. Isn’t it negative to live in constant expectation of judgment?
  4. How do you feel about the passage of time in general?
  5. Why might you need to be reminded of the scale of God’s plan in history?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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4 Responses to 2 Peter 3:8-10 One Day Is As A Thousand Years

  1. Christina Zezulak says:

    Peter says that one day in God’s day is a thousand years in ours to show how “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you.” Just because He was not coming as soon as they expected does not mean He failed to keep His promise. Living in the constant expectation of judgement allows us to be accountable to all that we say and do during our God-given moments on earth. I would not label it as negative but more as accountability. It’s so important to keep a grander picture of God’s plan in history because it is so easy for me to focus on the minute details of the day and years. My life is ultimately a vapor in time in comparison to human history, and there is nothing more important I can do but point people to Jesus.

  2. Eric Wildermuth says:

    The Lord is not slow as we think. It has been nearly 2,000 years since Jesus said that He would return quickly, this has caused many to try to postulate a date for Christ’s return. They have obviously been wrong. However, it can cause one, myself included, what God’s idea of “quickly” is. Peter addresses this concern and informs his readers that God’s timing is different than ours. Although He works in time with us, He is not bound or constrained by it–it is His creature like everything else He has made.
    I need to be reminded of the scale of God’s plan to remember that I am not the center of it. It is not for my circumstances that God has decided when to return. It is for the sake of the Elect–waiting for those whom He has chosen to live and come to Him. I need to be reminded constantly of this.
    Like when I was a child and did not want to eat a meal my parents had prepared and would pray for the rapture to take place–I thought that God’s plan should revolve around my dislike of stromboli and peas (separate meals, same prayer).

  3. 33324bg says:

    It does seem pretty stupid to think we know better than God, in light of the fact that He created time and has always existed forever and ever. We can’t even use our excuse that He doesn’t understand us, or doesn’t know what it’s really like- since, besides being our Creator and Sustainer, He came down Himself and took on human flesh. We don’t have any excuse- God does know how we feel, He even did know sin and was an enemy of righteousness and holiness and all purity- once, though now and forever no longer. Remembering that He’s infinite, surpassing in greatness helps me to “not be like the horse and mule” (Psalm 32:8-9), in stubbornness and persistence in my way. I can submit to His guidance and counsel, since He’s you know, all-wise and He does love me with an everlasting love. Thinking this way further guards me against sin; I can be content and joyful where I am. Sin’s lies that I “need this now” or that “this would be a really good idea” fall short when I remember God’s supremacy in everything and His goodness and compassion.

  4. kevin w. says:

    Since Einstein we have come to understand time as not a concept, but as something bound to space and matter. In other words, it is an actual thing which was created and is sustained by God. This means, by necessity, that God transcends time even though He interacts within time. While Peter probably did not understand time in the way we understand it today, the basic point remains that God does not see time the way we do. Slowness is a relative term. Waiting a year for a 5 year old seems much longer a time than for a 50 year old. Relative to God, there is no “slow” with reference to His actions. They are in line with His character. I love this passage because it gives us a glimpse into why God seems to delay: His abundant love and compassion, waiting for the repentance of sinful creatures. The grand scale of God’s plan is beautiful and humbling. Like a monet, my small part in the big picture only takes on its true meaning and comprehension when standing back. Up close and un-reminded, I am left seeing my situations as incomprehensible and frustratingly fuzzy blotches in life.

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