Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What is your opinion about what will happen in the future? Would you describe the world of tomorrow as unknowable, bleak, or promising? Defend your opinion.
2. A popular science fiction theme is an impending “extinction event”—the looming mass destruction of humanity. Can you describe such an event from a novel or film such as When Worlds Collide, War of the Worlds, Independence Day, Terminator, or a similar work?
Read 2 Peter 3:3-7.
1. Underline word in verse 5 and each time it appears in John 1:1. Compare how word is used in each case. Comparing 2 Peter 3:3-7 and John 1:1-5, what role does God’s Word play in both the beginning and end of the world?
2. To what extinction event is Peter referring in verses 5, 6? (See Genesis 6:9—7:24.) How does this event compare to the ultimate end of the age? Could either event be foreseen or stopped? What is the cause of each?
Read 2 Peter 3:8-10.
3. Think of two people you know, one born prior to 1960 and the other born after 1990. List some things that have “always been” according to the latter (microwave ovens or personal computers, for example) but that came into being during the lifetime of the former. How does this exercise help clarify the meaning of verse 8 to you? How can we get a more eternal perspective about what the future will hold?
4. What are some implications of viewing God as a vindictive judge? As a pampering grandfather? How does Peter’s view of God differ from both of these views?
Read 2 Peter 3:11-15.
5. The idea of us being able to “hasten” or “speed up” the end of the age can be confusing. Compare verse 12 in several different translations. How does comparing translations help you understand this verse?
6. Thinking about the end of the world can be frightening. According to verse 13, why should that not be true for Jesus’ followers?
7. Twice in this section (vv. 11 and 14) Peter challenged his readers to pursue certain spiritual characteristics as they await Christ’s return. Pick one trait from Peter’s lists and explain to the group how you plan to grow in that area in the coming weeks.