2 Peter 1:19-21

2 Peter 1:19-21

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

April 3, 2014

                                                              

1.      The prophet Isaiah wrote this amazing statement: “All flesh is [like] grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field ... The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” [Isa.40:6,8]

2.      In this session we are going to focus on a passage of Scripture that has much to say to us about God’s Word--2 Peter 1:19-21.  2 Peter 1 contains a detailed, systematic description of the Christian life.  We have seen from this chapter that the Christian life is a life of—

--equal standing before God (v.1)

--knowing God in personal, intimate way (v.2)

--sharing in the power of God (v.3)

--being recipients of the precious and magnificent promises of God (v.4)

--growing and maturing in our walk with God (vv.5-9)

--persevering in the faith (vv.10-11)

--rooted in history (vv.12-18)

And the final thing this chapter tells us about the life to which God calls us is that it is a life focused on God’s Word...look at 2 Peter 1:19-21...(text)


3.      While there is some debate among Bible scholars about this, I believe it is legitimate to interpret the phrase “prophetic word” as a reference to the entire Scripture, to God’s Word...in Peter’s day that would have meant essentially what we call the Old Testament...to us though, it means the entire Bible...this is one of the great statements in the Bible about the Bible...if look carefully at the text will see that it tells us three significant things about the Bible and it gives us two specific instructions concerning the Bible...

 

THREE THINGS ABOUT THE BIBLE

 

I.       The Bible is “sure”

1.      In our last session we looked in some depth at that phrase in first part of v.16 which says, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales...”...saw that means our faith is not built on myths, fables, made-up stories...now in contrast to v.16, Peter says in v.19, “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure...”...or as some translators put it, “And we have the even surer prophetic word...”...saying instead of a faith built on the dubious foundation of “cleverly devised tales” our faith is built on the sure foundation of the Word of God...

2.      Word translated “sure” is interesting word...was used in 1st century to refer to the certainty, the reliability of a promise or an agreement...saying you can trust what the Scripture says...can rely on it...can safely assume the truth of it...

3.      Recently had problem with my computer...called technical support help line for my computer manufacturer and, to my surprise, got a very nice young man on line who immediately diagnosed the problem...with great confidence and certainty he told me what to do to solve the problem...he sounded so sure of himself, I didn’t even think of not doing what he said...followed his instructions and the problem was fixed...

4.      That’s how the Bible is...it is “sure” in the sense of being trustworthy, reliable...can count on it...

 

II.  The Bible points us to Jesus

1.      Notice that at in v.19 Peter speaks of the Bible lighting our way to the “morning star”...that is a familiar biblical metaphor for Jesus...

--in the OT the coming of the Messiah is predicted with this phrase in Numbers 24:17 - “A star shall come forth from Jacob...”

--in Revelation 22:16 Jesus described Himself as “the bright morning star.”

2.      In v.19 Peter speaks of the “prophetic word” (that is, the Bible) leading us, directing us to “the morning star” (that is, Jesus)...something very important in that want you to see...we don’t worship the Bible, we worship the One to Whom the Bible points us...that’s important...mark that down...we don’t worship the Bible, we worship the One to Whom the Bible points us...


3.      When you walk into a dark room and turn on the light, you don’t stand there staring at the light (at least I hope you don’t!)...you look at the things which the light illuminates...and when we pick up the Bible, we don’t worship the book...we are to allow the book to point us to Jesus, the full, perfect, complete revelation of God...

 

III.  The Bible is from God

1.      Look at v.21...tells us the Bible came into being because “...men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”...the word translated “moved” in that phrase was used to describe the process of wind filling the sails of a ship and moving the ship across the water...the ship did not move in its own power, it was pushed along by the wind...

2.      In same way, the Bible was not produced by men...the Bible was not man’s idea or creation...the Bible was produced by God...it came from Him...the Apostle Paul tells us that “All Scripture is inspired (theo-pneustos = God-breathed) by God...”...

3.      When you take this book in your hand you are holding God’s Word to you...remembering reading about little girl who bought a Bible for her grandmother...wanted to write an inscription inside, but couldn’t decide what to write...so she began to look through the fly-leafs of some her father’s favorite books to see what kind of inscriptions were written to him...after doing her research, the little girl wrote in the front of the Bible she was giving her grandmother, “To Granny, with compliments of the Author.”

4.      Not a bad inscription because the Bible is from God to us...

 

TWO INSTRUCTIONS TO US CONCERNING THE BIBLE

 

I.       We should pay attention to God’s Word

1.      Look at the instruction in the middle part of v.19...Peter tells us we would “do well to pay attention” to the Word of God...to “pay attention” to God’s Word means to take it seriously, to do what it says, to apply its teaching to our lives...

2.      The reason we should do that is because God’s Word points us in the right direction...it illumines the way...it is like “a lamp shining in a dark place”...this is reminiscent of Psalm 119:105 which says, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”

3.      Just as a light does nothing to dispel the darkness unless it is turned on, the Word of God does nothing to give direction to our lives unless we read it and heed it...doesn’t matter how many Bibles you own...doesn’t matter how high your view of the Bible is...doesn’t matter how much you praise the Bible...if you don’t read it...if you don’t study it...if you don’t apply it to your life...in other words, if you don’t “pay attention” to it, then God’s Word is not serving its intended purpose in your life...

4.      I’m afraid we are much better at praising the Bible and talking about the Bible than we are at “paying attention” to the Bible in the sense of doing what the Bible tells us to do...


 

II.  We are to take care in interpreting the Bible

  1. V.20 is very difficult grammatically...while there are several ways the verse can be translated, I think it is best to view the verse as a warning concerning biblical interpretation...it is important to understand that Peter is not prohibiting the private study of Scripture...some religious groups have taught that only “spiritual leaders” may interpret the Bible and they use this verse as a proof-text for that thinking...but that is not at all what Peter is saying here...

  2. It is important to read v.20 in light of the historical context which Peter was addressing in this letter...as we’ll see in the next chapter, Peter was greatly concerned about false teachers who had penetrated the church... they were teaching things which were not true and they were even denying Jesus...and to make matters even worse, they were using the Scripture to justify their heresy...and they were doing that by taking Scripture out of context and twisting its meaning to suit their personal agendas...

  3. The word translated “one’s own” in the phrase “...one’s own interpretation” can also be translated “it’s own”...that is, “...no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of its own interpretation...”...in other words, Peter is saying you must interpret Scripture within the context of other Scripture...

  4. You can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to say if you jerk statements out of their context...that is exactly what the false teachers were doing...and that is exactly what many cults do in our day to lead people astray...as one person put it, “Isolated texts, apart from context, become pretexts.”

  5. V.20 warns us that we have a responsibility to handle the word of God faithfully and to interpret it responsibly...

                                                 CONCLUSION

  1. “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever..”...want you to hear something I came across in my study this week:

“Men die, but the Word lives.  Experiences fade, but the Word remains. The world grows darker, but the prophetic light shines brighter.  The believer who builds his life on the Word of God ... is not likely to be led astray by false teachers.  He will be taught by the Spirit and grounded on the sure Word of God.” [Wiersbe, p.35]

 

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