Saturday, August 26, 2006

August 28, 2006 Bible Study - 2 Peter 1:15-21

15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Σπουδάζω - Make every effort – To be diligent – To do your best – To be eager – To strive
Eξοδος – Exodus – Departure – Departure from life
ποιέω – To carry out

Peter is nearing the end of his life and will make every effort to make sure that the people he is addressing will be able to recall his teachings. This is during a time when false doctrines concerning Christ’s’ return are infiltrating the Church.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Σοφίζομαι - know how to contrive cleverly; make wise
μuθος – Legends – Fiction – Fable – Falsehood – Invention
γνωρίζω - To make known - “to gain a knowledge of” or “have thorough knowledge of”.
Eπόπτης - spectator, eye witness of anything

Peter told them that they did not follow cleverly devised myths, fables or stories concerning the second coming of Christ. They knew of the majesty of Christ first hand.

This word μuθος, is used by Paul when he refers to those things which we are to have nothing to do.

1 Timothy 1:3&4 - 3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

The practice of the unbelieving Jews was to embellish the Old Testament Scriptures with all kinds of fanciful developments and stories. The simple, clear word of God just is not thrilling and exciting enough for us. We want to embellish it. That is nothing new. The Jews were doing that with their Old Testament Scriptures as well. The embellishments made the stories more interesting, more appealing and more compelling, but it is something that the true believers are to avoid.

1 Timothy 4:7: 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come

Churches need to be reminded of that. We are not there to entertain with cute, silly little stories; we are there to minister the word of God. I get the idea here that Paul may have been dealing with a church that offered exercise classes instead of the study of the scriptures. Sound familiar?

The church is losing its ability to discern between myths and the truth.

2 Timothy 4:3-4: 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The people of the church will want to hear stories that men make up rather than listen to someone teach the pure word of God. Nowadays people think you need to be a good story teller in order to be a good teacher. The simplicity of the word of God no longer holds the attention of people. But as believers we are to have nothing to do with these things - myths, tales, stories, fables.

Titus 1: 13&14: 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

Here again the myths are the Jewish embellishments of the Scripture. Why are the people of God so easily turned aside from the simplicity and the purity of Christ and their devotion to His truth? They want to hear the stories, the myths, and the fables. Why is it more interesting for someone to stand up and tell stories about personal life experiences than it is to hear what the living God has to say? Paul says to reprove them severely so that they don't do these things.

17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

Peter says that they speak with an experiential knowledge of Christ. He was there and he heard the voice of God. What Peter says next is amazing.

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

βεβαίωσις – Confirmation – Verification
λόγος – Words or statements from the OT prophets, the Old Testament Scriptures.
ποιέω – Perform, give attention – Present active – You will do well to give attention and continue to do so. Do not stop giving attention to…

Peter is saying "You can have full confidence in the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for two reasons: first, because of our experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and second, because we have the prophetic word made more sure."

Peter, however, has more in mind than just accepting his personal testimony. He points his readers to the prophetic sections of the Scripture which told of the coming Messiah. The real power of the Old Testament is its ability to project the coming of Christ in such detail that there is no doubt about His Deity and Person. Peter is telling his readers that Scripture is superior to personal experience. It may well be that Peter was alluding to the entire Old Testament when he used the phrase "word of prophecy". Peter is leaving no doubt in anybody's mind that he believes in the superior authority of Scripture.

Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

In the dark you can say anything and be anybody. But when the light is turned on you are exposed to who you really are. That is what the word of God does. It is a lamp, a light in the midst of darkness.

The “World” is pictured as dark.

1 John 1:5: 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Ephesians 6:12 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

One point should be made. People have their favorite translation of the Scriptures today, and there is entirely too much argument about which is the best. This verse should be a grave warning to all those who take on the task of translation, especially those who use the pages of the Scripture Itself for their own comments; but it should serve as a warning to those who choose certain translations to prove their point of theology. Some of the modern “paraphrases” are most dangerous at this point. While they may help in understanding some of the more difficult verses, they are not faithful enough to the original language of the Bible to be used for proof texts.

Let us look at one of the passages for instance.

The King James Version of I Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

The New International Version says, “However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”--

The American Standard Version reads, “but as it is written, `Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And[ which] entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him.'”

The Revised Standard Version has it, “But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,”

Now let us look at one of the “Paraphrases”, The Living Bible. It has, for the same verse of Scripture, “That is what is meant by the Scriptures which say that no mere man has ever seen, heard or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord.”

Notice the word WONDERFUL inserted into the verse. While this may strike a chord on the heart of many of the readers, it is very inaccurate. Such a word does not appear in either the Greek New Testament or the Hebrew Old Testament passage of Isaiah 64:4, from which Paul quotes it. The reason for seeking accuracy when formulating doctrine is that, as far as this passage is concerned, God has prepared many things for his people which are hurtful and painful, but in the long run give God Glory. Every truly regenerated Child of God willingly accepts those “bad” experiences God has in store for him in order that he might either grow in God's Grace or be useful in bringing God Glory. I rest my case.

21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Φέρω - carried along - from the word φέρομαι.

Luke used this word in referring to a sailing vessel carried along by the wind (Acts 27:15, 17).

The inspiration of Scripture was given by God Himself. Peter also notes that God set aside certain men, chosen by His Sovereign Will, to speak and have set down in writing as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. We have here one of the glimpses of the ministry of God's Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. In some cases the Scripture was dictated by the Holy Spirit, as in the case of the Law given to Moses and the Prophetical books. In other cases the man spoke and wrote as he saw the need for the Word of God in a particular situation. In others it was God being in control of an historian chronicling the events of Hebrew history, as in the case of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. In every case, God was in complete control of the Record God wished to reach the people.


Peter moves from recounting his own personal experience with hearing the testimony of God to the written testimony of Scripture. In so doing he subordinates himself to the written Word and gives to It the supreme authority of God's Revelation to mankind. It is of extreme importance that we recognize this and constantly reach for, through study and prayer, the interpretation and application which God wants in each particular instance. It must be said, however, that the right interpretation will always agree, and the right application may well vary. There is only one correct interpretation, the interpretation which God has for the Scripture. Any disagreement means that either all are wrong or one is right, all varying opinions cannot possibly be correct. The application is something else altogether. The application meets the need which God wants for any given situation and may vary with the situation. It cannot be stressed too strongly that people need to be able to differentiate between that which is interpretation and that which is application, or else grave errors will be made.

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles,


Jason E. Robertson said...


Eric said...

Bill, I like the way you distinguish between interpretation and application. It's similar to the old adage that the message of the Gospel never changes, but the medium by which it's communicated can and does change to meet the varying needs of its audience.