2 Peter 3:1-2
Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Friday’s edition of EDiBS, and God’s grace and peace to each of you in our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s my pleasure to be with you as we come to our Bible study time today, and I praise God for His grace and mercy in drawing us to His Word together. On this last day of the week we’re opening, in brief fashion, to the third chapter of 2 Peter…a great beginning to end the week on. Thanks so much for coming along; let’s pray and go to the Scriptures.
Almighty and Gracious Father, please draw near to your people today as they draw near to your Word. We long to be made more like you – to be conformed to the image of Christ. Bless the teaching of the Scriptures to that end. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
As we get started today, we come to a transition point in Peter’s letter at the beginning of chapter 3. We’ll only be looking at two verses, but taken together they are rich in their instruction. Our focus: the purpose and power of God’s Word.
2 Peter 3:1-2
1Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
My mom makes the best burritos in the world. It’s one of those recipes that just can’t be improved on no matter what you do, and it’s also one of those recipes that, if not followed to the letter, will yield less than pleasing results. Because I love burritos and because I aspire to follow in my mother’s burrito-making footsteps, I have in my possession, written in her own hand, the sacred instructions that will lead me to burrito heaven every time. Whenever I set out to make them, that recipe sits on the counter and I refer to it often to ensure success.
In our reading today, we have before us a seemingly simple personal note on Peter’s part: his stated reason for writing not just this letter but also the one before it, and his desire that his readers continually recall the whole counsel of God through the prophets of the past as well as through the apostles. Actually, there are several things here that we really want to seize on, because through these few simple words, Peter lays down a foundational principle for our lives as followers of Christ.
Verse 1: It can be dangerous to refer to God’s Word as a document that will ensure your way to success. It’s not like my Mom’s burrito recipe. It’s not a formula that, if followed, will yield pleasing results. An attitude like that lowers our Lord Jesus from the God with whom we have a personal, saving relationship to a prescription or a procedure. It also eliminates grace as the means of our salvation and places us squarely within the framework of a works-righteous theology: “Do this and you’ll get that.” Having said that, however, what we want to remember at the same time is that the Word of God is living and active, and that it has both the power and the promise of God to accomplish its purpose in our lives. And when we remember that we have been saved by grace, bought with the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and raised to new life in Him, we will also come to see God’s Word as the transforming thing that it is. It’s in that vein that Peter is speaking to us, and the first stated purpose that he gives for writing each of his letters is that we will stimulated to wholesome thinking.
On what basis are we to be thus stimulated? Just go through the outline of each letter and see. Remember the trials and tribulations that Peter’s readers were going through when he wrote to them, and remember the doctrinal truths and the divine promises by which he comforted and encouraged them. It’s those precious truths that we are to recall, and as we see that God is with us, that He has promised us an eternal inheritance, that none of what we are going through now is going to last but will pass (and boy, how it will pass, and just look at what it’s going to pass into)…when we remember these things we are strengthened and stimulated to focus on them. Focused on them, our eyes are going to be fixed on the things of God rather than on the corruptive, destructive, damning things of this world.
Verse 2: Peter explains this further in the next verse, doesn’t he. It’s not just his letters that he wants the church to recall, but the whole of Scripture; the holy prophets of old as well as the command of Jesus given through the apostles. There are two things here of importance: number one is recall. If we are to recall the things that have been given to us by God in His Word, we need to be familiar with it in order to do that! Peter here is presupposing the fact that his readers are schooled in the Scriptures, and he is putting forth the clear expectation that they continue in the Scriptures so that the Scriptures can continue to have the transforming impact on their lives that God intended. This is excellent encouragement for you and me to be ever growing in our own biblical knowledge, ever giving ourselves over to study so that we can grow in our relationship with our Lord Jesus.
The second important point is a doctrinal one, and it is this: notice that Peter equates, puts on the same level of authority, Christ’s teaching through the apostles and the words of the prophets of old. In other words, Peter is saying that the teaching of the apostles is directly from God just as the Old Testament writers’ words were, and as such they are to be read as divinely inspired Scripture. The authority is not in the apostles themselves; it is in the authority of Christ, who has spoken through them.
As we wrap up for the day, my prayer for you would be that in reading this encouragement from God’s Word, you will take it to heart in your own life; that God will use our time today to birth a new hunger in your heart for increased time with Him in the Scriptures, and that as a result, you’ll find yourself growing in knowledge, growing in amazement at Christ’s love for you, and growing in your desire to be with Him throughout each day like never before. May our Lord Jesus bless you and lead you in that endeavor – and if there’s a way I can help you along, do let me know. Take care, everyone! Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you again on Monday to continue. God’s peace!