Wednesday, February 18, 2009

II Peter 1:15-16a Motivation to Write Scripture

Ok, the title of this post stinks. As even casual readers of this blog can attest, my post titles are pretty lame. However, as I studied through this section of scripture I couldn’t escape that this was the message Peter was giving these Christians-“I’m writing this because I know I’m not going to be here with you forever”. We can be thankful and rejoice that God inspired Peter and other men to write the words of scripture because we don’t have to use our intuition or our human brains to try to figure out how to relate to God. We can read and study His word and know the truth and that truth will set us free.

As we observed when we studied the previous two verses, Peter knew his time on earth was short. He was going to die and knew these people to whom he wrote needed a sure footing in the truth they had been taught to be able to reject the heresy that the false teachers who would come would surely teach. He says that “I will be diligent” in this endeavor. The word translated “diligent” means to have an intense motivation to do something and to follow that up with intense regular effort. It’s not just feeling like something is important but actually doing what you feel is important thereby putting feet to your faith. He is motivated to do this because he knows his “departure” to heaven is at hand. Because of this, he will not be around to personally remind them of the truth. By writing it down, he provided them with a reference they can use to check the message of someone who claims to be speaking for God. In this way, they could be good Beareans (Acts 17:11) and always have a plumb line of truth to measure a person’s teaching against. As an apostle, Peter was uniquely qualified to provide this repository of truth for them.

In fact, Peter goes on to remind these believers of why he was able to write these truths down for them authoritatively. First of all, Peter and the other writers of Scripture were either eyewitnesses of Jesus before or after the resurrection (Peter, Paul) or were penmen for eyewitnesses (Luke recorded accounts that he researched under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was a companion of Paul’s). The writers of the New Testament were not looking back a hundred or so years after the events that are recorded but rather they wrote about things that happened in their lifetimes and that, in many cases, they saw first hand. As such, they “did not follow” (exakoloutheo-1811) other people’s ideas or philosophies. They didn’t go to some school to learn what they wrote about but they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from their own first hand experience. When Peter in verse 17 talks about being on the Mount of Transfiguration, he is not referring to an event that he has heard about or researched. He was there himself. He was another man’s disciple who parroted what his teacher said was true. He was a disciple of Jesus who reported what he saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears.

Further, the message Peter and the other apostles brought was not born out of human wisdom. They were threatened, harassed, imprisoned, killed, and exiled for their testimony. Through that all, they consistently maintained the same story. Clearly, their motivation was to speak the truth not to change people’s minds with “cleverly devised tales”. The phrase “cleverly devised” translates a Greek word “sophizo” (4679) which refers to cunning wisdom. Some men in the culture of the day were called “sophists”. Sophist came to denote a class of itinerant intellectuals who taught courses in "excellence" or "virtue," speculated about the nature of language and culture and employed rhetoric to achieve their purposes, generally to persuade or convince others. Sophists claimed that they could find the answers to all questions. Peter and the other apostles were not trying to sell anything or convince people of their intellectual prowess. In fact, their motivation was to share the truth with men and women everywhere, proclaiming the good news and calling them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. What they spoke and wrote were not “tales” or myths but rather they gave their lives to preach the truth.

In short, they couldn’t and didn’t make this stuff up. They were the messengers and they spoke and wrote the message God gave them faithfully. You and I can be thankful for these men and follow their example by faithfully proclaiming the truths in scripture.

4 comments:

Trish said...

Oh come on, "Potty Emergency" and "Revenge is a dish best not served" I think you have some excellent ones!! :)

Joe Blackmon said...

Thank you...it's a better title than the one I originally had---"You better read this post or the devil will get you". **Note--for those of you who have never ridden on Northbound I-65 south of Montgomery Alabama that was really funny. Haa.

Kokeithia said...

Can I just say it is SO refreshing to see actual Bible teaching. I have been in churches that overuse literature. I grew up in a church that used the Bible as their "text". No Sunday school boards no women's organization materials, just the Bible that was nice For my taste, literature, and publishing boards, denominational organizations, etc tend to be to politically correct (well let's face it, it is financial. If they commit to too far one way or the other "politically" they wouldn't sell NEARLY AS MANY BOOKS. All I know is that if someone is too ashamed to align themselves properly with the Word of God, perhaps they should check their relationship with the Savior Jesus Christ. It makes me physically SICK to see how some of those organizations and their employees sidestep standing for proper Biblical interpretation. oh they'll admit in one to one interaction well yes you're right, but put them in print and you're like "What? Did you screw your head on wonky today?" Thanks for standing for the truth, even when folks call you less than correct. (was that politically correct enough, I can never tell.)

Joe Blackmon said...

Kokeithia

Thank you for the encouragement.