The Story: An unguarded mind can be a source of many troubles. The world is filled with ideas, many of which run contrary to the truth of Scripture and which, for that reason, can derail and destroy our journey of faith. Peter insists that all he has been trying to do in his two epistles is remind his readers of what the Word has previously taught, to “stir up” their minds to alertness, clarity, and true conviction of truth (cf. 1.19-21). Peter knows that only the Word of God remains unchanging and unfailing. He wants his readers to be firmly grounded in God’s truth. Note also how he includes “the apostles” in that line of reliable revelation. The “prophets” would represent all the Old Testament literature while “the apostles” represents the New. Standing in the middle as the hermeneutical key to both is “the Lord and Savior.” Jesus is the theme of both Testaments; as we read the Law and the Prophets, as well as the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament, we must stir our minds up to seek the Lord Jesus, and to find in Him the life, truth, and righteousness we need in unstable times.
The Structure: Right understanding of the Word of God can only be realized within the whole framework of that Word, as the different sections of Scripture are used to give light to one another, and, thus, to illuminate more fully the redemption accomplished by our Lord (1 Cor. 2.12, 13). Throughout the ages of Church history, faithful interpreters, following that general principle, have indicated how we should understand and apply the Scriptures as followers of the Lord. Their words are very helpful, even indispensable; however, their words, like our own, must always be subject to the principle Peter establishes here: The Word of God has the last word in all matters of faith and life.
Is your overall grasp of the Word sufficient to allow you to draw from all parts of it to understand any individual passage? How might you improve in this area?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Blind to the Truth: 2 Peter 3.1-10,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.