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"No Private Interpretation"

Saturday, July 11, 2020

                   The first chapter of II Peter ends the argument he started in verse 16 by reminding his readers that “no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation” (v. 20). He maintains, “the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (v. 21).

                   These last verses in II Peter 1 maintain that Peter and the apostles have not been following myths or fairy tales (v. 16). They had been eyewitnesses of Christ on earth (v. 17-18), and if you don’t believe their words, trust the very word that has come from God (v. 19). Why can I trust God’s word above all else? The answer is in II Peter 1:20-21.

                   God’s prophecy is not of any “private interpretation.” What does this mean? Through the years, I have heard men say that this means there cannot be a “private interpretation” of the Scriptures themselves. This is not what Peter was saying! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to listen and observe people and see many who have twisted the Scriptures and now teach their own “private interpretation” of the Bible. Peter warned of it happening in the first century, and it continues today (II Pet. 3:16).

                   What does “no private interpretation” mean? Remember the context of this chapter! Peter was declaring, “No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination” (NET). To borrow from brother Clinton Hamilton, “the meaning of Scripture is not under view, but the origin of Scripture is the issue” (Truth Commentaries, II Peter, p. 98). Thus, the reason why Peter could say that God’s revelation is more “sure” than an eyewitness (v. 19), is because the Scripture originated with God Himself (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21)!

                   The Bible you hold in your hands is more precious than any other writing on earth. What are you doing with it? Do you know it? Do you read it? Do you study it? Do you obey what you have learned? If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” you are wasting precious time! Get your nose in The Book and learn, believe, and obey (Eph. 3:4; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 5:9, 11:6)!

                   Peter thought it necessary to remind the brethren of the inspired word so long as he lived (II Pet. 1:12-15). Now, we know why! Could there be anything greater than God’s word in our minds? How often is our Bible open in a day? Why are we depriving ourselves of the source of God’s wisdom (Ps. 119:98-100)? The prophets didn’t make this stuff up (II Pet. 1:20)! The Holy Spirit told them what to say or write, and they responded to that call (II Pet. 1:21)! What will we do with the Divine truth given us

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"A More Sure Word Of Prophecy"

Friday, July 10, 2020

                   The words of Peter in II Peter 1:19 are fascinating to me and cause me to stop and consider what he was saying to the Christians (v. 1). “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” Remember in the context that Peter was telling the readers (us) why the words preached by him and the other apostles ought to be trusted. They are not myths or fables, but statements of truth (v. 16). One reason we can know he spoke the truth is that he was one of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration (v. 17-18). The second reason is in verse 19. He begins by saying, “We have ALSO a more sure word of prophecy …”. Therefore, in addition to the eyewitness testimony, we also have prophecy or God’s word revealed to us.

                   To speak of prophecy or the prophetic word simply means what has been revealed by God. In short, Peter says you can trust what I am telling you because I was a witness to Christ on earth (v. 16-18). Yet, if this is not enough, you have all the prophetic words, the words I want to spend my life reminding you, to listen to (v. 19). Trust what has already been revealed!

                   Peter’s statement reminds me of things Christ said on earth. When Jesus spoke of the rich man and Lazarus, we notice how Abraham rebuked the rich man and told him his brothers “have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them” (Lk. 16:29). Jesus told people that if they did not believe Him, they could believe His works for they were a greater witness than John (Jn. 5:36). If this was not enough for them, He then challenged them to, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (Jn. 5:39).

                   Over and over Jesus, the apostles, and all encourage us to search the Scriptures and know that we possess the truth (Jn. 17:17). God inspired all Scripture, and this makes the Bible an exceptional and unique writing (II Tim. 3:16-17). Read what is said (Eph. 3:4), test it (I Thess. 5:21), and trust it (II Pet. 1:19). This “sure word” is truth and will stand when this world is on fire (Matt. 24:35; I Pet. 1:25)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Eyewitnesses Of His Majesty"

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Yesterday’s post and today’s is kind of broken up funny. We focused only on II Peter 1:16 yesterday, but to understand the rest of the thought, we will not only read verse 16 but also verses 17-19 in II Peter 1. We focused our attention yesterday on the phrase “cunningly devised fables” from II Peter 1:16. We saw how the Bible is not a fable or a myth, but the inspired truth from God. We went to several passages to show this fact and convince our dear readers of the treasure we have when we possess a Bible and read it. Peter said he was determined to remind brethren about the truth (not fables or myths) until his dying day!

When the apostle Peter made it clear that the apostles were not following “cunningly devised fables,” he used only two examples as evidence. His first proof for how they can know this was not something made up by men, was by reminding the readers of the Transfiguration. The “power and coming of our Lord” was real because the apostles were “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (II Pet. 1:16). Specifically, he, James, and John had seen Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mk. 9:2-13; Lk. 9:28-36). Peter describes it in II Peter 1:17-18.

When we read Peter’s recalling of the Transfiguration, I find it interesting that what He writes about is not Jesus’ transformation or seeing the souls of dead heroes. His focus is on the words spoken from Heaven. When the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him” were spoken, there was nothing else to say! Peter, one of three eyewitnesses of Jesus on the mountain, lets us know we can trust what was seen and can trust what was said from Heaven. The “present truth” concerning Christ and His doctrine (v. 12) had the “stamp of approval” from God and needed to be established in the minds of the Christians!

This same urgency needs to be with the disciples today (II Cor. 5:11, 6:2). People need to know and understand who Jesus is. We need to stand in awe of His majesty, and appreciate the fact that this Jesus of Nazareth came and died on the cross that we might be saved from our sins (Matt. 20:28; Jn. 10:10b). God spoke from Heaven, and those who were there heard His voice and saw the majesty. Let us trust what the witnesses have said, and let us obey the Lord’s command (Heb. 5:9). He will save all who submit to His plan (Matt. 11:28-30; Mk. 16:16). We can have blessings now and blessings to come in eternity if we listen to the eyewitness testimony! Will you do it, friend?

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Cunningly Devised Fables"

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The apostle Peter declared, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (II Pet. 1:16). Before we dive very deep into the verse, notice that Peter changed from saying “I” (v. 12-15) to “we” (v. 16-19). Peter includes other apostles in this section. The reason why is made apparent from verse 16.

Peter assures those reading that “we” (apostles) have not followed cunningly devised fables when “we” made known to “you” (Christians) the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He insists as well, that they were “eyewitnesses of His majesty.” What are “cunningly devised fables”? This phrase means, “to continue in plausible error” (Strong’s). The word “fables” means what you think it means, “fiction, tale, myth” (Strong’s). Peter states in no uncertain terms that what he (and the other apostles) was writing and preaching is not a myth, is not in error, nor merely some tale being told about a non-existent person. Peter and the apostles did not spend time in jail (Acts 4-5, 12, 16:25-34), suffer ridicule (Acts 2:13, 17:32), and risk their very lives (Acts 12:3-4, 14:19; Jn. 21:18-19; II Pet. 1:14) for a myth!

Based on his promise of reminding the brethren of the things they had already been taught, verse 16 encourages brethren that they have not been taught a myth or some error. They were told the truth by those who have risked their lives for its preservation!

So it is today. By God’s providence, the Bible is in our hands. It tells us the truth (Jn. 17:17). It speaks of our salvation (Rom. 5:8; Mk 16:16), how to stay saved (I Cor. 15:58), and of our Advocate when we sin (I Jn. 2:1). “Cunningly devised fables” didn’t endure 2000 years of time, ridicule, criticism, oppression, tyrants, love, worldliness, faith, and obedience! Only God’s inspired word could last to this present day - and it HAS! Let us be thankful for what we have in our possession and marvel that these are not fables, but the truth! These are not writings of mere men, but the writings inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20-21; I Cor. 2:12-13). Let us then believe these words, obey them, and teach them to a new generation who can also marvel at the providence of Almighty God!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Always In Remembrance."

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

God is a God who likes to remind us of things. He knows that humans are forgetful, and so we read of numerous times when He had men establish memorials. Sometimes, it was when they won a battle, or when some miracle occurred like the crossing of the Jordan River. In the New Testament, Christ established a memorial when He instituted His Supper (Matt. 26:26-29)!

                   Peter, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told the readers that he intended to remind them of things they already knew (II Pet. 1:12-15). He was making it his personal goal to tell them of things they knew -- the truth in which they were “established” (v. 12). Peter said he thought it fitting to remind them, so long as he lived, in the hope that after he died, they would still remember what he had said (v. 15). Peter knew he did not have much longer to live (v. 14), and he saw reminding the brethren of what they already knew as the best use of the time he had left.

                   Why remind people of things they know? Is this not the most efficient way to teach someone? Small children repeat the same action, speak the same words, sing the same songs, listen to the same stories ad nauseam. Yet, when this is done, they know the songs, the stories, the words, and actions to where they are second nature. This is what Peter wanted to do with his final days on earth. He wanted the brethren to repeat and go over the things they knew about Christ so that it was second nature to them!

                   What benefit is there in following Peter’s example? When we have spent time learning and relearning the same truth, it becomes a part of us. It is no longer that I have to go hunt for “x” Bible passage. Instead, when facing certain situations in life, God’s words flow from me! They burst forth to encourage, heal, and focus us on the right things. Peter was aware of the hard times facing those Christians after his death, and he knew that being grounded in the truth was the only way to make sure they survived what was coming.

                   So it is with us. Whatever we face in life, things will turn out better when we have the word of Christ “dwelling in (us) richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). This kind of knowledge does not come from reading God’s word one time or two times. It develops by a constant feeding and assimilation of the word, even though we know it and are established in the present truth! Brethren, this is part of the reason behind choosing one book or at most two books to read through the month. The hope is that by slowing down, we can read a book (ex: II Peter) so many times that all the truth flows through us. Friends, read, and don’t grow weary because it only benefits us. If you tire of reading from one version of the Bible, use another. If you tire of reading only, choose a Bible app or some recording, and listen as someone reads the Bible to you! There is no ill effect from this practice, only a benefit for your soul (II Pet. 2:2)!

                   The story of salvation is a story that never grows old! Let’s go back and read it until it comes out of us in our conversation, in our actions, and in our manner. Let us pass this love for God’s word along to our children and grandchildren! Let us apply Peter’s words in reminding Christians of the present truth so long as we live!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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