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2 Peter Bible Study
1:16-21
"Who Says?"

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16) For we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the manner of following cleverly invented myths, but in the manner of becoming eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17) For He received from God the Father honor and glory when a voice came to Him such as this from the majestic Glory: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 18) And this voice we heard from Heaven when we were come together with Him on the holy mountain.  19) And we have a more certain prophetic word, to which you do well to pay attention as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the light-bearer rises in your hearts.  20) Know this above all: no prophecy of Scripture comes from private interpretation.  21) For not by the will of man did prophecy formerly come about, but holy men of God spoke by means of being carried along by the Holy Spirit.

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You’ve heard it so many times—someone comes up to a group, whether school mates, co-workers or military buddies, and says, “OK guys, we’re supposed to go flamadiddle the hassenfeffer.” And what does everyone want to know but, “Who says?” It’s true in human nature, but especially in our independent-minded day and age, we want to know by whose authority we are being told to do something or other, or not to do something or other.

In our previous studies, Peter had said that in the Christian life we were to supply ourselves from the provision that God has made. He included a list of things to work on to prove our election and to bring reward. Last study he said he was going to be diligent to remind Christians of these things. So it is reasonable to ask, “Where does he get the authority to demand these things of us?” In the passage we are now going to look at, he anticipates that question and provides the answer before we have a chance to ask.

B.  You should pay attention to these things because the authority for them is God through His genuine Prophets.  12-21 

       1.   I shall see to it that you are able to recall these truths.   12-15 

       2.   Our revelation concerning these things draws its authority from God.   16-21 

Why did the Apostles have the right to tell us what God expected of our spiritual lives? The two reasons Peter offers are the Apostle’s direct connection with Christ and their supervision by the Holy Spirit in writing the Bible.

            a.   We had direct exposure and access to the Lord Jesus Christ.    16-18

The gospels were written by eyewitnesses or those who relied on eyewitnesses. The quality of the eyewitness testimony to New Testament events is an excellent proof of the reliability of the New Testament. The number of eyewitnesses is astonishing, and the real nature of their testimony is verified by the diversity of eyewitness accounts (for instance, of the resurrection and later appearances of Christ). The quality of the New Testament authors’ testimony is also verified by their historical statements. No error of history has been found in the New Testament. Peter points out that he and the other Apostles relied on their personal eyewitness knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ rather than following “cleverly invented myths.”

Specifically, he says he is referring to “becoming eyewitnesses of His majesty.”  In v. 17 he explains the background for this (note the ‘for’ that begins the verse).  The incident is reported in Matt. 17:1-9 where Jesus takes Peter, James and John up to a high mountain and is transfigured before their eyes.  Jesus, who was the eternal second person of the Trinity, had to cover His glory in order to live among men (see Phil. 2:6-8).  On this occasion Christ allowed the curtain to pull back a little for the benefit of these three apostles.  This privilege gave them supernatural authority.

            b.   The Holy Spirit has provided us with a firm word of prophecy.   19-21

The second reason for their authority in telling us how to live the Christian life was that they did not simply write on their own--they had divine supervision (vv. 20-21).  The hotly debated statement in v. 20 is settled and explained by the ‘for’ of v. 21.  “Private interpretation” in v. 20 has to refer to origination of the prophecy because in the explanation of v. 21 he talks about how prophecy “came about.”  The verb “carried along” is often used by Greek writers of riding in a boat.  Though the writers used their own vocabulary and style, the supervision of the Holy Spirit insured that what God wanted said was indeed said.

The prophets and apostles and other Scripture authors were not just men of high spiritual accomplishment who deserve a hearing.  They were authoritative messengers from God.  What we read from them must be obeyed as if God Himself stood face-to-face with us and said it.
 

Introductory Matters

2 Peter Flow Chart

2 Peter 1:1-7

2 Peter 1:8-11

2 Peter 1:12-15

2 Peter 2:1-3

2 Peter 2:3b-10a

2 Peter 2:10b-22

2 Peter 3:1-6

2 Peter 3:7-10

2 Peter 3:11-16

2 Peter 3:17-18
 

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