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It is essential that we have great respect for God’s words. What do we know about the word of God?

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

2 Peter 1:19–21 (NASB)

It is the sure Word. Peter was not suggesting that the Bible is more certain than the experience he had on the Mount of Transfiguration. His experience was real and true, and the record in the Bible is dependable. As we have seen, the Transfiguration was a demonstration of the promise given in the prophetic Word; and this promise now has added certainty because of what Peter experienced. The Transfiguration experience corroborated the prophetic promises. The apostates would attempt to discredit the promise of His coming, but the Scriptures were sure. For, after all, the promise of the kingdom was reaffirmed by Moses, Elijah, the Son of God, and the Father! And the Holy Spirit wrote the record for the church to read!

  • “The testimony of the Lord is sure” (Ps. 19:7).
  • “Thy testimonies are very sure” (Ps. 93:5).
  • “All His commandments are sure” (Ps. 111:7).
  • “Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:128).

It is the shining Word. Peter called the world “a dark place,” and the word he used means “murky.” It is the picture of a dank cellar or a dismal swamp. Human history began in a lovely Garden, but that Garden today is a murky swamp. What you see when you look at this world system is an indication of the spiritual condition of your heart. We still see beauty in God’s creation, but we see no beauty in what mankind is doing with God’s creation. Peter did not see this world as a Garden of Eden, nor should we.

God is light and His Word is light. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). When Jesus the Messiah began His ministry, “the people which sat in darkness saw great light” (Matt. 4:16). His coming into this world was the dawning of a new day (Luke 1:78). We Christians are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14–16), and it is our privilege and responsibility to hold forth the Word of life—God’s light—so that men might see the way and be saved (Phil. 2:14–16).

As believers, we must heed this Word and govern our lives by what it says. For unbelievers, things will get darker and darker, until they end up in eternal darkness; but God’s people are looking for the return of Jesus Christ and the dawning of the new day of glory. The false teachers scoffed at the idea of Christ’s return and the dawning of a new day, but Peter affirmed the truth of the sure Word of God. “But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10).

Before the day dawns, the “day star” (or morning star) shines brightly as the herald of the dawn. To the church, Jesus is “the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16). The promise of His coming shines brightly, no matter how dark the day may be. He is also the “Sun of Righteousness,” who will bring healing to believers but judgment to unbelievers (Mal. 4:1–2). How thankful we ought to be for God’s sure and shining Word, and how we ought to heed it in these dark days!

It is the Spirit-given Word. This is one of two important Scriptures affirming the divine inspiration of the Word of God. The other is 2 Timothy 3:14–17. Peter affirmed that the Scriptures were not written by men who used their own ideas and words, but by men of God who were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” The word translated moved means “to be carried along, as a ship is carried by the wind.” The Scriptures are “God-breathed”; they are not the inventions of men.

Since the Spirit gave the Word, only the Spirit can teach the Word and interpret it accurately. Of course, every false teacher claims that he is “led by the Spirit,” but his handling of the Word of God soon exposes him. Since the Bible did not come by the will of man, it cannot be understood by the will of man. Even religious Nicodemus, a leading teacher among the Jews, was ignorant of the most essential doctrines of the Word of God.

Peter was not prohibiting the private study of the Bible. Some religious groups have taught that only the “spiritual leaders” may interpret Scripture, and they have used this verse as their defense. But Peter was not writing primarily about the interpretation of Scripture, but the origin of Scripture: it came by the Holy Spirit through holy men of God. And since it came by the Spirit, it must be taught by the Spirit.

The word translated “private” simply means “one’s own” or “its own.” The suggestion is, since all Scripture is inspired by the Spirit it must all “hang together” and no one Scripture should be divorced from the others. You can use the Bible to prove almost anything if you isolate verses from their proper context, which is exactly the approach the false teachers use. Peter stated that the witness of the Apostles confirmed the witness of the prophetic Word; there is one message with no contradiction. Therefore, the only way these false teachers can “prove” their heretical doctrines is by misusing the Word of God. Isolated texts, apart from contexts, become pretexts.

The Word of God was written to common people, not to theological professors. The writers assumed that common people could read it, understand it, and apply it, led by the same Holy Spirit who inspired it. The humble individual believer can learn about God as he reads and meditates on the Word of God; he does not need the “experts” to show him truth. However, this does not deny the ministry of teachers in the church, special people who have a gift for explaining and applying the Scriptures. Nor does it deny the “collective wisdom” of the church as, over the ages, these doctrines have been defined and refined. Teachers and creeds have their place, but they must not usurp the authority of the Word over the conscience of the individual believer.

Men die, but the Word lives. Experiences fade, but the Word remains. The world grows darker, but the prophetic light shines brighter. The believer who builds his life on the Word of God and who looks for the coming of the Savior is not likely to be led astray by false teachers. He will be taught by the Spirit and grounded on the sure Word of God.

Peter’s message is, “Wake up—and remember!” A sleeping church is the devil’s playground. It is while men slept that the enemy came in and sowed the tares.

“Be alert!” is the Apostle’s message. “Wake up and remember!”

  • 2 Peter 1:19–21 — 19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
  • Revelation 22:18–19 — 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
  • Deuteronomy 4:2 — 2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Master your God which I command you.
  • Deuteronomy 12:32 — 32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.
  • Joshua 1:7–8 — 7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
  • Proverbs 30:5–6 — 5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.