Dear Student of the Word,
I am sitting in my home on a cold winter's night, and decided to warm myself up by editing the next installment of my online studies, this time from Peter's second epistle. This epistle historically was questioned as to its validity, but ultimately made it into the canon of Scripture and my own interpretation is that it belongs there. I don't believe the Spirit would allow an imposter's work to be included in the inspired Word! At any rate, in this first chapter of this short epistle, we look at what Peter had to say about being fruitful and productive. I wrote this in part five of this seven-part study:
Study One, Part Five
13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
1:13&14 – No one will live forever. In fact, no one is sure how long they will live. I know that sounds ridiculously basic, but how many know that to be true, yet act in a manner that is contrary to the truth? For instance, how many leaders don’t have a plan of succession if they should die (especially pastors). Many people I know, especially young people, don’t have a last will and testament. We make plans for what we will do when conditions are hopefully more ideal or less stressful in 10 or 20 years, and we talk like we have those years guaranteed to us. We ignore the truth the Bible teaches us:
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16).
Peter was writing because he knew he would die, and it sounded like he felt his departure was imminent. It’s not clear whether the Lord had revealed this to him or whether it was just that he was getting older.
1:15– Peter was willing to make every effort to insure that the flock would be able to remember what he taught after he was gone. That meant he was making an effort to write. Writing is indeed an effort. It takes time, first of all, and then a commitment to edit and clarity so that those who read may understand. That is why if you are serious about writing, you must identify an editor, someone who will critically appraise your work and give you valuable input and perspective.
I teach and preach that everyone should be writing in some capacity, if not for publication, then for your own journal to record your journey in Christ. Do you write? You may ask, “Who will read it?” Well, you will for one and the Lord for the other. There are people like Wesley, Fox and others who wrote journals and those journals were published after their deaths. I admit that these cases are few and far between and those men founded movements and had followings, but it can happen. It will never happen, however, if you don’t write. No one can publish or read what you don’t write.
1:16 – The fact that Peter alluded to cleverly invented stories meant that some had the capability to concoct such tales and others had accused the apostles of doing just that. Even today you hear some speakers telling tales of angels they’ve seen and experiences they’ve had. I was in Ohio recently and I heard a preacher who held the people in the palm of his hand with his rhetorical skills—but he had nothing to say! Yet he was a craftsman and knew how to speak, that’s for sure.
I determined long ago that, if the Lord ever released me, I wanted to be the best speaker I can be in both delivery and with content. And the only content I am interested in is truth from or truth that the Bible corroborates. It doesn’t have to be “either or.” One doesn’t have to be a good speaker without content or a boring speaker with content. Jesus was a great teacher and speaker. I want to be like Him and I think He can teach how, don’t you?
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?" The large crowd listened to him with delight (Mark 12:35-37 emphasis added).
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished volume of The Faith Files.