1. What are some ways we get information today? (TV, Radio, Social Media, Word of mouth, Printed news, Ads, etc.)
2. What individuals or sources do you consider trustworthy?
3. How do you determine if a source is trustworthy?
4. In your opinion, why does “trustworthiness” seem so hard to come by today? (Too many people pass on information without checking to see if it is true or not. Sometimes they want it to be true so bad that they pass it on without checking it out.)
In our passage today Peter stressed trustworthiness of the Scriptures. Peter believed that through eyewitness accounts and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the process of writing, his readers could trust the Word of God to give them everything that they needed to know about God and the gospel.
Paul proclaimed this same truth to Timothy like this: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:14-17.
Spiritual truth is both subjective and objective. It’s individually embraced, but it’s intrinsically valuable, not when it’s accepted by the masses, but because God has said it. Therefore, everything that veers away from His truth must be considered false teaching.
Some people will say “such and such” must be true because so many people believe it. If it isn’t from God it isn’t truth!
Needed Reminders! Read 2 Peter 1:12-15
Let’s read 2 Peter 1:10-11 to see what the “therefore” is about.
1. What are the two major themes Peter addresses in 12-15? (Reminders about Spiritual truths and his approaching death.)
Peter seemed to have an awareness that his death was imminent, and he desired to wake up the believers who were listening to the lies of the false teachers. The word for “wake up” could also be translated as “stir up” or “arouse.”
2. What are three specific references to reminders about spiritual truths in verses 12-15?
3. What was it Peter wanted them to do? (Recall the truths they had been taught.)
4. How can we make sure we don’t forget the truths of God’s Word?
5. Why would it be important to remind even mature believers of the truth?
6. If you knew your time was short, what spiritual reminders would you give to those close to you?
Peter spent his remaining time on earth strengthening believers.
7. What are practical ways we could strengthen others in their faith?
Eyewitness Accounts! Read 2 Peter 1:16-18
Just as it is today, the people in Peter’s day were surrounded by people who believed myths. Both Greek and Roman religions were filled with myths about their gods, but they had no historical basis. Peter wanted his readers to know that this was not the case with Christianity. He made sure he clearly tied Christ’s ministry, death, and resurrection to history. He had firsthand knowledge of Jesus and referenced Jesus’ transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; and Luke 9:28-36.) in verses 17-18. The same phrase quoted in verse 17 is used also in Matt. 3:17 at Jesus’ baptism.
1. What did Peter blurt out at Jesus’ transfiguration? (Let’s build three alters.)
2. How was he put in his place and reminded of who Jesus is?
Hearing the heavenly voice proclaim that God was well pleased with His Son was a validation that the honor and glory Jesus received on the mountain were legitimate!
3. How would you handle critics who question the divine nature of Jesus?
4. What would be the value of having eyewitness accounts when addressing a critic? (As healed Bartimaeus said, “All I know is that once I was blind and now I see.” A changed life is evidence that Jesus is who He says and can do what He promised.)
5. How do we disseminate truth so that others will recognize it as such? (We share our own experience with Jesus and His Word. But our “walk” must match our “talk”! If our life doesn’t match what we profess no reasonable person would accept it as truth.)
Peter turned from eyewitness accounts to the prophetic words of the Old Testament Scriptures!
Written By God! Read 2 Peter 1:19-21
The idea of a “bright morning star” is a star that outshines all others, and Jesus certainly does do that!
Rev. 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”
1. Where did the prophets and writers of the Old Testament get the words to write? (God speaking through them. In Jeremiah 28-29 the writer records that the false prophet Hananiah prophesied that the Babylonian exile would last only two years but God spoke through Jeremiah in 29:10 that the exile would be 70 years and Hananiah answered to God for his false words.)
2. Why would contending the author of Scripture as God, writing through inspired men, be important for Peter to state and for us believers to also contend? (Understanding that Scripture is God-breathed gives it more weight and validity. The challenge to accept the Word of God as His must be directly stated or some will deduce that the Bible is little more than the poetic, pragmatic, and improbable writings from the minds of men.)
The Bible is more than a history book. It also provides important clues about the future. We must be convinced of the reliability of the Scriptures as the direct Word from God to trust our future to its truths and proclamations.
3. How would you explain the inspiration of the Scriptures to someone who wonders why they should believe a book written by humans?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. Are you convinced in your own heart that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and applicable to all of life?
Suggestion: Re-read the New Testament books, especially looking at those written by contemporaries of Jesus. Put yourself in their shoes as you read. What would prompt these types of men—uneducated fishermen—to write down their experiences unless that experience was amazing?
Review some of your favorite Bible passages that have always managed to inspire or move you. Compare those writings to other secular ones. How many of those have had the power to help you make life changes?
2. When have you stepped out in truth to set the record straight?
All of us as Christians confront untruths on a routine basis through the media or social media. While becoming the person who constantly corrects others will not endear you to friends and family it is the Christian’s responsibility to take living measures to correct false impressions of Christianity or to challenge philosophies and practices that contradict the teachings of Christ.
Challenge: Resolve to kindly and lovingly confront untruth with truth. Rather than post it so everyone sees it, consider messaging the person. (We must be careful that we aren’t seen as “God’s little policeperson to the rest of the world. Use wisely.)
Father, help us to stand firm on Your Holy Word and speak truth to others!