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The Ultimate “Compliment” That Peter Paid To Paul

There is a wonderful little insight that comes at the end of 2 Peter, and it has to do with how we come to know that the New Testament is the Word of God. Peter is discussing the Apostle Paul’s writings, and what he says is almost funny: “There are some things in them that are hard to understand…” Hah! Those who have tried to understand Romans 11 know just what he’s talking about. Take a look at the context…

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)

That last phrase almost seems a “throwaway” comment, except that nothing in the Bible is throwaway. So, when Peter says, “…as they do the other Scriptures,” he is saying something momentous. The Greek word Peter uses for “Scriptures” is “graphe” and it is what Bible scholars would call a technical term. In other words, whenever you see the word “graphe” in the New Testament, it always refers to the Old Testament. Always.

And to a Jew like Peter, Scripture, or as we know it, the Old Testament…was beyond compare. You see, Simon Peter was not using the word “Scripture” in the sense that we sometimes say other faiths have their scriptures, Muslims – the Koran, and Hindus, the Bhagavad Gita, etc. No, no, no. “Graphe” was a precious word to Peter and the other Apostles. So, with that said, do you see what Peter is doing? He is equating Paul’s writings with other parts of the Bible. He is saying that Paul wrote Scripture. Peter is saying that Paul wrote the Bible. Now, in some ways that should be no surprise to a Christian, because we are used to understanding the New Testament as the Word of God, but if you have ever wondered what they thought of one another’s writings, now you know.

The Apostle Paul does the same thing, only with another portion of the New Testament.  Paul writes to Timothy…

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18 (ESV)

That first phrase about muzzling an ox is from Deuteronomy, so it’s no surprise that Paul refers to it as Scripture, but the second phrase is not found in the Old Testament, but in Luke’s Gospel (10:7).

So the New Testament writers were referring to one another’s writings as Scripture, and the early church, of course, followed course and did the same. It’s a fascinating little study, and one that gives me a measure of delight. I hope you too.

For Friday, November 20th: 1 John 1

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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When the Morning Star Rises…

Satan’s tactic all the way back to the Garden of Eden has been to call into question the truthfulness of Scripture: “Has God said…?” – the question he has planted in the minds of believers again and again through the centuries.

So, when false teachers came amongst the Apostle Peter’s followers, they apparently followed the same Satanic strategy…and Peter rose to the defense. He began by reminding them of his life-changing experience on the Mount of Transfiguration:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 2 Peter 1:16-18 (ESV)

And he said that this incredible experience powerfully confirmed the Scriptures…

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 2 Peter 1:19 (ESV)

We always do well to pay attention to the “prophetic word”, Peter’s terminology for the Scriptures. But take note of what he compares the Bible to…he says it is like a lamp shining in a dark place.

That’s what it feels like doesn’t it? The world is getting darker and darker, and shining the lamp of Scripture lights the way for us. Of course, we still stumble and fall often…for it is yet night.

But Peter says, the dawn is coming. The day will dawn and the morning star will rise in our hearts, and at the deepest level possible…we will know.

These days we shine the flashlight of His Word to navigate through a very dark world, but on that day the bright Sun will shine, and night will be no more, and we will know. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we will know because we will see with the blazing light of midday that all we had hoped in  and all we had hoped for through the long night…was true.

For Wednesday, November 17th: 2 Peter 2

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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3 Ways to “Take Care” in the Most Important Thing

“Take care, then, how you hear.”

Jesus offered this comment after he explained the Parable of the Sower, a lesson about how the Word of God does or does not bear fruit in an individual’s life. Take care, then, how you hear.

So, it’s not enough to hear. We must hear carefully.

Here then, are 3 lessons from this parable to help us to take care to hear the Word well.

1. Pray against the enemy when reading for yourself or sharing the Word of God with another.

“…the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts…” Luke 8:12 (ESV)

There is a reason that Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from the evil one.” As the Lord’s prayer suggests (“our daily bread”), every day we should pray this prayer against the enemy of our souls. Lucifer is the one who comes and takes away the seed that otherwise can bear fruit, 30, 60 or 100 fold.

2. Beware of affliction…and affluence.

“…choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life…” Luke 8:14 (ESV)

I believe, as many have said before me, that affluence is the real problem, though affliction will choke the word also. But for every 10 men who can survive trials and trouble, only one can survive a fat bank account. Either way, when either of these come your way, hold fast to the Word.

3. Cultivate patience.

“…they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (emphasis mine) Luke 8:15 (ESV)

When it comes to the Word, patience is paramount. The person who reads God’s book for a week and says, “It hasn’t done anything for me,” will never taste the sweetest fruit that comes from years in the Scriptures. When it comes to sowing the Word in my own heart or the heart of my children or friends, time and persistence wins the day. Keep on keeping on. Stay in the word. There is a special blessing that comes to the man or woman who faithfully spends day after day, year after year…in the Book of books.

 

Here’s something from the archives along these lines for your encouragement: A Highly Motivating and Not-Often Considered Reason to Read and Meditate on Scripture Regularly

 

For Monday, July 13th: Luke 9

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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