2 Peter 1:12-21 ~ "How Do We Know that The Word Is True?"
How Do We Know That the Word Of God Is True?
It’s a Question that many of us have heard from various people: How do we know that the Bible is true? It’s a good question because if the bible is not true, then this whole business of the need to trust in Jesus so that our sins may be forgiven and we may have eternal life is gotten out of the way. It’s a nonsense discussion if it can be questioned as to the truth and the authenticity and the inspiration of the bible.
The apostle Peter was well aware that the truth of scripture would be questioned and doubted and disputed and denied. You have heard of the importance of the dying testimony of a man who knows that he will soon be thrust into the presence of God. Well, here 2 Peter 1:12-15, we have the dying testimony of the apostle who had denied the Lord Jesus, and been restored by God’s grace to become a great witness to the truth of god’s word.
2 Peter 1:12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am I this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”
1. We know that the Bible is true because of the solid foundation for faith laid down in the writings of Peter
Do you remember, weak, vacillating Peter who was always putting his foot in his mouth culminating at last in his denial of his master?
Well, that Peter got stabilized and now it is his desire to give everyone a rock solid foundation for faith. Do you remember the confidence the Lord Jesus placed in Peter, even though he knew his weaknesses and failures?
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthens your brethren.” Now, that is the exact word that Peter uses here when he wants to establish them or strengthen them in truth.
Isn’t it good to know that God is fully aware of all our weaknesses and failures and that when our lives are surrendered to Jesus, those very weaknesses and failures can be turned into strengths in God’s service?
And that is why the apostle Peter wrote these two letters to the churches.
a. While he was here, he wanted to constantly remind them of the truths of scripture.
And so Peter says that as long as he remains in this tent..... (isn’t that an interesting way of speaking about our bodies? – just a tent – a temporary dwelling place till we get home to glory and get our everlasting body perfectly equipped for eternity).... yes as long as he was with them he would stir them up to walk in faith.
b. When he was no longer here he wanted to still be able to remind them, and us of these solid truths.
Peter was not unaware that he would not be with them much longer. Jesus had clearly told him that when he was old, he would be martyred, and he knew that the time for that event was drawing very near. So, he was determined that even after his death, he would still be able to strengthen the brethren. How do you do that? Why, through the written word. That is why he wrote these two letters, and it is also good to remember that the gospel of Mark was actually the testimony of the apostle Peter given through one who had spent much time with him.
And so it is that today, nearly 2,000 years after Peter’s death, we are still being reminded by the apostle of the value of saving faith.
But it is not only in Peter’s writings. He now turns his attention to:
2. We know that the Bible is true because of the Writings of the New Testament.
a. The New Testament is not based on fables or myths
2 Peter 1:16 “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
In our day, there is a group of so called scholar who get together once in a while “In Search for the Historical Jesus.” They have been searching for the historical Jesus for over 200 years. Albert Schweitzer was one of those who tried to piece together what he thought was an authentic account of Jesus and many have kept up that search to the present day. In these gatherings, supposedly they sift through the writings of the gospels to try to pick out the things which describe the real Jesus. Can you imagine anything so foolish? Of course, the media is very impressed by these “experts” and their deep studies. Do you remember Yuri Gagarin, in the early Russian Sputnik or space ship who reported, after coming back to earth, that he had looked all around the heavens and had seen no sign of God? Someone said at the time that his statement was exactly the same as a worm lifting his head up a half inch from the dirt and reporting piously that he didn’t see anything like a man, so therefore the worms could conclusively put away the myth that there was such a creature as mankind.
It is exactly this kind of foolishness that Peter is guarding against when he asserts that the disciples did not follow any cunningly devised fables when they made known the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead,
b. The New testament is an eye witness account of the person of Jesus Christ.
Peter and James and john were there, along with the other disciples. They walked and talked with the Lord Jesus. They heard His teaching: they saw His miracles; they observed His power over the demonic forces; they were eyewitnesses of His majesty. Peter can agree totally with the apostle John when he wrote, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
But they had a more certain witness than their own eyes for they had the witness of God Himself. 17 “For He received from god the father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”
Some of them may have been present at Jesus’ baptism, when god spoke from heaven about His beloved Son, but the three disciples were with Him on the Mount of transfiguration when they not only saw Jesus shining in all the glory and splendour of heaven, along with Moses and Elijah, but 5 “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
The entire New Testament is written by those who personally saw the Lord Jesus, and were convinced of all the truth which they recorded. Even the apostle Paul who was not with them at that time was given a personal revelation from the risen Christ which equipped him also to write as an eye witness to the complete truth.
But now Peter draws back even further. For not only his own writing, not only the New Testament writing, but the whole bible, including the Old Testament is the inspired word of God.
3. We know that the bible is true because of the solid foundation for faith laid down in the Old Testament Scriptures.
1 Peter 1:19 “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;”
All of the Old testament: here Peter speaks particularly about the prophetic word. But, he is really including the whole from Genesis to Malachi. All of it is the Word of God.
a. The prophetic word is confirmed by the life and ministry of Christ.
Do you remember John 5:39 “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Luke 24:25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These [are] the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and [the] prophets and [the] Psalms concerning Me. 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures. 46 then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:48 “And you are witnesses of these things.”
Three hundred of more prophecies were laid down which were fulfilled in the person, work, death, burial, resurrection and promise of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
b. No scripture is bases on human reasoning or opinions
And this brings us to Peter’s assertion about the whole Bible. 20 “knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Contrary to everything that modern interpretation can claim, the bible claims that it was not written by men who put down what they thought they should say, but by men who put down what they knew God wanted them to say. If men had been left to their own resources, they would never have talked about sin and rebellion and failure. They would not have written about a god Man from heaven, about an atoning sacrifice. The Koran doesn’t do that. No other books on earth do that. Only the bible is inspired by God and is utterly reliable.
c. The scripture from first to last is God breathed – Holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
In other words, there is absolutely no reason for anyone not having saving faith. The entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is the inspired Word of the living God Who desires us to know everything that is necessary for faith and godliness. We have a reliable record of where we came from of why we are here, and where we are going. We have a clear testimony of our chief problem, which is our sin problem, but we also have a crystal clear testimony of what God has done for us to bring us back to Himself. We are given all that we need in order to live for Him here and an absolute assurance that we shall live with Him in glory forever.
As the hymn writer says,
“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His Excellent Word!”
What more can He say, that to you He has said; to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.”
So let me ask you, do you have saving faith? It was the apostle Peter’s greatest desire that you should have a solid foundation for your faith, and it is my greatest desire to see you step out from the shifting sands of human opinion onto the solid rock of scripture. For I want you to be safe for your lifetime and for eternity.