Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Trustworthiness of Scripture

Torah, photo by Lawrie Cate

The apostle Peter denied Jesus three times (Mark 14:66–72). Many remember this monumental failure on Peter’s part. Jesus even forewarned Peter that this would happen before He went to the cross (Matthew 26:34). However, we see a completely different Peter than this in the book of Acts when Peter leads about three thousand to Christ publicly (Acts 2). Where once we saw Peter looking out for himself or looking at lesser things, we now see him looking at Jesus.

The account of Peter’s faith is not perfect, but it is real. If you were making up a story, you wouldn’t want to include a lot of what Peter did and said. Peter walked on water, but then began to sink because he looked away from Jesus (Matthew 14:25-33). Peter even cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear in the garden when Jesus was being arrested and he was rebuked by Jesus for doing so (Matthew 26:51-52). Peter tried to stand in the way of Jesus going to the cross in another account and Jesus told him “Get behind me Satan (Mark 8:33)!” Yet, Jesus chose Peter to “be the rock upon which He would build His Church (Matthew 16:13-20).”

When Peter wrote First and Second Peter, we also see a different Peter. We see his faith in the risen Lord. In 2 Peter 1:16 Peter recalls seeing the deity of Christ first hand when he witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus on the “sacred mountain” with James and John. There the disciples heard the voice of God and saw Jesus radiate with the light of His Glory and Holy Spirit. This event help solidify for Peter who Jesus is (Matthew 17:1-9). Peter recalled, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

Not only is Peter an author of scripture, he is also an eye witness with a firsthand account of Christ and His ministry. As he continues to write his letter 2 Peter, Peter goes on to say this about the scripture: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).” Peter is acknowledging that the scriptures were written by Holy men of God who were led by His Holy Spirit.

So how do we know if the Bible is trustworthy? According to 2 Peter, we can rest in the following facts about how we can know that the Bible is trustworthy:

  1. The Bible is not a list of made up “stories,” myths, or fables
  2. First and Second Peter, and many other books of the Bible, were written by eye witnesses
  3. The Bible did not come about through private interpretation
  4. It was not through the will of man, but was the will of God that the Bible came into being
  5. God moved people to write and led them by His Holy Spirit

It is extremely assuring to rest in the scriptures with the knowledge of these facts. It is even more assuring to realize that the “messiness” of the accounts in scripture actually lend themselves to the Bible’s credibility. As evidenced in the life of Peter, the Bible is indeed trustworthy. It is trustworthy not only because it gives us the high points, but it gives us the low ones as well. The Bible gives us the whole story. It gives us the whole truth. It is indeed trustworthy.

The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Pe 1:16–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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