Logos Word of God – BT11: Paul’s writings were NOT called “scripture” in 2 Peter 3:15-16
Logos Word of God – BT11: Paul’s writings were NOT called “scripture” in 2 Peter 3:15-16
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Some say that Peter referred to Paul’s writings as “scripture” in 2 Peter 3:15-16. However once again, upon close scholarly examination, it turns out to be a terrible translation or interpretation, but it actually argues for the use of ONLY the Messianic ‘portion of’ of graphe scripture and reliance on New Testament (NT) prophecy all the more! Remember “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof-text,” as the great professor & author D. A. Carson once stated!
We’ve already seen from the previous BLOGS Logos Word of God – BT6, – BT7, – BT8, and – BT9, that the NT writers most often quote from the ‘kind/class/category/portion of’ the graphe scriptures that were Messianic prophecies to convert Jews to Christ and to encourage immature Jewish-Christians being tempted by Law-teachers to return to Moses. The ‘portion of’ of the OT they used in either case ONLY had to do with prophecies about the kreisson/kreitton ‘so much better’ “NEW covenant, possession of things, speaking of things, logos message, sacrifice, resurrection, life, promises, heavenly country, and hope” (a), particularly of Jesus Christ for salvation dia ‘thru the realizing channel of’ trusting-relying-faith in Him alone. <Notes> a) Hebrews 1:4, 6:9, 7:19, 22, 8:6, 9:23, 10:34, 11:16, 35, 40, 12:24.
Likewise, Peter has previously taken this same approach in 1 Peter 2:6 concerning Jesus being the “Cornerstone in Zion/Jerusalem” citing the OT Prophet Isaiah 28:16, using graphe scripture in the singular WITHOUT the definite article. From Logos Word of God – BT5, we saw that there are only 4 places in the NT that [singular] graphe scripture is used WITHOUT the definite article and in all 4 cases (a), and 2 cases of the [plural] graphe scripture WITHOUT the definite article (b) , the context makes it clear that the writer is thinking about a specific ‘kind/class/category/portion of’ OT graphe scripture, specifically the prophetic, and NOT ‘the whole/entirety of’ graphe scripture.
<Notes> a) John 19:37 prophecy of Christ’s piercing at the cross; 1 Peter 2:6 prophecy of Christ’s coming; 2 Peter 1:20-21 of all prophecy of graphe scripture produced by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God ; 2 Timothy 3:16 of the specific prophetic Messianic OT verses about Christ and His New Covenant salvation by trusting-relying-faith – see Logos Word of God – BT7, b) Romans 1:2 of Christ’s coming promised by The OT Prophets; Romans 16:26 of the gospel revelation of Christ promised by prophetic scriptures.
Now in this 2nd letter Peter takes this same approach to OT scripture in 2 Peter 1:20-21 “this-specific-one-of pas ‘each/every of a kind/class/category/portion of’ prophecy of/belonging-to-graphe-scripture (a) idios ‘of/belonging-to-it’s-own [person’s efforts of]’ epilusis ‘unloosing, unpacking, untying of interpretation knots to discern the true meaning’ absolutely-in-fact-NOT ginomai ‘comes into existence.’ For [the reason is that] absolutely-in-fact-NOT thelemati ‘by-the-means-of the strong desire or preferred will’ of man phero ‘was carried along to bring forth’ prophecy at-any-time, but-instead by-the-means-of [singular] Holy Spirit routinely/habitually was-being phero ‘carried along to bring forth – men spoke from God.” Again, the Messianic prophetic ‘portion of’ singular graphe scripture WITHOUT the definite article is in mind (see note “a” above).
Even though 2 Peter 3:16 uses plural graphe scriptures WITH the definite article, and there are cases of this remotely referring to ‘the whole/entirety of’ OT scripture (a), the context earlier of 2 Peter 2:1-2, 12 indicates that is NOT the case. There Peter warns about the “false prophets” in those OT days, “just as there will be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master [and Christ’s teaching about His return] who bought them,” who also “blaspheme about matters of which they are ignorant.” <Notes> a) John 5:39 that is the study habits of scribes & Pharisees; Matthew 22:29 though resurrection from the dead is mostly spoken of by the OT Prophets; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 though this likely refers only to Messianic prophecies like Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:26, Zechariah 13:7, Hosea 6:2, Psalms 16:10.
The more immediate context of 2 Peter 3:2-3, 9 reinforces this: “You should remember the directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words hupo ‘subordinately under the authority of’ the [OT] holy Prophets and/coupled of-the [singular] entole ‘officially-decreed, universally-binding commandment’ (a) of-the Lord-Master-Owner and/coupled Savior-Messiah of/belonging-to-your the-apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’ . . . The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” <Notes> a) God’s only singular entole commandment in the New Covenant in 1 John 3:23 actually consists of only 2 entole commandments of trusting-relying-faith in Christ and unconditionally-loving one another – see Logos Word of God – BT14.
Clearly the authoritative Messianic prophecies of the OT are being coupled to the authority given to the apostles in the Great Commission to be the Messiah’s witnesses to preach/proclaim the gospel and particularly to make disciples/followers of Christ in all nations by them definitively/wholly having trusting-relying-faith in Christ and being water-baptized for salvation eis ‘toward and reaching the goal/purpose of’ the forgiveness of sins in order to receive the promised grace-gift of the Holy Spirit and/also teaching them to tereo ‘guard/watch, attend carefully, to keep or maintain, hold firmly, observe or keep’ pas ‘the whole/entirety of’ what I have entole ‘officially-decreed as a universally-binding commandment to’ you . . . to the ends of the world/ages,” that is until Christ returns for them (a). <Notes> a) Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8, 2:38-39.
This context leads up to 2 Peter 3:15 from the Greek: “And [I strongly urge you to] presently/ongoingly hegeomai ‘lead the way by your thinking, or make as your leading thought’ the makrothymia ‘long-waiting patient-restraint’ (a) of our Lord [not having already returned] as-salvation, kathos ‘just as in the manner in which’ (adverb) kai also our beloved brother Paul, kata down-from/according-to the wisdom, having-already been given to him, [he] already-wrote to you (b) . . .”
<Notes> a) makrothymia: long-tempered waiting to express anger to avoid short-tempered premature, reactive use of force, b) since 2 Peter was written about 65-68 AD, this could be referring to Paul’s writings about Christ’s coming and His ‘patient’ delay in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2:19, 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-2:14 written between 51 and 53 AD.
Peter continues in 2 Peter 3:16 “hos ‘in the same manner as’ (adverb) kai also in pas ‘entirety/whole of’ the epistles ‘letters’ [of his], routinely/habitually speaking in them peri ‘all around about or concerning’ these-things (the return of Christ for judgment), en hais ‘within which is demonstrative of this, that’ (pronoun) presently/ongoingly are dusnoetos ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind’ some-things (a), ha which (pronoun) the amathes ‘ignorant, not informed of the essentials’ and/coupled asteriktos ‘not confirmed/established, thus unstable, unsteady’ [people, likely men] strebloo ‘twist/turn to torture, put to the rack, or pervert the truth’ hos ‘in the same manner as (adverb)’ kai also tas the-specific-ones loipos (b) ‘remaining or left-over or left-behind kind-of-ones’ (adjective) [plural] graphe scriptures (accusative: direct object), pros ‘toward and reaching’ their [these people/men] own destruction.”
<Notes> a) actually many, because Paul’s Greek is poor and has very long sentences that can get you easily lost, b) loipos: the rest, residue, remnant, or remaining of whatever has been previously spoken of, in this case is the prophetic ‘portion of’ graphe scripture, NOT the ‘entirety/whole of’ OT graphe scriptures. We have to remember the context and other uses of graphe scripture by Peter in 1 Peter 2:6, 2 Peter 1:20, which all have to do with the prophetic!
Peter did NOT write that these “twisters/torturers of The Truth” do this to Paul’s writings as if doing this “hos kai ‘in the same manner as also’ [the] loipos (d) ‘remaining or left-over or left-behind ones of’ tas the-specific-ones [plural] graphe scriptures,” which could then be interpreted that Paul’s writings are other ‘kinds/classes/categories/portions of’ The graphe Scriptures, something that NO NT writer nor Jew nor Christian would dare think until the Catholic theologian Tertullian dared to introduce this idea in 208 AD to try to win some arguments against Jews and 2 so-called heretics – see Logos Word of God – BT5. Furthermore, that’s not the correct way to apply the adjective loipos NOR where the definite article tas is! This is actually “twisting” of difficult writings! We’ll unpack this below!
First, in 51 occurrences of graphe scripture, most of which have the definite article, NONE have the definite article any place other than immediately in front of graphe scripture. Clearly the emphasis of the definite-article is NOT being applied to graphe scripture but to loipos “the remaining others.” That would leave [plural] graphe scriptures without the definite-article, only seen elsewhere in Romans 1:2 regarding the Son of God promised dia ‘thru the realizing channel of’ God’s prophets in [plural] graphe scriptures, [the kind that is] holy.” Again, the Messianic prophecies are in mind!
By using the definite-article in front of loipos, Peter is referring back to something he had spoken of in previous verses concerning graphe scriptures, but NOW specifically of “those other than” the ‘kind/class/category/portion of’ the Messianic prophecies from the OT general category of the Prophets he also always had been referring to, in other words, the general categories of the OT like the Law & Writings – see Logos Word of God – BT5. The TLB version got this right with “the other parts of the Scripture.” The WE version also was close with “other things in the holy writings.” It’s a big leap to suppose that Peter is calling Paul’s writings “other scriptures” as we will see.
Peter really isn’t saying that Paul’s writings are equal to “scripture,” as some would have you believe, who admit that this is their only “proof text!” Instead Peter is simply saying these false-teaching scoffers don’t just stop with trying to twist/torture the prophetic ‘portions of’ OT Prophets ‘portion of’ scripture about the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord’s” coming judgment by Christ, but they scoff and twist/torture for their own greedy gain (a) even the loipos ‘remaining kind/classes/categories/portions-of’ OT graphe scriptures,” which again in context are the other kinds/classes/categories/portions-of OT graphe scriptures, particularly the torah/nomos Law and Writings. <Notes> a) 2 Peter 2:3.
Another clue is the Greek word order: “hos ‘in the same manner as (adverb)’ kai ALSO tas the-specific-ones loipos (d) ‘remaining or left-over or left-behind kind-of-ones’ (adjective)” is an adverbial explanation of the EXTENT at which “the amathes ‘ignorant, not informed of the essentials’ and/coupled asteriktos ‘not confirmed/established, thus unstable, unsteady’ [persons, likely men will] strebloo ‘twist/turn to torture, put to the rack, or pervert the truth’.” We know WHY they twist OT scriptures – “for their own greedy gain,” but now Peter tells HOW far they will go to ‘twist/torture’ ‘difficult-to-understand’ writings.
The target of “twisters to turn people from The Truth, who is Jesus Christ“ is the “dusnoetos ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind’ ‘portions of’ ALL writings, not just the OT Prophets, but the Law and Writings, and even Paul’s letters, which Peter uses as an illustration/demonstration of the extent which these scoffers will go! Even the scribes & Pharisees were false-teachers in the mind of God because they routinely used the OT graphe scriptures, particularly The Law ‘category/portion’ to try to trick and trap Jesus, and there are so many verses by the NT writers about them trying to deceitfully drag Christians away from The Truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel logos message – see Logos Word of God – BT8.
Peter’s point is simply that “twisters/torturers” are using the same method on Paul’s prophetic “difficult-to-understand” writings concerning the return of Christ as Judge. After generally introducing “the wisdom of Paul’s letters,” Peter then focuses on the Messianic ‘portion of’ these, that Peter’s entire context is arguing for by next saying,”[Paul] routinely/habitually speaking in them [letters of wisdom] peri ‘all around about or concerning’ THESE-things (context: the return of Christ for God’s judgment).”
Then Peter uses the words en hais to say that “within which is demonstrative/illustrative of” “THESE things” concerning the scoffers of the Messianic judgment coming that Peter has been speaking about. And WHAT is ‘demonstrative/illustrative’ of this is: THAT “some-things [within Paul’s wise writings] “presently/ongoingly are dusnoetos ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind.’ That’s the target of the scoffers!
It is exactly THIS MAIN POINT that Peter uses Paul as an ‘demonstrative/illustrative’ example of: “which the amathes ‘ignorant, not informed of the essentials’ and/coupled asteriktos ‘not confirmed/established, thus unstable, unsteady’ [persons, likely men]” are going to target particularly the things that “presently/ongoingly are dusnoetos ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind,” and in Peter’s context “THESE things” concerning the return of Christ for God’s judgment.
THAT WAS Peter’s MAIN POINT, but Peter NOW adds a further adverbial phrase to expound on the word strebloo ‘twist/turn to torture, put to the rack, or pervert the truth’ that is the EXTENT of their targeting: hos ‘in the same manner as (adverb)’ kai ALSO tas the-specific-ones loipos (b) ‘remaining or left-over or left-behind kind-of-ones’ (adjective) [plural] graphe scriptures (accusative: direct object).”
The emphasis is on the manner or EXTENT of “the twisting/turning” – NOT just what Peter has been primarily talking about, that is Messianic prophecies about coming judgment from the general ‘portion of’ graphe scriptures called The Prophets, but “kai ALSO tas the-specific-ones loipos (b) ‘remaining or left-over or left-behind kind-of-ones’,” that is from The Law and The Writings – see Logos Word of God – BT5 on the general ‘portions of’ graphe scripture. The ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind’ ‘portions of’ these are ALSO the target of the “twisters/torturers,” just as they ALSO have done with the “difficult to understand/grasp by the mind’ ‘portions of’ Paul’s writings!
In context, Peter has been speaking exclusively of the Messianic prophetic ‘portion of’ graphe scriptures of the general ‘portion’ called The Prophets, particularly of eternal judgment, already speaking of the “swift destruction” of those “false teachers bringing in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” in 2 Peter 2:1. Again “in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is NOT idle, and their destruction is NOT asleep” in 2 Peter 2:3. Again, “blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, they will also be destroyed by their destruction” in 2 Peter 2:12, “being kept until the Day of Judgment and destruction of the ungodly” in 2 Peter 3:7.
NOW, finally Peter speaks of “the destruction” of these “twisters/torturers” who have scoffed at the Lord’s coming who follow their own sinful desires in 2 Peter 3:3, but NO longer for just “twisting/torturing” the “difficult to understand kinds of’ Messianic prophetic ‘portion of’ graphe scriptures in The Prophets, but ALSO of the “other kinds/classes/categories/portions of’ the OT graphe scriptures like the Law and Writings, just as they “twist/torture” the “difficult to understand kinds of’ Paul’s “wise letters,” but particularly in mind, the ‘portions of’ pertaining to Christ’s coming judgment! I already said this above, but it bears repeating to see the logical flow of Peter’s argument.
Peter’s only real point concerning Paul’s writings is that “SOME things in them are ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind,'” which is a very diplomatic way of saying this. Note how Peter introduces Paul as the “BELOVED brother Paul, kata down-from/according-to the wisdom, having-already been given to him.” This is very diplomatic, considering how Paul publicly condemned Peter in Galatians 2:11-14 (Acts 15:1). Maybe Peter was attempting to mend the rift between them and set a good example of Christian unity.
However, every Greek scholar will tell you that ALL of Paul’s writings are complicated and ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind,’ especially because of his very long run-on sentences without punctuation in the original manuscripts, difficulty in sorting out his grammatical structure, complex vocabulary, unique revelations, deep theology, and his learned legal-ease style as a Pharisaical lawyer where his arguments can get so long that you can ‘lose the forest through the trees.’ His Greek wasn’t as good as other writers, and nothing like the polished Greek of the book of Hebrews, likely written by his travelling companion Barnabas. Peter likely was being soft on Paul to keep the focus on these scoffers!
The real issue Peter is addressing concerning Paul is the controversy that was created by Paul’s teaching on the Lord’s return and how these ‘twisting/torturing scoffers’ have had a hay-day with it, for their own personal gain, leading to their own destruction. Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2:19, 4:13-5:11 created such confusion and misunderstanding that Christians were doing absolutely crazy things, like selling their houses and waiting on mountain tops, which the false prophets and teachers, maybe even Jewish Law-teachers, certainly took advantage of. It was so bad that Paul had to write another letter to try and correct this in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-2:14. And the confusion and controversy continues to this day!
Many commentators/translators (including the NET Bible) correctly note that this “twisting/torturing of truth” is what all cults and scoffers do, focusing on the difficult, obscure passages of the bible – not on its plain teachings.
However, the emphasis in 2 Peter 3:15-16 is clearly on these scoffers and their twisting/torturing of OT scripture, particularly the ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind” ‘portions of’ it, whether the Prophets, Law, or Writings. Peter’s argument isn’t that Paul’s writings are ALSO scripture, for he sure doesn’t give you any reasons to support that argument. If anything Peter is criticizing Paul’s writings to ALSO be ‘difficult to understand/grasp by the mind” and thus easy prey for the “twisters/torturers of The Truth.”
Peter’s point is that these “twisters/torturers of The Truth” don’t just do this to ‘the difficult, hard-to-understand ‘portions of’ the Messianic prophetic ‘portions of’ OT scripture found in the general ‘portion’ call The Prophets, specifically about Christ’s coming judgment at His return, but also to ‘the difficult, hard-to-understand ‘portions of’ the ‘remaining, left-over’ kinds/classes/categories/portions of’ graphe scriptures that Peter had NOT previously referenced, that is, the Law and Writings – again see Logos Word of God – BT5 for the broad subdivisions of the OT.
But the “twisters/torturers of The Truth” don’t stop with the OT, but ALSO do the same with other ‘the difficult, hard-to-understand ‘portions of’ Paul’s prophetic writings, but the context makes it clear that Peter is talking about the Messianic prophetic ‘portions of’ about Christ’s coming judgment at His return. Modern-day scoffers that are still in it for fame and fortune use the same methods!
Hopefully after clearing up the “muddy waters” in the last few BLOGS that some “twisters/torturers” have created over the years with their “proof-texts” for the unrestricted use of the OT scripture and even treating the NT as “holy scripture,” this will help you take one more step to understanding how completely-different-in-kind the New (a) Covenant and New (a) Way are of pistis trusting-relying-faith in Christ and His Holy Spirit. <Notes> a) chadash, kainos: fresh, completely-different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior.
Did you know that the term “Holy Books” was created by the Catholic Church sometime between 465 – 1500 AD, and the term “Holy Bible” was created in 1611 by the authors of the King James Bible. Can you see how the “traditions of men” get started? They don’t have any early Church precedence!
Lord, I thank You that we don’t have to be “wise and understanding” Greek scholars to genuinely, experientially, relationally epiginosko You or Your will – see Bible Info – BT2, because You have given us ALL impartial access to You by the means of the Holy Spirit, the “One Teacher” for us to be “guided into ALL The Truth, so that “by Your anointing we ALL have eido mental ‘seeing’ to perceive knowledge, and so we have absolutely-in-fact-NO need that any man teach us” per 1 John 2:20, 27 including the “difficult-to-understand writings” of Paul or his differences of doctrinal opinion from that of Peter or James. We don’t have to follow any of these “so-called pillars of the Church” per Galatians 2:9, because we can learn directly from You under the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant.
Spiritual Education, Paul’s writings were NOT called “scripture” in 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter called Paul’s writings hard to understand, Scoffers of Christ target difficult writings to twist for their own gain, Twisters target the Prophets but ALSO other scriptures categories like Law & Writings, Twisters targeted Paul’s prophecies about Christ’s coming also because difficult to understand
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