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. We’ve already seen from the previous BLOGS that the NT writers most often quote the ‘portions of’ graphe scripture that were prophetic in nature to prove to Jewish readers the validity of their gospel logos message of Jesus Christ for salvation by trusting-relying-faith in Him alone. Likewise, Peter has already done this in 1 Peter 2:6 concerning Jesus being the “Cornerstone in Zion/Jerusalem” citing Isaiah 28:16, also using graphe scripture in the singular without the definite article. Now in this 2nd letter Peter makes his view of OT scripture very apparent in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that “no prophecy of/belonging-to scripture (a) comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” There are only 3 places in the NT that graphe scripture is used without the definite article (a) and in all 3 cases, the context makes it clear that the writer is thinking about a certain ‘portion of’ scripture, i.e., prophetic, and not ‘the whole/entirety of’ scripture. <Notes> a) This is the only use of graphe in the singular with the article: 1 Peter 2:6; 2 Peter 1:20; 2 Timothy 3:16 – see BT5 a.
Again, it is most likely prophecy of/belonging-to scripture is also in Peter’s mind in 2 Peter 3:15:16, because immediately before this in 2 Peter 2:1-2, 12 he 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,” and later in 2 Peter 3:2-3, 9 “You should remember the directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words of the holy Prophets and/coupled the entole officially-decreed, universally-binding commandment of the Lord and Savior through your 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.” The only 2 entole commandments in the NT are having trusting-relying-faith in Christ and/coupled unconditionally-loving one another as Christ unconditionally-loved us (a). The Great Commission of the apostles to preach the gospel and make disciples by teaching them to carefully-observe/guard all that I have entole commanded you . . . to the ends of the world/ages” until Christ returns for them is likely what is in view here (b). <Notes> a) 1 John 3:23 – see Only 2 Commandments, b) Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; John 14:2-3, 18, 28.
This all leads up to 2 Peter 3:15-16 “And count the makrothymia long-waiting patience (a) of our Lord [not having already returned] as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you (b) 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 (c), which the ignorant and unstable [people] twist, as they do the loipoy other (d) scriptures, to their own destruction.” <Notes> a) makrothymia: long-tempered waiting to express anger to avoid short-temperted 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, c) actually many because Paul’s Greek is poor and has very long sentences that can get you easily lost, d) loipoy: the rest, residue, remnant, or remaining of whatever is being spoken of, in this case the prophetic ‘portion of’ graphe scripture. Remember from above that graphe scripture in the singular without the definite articles occurs only 3 times and in each case the context makes it clear, as is here, that the prophetic ‘portion of’ scripture is in mind.
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/distort the prophetic ‘portions of’ OT scripture about the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord’s” coming judgment, but they scoff and twist for their own greedy gain (a) the loipoy remaining ‘portions-of’ OT scripture,” which in context are the non-prophetic OT scriptures, particularly the torah/nomos Law and Writings. In the Greek text, as I’ve shown above, “as they do the loipoy remaining ‘portions of’ scripture” comes after “the ignorant and unstable twist,” to show the emphasis is on the verb “twisting” that the “ignorant and unstable, in-it-for-money scoffers” do. Moving this phrase further away as too many translations do, further obscures this connection. Peter is NOT emphasizing that Paul’s writings are scripture! <Notes> a) 2 Peter 2:3.
Peter’s only point concerning Paul’s writings is that “some things in them are hard to understand,” which is very diplomatic way of saying that Paul was a “beloved brother,” 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. Every Greek scholar will tell you that ALL of Paul’s writings are complicated and “hard to understand,” 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. 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.
The real point Peter is addressing is the controversy that was created by Paul’s teaching on the Lord’s return and how these scoffers have had a hay day with it, for their personal gain. 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 certainly took advantage of. It was so bad that Paul had to write another letter to try and correct this with 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” is what all cults and scoffers do, focusing on the difficult, obscure passages of the bible – not on its plain teachings. The emphasis in 2 Peter 3:15-16 is clearly on these scoffers and their twisting/distorting of OT scripture, not on whether Paul’s writings are “scripture.” Peter’s point is that these people don’t just do it to Paul’s teachings about the Lord’s second coming for judgment, they’ve been doing it to not only to the difficult, hard-to-understand parts the prophetic ‘portions of’ OT scripture about the Lord’s coming judgment but also to the difficult, hard-to-understand parts of the Law and Writings, simply because it’s miraculous or supernatural, and they certainly don’t believe in a God that is above or outside the natural laws of the universe! Nothing has changed in 2000 years!
Well hopefully after clearing up in the last few BLOGS the “muddy waters” in that others have created over the years trying to prove the unrestricted use of the OT scripture and even treating the NT as “holy scripture” 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. 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! <Notes> a) chadash, kainos: fresh, completely-different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior.
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 because You have given us ALL impartial access to You by the means of the Holy Spirit “One Teacher” to be “guided into ALL 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,” 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” because we can learn directly from You under the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant.