Be Diligent to Grow ~ 2 Peter 1: Treasure the Scripture! – 1:19-21

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Be Diligent to Grow, Part 4

Treasure the Scripture!

2 Peter 1:19-21

Bruce A. Hess

I would encourage you, if you wouldn’t mind right now, to take out the word of God and turn in it to the book of 2 Peter. Not 1 Peter, but 2 Peter, and chapter number 1.

You know, when you examine church history—and it’s also true of people’s personal spiritual history–we have a natural tendency to drift from Scripture. We have that natural tendency to stray from God’s truth.

I don’t know if you know it or not, but virtually all of the seminaries in the United States, and we might even throw in all the Ivy League schools, all of them were founded on a solid belief in Scripture originally. But, if you study the history of seminaries, you find out that historically within fifty years, seminaries tend to depart from a solid belief in Scripture. I am encouraged by the seminary that I attended, one of many good ones today, but it is now approaching 100 years, Dallas Theological Seminary. Dallas Theological Seminary holds to a very solid belief in the Word of God. But we have this human tendency to drift, and the same thing is true of families and the same thing is true of individuals.

Some of you are aware, I’ve shared this before, that I am an eighth generation American. When you track my family line back eight generations, it tracks back to Germany. My predecessors were having religious persecution in Germany, so they fled to France and became part of the French Huguenot movement, then moved from France to the United States, all in the name of religious freedom.

My ancestor, if you track it back eight generations, that ancestor had brothers by the name of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, which tells you something of where they were coming from spiritually. What is interesting is, somewhere along the line there was a drift and when it came to my own family that I grew up in, we had lost awareness of the gospel. Didn’t learn it from the family line, had to learn it as other people shared it with us.

So, each generation must be careful. My children, my grandkids, need to answer the question, will we always be embracing Scripture as God’s word? My kids, my grandkids, need to answer the question, will we keep the gospel a priority? It is true of our family, it’s also true of you and yours. You will have to be answering those same questions:  will we continue to embrace the Scripture as God’s word, will we continue to keep the gospel a priority?

Now, we are going to look at a new section in 2 Peter 1. I’ve entitled the message today, “Treasure the Scripture!” You notice there is an exclamation point there on that title. It is going to be chapter 1, verses 19-21. Before we actually get there, I thought I would read it. If you would like to follow along in your Bible, I am going to read 2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 19-21.

Peter says, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

So, our message today is about ‘Treasure the Scripture!’ It is one of my favorite topics. I get totally excited whenever I have an opportunity to talk about the Bible, to talk about Scripture, to talk about the Word of God.

As Peter wants to convey to us, this message of ‘Treasure the Scripture!’ we are going to see two things today, he is going to tell us about the Scripture.

First, it is Shining Truth. We are going to see that in verse 19. But second, we are going to see It is Spirit-given Truth. We are going to see that in verses 20-21.

So, that is where we are going this morning.

Let’s begin by looking at the fact that the Scripture is Shining Truth. Now, the last time we were together, Peter was underscoring in the previous verses that Jesus Christ will return again. In fact, when we get to chapter 3 of this letter, he is going to spend a whole chapter focusing on that subject matter. But what we saw in verses 16-18 was, he was giving eyewitness proof that Jesus will return. He goes back to his experience with Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, which we saw last time was an advanced screening of them seeing Jesus coming in His Second Coming glory. That was what was unpackaged for them to preview on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Now, as we move down to verses 19-21, he wants to add an additional source that underscores the reality of Jesus’ Second Coming and that second source is the Scriptures. Look with me at verse 19. I want to focus on the first phrase of the verse. I am going to read it in the version that I am using, the New American Standard. I want you to notice and see if your version in this first phrase varies a little bit. He says in verse 19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure…” Now, some of you have different translations and you say, well, mine reads a little bit differently than that. I want to actually talk about that for a moment. I don’t usually go into this much depth, but I think it is a good lesson for us to understand why sometimes those who are translators of the Bible come up with a little bit different wording.

Here is what I want us to understand: literally, I mean without any changes or translation really, these are the words of this phrase – “We have the more sure prophetic word.” That is exactly what the original says – We have the more sure prophetic word. Now, when it says, ‘prophetic word,’ that is a phrase that was constantly used to refer to the Old Testament Scriptures. So, when he says, we have the more sure prophetic word, we could say, we have the more sure Scripture. That idea of ‘more sure,’ means more certain, more reliable. But that phrase is a little bit difficult to translate, because there are some potential nuances to the phraseology.

I am going to share those nuances with you. This is the literal statement – We have the more sure prophetic word. That is exactly the way it reads in the original language. But one nuance of understanding that phrase is that Peter could be saying:  the Scripture is thoroughly reliable. The NET Bible (the New English Translation) takes it in that nuance, they translate it “We possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing.” So, this is the literal statement, how are we to understand it? The idea of this first nuance is that Peter would be saying this: embrace the Scripture’s testimony about the Second Coming, its testimony is fully reliable.

That is one potential nuance of that phrase. There is a second nuance. Remember the literal wording in the original. The second nuance is, Peter could be saying this:  the transfiguration (that he just discussed) further confirms the sureness of Scripture. The updated ESV (Bible versions are sometimes updated) translates it with that idea of nuance. It says: “we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed.” We have the Scripture more fully confirmed. The idea of that nuance is, Peter would be saying this – what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration is additional verification of the Scripture’s teaching on the Second Coming. So, that is another possible nuance of that first phrase.

Then, there is a third one. Remember, this is the literal statement that is made: “we have the more sure prophetic word.” The idea behind this third nuance is, Peter could be saying this: Scripture is even broader in affirming the Second Coming than my apostolic experience is. The early ESV and the New American Standard basically translate along this line that we have something more sure, (comma, that is) the prophetic word. The idea in this third nuance, Peter would be saying: Scripture gives more detail, and is even more authoritative than any and every spiritual experience than anybody could have.

So, you have these nuances. I hope I’m not boring you here, I just want you to see why sometimes translators aren’t quite sure how to translate a particular phrase. You might be sitting there, and you might be thinking, okay, I got three nuances, but what do you think, Bruce?  Well, my answer to that question would be: I lean a little bit to nuance number three, idea number three. But here is what I want you to understand: no matter which nuance is followed, the thrust is basically the same.

Let me illustrate. First nuance, embrace Scripture’s testimony about the Second Coming, it is fully reliable. What is the message? Treasure the Scripture!

If the idea that he is communicating is idea number two, what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration is additional verification of the Scripture’s teaching on the Second Coming. What is he saying to us if he is saying that? Treasure the Scripture!

If the idea is idea number three, in terms of nuance, that he is saying Scripture gives more detail and is even more authoritative than any and every spiritual experience, what is the thrust? Treasure the Scripture!

Whatever the nuance that he intended to communicate, the general thrust is the same. Treasure the Scripture! That is why we’ve titled the message today that: Treasure the Scripture!

Now, this is a very significant passage we are in today. I want you to know that 2 Peter 1, verses 20 and 21, and 2 Timothy 3, verses 16 and 17 are the two most significant passages in all of the New Testament on the origin and the nature of Scripture. So, we are going to look, of course, at 2 Peter 1, verses 20 and 21, but we are also going to delve into 2 Timothy 3, verses 16 and 17.

Here is what I want you to see. Go back to verse 19. I want you to see the heart of this whole section of three verses, the heart of it all is found in verse 19. He says, “Again so we have the prophetic word made more sure (no matter what the nuance may be) here we go, here is the heart of what he wants to say: to which you do well to pay attention.” “To which you do well to pay attention.”

He is saying, give the Scriptures your best attention. It is well worth it…it is well worth it.

If you want to be convinced of how well worth it it is, I invite you sometime to go through Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible. One of the things we learn in Psalm 119 about the Bible is it is the way of blessing. We see that in verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 119, where he writes, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the Law of the Lord. (In accordance with the Scripture.) Blessed are those who keep His testimonies (The Scripture) and seek Him with their whole heart.” Scripture is the way of blessing. You want blessing in your life? You walk the way of the Scriptures.

Scripture is the way of blessing. Also, Scripture is a source of spiritual strength, Psalm 119, verse 28, at the end, stresses that.

Scripture is the way of blessing. It is a source of spiritual strength. Thirdly, we learn from Psalm 119 it is a treasury of wisdom and counsel, Psalm 119, verse 24 and also verses 98, 99 and 100 stress that.

It is the way of blessing. It is a source of spiritual strength. It is a treasury of wisdom and counsel. I love this one, the Scripture is never outdated. Psalm 119, verse 89 and verse 160 stress that. It is never outdated.

See, if you live in the 800’s [9th century] and you want to know and understand marriage and sexuality, where do you turn? You turn to the Scriptures. If you live in the 1960’s, which I did, and you want to understand about marriage and sexuality, where do you turn? You turn to the Scriptures. If you want to know in these days about marriage and sexuality, where do you go? You go to the Scripture because it is never outdated. The generation after us and the generation after that, the same will be true.

Scripture is the way of blessing, it is a source of spiritual strength, it is a treasury of wisdom and counsel, it is never outdated, and I love this, it is the light to the path of life. This is where we go, men and women, to learn the truth about me. This is where I find it. This is where we go to learn the truth about people. This is where we go to learn the truth about the world. This is where we go to learn the truth about the future. It is found in the word of God.

I love the way Kevin DeYoung puts it, he is a great writer, he says, of the Scripture: “It tells us who God is and what He demands. It tells us who we are, why we are here, where we are from, and where we are going. It tells us about love and marriage. It tells us about life before our life and life after death.” Where else are we going to find out information about that? “Most of all,” he says, “it tells us about sin and forgiveness, about Christ and the cross (that’s why we sang about it earlier) about how we are lost and how to be found.”

Those of us who are a little older already know this, some of you who are younger are going to be learning it more, but you can’t trust everything you hear. You can’t, right? You can’t trust everything you hear from your teachers and from your professors. You can’t trust everything you hear from your politicians. You can’t trust everything you hear on the internet. You can’t trust everything you hear in terms of the opinions of your friends and your peers. Yet…yet, you can trust Scripture.

See, here is what I think Peter is saying: he had this incredible experience, the advanced screening of Christ coming in His Second Coming glory.  I think what he is saying is this: he is saying, hey, it’s not necessary in every generation for God to appear in a giant cloud, whether it is on a mountain or outside your house, and the Shekinah Glory shows up and a verbal voice comes out and it makes a declaration about Jesus. He says that is not necessary to happen in every generation. Why? He says you have the Scriptures; you have the Scriptures and it is shining truth. It is shining truth.

Look again at verse 19. He says, “We have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention.” Then, notice he says the Scripture is like, “A lamp shining in a dark place.” Now, that word here that is translated “dark,” is not a word that means like ‘pitch black.’ It is a word that means – murky. It is a word that means – dingy.

You know, creation began in a glorious garden and then you had the rebellion of Adam, and the world became a murky swamp, and we live there. We live in a world that is marked by ignorance. It is a world that is marked by rebellion. It is a world that is marked by spiritual corruption. It is a world that is marked by death, it is why death exists. The Bible reveals something that is so vitally critical to know: that we need salvation; that all of us have sinned; all of us have violated God’s standards; and because of that we have earned judgment from God. We are under judgment; we need a rescuer.

The Bible tells us, Scripture tells us, we cannot save ourselves. It is not a result of works, it is not a matter of me gathering up enough good that somehow God salutes me for it. We need a rescuer, and that rescuer is the person of Jesus Christ. I love Acts 4:12. It says this, “There is no one else who can rescue us.” We can’t do it ourselves, there is not any other religious leader out there who can do it. “There is no other name under heaven given to any human by whom we may be rescued.” It was only the Son of God who climbed on the cross and paid the price for the sins of the world and then rose again triumphant. Then He offers that forgiveness to us as a gift.

Verse 19, Peter said, it is like “A lamp shining in a dark (murky, dingy) place.” But then you notice it goes on and says, “Until the day dawns and the morning star arises.” Now, that little phrase “the morning star,’ is a reference to the planet Venus. If you know anything about it, you know that it tends to appear most distinctly before the sun arises. And Jesus identifies Himself as the bright and morning star in the book of the Revelation, chapter 22 and verse 16. He says, “I am…the morning star.” He also tells us in John, chapter 8, verse 12, directly out of the mouth of Jesus, “I am the Light of the world.” So, you have the Scriptures, you see here, shining in this dark, murky place until the morning star arises. His appearance, in His Second Coming, will signal the establishment of the kingdom of God on this planet. That is what he is saying.

So, here is another question we want to ask: why is Scripture so reliable; why is it so reliable? Well, that leads us to the second thing. We’ve already seen that it is shining truth, the second thing is, it is Spirit-given truth in verses 20 and 21. Here is what is amazing, what Peter is saying is this, he says, the same majestic voice that spoke out of the cloud on the Mount of Transfiguration, that same voice, spoke through the prophets and their writings.

Look at verse 20, notice how it begins, he says, “Know this first of all.” I think this parallels a phrase that Jesus liked to use a lot when He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you.” When Jesus said that, He is basically saying, lean in here, I’ve got the bottom line, the most important thing to tell you right now. Peter—remember he is getting ready to check out of this life—and he is saying to them and to us, “Know this first of all.” The NET Bible says, “Above all recognize this.” The NIV says, “Above all, you must understand.” So, now we all ought to be leaning in here.

“Know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture…” By the way, that term ‘Scripture’ here would be a direct reference to the Old Testament Scriptures, which they already had put together. But it also applies to the New Testament Scriptures. In fact, we learn from chapter 3, verse 16, of 2 Peter, that he understood that Paul was writing Scripture. So, when we see what is being said here about no prophecy of Scripture, it is referring not only to the Old Testament, but also would apply then to the New Testament Scripture.

What is he saying? “Know this first of all,” please lean in carefully, “no prophecy of Scripture…” By the way, that is very emphatically stated in the original language. No prophecy, not even one, is really what it says. No prophecy, not even one, is a matter of one’s own interpretation. When he is talking about interpretation here, he is talking about the source of the prophecy. He is talking about the origination of Scripture. The NIV translates this, “No prophecy came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.” Peter is saying, it did not spring from the imagination of man.

Well, what do you mean? Notice the next verse begins with the word ‘for.’ He is going to explain what he means; he is going to elaborate on what he means. He says in verse 21, “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will.”No prophecy,” as the NET Bible says, “was born of human impulse and initiation.” “No prophecy was made by an act of human will.” Well, then what happened? Next phrase, “But men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Now, that verb here that is translated ‘moved,’ is used in a very picturesque manner in Acts, chapter 27, verses 15 and 17, where it is used of a ship that is being carried and driven by the wind. Men moved, being driven along, being carried along. By the way, we get our English word ‘ferry’ (f-e-r-r-y) from this word, that was translated ‘moved.’ When we went to Latvia a number of years ago, we got on a ferry, and it moved us and vehicles from this place to this place. That is the concept, men were moved, they were ferried by the Holy Spirit.

Why the Holy Spirit? Well, we learned from 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 10 and 11, it tells us there that the only one who knows the mind of God, it says, is the Spirit of God. So, what he is saying here is, when it comes to Scripture, “No Scripture was made by an act of human will, but men were moved by the Holy Spirit (ferried along, superintended by the Holy Spirit).”

Then, I want you to notice the last few words of the verse, “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit,” notice what it says here, “spoke from God.” They did not speak about God; they spoke from God.

Here is how Paul puts it in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2, verse 13, he says to those believers, “We constantly thank God that when you received the word of God (you heard the gospel, you heard the Scriptures taught) which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God.” What is this saying? It is saying that what Scripture says is what God says.

As Jesus puts it in Matthew, chapter 5, and verse 18, he says it is so much what God was saying, it extends down (Matthew 5:18) to the very words and letters of Scripture. Literally, he was saying, it goes down to the apostrophes and serifs on the letters.

Now, I want to jump over to 2 Timothy, chapter 3, verses 16 and 17 and I invite you to just jump over there with me, a little bit to the left in your Bible. I want to look at what it says there. A passage familiar to most of us, verse 16 begins, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” How much is included in all Scripture?

See, I’m not a fan of the ‘red-letter mentality.’ I have some of them, Bibles that have Jesus’ words in red letters, seemingly implying they have more authority. No, they don’t. People think, well, if Jesus said it, it must have more authority. No, Paul is emphasizing, ALL Scripture is inspired by God, not just the words spoken by Jesus, all of it! All of it is inspired by God. Literally, many of you know this, it says it is God-breathed. All Scripture is as if it came straight out of the mouth of God.

I want us to see that this Scripture, all Scripture, which is God-breathed, has merit to it. He says it is ‘profitable,’ the idea is, it is useful, it is beneficial, for teaching. What does that mean? To tell us what is right—we need to know that in this world. There are all these voices out there, this is what tells us what is right. Because we make choices in life…some of you are younger, and you haven’t made very many. If you want to know the right choices to make in life, you go to the Word of God. It is profitable, useful, and beneficial, it says there, for reproof. That means it tells us what’s not right and it will alert us when we are deviating from God’s way and we head out into the weeds somewhere [get off the desired path where vegetation grows higher, and progress gets more difficult]

It is useful, beneficial, it is profitable, thirdly, for correction. That is how to get it right when we are wrong. You know, how to straighten us out so we can return to the proper path.

Scripture is useful and beneficial and profitable, fourthly, he says, for training in righteousness. It will help us to stay right. It will help guide us into maturity. It will help us to grow the right way. Remember, we said earlier in the book, everyone is born a spiritual baby and we need to be diligent to grow from there. That is part of his argument in the first part of the chapter. If we want to grow the right way, it is the Scriptures that can guide us into that kind of maturity.

Then, he also, in verse 17, shares the aim of the Scripture, “So that,” it says in the New American Standard, “the man or woman of God may be adequate.” Now, that particular word choice on the part of the New American Standard is probably an outdated word…the word ‘adequate’ is outdated. When we hear the word ‘adequate,’ today, that something is adequate, we think it is barely sufficient, it’s “adequate”. That is not the idea of the original here at all. The idea is so that the man or woman of God might be complete, might be fully sufficient, that they might have all the essential tools that they need to be fully outfitted to grow spiritually. “So that the man or woman of God may be complete, fully sufficient, equipped for every good work,” verse 17.

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it, “Equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” Anyone want to be equipped for every good thing that God wants you to do? Well, how do we get there? We get there through the Scriptures. It is there to help equip us for every good thing He wants us to do; not to add to our head knowledge; not to equip us to out-argue people theologically; it is there so that we might learn to do all that God wants us to do, to live out godly character and to minister to other people.

Peter says, treasure the Scripture, it is shining truth, it is Spirit-given truth. And, he is going to say, the Scripture is vital when you are in the face of false teaching that has the potential to spiritually shipwreck you. That is what he is going to begin to address in chapter 2, which we’re not going to get there now…a few months from now we’ll get there. We’re not getting there today.

Alright, so we’ve seen what his thrust is, Treasure the Scripture! It is shining truth. It is Spirit-given truth. What life response do we have having looked at all of this regarding the Scriptures? Well, I want to draw some Life Response that we can have. It is going to come from Psalm 119.

What should I do with what we’ve talked about? Well, when it comes to the Scriptures, Delight in it. Psalm 119, verse 47, stresses that. Do you remember back in verse 19 of 2 Peter, what was the main thrust of this section? What did Peter say? “You do well to pay attention to it.” Now, remember, this is the guy who is checking out of life soon. He is coming down to the most important things he can communicate to you and to me and he says, “You do well to pay attention to it”…to delight in it.

Psalm 119, verse 127, says the word of God is better than gold. Do you believe that? Really? It is sweeter than honey. Oh man! It does something to you when you have a chance to taste it and digest it a little bit.

Life response: first of all, to Delight in it. A second life response we can do is to Read it. Psalm 119, verse 18, stresses that. Sometimes when people hear this, they say, okay, I need to read it, I’m not quite sure how to start doing that. I want to talk about something that I think is very helpful and that is the YouVersion Bible app. You can use this on your iPad, or you can use it on your phone, you can download it. It is free, if you don’t have it, you ought to get it.

There are a couple of reasons why I say that. One is this: every week we put together all these slides that you see, they are reformatted, and they are put into the Bible app and if you open this Bible app, the YouVersion Bible app, and you click on ‘Events,’ and you click on ‘Wildwood Community Church,’ every slide that we have here is on there. Some of you are sometimes taking pictures…Oh I want to remember that…or I really loved that quote, how do I get all of that? Well, it is there on your phone every week and you can write notes and add notes inside that Bible app, inside the event. If you just put one word of notes in there and you save it, the whole presentation will stay on your phone. So, if you are like six weeks from now and you are thinking, I remember when Bruce talked about the Scriptures and treasuring the Scriptures, what was that quote? Well, you can go back in your phone, and you can look at saved events and it will be in your phone.

Another thing you can do with the Bible app, the YouVersion Bible app, is you can click on ‘Plans’ and it will give you all kinds, a myriad of plans to read the Scriptures. Sometimes you might want to read around a topic, you might want to read through the Bible. There is a whole bunch of different ways that you can do that.

Our life response, Delight in Scripture, Read Scripture. And the third life response is to Reflect on it. Psalm 119, verse 15 and verse 97 talk about that. Sometimes when you hear people talk about reflecting on the Scriptures or meditating on the Scriptures, you are thinking: that sounds like a good idea, I don’t even know how to get started on that; how to even get going. Well, I would suggest this little grid that we saw in 2 Timothy 3:16, would be a good grid to use.

As you are reading through Scripture, related to the idea of teaching, you ask yourself the question, what truths does God want me to know as I am reading this?

As it relates to reproof, you ask yourself, where am I off course in my attitudes or actions as I am reading this Scripture?

In terms of correction, what corrections need to be made to bring me into spiritual balance? It is a way that you can reflect on Scripture.

In terms of training and righteousness, how can this help build my character to grow in Christlikeness?

So, you see, we can reflect on it by using a grid like this. There are many other ways you can do it; this is one possibility.

Also, I would say, every week with Mark and I, as we are preaching, we give you sermon questions. Every week they are on our Facebook page, and on our web page. They are a way to reflect more on the teaching, they will be there this week, they are already online, ready for you. So, take advantage of it.

Then, lastly, by way of some life response in the Scriptures, we would say, Obey it. Psalm 119, verses 10 and 34 emphasize that. Why is that important? Well, submission to Scripture—listen here please—submission to Scripture is submission to God. Rebellion against Scripture is rebellion against God. We need to obey it, not rationalize it.

In much of the generation around us now, they are saying: truth is what I determine it to be. I’ll be the master of what truth is. No, the Scripture says it, we obey it.

A lot of people are running around today, and they say, Well, you know, this Bible idea is a very old-fashioned view of sexuality and gender. What? No, it is the word of God. We obey it.

A lot of people are running around today, and they say, you know what? People really don’t need to get married; couples should just live together, even couples who go to church. Wait a minute now, what does the Bible teach about all of this? See, we obey it. We obey it.

Back in verse 19, what was Peter’s major thrust of the section? Remember what he said regarding the Scriptures? He says, You do well to pay attention to it.” It’s a message for me, it’s a message for you.

Let’s pray together. Father, we thank You so much for the Word of God. Oh, how desperately we need it! We thank You for Peter and the way that he stresses how much we need it and that we do well to pay attention to it. If we choose not to, we will have some consequences we get to suffer through in our life, many of us can talk about those. We thank You for the truth, we thank You that it is there to help us and assist us and we thank You for Peter who reminds us that we do well to pay attention to it. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

Treasure the Scripture!

2 Peter 1:19-21

1. Bruce began by pointing out that we have a natural human tendency to stray from God’s truth.  He mentioned how virtually all seminaries were founded with a solid belief in the Scripture and how historically most departed from that position within 50 years. Why is that? What contributes to that?

2. Bruce also mentioned that he can trace a similar drift from God’s truth in his family line. Have you witnessed such a drift in your family line or with some individuals you have known? Elaborate on why and how that may have happened.

3. Psalm 119 emphasizes that Scripture is 1) the way of blessing (vs.1-2); 2) a source of strength (vs. 28b); 3) a treasury of wisdom and counsel (vs. 24, 98-100); and 4) never outdated (vs. 89,160).  Reflect and share some times when Scripture has proven to be that in your life.  Why do people develop the perspective that Scripture is at times outdated?

4. Verse 19 tells us that Scripture is like a lamp shining in a dark (murky, dingy) place.  What makes our world, our culture, murky and dingy?

5. Bottom line, why is Scripture a reliable lamp in this murky world?

6. Based on our study (from 2nd Peter 1 and 2 Timothy 3), describe the process of how the apostles and prophets came to write Scripture.  Cite some phrases from those passages.

7. In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul states that the Scripture is profitable for four things.  Note them and explain what each means.  What is the ultimate aim (hint: note vs. 17).

8. Take some time to pray and thank God for the wonderful provision of His Word.

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