2 Peter 1:12-15
Every Preacher’s Task
As I began these devotions on Second Peter, I made mention that scholars call the genre the Apostle is adopting in this letter a “Farewell Address.” This passage is one of the reasons they say this, as well as the fact that similar literary works of the ancient world employ the same type. Though literary genres in the Bible need not concern us overly much, we can certainly sympathize. Peter tells them that the Lord Jesus has informed him that he shall soon die. In light of that, he wants to “remind” them of some things he has said before. The day may come when you know your end is at hand and you feel very much as Peter does in this epistle, wanting to say everything to your children and grandchildren that you’ve said before but need to say again—just to make sure they got it the first (or one-hundred twenty-seventh) time.
But beyond the “farewell” genre, I see something here what pastors and preachers should always be doing. I remember my Dad telling me of a time long ago when a preacher stood up in the pulpit and began by saying that he had nothing new to say but that gospel that had been preached since the beginning. Now, I certainly agree with John Robinson who declared upon the departure of the Pilgrims from Leiden that “the Lord hath truth and light yet to break forth out of his holy word,” which declaration was plainly attested by Christ himself (Matthew 13:52). But at the same time, preachers must always be about reminding the flock, exhorting the people, and encouraging them to continue in “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). In this case, the stirring up by way of reminder has to do with the “qualities” mentioned in five through six, that is, matters of behavior—the gracious manner of life that is expected of Christians. This might seem like a boring task at first—repeating oneself over and again. But this is exactly what is required of creatures such as ourselves who quickly grow dull of hearing and blurred of seeing and slow of thinking, all the while being quick (and stupid) to speak. Much of preaching is reminding.
So please don’t be one of those who go searching for a different favorite preacher or church every so often. There will always be a better preacher. But if your preacher is standing by the word, if he is “stirring you up by way of reminder,” if he is preaching nothing other than that the age-old gospel, and if even once in a while he does light upon a truth from God’s word, much like an old blind sow upon an acorn, well then you have every reason to thank God for your pastor and commit those reminders to memory.