2 Peter 1:19-21
The Prophetic Word
No, the gospel was and is not based upon cleverly devised myths; indeed, ours is an historical faith. It begins in a Garden created just for us under probation. We broke the law, but God continues to work in His world, even starting all over with Noah after sending a flood. After mankind falls away after the flood, He calls a man named Abraham and through his loins creates a people called after his grandson, Jacob (renamed “Israel”), the Israelites. Space would fail me to rehearse all of Old Testament history from slavery in Egypt to Moses to Joshua to the Judges to Saul to David to the divided kingdom to captivity to return—counting only from Abraham, some 2000 years. But what I do need to emphasize is that during all those years, God spoke through men (and a few women) called, “prophets.” And these were also in the early church along with the apostles as recorded in the Book of Acts. No, Christianity is no myth; it is a religion whose truth relies on God’s activity in the world and revelation to chosen vessels.
And so moving on from speaking of the reality of our heavenly Savior come down in flesh, a reality Peter witnessed both on the mountain and on the cross, he now directs the attention of his readers to the prophetic word of both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles—that word which is to the Church of Jesus Christ ever as “a lamp shining in a dark place.” The Church inhabits a dark world drowning in sin and degradation. Its only source of hope and comfort, of light and wisdom, comes from the prophetic word now presented to us in the Holy Scriptures. And to this word, we must give our full attention “until the day dawns and the morning start rises in [our] hearts.” Until then, the Scriptures, the prophetic word, are our meat and drink.
And then the Apostle tells us something more about the prophetic word. Unlike the words of other religions, the prophetic word is not the wise sayings of men—wise though they may have been—and there have been many. No, the prophetic word, the biblical word, was not produced by any single individual who applied his mind to the heavens. On the contrary, what we have recorded in the holy Scriptures are the words “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” That is, God the Holy Spirit spoke his words through these men enabling their hearts and lifting their minds to receive it. God enabled; He did not violate: The personalities and writing styles of each prophet come through the words. But we may be sure we have God’s word—a lamp shining in a dark place.