Daily Bible Nugget #293, 2 Peter 3:16

The Nugget:

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

My Comment:

The wicked frequently wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction (The New Topical Textbook, subheading under the main heading “The Scriptures,” page 240).

Peter is, in context, speaking of Paul’s letters or epistles, which Peter accounts to be Scripture (as evidenced by his statement, “as they do also the other scriptures”). Peter had just written that we should be “diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). Paul teaches these very truths in his letters. Using a good source of cross references will lead to the passages in Paul’s letters that Peter could be referring to.

For some, in Peter’s day as well as ours, there are things which are hard to understand in Paul’s letters. One of the issues Peter is addressing is the danger of moral apostasy. Some had taken parts of Paul’s message and given those parts a wrong interpretation (see Romans 3:8, where Paul comments that this was taking place). One of the falsehoods both Paul and Peter were confronting is the notion that because we are saved by grace apart from works, it does not matter if we keep on sinning, because God’s grace in Christ will cover it all, so we can freely live as we please. That is known as antinomianism.

It is a very prevalent doctrine among some Christians today too. Antinomianism is a term that literally means “against law.” The idea is, since we are saved by grace, we have nothing to do with law. Since we have nothing to do with law, we are not required to obey it. It is the wrong inference drawn from a misunderstanding of what is meant by our freedom from the law, our liberty in Christ. The title of a good Gospel song is “Free from the Law.” Antinomians have taken this Biblical idea to an extreme.

Some people who have fallen into the antinomian error would even question the possibility of moral apostasy. Some supposedly Bible believing Christians do not believe in the possibility of apostasy at all, moral or doctrinal. The New Testament is filled with warnings against apostasy, but these are either ignored, or are explained away. Most Evangelical Christians will say and teach that if someone appears to have fallen away, they were never saved in the first place, and they cite 1 John 2:19 to make that case. They are driven to that mistaken application by the necessities of their doctrinal system, Calvinism or a weaker variant, for they believe “Once Saved, Always Saved.” But this use of 1 John 2:19 falls into the errors of (1) taking a verse out of its evident historical context; (2) trying to fit all situations into one verse–overgeneralizing and so making the verse apply to more than it really does. By taking such a stance, many Christians who believe the Bible have fallen into the fatal mistake of denying one doctrine (the very real possibility of apostasy) to affirm another (the unconditional eternal security of the believer). In this case, they deny a true doctrine to affirm a false one! And Peter clearly warns us that to do this is to court our own destruction.

The Bible does not teach unconditional eternal security, or “Once Saved, Always Saved,” at all! What the Bible does teach is the absolute eternal security of the believer, not the unbeliever.

There are other ways of wresting the Scripture to our own destruction. It is a very serious matter, even dangerous matter, to fasten our belief-system to a man-made doctrinal scheme, such as Calvinism, or Romanism, or Arianism–perhaps almost any “ism”!

I have more recently learned of another serious example of wresting the Scriptures. Having a mistaken concept of the Atonement of Christ plagues all of us because almost without exception, all English Bibles have been translated from the Hebrew and especially the Greek originals to reflect the Penal Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement, a theological construct which may be traced to Anselm and Augustine. This theory was borrowed whole by the Protestant Reformers from Roman Catholicism. This is one of the areas in theology where the Protestant Reformers did not go far enough in their Reformation. Another area where the Reformers by and large were totally in the dark is the subject of Bible prophecy.

Now, I cannot give you Chapter and Verse for my idea that God is not going to require us to pass a seminary level final test on systematic theology to be able to enter His heaven, but since the New Testament nowhere suggests our need to pass such a test, the simple faith represented by Paul’s response to the question of the Philippian Jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” still has the valid and simple answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30, 31).

But this does not in any way excuse any of us from the responsibility to check everything we believe and have been taught against the Scripture, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1470 for 2 Peter 3:16.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1488 or in Logos 5 Bible software for 2 Peter 3:16.

(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:

2 Peter 3:16. in all. The Pauline Epistles were by this time become the common property of all the churches. The “all” seems to imply they were now completed (JFB). See on 1 P 1:1. speaking. +*Ro 8:19. *1 Cor 15:21, 23, 24. *Col 3:4. +*1 Th 4:14 18. *1 Th 5:1 10. *1 Tim 6:14. *2 Tim 1:7, 8. +*2 Tim 4:1, 8, 18. *He 9:28. 10:23-39. of these things. ver. 2 Peter 3:14. 2 K ch. 1. Col 3:4. 1 Th 4:13. 5:11. 2 Th 2:16. some things. Notice Peter says some things, not all. The difficulty some readers and interpreters find in understanding parts of Scripture is no argument against perspicuity, the doctrine that Scripture declares it is understandable (Ps 119:130) to the ordinary reader (T#1110—1122). This furnishes no basis for those denominations, churches, and religious organizations, even some false cults (some of which appeal to Mt 16:16 or Mt 24:45 to assert their authority), to claim they are the exclusive source for authoritative teaching of the Bible. Peter warns, in context, that those he speaks of are deficient in their knowledge and have a character problem. He urges us not to be led away with the error of the wicked. We are urged to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 P 3:18). The only source of this knowledge is the 27 primary documents we have in the New Testament. We need to make it our habit to regularly study the Scriptures, and feed on God’s Word (+1 P 2:2n). Ps 119:97. hard to be understood. Gr. dusnoētos (S#1425g, only here), difficult of perception (Strong). 1 K 10:1. Pr 1:6. +**Pr 28:5. Jn 6:60. Ro 3:5-8, 20-28. 4:15. 5:20. 6:1. 7:4-11. 8:29, 30. 9:18 20. 11:33. 14:1-6 with Acts 15:29. 1 Cor 2:13, 14. Ga 3:10. 2 Th 2:1-12. 2 Tim 2:17. *He 5:10, 11. 6:4-9. unlearned. Gr. amathēs (S#261g, only here), ignorant (Strong); lacking in the moral qualities of a balanced judgment (Strachan). This is the central issue, the major problem: people who ought to know better are virtually Biblically illiterate. Jn 17:3. Ac 4:13. 1 Cor 14:16. 2 Tim 2:23. He 5:11, 12. 6:9n. 1 P 2:2n. unstable. Gr. astēriktos (S#793g, only here and 2 P 2:14). Refers more to conduct, those whose habits are not fully trained and established (see Strachan). 2 P 2:14. Ge 49:4. 2 Tim 3:5 7. +*James 1:8. wrest. Gr. strebloō (S#4761g, only here), to wrench, that is, (specifically) to torture (by the rack), but only figuratively to pervert (Strong). T#1107. Ex 23:2, 6. Dt 16:19. 2 S 22:27g. Ps 56:5. +*Je 8:8mg. Je 23:36. Hab 1:4. Mt 4:5, 6. 15:3-6. 19:3-10. 22:29. Ro 8:21. 1 Cor 5:9-11. +*2 Cor 2:17. 3:17. +*2 Cor 4:2. Ga 5:13. 2 Tim 2:18. 1 P 2:8. as they do. Is 28:16. the other. Gr. loipoi (S#3062g, Mt 22:6), remaining ones (Strong). The Greek word has reference to others of the same kind. Mt 15:3, 6. 22:29. *Mt 25:11. *Ac 2:37. *Ro 1:13. *1 Cor 9:5. *2 Cor 12:13. *Ga 2:13. *Phil 4:3. +*1 Tim 5:18. +*2 Tim 3:16. scriptures. Gr. graphē (S#1124g, Mt 21:42). Note that St. Paul’s epistles are called “Scriptures” (CB). In its fifty occurrences, this term is always applied to the Old and New Testament sacred writings. Men in each Church having miraculous discernment of spirits (1 J 4:1; 2 Th 2:2n) would have prevented any uninspired writing from being put on a par with the OT word of God; the apostles’ lives also were providentially prolonged, Paul’s and Peter’s at least to thirty-four years after Christ’s resurrection, John’s to thirty years beyond them, so that fraud in the canon is out of the question. The three first Gospels and Acts are included in “the other Scriptures” (1 Tim 5:18), and perhaps all the NT books, save John and Revelation, written later (see JFB). 2 P 1:20, 21. +Mt 21:42. **1 Cor 14:37. Col 4:16. 1 Th 5:27. +**2 Tim 3:15-17. 1 P 2:6. unto their own. 2 P 2:1. +*Phil 3:19. 1 P 2:8. Jude 1:4. destruction. Gr. apōleia (S#684g, Mt 7:13), ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal) [Strong]. ver. 2 P 3:6, *2 P 3:7, 9. 2 P 2:1, 3. Dt 4:2. 12:32. Is 28:13. 1 Tim 5:15. Re 22:19.

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3 Responses to Daily Bible Nugget #293, 2 Peter 3:16

  1. ken sagely says:

    2 pe 3.16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some
    things hard to be understood, which they are that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as
    they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction.

    cross refs
    heb 5.11 of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are
    dull of hearing.
    jer 23.36 And the burden of the Lord shall ye mention no more: for every man’s
    word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the
    Lord of hosts our God.
    ph 3.19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in
    their shame, who mind earthly things.

  2. Jack says:

    On this article on Antinomianism.

    The etymological development of the term Antinomian is the antonym to the Greek word Nomos [Strong’s Greek # 355] meaning Law, which in the Septuagint Greek Bible is appropriate for the Hebrew term Torah [Strong’s # H8451,] signifying God’s scriptural laws. Its Hebrew equivalent in the OT writings is the word Torah. The word Antinomian is translated Against Law, or lawlessness in the NT. This term in the NT is often used in ecclesiastical literature to indicate a context of heresy, apostasy, sacrilege, heretical doctrine or heretic and Martin Luther also called Antinomians “false brethren” – in short, one who is lawless, or against the God’s Law. The use of the word Lawless (Antinomian) or (Anomos) in the NT specifically indicates iniquity, transgressor, sinful, one who lives apart from the God’s Law.
    [A book that provided an extensive list of these reference books on this subject matter and reach the same agreement that the word Antinomianism derived from Anomian definition, it is appropriately name “ANTINOMIANISM.” By Mark Jones.]

    Being against the God’s Law or Lawless can mean different things to differ people in a theological context. The best focus is to discover its original meaning and the clearest biblical understanding. No biblical writing can be divorced from a Hebraic understanding. The Christian writings define all scripture as God-breathed and useful for correction, etc., which includes the complete OT writings. In referring to Law, the NT understanding was that of the Hebrew writers and majority audience of the first century.

    Some Christian interpretation of the word Antinomian lawless is that it indicates a breach of general morality…a breach of a “moral law.” But a serious search of this word God’s Law / Torah in the OT provides clear proof that there was a specific Law being referred to, namely the Instruction given to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai. In every way, the OT refers to God’s Law as eternal, good, easy, accessible, and life-giving. The setting of the NT gospels was the Jewish world in which there was no other understanding of this term. It was a corporate document between God and Israel national constitution and also a personal moral law for every individual.

    Any interpretation of the term Nomos [Strong’s Greek # 355] meaning Law, in the NT must be informed by its context in the first century Jewish world and its writers. Any conclusions drawn outside of this context are not exegesis, (the original understanding in the context of the original writers and audience), but eisegesis, (applying a later culture’s understanding outside of its original context). Removing our biblical approach away from the writings’ original meaning and context alters our understanding away from the authenticity of scriptural authority and creates a foreigner belief structure. The clarity of scripture is important as our sole guide, for the Bible teaches not to add to or subtract from any word of God’s Instruction which a command which specifically refers to God’s Law. Any creed that purports to add to or subtract from the veracity of the consistent biblical instruction is in violation of the scriptures.
    [Recommended reading on this subject matter is the book “Restoring Abrahamic Faith” by Professor James D. Tabor.]

    The idea of a moral code apart from an understandable written scriptural Instruction / Torah / God’s Law is not biblical. The terms of the Law and its specifics frame God’s definition of what morality is to Him, not to any other authority. Within it, He names the rights guaranteed to those who enter into its terms. Rights, such as things we have come to think of as inalienable rights today, are defined clearly in the Law of God so there is no room for abrogation or their dismissal. The scriptural inalienable rights of freedom of chose, equality, the right to bear arms. equal justice, freedom from oppression, freedom of expression, listen to God’s instructions on creating a limited government system. limited taxation, the inalienable right to your own land, the creed to resist tyranny. The God’s Law guarantees its participants their rights. To have no Law other than one that is not clearly defined is to allow for morality to be defined individually by each person according to only their understanding. In this way, it embraces the original rebellion of the evil generation that was destroyed in the Flood in Noah’s day because of opting to do “what was right in their own eyes.” To not define Law in the terms He already gave is to take away our own rights guaranteed by Him and His clear instruction of how to morally be in right standing.
    [Recommended viewing on this subject matter is the DVD film “The Isaiah 9: 10 Judgment.”]

    Clearly stated in the text is that His Instruction is not a perverse moral code that cannot be participated in by flawed mortals, but is required to be a relationship issuing from the heart…His and ours…joined with instruction in the path of His morality. (insert verses about with all your heart mind and soul, about their not being too difficult, what is right and what is good). His law is never to be abused but is to be understood in the twin expression of What is Right and What is Good.

    Humans recognize the necessity for national laws. Without them, societies would descend into chaos and anarchy and be preyed upon by tyrants. The hearts of the citizens have to preserve a desire to have an upright society, or the laws will be changed over time because heart and action are divided from each other. The rule of law is central to the protection of a population from injustice and being manipulated by the unscrupulous. But the hearts of the people have to value law as God intented, or it will eventually reflect the compromises and not preserve its original intent and function.
    [Recommended reading on this subject matter is the book “YHWH exists” by Jodel Onstott.]

    God states that his Law is eternal. The terms are eternal, and hearts that joined with His intention of a protective relationship and a People who reflect His priorities are the center of His Law. The beauty of God’s Law is its function as a national covenant and an individual one. It is the framework of a relationship and a lifestyle of people participating with God in this agreement. It frames protective and ennobling parameters rather than being misunderstood to be a monolith of legalistic dictates. Explore what scripture says about itself first, before applying external interpretations.
    [Recommended reading on this subject matter is a 12 page narrative on the web name “Anti Judaism” by distinguish author David Hulme. On http://www.centuryone.com]


  3. Jerry says:

    Dear Jack,

    You have posted a very interesting comment.

    Antinomianism is surely a flagrant problem.

    But failing to read and understand the New Testament emphasis upon our being under the Law of Christ and not the Law of Moses is also a most serious error (see John 1:17).

    In the book of Acts we find the problem of an over-emphasis upon the Law of Moses because of some unauthorized Judaizers afflicting the Church had to be dealt with, and they were, as recorded in Acts 15.

    The Christian is not under Law, but under Grace.

    It is indeed most important to understand the Hebrew background of the New Testament. We must understand the culture that produced both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and must read it in the context of its cultural setting.

    When a person truly trusts in Jesus Christ for salvation, and believes the Gospel as it is revealed in the New Testament, the person experiences new life wrought by the Holy Spirit that produces the gifts of the Spirit. That, not the Law, is to be our focus and experience as Christians obeying the Law of Christ.

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