6/26/11 2 Peter 1:20-2:3
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
2 Peter 1:20 – 2:3
The latest letters from the New Testament period show a growing awareness of dangers facing new Christian groups. In 2 Timothy, the last letter Paul wrote before his death, we find grim warnings about misleading teachers and a growing pollution of the Bible’s teachings. Now, in two other late letters, one by Peter and one by Jude, we discover the same strong warnings. For anyone concerned today with heresy, or with recognizing misleading teachers and churches, these two books are extremely valuable. Average Christians today need these warnings too. We don’t want to be unsuspecting targets of Satan.
Why does Peter defend the authority and inspiration of the prophets (1:19-21)?
Peter was writing against what misleading teachers taught. They used persuasive arguments (2 Peter 2:3) and twisted the Scriptures to make them mean something else (2 Peter 3:16). Americans value tolerance. Taking a stand for truth may seem odd. We have no business executing heretics today. We don’t persecute people who believe differently from us. That’s no excuse for being unable to recognize heresy. We should know how to respond to misleading teachings.
How did God inspire the writing of the Bible (1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16)?
God used men of different backgrounds, interests and temperaments to put the Bible into writing. The Holy Spirit breathed the exact words He wanted into each Bible writer. He built in a checks-and-balances system to safeguard Bible truth. Most wrong ideas about God’s truth come from taking the Bible out of context. Less clear sections will be clearer if we look at the main Bible sections that deal with that subject. No correct explanation will contradict repeated, clear Bible teachings.
What problem does Peter’s reasoning imply his readers may have had (1:20-21)?
Since so many Old Testament predictions had come true by Jesus’ arrival, how does the Bible want us to regard the predictions that haven’t yet come true?
One of Scriptures main principles for understanding it correctly is to let the Bible explain itself. The more of the Bible we know, the more certain God’s Spirit makes us of exactly what it’s saying, especially about the parts that teach the human predicament and God’s rescue plan.
Since it’s so obvious that judgment awaits misleading teachers, why does anyone follow them (2:2-3, 14, 18-19)?
Misleading teachings appeal to immature Christians, believers who don’t have a clear understanding of the Bible’s teachings or refuse the support of a church family. Misleading teachers may quote Scripture but give their own interpretation, which differs from what the whole Bible teaches. When people present an unscriptural interpretation of Bible passages, we can use the Word itself to refute the heresy.
How can you spot a misleading teacher (2:1-3)?
Misleading teachers are better known for what they deny than what they support. They deny the Bible’s inspiration Bible, human sinfulness, the justification Jesus earned everyone, salvation by what Jesus did alone, even the reality of eternal judgment. They especially deny that Jesus is God. They know that if they can downplay this, they can destroy all Christian truth. Christianity is Christ, and if He isn’t what He claims, there is no Christian faith. God doesn’t want us to shout down unscriptural opposition. That isn’t productive. It is part of our sin-instinct. The Christian must respond with love, recognizing that he is not battling against an enemy but for a fellow human being. Compromise isn’t an option. We can retreat from the truth or withdraw from loving opposition.
Since misleading teachers are a fact of life, why doesn’t God do something about it?
Both in this life and the life to come, the Lord involves Himself directly in punishing people who persistently rebel against Him. We can trust God knows what misleading teachers do. We can concentrate on using God’s Word to grow as Christians.
Doesn’t it bring God’s goodness or justice into question when He delays judgment?
Peter minces no words. Destructive teaching leads to a destructive lifestyle. Ultimately it results in damnation on the last day. People today try convincing us the Bible’s teachings are matter of your own interpretation. We need God’s warnings today as much or more than 2 Peter’s first readers.
1. How might the dangers Peter mentions affect you now?
2. Do these kinds of misleading teachers upset you as much as Peter? Why or why not? How do you decide which Bible teachers to trust more than others?
3. How does this section connect to Matthew 7:15-29? What’s the connection to 1 Kings 22:10-28?