Thursday: The Primacy of Scripture

Read the following passages. What do they say about the Bible that could help us to understand today what its role should be in our lives and faith?

1 Pet. 1:10-12

2 Pet. 1:16-20

2 Pet. 3:2

2 Pet. 3:16

Scripture above All

Image © Lars Justinen

In his second letter, Peter confronts false teachers. He directs his readers to two sources of authority when he says, “You should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles” (2 Pet. 3:2, NRSV). Today we have the same recourse to the words of “holy prophets”-that is, the Old Testament. The living apostles are no longer available to us, of course, but in a sense we have something better: their inspired testimony, as revealed in the New Testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John left us the definitive story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. In the Acts of the Apostles, we have been left accounts of the apostles’ activities. And indeed we can read the inspired words of the apostles themselves. Paul writes strongly about the authority of God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter, then, is directing his readers to Scripture as the source of doctrinal and moral authority.

In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter warns his readers and listeners that even though Scripture is the source of truth, without careful attention to the message that the Holy Spirit would have us understand, the source of truth itself can be misunderstood, and this can lead to terrible consequences.

His words should be a good reminder to us now about basic principles for studying the Bible. We should read a passage of Scripture prayerfully. We should read it with regard to its contexts within the chapter, the book and the whole Bible itself. What was the author specifically talking about when he wrote? We should read it in light of the historical circumstances in which it was written. (In the case of 1 and 2 Peter, this would be the Roman Empire of the first century.) We should read it seeking spiritual insight and with the knowledge that the salvation brought about by the sacrificial death of Christ is the center of the biblical message (1 Pet. 1:10-12). Finally, we should read it in the context of our own lives. What truth does God wish us to receive? How can we apply the Written Word to our own lives in a way that will make a positive contribution to the kingdom of God?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons