12 ¶ Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
Peter says that he will constantly remind them of these fundamentals so that they will be established in the truth which he calls the present truth. He feels an urgency in doing this as he knows that he will eventually be martyred for Christ, as Christ warned him.
John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Peter knows that his death will bring the things he has said to mind for those who follow Christ and are influenced by Peter.
16 ¶ For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Peter asserts that they are not following myth and fable but his eyewitness testimony and that of others. John underscores this as well.
1John 1:1 ¶ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Others, such as Luke, were taught by the eyewitnesses and researched the facts of Christ’s life and mission on their own. Luke was the first Christian historian and wrote to an acquaintance named Theophilus.
Luke 1:1 ¶ Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
Acts 1:1 ¶ The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Peter makes reference to the events, what he personally saw, on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
17:1 ¶ And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
[Note: Some authorities say that Mark wrote his gospel based on teachings by Peter, but here Peter quotes from Matthew’s account while Mark’s account does not include in whom I am well pleased.
Mark 9:7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.]
19 ¶ We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Here, Peter makes what is an astounding statement, if you think about it clearly. This is something all Christians should consider. In the context Peter is talking about the written word, the Scripture. The written word of God is more sure, more reliable, and more trustworthy than our experience as Peter places it above his own experience with Christ transfigured. This sure word of prophecy in verse 19 is linked with prophecy of the scripture in verse 20 by its association in context. The Bible is a light that shines in a dark place until that day dawns. There are a number of things here to consider.
First, let’s talk about the day dawning. In this age we live in a spiritual night until Christ returns.
John 13:26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
1Thessalonians 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
As Christ’s resurrection was revealed in the morning, we are waiting for Christ’s return for us, for the morning light to peek over the horizon;
Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Psalm 30:4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Psalm 130:6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Remember that Jesus is the light of the world.
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Christians are light inasmuch as the light of Christ shines through them. But, so much of the dogma put out by established churches is so worldly the light doesn’t shine through very often.
Another point to note is the importance of Scripture, of the Bible. God places His written word above even His name.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
It is the principle means by which God, as per Jesus’ own statement, sanctifies His people.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
In the Bible, interpretation is used like we, today, use the word translation.
John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
John 9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Acts 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
It can also refer to interpreting events, explaining phenomenon, as in, what does it mean.
Genesis 40:5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
But, in the context of this passage in 2Peter it appears to be referring to both the understanding as in there is no private revelation of what it means and also the transmission of God’s word from God to us through the Prophets and those writers which were the secretaries of those who did not write themselves, translators and copyists, who, if their work was given by inspiration, faithfully conveyed the word. The translation of words from one language to another impacts the meaning of the passage in many profound ways as the difference between Bibles translated before and after The Enlightenment painfully show. The worldview and Godview of the translators also impacts the meaning. One argument against modern versions is that they represent the private interpretation of a select group of scholars who do not believe that God’s inspiration applied to anyone but the original authors of the original autographs thus taking God out of the picture and reducing His activity to one action in the distant past.
Sometimes a Bible writer uses someone else to do the actual writing, as in Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Romans 16:22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
Sometimes the original autographs were changed to suit God’s plan.
Jeremiah 36:32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
God’s inspiration was not necessarily word for word dictation but wisdom and understanding.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
2Timothy 3:16a All scripture is given by inspiration of God…
As Peter will say of Paul in a few verses.
2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
But, it started with God’s inspiration given to men.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Which, the written result God promised to preserve, insomuch as that written word was given by inspiration.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.