TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
2 Peter 3:1-18
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV) “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
I wanted to point out something in our Verses for Today that is so important as we understand how we got our 66 books of the Bible.
There are some folks who erroneously think that the Bible was not compiled until as late as the fourth century. They point to the various church councils that determined what was to be considered Scripture.
Yet, when we read our Verses for Today, we hear Peter (writing sometime after A.D. 60) referring to the Apostle Paul’s letters. One humorous point that he makes is that “There are some things in them that are hard to understand.” (So, the next time you read the book of Romans and find yourself scratching your head a few times, don’t worry. The Apostle Peter understands.)
But, note the last sentence of our Verses for Today:
“…There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:16)
Did you get that last line? Peter called Paul’s letters “Scriptures.” He said that some people would read his letters and distort the truth in them, “as they do the other Scriptures.”
Clearly, Peter is including Paul’s letters in the special group of Old Testament Scriptures. He believed them to be inspired by God.
This is helpful information when we come to understand how our Bibles were compiled. While there was much debate even into the 3rd and 4th centuries among some of the church leaders over which books should be included in our Bibles, the first century saints, of which Peter was clearly one, understood that certain first century writings were Scripture.
As I have read through early church history, it seems that the churches had already pretty much determined which books and letters were Scripture. The councils that took place in the 2nd – 4th centuries simply acknowledged (canonized) them and made a final determination on a few books that were questionable.