5 Minute Read + Scripture readings
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
2 Peter 3:1-18
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
2 Peter 3:15-16 (CSB): “Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the 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: “He (Paul) speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some matters 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:
2 Peter 3:16 (CSB): “He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.”
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 with the rest of the 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, had already come to believe that certain 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.