top of page
  • Chad Werkhoven

2 Peter 1:16-21 - Un-sophistry

When God says "you would do well to pay attention," you probably should.

2 Peter 1:16–21  

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 3: The Written Word of God

We confess that this Word of God

was not sent nor delivered by the will of men,

but that holy men of God spoke,

being moved by the Holy Spirit,

as Peter says.

Afterwards our God—

because of the special care he has

for us and our salvation—

commanded his servants,

the prophets and apostles,

to commit this revealed Word to writing.

He himself wrote

with his own finger

the two tables of the law.

Therefore we call such writings

holy and divine Scriptures.



"Cleverly devised stories." The Greek word that this phrase translates is where we get the English word 'sophistry.' What a perfect way to explain what the Bible would be if its primary claim that it is the very Word of God were not true. These cleverly devised stories, even if totally fabricated, would still be the most amazing work of literature ever produced, in that the Bible combines dozens of writings from men who lived in vastly different ages, cultures and languages; yet its message remains consistent and is without contradiction.

But of course the Bible is not just a collection of stories and myths. Peter was an eyewitness to the life, death and resurrection of Christ. He heard the very voice of God expressing His pleasure and love for His Son. Peter would go to his death testifying to the veracity of his claims, as would many of the other New Testament writers.

But here Peter says in a sense, don't take my word for it! Rather than trying to unhitch Christianity from the embarrassing baggage of the Old Testament (as some modern day evangelicals think of it), Peter doubles down on it. He writes that the "prophetic message" (what we call the Old Testament) is "something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as a light shining in a dark place... (v20)" In other words, every word of the Old Testament is shining its light on what would be revealed in the gospels and explained in the epistles: salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone.

Dig Deeper

The Bible isn't authoritative simply because its words are consistent, inerrant (without error), and infallible (it doesn't fail to convey God's truth). The Bible is authoritative because it's God's Word. As Peter says, the scriptures aren't just "cleverly devised stories," rather, the men who wrote it "spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

These men wrote of their own experiences, and their unique voices and personalities come through in the expressions and various writing styles they used, and while it's true to say that the Bible is comprised of the words of Moses, David, Peter, Paul and others, it's much more accurate to describe every syllable as the very Word of God, since the Holy Spirit was speaking through each of these men's voices (more on that later).

These words are unlike anything else ever written, which is why as a Christian, you are called to dedicate so much of your time and energy to know and understand them. Unfortunately, you can't expect society to help reinforce Biblical truth anymore as it once did in Western Civilization. You must do this hard work of learning this sometimes difficult truth yourself so that you can teach it to those whom God has given you responsibility over.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God our Father, whose voice rings out through His Word from the Majestic Glory (v17);

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for His Word, and pray for the strength and desire to "pay attention to it (v19);"



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 16

Questions or comments?

Recent Posts:

bottom of page