“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior”
(2 Peter 3:1-2)
In today’s verse passage, Peter made it clear that the apostolic witness was no less God-inspired and authoritative as the prophetic testimony of the ancient Scriptures. In other words, Peter understood that apostles were no less the communicators of special revelation than the writing prophets of Old Testament. Peter was concerned that Christians engage the God-given faculty of reason when consulting both Testaments. “I stir up your pure minds . . . that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before . . .” It is true that love edifies where knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1). It is also true that of the three virtues—faith, hope, and love—love is the greatest (1 Corinthians 13:13). Nevertheless, love rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6), and God’s word is true from the beginning (Psalm 119:160). Though we needn’t be scholars to enter the kingdom, God requires that we know at least some things (Hosea 4:6; Romans 10:2). For much of church history, large numbers of Christians have focused on the New Testament almost exclusively, all but ignoring the Old Testament. Since Christ is the Mediator of a New and better Covenant, so the argument goes, there is no value in studying the Old Testament Scriptures. It is true that the Law, as law, has no power over the Christian in this dispensation (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:23; 5:18). Even so, the Old Testament is filled from beginning to end with revelations of Who God His and how He has chosen to govern and care for man. How tragic that some have chosen to ignore these Scriptures. The supposed “red letter” Christians, those who chose to read only the quoted words of Jesus in the New Testament, are even worse off. They are like softer versions of King Jehoiakim, who used a pen knife to cut away those portions of Jeremiah’s prophecy he found disagreeable (Jeremiah 36). Others in the modern era go in the opposite direction, focusing almost entirely on the Old Testament. Many strive to see Jesus in the ancient Scriptures, whether in shadows and types or in outright predictive prophecy. The endeavour is not wrong-headed, however; the Lord Himself declared that the Scriptures testify to Him (John 5:39; Luke 18:31; 24:44-47; Romans 1:1-4). The Lord and His Gospel are indeed there in the pages of the Old Testament, and we are certainly blessed to see them there. We ought not, however, ignore the New Testament, in which our Lord is portrayed clearly and in glory. The classic hymn provides good counsel: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” May this be true of us today!