2 Peter 1 & 2, Luke 1, 1 Corinthians 7
Introduction: We have learned in our
prior lessons that being a prophet means that
you communicate God's messages to others. The
purest form of communication was when God wrote
the Ten Commandments with His own finger on
stone. No chance for error in that. Next, we
learned that God spoke to Moses "face to face"
(meaning Moses could see God's form). That is
obviously a very high form of communication. How
do the other prophets obtain messages from God?
How do they package them for us? How are we to
understand the messages of those who have the
gift of prophecy? Let's dive into our study of
the Bible and see what we can learn!
2 Peter 1:16-18.
Peter is telling his listeners why his stories about
Jesus should be believed. What argument is he
making? (Peter says he (and others) were
What other credential does Peter claim for
Jesus, other than Peter personally witnessed what
Jesus did? (God spoke in support of Jesus.)
In this context is Peter a prophet? (Yes. He
heard the voice of God and he repeats the words.)
Is Peter simply reciting God's words? (God's
words would not make sense without Peter's human
experience and his observations of Jesus. Taken
together you have an example of the work of a
2 Peter 1:19.
What other argument does Peter bring to bear in
favor of Jesus? (He points out that the prophets
foretold Jesus' coming.)
What does Peter mean when he says the words
of the prophets are "made more certain?" Are some
prophets' words uncertain? (He means that they are
being proven to be true by their fulfillment in
Notice all the references to light: "light
shining," "day dawns," and "morning star rises."
What does this have to do with prophecy? (Our own
understanding is part of the total package. We have
the eye-witnesses, we have the statement from God,
we have facts which fit, and we have a desire to
understand which is aided by the Holy Spirit. These
things together turn on the "light" of
understanding. We begin to see clearly.)
2 Peter 1:20-21.
What two things are not the source of prophecy? (The
prophet's own interpretation or will.)
What does that mean? I thought we just
decided that the prophet's complete understanding of
what God said about Jesus required an understanding
of Jesus' works? (Understanding the prophecy may
require that. But, the point here is that the
writings did not have a human origin - they came
from God. In the specific instance we have the word
coming from heaven and the disciples heard it. It
did not originate with them.)
What mental picture do you get from this idea
of the prophet "being carried along by the Holy
Spirit?" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary tells us
that Luke uses a word referring to a sail boat
carried by the wind. It continues "[the prophets]
were consciously involved in the process; they were
neither taking dictation nor writing in a state of
Go back and look again at
2 Peter 1:21.
In light of what we have seen, what importance do
you attach to the word "origin?" (The work of the
prophet is a joint venture with God. The origin of
the message, the decision about the topic, are not
the prophet's. Instead, these things come from God.
But the prophet has a great deal to do with the
I love to think about prophecy being compared
to sailing. I'm an old sailor. The direction and
power of the wind means everything. Sure, you can
sail the boat most directions regardless of the
direction of the wind. But, that is difficult. The
sailboat has the most power, the most speed, and the
most effectiveness if the sailor allows the
direction of the wind to dictate the direction of
the boat. It is a team effort. Without the wind the
boat goes nowhere. Without the sailor and the sails,
the wind alone is ineffective.
Visions Versus Research
The Gospel of Luke is an important part of the
Bible. Do you think it is inspired by the Holy
This is a rare instance in which an inspired
author tells us how he put the book together. How
did he do it? (He read the accounts of others. He
talked to first-hand witnesses. It seems that he
made a judgment about the witnesses
themselves("servants of the word"). The fact he
investigated the accounts shows he wanted to be sure
they were accurate. He put the materials in logical
order. It sounds like Luke is a reporter and a
Does this mean that Luke copied from the
writings of others when he wrote the book of Luke?
Should he have used footnotes?
23:30-32. Does this mean Luke was
stealing words from others? (Unlike Luke, the false
prophets in Jeremiah are not open about what they
are doing. More importantly, Luke's gospel is not
reckless lies designed to promote Luke. Luke is
trying to accurately reveal Jesus.)
What is the source of Daniel's writings? (He is
confronted by a heavenly being. Something physical
is happening (those who cannot see it are
terrorized), but Daniel calls it a vision.)
Is Daniel just seeing a picture, or is he being told
something? (He is seeing a vision of a being
speaking to him.)
How is Daniel like Luke? (Both of them were thinking
about important spiritual matters. Both were trying
to understand the matter. Daniel, we are told, was
praying for understanding.)
How are Luke and Daniel unalike in their
writings? (Daniel has an amazing vision of a speaker
with great power and glory. That speaker gives a
message to Daniel. Luke, on the other hand, has
humans speaking to him.)
Does this background make the messages of
Daniel more reliable than those of Luke?
If you say, "no," then how do you account for
the differences? (Let's go back to sailing. I've had
some very intense sailing experiences and some very
calm experiences. It is all sailing. God approaches
and guides human prophets in different ways -
perhaps in different degrees of intensity. Both Luke
and Daniel tell how their writings came about. This
teaches us that true prophets can have much
2 Peter 2:1.
Are false prophets obvious? (Not at first. Like
false teachers, they "secretly introduce" false
What clue can we have to whether the prophet
is true or false? (Whether they deny Jesus.)
What if someone attacked Luke's gospel on the
basis that he used other sources - would a proper
test of Luke be that his gospel promotes Jesus?
(Yes. How a prophet puts together the material is
not a test.)
2 Peter 2:2-3.
How else should we judge prophets (and teachers)?
(First, follow the money. Greed causes the false
prophets to exploit those who follow them. Second,
look at the results of the teaching and prophecy.
The ways of the false prophets are "shameful" and
they bring "the way of truth into disrepute." The
promote themselves, not Jesus.)
7:10-13. All of this is in the Bible. Yet
Paul tells us some of what is written is his opinion
and some of it is God's command. Is part of the
Bible more reliable than other parts?
I appreciate Paul noting what are God's
commands and what are his own opinion, does he
always do this? What about other prophets, do they
always make the distinctions clear?
7:25-26. Is Paul telling us that the Holy
Spirit is not inspiring him here? If so, why is this
in the Bible?
2 Peter 1:20.
If the Bible does not come from the prophet's own
interpretation, how can we have Paul telling us (
7:25) what he writes is his own judgment?
(Paul appears to be answering a series of questions
posed to him by the local church. In accord with the
proper approach of a prophet, he lets the reader
know when God has not given him a direct revelation.
However, Paul calls himself "trustworthy" - so he is
claiming some spiritual basis for his statements -
without an express command.)
What does this teach us about the writings of
prophets? (Consider again the sailing idea. Prophecy
is a joint venture between God and humans. The mix
between God and human may vary - but for true
prophets the wind behind the statement is always the
Holy Spirit. The lesson for us is that we need to
look at the collective writings of the prophets as a
whole to discern God's will.)
Friend, will you pray that God will give you
understanding about the gift of prophecy? Will you
pray that, as described in Joel 2, the gift of
prophecy will be given to many people? Will you pay
attention to the prophets that you have?
Next week: Testing the Prophets.