The Authority of Scripture

Bible Book: 2 Peter  1 : 16-21
Subject: Scripture; Bible; Authority of the Bible
Series: Our Precious Faith

[Matthew 17:1-8]

This paragraph is a strong statement on the inspiration of Scripture. Peter affirms that the Old Testament Prophets wrote God’s message to man. He then groups himself and the others apostles in the same category, because they experienced the same inspiration of God in their writings. The Bible is not a collection of fables or human ideas about God. It is God’s very words given through people to people (CIT).

Peter also emphasized the authority of eyewitnesses to the events in Jesus life as reinforcing the God-inspirited authority of Scripture. The Apostolic witness, the testimony Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit’s conformation in the heart and life are the basis for our Christian faith. These witnesses give powerful testimony to the veracity of God’s Witness to mankind.


Verse 16 his testifies that the accounts of Jesus life are bast on eye witness testimonies. “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

The testimony is that “we,” meaning the Apostles, did not cunning devise and present a myth. A myth or tale is a story manufactured to express one’s own desire without being true to reality. Since it is man centered it has no redemptive power. The Greek and Roman world abounded in stories about the gods. They were mere human speculations that tried to explain the world and its origins. No matter how interesting these myths might be, the Christian is not to be occupied with them.

The apostles, instead of fabricating fables, made know the true historical reality of Jesus. Their doctrine held forth Christ coming in flesh to redeem man from sin, as the most certain and serious purpose under heaven. This Jesus is the only one who can save man from the eternal consequences of his sinful, thoughts, words and deeds. Those who reject Jesus will be separated eternally from Him and from all that is good, right and loving.

[This self same person, Jesus, preached as being both Christ and Lord, is coming a second time. This time in power to defeat all the forces arrayed against Him and His Kingdom. When He returns He will introduce a New Heaven and New Earth and will lead us to an everlasting state of blessing, joy and perfection.] What guarantee do we have that this is right and that it is all true? We have believed and accepted it and have suffered for that belief, but how do we know it is really true? The two solid foundations of certainty on which the Christian can be absolutely confident and sure are given as the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles and the inspired witness of God’s Word.

Peter declares that he and the apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ glory and majesty. They saw with their physical eyes Christ’s glory in human flesh. They saw Him heal the sick, give sight to the blind, raise the dead, command the elements, calm the sea, and still the wind. He displayed His majesty as Lord over creation, disease, pestilence and demons. They witnessed the working of these miracles. They saw Him nailed to a cross, die, be buried in a tomb, rise again, speak to them for 40 more days, and then ascend to heaven promising to return again.

Out of all these glorious events that Peter saw he chooses the Transfiguration where Jesus openly displayed His glory as a certain proof of His eternal majesty. Verse 17 affirms, “For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory,”

Peter wrote a summary of what He saw and heard on the Mountain of Transfiguration. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus’ “face shine like the sun and His clothes became as white as light” (Mt. 17:2). Why was the Mount of Transfiguration singled out? There these men saw more clearly than anywhere else the special and amazing glory of our Lord. Suddenly Jesus was transfigured before them. A blazing, dazzling light shone from His face and His body radiated out through His clothing with an unearthly splendor. That amazing glory, which almost blinded them, imbedded itself eternally in their memory. They saw in an amazing scene where Elijah and Moses came to help prepare Jesus for the exodus He was to perform. These prophets came from beyond the grave to minister to our Lord. The Transfiguration had special significance for Jesus Christ who was headed toward Calvary. It was the Father’s way of preparing and strengthening His Son for that terrible ordeal of being sacrificed for the sins of the world. “The Transfiguration was proof that suffering leads to glory when we are in the will of God.” [Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Vol 2. 1989. Victor Books. Wheaton IL. p. 442.]

Is that witness of Christ’s glory not sufficient encouragement for every lost sinner that hears it to fly to Jesus for salvation since He [came to seek and save us and] has power to save to the utmost all that come to God through Him?

If that is not enough, listen to the Father’s voice booming out heaven as He speaks to His Beloved Son in verse 18. ‘“This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.’ And we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Peter not only saw Christ’s glory but he heard the Father’s voice “from the magnificent of glory.” Witnesses are people who tell accurately what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20), and Peter was a faithful witness. Is Jesus Christ the Son of God? Yes, He Is! How do we know? The Father said so! The statement we were with Him is emphatic. It was an event that was burned into their memories. They were on a sacred or holy mountain (Luke 9:35). It was sacred because God’s presence was there. The revelation of God’s glory made the mountain holy for the apostles who witnessed the event. As human witnesses, the apostles were permitted to see a glimpse of heaven where Jesus rules with power, honor, glory, and in which He is the Son of God who receives His Father’s love and approval. Peter can therefore personally vouch for the veracity of Christ’s teaching and asserts that a glorious entry into Christ’s Kingdom, awaits believers (v. 10).


Verses 19-21 reveal the certainty, the origin, and the source of Scripture. Scripture is God’s revelation to man and not man’s description of God. For Peter, the written Word of God is indisputably trustworthy. It is a sure word, a shining word, and a Spirit-given word. Verse 19 testifies to the certainty and vital claim of God’s Prophetic Word. “We have the prophetic Word more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star arises in your hearts.”

How powerfully convincing is the statement “we have a more sure prophetic Word.” In the preceding section Peter focused on hearing the Word spoken by God the Father directly from heaven. Here he concentrates on the written Word or Scripture. [The prophetic word not only means the foretelling word but the forth-telling word.] The written Word of God is declared more reliable that God’s thundering Word out of Heaven. It’s a Word you can go back to time and time again. No it is not more God’s Word but it is a more certain, less apt to mis-interpretation because it can be read, reread and studied in its context by all. Thus, since the written Word is a more sure word to us than a word verbally spoken by God out of Heaven to us. Thus, we would do well to pay attention to it. It is God’s Word and not the mere theories of men. Man has been well advised to grab hold of it for it is ignored it at one’s own peril.

A man who lived on Long Island, NY, bought a high quality BAROMETER. When it was delivered to his home, the arrow appeared to be stuck, pointing to the section marked “Hurricane.”

[According to the noted Bible teacher and author E. Schuyler English,] the man shook the barometer, but the indicator stayed the same. So the man sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store where he had bought it. The following morning on the way to his office he mailed the letter. Later that day a hurricane struck the East Coast. That evening the man returned to Long Island to find that his barometer was missing- and so was his house.

That man’s skepticism may seem ridiculous. But there is a clearer indicator of the future that is more certain and dependable than any barometer and all too often we do not take it seriously. It is God’s eternal Word, the Bible. Believe it, for it is never wrong!

Peter testifies to us in the first part of verse 19 that we have the prophetic Word made more sure that even God’s voice out of heaven. If you ignore God’s true Word to you, you invite the disaster of inescapable judgment. The Bible is God’s Word and it reveals the true condition of the human heart. Believe it, even if don’t like the diagnosis.

The second half of verse 19 compares the Word to “a light shining in a dark place.” What a remarkable claim! At night light [immediately attacks our eyes and] gives us the ability to see. [Light dispels darkness and brings things into view. The expression evokes an image of the squalid conditions of people in spiritual darkness upon whom the light of God’s Word shines.] Scripture is the true light of people. Through it, Jesus, the Light of the World, shines. Scripture is like a lamp shining in a dark cavern, in a gloomy, disreputable, and shadowy place. So Peter urges and exhorts us to pay diligent attention to it, as the light that illuminates the darkness.

God’s Word will continually shine forth “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” [The word day should be interpreted in relation to the term Morning Star.] The expression morning star, is translated from the Greek word φωσφορος - or light bringer, and points not only to Jesus revealing Himself and His way in the heart of the man who pays diligent attention to the Word, but also to His return when He will shine in His full glory banishing all darkness and doubt (Luke 1:78; Eph. 5:14, Rev. 2:28, 22:16). Until that day we have Scripture as a light and the Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture for us to guide us as we seek truth and live.

Verse 20 proclaims that Scripture did not originate in the mind of man. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.”

Here is an important point of doctrine introduced by the words “first of” or above all. First of all, we ought to know that Scripture did not originate in the mind of man. No Scripture originated in the Prophet’s own understanding of things. The Bible was given to us by God.

Two lessons are understood here concerning the interpretation of Scripture. First, it is the Holy Spirit that must guide individuals in interpreting the Bible. He is the author and must illuminate and guide the mind. The second understanding is that Scripture must be interpreted in light of Scripture. Scripture must not be divorced from other Scriptures or from its context. Isolated texts apart from their context can become man’s pretexts.

[PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL is groundhog that comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania, each February 2 to predict the weather. According to legend, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of cold weather. If he doesn't see his shadow, spring will come early.

This is all humbug and good humor, of course. No one to my knowledge takes Phil's predictions seriously. Furthermore, he's unreliable-more often wrong than right, I'm told.

A WEATHERMAN boasted, "I'm 90 percent right - 10 percent of the time." That's a ridiculous statement, but some folk resort to double talk to cover up a poor record

The Bible's prophetic record though is truly accurate. Let’s look at a few examples. The Lord Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) at a specific time (Daniel 9:25). Infants in Bethlehem were massacred as prophesied (Jeremiah 31:15). Jesus went down into Egypt and returned (Hosea 11:1). Isaiah foretold Christ’s ministry in Galilee (Isa. 9:1-2). Zechariah predicted His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt (Zechariah 9:9) and His betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (11:12-13). David had never seen a Roman crucifixion, yet in Psalm 22, under divine inspiration, he penned it graphic portrayal of Jesus' death. Isaiah 53 gives a detailed picture of our Lord's rejection, mistreatment, death; and burial. These few prophecies (and there are many more) should impress us with the reliability of the Bible.

Since these predictions have all been fulfilled, let us also accept with confidence what the Bible says about the future. The Bible’s prophecy are right all of the time! God always keeps His Word.]

Verse 21 affirms that God is the source of the content of Scripture. “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by [under] the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

This declaration on the origin and source of prophecy [ or the foretelling and forth-telling of God] begins by stating that Scripture did not come into being by the will of man. Human will never originated true prophecy. In the formation of Scripture, man’s will never prevailed. On the contrary Scripture comes from God.

The great assertion here is that the writers of Scripture were “taken hold of by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible is not mere thoughts from the mind of its writers. Yes, the events they recorded really did happen before their eyes. Yes, their visions and dreams came into their thoughts. Even the words were written in languages they understood. But the power which turned the turbine of their thoughts came from a source beyond their human abilities. The moving of the Spirit was the power that caused the words of God to be recorded on the pages so that the Word could bring life and light. These words have brought and will bring life and light into every age.

God used the writers’ talents, insights, education, experience, and culture as background, but moved them along in such a way that their message is authentic and reliable. The term moved or carried along, speaks of a ship being carried to its destination by the wind. And so it is used in the book of Acts. You remember the story of Paul and his ocean voyage to Rome? A mighty wind arose (eurodydon) and the little ship was driven before it. That is the same word used here. They were so moved that sometimes they did not even understand what they were writing [Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Expository Sermons on 2 Peter. 1983. Banner of Truth Trust. Carlisle, PA. p. 97]. The writers do not say, “This is what I think,” but “Thus said the Lord” [or “the Word of the Lord came to me.]

The writers of Scripture personalities’ have not been erased. Verbal Plenary Inspiration means that holy men were so under, so controlled, by the Holy Spirit that they were safeguarded from error. They were guarded not only concerning knowledge of the truth but expression of the truth as well. Their personalities were given free play but they were guarded by the Holy Spirit so that He guaranteed the ultimate result. What these men announced and what these men wrote is uniquely inspired. The writer was not only moved - driven along, he was carried or borne along. I believe all the words of Scripture are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

All other books are the production of man, a result of man’s will, understanding and insight. But this book claims it is the record of God. God inspired the message and messenger. In this Book we have the only written account by God that mankind possesses. For that reason it is called the Holy Bible. In it God reveals Himself, His character, His holiness, His redemption and His way of salvation. In it God reveals His own thoughts concerning man, life, and the world. We are told how man came into existence, how all man’s troubles are a result of sin, what God has done about sin and what God is going to do about sin. It is a map of Redemptive History. It contains the philosophy of the ages. The Bible tells what is going to happen. In it I am confronted by the truth, and inspired to truthfulness.


The story is told about a young boy giving his grandmother a BIBLE FOR CHRISTMAS. He wanted to write something special on the flyleaf but wasn’t sure what to say. So he decided to copy what he had seen in a book that was highly valued by his father.

Christmas morning came and grandmother opened her gift. She was not only pleased to receive the Bible, but she was amused by the inscription in it. It read: “To Grandma, with compliments of the author.”

Even though the boy was unaware of it, he suggested a unique fact about the Bible. It came to us from its author, God. The apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter proclaimed “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (v. 21). It has proven itself by transforming the lives of those who read, study it and take it to heart. The Word of God is living and powerful (Heb. 4:12) and it will work redemptively within us, if we will follow it.

Knowing who wrote a book often determines whether we’ll pick it up and read it. The Bible, with its divine origin, not only ought to be read, but it demands our respect, our trust, and our obedience. It comes to us “with compliments of the Author.”

What makes me a Christian is believing and accepting Jesus Christ, the central figure of this Book. This Book bares testimony that He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, worked miracles, died on a cross for man’s sins, bodily rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven. I believe the central character, the Son of God, and the testimony to Him is true. This is not a fable of deliberately invented events and the Apostles and Prophets are not fabricator, frauds and liars. I believe this is the Holy Word of God! Written by holy men! Written under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit! ... What do you believe?