And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark places until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. II Peter 1:19 (RSV)
Please note that Peter uses here the expression, “the prophetic word made more sure,” instead of just saying the word of prophecy.” He means the Old Testament Scriptures, the written testimony given by the Holy Spirit, which is true and faithful for believers always, even in this new dispensation. We do not err if we likewise speak in the same way of the Bible as we now possess it!
The Word as referred to in this text is not only very certain, it is actually a prophetic word which has been made more sure. “More sure”—this is a comparison with the voice which Peter heard from God on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2fi., Mark 9: 2ff., Luke 9:29ff.). Peter had there shared in an overwhelming experience when he “heard this voice borne from heaven” while he was “with him on the holy mountain” (II Peter 1:18). Heretics may use “cleverly devised myths” to make their stories appear credible, but the apostles are eye-witnesses of that which was attested in their very presence! Peter saw the majestic Lord Jesus Christ, and heard the very voice of God as it said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The prophetic word was always sure. It never was something that might give occasion for doubt. But now it is made more sure by the confirming experience and testimony of the apostles. We can rely upon it, trust in it, for it is the true and infallible Word of God.
No wonder that Peter follows with an exhortation such as, “You do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” Note the indispensability of this Word: it is the only light in a world lying in complete darkness. We know nothing without this Word! If we neglect it we are as blind men. There is no wisdom except that which is made possible by the illumination of God’s Word which is as a lamp unto our feet.
Note as well the tenderness of Peter’s admonition: “You will do well…” It is as if a father is speaking to a son who has almost reached the stage of self-support and adult responsibility! This is truly complimentary.
Today this advice is still relevant. We are a critical generation. It is questioned as to whether we should teach the verbal inspiration of Scripture in this modern day. Some doubt whether Genesis 1–3 is true in just the same way as other parts of the Bible. There seems to be an inclination to regard the Bible as generally infallible, with certain kinds of detail excluded. Do you realize that our many doubts jeopardize the functioning of the Bible as “a lamp shining in a dark place”? For this must mean that our place is completely dark without that light. What, then, about a Bible which we consider as only partly a light?
Peter urges upon us the well.doing of careful and trusting use of that Bible lantern. Studying the Bible, meditating upon it, praying in its light, maintaining the preaching from it; hearing it as a true Word from God addressed to us personally—the end of this process is when “the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
Some have said that this refers to the Second Coming of our Lord, but we feel that this is out of harmony with the intention of the passage. This is the idea: those who use God’s Word as the only lamp in this dark place find that a new day dawns for them, one which goes on and on into everlasting life as is guaranteed by the rising of the morning star! What a great incentive to Bible study! Would you find life? Then walk in the light of the Word, and you will find forgiveness each day anew, you will find hope as you walk toward the consummation of all things in Christ, and you will find strength even as you see those things which speak loudly of the perfection of Christ’s world·wide redemption!