As I pointed out yesterday, this is the second of 4 passages in which Peter underscores the importance of the Word of God. The passage is four sentences, 16, 17 – 18, 19, and 20 – 21. I mention that because as we read and study our Bible, we should remember that while the paragraph is a unit of thought sentences are the building blocks of paragraphs. Unfortunately, the chapter and verse divisions many times break up both paragraphs and sentences. If we do not pay attention to that, we can focus on a part of a sentence and miss the point the author is making.
In this verse Peter is both substantiating why he is reminding his readers and setting up the contrast to the false teachers that follows in chapter 2. He didn’t make up what he is sharing about Jesus, he was an eyewitness. Specifically,…
Verses 17 – 18
Peter was present at the transfiguration of Jesus. This shows up in our Bibles in Mark 9:2 – 8 (here @ Bible Gateway); Matthew 17:1 – 8 (here @ Bible Gateway); and Luke 9:28 – 36 (here @ Bible Gateway). Peter state that Jesus received honor from God the Father, and there was a verbal affirmation of Jesus from God that Peter, James, and John all heard.
Peter declares that the result of hearing this verbal affirmation is the validation of the prophetic word. Because of this, we are to pay attention to the Word. Makes sense, but Peter does not stop there.
Verses 20 – 21
Peter emphasizes that no prophecy is a matter of an individual’s interpretation. This is a tacit repetition of verse 16, Peter didn’t make up what he is sharing about Jesus, neither are the prophets. Rather, the Holy Spirit move these men to speak from God.
Notice the parallel. On the mountain of transfiguration, the verbal affirmation was from God. In the written prophecy, the written Word, the Holy Spirit inspired men to speak from God. The validation on the mount was from God, the written prophecy is from God through the Spirit.
Peter is comparing his experience on the mount to our experience when we engage in the written Word of God. Both are from God. This view of Scripture is a repetition of Peter’s first strong statement about the Word of God in 1:4 (here @ Bible Gateway). Through the promises of God, which we find in the Word of God, we become partakers of the divine nature. We encounter God in the Scripture as Peter encountered Him on the mount.