The Gnostics taught that, in addition to salvation or believing in Christ, one must also receive the gnosis or the esoteric knowledge. This was rebutted by the apostles and even early church fathers thatlived in the period after the early Church. Gnostics disconnected matter (the Sin nature or the physical part of our being) from thought. They concluded that matter was evil and formulated the idea that the possession of knowledge was the only requirement for “full” salvation. This is the reason they would not attribute humanity to Jesus Christ – to them, material things were evil. The resultant effect of this is Docetism, which happens to separate the body from the spirit. They taught that the body of Christ only appeared material but in actuality was spiritual. This led to an immoral life for, since the spirit was separate from the body, they discounted their responsibility for actions carried out in the body.
As a resultof the philosophical concept of the evil body, the Gnostics ignored and diminished the significance of the historical facts concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Christas superficial. To the Gnostics, all the secrets of God are in the mind, or appear as an immaterial identity. In other words, since Jesus came as man, they did not believe that anything good could come out of Him because of their wrong perception of the human body He lived in, while on planet Earth.
This is the reason why Peter writes this letter, to remind the Gentile Christians as he spoke of putting off his earthly tabernacle (his death) and how imperative it was for the Christians to remember the things he had taught them even after he had been long gone. They had to remember that he (Peter) had not followed cleverly devised stories (as the Gnostics had) when he made known the power and the second coming of Jesus but made them understand that they were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
He went on to discourse his experience at the mountain of transfiguration when Jesus took him and two other disciples (James and John) to the mountain. Jesus appearance changed right from the inside until it was evident on the outside as sunlight poured from His face. His clothes were filled with light, after which they realised that Moses and Elijah were also present in deep convo with Him. He (Peter) interjected and said, “Master, this is a great moment!” He asked Jesus what He would think if he built three booths (memorials) there on the mountain – one for Jesus and one each for Moses and Elijah. While he went on babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them and a sound echoed from the deep saying “This is my Son, marked by my love, with whom I am (and have always been) well pleased, listen to Him”.
Peter articulates to his listeners that, as great as his experience was on the mount of transfiguration, there was something more sure and steadfast for him to build his life and faith upon. It is as though Peter says, “As great as the experience on the mount of transfiguration was, it was fleeting and temporal. I have a word that is more sure and enduring than my experience on the mountaintop. This is a word that you can count on to be reliable forever!”
Notice that Peter calls the Word of God “a more sure word of prophecy”. This was the phrase used during his day to describe the writings of the Old Testament. They were called “the prophetic word”. This is actually a reference to the scriptures of the Old Testament. MORE SURE is taken from a Greek word referring to something that is certain, stable or resolute. This gives the ultimate picture of stability and reliability. By using this strong and stable word, Peter is telling us that the Word of God is far superior to any supernatural experience that man can attain, or to any contemporary prophecy that man can give.
The Word is immovable and dependable. You can always count on it. Jesus said Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away. You cannot build your faith on your experiences, because experiences come and go very quickly. They are not as concrete, stable or reliable as the written Word. This is the reason why Peter calls the Word of God “A MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY”.
TO TAKE HEED ONTO is from a Greek word referring to a person who has an obsession for something. Their deliberations and attentions are fixated on something that they feel is quite important to them. Paraphrased as “if you are going to be consumed by and be preoccupied with something”, then turn your thoughts towards the Word and develop a preoccupation and fixation upon it. Peter’s idea is that, if they could have their minds secured on the Word of God and nothing else (like the experiences and the many things Christians crave today that result in emptiness), they would do well.
The Word is like a light that knows no end; it keeps on continuously shining. It is the one light we have at dark times while we wait for the day to break. Its brilliance floods our murky sight and muddy perspective with clarity and it meets the need of our parched and thirsty spirit. Just as you would turn on the table-lamp at the end of your sofa in order to illuminate your room, you must reach over, pick up the Word of God and allow its light to flood your being, suppressing the wrong, fleshly information or food. Christians are to be hungry for this spiritual food and that was why Christ cried when He taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread”.
If we are going to be light bearers, we must allow the Word of God to dwell richly in us. Jesus said, “sanctify them by your Word, your word is true”. Jeremiah declared that God hastens to perform His Word. “Forever oh God, your Word is settled”, David said. He also affirmed that the Word of God is sweeter than the honey in the honeycomb. The writer of a letter to the Hebrews confesses that God has exalted His Word above His own name.
The Bible is God’s revealed Word to His Church. It is the only tool by which God has spoken to us, revealed by way of language. God condescended in order to be understood by the limited intellect and understanding of a child. The Bible employs many forms of genre of literature. There are historic writings and narratives, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic and epistolary writings. Coupled with these genres are metaphors, similes, imageries, parables, allusions, ironies, personifications, paradoxes and hyperboles.
The Word of God issurer than anything you might want to compare it with; any day, any time and anywhere.
C H Spurgeon said, “Flowers, what are they? They are but the thoughts of God solidified, God’s beautiful thoughts put into shape. Storms, what are they? They are God’s terrible thoughts written out that we may read them. Thunders, what are they? They are God’s powerful emotions just opened out that men may hear them. The world is just the materialising of God’s thoughts; for the world is a thought in God’s eye”.