The apostle Peter wrote, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). False teachers can be cunning. Some have vivid imaginations that they use to fabricate elaborate tales. But the imaginations of men are not the source of the account of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. His advent, life, teaching, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension are not fables. They were not made up, but were witnessed by honest men.
The coming in 2 Peter 1:16 is the Lord’s first coming of which the apostles, including Peter, were eyewitnesses. Peter was one of the privileged three (the other two being James and John) to ascend the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, his face shining as the sun, and his clothing becoming white as light (Matthew 17:1-5). Peter goes on to mention the testimony God gave of His Son on that occasion, “For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:17-18). Peter saw the transfiguration with his own eyes. He heard the words of the Father with his own ears.
The conclusion Peter draws from witnessing these supernatural events is, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed,” (2 Peter 1:19). What the Old Testament prophets said concerning Jesus Christ was confirmed by events such as the Transfiguration which the apostles witnessed while accompanying the Lord during His earthly ministry.
Peter goes on to tell us how the Old Testament, and the whole Bible for that matter, was written. He reiterates what he had declared in verse 16 by writing, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20). The subject of this verse is not what one does with Scripture in interpreting, but rather how Scripture came about. The words “is of” in 2 Peter 1:10 come from the Greek word ginomai, which means “comes from.” The Scriptures did not come from man’s imagination or private interpretation; the Scriptures are not “cunningly devised fables.” This is even more evident when we read on to the next verse. Peter shows how prophecy, God’s revelation to man in the Scriptures, came about when he writes in verse 21, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Peter himself was writing this epistle because he was guided by the Holy Spirit, whose coming Jesus promised (John 16:13).
This confirmed word from God ought to get our attention. Peter noted the proper response to this confirmed word, writing, “which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). Just as we would notice a bright light if we were in the dark, so God’s confirmed word ought to arrest our attention in a world of darkness. As we grow in our appreciation of God’s word, light will fill our minds. The day will dawn and the morning star will arise in our hearts. Take some time this week to appreciate God’s word and let the light in (Psalm 119:130).