Friday, 17 January 2020
Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. 2 Peter 1:15
Peter just said that at some point he will “put off” his tent, meaning die. Based on that, he now says, “Moreover I will be careful.” The word translated as “careful” is the same word he used in verse 1:10 where he told the brethren to “be even more diligent.” Just as he exhorted them to be diligent in making their call and election sure, so he would also be diligent, as he says, “to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things.”
He was not leaving it solely up to them to hear once and then have to remember all that they were told, but rather, he was tending to them as a flock and carefully promising to lead them as long as he was able to do so. But more, his words being penned were their own continued guidance for them. As long as the epistle was maintained, copied for others, and transmitted to those who needed the reminder, his work would continue to have lasting effects.
And because Peter’s letter was maintained, eventually becoming a part of the canon of Scripture, his words here are literally true even for believers today. For any who open Scripture and come to his epistles, they have the same reminder.
The Greek word mnémé, translated as “reminder,” is found only here in Scripture. It signifies a lasting memory, or something worthy of recollection. Peter wants his exhortation to them remembered because, in doing so, they will avoid the pitfalls which he explained in verse 9 concerning actually forgetting the fact that they were cleansed from their old sins. He wanted this to remain so, as he says, “after my decease.”
The Greek word translated as “decease” is exodus. It is a going out, or departure, and thus it signifies death. It is only used two other times in the New Testament. The first is in Luke 9:31 when speaking of the exodus, or death, of Christ. The second is in Hebrews 11 when speaking of the exodus of Israel from Egypt. In the first use, Jesus, Peter, John, and James were together on the Mount of Transfiguration. At that time, it said –
“Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. 30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. 33 Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said.” Luke 9:28-31
It should not be missed that Peter is the one who spoke, and while speaking he mentions making tabernacles (meaning tents) for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Now, when speaking of his own exodus, he mentions putting off his own tent. He is clearly calling to mind what he had seen, and he is now using that memory to impart wisdom concerning the faith to those he has been charged to lead.
Life application: There are still thousands of unique languages without a copy of the Bible. Christian churches spend a great deal of money sending missionaries overseas to evangelize the lost. This is most noteworthy, but without a strong follow-up, only the people who originally hear the word will benefit. Therefore, it is important to not only tell of Jesus, but also to put in place safeguards so that the message will continue to be told. One way of doing this is schooling, raising up elders, and establishing churches. However, without a copy of the Bible, bad doctrine can easily creep in.
Likewise, missionaries from non-conforming sects, such as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, can come in and steal away the truth. To provide copies of the Bible in English is arrogant and presumptuous when it isn’t the native language of the people. Therefore, it has been the practice of faithful Christians throughout the ages to translate the Bible into the language of the natives.
Today, that strong desire and goal is being accomplished by the Wycliffe Bible Translators and other groups. Wycliffe is a world-wide organization that is steadily making progress in the translation of the Bible into every known language on earth. If you have the desire to be a part of this team, contact them. Likewise, if you feel so moved, help them out by a charitable gift. The word is eternal, but it needs to be understood. Whether through Wycliffe, or through other local missionaries who are translating the Bible, let us get the recorded word out to the people who so desperately need it.
Lord Jesus, we pray for each of the men and women who are serving around the world in the field of Bible translation. Whether they are overseas in difficult conditions or filling a support role in the office of a big city, be with them and guide them. May Your Holy Spirit move in a splendid way and bring about the knowledge of Your majesty through Your precious word – just as the waters cover the sea. Amen.