“We have something more sure”

The Epistle reading for Transfiguration Day yesterday is quite remarkable, an account from St. Peter himself about his having witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:16-21)

Do you catch the magnitude of what this is saying? “We have something more sure” than personal experience, “more sure” than visions. “More sure” than Peter’s own life with Jesus. “More sure” than actually witnessing on that mountain Moses and Elijah with Christ in all His glory. Namely, THE WORD OF GOD!

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    My Pastor focused on this in his sermon – what a great message. I had never really focused on that statement before. Wow!

  • Joe

    My Pastor focused on this in his sermon – what a great message. I had never really focused on that statement before. Wow!

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    The Greek is a bit ambiguous, and English translations are mixed. The Greek word for “more sure” could be adjectival or adverbial.

    It could be “We have more surely the prophetic word” or “We have the more certain prophetic word.”

    If it’s the former, then Peter is saying that the word of the Old Testament prophets is now more certain because of the Lord’s fulfillment of it. If it’s the latter, it’s as you said.

    As I studied this text last week, I couldn’t settle on one approach or the other. Both seem strong possibilities. Luther took the one you explain above, so I favor it, but the grammar is really ambiguous.

    Did your pastor preach it as you say it above? If so, I’d love to read it. I’ll have to check his blog. It was great seeing him at Symposia.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    The Greek is a bit ambiguous, and English translations are mixed. The Greek word for “more sure” could be adjectival or adverbial.

    It could be “We have more surely the prophetic word” or “We have the more certain prophetic word.”

    If it’s the former, then Peter is saying that the word of the Old Testament prophets is now more certain because of the Lord’s fulfillment of it. If it’s the latter, it’s as you said.

    As I studied this text last week, I couldn’t settle on one approach or the other. Both seem strong possibilities. Luther took the one you explain above, so I favor it, but the grammar is really ambiguous.

    Did your pastor preach it as you say it above? If so, I’d love to read it. I’ll have to check his blog. It was great seeing him at Symposia.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    No, he preached on the gospel text itself, but did an amazing job with it, as usual. Go to the St. Athanasius site on my blogroll at the right to read his sermon.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    No, he preached on the gospel text itself, but did an amazing job with it, as usual. Go to the St. Athanasius site on my blogroll at the right to read his sermon.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Wow.

    What a joy it must be to hear such sermons every week! Pastor Douthwaite is a gifted preacher. In parts of his sermon I see some similarity with the way I preached this text, but his experience shines through.

    I’m just glad that my sheep are willing to endure my inexperience and I pray that God continues to grant me growth in my ability to preach Christ.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Wow.

    What a joy it must be to hear such sermons every week! Pastor Douthwaite is a gifted preacher. In parts of his sermon I see some similarity with the way I preached this text, but his experience shines through.

    I’m just glad that my sheep are willing to endure my inexperience and I pray that God continues to grant me growth in my ability to preach Christ.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I wonder if part of what this means is that the Word of God is more certain for the hearers than Peter’s experience was for his hearers. His argument is to clear himself of the charge of delivering cleverly devised tales. But he knows that his hearers don’t have to decide this only on the grounds of whether they think Peter is trustworthy. These things did not happen in a vacuum, but were foretold. Once this happens, people can read the Old Testament and see that it had to happen as it did.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I wonder if part of what this means is that the Word of God is more certain for the hearers than Peter’s experience was for his hearers. His argument is to clear himself of the charge of delivering cleverly devised tales. But he knows that his hearers don’t have to decide this only on the grounds of whether they think Peter is trustworthy. These things did not happen in a vacuum, but were foretold. Once this happens, people can read the Old Testament and see that it had to happen as it did.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The Greek does appear to be ambiguous (my NKJV lists both “more sure” and “confirmed”), but even so those who would concentrate on charismata need to remember that we do have a sure source of authority.

    Sure, or more sure? What do we say about God if we claim our own experience is equivalent to, or more certain than, the Word?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The Greek does appear to be ambiguous (my NKJV lists both “more sure” and “confirmed”), but even so those who would concentrate on charismata need to remember that we do have a sure source of authority.

    Sure, or more sure? What do we say about God if we claim our own experience is equivalent to, or more certain than, the Word?

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Bike,

    We would say that we are God. The Greek word means either “more sure” or “more surely.” Whichever way you go with it, it is the Word that is sure. The question is whether it’s more sure than experience or whether it has been made more sure by its fulfillment.

    In either case it is the Word that is sure, and nothing else.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Bike,

    We would say that we are God. The Greek word means either “more sure” or “more surely.” Whichever way you go with it, it is the Word that is sure. The question is whether it’s more sure than experience or whether it has been made more sure by its fulfillment.

    In either case it is the Word that is sure, and nothing else.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    This is totally unrelated to the current blog post; I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your recent article in World magazine entitled Acquired taste.

    I was interested in your application of Phil. 4:8. It is my belief that that verse can be used in a much stronger way to support what you’re saying. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

    http://cumberlandisland.blogspot.com/2005/08/philippians-48.html.

    I’d be interested in your reaction to them.

    In Christ.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    This is totally unrelated to the current blog post; I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your recent article in World magazine entitled Acquired taste.

    I was interested in your application of Phil. 4:8. It is my belief that that verse can be used in a much stronger way to support what you’re saying. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

    http://cumberlandisland.blogspot.com/2005/08/philippians-48.html.

    I’d be interested in your reaction to them.

    In Christ.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Oops. That link doesn’t work. Better to navigate to my blog:

    http://cumberlandisland.blogspot.com,

    and then check out the August 2005 archive, and look at the second-bottom post.

    In Christ.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Oops. That link doesn’t work. Better to navigate to my blog:

    http://cumberlandisland.blogspot.com,

    and then check out the August 2005 archive, and look at the second-bottom post.

    In Christ.

  • Christopher Martin

    I remember catching that a few months ago in a bible study with some men from our church. I had everyone slow down and read it again – kind of hits you in the face!

  • Christopher Martin

    I remember catching that a few months ago in a bible study with some men from our church. I had everyone slow down and read it again – kind of hits you in the face!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Thanks, Adriane, that was an illuminating discussion of Phillippians 4:8. I appreciated your explanation of “logizesthe,” an extremely useful definition. I also learned some things about quantum physics!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Thanks, Adriane, that was an illuminating discussion of Phillippians 4:8. I appreciated your explanation of “logizesthe,” an extremely useful definition. I also learned some things about quantum physics!

  • Greg

    I could not help but think of how Gerhard (Johann) saw the Scriptures as Self-authenticating. In the LCMS,now, most see the Gospel as self-authenticating and the Scriptures as authenticated by Christ. Are we on the wrong path? Or is current LCMS thought a healthy corrective of a mistake made by earlier lutheran dogmaticians?

  • Greg

    I could not help but think of how Gerhard (Johann) saw the Scriptures as Self-authenticating. In the LCMS,now, most see the Gospel as self-authenticating and the Scriptures as authenticated by Christ. Are we on the wrong path? Or is current LCMS thought a healthy corrective of a mistake made by earlier lutheran dogmaticians?


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