The Lord is Not Slow to Act: He Is Patient (Wed., Feb 24)

The word of the day is “slowness.”  The Lord has promised to return in glory to judge the world and reign over a new heaven and a new earth.  Today’s reading of 2 Peter 3:1-18 answers scoffers who question whether the Word of the Lord will occur since it has not happened yet.  To rebuff their arguments, Peter says that the cynics are asking the wrong question.  He writes that the most important thing is to answer, “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (vs. 11).  We cannot know the day or hour of the Lord’s coming.  Yet, we can only look forward to it in faith and conform ourselves and our lives to…

Dry Wells or Flowing Fountains? (Tues., Feb. 23)

The word of the day is “wells.  Wells are meant to provide water.  But if a well becomes dry, it is a useless hole in the ground.   In our reading of 2 Peter 2:9-22, the apostle compares false teachers to dried up wells (vs. 17)  that are a  great disappointment to a thirsty traveler.  In today’s study, we will contrast these empty pits with the flowing fountains of living water that the Lord gives who come to Him to drink (John 4:13-14). Appealing to the Passions of Covetousness and Lewdness The apostle’s emphasis is on deceivers who exploit and allure the faithful.  The term “exploit” is derived from the idea of business or trade.  In this case, the trade is…

The Role of the Spirit in the Writing and Reading of Scripture (Mon., Feb 22)

The word of the day is “Spirit.”  Today’s reading of 2 Peter 1:20-2:19 explains why the apostle could say that the word of prophecy is a trustworthy lamp to guide us in our dark world (2 Peter 1:19).  He writes, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (vs. 20).  Thus, the apostle confirms that the words of the prophets are wholly reliable.  But is our reading of the same words equally dependable? A Message Not from Human Persons The apostle points out that we can trust the prophets’ word because their message did not come…

Don’t Let Religious Imposters Fool You (Sun., Feb. 21)

The word of the day is “imposter.”  From his earliest letters onward, Paul had to include a warning against interlopers who would lead the faithful astray.  In our reading of 2 Timothy 3:10-15, Paul cautions his apprentice Timothy that these pretenders are bound to increase.  He writes, “But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (vs. 13).  In today’s study, we learn how to identify these charlatans and to guard against their deception. False Christs and False Prophets Will Keep Appearing The Lord warned that “false Christ’s” and “false prophets” would appear and attempt to lead many astray (Matthew 24:24).  His warning has applied to the Church throughout the ages.  They have ranged from…

Unchanging Faithfulness in a Changing World (Sat., Feb. 20)

The word of the day is “faithful.”  Change is the way of the universe, and no one in the world can stop it. The changing of the day and night, the seasons, the tides, the weather; the alterations of society, the generations, governments, economies, fashions, and fortunes; the relentless course of human life from infancy through old age–who of us can arrest the ebbing and flowing of any of these?  Yet among all that exists, there is one who does not change, the eternal God.  And because He was, is, and always will be the same (Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17), He is faithful.  In our reading of 2 Timothy 2:11-19, Paul testifies to this faithfulness.  The Everlasting God remains faithful…

“Partakers of the Divine Nature” (Fri. Feb. 19)

  The word of the day is “partakers.”  In various places in the New Testament, we hear that we are to become “like God.”  Our reading of 2 Peter 1:1-10 ties all these terms together in the concept of “deification.”  At the core of today’s passage, the apostle writes, “… that you may be partakers of the divine nature…” (vs. 4).  Our discussion will explore the background of this thought. A startling statement of the Athanasius summarizes the topic of today’s study.  In 318 A.D., the theologian wrote a seminal book entitled On the Incarnation.  To explain why the Son of God came down from heaven to “become man,” the church father wrote, “God became man so that man might…

Preparing for the Trials of Faith (Thurs. Feb. 18)

The word of the day is “strange.”  Most of us think that routine is a good thing.  If things do not change considerably, we can make plans and carry on with our lives without interruption.  Yet, the scriptures warn that we should prepare ourselves for the disruption of trials of our faith.  For instance, in today’s reading, Peter writes, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to happen to you as though some strange thing happened to you” (vs. 12).  Our reading of 1 Peter 4:12-5:5 advises how we might endure suffering for the sake of Christ with serenity and even joy. You might notice that the New Testament writers often speak of the trials that…

The Forbearance of Fervent Love (Wed. Feb. 17)

The word of the day is “covers.”  Members of the Body of Christ are at different stages of their “growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).  If St. Paul could say, “I have not attained [my goal] or am already perfect” (Philippians 3:12), who of us could claim to be without fault?  But when it comes to our relationships in the church, our imperfections are bound to affect others.  Therefore, the members of the Body of Christ must have forbearance if the body is not to be torn apart with our frustrations with one another.  To this end, in the reading of 1 Peter 4:1-11, the apostle writes, “Above all things have…

What Can Man Do To Those Who Fear the Lord? (Tues. Feb. 16)

The world of the day is “threat.”  We pray daily for those who are persecuted.  But the thought that we also might suffer hostility for our faith may not occur to us. However, in today’s reading, James writes, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (vs.15).  Put in this way, we can agree that even in our tolerant society, we are likely to confront challenges to our faith that express opposition.  Today’s reading of 1 Peter 3:10-22 teaches that we should boldly respond to these tests of our convictions without fear. Persecution was the norm for the early church, and stories of martyrdom and suffering for…

Answering Evil with Blessing (Mon. Feb. 15)

The word of the day is “blessing.”  The laws of the United States stipulate that offenders must compensate those injured by such wrongs as crimes, auto accidents, and slander. This demand for redress of grievance seems only fair and just.  However, in our reading of 1 Peter 2:21-3:4, the apostle writes that the faithful should not return “evil for evil but, on the contrary, return it with blessing…” (vs. 9). Should We Bless Only Within the Church? Such advice seems ideal but unrealistic in our society.  An answer to this objection might be that the apostle is speaking only of the faithful’s conduct within the Body of Christ.  For instance, Paul was upset when he learned that the Corinthians were…