This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
– 2 Peter 3:1-2 (emphasis added)
Peter is calling attention to the two primary sources we have to learn about Jesus Christ: the prophets and the apostles.
Prophets were sent by God; apostles were sent by Jesus. Another way of saying this is that God sent the prophets when He was in heaven, but He came to earth in order to send the apostles.
Prophets are responsible for the writings we call the Old Testament. Apostles are responsible for the writings we call the New Testament. Not all prophets wrote; not all apostles wrote. For example, Eliah and Elisha were prominent Old Testament prophets but we have no writings from them. Similarly, Andrew and Philip were included among the twelve but we have no writings from them.
What determined whether a writing would end up in the Bible was if it had been written by a prophet or an apostle. There were false prophets and there were false apostles. The Jews decided which prophets were true and which were false; the apostles’ disciples decided which apostles were true and which were false. Based on these decisions, the Bible was – over an extended period of time – compiled.
The Bible has authority because the writings that comprise it have authority. Those writings have authority because of who authored them: true prophets and true apostles. There is no writing from a true prophet or true apostle which was excluded from the Bible.
The Bible is neither a magical nor mystical book. The authority it carries is the authority of men who claimed to write on behalf of God. To disprove the Bible all you have to do is prove that the men lied or that other liars forged their writings. I’ve heard it said that no one can read the New Testament through twice without believing it is the truth. I can believe this because it happened to me before my first time completely through – even though I had begun reading it with a skeptical attitude.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for sending prophets and apostles. We will believe them. It is the least we can do…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)