The Apostle Peter died more than 1950 years ago. Just before his martyrdom in Rome, he picked up his quill and scratched out a short letter, his second epistle, which represents his last words.
As Peter pressed the nib to the parchment, one theme continued to recur: the need for important reminders of spiritual truths (2 Peter 1:9–15; 3:1–2). Peter’s purpose in his letter is clear:
I am writing to you [to stir] 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
The reasons for these reminders are at least three, and the principles they offer are timeless.
3 Important Reminders You Should Remember
1. Remember that God is your only source of truth.
Peter’s day had its mystics and preachers of relative truth, just as ours does. So Peter assured them that he and the other apostles didn’t concoct the stories they told about Jesus:
We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. —2 Peter 1:16
They saw Jesus, His miracles, His death and His resurrection. Specifically, Peter had witnessed firsthand the Lord’s majesty on the Mount of Transfiguration where he heard the Father’s voice affirm: “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” (2 Peter 1:17–18; cf. Matthew 17:1–8).
The basis of truth isn’t opinion or reason—but revelation from God. (Tweet that.)
2. Remember that God’s Word is your only guide for life.
Anybody can claim to have a message from God. Therefore, Peter pointed us back to the Bible as our guide, comparing God’s Word to a lamp that guides in the darkness (2 Peter 1:19; see also Psalm 119:105). Like a lamp:
Peter referred to the Bible as God’s “precious and magnificent promises, [given] so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
3. Remember that the Word of God originated with God.
This may seem basic, but the basics are the most important. That’s why Peter repeated them.
No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. —2 Peter 1:21
In our day as well, the divine inspiration of Scripture undergirds everything the Bible teaches. God’s Word came from God.
Peter’s final words bear the marks of one who did more than make claims. Not long after Peter put down his pen, Jesus’ words about how Peter would die came true (John 21:18–19). It is traditionally believed that the apostle was crucified upside down in Rome for the faith he proclaimed.
Peter was right. Only by continually remembering what we already know can we remain willing to live and to die for those essential truths.
Tell me what you think: How do you remember truths you don’t want to forget? To leave a comment, just click here.
Adapted from Wayne Stiles, “Peter’s Reminder,” in Famous Last Words (IFL Publishing House: Plano, TX, 2013), 81-84.