To my knowledge, there’s nothing quite like Second Peter 1:10-12 anywhere else in the New Testament. From this text, we learn that prophets and angels often did their work without understanding the big picture.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances in which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
One of the bedrock principles of many Bible scholars holds that in order to understand a prophecy, a student should go back and try to learn what the prophet who announced it understood it to mean. What was in the mind of the one speaking?
As though the speaker was the ultimate authority on his prophecy.
This principle–clearly mistaken, according to the Apostle Peter–has led to the undermining of some of the great doctrines of the Christian faith (at least by some; not all, of course).
In fact, the prophets said more than they knew, says the Apostle Peter. They were the instruments of “the Spirit of Christ within them.”
That which was from the beginning….we declare to you…. (I John 1:1ff)
(For my suggestions on introducing this Bible study for your people, see #7 below.)
I confess. I read scriptures looking for gold. Some of it is found in nuggets on top of the ground, just waiting to be discovered and appreciated. Others are in veins which need to be mined and worked and treated carefully and faithfully.
The opening of the First Epistle of John is pure gold and for good reason….
That which was from the beginning…which we have heard… which we have seen with our eyes…which we have looked upon and our hands have handled…. And we have seen and bear witness and declare to you…that which we have seen and heard we declare to you….
Get the point? John, the old apostle–the last one standing–is saying, “I was there. I know. This is not hearsay. This is not something I thought up. This is the Truth; it’s what I know.”
There is no substitute for a personal experience. “The person with an experience is never at the mercy of someone with an argument.” Consider…
“….the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” –I Corinthians 2:8
There is more going on in this universe–above us, underneath us, in the spirit world surrounding us–than we can imagine.
God is always at work. The hosts of Heaven are constantly serving Him in ways unknown to us. But so is His arch-enemy at work, as well as his minions. We see this throughout Scripture.
Satan is the enemy is all that is good. Anything that would honor God, benefit humanity, and spread the gospel, Satan hates and works to sabotage.
But God is not stymied by Satan. The Heavenly Father loses no sleep worrying about him. Satan’s doom is settled, his fate is sealed, his days are numbered.
“On earth is not his equal,” said Martin Luther about the devil in His majestic anthem “A Mighty Fortress.” Granted, you and I are no match for Satan. But in Christ we are more than conquerors. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith in Christ. (Romans 8:37 and I John 5:4)
God is constantly handing the devil defeat after defeat. We see it in life, we observe it in the world about us, and we see it demonstrated in Scripture.