Nov. 24, 2021
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
St. Peter isn’t pulling punches here; we’d best mind our ps and qs, rightly dividing the word (St. Timothy 2:15). If you’re someone who pays attention to religious news, there’s quite a bit of verse one going on in Western countries. Not ours to discuss here but we don’t have to be ‘super newsies’ to know that there are heresies today. In any event, it’s our responsibility to attend church regularly, take Bible study classes, and do our own reading of the Bible to ensure we stay on the narrow path and recognize heresy when we hear it or read it.
Verse 5 sent me on a quest – what does St. Peter mean when he writes “… Noah the eighth person“? Thank heaven for the internet! Bible Hub and the King James Version Online (which includes commentaries) agree that the reference is in regard to the number of people on the Ark (Noah, his wife, his three sons and his three daughters-in-law) but there is also a school of thought in which Biblical numerology explains the number eight as signifying a new beginning, a new day. In other words, Noah (#8) would be the beginning of a new society after the flood. A person could spend a lot of time researching this but Bonhoeffer got it right – all you have to do is ask yourself, “Is this important to our salvation?”. The answer is obviously ‘no’ so I wouldn’t spin my wheels on this but just agree with Bible Hub and King James Online that it refers to the number of people on the Ark. Keep it simple, folks.
This portion of the letter is an over-view of the prospects of the righteous and unrighteous. We can’t ever ‘be good’ because we don’t want to be among the unrighteous at the day of judgement – we try to be good and practice our Christianity because of all that Jesus has done for us on the Cross. We are His followers and our hearts burn to be worthy of His love, not out of fear but because He is worthy of our love and devotion and praise. He has shown us how to walk in His way and what He calls us to be and our lives should be a reflection of His teachings.