“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
For we did not follow
The faith of Christians does not depend on clever stories as the false did [who Peter attacks in chapter two]. Rather, the Christian faith rests on the historicity of God’s revelation.
The Greek word “follow” comes from two words: to follow and out. This intense term conveys the idea of conforming as a follower in a dependent manner. The behavior of this person closely imitates their leader. It carries the idea to follow someone personally to the end (2:2,15). The implication is to comply with some authority. Peter does not follow “fables.” “Fables” are not the authority of the New Testament church.
The Christian follows his Lord and the Word. The Word of God will protect us and give us inner strength if we learn its principles and apply them to experience.
cunningly devised fables
“Cunningly devised fables” are clever or skillful special knowledge created shrewdly and expertly. We get our English word “sophistication” from the verb “cunningly devised.”
We get our English word “myth” from the Greek word for “fable” here. A fable is legendary story about supernatural beings, events or cultural heroes. A fable is a fabrication, a concocted tale to subtly mislead.
These people have special knowledge involving capacity to produce cleverly contrived myths. Peter did not contrive his message. Christianity does not come from human invention.
The Greek tense of “devised” means that these tales were formed in the past with the result continuing to the present. These are long standing myths.
The Bible is based on historical fact, not myths.
Christianity is no myth. It is not a fairy story for children or folklore for adults. Christianity operates on fact, not fiction. It is no religious fairy tale. Neither is Christianity the work of someone’s imagination that has no basis in fact. The truth of the Christian faith is closely bound with the historicity of the New Testament.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, under the influence of the Age of Reason [assumes rationalism as the essential source for truth], a belief system arose to attack Christianity. Some of its methods claimed that the Bible was myth. These claims were based more on subjective theological presuppositions than on historical fact. The question of historical fact of Scripture is of little importance to those who deny the truth of Christianity. It is of immense importance to those who believe in its credibility for the truth of Jesus Christ can only be known from New Testament records. The influence of the New Testament records is tantamount to the influence of His character.
The New Testament is the most trustworthy piece of writing that ever persevered from antiquity. There are greater resources for reconstructing its text than for any document of the classic age. Some papyri go back to the time of the writings of the apostles themselves. By contrast, the dialogues of Plato, the works of the Greek dramatists and the poems of Virgil have come down to us from copies few in number. Some of their manuscripts separate by as much as 1400 years. The oldest manuscript for the Gallic Wars is 900 years after Caesar’s time. Tacitus’ two manuscripts are 800 and ten centuries later.
The heyday of liberal criticism has passed. With this, many of its advocates face a dilemma in squaring to the demands of objective evidence. Many of them ignore modern archaeological and other evidence. They hang on to their speculative assumptions in the face of facts.
How do we know that the authors of Scripture were genuine authors? The Iliad has only 643 manuscripts. Caesar’s Gallic Wars has but ten good manuscripts. However, there are 5366 Greek manuscripts; plus 45,000 papyri, Lexicons, Dictionaries and church fathers.
In the New Testament, there are fewer than fifty variant readings of any importance. There is no case where an article of faith is left in question. The Bible is the most reliable historical document in the history of the world. It obviously is not myth!!
God speaks through the Bible (Lu 1:70; Ac 3:31; Ro 1:1,2; He 1:1,2; 2:3,4). Therefore, it is of highest importance that we recognize that the Bible we possess is true and reliable.