“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder) …”
by way of reminder
Note the emphasis on remembering in this second epistle of Peter: 2 Pe 1:12,13,15. Reminder is the purpose of the epistle.
The phrase “by way of reminder” concerns the application of truth to our experience. God’s Word is worth repeating. All good things in life are worth repeating. We cannot get through the Christian life with one dose of God’s Word. That is true for life in general, much less than God’s Word. We want to know what we can apply to any experience in life. We need truth for times of success. We need it in times of trouble. If we go to sleep at the switch of knowing God’s Word, we will enter deep spiritual trouble.
The word “remind” comes from two words: under and remember. The word “under” carries the idea of authority, conveying the idea of recognizing proper authority (under), which is the Word of God. Christians are to put to mind or bring to remembrance the truth Peter taught them in his epistles. This fact deals with the application of truth to experience.
Repetition is essential for teaching God’s Word. Truth needs to be inculcated into our way of thinking, our attitudes. One shot at the Bible will not give us the stability we need against the forces of Satan.
Is 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.”
We need to know God’s Word so thoroughly that we cannot forget it in times of temptation and suffering.
There is a tendency to ignore God’s Word in times of success. Things fall apart when we sleep at the switch spiritually, and we wonder why. This is the reason we should apply truth consistently to our experience.
Most people apply the truth when things go wrong. That is usually too late. We need to be prepared before the crisis comes. God’s truth must be implanted into our minds before entering the pressure cooker. God wants us to use His Word for more than suffering; He desires us to use it for life. We base our capacity to love God on objective knowledge of God, not on subjective thinking.
We cannot recall what we have not learned; we cannot apply what we do not know. Application depends on recognizing the correct truth at the right moment. The principle is that we need to know God’s Word so thoroughly that we cannot forget it. We know more than we ever live. Our primary need is not only further truth but to live out the truth that we have. Speaking of doctrinal teaching, Harry Ironside said, “If it’s new, it’s not true; and if it’s true, it’s not new.” Many people are always on the outlook for something new. They do not value the truth that they possess. They do not appropriate what they have. We must remind ourselves of what we know.
It is crucial to learn biblical truth and apply it to our experience. Our capacity to love God, love others, enjoy life, and operate on a scale of values all revolve around knowing and applying God’s truth to our experience by faith. We cannot love another human being without knowing that person. We need to know their scale of values. If their values approximate ours, we can love them with reciprocal love. I am talking here about human love. We can enjoy people if they have a rapport with us.
We need to know the Bible to recall God’s truth. Applying His Word depends on remembering and appropriating it by faith when we need it in experience.