II Peter 3:16 speaks of "unlearned and unstable" people who "wrest" the Scriptures "unto their own destruction." The man who wrests Scripture is not neutral; he comes with a preconceived false view. He does not want God’s Word to condemn him and/or others, so he twists it. He wants Scripture to support his views, so he twists it.
The Greek word used here means to torture. Scripture is tortured, like a man put on the rack, in order to force it to say what the torturers want it to say. Picture a cruel tormentor in a torture chamber: "If you do not say what I want you to say, I will tighten the thumbscrew or suspend you from the rafters." The Scripture twister—the spiritual equivalent of the Grand Inquisitor—likewise tortures the Word of God in order to extort a confession from it. By misquoting a text or ignoring vital words, by disregarding the context or the analogy of faith or the clearer passages which speak on the same subject, the Scripture twister perverts the Word of God. Violence is done to the divine oracles out of hatred for the truth in order to serve the lie.
The Scripture twisters of II Peter 3 twisted God’s Word in its doctrine of the last things: Christ’s second coming, the final judgment and the renewal of heaven and earth. In denying the Christian hope, the Scripture twisters destroy the incentive to godliness provided by Christ’s return (11-14). Thus their false doctrine serves their sinful "lusts" (3)—always an attraction of heresy. These false teachers hold the wicked world-view of the ungodly world that "all things continue as they were from the beginning" (4). They oppose the worldwide flood and find it hard to believe that Christ will return on the clouds of heaven to purge the world with fire (7, 10-12). Moreover, the godly lifestyle required of Christ’s followers is too cramped for their fleshly desires.
Thus these heretics resort to Scripture twisting. They dismiss the gospel accounts of Christ’s power and glory at His transfiguration as "cunningly devised fables" (1:16), for the transfiguration points to His glorious coming (1:16-18). They twist Paul’s letters and the "other scriptures" of OT and NT (3:15-16), especially those parts which speak of the end of the world. The narrative of the flood is "willingly" ignored (5). The final "judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (7) is an unpalatable truth, as is the doctrine that "the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (10). "What about our beloved sins!" their flesh cries out. Thus, not content to have any part of God’s Word oppose them, they twist OT and NT—gospel, epistle and prophecy—to fit their sinful views and their carnal lifestyles. Many today do likewise. Next time (DV), we will consider the ways in which they twist the Scriptures.
- Volume: 9
- Issue: 10
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851