Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bob Schlenker's teaching on 2 Peter 3

I have personally met with Bob Schlenker, a man I had previously not known until he contacted me through the internet earlier this year. I find that his analysis of thematic structure that is found in his article on 2 Peter 3 is most profound. As Bob so aptly points out, this passage is a very strong warning for all believers.
Scripture Torture - 2 Peter 3

Many people will recognize that the apostle Peter concluded, "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:17,18). To those people, they would see the error of the unprincipled men and the encouragement to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

The strength of Bob's analysis, as I see it, is that he ties 2 Peter 3:14,15 to v17,18. In other words, by seeing the literary structure in this light, Peter tells us how to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ: "to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation."

Bob, to his credit, does not tell the reader what to think, but allows the Holy Spirit to fill that void. Here is how his teaching struck me: unlike those who purport both a cheap grace and His love covers everything we do because we are now saved, Peter is telling us that we have a responsibility: to continually pursue a life of peace and patience, overcoming those things that would otherwise be considered blemishes and blame.

Clearly 2 Peter 3 is discussing the end times, what Bible scholars often refer to as eschatology. In this literary structure, Bob points out the contrast of water from previous times to fire of the coming times. That is the center point of the chiasm that Bob understands so very well. See his presentation of verses 5-7 for that understanding - many theologians point to the future fire.

The strength of this literary structure comes from the two "therefore" statements in verses 14-15 and then 17-18. Stuck between those two "therefore" statements is Bob's reference to Paul's teaching in Romans 11, and some emphasis is made to the word rendered "distort" in English. In that way, verses 14-18 becomes an emphatic synopsis of verses 1-13 with its center point of water and fire.

Great job, Bob