"[A]s also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked" 2 Peter 3:15b-17
If, as Peter has stated, some of what Paul has written is hard to understand, then shouldn't we seek understanding these things? And where should we begin to seek? Since Paul was given this wisdom, we also ought not to presume on our own intellect, but first by asking of the Lord that we might grasp then by the same wisdom given to Paul? And we ought to do this before our study commences lest we be found twisting the Scripture to our own destruction.
The pride of human intellect is a dangerous place to toy with Scripture. How many a man, seeking to understand the Word, zealously gets caught in the minutia of study, commentaries, and cross-references – without first seeking after God in fervent prayer that He might grant the wisdom from above to open our eyes. Read Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:15-21 and notice that this is Paul’s very prayer for us!
Much of Peter's argument for caution can be wrapped up in the knowledge that the Scripture is not some collection of wise sayings a man can get at if he only applies himself rightly. Yes we are to study to show yourself approved of God (2 Tim. 2:15), but study alone is not enough. Paul was 'given' this wisdom and if we hope to grasp it, we need to go to the source where Paul also received it, the Lord.
Hebrews tells us, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)
Like a loaded gun, we ought not carelessly handle it! We would not carelessly grasp a sword by the blade, so how much more ought we not carelessly grapple with the Scripture! The very Word of God!
Listen to the people's reaction to God's audible word in Exodus, "Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”" (Exo 20:18-19) The Word of God is not to be trifled with! This is the Word, which if not handled properly could damn a soul to hell!
Peter rightly says, "beware lest you also fall" This is not to say that a believer can fall - but are you a believer? Do you examine yourself regularly to see if you are in the faith? And Paul’s prayer in Ephesians, was for believers, so we need to be praying whenever we approach the Book! Brethren, we ought to have great caution in this Christian life, for we are not as strong, nor as smart, as we think we are.Amen