As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16 (KJV)
Other scriptures – How often do you read Paul’s letters in comparison to the time spent reading the Tanakh (Old Testament)? If you’re like most Christians, you probably read primarily from Paul’s writings supplemented with the Gospels and other letters, and rarely dig into the Tanakh. This is what Peter is warning us about. There were others that obviously did this as well, and these were the people who struggled to their own destruction.
What does this tell us? People who are reading Paul’s letters without a strong foundation in the Tanakh will twist them to their own destruction. Period. How can you understand what Paul wrote if you don’t understand what he read? That’s really what it comes down to. Paul can write the things he did because he memorized the Torah and was well versed and deeply studied in all the Tanakh. He knew it inside and out – Paul knew scripture.
So many of us read through a few stories from the beginning of the book as children and never return to explore them further. So those stories become children stories overtime and hold no real weight in our lives and decisions. We become detached from them. But without the settings and cultural context of the Old Testament, our interpretations of Paul’s letters become jaded. It’s all about the “other scriptures”. We need to live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”, and until we do this, we fall prey to misinterpretations.
Just to give a quick physical example of what Peter is writing, let’s take a look at the food laws. People have used Paul’s letters to justify their interpretation that the law no longer applies and we can eat what we like. Science has proven time and time again that eating pig or shell fish is bad for our health. Thus people deny the example of their Messiah Yeshua and partake in unclean foods which are ultimately bringing them to their own unhealthy destruction.
So I urge you to read the scriptures! Pick up the Bible and start at the beginning of the book. I promise you’ll see Yeshua there. You’ll even read about His grace.