2 Peter 1:16-20
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…
The Bible is no "cunningly devised fable."
I. IF IT BE A FABLE, IT WAS NOT DEVISED HALF CUNNINGLY ENOUGH. I allude to many apparent inconsistencies in the Bible. What wise man, in devising a fabulous history, would have loaded it with such difficulties as these?
II. IF IT BE A FABLE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GUESS BY WHAT CLASS OF PERSONS IT WAS DEVISED. "Kings," perhaps, "invented the Bible in order to keep their subjects in awe of their authority." "Priests," exclaims another, "were no doubt the authors." Yet there is a great deal written here against wicked priests also, which would scarcely have been inserted by them. Was it, then, the rich who devised this fable? Yet what is more common in the Bible than lessons on the worthlessness and vanity of riches? I need not ask whether the inventors of this fable are to be looked for among the poor. They are otherwise engaged than in writing books. "Some learned men, doubtless, compiled this book!" Still the same difficulty meets us. Learned men are often supposed to be proud of their wisdom; but here worldly wisdom is undervalued, and men are told that they must "become fools if they would be really wise" (1 Corinthians 3:18). Here, then, is a book, for which no probable author can be found, if it be a fable.
III. IF IT BE A FABLE, IT IS UNACCOUNTABLE THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SO LONG AND SO EXTENSIVELY FOLLOWED.
IV. IF IT BE A FABLE, THE FOLLOWING OF IT HAS AT LEAST BEEN BENEFICIAL TO MANKIND.
V. IF IT BE A FABLE, I MUST NEVERTHELESS FOLLOW IT TILL YOU CAN SHOW ME SOME MORE EXCELLENT WAY. I want a guide in my ignorance; I want a comforter in my troubles. Is human reason that guide? Alas! I find cause to distrust that at every step which I take. Is self-gratification the better comforter? What! to follow the devices and desires of my own heart in spite of this forbidding fable? If the gospel be not a fable, it is truth, and truth of such a nature that you will be saved or lost, according as you believe or neglect it. It must be "followed"; it must affect your heart and influence your life.
(J. Jowett, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.