PRIVATE INTERPRETATION

A total misinterpretation of II Pet I:19-21 has greatly contributed to the quagmire the Church of God finds itself in today, at this crucial stage of Church history.

The passage reads as follows:

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 

20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 

21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

This passage of Scripture has been used to teach brethren that it is impossible for them to come to any understanding of God's Word on their own, especially regarding prophecy. It has consequently been used as a tool to subjugate brethren to the explanations given by a Church leader, who usually claims to be an apostle or prophet, and therefore, according to him, can understand God's word.

Most commentaries have little trouble explaining these verses.

Crucially, the brethren were told by Peter in verse 19 to "heed" the prophecies. Now how were they meant to do that? Did Peter write an authorised Church commentary on all the prophecies, make an untold number of copies of it, and hand it out at every place he preached? Of course not.

The meaning of this passage is so basic that it can only be explained as another point regarding which the Laodicean Church era is said to be "blind".

 

The commentaries agree that verse 20 is not talking about the interpretation of prophecy, but rather where it originated. The brethren are told by Peter that they can safely read, study, and meditate on the prophecies, knowing that they did not originate in the minds of men, but rather came from God!!

Let's re-read this passage with that one word translated properly:

 19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 

20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture originated of any private interpretation, 

21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

(Check the Companion Bible, Clarke's Commentary or Green's Interlinear Bible for this.)

  

Look how the three verses together now make perfect sense. This passage tells us that prophecy did not originate with men, but rather that men of God were moved by God's spirit to record His words. Now how simple and logical is that?

The explanation we have traditionally been given of these verses is the 180 degree opposite of what they actually mean!

We have been told it says "don't read the prophecies because you can't understand them", whereas God is trying to get each and every one of us to read the prophecies.

The message from these verses is that our Father in heaven does want to talk to us personally and individually, does want to answer our questions, does want to see us open His word and with His help understand it. This is a big part of how He seeks to have a meaningful and beneficial relationship with all His children.

Encourage brethren to heed the prophecies and study them for themselves, is exactly what this website endeavours to do.