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2 Peter; "One's own interpretation"

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posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 03:18 PM
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In 2 Peter ch 1 vv20-21, we find these words;
“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

I’ve attempted a little interpretation of prophecy from time to time, mainly from the book Revelation, and sometimes I’ve had this verse quoted at me as a criticism of what I was doing.
Therefore I’m interested in knowing what this verse means- what the people who quote it think it means, but also, more importantly, what the man who wrote those words in the first place thought they meant.

I’m going to begin with an obvious point, which might easily get forgotten. At the time when the New Testament was being written, the New Testament had not been written. Before the New Testament books had been written and collected, what the early church had in the way of “scripture” was the Old Testament. So when a New Testament writer uses the word “scripture”, there’s a high probability that the Old Testament is what he’s talking about.

(However, I haven’t forgotten the best-known exception, that 1 Timothy quotes as “scripture” one of the sayings of Jesus, namely “The labourer is worthy of his hire”.)

Bearing that point in mind, let’s consider the context of those words from 2 Peter.
From the beginning of the chapter, the writer has been talking about “the knowledge of Jesus our Lord”.
In the first part of the chapter, he’s discussing the value and benefits of this knowledge.
In the second part of the chapter, he’s explaining where this knowledge has come from.

The first source of his authority to speak on these things is personal experience. As he tells his readers in v16, when he and his friends were expounding “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus”, they were not following “cleverly devised myths”. They had been direct eye-witnesses of what happened when “we were with him on the holy mountain”, and the voice of God had endorsed him as “my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The other main source of knowledge about “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus” is the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament. “And we have the prophetic word more sure” (v19), meaning partly that prophecy was “confirmed” by its fulfilment in Jesus, and partly that it remains as an even more reliable testimony than the story of Peter’s experience. He compares this prophetic tradition to “a lamp shining in a dark place”.

THEN, immediately following this comparison, we find the two verses quoted at the beginning of this discussion. When we read these verses in their context, it becomes clear that what Peter means by “prophecy of scripture” is the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament pointing towards Jesus.

This leads on to understanding what he means by “one’s own interpretation”- IDIAS EPILUSIOS.
Evidently what he is criticising here is the kind of interpretation of Old Testament prophecy which does NOT find it pointing towards Jesus.
The message is that the Holy Spirit originated these prophecies, and the Holy Spirit says that they’re pointing towards Jesus, so an individual acting without the Holy Spirit’s guidance should not gainsay that interpretation.

This warning is necessary because, as he explains in the next chapter, the earlier prophecies had been diluted by false prophets, and the later church will experience false teachers in the same way. They will bring in destructive heresies, which amount to “denying the Master who bought them”.

My second question was; what do these verses mean to the people who are quoting them?
I’ve sometimes been on the receiving end of this quotation, and I’ve observed how the understanding of these verses can be modified when they’re quoted out of context.

One point of difference is that the phrase “prophecy of scripture” is extended, as a matter of course, to include the book Revelation, following current usage.

A more important difference is the treatment of the phrase “one’s own interpretation”.
It comes to mean “belonging to an individual”, and the verse is read (and quoted) as restraining interpreters from taking their own line of investigation instead of following a general consensus.
Anyone quoting the verse in this way is normally identifying the consensus interpretation of prophecy with their own preferred opinion.

However, this is not what 2 Peter says.
We need to look to v21 to see the real purpose of the warning in v20.
The reason given in v21 is that Biblical prophecy comes by the impulse of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore “one’s own interpretation” in v20 must mean “failing to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit”
So the true contrast in vv20-21 is not between “one man’s view” and “the view of many men”, but between “human view” and “God’s view.”

In fact the consensus view of a prophecy is just as likely to be “human interpretation”, and therefore faulty, as any individual interpretation.
(To illustrate this point, these verses were first quoted at me by someone who would have counted “The Rapture” as part of the consensus understanding of prophecy)

So a reader who develops his own understanding of the prophecies, and ignores the opinions of others, is not necessarily following “his own interpretation” in the sense meant by 2 Peter, because he might be following the guidance of the Holy Spirit instead.

Instead of using these verses as a warning to the independent investigator, it would be better to focus on the original message of the chapter which contains them.

That is to say; the prime purpose of Biblical prophecy, from the Christian viewpoint, is to declare “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus”, and Christian interpretation needs to include that declaration.
Which is certainly just as true about Revelation as it is about the prophecies of the Old Testament.




posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 09:10 PM
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Qout by, DISRAELI
 

This leads on to understanding what he means by “one’s own interpretation”-
Evidently what he is criticising here is the kind of interpretation of Old Testament prophecy which does NOT find it pointing towards Jesus.

The message is that the Holy Spirit originated these prophecies, and the Holy Spirit says that they’re pointing towards Jesus, so an individual acting without the Holy Spirit’s guidance should not gainsay that interpretation.
 
Response by EstimatedProphet

Hello Disraeli, "it has been awhile since we argued on each-others thoughts, but."

I have some information concerning about what is written in that quote and as a matter of fact Jesus Christ is mentioned in the Old testament several times and here are some very interesting quotes from the Holy Bible and that are also mentioned in the Torah, as "evidence" that prove, that Jesus the Messiah was prophesied many times in the old, ancient scriptures.


The Servant of the LORD Isaiah 42:

1_“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.

2_He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.

3_A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

4_he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

(The Gospel of truth, from Jesus Christ!)

5_This is what God the LORD says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:

6_“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.

(The prophecy about Jesus Christ as being a covenant for the People/Gentiles and those who hold faith in Him!)

7_to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

(The miraculous signs and the freeing of the captives when the Lord died and descended into Sheol/Underworld and/or Spirit-World, to free the captives/souls from death!)

8_“I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.

9_See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

(The Promise and Gift of Everlasting life!)


Isaiah 49:

1_Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

2_He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.

3_He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”

4_But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”

5_And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him, and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—

6_he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and to bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

7_This is what the LORD says—the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” Restoration of Israel

8_This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances.

There are many more prophecies in the "Old Testament" that confirm Jesus Christ as the Servant of the Lord, and He is also mentioned as a tool, and/or helper for the Redemption and Salvation of the people, who are the saints of the Lord God the Almighty.

It is also mentioned that the Gentiles are also considered some of the chosen if they believe, and in this case here, the Jews are not in will communion with God, because of their rejection of the Servant, "Jesus Christ!



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 07:35 AM
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reply to post by estimatedprophet
 

Thank you for those comments.
I have no doubt that this is the kind of passage that Peter had in mind.



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 12:47 PM
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Reply to, DISRAELI
By EstimatedProphet:
 


"Thank you, and God Bless You!"

"With Great Love in Christ Jesus!" . . .



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 01:10 PM
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"20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

If Im not mistaken, this scripture is most often quoted by the Catholic church to defend its dogma against "scripture alone"

My understanding of the above passage: "All prophecies originated from the will of God and were communicated through the Holy Spirit to man."



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 01:15 PM
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reply to post by WhoKnows100
 

My understanding of that verse agrees with yours.
Yes, of course, the Catholics are another group who believe their view is the consensus.



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 



“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”


2nd Peter


I put this in my famous quotes. Even tho it isn't famous it damn well ought to be.


SnF

There that's better.
edit on 3-4-2012 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by randyvs
 

I think the verse is best known among people taking a particular interest in the interpretation of prophecy (but I'm suggesting that some of them are misusing it.
Thank you for your interest.



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 01:34 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


I always consider your views with the upmost respect of anyone on ATS. I logged it because I'm not even familiar with it tho I know I've read it before, so thanx.


Don't even get me going on the Catholics.
edit on 3-4-2012 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



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