Text: 2 Peter 1:20-21
“…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Knowing This First of All
Peter has just charged us in the previous verses to place our uttermost confidence in the Scriptures, and to pay close attention to them as we order and conduct the business of our daily lives. In verses twenty and twenty-one he is going to unpack for us exactly how we can have such confidence. We will see the true origin of the words God has spoken, the means through which God has spoken, and the power by which God has spoken. All these are the basis for our confidence in his Word, as something even more sure than our human experiences. We must not forget the important words Peter wrote in the beginning of this letter, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God…” or in verse four, “He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature…” If the Bible is not the holy, flawless, perfect, complete, inerrant, effective, powerful, trustworthy, illuminating, and liberating Word of God himself, then what can we possibly know for certain about our faith?
The Origin & Means - From God Through Man
The Bible is more than man’s footnotes from holy encounters, more than the prophets and apostles best efforts at articulating some heavenly experience. Peter is teaching us that the Scriptures did not originate as man’s interpretation of the divine, nor were they originally produced by the will of man at all. The Bible is God’s original Words spoken through man’s sovereignly ordained mouth. To be sure, men have indeed spoken, they have articulated what they saw and heard, they have recorded experiences and scribed dreams, but while they acted freely of their own will and desire, there was a greater will and a greater desire at work in and through them. Their every stroke of the pen was simply the publication of the sovereign script of heaven. The true author of every book of the Bible is God himself; no prophecy comes from someone’s own interpretation of life, nor was any prophecy ever produced by the desires of man, but men spoke from God…
We must consider the importance of this truth. If the Bible is of the will and interpretation of man, and man is sinful and flawed, the Bible is also imperfect and flawed. But if, as the apostle Peter has said, the Scriptures are not of man, but of our holy God, there can be no flaw within them and therefore we can put our complete and utter trust in every word therein. Without divine authorship the precious and very great promises of God are not very precious or great at all, they become nothing more than hand-me-down advice from a bygone era instead of something more sure, to which we will do well to pay attention. Furthermore, if the Scriptures are not of divine authorship, how can we tell the difference between doctrine and heresy? In the very next sentence, at the beginning of chapter two, Peter begins warning us against false teachers who will bring in corruption, heresies, lies, and scandals. How are we to discern between the truth of God and the destructive teachings of men? Without the sure, unchanging, and immovable anchor of God’s holy Word we are at the whim of our time and culture, adrift in a sea of deception, unable to stand firm upon any of the great promises offered to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Power - Carried By The Holy Spirit
We are meant to understand that although God worked through men in authoring the Bible, he was no benefactor of their service, rather we are all benefactors of his. As a child who is worn out and unable to complete the hike on their own is scooped up and carried along by the superior strength and vigor of their parents, so too were the weak and feeble Biblical authors carried along by the Spirit of God. We are meant to understand that the genesis of the Scriptures begins entirely in God alone. From the words being written, to the pens being used, to the trees from which the parchment was made, to the very breath in the lungs of it's scribes... God has done it, and God alone. "Men spoke from God, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
There is no source of understanding under heaven that is more sure than the holy Scriptures of our God. Therefore, "knowing this first of all…" let us confidently believe every promise and command of God therein. For these are not the words of strangers long dead, these are the words of our loving heavenly Father who lives.