2 Peter 1:20 (Misinterpreted Scriptures)


Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Misinterpretation: Used to say that there is only one proper interpretation of Scripture, because no "scripture is of any private interpretation."

Facts: Peter wrote that "no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation", “not that no scripture is of any private interpretation. Please read on before you accuse me of splitting hairs and trying to get around the Scripture! There is a reason I make that distinction.

If one backs up and reads the passage in context then they will quickly see that Peter was telling people that Jesus truly is the Messiah, and that He witnessed Jesus’ majesty personally. He then goes on to say that Jesus was the One who was prophesied about, and that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. In other words, no one can get away with claiming that the prophecies about Jesus are debatable.

Here is the passage in context:

2Pe 1:12-21 NASB
(12) Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.
(13) I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,
(14) knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
(15) And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.
(16) For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
(17) For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"–
(18) and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
(19) So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
(20) But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
(21) for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

While it is true that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, it is also clear that there are some issues that Christians do not see eye-to-eye on—and that’s OK! Look at what Paul wrote in Romans 14:

Rom 14:1-8 ESV
(1) As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
(2) One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.
(3) Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
(4) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
(5) One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
(6) The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
(7) For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.
(8) If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Paul’s point is clear: There are some things that people will disagree on, and that is alright. What matters is that a person’s faith is in Christ and that they are honestly striving to serve Him. If they are doing that, then "the Lord is able to make [them] stand" (Rom. 14:4 NASB).

2 thoughts on “2 Peter 1:20 (Misinterpreted Scriptures)

  1. Stephanie

    I would humbly add that this verse speaks to how scripture originated, not its interpretation in our modern understanding of the term. Another translation (NET Bible, http://www.bible.org) reads:
    “No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagining, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse, but rather man carried along by the Holy Spirit from God.” The Holy Spirit teaches what the Word of God means to believers (IJn1:26-27), while to the natural, unregenerate man, the gospel is foolishness (1Cor 2:13-15).

    1. Bradley

      I totally agree with you that we cannot be saved by works,but what is as equally as true is that a person (after the age of accountability) must be baptized (fully emerged) in water in the “Name of Jesus,” in order to be saved.This is in one verse according to Christ Himself (Mark 16:16).In Acts 2:38,I must beg to differ with some that say the people were not asking Peter what they must do to be saved.While the “house of Israel” didn’t ask the Apostles point blank,”Men and brothren,what shall we do…”(to be saved),this is more than obvious and could mean nothing BUT a question on the correct beginning on how to obtain Salvation,because when we read the rest of the context before and after,then,we plainly see that after hearing the first sermon ever after the ascension of the Lord they were,”cut to the heart.” Not only were they incredibly sorrowful for what they’d done,but it’s also evident they were in search of being saved.The Scriptures back this claim up in Acts 2:40, after preaching baptism and about the Holy Ghost,he informs them to “BE SAVED…” So,then they were baptized,the result was,as the Word says,about 3,000 souls added to them.If the people weren’t seeking out how to be saved,then that should leave one to see in the Scriptures baptism is indeed a crucial step in Salvation.Also,remember Jesus gave Peter the”keys to the kingdom?”Of course,meaning the correct doctrine/teaching on how to obtain,keep,etc., Salvation.As we read directly before why Jesus did this was on the fact that God had revealed to Peter whom Jesus was and Peter was listening to the voice of the Lord and not one of mens several versions.And to sum up Peter and baptism we can look at 1Peter 3:21.I would get into the correct “formula” of baptism,but for times sake will agree with God’s Word and say we are to be baptized and we are to baptize in the Name of Jesus.(Acts 2:38;8:12;10:48;19:5) I can’t help but notice that in Acts 10:48 that Peter isn’t making a suggestion,but is commanding them “to be baptized in the Name of the Lord.” And a bit off of the subject I would like to add that Jesus tell them in Matthew 28:19 for the disciples to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son Holy Spirit.” And that’s exactly what they baptized in..the NAME of the Father,Son,and Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ.To conclude,I would like for you all to take notice that in. Matthew 28:18 Jesus is informing them that “ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN,” to Him in heaven and on earth.In the very next sentence Jesus tells them to baptize and to teach all the nations about all things He commanded them to do.
      This is the proof,according to God’s Word,that a person HAS TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BE SAVED.

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