And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 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.
2 Peter 1:19-21 – Scripture of the Weekend (February 8-9, 2014)
“The prophetic word.” I like how Peter put that. When we think of terms like “prophecy” or “prophet,” we usually think of someone miraculously foretelling the future. And while we do read of prophets foretelling of things to come (cf. Is. 53), we also read of prophets referring to the past (as Moses did when he wrote about the creation events of Genesis) and some referring to what they observed while they were presently living (as Amos did – Amos 1:1ff). Therefore, a “prophet” who gives “prophecies” is certainly more than someone foretelling the future…and rightfully so, because the term prophecy literally refers to a message spoken on behalf of God and a prophet is literally one who speaks on behalf of God.
Thus, it is proper that Peter talks about “the prophetic word” and “prophecies of Scripture.” When we read the Bible, we are reading a message from God. When we hear a sermon that has its basis completely on the entirety of Scripture concerning a topic, we are hearing a message from God (1 Thess. 2:13). The writers of Scripture were inspired or carried along by the Holy Spirit of God. In other words, God told them what to write. No wonder we call the Bible the Word of God!
Even verse 20, a verse commonly used by Catholics to tell people, “You can’t figure the Bible out on your own! You need the Catholic Church to tell you what it means!”, is in reality promoting this idea that Scripture originated from God. (By the way, the Bereans sure wouldn’t have fit in with that Catholic mindset – Acts 17:11). The word “interpretation” literally means “a loosening, unloosing” and only metaphorically refers to “interpretation.” Therefore, what Peter is literally saying is that no prophecy of Scripture was ever loosened or unloosed by some man (v. 20), because no prophecy was ever produced by man’s will; rather, the writers of Scripture spoke from God due to being inspired by his Spirit (v. 21).
Basically, when you read Scripture you are not reading a message that came from man. You are reading a message from God. May we all recognize that and respond with the proper reverence (Heb. 12:28) and obedience (John 14:15).