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Last time we looked at week Peter’s second letter, he established that he didn’t come at his readers with fairy tales about the second coming of Christ. He was an eyewitness of Jesus’ power and of God’s affirmation and approval of Christ on the holy mountain. This morning Peter tells us that no matter what you think, you’re not the inventor of prophecy.
2 Pet. 1:19-21 says, “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. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
What’s the Word? Peter begins with the collective, “we.” The “we” is the apostles that Peter includes himself in from vs. 16-18. This is critical to the church. “We have the prophetic word made more sure.” Sure means completely confident. Peter says they are more sure. They are even more completely sure about the prophetic word. Why? Because Peter was an eyewitness or ear witness to God’s utterance that declared Jesus to be the beloved Son of God in v. 17. They were sure about the prophetic word of Jesus’ coming, but they are even more convinced of this truth. This is really important and I want you to grasp what Peter is saying. Here’s what Peter did. He heard the words of God confirming Jesus Christ and he used Scripture to verify his experience. Never ever use your experiences to validate Scripture. Use Scripture to validate your experience. We’ve got a huge experience movement growing in the church where God “leads” us to do things that are not consistent with Scripture and we dismiss that contradiction. The root cause is many people in the church today no longer hold the Bible as the standard.
Peter says, “You do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” Light gives us guidance and helps keep us from stumbling in the darkness. Peter is emphatic is saying the Word of God is a light and it would be awesome if you’d pay attention. Ps. 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Pro. 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.” Peter and the apostles have followed the call of God. They have devoted their lives to Him and he’s telling the church, pay attention! I’m going to make an application leap here. Please don’t dismiss the things I say. I have devoted my life to studying His Word and living out my faith as consistent as I can with Scripture. Line up what I say with Scripture and then do it. In your job, you probably would never argue with your boss about the expectations or way you conduct yourself at work. But I talk to people on a regular basis that completely ignore what I say. They’re okay with living a life that is void of anything Christ-like, but get upset or defensive when you try to encourage them, or love them, or challenge them.
There can be just one interpretation of Scripture. Peter is talking about the future coming of Christ. The transfiguration confirms what the apostles taught from the Old Testament. I encourage you to check out Matt. 17:1-8. It is an explanation about the transfiguration. The false teachers that Peter talks about in Chapter 2 denied the second coming of Christ. “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation for, no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but by men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Prophecy is important and so is the interpretation. The O.T. prophecies are not for personal interpretation, they stand on the authoritative interpretation of the apostles. Did you notice the subtlety? Peter’s words cannot be limited to oral prophecy, but must include scriptural prophecy too. So when you hear someone speak a prophecy, it must line up with Scripture. Jesus is coming back when God tells him to regardless of when anyone says He’s returning.
Why all the fuss? There are those that try to deceive, those that attempt to twist the Scriptures to say what they want. 2 Tim. 2:15 is clear that an approved workman of God rightly divides the Word. There can be only one correct interpretation of prophecy and Scripture. Peter is arguing that there are false prophets and false teachers that interpret the Scriptures for their own benefit. Authentic interpretation doesn’t come from a human source just like the actual words of Scripture do not come from a human source (2 Tim. 3:16) Peter’s talking about the second coming, but there is an application for us in this moment. The Scriptures cannot mean one thing to you and one thing to me. They can only mean one thing. One correct interpretation, but many different applications.
When it comes to biblical matters, it doesn’t matter what you think. It matters what the Bible says. In most cases there are no hidden meanings in Scripture, the Bible means what it says. God told me will never trump, the Bible says.