Thoughts on 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Peter 2:1-3

For today I thought I’d share more of the interesting things I observed in 2 Peter, by reflecting on the verses at the end of 2 Peter 1 and the beginning of 2 Peter 2. In my last discussion on this chapter which you can find a few posts below this one, we discussed 2 Peter 1:3-11, and how it was about escaping the lusts of the world and becoming a part of the divine nature through confirming your call and election. For today I’m going to share observations I made about 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Peter 2:1-3. Let’s start off with 2 Peter 1:20-21 which states, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”

These verses appear to illustrate that all Scripture is from God, given to us through human authors via the Holy Spirit. So if you think about it, when we read these words, this is the Holy Spirit communicating to us, this is Jesus Christ communicating to us since He was the Word in flesh, and this is God communicating to us since He is the Word. So many times people want to know what God wants of them or why God isn’t communicating to them, when they’re not even seeking the very thing that God does communicate to them through, which is the Word. Now I already went over the whole inaccuracy of the teachings of hearing God through prayer in a previous post, so I won’t get into that. What I’m asserting here, is that God tells us everything we really need to know through His Word. If it doesn’t, and it’s the case as some proclaim that we need extra revelation outside of Scripture, is it really infallible? Is it really fully profitable for all things that are right as 2 Timothy 3:16 seems to illustrate?

Just some thoughts to consider. So as we continue along in 2 Peter 2, I want you to consider reading this a certain way for further understanding of the text. If I’m not mistaken, the introduction of chapters and verses didn’t come until I believe the first English translation of Scripture which was the Tyndale Bible. Prior to that, to my knowledge there were no verses and no chapters. So this text was all combined together, and flowed together as a singular cohesive component to the readers of that time. So with that said, let’s read 2 Peter 1:20-21 again, and then, read 2 Peter 2:1-3. I’ll leave the verse numbers in so you aren’t confused where we are.

“20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned.  3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words.”

Do you see how seamlessly that all flows together? It’s talking about prophecy of Scripture, how it comes from God and not human will, and then in the very first verse of the next chapter, it’s talking about false prophets, false teachers and destructive man-made opinions. All in contrast to Spirit moved Scripture, not from human will. So it’s pretty amazing when you’re reading certain books, to just follow it through as one complete entity, and not as separate things presented in separate chapters. Now, with regards to 2 Peter 2:1-3, there’s something else interesting I also want you to see.

It notes some characteristics of some things a false prophet and a false teacher will do. One of those things is that they will bring destructive opinions. It’s yet another stab at the cultural acceptance of relativity in Christianity. If Peter is warning us of destructive opinions, then that means it’s impossible for there to be multiple valid perceptions of Scripture. The context of this statement is it’s being made right after he closed in the last verses of the last chapter talking about Scripture. So it seems to more solidify there is generally, though occasionally some acceptable differences, a right way to understand Scripture which is the basis of understanding Christianity accurately. It takes careful pondering of the text and making sure your understanding all of the text together in its proper context. Now further following the context of these verses, another characteristic of false teachers is they will deny the Master who bought them. Perhaps this could possibly be reflective of teachers of New Age spirituality, but that’s just a speculative thought.

The next characteristic presented in these verses is that they will be people of licentious ways. In some translations it translates to sensuality, which basically from the translated Greek word aselgeia, it means unbridled lust, or excess. So these false teachers will make the focus of teachings all about your desires, and getting as much of them as you can. Sounds a lot like “Prosperity Theology”, but again, just my speculative thought. It does not directly state that, but those are the people of today who primarily promote teachings of focusing on your desires. One other characteristic described in these three verses, really two, is that they will exploit people through their deceptive words for their own greed. So these are people who are going to be all about themselves getting more, but they’re going to exploit you through deceiving you into thinking that it’s about you getting your desires, as the previous verse discusses.

Really compelling things given just from these set of verses if we read carefully. I hope this has informed you more about whose teachings you choose to listen to, and also what the true teachings of Christianity will reflect, which is the opposite of the characteristics given within these verses we just read.

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