Monday 12 May 2014

Bible Book:
2 Peter

“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (vv. 20-21)

2 Peter 1:19-21 Monday 12 May 2014


It's temptingto read this passage grudgingly, as Peter had reminded his readersearlier in this chapter (2 Peter 1:16-18) that he was an eyewitnessto God's prophetic Word being confirmed, when Peter and the otherdisciples heard a voice from heaven saying of Jesus "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom Iam well pleased". That'sall very well, we might say, but it's a little harder for the restof us (who weren't on the spot) to discern when men and women aremoved by the Holy Spirit, and when they are one of the "many falseprophets" who will try and lead God's people astray, as Jesus warnsin Matthew 24:11.

Peter,according to Matthew Henry, is speaking specifically of the"certain truth and divine origin of the gospel of Christ".But even the Gospels don't tally into a factually cohesive accountof Jesus' life and ministry - it's impossible to pinpoint thetiming of specific events, as each Gospel account tells a slightlydifferent story. This raises fascinating questions about themeaning of truth - Jesus often began his sentences with "very trulyI tell you", often when he was speaking metaphorically - see John3:5: "Jesus answered, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can enterthe kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.'"When truth is something wider and greater than literal fact, itseems impossible to read the Bible without using 'one's owninterpretation'.

Some prophetic passages of Scripture arecornerstones of faith to some people - at a Methodist YouthConference many years ago, the organisers gave out slips of paperwith verses from the prophets and gaps into which the children andyoung people could add their own names. Passages like the openingverses of Isaiah 43: "Do not fear, for I have redeemedyou; I have called you by your name, you are mine." Try readingsuch verses with your own name inserted, remembering that God movesmen and women by the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

To Ponder

  • Does the truth always have to be factually and historicallyaccurate? Why?
  • Are there passages of prophesy from the Bible that help you tohear God's voice? What are they? And what kind of "truth" do theycontain?

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