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A Literal Translation of the New Testament


2 Pet. 1:20-21

No "Private" Interpretation?  Says Who?



By Hal Dekker



Last page update: 2015.03.31



Who says we are not to personally, i.e. privately interpret God's Word for ourselves, from our own two hands-on hard work of studying God's Word in depth (2 Tim. 2:15)?  Each and every believer must decide for himself or herself what God's Word means.  Otherwise whatever belief you may have is not your own, but the belief which someone else has developed for you to believe.  One's own belief is built into a person's heart through his or her own process of personally studying the texts of God's Word, in depth, and developing a personal conviction over those things they may read.  There can be no REAL belief in one's own heart without one's own personal experience with God's Word.  "Belief" apart from personal conviction is only mental ascent.  Salvation can't possibly occur based upon one's mental ascent.  If while the God searches a person's heart for belief in his Word, he finds belief in his Word, belief upon the name of Jesus and what that name means (Rom. 10:9-10), then he instructs his son, Christ Jesus, to baptize that person in God's paternal gift of his holy Spirit (Mat. 3:11).


The meaning of 2 Pet. 1:20-21, based upon what the Greek text actually says, is not about one's own private interpretation of the meaning of God's Word when one reads or studies it.  But various translations have twisted the meaning of that verse into saying that we are not to decide for ourselves what God's Word means to us when we read and study it.  That's because those omniscient ones who make those "translations" desire to determine for us what we should believe!  They wish to steal our freedom to be taught by God for ourselves!  If we are not supposed to decide for ourselves what God's Word says and means, then who is?  The God has designed how we are to learn his Word, which is through his gift of holy Spirit working in us to teach us the meanings of the passages we read in the writings of his prophets and apostles (Isa. 54:13; Jer. 31:34; John 6:45).


Apostle Peter is talking about those who falsely claim to get prophecy, revelation from God about his Word, whenever and wherever they desire to come up with it.  2 Pet. 1:20-21 is about people causing themselves to falsely come up with God's Word on their own, at their own desire, without God's Spirit actually working in and through them.  People who do that are false prophets.  The mortal-made concept of outlawing one's own ability to privately interpret holy scripture for one's self simply doesn't exist in 2 Pet. or in any of the Greek texts of the new testament of the Bible.  It's a mortal-made religious fallacy!


I believe the phrase one's own private interpretation as "translated" into 2 Pet. 1:20 in the KJV, and other fudges similar to it in other translations, was and still is motivated by elitism, classism and bigotry in the hearts of those who determined it to be used in their translations.  It was a phrase invented and fudged into English Bible translations by those who believe they are omniscient, and who wish to use it to convict and control others from determining for themselves the meanings of what the prophets and apostles wrote, and thereby determine for themselves what are their own beliefs about the God and his son Christ Jesus.  Contrary to what the prophets and apostles did write and mean, "church" leadership desires to control exactly what you believe, as if they only are qualified to read and understand what the prophets and apostles wrote; as if they are omniscient, and as if only they can be taught by God, and you can't.  That's the devil working.


Virtually all Trinitarian-based English translations fudge this verse to incorporate into it the "no private interpretation" edict.  The idea of studying God's Word for ourselves to become approved of by God (2 Tim. 2:15), and then denying ourselves from coming up with our own thinking and belief in our hearts over what God's Word means to us, is totally ludicrous!  The fudging of this verse goes back in English translations to at least the 1611 KJV.


Here's what the text of 2 Pet. actually says:


1:19 And (kai) we hold (echomen) the (ton) prophetic (prophētikon) Word (logon) [to be] foundational (bebaioteron);


for which (hō) you do (poieite) beautifully (kalōs) as (hōs) ones paying attention to (prosechontes) [a] lamp (luchnō) shining (phainonti) in (en) [an] obscure (auchmērō) place (topō);


until (heōs) of which (hou) day (hēmera) it may reflect through (diaugasē), and (kai) [the] light-bearing one (phōsphoros) may rise up (anateilē) in (en) the (tais) hearts (kardiais) of you (humōn);


2 Pet. 1:20 (LIT/UBS4) we knowing (ginōskontes) this (touto) first (prōton), that (hoti) every (pasa) prophecy (prophēteia) of [a] writing (graphēs) is absolutely not caused to come to pass (ou ginetai) over one’s own letting loose (idias epiluseōs);


2 Pet. 1:21a (LIT/UBS4) because (gar) absolutely not (ou) for [a] desire (thelēmati) of [a] mortal (anthrōpou) was prophecy (prophēteia) brought (ēnechthē) in time past (pote)


Apostle Peter refers to a problem he saw in the early church, that certain people were claiming to be authoritatively speaking for God himself, when in fact they were not.  All of the OT and NT prophets didn't decide out of their own free will that they were going to be "a mouth" of God.  What, wherewhen, how, and to whom God's Word was released to mortalkind (Heb. 1:1-2) was entirely, and still is entirely, under God's control.  The God chooses and empowers his own agents.


There were, like today in "Christianity", some, many, tons of them, you fill in the blank with the right amount, of people all puffed up, self-omniscient, self-appointed, who out of their own self-perceived grandiloquence, think everyone must pay attention to them and what they say, because they speak for GOD!!!  This is the epitaph of false Christian leadership.  False Christian leadership does not lovingly, with mutual participation, painstakingly examine scriptural evidence for the Truth, but through rough and forceful communication techniques designed to manipulate, they keep trying to impose their own egomaniacal omniscience. 


False Christian leadership will absolutely not allow themselves to cooperatively participate in the examination of the ancient texts under the direction of someone else, through which process their own conclusions can be challenged while systematically stepping through scriptural evidence.  That is a situation they avoid like the plague, because they know their act is based upon false pretence, and they couldn't make a convincing and believable demonstration for themselves.  False prophets and false Christian leaders depend upon outward mortal-made religious showbiz, and absolutely not upon expertise in handling the holy scriptures.  One thing I've learned about religious hate is that it almost always has a smile on its face, right up until the time when you have cornered it, and have exposed it! 


Apostle Peter's reference to how and when God gave his Word to mortalkind, states that it absolutely did not occur based upon the desire or will of anyone among mortalkind.  That's all that 2 Pet. 1:20-21 is about, no more and no less.  Apostle Peter here says nothing about translation or interpretation, hermeneutics (Gk. hermēneuō, verb, Strong's 2059, used 4 times in holy scripture) of God's Word.  But Peter speaks only that when God's Word came to pass, and how it came to pass, was absolutely not determined by any mortal's willing of it to occur.  It certainly was not by the collective will of the children of Israel that God sent prophets to them, of which maybe most of them they killed (Mat. 23:31; Luke 11:47-48)!  And when Jesus Christ was sent (Heb. 1:1-2) they killed him too (John 8:40; Mark 15:13-14; 1 Thes. 2:15)! 


Peter, in these verses, is absolutely not talking about people privately, or in any other way, interpreting God's Word for themselves.  Translation and/or interpretation of God's Word is simply not the subject matter to which Peter here is speaking.  Apostle Paul charged Timothy to study God's Word and get it straight, and keep it straight, for himself (2 Tim. 2:15), and for others who may wish to know it, not adding, changing, or deleting one thing from the Truth of God's Word.


This is what the Berean believers did as is recorded in Acts 17:10-12, given the access they had to the ancient texts of God's Word.  The Berean believers were checking out the writings for themselves, "(LIT/UBS4) adjudicating350 (anakrinontes) the (tas) writings (graphas) down (kath’) [each] day (hēmeran), if (ei) thusly (houtōs) they may hold (echoi) those things (tauta)." (v11)


I see that most all "Christian" denominations as well, not only Trinitarian theology-based ones, use this handy little English "translation" twisting of 2 Pet. 1:20 for their own purposes.  This verse reference was used on me recently by an overly religious self-omniscient woman trying to rebuke, shame, and insult me for having the boldness to read and study God's Word for myself, and to come to my own conclusions about what the ancient writers said and meant.  What came out of that person's mouth indicated to me what was in her heart (Luke 6:45), evil "produce".


I determine for myself what I choose to believe after comprehensively examining exactly what the ancient writers of God's Word have written.  For me this is a huge time saver.  I guess that person was a little angered that I determined for myself exactly what the ancient writers wrote and said, over that person's own uneducated opinion which that person tried to spoon-feed to me.  Maybe I should apologize to her for not thinking that she was a believable resource to me, which apology she wouldn't like either.  How arrogant and puffed up can people possible be?  According to God's Word, arrogance also is very indicative of something (1 Cor. 4:6, 18-19).


2 Tim. 2:14 (LIT/UBS4) Bring these things under remembrance (hupomimnēske tauta), witnessing thoroughly to yourself (diamarturomenos) in sight (enōpion) of the (tou) God (theou):


Not (mē) to be word-warring (logomachein) over (ep’) absolutely not one thing (ouden) useful (chrēsimon), upon (epi) a catastrophe (katastrophē) of the ones (tōn) hearing (akouontōn)!


2 Tim. 2:15 (LIT/UBS4) Make haste (spoudason) to stand yourself alongside (parastēsai seauton) to the (tō) God (theō) approved (dokimon), a worker (ergatēn) unashamed (anepaischunton), cutting sharply straight3718 (orthotomounta) the (ton) Word (logon) of the (tēs) Truth (alētheias).


2 Tim. 2:16  (LIT/UBS4) But (de) of the (tas) empty sounds (kenophōnias) [being] over the threshold (bebēlous), do [not, v14, RE] cause yourself to stand around (periistaso) [hearing, v14, RE] [them, AE].


Because (gar) they shall beat forward4298 (prokopsousin) over (epi) [the sake] of more (pleion) ungodliness (asebeias).


2 Tim. 2:17 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) the (ho) word (logos) of them (autōn), as (hōs) gangrene (gangraina), it shall have (hexei) a pasturing (nomēn);


of whom (hōn) is (estin) Hymenaeus (Humenaios) and (kai) Philetus (Philētos);


Back to 2 Peter...


2 Pet. 1:21b (LIT/UBS4) BUT (alla), mortals (anthrōpoi) spoke (elalēsan) being brought (pheromenoi) under (hupo) [authority] of holy (hagiou) Spirit (pneumatos) from (apo) God (theou)!


See that very emphatic coordinating conjunction of antithesis, alla, that signals that apostle Peter is pounding the podium to make his point, and using a giant neon flash card to all those who have just joined us, that no way, no how has any of God's Word come to mortalkind through any mortal's own will or desire!


The same as it is God's prerogative to determine what, where, when, how, and to whom he speaks, it is anyone's prerogative to determine to whom and to what he or she shall pay attention.  Is it going to be to other mortal's egomaniacal opinions and guesswork, about which many of them imply they can't possibly be wrong, or to exactly what the meek and obedient ancient writers of God's Word wrote, who were being brought under authority of the holy Spirit to bring forth his Word?


This private interpretation "translation" in 2 Pet. 1:20 is yet another one of the countless Trinitarian-based fudgings in their English "translations", this one being a most vicious lie.  How many countless thousands of people over time do you suppose have had this lie accusingly shoved into their faces to pressure and threaten them into stopping from studying and rightly dividing the holy scriptures for themselves; to stop them from being taught by God's Spirit working in them, one on one with God their heavenly Father (John 6:45; 1 Thes. 4:9), so the "leadership" can much more easily control and puppeteer them into thinking, saying, and doing exactly what the church 'leadership" desires out of them?  Well, how many!?  (Mat. 7:7-20)


If the concept of private interpretation can't be substantiated and verified in 1 Pet. 1:20 in the ancient Greek texts, then it's a lie which has been "fudged" into English "Translations.  It's just that plain and simple, it's a lie.  But on the contrary, each believer is required by God to study God's Word for him or herself, and then to decide for himself or herself what they believe about it (2 Tim. 2:15).  That's how a person's salvation occurs, through a person BELIEVING God's Word about what he's learned about Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:2, Rom. 10:9-17)!  So then, from where do you suppose those Trinitarian "scholars" and "translators" obtained that lie, that evil "produce", which they still continue to fudge into their translations?


From where does God's Word say lies come?  Jesus Christ speaking to scribes and Pharisees enunciated to them:


John 8:41 (LIT/UBS4) You (humeis) do (poieite) the (ta) works (erga) of the (tou) father (patros) of you (humōn).” 


John 8:44 (LIT/UBS4) You (humeis) are (este) out (ek) of the (tou) father (patros) [of you], the (tou) diabolical one (diabolou);


and (kai) you do desire (thelete) to do (poiein) the (tas) lusts (epithumias) of the (tou) father (patros) of you (humōn)!


That one (ekeinos) was being (ēn) [a] mortal-killer (anthrōpoktonos) from (ap’) [the] beginning (archēs).


And (kai) he has absolutely not been standing (ouk estēken) in (en) the (tē) Truth (alētheia), because (hoti) Truth (alētheia) is (estin) absolutely not (ouk) in (en) him (autō)!  


When perhaps (hotan) he may speak (lalē) the (to) falsehood (pseudos), he speaks (lalei) out (ek) the things (tōn) of his own (idiōn);


because (hoti) he is (estin) [a] false one (pseustēs), and (kai) the (ho) father (patēr) of it (autou)!


Many "Christian leaders" and other puffed up ones using this lie, which has and still is being fudged into 2 Pet. 1:20 in virtually all Trinitarian-based translations, and maybe even in some non-Trinitarian translations if any exist, can effectively control others who have turned over their minds to them, ones who are too busy to take the time to study God's Word for themselves.  The devil loves it when "Christians" simply allow him to tell them everything to think, say and do!!! 


If someone who is all puffed up and egomaniacal about something hasn't studied very closely and exactly what the ancient writers of God's Word have written, and ALL of what has been written on any given subject, then they are all puffed up and egomaniacal over fragmented knowledge which doesn't fill a thimble.  What someone may believe is Truth of God because they read it in an English "translation", may actually be a lie from the pit of the heart of the devil, and that person may find themselves working for the devil, as Christ Jesus, and all of his apostles have duly warned us (Mat. 7:15; 24:1-12; 2 Pet. 2:1-9; 2 Cor. 11:13-15).  Being all puffed up and egomaniacal, putting on a theatrical show, and ready to fight and word-war over fragmented knowledge, over one verse of mortal-made doctrines, isn't being loyal to God and his son Christ Jesus!  I believe they see it as being very foolish!


Oddly, I see the ones who are usually insisting they are infallibly correct, ones insisting that they are the ones to which others should listen, they often use this very passage in 2 Peter 1:19-21 to supposedly show biblical evidence to back them up in their denial for anyone else but themselves to have the right to, and then be able to, correctly interpret God's Word for themselves!  They deny others the right to study and believe God's Word for themselves, insisting they are the only ones who can do it correctly!  I see nothing difficult at all about discerning of spirits in people like this.  How can the repugnant odor of elitism, bigotry, egomaniacal self-importance and self-omniscience possibly be overlooked!  (1 Cor. 12:4-7, 12c; Mat. 7:15-20)



Brother Hal Dekker