Sermon Manuscript . . .
These Words are from God!
Trust your Bible as God’s genuine Word–2 Peter 1:19-21
Part two, verses 20 and 21
How many of you have seen a foreigner be freaked out by an escalator? Having never seen it, they wonder if it is safe. They don’t know how to use it–do they just step on? They panic, but eventually the escalator takes them to the next floor. Remember the last time you were in a hurry and you went up the escalator like you were walking or running up stairs–you are participating in the process, but the escalator takes you to its designated finish line.
The escalator is an example of how God gave us His Word. God is like the escalator, and you, walking up the escalator, are like the apostles. They are participating, with all their knowledge, personality, language and culture–but God uses them to produce His God-breathed, perfect Word without error, exactly as God intended. I know most of you have been on a sailboat. Most of you who have, love the way the wind fills the sails to move the boat along.
In today’s passage, the Spirit moved men to write his Word. That same word moved, or in the ESV carried along, is also used of a sailing ship “carried along” by the wind in Acts 27. When the wind blows, the ship moves. When the wind stops, the ship stops. It’s also like a piece of driftwood carried along by a stream of water. Its rate of travel and its direction are totally at the mercy of the water that carries it along. The words moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit point to the apostles as the writers of Scripture as instruments in the hands of the creative God. God directed them in what they wrote.
They were not passive, like typewriters, but their activity was under the controlling power of the Holy Spirit. When they wrote under the influence of the Spirit, they knew they were not simply expressing the thoughts of men. John MacArthur writes, “God wrote a Book, just one Book—and He was able to say everything He wanted to say. He said it without error, without flaw, and without anything omitted or unnecessarily included. It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And God gave His Book to man through the means of inspiration, by which the Spirit of God moved in human writers who wrote down the very words that God wanted them to write.”
There are lots of people claiming to speak for God these days. Not just the website wackos, and the TV terribles, who say God told them you need to buy them a newer, bigger Lear jet. But there are also far too many so-called preachers who get a vision others must follow–popular speakers who talk about their mission, well-known men who alter the Scripture, even preach the white spaces, to make up their own theology. They declare fantastic things which are not found in God’s Word at all.
Peter writes some churches in Turkey 2,000 years ago, who had a false teacher crazy crew who were upsetting real believers and manipulating make-believers. So in 2 Peter, the Apostle Peter uses the last verses of chapter 1 to prove to these believers they can trust apostolic teaching. Why? Two main reasons. 1) The apostles witnessed the events they write about in verses 16 to 18, and 2) the apostles were moved by God to supernaturally write God’s Word in verses 19 to 21. The apostles didn’t write their own ideas or record their imaginations–they witnessed these events and wrote the New Testament under the unique moving of the Holy Spirit.
God moved His chosen men to write God’s Word. It was fully God and fully men, to accomplish God’s inerrant Word. God used the men’s skills, personalities, and backgrounds–yet what was accomplished was God’s Word exactly as God intended it. This is one of the sweet tensions of theology–God is sovereign, yet man is responsible. The apostles were responsible to write, yet God sovereignly accomplished His perfect Word. This is called an antinomy. Seemingly contradicting truths which work in harmony.
An antinomy is found in Jesus Himself–was He God or man? Yes. In the Christian life, it is God who lives through you, or are you responsible to live? Yes. Like salvation, was it totally God who saved you? Yes. Or did you have to respond? Yes. And with the Bible, is it God’s Word, or is it the apostles Word? Yes. The more you treasure what your Bible is, the more you will devour it. Your Bible is supernatural, a miracle of providence, and an evidence that God is at work.
How did God use over 40 different authors, over 1,400 years, to write the 66 books of the Bible in perfect unity, no error and no contradiction, preserving it for you today? Answer–God, who exists out of time, wrote it in time over a thousand years to prove its one author–God. God used the unique personalities of each apostle to write His Word powerfully, perfectly and inerrantly to prove the Bible is His God-breathed Word.
God’s Word is God’s will. The Bible is your food, the Scriptures are your guide, the Word of God is half your conversation with the Lord and your vehicle for intimacy with Christ. How many of you will admit to struggling with regular time in the Word? Here are five solutions.
#1 Jump into the FBC reading plan
#2 Open up a Bible to your favorite book, leave it by your favorite seat at home and read one paragraph a day. Pray, read, apply, then pray ACTS, which is adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication–it only takes seven minutes a day.
#3 Memorize the promises you need to keep your heart tender to Christ and memorize the verses which address the sins which you are battling with right now.
#4 Pick a favorite shorter New Testament book and read it all the way through once each day for a month.
#5 Pick a sermon series from our website to listen to back and forth from work. Share with your friend or spouse, kids or parents what you learned each day at dinner.
Do not allow yourself to fall into fasting from God’s Word this year. What does the Lord think of your Bible reading patterns? You know what Peter says? Verse 19 to 21, “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. 20But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
After declaring he and the apostles were eyewitnesses of the events of the New Testament in verses 16 to 18, now Peter in verses 19 to 21 teaches the letters the apostles write are God’s written Word. You can trust your Bible, because it’s God’s breathed Word, personally witnessed by and written through the Apostles. Last week Peter taught
#1 God’s written Word is to be the Most TRUSTED
Verse 19a, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure.” The written Word of God is the living Word of God for a world dying without God. The Scripture (the prophetic Word) is more sure, meaning, your bible trumps your experience and anyone else’s experience, even the true experience of an apostle. Peter says here, “God’s Word is more certain than my own true experience of witnessing the Transfiguration!”
Christian, read biographies, yes, follow godly models–but don’t depend on experiences. Don’t read about someone’s trip to Heaven or how they can predict something in your life. Only the Bible is true. The bible is supernatural. The bible is what God uses to bring salvation. Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” And the Bible is what God uses to bring about your sanctification. John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” Verse 19a, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure“–the written Word is the most trusted.
#2 God’s written Word is the Most DEPENDABLE
Verse 19b, “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.” The Word of God is the only light in a dark world. Peter says here, it is right to alter your life in every way in order to depend on the Scriptures. So pay attention–continually focus your minds on the Word in order to learn it and live it. The Bible is your lamp–the only way to see clearly while living in this dark place.
The Bible is the only way you can survive and thrive until Christ comes. Use the written Word now, until the living Word arrives. Verse 19 adds, “until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” In your heart, make certain you’re anticipating the Lord’s return in your everyday life by depending upon God’s written Word. Why should I depend on my Bible?
#3 God’s written Word is recorded SUPERNATURALLY Verses 20 to 21
There is no doubt, Peter is making certain his readers know for a fact that Peter Himself and the other apostles are not making things up as they go. The Transfiguration was a witnessed event. They were there–Christ was unveiled. For a moment in time on Earth, his 100% earthly body and nature was not veiling his 100% divine nature and glory. This event, and all the other ones written in Mark and later in the other gospels, were all true, genuine, real–just as Peter wrote.
Peter does not fabricate stories–he’s only repeating what he actually saw. And now, Peter is only recording what the Spirit of God moves him to write. The recording of the written Word of God was so supernatural, the readers in the churches Peter is writing in Turkey and you today can completely depend on God’s written Word. It is inspired–God’s breathed words.
Now in verses 20 to 21, Peter gives four convictions for each Christian and each church. So-called churches don’t tell you if they embrace these convictions, but you can tell when they talk about the Bible, but don’t explain it . . . when they excite your feelings, but don’t instruct your mind . . . when they have woman preachers or never exposit through a book. These four convictions are necessary in order to embrace the authority of the Bible in your life. All who live in this dark world need the light of God’s Word, and therefore must . . .
First Develop CONVICTIONS about your Bible being from God
Verse 20 begins with a phrase, “But know this first of all.” The Bible is first–there’re Christians who almost worship the Scriptures, because they are the words of the God they love. Some go too far, but I understand their heart. There is one denomination where no one in the church ever lays their Bible down on the ground or by their feet, because it communicates disrespect to the Scriptures. Though I don’t agree with unbiblical rules, I do agree with their heart. The Bible is the very words of God–a God who has been massively generous to you. And it is His Word which the Lord used to save us, and His Word He uses to grow us. Christ died for His enemies, for me–and He used His Word to do it.
Imagine yourself dying of an incurable disease–desperately poor, and hating your circumstances and everyone because no one can help you. You are especially angry with God and you are very proud, still thinking you are all that. In spite of that, your Creator is determined to love you. He pays the greatest price at the highest cost imaginable, in order to cleanse, forgive and save you, but you still reject Him. So He supernaturally chases you down, and transforms your heart, so you’ll be able to turn to Him with the Gospel message from His Word.
Your Lord loves you so much He actually forgives your sins, washes you new, making you a child of God, transforming you internally, indwelling you with His Spirit, giving you a new nature, granting you abundant love, mercy, and grace along with abundant life now and eternal life forever. And all of this is predicted and promised in the written Word of God. The Word of God is what Jesus would say if He were physically present here. So all true Christians reverence the Scriptures. Look again at the first phrase of verse 20, “But know this first of all“–this is a call to recognize God’s Word as priority. God’s written truth is most important.
Look at the context–the Greek construction connects verse 20, “know this first of all,” with “you do well” in verse 19. “You do well“–to personally, intimately know above all that God’s Word is actually written by God Himself through His chosen men. Develop convictions about your Bible began from God. “Know this first of all” calls attention to a truth of primary importance which you must keep in mind as you study the entire Bible. What must you first keep in mind?
Second The BIBLE is not SOURCED by People (especially false teachers)
Verse 20b, “that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” There are two main views of “a matter of one’s own interpretation.” A few understand it as describing interpretation, like you can’t interpret it on your own, and therefore must be dependent on others, like an apostle, or a church or a pope. But most, including myself, view “a matter of one’s own interpretation” as describing origin, like the apostles themselves didn’t come up with the Scripture themselves, but it’s origin is from God alone. Peter is saying no prophet or apostle ever made the Scripture say what He wanted, because the Scripture itself does not originate from the prophet himself, but from God.
The context honors the idea of origin. The Greek noun interpretation is a genitive, describing source. Peter is not referring to the explanation of the Scripture, but its origin. And the Greek word interpretation is the idea of a loosing or releasing, as if to say no Scripture is the result of any human being privately untying, releasing, or loosing the truth.
Notice the phrase “is a matter of“–that “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” Is a matter of more precisely translates comes into being, originates, or arises. No prophecy of Scripture comes into being by one’s own interpretation. No prophecy of Scripture originates from one’s own interpretation. No portion of the Scriptures, Old or New Testament, originated from man. N0–this is what the false teachers do, with their mythical prophecies and shocking instruction.
So Peter’s point is not about how to interpret Scripture, but the source of Scripture. The false prophets untied and loosed their own ideas. But no part of God’s true revelation was unveiled or revealed–originated from any human source. Peter is affirming what Peter and the apostles teach is the very words of God. Peter is convincing his readers with two great evidences–one) the events written about were witnessed by the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament personally, and two) the words written by the apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit to record them.
This letter he writes and the teaching of the apostles are not myths nor stories they made up. But the Lord spoke, the Lord came, the Lord died for sin and rose from the dead, the apostles witnessed those events, then were moved by the Spirit to record God’s inspired Word–just like Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” So here in verses 20 and 21, Peter goes back to the beginning, the start of Scripture–its divine inspiration. Therefore, verse 20, that “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation“–it originated from God.
How does false teaching come into existence? Jeremiah explains how the false do it! Jeremiah 23:16, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord.’ ” This is what is happening today–they’re making stuff up in their heads and telling you it’s from God. You must trust and depend on the Word more than what man say or teach. The truth didn’t come from man.
Man may discover, learn, and apply it, but man has nothing to do with its origination. False prophets spoke from their own ideas–they imagined it in their own minds, but no true message from God ever arose from a human interpretation. Calvin remarked that the prophets “did not blab their inventions of their own accord or according to their own judgments.” So the overall focus is, keep this in mind, know this first of all–no part of the Bible was invented by or sourced by men. Then Peter adds . . .
Third The BIBLE is not DESIGNED by People
Verse 21a, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will.” Just as Scripture is not of human origin, Peter also says neither is it the result of human will. One commentator translates, “NEVER by the will of man was prophecy brought in.” The emphasis of this phrase is that no part of Scripture was ever, at any time, produced because men wanted it so. The Bible is not the product of any human effort.
Sometimes the prophets even wrote what they could not and did not fully understand. Remember what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:10 to 11, “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” Even though the prophets did not always fully understand what they wrote, true prophets and apostles were faithful to write what God revealed to them.
Not only was the Bible only sourced in God, but the Bible was not designed by people at all. “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will” sweeps away all false views concerning the origin of prophecy and the individual involvement of men on their own. See that word ever–“was ever made by an act.” Peter placed ever emphatically at the end of the statement. It means at some time or other in the past.
Joined with the negative no, “no prophecy“–which is placed at the very beginning of the statement, makes what Peter says here a very strong assertion. No, never before, and never now. This is an absolute. At no instance in the formation of Scripture did man’s will ever prevail. On the contrary, the true Scriptures came from God. Like Peter established last week in verse 19, even though Old Testament prophecy is in view here, the term “prophecy” used here without an article is broad enough to include both Old and New Testament prophecy, and all of Scripture. No one is making up truth about Christ or His second coming–this is all from God, written by Him and witnessed by us.
False prophets shaped their prophecies to declare what they want to happen. But Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles were moved by God to write what they wrote. Notice this statement, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will,” is followed by the strongest single Greek word of contrast. But, meaning just the opposite–not written by men, but just the opposite, written by God. What human beings might think or want has absolutely nothing to do with divine prophecy.
Fourth The BIBLE is God’s Word GIVEN through His chosen men
Verse 21b, “but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Peter starts with “but” (on the contrary)–here is the antithesis of believing that the Bible came from human volition, human choice, human imagination or human origin. The positive reality is, “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”–unique men were moved by the Holy Spirit. Grammatically, they were continually carried along or borne along by the Spirit of God.
This same word is used in Acts 27:15, “When the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.” Be driven along is the same word here for moved–Peter is telling you, prophecy and Scripture in general have been driven along or carried by the Holy Spirit. Both the Old and New Testaments declare that the men who spoke and wrote realized the Holy Spirit was at work in them. So David testifies in, 2 Samuel 23:2, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.”
Likewise, Paul calls the Holy Spirit the primary author of prophecy. Then Isaiah, the secondary author in Acts 28:25b, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers.” Was it Isaiah, or was it the Holy Spirit? Answer–yes. The verb moved is passive voice, meaning God the Spirit moved the men to write–they didn’t move themselves. The composition of the written Word was not a decision by men. True Scripture was happened upon the men.
Again, the verb moved is borrowed from Greek nautical vocabulary, describing a sailboat which is carried along by the wind. Luke used this verb twice in Acts (27:15 and 17) to describe how the wind blows a sailing ship across the waters. For Peter, it was as if the writers of Scripture raised their spiritual sails and allowed the Spirit to fill them with His powerful breath of revelation as they penned divine words. The Holy Spirit is the divine author, originator, and producer of the Scriptures.
When Jeremiah 1:4 says, “The word of the Lord came to me saying”–he is referencing a concept used 3,800 times in the Old Testament. The word of the Lord came to me. So speaking for all the Old Testament writers, and by extension, all the New Testament writers, Jeremiah is referring to the only one who knows the mind of God–the Spirit of God. Only the Spirit could have inspired the Scripture. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”
But the Holy Spirit employed men, not as dictation machines, not as typewriters–but men were used for the writing and composition of Scripture. Look again at verse 21b, “but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Men spoke from God turns the focus to the human agents involved in the delivery of the prophetic message. Spoke portrays the apostles and prophets as communicators, as opposed to men of silence. And they communicated a message that came to them from God.
“Men spoke from God” stands emphatically at the end of the sentence and emphasizes that the speakers were people–God used selected men. The Spirit used human beings with their talents and insights, their peculiarities and characteristics, their personalities and strengths, yet keeping them from sin and error. The Spirit directed, moved, bore along the prophet or apostle to speak and later write. So Peter is clear–in the writing of Scripture, man is fully involved but is moved by the fully involved Spirit to write. All Spirit and all apostle gives you God’s Word.
Even though the human writers of Scripture were active rather than passive in the process of writing Scripture, God the Holy Spirit superintended them so that, using their own individual thought processes and vocabulary, they composed and recorded without error the exact words God wanted written. The prophets were not lifeless tools. Peter is defining the process of inspiration which created an inerrant original text. The original copies of Scripture are inspired, literally God-breathed and inerrant–without error. How do we know? Because Titus 1:2b says, “God cannot lie.” If believers are going to stand against the errors of false teachers, they must know the difference between God’s true Word and false words.
Seek only the authors’ intended meaning of the Bible. You need to commit to the rules of proper interpretation. Don’t ever say, “This is what the Bible means to me.” It doesn’t matter what it means to you–it only matters what God meant it to say at that one time. We want the author’s intended meaning, or the authorial intent. What the Bible means to you or to me is irrelevant. Take “to me” out of your thinking. This is what it means, period. This is what Peter intended to say, period–regardless of what you think or I think. There is only one correct interpretation of every verse. Our mandate is to understand the Scripture correctly, taking the normal meaning in its historical context, bridging the gap of history, language, and culture.
Second Peter was written about 2,000 years ago, written to churches in Turkey, written in the Greek language. You must understand what Peter meant to say to those churches back then, in that historical context, to find the author’s intended meaning. There is only one correct intended meaning. Then there are many applications for today. Seek only the author’s intended meaning. Develop an accurate view of your Bible.
Develop a HIGH view–the Bible is made of the very stuff of eternity. It is infallible, inerrant, infinite, and indestructible. The Word is greater than the galaxies. It is God-breathed, ineffably sublime, and of the same nature as God Himself. The Bible is living, active, authoritative and divine. Develop a high view of the Bible.
Develop a PURPOSEFUL view–the Word of God alone can bring salvation to a lost sinner. And the Word of God alone can bring sanctification to the believer. The Scripture is life-transforming.
Develop a REDEMPTIVE view–can you imagine the prophets, thousands of years apart, getting together and saying, “Let’s come up with a suffering servant Messiah, who gets killed so as to take our punishment for sin, so if we turn from sin and depend on Him by faith, He can give us His righteousness–yeah, what a good idea”? Plus, how did the prophets coordinate their secret plan over the course of 3,000 years? That’s a neat trick–they only lived 80 years.
No! They didn’t make this up–they were moved along by the Spirit. God didn’t dictate His Word to these men, nor did God elevate their words to become His Words. It was not, one word is Peter’s, then one word is God’s. No, God inspired the prophets and apostles and moved them, so the Bible, written over 3,000 years, is made up of 100% God’s Word, using all 100% of these men. It’s His Word that communicates the redemptive Gospel message–God saves sinners. God the Son was born a baby, lived a perfect life, took our punishment for sin on the cross, rose from the dead and if we turn from our sin in repentance and depend on Christ by faith, we can be saved.
Develop a DOCTRINAL view–the Word answers tough questions, including biblical ones.
The APOCRYPHA is not inspired Scripture. None of the extra books in the Catholic Bible claim to be inspired. They contain many historical and geographical errors. None of them are quoted in the New Testament and certain doctrines in them contradict those of the Bible, such as purgatory.
The KING JAMES VERSION is just a translation–it is not the Word of God any more than any other translation. The KJV was translated in 1611, and since then, a greater number of manuscripts and older than KJV manuscripts have been discovered and used in the NASB and ESV.
Take steps to live dependently upon the Bible. Develop the discipline, make the commitments, and pursue the habits necessary to read, listen to, study, and memorize the Word. Make your goals achievable and cultivate the passion to learn and live the Word of God. Do not hear this passage, then not do anything about it. James warns you in 1:23 to 25, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” To worship Christ today, leave here being a doer of the Word. Let’s pray.