Carried along by the Holy Spirit

by Mike Ratliff

21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. 2 Peter 1:21 (NA28)

21 for no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man, but men being carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:21 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

It is vital that we “get it” that without the foundation of the inspiration of Scripture, all we have is human subjectivity as the basis for truth and that opens the door to the mindset of “anything goes.” We see this with heretics. We see this in liberal churches and denominations. As soon as they drop the Bible as the authoritative Word of God then all sorts of heresies creep in and it isn’t long before all these people stand for has little to no foundation. 


Carefully read 2 Peter 1:21. I placed it at the top of his post from the New American Standard Bible. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. In v21 we have Peter’s capstone, the climax to what he has been writing on the subject of inspiration of Scripture. He clearly says in v21 that prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke it as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. This did not spring from their experiences. It didn’t come from their own private interpretations. It didn’t even come from the men who penned the words. It came as Holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit of God. Let’s look at the Greek word used here to convey the idea of the Holy Spirit bearing forth the word through these men or moving them to write it, which is φερόμενοι the present passive participle of φέρω or pherō̄, which means “to bring, bear, or carry” with the added pictures of “to bear with idea of motion” and “to bear with the idea of motion to a place.”

Peter loved this word. He used it six times in his two epistles. He was a fisherman. He was used to hard work outside in the elements. When he used φερόμενοι he was painting a picture of men being moved, motivated, and mastered by the Holy Spirit according to the will of God. This is underscored by the verb tense. Why? Because it is passive, “holy men,” which is the subject were being acted upon by the Holy Spirit, and because it is present, this action was continuous. Those “holy men,” therefore, were being “continually carried along” by the Holy Spirit like a ship is carried along as its sails are filled with the wind to drive it to its destination.

The Bible is full, complete revelation of God. Inspiration is the activity of God by which He superintended the reception and communication of His message, even in the specific words used, while still allowing for the style and personality of each writer, with the result being the Word of God.

Soli Deo Gloria!