by Mike Ratliff

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21 KJV)

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21 ESV)

21 For not by will of man was borne at some or other prophecy but by spirit holy being borne spoke the holy of God men. (2 Peter 1:21 The Apostolic Bible Polyglot)

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

21 Not for the will of man was brought forth prophecy at any time, but men by the Holy Spirit being brought 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 about as much substance as malformed jello. Several years ago my good friend in the Lord, Chris Rosebrough, debated Emergent leader Doug Pagitt on the doctrine of Hell. I wrote this post back then as a response to that debate. I am reposting it now because it is still pertinent to what we are studying. There are still false Christian leaders who are teaching doctrinal fallacies leading people astray. As I listened to the debate what I marveled at most was the patience of our brother Chris in dealing with the absolute indefiniteness of Pagitt on all topics pertaining to how we know what is truth. It was a bit like trying to nail that malformed jello to a tree in a stiff breeze. In any case, what did we expect? I mean, Pagitt is a heretic. He isn’t a Christian. He may claim to be, but if you try to get him to line up with what really defines what a Christian is Biblically, he will refuse to do it because, to him, that is just too precise. Also, the digging we do here into the original language of the Bible, he would scoff at because, in his own words, human language is not adequate enough to know God’s truth so this is all a waste of time. Well, God is our creator and he communicates to us through the languages He gave us and He has also given those who belong to the Son the Holy Spirit so that they may know His truth through the Word of God. Doug Pagitt may deny these things, but by his own words he proves that he is an unbeliever and so he cannot know these truths unless God opens his heart to them and gives him the Holy Spirit to enable him to know. Yes, it does work that way. 

Carefully read 2 Peter 1:21. I placed it at the top of his post from the KJV, the ESV, the Apostolic Bible, and my own translation from the Greek text. 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 (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!