Prophecy and Scripture

Idiosyncrasy is defined by as “a characteristic, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual.” It could be well said that “idiosyncrasy” was in loud and colorful display at this last week’s Billboard music awards. During the program, various artists such as Ed Sheehan, Bruno Mars, Celine Dion and Cher, showcased their music.

In our highly individualistic society, musical ability, blended with a singular look or style, can be wildly affirmed by the public. Such “idiosyncrasy” was not valued at all in the writing of Scripture as brought out by Peter. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own (Greek “idios,” where we get the foundation of the word idiosyncrasy), interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).

Peter himself had experienced the pitfall of allowing his own interpretation to color the Scriptures. In the latter stages of the life of Jesus, the Lord asked His disciples the pointed question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is” (Matt. 16:13)?

Peter strongly affirmed that, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matt. 16:16-17).

Here Jesus clearly states that Peter would not have known that the humble carpenter from Nazareth was the Messiah unless the Father had supernaturally revealed it to him. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. And while the clear majority of the religious teachers saw the travel worn carpenter as a, “root out of dry ground” (Isa. 53:2), Peter had been supernaturally enlightened to see the glory of God hidden beneath the garb of humanity.

Despite getting the nature of Jesus right, Peter almost immediately stumbles by allowing his own preconceived opinion about the Messiah to interfere with the revelation Jesus had clearly spoken. “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you” (Matt. 16:21-22)!

Within just a few short verses, Peter had experienced both the blessing of receiving a revelation from God and the disappointment of allowing his own idiosyncrasies to cloud the clear message of the suffering Messiah such Isaiah 53 (the Lamb led to the slaughter) and Psalms 118:22-23 (the stone the builders rejected).

Just six days later, Jesus leads Peter, James and John up to a lonely mountain at night where “He was transfigured before them” (Matt. 17:2). Despite, being rejected by the religious leaders, the voice from the cloud affirms Christ’s connection with the Father. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him” (Matt. 17:5).

The peaks and valleys Peter personally experienced during this one week of his life must have profoundly affected him. And perhaps it could be said that it provided some of the foundation for the two epistles that he wrote later on in his ministry.

First of all, having suffered many griefs in his own life, the great apostle is able to urge the believers to not reject suffering as he once did, but embrace it as part of the Christian life. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials (1 Pet. 1:6).

Although he had been initially ignorant of the Suffering Messiah motif as outlined in the Scriptures earlier, he now sees that it was a major theme for contemplation by the prophets which had gone before him. “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Pet. 1:10-11).

In the second epistle, Peter now draws some very interesting contrasts which paralleled his own life as just discussed in Matthew 16:13-17:5.

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain (2 Pet. 16-18).

In this text Peter hearkens back to the revelation given on the Mount of Transfiguration as positive proof that they had not followed something they had “cleverly invented.” That audio-visual experience, when the glory and voice of God came down from heaven and touched the mountain, certainly surpassed any Billboards music awards theatrics!

You would think that Peter would cite that great revelation on the Mount as the ultimate evidence for faith. But what Peter tells us next is that the written Scriptures themselves are “more fully confirmed” than the audio-visual extravaganza on the Mount of Transfiguration. “So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Pet. 1:19 NRSV).

Perhaps what Peter is saying here is that the same glory and voice that came down in the darkness to reveal the Son’s connection with the Father back then, is residing in the written Scriptures today. Although the Word does not appear as initially flashy as the Lord’s Epiphany on the Mountain, it still contains the same Divine presence for those who are humbly seeking the Lord’s will today.

Peter affirms the divine and not human origin of all Scripture at the end of 2 Peter 1. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own [Greek, “idios”] interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20).

In our highly individualistic society filled with idiosyncrasies and personal interpretations, the church is called to balance the unique revelation of God’s will as revealed in the Bible with the unique filters we all possess. Although there might be a plurality of opinion governing many areas of faith, there is a line somewhere between the narrow and broad way which cannot be crossed without peril. Like Peter, we are each called upon to highly value the revelation on the one hand and grow in our understanding of that revealed truth on the other.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The Holy Spirit is the Agent behind the inspiration of the bible . We all have a little Peter in us , which causes us much pain when we error away from a clear , " Thus said the Lord ." The false teachings of the day, held the disciples back from understanding the words of Christ. I dare say , that the same is true today. Every wind of doctrine is coming into the S.D.A. church . We are accept false teachers as Christ. We are removing Christ / and His Law as the standard , and are over heard telling others , “You can come ,but you don’t have to change .” Peter said that he had to change. His former life would had ill fit him to fulfill this new role Christ had for him. Once he saw God anew, his entire life changed. 1& 2 Peter are clear evidence of that change. As we read them, " Peter is saying to us, " Would you allow the change to take place in you.? "


It sure would be a breath of fresh air and edifying if some people would crawl out of the usual box of taking verses and examining the bark on the tree and instead, advance to the point of sharing WHY or for WHAT PURPOSE the verses were written. A good exercise would be to do that with 2 Pet 1:16-20

SOP on scripture inspiration:

"The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposes.

The stamps of minds are different. All do not understand expressions and statements alike. Some understand the statements of the Scriptures to suit their own particular minds and cases. Prepossessions, prejudices, and passions have a strong influence to darken the understanding and confuse the mind even in reading the words of Holy Writ…

The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.

It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words and thoughts receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God "(Manuscript 24, 1886).

EDIT: The replies below indicate the conflict that results from false teachers. 99% of Christianity is already deceived on major doctrine. Even SDA scholars & pastors can not agree on the concepts of gospel, grace, salvation or the atonement. Anyone think it might help if more SDA Sabbath school teachers realized how important next week’s lesson is…instead of just “winging it”??

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Max Weber once wrote about the routinization of charisma in religions. The initial brilliant encounter is soon replaced by reports, and finally a defense is written of the reports themselves.

No one we will ever meet has seen or spoken with the real Jesus. The best we have are the Gospels and a few letters. Peter was the author of at least one of those. His picture of Jesus is not the same as that of John, and quite different from that of Paul–who never met Jesus in person.

We are enriched by all these different portraits of Jesus and his influence. But they are selective and have quite different frameworks. John knows nothing of the fiery conclusion to all things; we are already in the Day of Judgment and eternal life has already been granted. ( Maybe the Apocalypse was written to make up that lack. ) Peter makes a dig at Paul in the close of his letter, revealing that tensions between the Jerusalem church and the Gentile church did not disappear in Acts 15.

What is left of Jesus original teachings?

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Thank you for a great article right on point for our times of relativism and selfies posting. Our idiosyncrasies are the the most common crutch used to avoid accepting Divine Writ and discarding it as “interpretation”. who can say who’s interpretation is right?, this is the most common excuse I encounter - and it gets worse from there, sometimes we are so arrogant that our own opinions are the only ones we can accept. Our church, however imperfectly, is the only religious organization I know that upholds the method of letting the Bible interpret itself.

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Scofield, Wm Miller, and. Ellen White and her estate have done more to distort Scpriture to fit their world view than any scholar or student of the near. East. John 3:16 is the assurance one can go to the bank with or the grave.


This is an Adventist community. If you believe Ellen White is distorting scripture, you have obviously not read her works. A naysayer reprobate popping upto try to lie and discredit her… what a shocker there! The writings of Ellen White point back to scripture and have never been new scriptures unto themselves. Nobody states otherwise about John 3:16. Adventists, Ellen White, and William Miller ALL believed we are saved through grace by Christ alone. So why are you on an Adventist publication site preaching against these people? If you have never read her books outside websites that lie about her and pull her writings out of context, you have no leg to stand on here.

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Please provide evidence that Ellen White “distorted” Scripture. Scofield did for sure, but I have yet to find anywhere (and I’ve read a lot of her writings (including all 9 volumes of the Testimonies), and I have yet to find any distortions of Scripture.

I will not hold my breath waiting for a response, because it can’t be done. Only by distorting and taking out of context what she wrote, can it be made to appear as if she distorted Scripture.

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Spectrum has gotten so obscure that it really is wasting time for you to rant and rail and grind your ax here.

I don’t think anybody really notices, or cares too much.

Go in peace…everybody’s denomination is flawed, right?

This is really quite a bold statement. It suggests that the 2000 year history of Christian interpretation and the preceding Jewish commentary is of no value and only somewhat after the Protestant reformation did the truth emerge from a naive reading of scripture. I do not accept the proposition of Appalachian snake handlers that what is written should be accepted at face value. As a neo-orthodox Adventist I accept that the Christian traditions of interpretation including the tools used by modern biblical scholars have value. I further would suggest that we should be very careful lest our corporate interpretation of Daniel and Revelation should stray into idiosyncracy within the broader Christian tradition of interpretation.

Yes thanks. I am well aware of that excellent Spirit of Prophecy quotation and thanks for sharing it.

Thanks so much and yes relativism is the highest and most difficult barrier to overcome in today’s world where absolute truth in anything but science is cast as an abomination.

**Webed, during the past two weeks I posted a reply comment to Pauluc twice, becasue the first one seem to have disappeared, but none the second one did as well, can you advise?

George, please see our commenting policy which appears at the end of every article on Spectrum:

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

My coment to Pauluc was completely within the subject matter of the article and was my only cmment to him. I see this scenario in almost every published article, can you be more specific please as to why my comment was removed?

George, you are only allowed one comment per article. Your first comment on this article, from seven days ago, is still posted as you can see. All subsequent comments were removed, per our policy. If you have more questions on this matter, you are welcome to message us directly through the Discourse system. -Web Editor