William Burkitt Notes and Observations - 2 Peter 1:20 - 1:20

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William Burkitt Notes and Observations - 2 Peter 1:20 - 1:20


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

These words are understood variously.

1. Some interpret them thus; That no part of the holy Scripture was written by any private impulse, incitation, or motion, by no suggestion of men's own private spirits, but they gave out to us what the Holy Ghost gave in to them; nor did they prophesy according to the will of man, that is, when they would, or what they would, but they spake by the instinct and impulse of the Holy Ghost. The words shew what authority the penmen of the Holy Scriptures had to write what they did, and why we should be so careful to take heed to what they wrote.

Learn hence, That it is a very great principle, yea, one of the first principles of our faith, that the Scriptures are the very word and will of God, written not by any private spirit, but dictated by the Spirit of God, and consequently are no part of them of human invention, but all of divine inspiration, for which reason great respect is due to them, and we shall do well to take heed to them.

2. Others understand the words thus: That no prophecy of scripture is to be expounded as speaking only of those persons whom the speaker first intended and meant, according to the speaker's proper prviate thought, for the holy men of God were moved by God's Spirit to speak those words which signified more than they designed, or always meant and understood themselves; as for instance, David often speaks in the Psalms words true of himself and Solomon, but the Holy Ghost pointeth at Christ, who was typified by those persons; and whether David meant more than himself and Solomon, it is certain the Holy Ghost meant more; so if Josiah be meant in Isa_53:1 as some would have it, it is evident that he was but typical, and that the Holy Ghost meant Christ and his sufferings ultimately; so that it is plain that the Scripture prophecy receives its full sense from the Spirit, and not from the speaker; and must not be appropriated narrowly to those private men, by whom, or of whom they were proximately meant by the speaker.

3. Others understand the words after this manner, namely, that no private person must take upon him the interpretation of Holy Scriptures, but refer all to the church: Hence Estius infers, "That the reformed and their pastors must not interpret the Scriptures, but the Catholic church only." To which we reply, that as no private persons, so likewise no church, may presume to interpret Scripture according to their own mind, nor make their private sense to be the sense of Scripture, but to seek understanding from God, who shews the meaning of the word by the word, (comparing Scripture with Scripture), and by his Spirit leads good men into the knowledge and understanding of it; knowing this, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation; for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy man of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.