Formations Lesson for January 30- God-s Word Must Be Interpreted
January 18 2011 by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association

Focal Passage: 2 Peter 1:16-2:3  

We are all translators/interpreters” was a comment made a number of years ago by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. It expressed the idea that we all interpret or translate experience, etc.

Another version of that concept is the statement heard in many religious circles,

“Everyone interprets the Bible in their own way.”

In one way both statements are correct — each individual interprets their world through personal lenses and in the context of biblical study each reads the text through those same lenses. The end product will be an interpretation unique to their particular worldview.

This can be understood as one person’s guess is as good as another’s. That said, this conclusion is not necessarily completely true.

Though we may see different truths or realities in a particular text, there is still a correct or meaningful interpretation to any given text. Scholars use a plethora of methods for discovering the meaning and significance of a text for believers.

In the end, the scripture comes alive and the reader encounters God’s Word.

Peter in his second letter is concerned about the apparent delay of Christ’s Second Coming and the subsequent detractors and false prophets who had arisen within the Church.

These false teachers dismissed the gospel by assigning it to the level of “cleverly devised myths” (1:16). 

Peter’s response is first to personal experience “we had been eyewitnesses of his (Christ) majesty” here referring to his witnessing of Jesus’ transfiguration — “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain”(1:18).

Peter in effect states, “I was a privileged eyewitness of the experiences of God” (Wm. Barclay). Thus, “I know!” Secondly, Peter appeals to the prophetic word, i.e. the scriptures. In order to not force the scriptures into his own personal “experiences” mold, Peter states, “no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will” (1:21).

Here Peter is declaring that no writer or prophet spoke as he wished or by personal opinion. They spoke as directed by God (Holy Spirit).

Thus, “no man can go to scripture and interpret it as it suits himself” (Barclay). Though Peter validates his preaching and teaching with legitimate experience and the divine inspiration of the scriptures (teachings), the reality of false teachers continues to loom over the young church.

While he speaks from a full heart of love and faith, they speak from hearts covetous and greedy. They exploit, Peter encourages and empowers.

“Their destruction is not asleep” or as the NEB translates it “perdition waits for them with unsleeping eyes” as promised long ago (Deut. 13:1-5; Jude 4). 

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1/18/2011 9:38:00 AM by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association | with 0 comments

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