Bible Ministries International

Bible Studies

A series of verse by verse studies by Gunther von Harringa Sr

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

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2 Peter - Part 37

Air Date: August 27, 2017

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: {20} Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. {21} 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.”

Is [ginomai:G1096] Of Any Private [idios:G2398] Interpretation [epilysis:G1955]

We left off in our previous study at the last phrase in verse 20: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”  Three Greek terms are included in this phrase, but they only appear together in this verse, so we will have to consider them individually:

Of Any Private [idios:G2398] 

The term “private” is found 113 times, and is translated in the following manner:  “his own (48x), their own(13x), privately (8x), apart(7x), your own (6x), his (5x),own(5x), in 20 other miscellaneous ways, and once it is not translated.  The subsequent references illustrate how God utilizes this term:

Let’s begin with Mark 4:34, one of the most significant statements in the entire Bible, which explains the manner in which God spoke His Word to “holy men of God”: “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone [idios:G2398], he expounded [epilyo:G1956] all things to his disciples.”

Another noteworthy aspect of this verse is the term, “he expounded” (epilyo:G1956), which is actually the root or parent word for “interpretation” in our verse - “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” [epilysis:G1955]

So, not only is one’s own interpretation of the Bible forbidden, but Christ Himself must expound (or reveal) to His children the meaning of the parable -  or the spiritual truth - that He has so carefully hidden within the confines of the Scriptures. A little later on in today’s study, when we get to the term, “interpretation,” this becomes even more apparent, underscoring the marvelous harmony that all the citations in the Bible exhibit, as their Divine Author is the very essence of harmony and truth. This is particularly evident to those of us, who have the privilege of being alive during the “time and season” of the Great Tribulation as well as our current “day of judgment.”

This fact is also highlighted, for instance, in verse 23 of Luke 10:21-24, in which this word is translated, “privately”: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. {22} All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and [he] to whom the Son will reveal [him]. {23} And he turned him unto [his] disciples, and said privately [idios:G2398], Blessed [are] the eyes which see the things that ye see: {24} For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard [them].”

In verses 16-18 of 2 Peter 1 we spent some time discussing the scriptures surrounding the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. One of the chapters which records this event is Matthew 17, and in verse 1 this term, “private” is rendered as “apart”: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart.” [idios:G2398] 

In Romans 10:3, this word is rendered “their own,” - referring to a man-made righteousness - leading its adherents to inevitable death and annihilation: “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own [idios:G2398] righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

2 Timothy 1:9 proclaims the essence of the true Gospel, according to the Bible: “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own [idios:G2398]  purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

2 Timothy 4:3 declares the sinful reality that the non-elect will seek out, find, and applaud teachers, who will tell them exactly what they want to hear: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own [idios:G2398] lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”

Likewise, 2 Peter 3:3, and 16-17 offers this warning: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own [idios:G2398]  lusts, ... {16} As also in all his epistles [referring to “Paul the Apostle”], speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own [idios:G2398]  destruction. {17} Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own [idios:G2398] stedfastness.

Jude 1:6 similarly maintains, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own [idios:G2398] habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

In similar fashion, verse 3 of Mark 13:1-4 records the apostles’ “private” question of the Savior: “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings [are here]! {2} And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. [this statement points to the “end of the church age”] {3} And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately [idios:G2398], {4} Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?”

This same line of questioning appears in verse 7 of Acts 1:6-8, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? {7} And he said unto them, It is not for [of] you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own [idios:G2398] power. {8} But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Interpretation [epilysis:G1955]

With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to the word, “interpretation” in 2 Peter 1:20, which I’ll read again:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” [epilysis:G1955]

Now that we understand that one’s own interpretation is contrary to the Word of God, let’s attempt with God’s help, to glean what we can from this term, “interpretation,” or “epilysis” (G1955).  Since it is only found here in 2 Peter 1:20, we need to check out its root word, which as I mentioned earlier, is “epilyo” (G1956), and appears in the following two citations:

I quoted Mark 4:34 earlier, but it certainly bears repeating because of its enormous significance: “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone  [idios:G2398], he expounded [epilyo:G1956] all things to his disciples.”

The same One who hid the parabolic meaning, is also the same One, and I might add - the Only One - who can explain it. 

I am reminded of Joseph’s (a magnificent type of Christ) telling words to the chief butler and the baker in Genesis 40:8,

And they said unto him [Joseph], We have dreamed a dream, and [there is] no interpreter [pathar:H6622] of it. And Joseph said unto them, [Do] not interpretations [pithrown:H6623 - derived from H6622] [belong] to God? tell me [them], I pray you.”

The other place that “epilyo” (G1956) surfaces, is in verse 39 of Acts 19:35-41, “And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, [Ye] men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter? {36} Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. {37} For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. {38} Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. {39} But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined [epilyo:G1956] in a lawful assembly. {40} For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. {41} And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.”

Coming to truth can only be “determined” as God opens the spiritual eyes and ears of His elect to truth, by means of “comparing spiritual with spiritual” - the methodology that He has devised for doing so. When this is followed meticulously, and according to God’s good pleasure, the end result is that the Holy Spirit teaches. 

The root word for “epilyo”(G1956) [or the “grandparent” word, if you will, of “epilysis”(G1955).] “Epilyo”(G1956) is a compound word, formed by the Greek preposition, “epi” (G1909) [- predominantly translated as “on,” “in,” or “upon”] and the main word, “lyo”(G3089), which is found 46 times and rendered in the following ways: “loose,” “break,” “unloose,” “destroy,” “dissolve,”“put off,” “melt,” “break up,” and “break down.”  

Without question, one of the most relevant passages, in which this term, “lyo”(G3089) is found twice, is in verses 2 and 5 of Revelation 5:1-10; they are rendered as “to loose”:


“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. {2} And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose [lyo:G3089] the seals thereof? {3} And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. {4} And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. {5} And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose [lyo:G3089] the seven seals thereof. {6} And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. {7} And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. {8}| And when he had taken the book, the four beasts [“living creatures”] and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. {9} And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; {10} And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

What makes this especially germane to our discussion is that many of us have witnessed this “loosing” of the seals firsthand, as God began pouring out new information from the Bible at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, and ever since then. One of those relatively new doctrines concerns what we read in Revelation 5:6, “...a Lamb as it had been slain…,” in which God has revealed that the Atonement took place at the foundation of the world. This is also seen in a veiled way in verse 19 of John 2:18-22, where this term “loose” is rendered “destroy,” and the events leading up to, and including the Crucifixion are spiritual portraits of what transpired at the foundation of the world, as a number of Old Testament accounts exemplify, such as Isaiah 53, Lamentations 3, and Jonah 2:

John 2:18-22 acknowledges: “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? {19} Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy [lyo:G3089] this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. {20} Then said the Jews, Forty and six years [23 (“judgment”)  X 2 (“caretakers of the Gospel”)] was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? {21} But he spake of the temple of his body. {22} When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”

Other Scriptures, like Hebrews 10:20, in which Christ’s “flesh” is typified by the veil of the Temple (Christ is also the Temple), which according to Mark 15:38, was ripped in half from “top to bottom” serve to emphasize that something far more significant that His death on the Cross is in view, as He died and was annihilated before Creation:

“By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;”

We also note that this word, “loosed” is used in connection with salvation, during the “day of salvation” in verse 15 of Luke 13:10-17,

“And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. {11} And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity [astheneia:G769]* eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up [herself]. {12} And when Jesus saw her, he called [her to him], and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.  [astheneia:G769]* {13} And he laid [his] hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. {14} And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. {15} The Lord then answered him, and said, [Thou] hypocrite, doth [lyo:G3089] not each one of you on the sabbath loose [lyo:G3089] his ox or [his] ass from the stall, and lead [him] away to watering? {16} And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed [lyo:G3089] from this bond on the sabbath day? {17} And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.”

[* Also found in Matthew 8:17, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities [astheneia:G769], and bare [our] sicknesses.”

We also read the following in verse 35 of John 10:26-39, in which the word for “loose” is rendered “be broken,” revealing that God’s Word is absolutely “holy and pure” (as God Himself) - and thus is free from any error or contradiction whatsoever in its original languages: 

But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. {27} My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: {28} And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. {29} My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand. {30} I and [my] Father are one. {31} Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. {32} Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? {33} The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. {34} Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? {35} If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken [lyo:G3089]; {36} Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? {37} If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. {38} But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father [is] in me, and I in him. {39} Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,”

In Verse 21 we read: “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.”

Last Sunday we looked at a number of verses regarding “prophecy,” (propheteia:G4394) so I won’t belabor the point. Additionally, in some of our earlier lessons in 2 Peter, we examined the term, “in old time” (pote:G4218), which appeared in 2 Peter 1:10, as “ye shall [never] fall,” although it is more commonly rendered as “in time(s) past”: