How do you determine God's 'word'?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Hermeneut7, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Hermeneut7

    Hermeneut7
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    My 1st signature verse historically has been understood in 2 ways. Does it mean (1) the reader's interpretation, or does it mean (2) the prophet's interpretation? It comes down to the meaning of a single Greek 'word' and I chose the understanding of #1 by the following method:

    1. Comparing the translations I've come to trust, keeping in mind the mindset of the translation committee: KJV-ASV-RSV-NRSV and then the U.K. NEB-REB, the NEB not being a revision. These were in agreement on 1, yet some versions by individuals I respect (Wey-YLT) translated as 2. I found most modern versions by American evangelicals embrace translation in agreement with 2. But, I have less confidence in the modern evangelical versions.
    2. Respecting that God set spirit filled teachers in His church, I scoured all the commentaries and theology texts I could find that discussed 2 Pet.1:19-21. I found a mix of views here but very good discussion with various points raised.
    3. On text itself it came down to what the Greek behind "is" means. [No Clinton jokes please]. The Greek is ginomai and the BDAG reads under 9.d: "Here perh. belongs ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται it is not a matter of private interpretation 2 Pt 1:20." BUT, other lexicons have other views.
    4. More important than a lexicon is how a biblical writer uses a particular word. I checked Peter's use of ginomai and paid most attention to 2 Peter since its Greek is supposed to be more formal. I incline to "is" not "comes" as I review Peter's use.
    5. I look at the thought flow in context and I believe my choice is the correct one and it seems so clear in context as in the NEB:

    "19 All this only confirms for us the message of the prophets, to which you will do well to attend, because it is like a lamp shining in a murky place, until the day breaks and the morning star rises to illuminate your minds.
    20 BUT FIRST NOTE this: no one can interpret any prophecy of Scripture by himself. 21 For it was not through any human whim that men prophesied of old; men they were, but, impelled by the Holy Spirit, they spoke the words of God.
    1 But Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you likewise will have false teachers among you. They will import disastrous heresies, disowning the very Master who bought them, and bringing swift disaster on their own heads." (2Pet.1:19-2:1 NEB)[Peter brings in false interpretation of teachers in 3:16.]
    The NEB is available at: katapi dot org dot uk

    I know sincere, regenerated men of God of high scholarship take the other view than I have and I'm sure they will give input and I will surely refine some and learn. That's what it's all about! May God bless this effort to share.
     
  2. Van

    Van
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    How about 2 cents worth from one of no scholarship? :)

    As I understand the verse, it reads:

    Knowing[G1097] this [G5124] first [G4412], that [G3754]

    all [G3956] prophecy [4394] of scripture [G1124]

    is [G1096>] not [G3756] being brought about [<G1096]

    by one's own [G2398] explanation [G1955].
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    If we look at how Peter uses G1096 in 2 Peter, we see that the word, ginomai [G1096] is used both to state an existing status, and to indicate a changed status.

    The ESV, NET, and NIV translate the word to mean changed status in 2 Peter 1:20, i.e. come(s) about.
    However, the NASB and NKJV translate the word to mean existing status in 2 Peter 1:20, i.e. is.

    If we look at 2 Peter 1:4, we see that the NASB, NET, and ESV translate the word to mean changed status, with the NIV and NKJV indicating existing status.

    In 2 Peter 1:16, all five (NASB, NET, ESV, NIV, and NKJV) translate the word to mean existing status, i.e. we were.

    In 2 Peter 2:1 the NASB, NET, and ESV translate the word to be changed status, i.e. arose among, while the NIV and NKJV indicated existing status, i.e. were among.

    Finally, in 2 Peter 2:20, all five (NASB, NET, ESV, NIV and NKJV) translate the word to indicate changed status, i.e. overcome or succumb.

    Clearly the modern translators of 2 Peter think the author used the word both ways. If we do a count, we get 14 translator decisions for changed status, and we get 11 translator decisions for existing status.

    So why choose changed status, i.e. come about, in 2 Peter 1:20? The context and thought flow indicate to me, that the creation of divinely inspired scripture is in view, it did not arise by inventions of men.
     
    #3 Van, Jun 18, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2014
  4. Hermeneut7

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    Van, I respect your view and find many fine men of God, past and present hold that. I scanned Peter's use of ginomai using only the KJV. In comparing the verse in question, I did stick to the KJV tradition up through the ASV, RSV & NRSV and to gather a view apart from American evangelicalism, I went to the U.K. NEB & REB and find all 6 agree on 2Pt.1:20. My choice of translations spanned 1611/1769 through 1989 and these translations are the ones I've come to trust more over the years and I like the NEB since it is not a revision of an earlier translation, but a totally new and fresh translation. The final decision for me was two things. V19 refers to what is clearly the Spirit of Christ working in the heart and mind.. then V21 speaks of it as not man's whim that produced Scripture, but this same Spirit of Christ. To me, why would V21 repeat if it was already stated in V20? It flows better to my mind, to see V20 showing that the interpreter must have the same Spirit as seen in V19 and V21. I imagine we would end up believing the same thing: 1, we must have the illumination of the Spirit to understand Scripture; 2, we must compare Spirit inspired Scripture with Spirit inspired Scripture; 3, we must value the past teachers God has placed into the body of Christ and recognize that the church as been indwelt by the same Spirit so if we depart from the historic faith, we should do a second look to see if we are going off track.

    Back to how I view translations, I know any translation is influenced by the mind set and culture in which it was produced, even the KJV itself. So, I try to determine which mindset and culture is going to distort a particular passage and render it according to human bias. So, I reject the RSV & NRSV on Zech. 12:10, for instance but the NEB & REB are good there. I reject the modern American evangelical versions on Ex.21:22 and find the RSV, NRSV, NEB & REB stayed with the historical understanding on that. Van, it is nice we are retired, but I see I'm going to have to budget my time better or I'll get nothing done but these postings. :laugh:
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    Here is one source of scholarship, the NET footnote:

    68tn Verse 20 is variously interpreted. There are three key terms here that help decide both the interpretation and the translation. As well, the relation to v. 21 informs the meaning of this verse. (1) The term “comes about” (γίνεται [ginetai]) is often translated “is a matter” as in “is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” But the progressive force for this verb is far more common. (2) The adjective ἰδίας (idias) has been understood to mean (a) one’s own (i.e., the reader’s own), (b) its own (i.e., the particular prophecy’s own), or (c) the prophet’s own. Catholic scholarship has tended to see the reference to the reader (in the sense that no individual reader can understand scripture, but needs the interpretations handed down by the Church), while older Protestant scholarship has tended to see the reference to the individual passage being prophesied (and hence the Reformation doctrine of analogia fidei [analogy of faith], or scripture interpreting scripture). But neither of these views satisfactorily addresses the relationship of v. 20 to v. 21, nor do they do full justice to the meaning of γίνεται. (3) The meaning of ἐπίλυσις (epilusi") is difficult to determine, since it is a biblical hapax legomenon. Though it is sometimes used in the sense of interpretation in extra-biblical Greek, this is by no means a necessary sense. The basic idea of the word is unfolding, which can either indicate an explanation or a creation. It sometimes has the force of solution or even spell, both of which meanings could easily accommodate a prophetic utterance of some sort. Further, even the meaning explanation or interpretation easily fits a prophetic utterance, for prophets often, if not usually, explained visions and dreams. There is no instance of this word referring to the interpretation of scripture, however, suggesting that if interpretation is the meaning, it is the prophet’s interpretation of his own vision. (4) The γάρ (gar) at the beginning of v. 21 gives the basis for the truth of the proposition in v. 20. The connection that makes the most satisfactory sense is that prophets did not invent their own prophecies (v. 20), for their impulse for prophesying came from God (v. 21).

    sn No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination. 2 Pet 1:20-21, then, form an inclusio with v. 16: The Christian’s faith and hope are not based on cleverly concocted fables but on the sure Word of God – one which the prophets, prompted by the Spirit of God, spoke. Peter’s point is the same as is found elsewhere in the NT, i.e., that human prophets did not originate the message, but they did convey it, using their own personalities in the process.
     
  6. Hermeneut7

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    I know many think of the RCC claiming that they wrote the Bible and only they have the infallible interpretation thereof. So, men past and present react against that foolishness, properly so, and I think that influences a lot of bias on 2Pt.1:20. I also note how that in the mid-1800s, sects began to flourish and what seems to be an unbiblical individuality took place in Bible interpretation. I believe a lot of this idea "I'll believe what I wish" emphasis has brought about an endorsement of the rejection of the KJV rendering of the verse. I also have the computer NET Bible with the full notes as you quoted and find them helpful at times, especially on Jn 10:30, but obviously I do not follow them on this verse. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  7. Van

    Van
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    Yes, either view could in part be driven by eisegesis, rather than totally from exegesis. If we were hammers, everything would look like nails to us. :)

    Dr. Wallace said that our word has a strong progressive force, indicating (my inference) if the changed status works contextually, then it should be preferred.

    Thus arose among should be preferred above were among, and became eyewitnesses should be preferred above were eyewitnesses, and we became preferred over we were. If we use that hammer, then our word overwhelming was used by Peter to indicate a changed status.
     
  8. Hermeneut7

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    The name "Dr. Wallace" does not ring a bell for me. There are a couple of other statements made that incline me to our "interpretation" view in v20. Peter's discussion continues to state:

    "In the past there were also false prophets among the people, just as you also will have false teachers among you. They will introduce their destructive views..."(2Pet 2:1, REB)

    I view vs19-21 referring to the OT in the immediate context then in 2Pt2:1 we see those old false prophets alongside the coming "false teachers", which to me means those who twist the words of the existing Scripture, so we know the prophecies given were God inspired, so we must watch for how those Scriptures are interpreted. Then Peter goes on later and equates Paul's writings to the other Scriptures and warns about twisted interpretation of the Scriptures:

    "Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience is an opportunity for salvation, as Paul, our dear friend and brother, said when he wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him. He does the same in all his other letters, wherever he speaks about this, though they contain some obscure passages, which the ignorant and unstable misinterpret to their own ruin, as they do the other scriptures." (2Pet 3:15-16, REB)

    Both the NEB & REB Oxford Study Bibles reference this passage 3:16 in the annotations as explaining the intent of 2:20.
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    Dr wallace heads up the department at DTS regarding tewxtual criticism/biblcal manuscripts etc

    Wrote the stardard Intermediate greek grammar

    Recognized as being an expert in the Greek language/text!
     
  10. Hermeneut7

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    Thanks! So, he was a head man working on the NET Bible, which I understand was in large part translated by DTS men. I did not follow much the men of DTS after Hal Lindsey and his "Late Great Planet Earth". :laugh: I'm joking, I understand that some good scholarship comes out of Dallas.
     
  11. Van

    Van
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    Yes, 2 Peter 2:1 is worth looking into in order to understand 2 Peter 1:20

    Two types of people are mentioned, those that claim what they say is the inspired Word of God (false prophets, G5578) and then the false teachers (G5572). The false prophet claims to bring about scripture, but it is of his own explanation. Fits with my view of 2 Peter 1:20, whereas false teachers misinterpret the existing scripture, which fits with your view. However, note that 2 Peter 1:20 uses prophecy of scripture, referring to bringing about new scripture by one's own explanation. On the other hand, it is the false teachers who introduce heresy, misinterpreting existing prophecy of scripture.

    In the five versions I am using for comparison, I found no cross-references from 2 Peter 2:20 to 2 Peter 3:15-16. Neither did I find any cross-references from 2 Peter 3:15-16 to 2 Peter 2:20.

    I think we have reached the end of discussion, I remain convinced "comes about by one's own explanation" refers to bringing about (or not) prophecy of scripture, rather than referring to a false teacher introducing via misinterpretation, heresy.
     
  12. Hermeneut7

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    Van, you agree with the old 18th century Calvinist, John Gill on that. So, at least you are in good company. :thumbs: The old Puritan Matthew Poole, 17th century gives both views with with my understanding as #1. So yes, we've pretty much thrashed this one out as far as we can go.
     

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