2 Peter 1:21
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

English Standard Version
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Berean Study Bible
For no prophecy was ever brought about through human initiative, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Berean Literal Bible
For no prophecy at any time was brought by the will of man, but men spoke from God, being carried by the Holy Spirit.

New American Standard Bible
for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

International Standard Version
because no prophecy ever originated through a human decision. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

NET Bible
for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

New Heart English Bible
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spoke from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The prophecy came not by the will of man in the ancient times, but when holy men of God spoke, being compelled by the Holy Spirit.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction.

New American Standard 1977
for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For the prophecy did not come in times past by the will of man, but the holy men of God spoke being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

King James 2000 Bible
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

American King James Version
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

American Standard Version
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Darby Bible Translation
for prophecy was not ever uttered by [the] will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of [the] Holy Spirit.

English Revised Version
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost.

Webster's Bible Translation
For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Weymouth New Testament
for never did any prophecy come by human will, but men sent by God spoke as they were impelled by the Holy Spirit.

World English Bible
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Young's Literal Translation
for not by will of man did ever prophecy come, but by the Holy Spirit borne on holy men of God spake.
Study Bible
Eyewitnesses of His Majesty
20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever brought about through human initiative, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Cross References
2 Samuel 23:2
"The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.

Jeremiah 23:26
"How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Ezekiel 1:3
the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and there the hand of the LORD came upon him.)

Micah 1:1
The word of the LORD which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Luke 1:70
as He spoke through His holy prophets, those of ages past,

Acts 1:16
"Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit foretold through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus.

Acts 3:18
But in this way God has fulfilled what He foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

1 Peter 1:11
trying to determine the time and setting to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
Treasury of Scripture

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

the prophecy.

Luke 1:70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since …

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for …

1 Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which …

in old time. or, at any time holy.

Deuteronomy 33:1 And this is the blessing, with which Moses the man of God blessed …

Joshua 14:6 Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the …

1 Kings 13:1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of …

1 Kings 17:18,24 And she said to Elijah, What have I to do with you, O you man of …

2 Kings 4:7,9,22 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the …

2 Kings 6:10,15 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told …

1 Chronicles 23:14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.

2 Chronicles 8:14 And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the …

spake.

Numbers 16:28 And Moses said, Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to …

2 Samuel 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and his word was in my tongue.

Micah 3:7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yes, …

Luke 1:70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since …

2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures…

1 Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which …

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See you …

by the Holy.

Mark 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, …

Acts 1:16 Men and brothers, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled…

Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all …

Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that …

Hebrews 3:7 Why (as the Holy Ghost said, To day if you will hear his voice,

Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of …

Hebrews 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he …

(21) For the prophecy came not in old time.--Rather, For prophecy was never sent, or brought. Wiclif and Rheims alone have "brought"; all the rest "came." The verb is the same as that used of the voice from heaven (2Peter 1:17-18), and also in this verse for "moved," so that there is a telling antithesis, difficult to preserve in English. Prophecy was not brought in by men; but men were brought to utter it by the Spirit. (Comp. 2John 1:10.) The rendering in the margin is right--"not at any time" rather than "not in old time." "Not at any time"--"never," which both Tyndale and Cranmer have; Wiclif has "not ony time." The erroneous "in old time" comes from Geneva.

But holy men of God . . .--The Greek is uncertain. A reading of very high authority would give us, But men spoke from God moved by the Holy Ghost. This is probably to be preferred. Men spoke not out of their own hearts, but as commissioned by God; not "by the will of man," but under the influence of the Holy Spirit. (Comp. St. Peter's speech at the election of Matthias, and again in Solomon's Porch, Acts 1:16; Acts 3:18.) The word for "moved" is a strong one, meaning "borne along," as a ship before the wind (Acts 27:16-17). Theophilus of Antioch (Autolycus, II. ix.) writes "men of God, moved (or, filled) by the Holy Ghost, and becoming prophets, inspired and made wise by God Himself, became taught of God." Here, again, the parallel is too slight to be relied on as evidence that Theophilus was acquainted with this Epistle. (See above, third Note on 2Peter 1:19.) The same may be said of a passage in Hippolytus (Antichrist, 2), "These fathers were furnished with the Spirit and largely honoured by the Word Himself. . . . and when moved by Him the Prophets announced what God willed. For they spake not of their own power, neither did they declare what pleased themselves, &c. &c."

Some have fancied that these last three verses (2Peter 1:19-21) savour of Montanism, and are evidence of the late origin of the Epistle. But what is said here of the gift of prophecy is not more than we find elsewhere in the New Testament (Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:15; Acts 1:16; Acts 3:18); and in the Old Testament (Numbers 11:17; Numbers 11:25; Numbers 11:29; 1Samuel 10:6; 1Samuel 10:10; 1Samuel 19:20; 1Samuel 19:23; Jeremiah 1:5-7). Montanists used much stronger language, as readers of Tertullian know. With them prophecy was ecstasy and frenzy; prophets ceased to be men--their reason left them, and they became mere instruments on which the Spirit played. The wording of these verses points to an age previous to Montanism. A Montanist would have said more; an opponent of Montanism would have guarded himself against Montanist misconstruction.

Verse 21. - For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; literally, for not by the will of man was prophecy borne at any time. The verb is that already used in verses 17, 18, "was not borne or brought;" it refers not to the utterance of prophecy, but to its origin - it came from heaven. But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; literally, but being borne on by the Holy Ghost, the holy men of God spake; or, if we follow the Vatican Manuscript, "But being borne on by the Holy Ghost, men spake from God." We have again the same verb, "being borne on" (φερόμενοι); comp. Acts 27:15, 17, where it is used of a ship being borne on by the wind. So the prophets were borne on in their prophetic utterance by the Holy Spirit of God. They were truly and really inspired. The mode of that inspiration is not explained; perhaps it cannot be made plain to our human understanding; all the points of contact between the finite and the Infinite are involved in mystery. But the fact is clearly revealed - the prophets were borne on by the Holy Spirit of God. This is not, as some have fancied, the language of Montanism. Prophecy is but a lamp shining in a dark place; it is not the day-star. Prophecy came not by the will of man; the prophets were moved or borne on by the Holy Ghost. But St. Peter does not say that their human consciousness was suspended, or that they were passive as the lyre when swept by the plectrum. Had this passage been written after the rise of Montanism early in the second century, the writer, if a Montanist, would have said more; if not a Montanist, he would have carefully guarded his words from possible misunderstanding.



For the prophecy,.... The whole Scripture, all the prophetic writings; so the Jews call the Scriptures "the prophecy" (g), by way of eminence, and from the subject matter of the sacred word:

came not in old time by the will of man; was not brought into the world at first, or in any period of time, as and when man would, according to his pleasure, and as he thought fit: neither Moses, nor David, nor Isaiah, nor Jeremiah, nor Ezekiel, nor Daniel, nor any other of the prophets, prophesied when they pleased, but when it was the will of God they should; they were stirred up to prophesy, not by any human impulse, but by a divine influence: with this agrees what R. Sangari says,

"that the speech of the prophets, when the Holy Spirit clothed them, in all their words was directed by a divine influence, and the prophet could not speak in the choice of his own words,''

or according to his will:

but holy men of God; such as he sanctified by his Spirit, and separated from the rest of men to such peculiar service; and whom he employed as public ministers of his word: for so this phrase "men", or "man of God", often signifies, 1 Samuel 2:27.

spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; who illuminated their minds, gave them a knowledge of divine things, and a foresight of future ones; dictated to them what they should say or write; and moved upon them strongly, and by a secret and powerful impulse stirred them up to deliver what they did, in the name and fear of God: which shows the authority of the Scriptures, that they are the word of God, and not of men; and as such should be attended to, and received with all affection and reverence; and that the Spirit is the best interpreter of them, who first dictated them; and that they are to be the rule of our faith and practice; nor are we to expect any other, until the second coming of Christ.

(g) R. Eliahu in Adderet apud Trigland. de Sect Karaeorum, c. 10. p. 153. 21. came not in old time—rather, "was never at any time borne" (to us).

by the will of man—alone. Jer 23:26, "prophets of the deceit of their own heart." Compare 2Pe 3:5, "willingly."

holy—One oldest manuscript has, "men FROM God": the emissaries from God. "Holy," if read, will mean because they had the Holy Spirit.

moved—Greek, "borne" (along) as by a mighty wind: Ac 2:2, "rushing (the same Greek) wind": rapt out of themselves: still not in fanatical excitement (1Co 14:32). The Hebrew "nabi," "prophet," meant an announcer or interpreter of God: he, as God's spokesman, interpreted not his own "private" will or thought, but God's "Man of the Spirit" (Ho 9:7, Margin). "Thou testifiedst by Thy Spirit in Thy prophets." "Seer," on the other hand, refers to the mode of receiving the communications from God, rather than to the utterance of them to others. "Spake" implies that, both in its original oral announcement, and now even when in writing, it has been always, and is, the living voice of God speaking to us through His inspired servants. Greek, "borne (along)" forms a beautiful antithesis to "was borne." They were passive, rather than active instruments. The Old Testament prophets primarily, but including also all the inspired penmen, whether of the New or Old Testament (2Pe 3:2). 1:16-21 The gospel is no weak thing, but comes in power, Ro 1:16. The law sets before us our wretched state by sin, but there it leaves us. It discovers our disease, but does not make known the cure. It is the sight of Jesus crucified, in the gospel, that heals the soul. Try to dissuade the covetous worlding from his greediness, one ounce of gold weighs down all reasons. Offer to stay a furious man from anger by arguments, he has not patience to hear them. Try to detain the licentious, one smile is stronger with him than all reason. But come with the gospel, and urge them with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, shed to save their souls from hell, and to satisfy for their sins, and this is that powerful pleading which makes good men confess that their hearts burn within them, and bad men, even an Agrippa, to say they are almost persuaded to be Christians, Ac 26:28. God is well pleased with Christ, and with us in him. This is the Messiah who was promised, through whom all who believe in him shall be accepted and saved. The truth and reality of the gospel also are foretold by the prophets and penmenof the Old Testament, who spake and wrote under influence, and according to the direction of the Spirit of God. How firm and sure should our faith be, who have such a firm and sure word to rest upon! When the light of the Scripture is darted into the blind mind and dark understanding, by the Holy Spirit of God, it is like the day-break that advances, and diffuses itself through the whole soul, till it makes perfect day. As the Scripture is the revelation of the mind and will of God, every man ought to search it, to understand the sense and meaning. The Christian knows that book to be the word of God, in which he tastes a sweetness, and feels a power, and sees a glory, truly divine. And the prophecies already fulfilled in the person and salvation of Christ, and in the great concerns of the church and the world, form an unanswerable proof of the truth of Christianity. The Holy Ghost inspired holy men to speak and write. He so assisted and directed them in delivering what they had received from him, that they clearly expressed what they made known. So that the Scriptures are to be accounted the words of the Holy Ghost, and all the plainness and simplicity, all the power and all the propriety of the words and expressions, come from God. Mix faith with what you find in the Scriptures, and esteem and reverence the Bible as a book written by holy men, taught by the Holy Ghost.
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