In my estimation one of the biggest problems within the visible Church today is bad hermeneutics. What do I mean by that? Hermeneutics is the science of Biblical interpretation.
Context, Context, Context…
There are many problems in the church, and most derive from improper interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Many pervert, or twist, the Word of God to suit their own fancy, instead of taking the Scripture for what it says, and means.
Many try to allegorize, or find a hidden meaning, when the plain literal meaning is right there in front of their eyes. Much of the church, instead of looking for God’s Truth instead are trying to overemphasize self by reading themselves in the Word of God. This is called “eisegesis,” which means reading INTO the text that which is not there. We should practice “exegesis,” which means drawing out what the passage, or passages, say.
First off: The Bible is not about you, even though SOME application can be made. The Bible IS about Jesus. You are not in much of the historical narratives throughout. The Bible is literally His Story, and throughout both Testaments He is revealed.
The Pharisees rejected Christ, while claiming to have allegiance to the Torah. Instead they added their own rules and regulations. Jesus told them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.(John 5:39)” They were looking to excuse themselves, while overlooking the very subject of the Word!
In many small group Bible studies, if the group is not merely rehashing what the pastor spoke about on the past Sunday, they will often read a single verse, and then share what the particular verse means to each person in attendance. This is not the proper way of study. What should be discovered, through study, is, “What does the passage mean?” The answer is most often found in the immediate context of the passage. This clarifies many a “Scripture twist.”
Let’s see what the Apostle Peter has to say:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased . And this voice which came from heaven we heard , when we were with him in the holy mount. 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: Knowing this first, 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 men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. – 2 Peter 1:16-21
Peter is simply telling us that he hasn’t followed any man made dream or tale. He was actually an eye-witness of Jesus’ transfiguration, hearing the very voice of the Father with His proclamation.
Him being an eyewitness was not enough. Of course we need to remember that there needs to be two or three witnesses for anything to be verified in the Bible. That eradicates anyone today having any type of personal revelation, dream, or download from the “Lord.” It would also negate hearing “the still small voice of God” as well.
Peter goes on to tell us that “we have a more sure word of prophecy.” This more sure word of prophecy was, and is, none other than the prophecies of the Old Testament, as well as some of the New Testament, that prophesied of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter, in short, is saying, “Don’t take my word for it. Read the Scriptures, because they testify of Jesus.
What does Peter mean by “no prophecy of the scripture is of private interpretation?” Though some religious organizations would say that a lay person cannot interpret the Scriptures, and clerics are needed to interpret, this is not the case.
The basic premise is that Scripture interprets Scripture This leaves the student, or reader, without the option of basing faith on feelings. Feelings instead of facts have destroyed many a ministry, and many a Christian. When we realize the Scriptures alone are the only way to interpret Scripture, here is the outcome, found back in our text:
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. – 2 Peter 1:19
The Word of Christ will illuminate our darkened heart, revealing His wonderful Glory!