corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Study the Bible

New King James
2 Peter 1:20

knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,

Bible Study Resources


- Clarke Commentary;   Abbott's New Testament;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Cambridge Greek Testament;   Chuck Smith Commentary;   Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible ;   Constable's Expository Notes;   Daily Study Bible;   Darby's Synopsis;   Dunagan Commentary;   Ellicott's Commentary;   Expositor's Greek Testament;   Family Bible New Testament;   Hole's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Gaebelein's Annotated;   Morgan's Biblical Exposition;   Gill's Exposition;   Godbey's NT Commentary;   Gary Hampton Commentary;   Everett's Study Notes;   Geneva Study Bible;   Alford's Commentary;   Haydock's Catholic Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Mahan's Commentary;   The Bible Study New Testament;   Ironside's Notes;   Bengel's Gnomon;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged;   Gray's Commentary;   The People's Bible;   Sutcliffe's Commentary;   Trapp's Commentary;   Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible;   Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures;   Grant's Commentary;   Wells of Living Water;   Henry's Complete;   Henry's Concise;   Poole's Annotations;   Pett's Bible Commentary;   Preacher's Homiletical Commentary;   Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary;   People's New Testament;   Benson's Commentary;   Robertson's Word Pictures;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Spurgeon's Verse Expositions;   Scofield's Notes;   Biblical Illustrator;   Coke's Commentary;   Expositor's Bible;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Vincent's Studies;   Burkitt's Notes;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;   Zerr's N.T. Commentary;  


- Nave's Topical Bible - Word of God;   Scofield Reference Index - World-System;   Thompson Chain Reference - Holy Spirit;   Inspiration;   Prophecy;   Prophets;   The Topic Concordance - Holy Spirit;   Prophecy and Prophets;   Scripture;   Speech/communication;   Surety;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Prophecy;   Scriptures, the;  


- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Holy spirit;   Inspiration;   Preaching;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Bible, Inspiration of the;   Blindness;   Scripture, Unity and Diversity of;   Transfiguration;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Obedience;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Prophet;   Scripture;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Inspiration;   Isaiah;   Miracles;   Peter, the Epistles of;   Prophet;   Scriptures;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bible, Hermeneutics;   False Prophet;   Prophecy, Prophets;   2 Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Interpretation;   Peter, Second Epistle of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Admonition;   Interpretation;   Peter Epistles of;   Scripture;   Scripture (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Judah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Peter, Second Epistle of;  


- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Canon of the Old Testament;   Inspiration;   Peter, Simon;   Peter, the Second Epistle of;   Revelation;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bible;  


- Every Day Light - Devotion for November 4;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
[Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving).

The Complete Jewish Bible
First of all, understand this: no prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by an individual on his own;

American Standard Version
knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation.

Bible in Basic English
Being conscious in the first place that no man by himself may give a special sense to the words of the prophets.

English Revised Version
knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation.

English Standard Version
knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.

Darby's Translation
knowing this first, that [the scope of] no prophecy of scripture is had from its own particular interpretation,

Easy-to-Read Version
Most important, you must understand this: No prophecy in the Scriptures ever comes from a person's own interpretation.

The Geneva Bible (1587)
So that yee first knowe this, that no prophecie of the Scripture is of any priuate interpretation.

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
So that ye first knowe this, that no prophesie in the scripture is of any priuate motion.

King James Version (1611)
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any priuate Interpretation:

Contemporary English Version
But you need to realize that no one alone can understand any of the prophecies in the Scriptures.

New Revised Standard
First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

New Century Version
Most of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in the Scriptures ever comes from the prophet's own interpretation.

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
‡1 ye having the previous knowledge, that no prophecy is an exposition of its own text.

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
Knowing this before that no scripture prophecy is of any private interpretation.

George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
Knowing this first, that not every prophetic writing is made clear in its own book.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.

Good News Translation
Above all else, however, remember that none of us can explain by ourselves a prophecy in the Scriptures.

Holman Christian Standard
First of all, you should know this: no prophecy of Scripture comes from one's own interpretation,

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
And this shal ye knowe first, that no prophecie in the scripture is done of eny priuate interpretacion.

Mace New Testament (1729)
But you must above all consider, that no prophecy of the scripture did proceed

J.P. Green Literal Translation
knowing this first, that every prophecy of Scripture did not come into being of its own interpretation;

New Living Translation
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves

New International Version
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.

King James Version
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

New American Standard Version
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

New Life Version
Understand this first: No part of the Holy Writings was ever made up by any man.

Hebrew Names Version
knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation.

International Standard Version
First of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
While this first you know, that every prophecy of the scripture its own solution [Or, every prophecy the solution of its scripture is not. Cul nebiutho shorio dacthobo diloh lo hovo.] is not.

The Emphasised Bible
Of this, first, taking note - that, no prophecy of scripture, becometh, self-solving;

Revised Standard Version
First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

Tyndale Bible
So that ye fyrst knowe this. that no prophesye in the scripture hath eny private interpretacio.

Updated Bible Version 1.9
knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation.

The Webster Bible
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

World English Bible
knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation.

Weymouth New Testament
But, above all, remember that no prophecy in Scripture will be found to have come from the prophet's own prompting;

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
And firste vndurstonde ye this thing, that ech prophesie of scripture is not maad bi propre interpretacioun;

Young's Literal Translation
this first knowing, that no prophecy of the Writing doth come of private exposition,

The Message
The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion.

Lexham English Bible
recognizing this above all, that every prophecy of scripture does not come about from one's own interpretation,

Contextual Overview

19And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Verse Review

Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
3:3; Romans 6:6; 13:11; 1 Timothy 1:9; James 1:3
Romans 12:6


Genesis 1:7
Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.

Genesis 1:14
Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;

Genesis 1:22
And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."

Genesis 1:24
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so.

Genesis 1:25
And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:30
Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so.

Genesis 2:19
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 8:17
Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth."

1 Kings 4:33
Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.

Psalms 148:10
Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl;

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Knowing this first,.... Especially, and in the first place, this is to be known, observed, and considered;

that no prophecy of the Scripture, that is contained in Scripture, be it what it will,

is of any private interpretation: not that this is levelled against the right of private judgment of Scripture; or to be understood as if a private believer had not a right of reading, searching, examining, and judging, and interpreting the Scriptures himself, by virtue of the unction which teacheth all things; and who, as a spiritual man, judgeth all things; otherwise, why are such commended as doing well, by taking heed to prophecy, in the preceding verse, and this given as a reason to encourage them to it? the words may be rendered, "of one's own interpretation"; that is, such as a natural man forms of himself, by the mere force of natural parts and wisdom, without the assistance of the Spirit of God; and which is done without comparing spiritual things with spiritual; and which is not agreeably to the Scripture, to the analogy of faith, and mind of Christ; though rather this phrase should be rendered, "no prophecy of the Scripture is of a man's own impulse", invention, or composition; is not human, but purely divine: and this sense carries in it a reason why the sure word of prophecy, concerning the second coming of Christ, should be taken heed to, and made use of as a light, till he does come; because as no Scripture prophecy, so not that, is a contrivance of man's, his own project and device, and what his own spirit prompts and impels him to, but what is made by the dictates and impulse of the Spirit of God; for whatever may be said of human predictions, or the false prophecies of lying men, who deliver them out how and when they please, nothing of this kind can be said of any Scripture prophecy, nor of this concerning the second coming of Christ; and this sense the following words require.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Knowing this first - Bearing this steadily in mind as a primary and most important truth.

That no prophecy of the Scripture - No prophecy contained in the inspired records. The word “scripture” here shows that the apostle referred particularly to the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament. The remark which he makes about prophecy is general, though it is designed to bear on a particular class of the prophecies.

Is of any private interpretation - The expression here used ( ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως idias epiluseōs) has given rise to as great a diversity of interpretation, and to as much discussion, as perhaps any phrase in the New Testament; and to the present time there is no general agreement among expositors as to its meaning. It would be foreign to the design of these notes, and would be of little utility, to enumerate the different interpretations which have been given of the passage, or to examine them in detail. It will be sufficient to remark, preparatory to endeavoring to ascertain the true sense of the passage, that some have held that it teaches that no prophecy can be interpreted of itself, but can be understood only by comparing it with the event; others, that it teaches that the prophets did not themselves understand what they wrote, but were mere passive organs under the dictation of the Holy Spirit to communicate to future times what they could not themselves explain; others, that it teaches that “no prophecy is of self-interpretation,” (Horsley;) others, that it teaches that the prophecies, besides having a literal signification, have also a hidden and mystical sense which cannot be learned from the prophecies themselves, but is to be perceived by a special power of insight imparted by the Holy Spirit, enabling men to understand their recondite mysteries.

It would be easy to show that some of these opinions are absurd, and that none of them are sustained by the fair interpretation of the language used, and by the drift of the passage. The more correct interpretation, as it seems to me, is that which supposes that the apostle teaches that the truths which the prophets communicated were not originated by themselves; were not of their own suggestion or invention; were not their own opinions, but were of higher origin, and were imparted by God; and according to this the passage may be explained, “knowing this as a point of first importance when you approach the prophecies, or always bearing this in mind, that it is a great principle in regard to the prophets, that what they communicated “was not of their own disclosure;” that is, was not revealed or originated by them.” That this is the correct interpretation will be apparent from the following considerations:

(1) It accords with the design of the apostle, which is to produce an impressive sense of the importance and value of the prophecies, and to lead those to whom he wrote to study them with diligence. This could be secured in no way so well as by assuring them that the writings which he wished them to study did not contain truths originated by the human mind, but that they were of higher origin.

(2) this interpretation accords with what is said in the following verse, and is the only one of all those proposed that is consistent with that, or in connection with which that verse will have any force. In that verse 2 Peter 1:21, a reason is given for what is said here: “For ( γὰρ gar) the prophecy came not in old time “by the will of man,”” etc. But this can be a good reason for what is said here only on the supposition that the apostle meant to say that what they communicated was not originated by themselves; that it was of a higher than human origin; that the prophets spake “as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This fact was a good reason why they should show profound respect for the prophecies, and study them with attention. But how could the fact that “they were moved by the Holy Ghost” be a reason for studying them, if the meaning here is that the prophets could not understand their own language, or that the prophecy could be understood only by the event, or that the prophecy had a double meaning, etc.? If the prophecies were of Divine origin, then “that” was a good reason why they should be approached with reverence, and should be profoundly studied.

(3) this interpretation accords as well, to say the least, with the fair meaning of the language employed, as either of the other opinions proposed. The word rendered “interpretation” ( ἐπίλυσις epilusis) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means “solution” (Robinson‘s Lexicon), “disclosure,” (Prof. Stuart on the Old Testament, p. 328,) “making free (Passow,)” with the notion that what is thus released or loosed was before bound, entangled obscure. The verb from which this word is derived ( ἐπιλύω epiluō) means, “to let loose upon,” as dogs upon a hare, (Xen. Mem. 7,8; ib 9,10;) to loose or open letters; to loosen a band; to loose or disclose a riddle or a dark saying, and then to enlighten, illustrate, etc. - Passow. It is twice used in the New Testament. Mark 4:34, “he expounded all things to his disciples”; Acts 19:39, “It shall be determined in a lawful assembly.”

The verb would be applicable to loosing anything which is bound or confined, and thence to the explanation of a mysterious doctrine or a parable, or to a disclosure of what was before unknown. The word, according to this, in the place before us, would mean the disclosure of what was before bound, or retained, or unknown; either what had never been communicated at all, or what had been communicated obscurely; and the idea is, “no prophecy recorded in the Scripture is of, or comes from, any exposition or disclosure of the will and purposes of God by the prophets themselves.” It is not a thing of their own, or a private matter originating with themselves, but it is to be traced to a higher source. If this be the true interpretation, then it follows that the prophecies are to be regarded as of higher than any human origin; and then, also, it follows that this passage should not be used to prove that the prophets did not understand the nature of their own communications, or that they were mere unconscious and passive instruments in the hand of God to make known his will. Whatever may be the truth on those points, this passage proves nothing in regard to them, any mare than the fact that a minister of religion now declares truth which he did not originate, but which is to be traced to God as its author, proves that he does not understand what he himself says. It follows, also, that this passage cannot be adduced by the Papists to prove that the people at large should not have free access to the word of God, and should not be allowed to interpret it for themselves. It makes no affirmation on that point, and does not even contain any “principle” of which such a use can be made; for:

(1) Whatever it means, it is confined to “prophecy;” it does not embrace the whole Bible.

(2) whatever it means, it merely states a fact; it does not enjoin a duty. It states, as a fact, that there was something about the prophecies which was not of private solution, but it does not state that it is the duty of the church to prevent any private explanation or opinion even of the prophecies.

(3) it says nothing about “the church” as empowered to give a public or authorized interpretation of the prophecies. There is not a hint, or an intimation of any kind, that the church is intrusted with any such power whatever. There never was any greater perversion of a passage of Scripture than to suppose that this teaches that any class of people is not to have free access to the Bible. The effect of the passage, properly interpreted, should be to lead us to study the Bible with profound reverence, as having a higher than any human origin, not to turn away from it as if it were unintelligible, nor to lead us to suppose that it can be interpreted only by one class of men. The fact that it discloses truths which the human mind could not of itself have originated, is a good reason for studying it with diligence and with prayer - not for supposing that it is unlawful for us to attempt to understand it; a good reason for reverence and veneration for it - not for sanctified neglect.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

Knowing this first - Considering this as a first principle, that no prophecy of the Scripture, whether that referred to above, or any other, is of any private interpretation - proceeds from the prophet's own knowledge or invention, or was the offspring of calculation or conjecture. The word επιλυσις signifies also impetus, impulse; and probably this is the best sense here; not by the mere private impulse of his own mind.

Copyright Statement:
New King James
© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
The text of the New King James Version (NKJV) appearing on or deriving from this or any other web page is for personal use only. Any other use of the NKJV must be in conformity with the Quotation Policy for the New King James Version. For more information about the New King James Version, the Quotation Policy, and for inquiries about permission to use the New King James Version, go to

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
the Sixth Week after Epiphany
There are 50 days til Easter!
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology