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New King James
2 Peter 1:21

for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Bible Study Resources

Commentaries:

- Clarke Commentary;   Abbott's New Testament;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Church Pulpit Commentary;   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;   Sermon Bible;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Spurgeon's Verse Expositions;   Biblical Illustrator;   Expositor's Bible;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Vincent's Studies;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;   Zerr's N.T. Commentary;  

Concordances:

- Nave's Topical Bible - Holy Spirit;   Prophecy;   Prophets;   Word of God;   Scofield Reference Index - Holy Spirit;   Inspiration;   Sanctification;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible, the;   Channels of Truth;   God's Word;   Holy Spirit;   Inspiration;   Inspired, Word;   Prophecy;   Prophets;   Spirit;   Truth;   Word;   Word of God;   Word, God's;   The Topic Concordance - Holy Spirit;   Prophecy and Prophets;   Scripture;   Speech/communication;   Surety;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy Spirit, the, Is God;   Holy Spirit, the Personality of;   Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the;   Man;   Prophecy;   Prophets;   Scriptures, the;  

Dictionaries:

- American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Authority;   God;   Holy spirit;   Inspiration;   Preaching;   Trinity;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Bible, Inspiration of the;   Blindness;   Holy Spirit;   Scripture, Unity and Diversity of;   Transfiguration;   Word;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Obedience;   Quakers;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Prophet;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Holy Spirit, the;   Inspiration;   Isaiah;   Miracles;   Peter, the Epistles of;   Prophet;   Scriptures;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bible, Hermeneutics;   False Prophet;   Inspiration of Scripture;   Prophecy, Prophets;   2 Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Inspiration;   Peter, Second Epistle of;   Possession;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Admonition;   Benedictus;   Holy Spirit;   Holy Spirit (2);   Inspiration;   Inspiration and Revelation;   Peter Epistles of;   Reading ;   Scripture;   Will;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Judah;   Prophecy;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Inspiration;   Scripture;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Peter, Second Epistle of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Inspiration;   Prophets;  

Encyclopedias:

- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Inspiration;   Peter, Simon;   Peter, the First Epistle of;   Peter, the Second Epistle of;   Revelation;  

Devotionals:

- Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for January 16;   Every Day Light - Devotion for November 4;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so--it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit.

The Complete Jewish Bible
for never has a prophecy come as a result of human willing - on the contrary, people moved by the Ruach HaKodesh spoke a message from God.

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

Bible in Basic English
For these words did not ever come through the impulse of men: but the prophets had them from God, being moved by 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.

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.

Darby's 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.

Easy-to-Read Version
No! No prophecy ever came from what a man wanted to say. But people were led by the Holy Spirit and spoke things from God.

The Geneva Bible (1587)
For the prophecie came not in olde time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moued by the holy Ghost.

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
For the prophesie came not in olde time by the wyll of man: but holy men of God, spake as they were moued by the holy ghost.

King James Version (1611)
For the prophecie came not in olde time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moued by the holy Ghost.

Contemporary English Version
The prophets did not think these things up on their own, but they were guided by the Spirit of God.

New Revised Standard
because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

New Century Version
No prophecy ever came from what a person wanted to say, but people led by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God.

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
For at no time was it by the pleasure of man, that the prophecy came; but holy men of God spoke, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but the holy men of God spake being moved by the Holy Ghost.

George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
For the prophecy did not come by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke when they were inspired 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.

Good News Translation
For no prophetic message ever came just from the human will, but people were under the control of the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God.

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

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
For the prophecie was neuer broughte by the wyll of man, but the holy men of God spake, as they were moued of ye holy goost.

Mace New Testament (1729)
from the prophet's OWN MOTION; but the holy men of God spoke by the IMPULSE of the holy spirit.

J.P. Green Literal Translation
for prophecy was not at any time borne by the will of man, but being borne along by the Holy Spirit, holy men of God spoke.

New Living Translation
or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.

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.

King James Version
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.

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

New Life Version
No part of the Holy Writings came long ago because of what man wanted to write. But holy men who belonged to God spoke what the Holy Spirit told them.

Hebrew Names Version
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Ruach HaKodesh.

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.

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
For not by the will of man came any prophecy, but while by the Holy Spirit led spake the holy men of God.

The Emphasised Bible
For not, by will of man, was prophecy brought in, at any time, but, as, by Holy Spirit, they were borne along, spake, men, from God.

Revised Standard Version
because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Tyndale Bible
For the scripture came never by the will of man: but holy men of god spake as they were moved by the holy goost.

Updated Bible Version 1.9
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spoke from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

The Webster Bible
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.

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.

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.

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
for prophesie was not brouyt ony tyme bi mannus wille, but the hooli men of God inspirid with the Hooli Goost spaken.

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.

The Message
And why? Because it's not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God's Word.

Lexham English Bible
for no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

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

from
Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

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.
the prophecy
Luke 1:70; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:11
in old time
or, at any time holy.
Deuteronomy 33:1; Joshua 14:6; 1 Kings 13:1; 17:18,24; 2 Kings 4:7,9,22; 6:10,15; 1 Chronicles 23:14; 2 Chronicles 8:14
spake
Numbers 16:28; 2 Samuel 23:2; Micah 3:7; Luke 1:70; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:11; Revelation 19:10
by the Holy
Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16; 3:18; 28:25; Hebrews 3:7; 9:8; 10:15

Cross-References

Genesis 1:18
and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

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 1:26
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Genesis 1:31
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 6:20
Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

Genesis 7:14
they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort.

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."

Genesis 8:19
Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

Genesis 9:7
And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it."

Gill's Notes on the Bible

For the prophecy,.... The whole Scripture, all the prophetic writings; so the Jews call the Scriptures הנבואה, "the prophecy", 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.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For the prophecy came not in old time - Margin, or, “at any.” The Greek word ( ποτὲ pote) will bear either construction. It would be true in either sense, but the reference is particularly to the recorded prophecies in the Old Testament. What was true of them, however, is true of all prophecy, that it is not by the will of man. The word “prophecy” here is without the article, meaning prophecy in general - all that is prophetic in the Old Testament; or, in a more general sense still, all that the prophets taught, whether relating to future events or not.

By the will of man - It was not of human origin; not discovered by the human mind. The word “will,” here seems to be used in the sense of “prompting” or “suggestion;” men did not speak by their own suggestion, but as truth was brought to them by God.

But holy men of God - Pious men commissioned by God, or employed by him as his messengers to mankind.

Spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost - Compare 2 Timothy 3:16. The Greek phrase here ( ὑπὸ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου φερόμενος hupo Pneumatos Hagiou pheromenos) means “borne along, moved, influenced” by the Holy Ghost. The idea is, that in what they spake they were “carried along” by an influence from above. They moved in the case only as they were moved; they spake only as the influence of the Holy Ghost was upon them. They were no more self-moved than a vessel at sea is that is impelled by the wind; and as the progress made by the vessel is to be measured by the impulse bearing upon it, so the statements made by the prophets are to be traced to the impulse which bore upon their minds. They were not, indeed, in all respects like such a vessel, but only in regard to the fact that all they said as prophets was to be traced to the foreign influence that bore upon their minds.

There could not be, therefore, a more decided declaration than this in proof that the prophets were inspired. If the authority of Peter is admitted, his positive and explicit assertion settles the question. if this be so, also, then the point with reference to which he makes this observation is abundantly confirmed, that the prophecies demand our earnest attention, and that we should give all the heed to them which we would to a light or lamp when traveling in a dangerous way, and in a dark night. In a still more general sense, the remark here made may also be applied to the whole of the Scriptures. We are in a dark world. We see few things clearly; and all around us, on a thousand questions, there is the obscurity of midnight. By nature there is nothing to cast light on those questions, and we are perplexed, bewildered, embarrassed. The Bible is given to us to shed light on our way.

It is the only light which we have respecting the future, and though it does not give all the information which we might desire in regard to what is to come, yet it gives us sufficient light to guide us to heaven. It teaches us what it is necessary to know about God, about our duty, and about the way of salvation, in order to conduct us safely; and no one who has committed himself to its direction, has been suffered to wander finally away from the paths of salvation. It is, therefore, a duty to attend to the instructions which the Bible imparts, and to commit ourselves to its holy guidance in our journey to a better world: for soon, if we are faithful to its teachings, the light of eternity will dawn upon us, and there, amidst its cloudless splendor, we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known; then we shall “need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God shall give us light, and we shall reign forever and ever.” Compare Revelation 21:22-24; Revelation 22:5.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

For the prophecy came not in old time - That is, in any former time, by the will of man - by a man's own searching, conjecture, or calculation; but holy men of God - persons separated from the world, and devoted to God's service, spake, moved by the Holy Ghost. So far were they from inventing these prophetic declarations concerning Christ, or any future event, that they were φερομενοι, carried away, out of themselves and out of the whole region, as it were, of human knowledge and conjecture, by the Holy Ghost, who, without their knowing any thing of the matter, dictated to them what to speak, and what to write; and so far above their knowledge were the words of the prophecy, that they did not even know the intent of those words, but searched what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. See 1 Peter 1:11, 1 Peter 1:12, and the notes there.

  1. As the writer of this epistle asserts that he was on the holy mount with Christ when he was transfigured, he must be either Peter, James, or John, for there was no other person present on that occasion except Moses and Elijah, in their glorious bodies. The epistle was never attributed to James nor John; but the uninterrupted current, where its Divine inspiration was granted, gave it to Peter alone. See the preface.
  • It is not unfrequent for the writers of the New Testament to draw a comparison between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations; and the comparison generally shows that, glorious as the former was, it had no glory in comparison of the glory that excelleth. St. Peter seems to touch here on the same point; the Mosaic dispensation, with all the light of prophecy by which it was illustrated, was only as a lamp shining in a dark place. There is a propriety and delicacy in this image that are not generally noticed: a lamp in the dark gives but a very small portion of light, and only to those who are very near to it; yet it always gives light enough to make itself visible, even at a great distance; though it enlightens not the space between it and the beholder, it is still literally the lamp shining in a dark place. Such was the Mosaic dispensation; it gave a little light to the Jews, but shone not to the Gentile world, any farther than to make itself visible. This is compared with the Gospel under the emblem of daybreak, and the rising of the sun. When the sun is even eighteen degrees below the horizon daybreak commences, as the rays of light begin then to diffuse themselves in our atmosphere, by which they are reflected upon the earth. By this means a whole hemisphere is enlightened, though but in a partial degree; yet this increasing every moment, as the sun approaches the horizon, prepares for the full manifestation of his resplendent orb: so the ministry of John Baptist, and the initiatory ministry of Christ himself, prepared the primitive believers for his full manifestation on the day of pentecost and afterwards. Here the sun rose in his strength, bringing light, heat, and life to all the inhabitants of the earth. So far, then, as a lantern carried in a dark night differs from and is inferior to the beneficial effects of daybreak, and the full light and heat of a meridian sun; so far was the Mosaic dispensation, in its beneficial effects, inferior to the Christian dispensation.
  • Perhaps there is scarcely any point of view in which we can consider prophecy which is so satisfactory and conclusive as that which is here stated; that is, far from inventing the subject of their own predictions, the ancient prophets did not even know the meaning of what themselves wrote. They were carried beyond themselves by the influence of the Divine Spirit, and after ages were alone to discover the object of the prophecy; and the fulfillment was to be the absolute proof that the prediction was of God, and that it was of no private invention - no discovery made by human sagacity and wisdom, but by the especial revelation of the all-wise God. This is sufficiently evident in all the prophecies which have been already fulfilled, and will be equally so in those yet to be fulfilled; the events will point out the prophecy, and the prophecy will be seen to be fulfilled in that event.

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    New King James
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