Other Men’s Brains

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. – 2 Peter 1:19-20 (Emphasis mine)

The above passages can refer to the words of the Prophet of God not being of his own invention, or that the interpretation of Scripture is not just a matter of one’s own imaginings. These words are also not saying individuals aren’t to read and study the Bible for themselves but instead rely on an special ‘Church’ body to tell them what it means. We are all exhorted to ‘study to show ourselves approved’ (2 Tim 2:15)

I clearly remember a time when we frequently attended small group Bible studies in which we all sat around the table or living room, read scripture and then shared what each of us thought the passages meant, as if each one of us had great personal insight. Rather than carefully study the Bible for what it actually was saying in the context in which it was written and the context of the Bible itself, we would congratulate ourselves for whatever the little voices in our heads was telling us.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading and studying the Bible for ourselves. When we engage in personal Bible study however, we need to follow certain rules of proper interpretation, the first three of which are context, context, CONTEXT.

At the same time, we can also avail ourselves of what other men have thought and written over time. It’s not that the minds of other men are always spot on about everything, but they can be quite useful as we strive to know God more fully.

Food for thought on a Saturday morning. A certain preacher once said:

“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.” – Charles Spurgeon

So study on my friends, knowing the Holy Spirit is our ultimate teacher, and that ‘old dead men’ (tribute to my friend Ed) also have a lot to say to us!

4 responses to “Other Men’s Brains

  1. Dan,

    This passage “interpretation” is another Catholic invention. This passage has nothing to do with interpreting scripture. Nothing at all.

    First of all, most people using that passage will DELETE the word “prophesy”, and substitute the deleted word with the word, “scripture”.

    Second, if you put the whole chapter into context, you will see that this passage is discussing that all prophesy in the scriptures is about Jesus.

    None of it is about you or me (PRIVATE), but about Jesus.

    Again, Dan, the Catholic “CHURCH FATHERS” have duped you once again! You people have too much Catholic baggage.

    And, since this is a Catholic invention of the interpretation of that passage, certainly John Calvin didn’t listen, otherwise, he’d still be Catholic, allowing the Catholic church to still dictate to him the interpretation of scripture.

    Keep trying Dan.


    • Ed,

      I believe that I said that 2 Peter 1:20 was NOT to be used to say that we needed to have a ‘church’ organization tell what scripture means. You state that it has nothing to do with our interpreting the Bible (I think – you can be a bit confusing, except to yourself I suppose). While it is true that it primarily speaks to the words of the Prophet of Scripture not being the Prophet’s own invention. At the same time, there is a practical application in our NOT interpreting Scripture out of our own imaginations. The practical application was the point I was making, in case it escaped you.

      I could find in NO Bible version in which the word “prophesy” was substituted with the word “Scripture” nor have I met anyone in all of my years that made such a substitution, so I have no idea who the “most people” you speak of are.

      Yes, the entire chapter concerns Jesus, and it also concerns the audience of believers to who it is written (and important to us). Not sure where you were going by saying that it isn’t about us at all. That is simply not true.

      I am also still wondering how it is that you think your beliefs are somehow uninfluenced and pure in nature. Do you have a perfect mind? You seem to think so, especially since you have told me you don’t need any ‘Greek’ lessons or commentaries to help you along. At the same time, you have tried to use Greek meanings of words to prove a point now and again What’s up with that? Don’t answer, please.

      So I stand with Spurgeon on principle that ‘He who does not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own.” And so do you, although on a much more limited basis. When other bloggers complain about the same things you do, you use their thoughts to bolster your own.

      Have a good weekend, Ed.


  2. Reblogged this on Wings of the Wind and commented:
    Here is some great advise for all of us to remember. If you are not following Dan’s instructions, which only mirror God’s Word, you should read this. He includes a quote from my favorite preacher of all time. Go C.H.S.!!!


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