"I think this is what it means"
II Peter 1: 20 -- Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [idios -- one's own] interpretation.
Introduction: This teaching is very short and concise presenting only one example of private interpretation from Godís Word. That is all that is necessary to teach this point clearly. Private interpretation is simply "guesswork" when it comes to the Bible. It is the reason for most, if not all, of the problems and divisions in all churches and denominations today. As we do here at Absolute Bible Study, and will continue to do, Biblical Research PRECEDES teaching which results in the rightly divided Word of God.
No one has the right to guess at what the Word of God means. The Bible interprets itself in one of three ways:
1) Right where it is written
2) In the context
3) Where it is used before
When you guess at the Word of God, you no longer have the rightly divided Word of God, but you do have 'private interpretation'. That is why you have so many different churches, denominations, and religions who all have a different, and most often, conflicting set of beliefs.
Take a look back at II Peter 1: 20 (above). The key to understanding this verse is the word 'private'. This is the Greek word idios† and it means 'one's own or individual'. Now when you hear someone say: "Oh, I think I know what that verse means", you should show them II Peter 1: 20 and tell them that God's Word says that they are not to guess at what any verse means. They'll get blessed and God will bless you because you spoke the Word of God to them rightly divided. Donít be afraid to speak up -- fear is not of the true God:
II Timothy 1: 7 -- For God hath not given us the spirit of fear [moral cowardice]; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
EXAMPLE: PAUL'S THORN IN THE FLESH
For many years ministers, theologians, churches, and denominations have guessed† at the meaning of Paul's thorn in the flesh.
II Corinthians 12: 7 -- And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [Emphasis added]
People have privately interpreted or guessed at the meaning of Paul's thorn in the flesh by saying it was a health problem. Some say he had a type of social disorder and the list goes on and on. If the Word of God interprets itself, then the answer is somewhere in God's Word itself. This eliminates all the guesswork and confusion and allows you to receive an ACCURATE knowledge of the truth and this is God's Will for you and every believer.
Numbers 33: 55 -- But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be† pricks in your eyes, AND THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. [Emphasis added]
PAULíS THORN IN THE FLESH WAS ĎPEOPLEí. People were sent by the god of this world to buffet or to hinder Paul in his movement of God's Word. This same thing happens very often today. Many times, it is people that hinder a believer from moving with God's Word. It could be friends, family or almost anyone. These people are thorns in the flesh. It's that simple. In this example, the Word of God interprets itself where it is 'USED BEFORE'. Most often, the Bible interprets itself right in the verse where it is written.
Now you have the rightly divided, accurate Word of God. Study this lesson and hold it forth to others.
Romans 8: 31 -- What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be †against us?
[If you would like a more involved example of the effects of private interpretation, turn to the teaching "The Four Crucified With Christ" and you will learn a startling revelation. You will also realize the importance and necessity of Biblical Research.]