2 Peter 1:18-21
(Simple Alternation Combined with Introversion.)
The Apostolic Witness (vv, 16-18).
b | D d | 1-16. What it was NOT.
"Not cunningly devised (or self-originated) Myths."
e | 1-16. What it WAS. A vision of the power and coining of Christ (Comp. Matt. xvi. 28, and
E | 1-17, 18. How it CAME. Voice came from the excellent glory. Voice came from heaven. "Heard" and " made known."
The Prophetic Word (vv. 19-21).
D | e |
1-19. What it IS. A light to be well-heeded till the Day of Christ's coming shall dawn;
and He, the Day Star, shall arise.
d | 1- 20. What it is
NOT. Not of its own reveal went. Not self-originating.
E | 1-21. How it CAME, Not brought by the Will of Man; but brought by pneuma hagion, or "power from on
high." "Beard," and "spoken."
From this we see the obvious contrast standing out very clearly between the self-originated myths that came by "the will of man"; and the Divine and heavenly Visions and revelations sent and received, and seen and heard from God in heaven.
This revelation is further seen to concern Christ's Coming. In "e" it is the Vision of it, as fore-shown in the Transfiguration: in "e" it is the grand reality of it, of which the Transfiguration was only a typical Vision. The former was believed on the Apostolic Witness: the latter was to be believed on the testimony of
the Prophetic Word.
Further, the great subject, as to How the Apostolic Witness and the Prophetic Word came is strongly emphasized by the repetition of the same verb (phero), to bring or
bear. We have it twice in each of the two corresponding members (E and E), showing us how the human
Witness and the Divine Word were both. brought to us from heaven; and did not originate from any man or men on earth, as did the cunningly-devised myths.
It is this fact which stamps the Apostasy of the present day. Those who profess to be in the Apostolic succession turn away their ears from the prophetic Word; and, while they declare that many of its records are myths, are themselves "turned unto" the myths` of man's devising.
We may add, in order to complete this passage, the following Expansions, verbatim
The Expansion of D (2 Peter 1: 19, 20).
The Prophetic Word.
D f | And we have more sure, the prophetic word (written prophecy);
| to which ye do well to take heed,
h | as to a light shining in a dark place,
h | until the day dawn, and the day star arise,
g | in your hearts;
f | this knowing first, that no prophecy of scripture came of its own disclosure.
Here, we observe, that the subject of " f " and " f " is the Prophecy. In "f " it is spoken of as a whole; in " f " in part, a particular prophecy. In " g " and "g " we have Exhortation as to our duty with regard to it. In
"g" we are exhorted to take heed to it; and in "g" how we are to take
heed -viz., in our hearts. Lastly, in "h" and "h" we have the Prophetic Word again. In "h"
its character (a light in a dark place); and in "h" its duration and object (until the day dawn, etc.). Then in verse 21 we have the reason given.
The Expansion of E (2 Peter 1: 21).
E i | For not by the will of man
k | was prophecy, at any time, borne in,
k | but by the Holy Spirit, borne along,
i | spake the holy men of God.
Here again we have in "i" and "i" man's relation to the Prophetic Word ; in "i" negative, in "i" positive. While in "k" and "k" we have its origin; in "k',' negative, and in "k" positive.
The above two Structures may be now explained by the following Key
THE KEY To D AND E.
The Prophetic Word. (2 Peter 1: 19, 20.)
D f | The prophetic word as a whole.
g | Exhortation (general) to take heed to it.
h | Its character: a light in a dark place.
h | Its duration: until the Day dawn.
g | Exhortation (particular): to take heed to it in our hearts.
f | Prophecy in particular.
The Reason. (2 Peter 1: 21.)
E i | Man's part in it.
k | How it did not come.
k | How it did come
i | Man's part in it. } Positive.
Thus the scope, or great subject, of 2 Peter 1: 16-21 is gathered from its
structure; and it is seen to be, not what Scripture means, but whence it
came: and it is concerned not with the interpretation of Scripture, but with its
origin, as already shown above (pp. 186-188).
(b) "The spirits in prison " (1 Pet. iii. 18-22). To understand this expression the Structure is necessary to give us the scope of 1 Pet. iii.
Verse 19 does not stand by itself, but forms part of a larger member; and that member has its own Scope, or subject, which will give us the meaning of the
expression -- "The in-prison spirits."
This member is not to be arbitrarily delimited, but must be found from
The Structure of 1 Peter as a whole.
(Combined Introversion, and Extended Alternation.)
A | 1: 1, 2. Epistolary.
B | 1: 3-12. Introduction. Giving out the great subject. "The End." Glory, after suffering for a season (oligon).
C | a | 1:13-2:10. General Exhortations in view of "the End" 1: 13). Grace to be brought at Revelation of Jesus Christ.
b | 2:11-4:6. Particular Exhortations as to "sufferings" to be followed by "glory"
(2: 20; 3:17-22).
C | a | 4:7-19. General Exhortations in view of " the End." Joy to be brought at Revelation of Christ's glory.
b | 5:1-9. Particular Exhortations as to "sufferings" to be followed by "glory"
B | 5:10, 11. Conclusion. Embodying the great subject. "The End." Glory after suffering awhile
A | 5:12-14. Epistolary.
From this structure it is perfectly clear that the Scope and subject of the whole Epistle is only one. This Scope is given in the words of
" It is better to suffer for well doing than for evil doing."
This truth is enforced and illustrated and emphasized again and again throughout the Epistle.
The verses which follow (3:17-4: 6)' are added as the reason, which is given in proof of this statement of the Scope of this Epistle. The word
"FOR" introduces it, and thus tells us that we have arrived at the very kernel of the whole Epistle. Not some passage which we
are to explain as best we can and as though we wished it were not there: but which we are to embrace as all-important, and as though it were indispensable, as it is,
to the subject of the Epistle.
But here again we must go back; for though we see that these verses (3:17-4: 6) occur in the member " b," yet we see also that they form only
a part of that member.
It is necessary for us, therefore, to go back, and see whether it is really an integral part, and whether the break in the whole member
(2:11-4:6) really does occur at 3: 17.
Expansion of "b" (1 Peter 2:11-4: 8).
b D | 2:11. Exhortations (Personal).
E | 2:12. Calumnies: and how to refute them.
F | 2:13-3:7. Submission to man for the Lord's sake: " The will of God" (2:15). Reason: " For "
(2:21), and Example of Christ in His
D | 3:8-15. Exhortations (General).
E | 3:18.
Calumnies: and how to refute them.
F | 3:17-4: 8. Submission to man for the Lord's sake: " The will of God" (3:17). Reason: "For"
(3:18), and Example of Christ in His
The Correspondence of these members, each to each, is exceedingly exact and minute. From this we see that the last member F does actually commence with
3:17, the "For" corresponding exactly with the "For" in ch. 2: 21: each "for" introducing the example of Christ.
*[ 1 we cannot break off at end of ch.3 for ch.4. begins "Forasmuch then;" which shows that it follows in close continuation of ch. Ill.]*
Now we are, at length, in a position to examine the further delimitation of this member F
(3:17-4: 6) which is as follows:-
The Reasons for Submission to the Will of God
(1 Peter iii. 17-iv. 6).
(Simple Alternation Combined with Introversion.)
F | G | c | 3:17. Reason for our suffering here, in the flesh,
"if the will of God be so."
d | 3:18-. Reason for Christ's suffering here as to His flesh, "put to death:'
H | 3:18-22. Christ's glory which followed. (Resurrection, Triumph, Glory, and Dominion).
d | 4:1-. Reason for Christ's suffering here, in the flesh.
c | 1-5. Our suffering here in the flesh, at the "will of man," by "the will of God."
H | 4: 6. Reason for our glory which shall follow. Though judged in the flesh ac-cording to the "will of man," we shall
live again in resurrection according to the "will of God" (Compare v. 19).
Here we see the beautiful contrast between our suffering and Christ's; our glory and Christ's. This leads us up, naturally, to Christ's example, which follows verses 18-22, with which we are now concerned.
We see, from the above Structure, that these particular verses are located in the member "H," the subject of which is the Example of Christ in His glorification, corresponding with His example in
ch. 2: 21, which was Christ in His suffering.
In H (ch.3:18-22) the two examples are combined in order to connect the sufferings with the glory; and to show that Christ's glorious triumph which followed was the reason why it is better to suffer here, and now. (Compare
ch. 3:18, with ch. 4:8.)
This is the triumph referred to in Col. 2:14, 15, where, having " spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
The Triumph of Christ (H, 1 Peter iii. 18-22).
(Introversion and Extended Alternation.)
H | J | e | 3:18. The Resurrection of Christ.
f | 19. Result. (poreutheis), having gone (to
Tartarus, 2 Pet. ii. 4) He made proclamation of His Triumph to the in-prison spirits
g | 20 The insubjection of spirits in the days of Noah (Gen.
6. 2 Pet. 2: 4. Jude 8).
K | -20. Noah saved then. Ark the type. Material water the means.
K | -21-. We saved now. Baptism the Antitype. Spiritual water the means.
J | e | -21.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
f | 22-. Result. having gone into heaven, is on the right hand of God.
g | 22. The subjection of angels, authorities, and powers.
Here we come to the direct proof that verses 18-22 have for their subject the "glory"
of Christ, which followed on His "sufferings," forming the reason why "it is better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing."
We see also the importance of the Structure in giving us the interpretation : for the "spirits " in verse 20 are shown to be " angels " in verse 22 : the
insubjection of the former being set in contrast with the latter.
Thus we have another example of our second great principle that the scope, or subject, of a passage is to be sought for in its Structure.
We have also some evidence as to the Divine origin of Scripture. For, these Structures are altogether beyond the power of "unlearned and ignorant men" such as Peter was (Acts iv. 18), and are the best possible proofs we can have of Divine Inspiration.