Description of the Holy Bible – Part 27
The Bible teaches that both in its inception and its interpretation, the Holy Spirit plays a major role. In understanding the Spirit’s role in the interpretation of the Bible, it is helpful to distinguish between obtaining a correct mental grasp of what the author meant by the text and becoming convinced of the significance or truthfulness of what he wrote. Whereas all people with reasonable intelligence can understand the meaning of Scripture (some non-Christians write excellent commentaries), apart from the conviction of the Holy Spirit the teachings of the Bible are essentially “foolishness” (1 Cor. 2:14).
It is through the convicting work of the spirit that the believer knows these teachings are in reality the word of God. Readers are encouraged to approach the Bible “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thes 2:13). The same Holy Spirit that originated the Scriptures must also make them clear to the readers, for the truths they contain “are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). It is through the work of the Spirit of life that the Word of life accomplishes its purposes in human hearts and minds.
The Word of God: An overview
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Is 55:10-11)
The Nature of the Word of God. The phrase “the word of God” (also “the word of the LORD,” or even simply “the Word”) refers to a variety of situations in the Bible.
• It obviously refers first of all to anything that God has spoken directly. When God spoke to Adam and Eve (e.g., Gen 2:16-17; Gen 3:9-19), what He said was the word of God. Similarly, God spoke His word to Abraham (e.g., Gen 12:1-3), Isaac (e.g., Gen 26:1-5), Jacob (e.g., Gen 28:13-15) and Moses (e.g., Ex 3-4). God also spoke to the entire nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, when He recited the Ten Commandments (see Ex 20:1-19); the words they heard were His words.
• In addition to direct speech, God also spoke through the prophets. When they addressed God’s people, they usually prefaced their statements with “Thus saith the LORD,” “Hear the word of the LORD” or “The word of the LORD came unto me.” Thus, when the Israelites were listening to the words of a prophet, they were listening to the word of God.
• The same is true for what the apostles said in the NT. Even though they did not preface their comments with “Thus saith the LORD,” what they spoke and proclaimed was indeed the word of God. For example, Paul’s sermon to the people of Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:16-41) created such a stir that “the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God” (Acts 13:44). Paul himself said to The Thessalonians that “when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thes 2:13; cf. Acts 8:25).
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