Tag Archives: scripture

When The Spirit of Truth Comes…

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13 – Scripture of the Day (February 20, 2014)

This passage is commonly cited by many as proof that the Holy Spirit miraculously guides and speaks to them.  However, as with just about everything in the Bible, both immediate and overall context must be considered to properly understand and interpret what Jesus is saying here.

Contextually, he is talking to his apostles on the night before he died.  Today’s scripture is part of the fourth and final time in this conversation that Jesus mentions sending the Holy Spirit to them at some later point (John 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15).  After his resurrection and right before his ascension, he would allude to the Spirit coming upon them again (Acts 1:6-8), something which occurred on the day of Pentecost ten days later (Acts 2:1ff).

Thus, the immediate context of today’s passage of Scripture about the Holy Spirit guiding into all truth applies solely to the apostles of Christ, and not to us today.  That is not to say that the Spirit gives us no direction or guidance at all today.  In fact, the verse indirectly alludes to the fact that he does, when you take into account the overall context:

  1. The Spirit would guide the apostles into all the truth (John 16:13a).  God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).
  2. The apostles and prophets who authored the books of the New Testament were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:19-21; Eph. 3:3-5).
  3. The Scriptures are said to be inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16).  The Spirit, who inspired the authors of the New Testament, did not speak on his own authority, but spoke whatever he hears (John 16:13b).  That would be what he heard from Jesus, who in turn heard it from God the Father (John 16:14-15).
  4. Thus, when we read God’s Word, we are reading a message from the Holy Spirit.  When we heed God’s Word, that’s how the Spirit guides us (cf. Gal. 5:16-25).

No Prophecy of Scripture Comes From Someone’s Own Interpretation…

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, 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. 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.

2 Peter 1:19-21 – Scripture of the Weekend (February 8-9, 2014)

“The prophetic word.”  I like how Peter put that.  When we think of terms like “prophecy” or “prophet,” we usually think of someone miraculously foretelling the future.  And while we do read of prophets foretelling of things to come (cf. Is. 53), we also read of prophets referring to the past (as Moses did when he wrote about the creation events of Genesis) and some referring to what they observed while they were presently living (as Amos did – Amos 1:1ff).  Therefore, a “prophet” who gives “prophecies” is certainly more than someone foretelling the future…and rightfully so, because the term prophecy literally refers to a message spoken on behalf of God and a prophet is literally one who speaks on behalf of God.

Thus, it is proper that Peter talks about “the prophetic word” and prophecies of Scripture.”   When we read the Bible, we are reading a message from God.  When we hear a sermon that has its basis completely on the entirety of Scripture concerning a topic, we are hearing a message from God (1 Thess. 2:13).  The writers of Scripture were inspired or carried along by the Holy Spirit of God.  In other words, God told them what to write.  No wonder we call the Bible the Word of God!

Even verse 20, a verse commonly used by Catholics to tell people, “You can’t figure the Bible out on your own!  You need the Catholic Church to tell you what it means!”, is in reality promoting this idea that Scripture originated from God.  (By the way, the Bereans sure wouldn’t have fit in with that Catholic mindset – Acts 17:11).  The word “interpretation” literally means “a loosening, unloosing” and only metaphorically refers to “interpretation.”  Therefore, what Peter is literally saying is that no prophecy of Scripture was ever loosened or unloosed by some man (v. 20), because no prophecy was ever produced by man’s will; rather, the writers of Scripture spoke from God due to being inspired by his Spirit (v. 21).

Basically, when you read Scripture you are not reading a message that came from man.  You are reading a message from God.  May we all recognize that and respond with the proper reverence (Heb. 12:28) and obedience (John 14:15).

All Scripture Is Breathed Out By God…

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – Scripture of the Day (February 5, 2014)

Let’s break this passage down:

“All Scripture” – that would be from Genesis to Revelation.  Even though the laws of the Old Testament were taken out of the way at the cross (Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 2:13-15), the Old Testament must still be studied for there is much God wants Christians to learn from it and be encouraged and strengthened by it (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:1-11).  And of course, the New Testament is the covenant under which we are, and contains the laws of Christ which we must obey (Heb. 8:7-13; Rom. 6:17-18; Gal. 6:2; John 14:15; Heb. 5:8-9).

“is breathed out by God” – inspired by God.  The Holy Spirit of God inspired the writers (2 Pet. 2:19-21; Eph. 3:3-5; cf. 1 Cor. 14:37).  So when you read your Bible, you’re reading God’s Word.  A message from God.  Not necessarily from Paul, Peter, James, John, etc., but ultimately from God.  And when your preacher preaches God’s Word in its entirety on a particular matter, you’re not hearing a message from him.  You’re hearing a message from God (1 Thess. 2:13).

“and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” – Want to be taught correctly?  All you need is the Bible.  Need to reprove or correct someone?  It better be because they violated Scripture, and not your opinion.  Want to be trained on how to be righteous in the sight of God?  All you need is the Bible.  No wonder God wants us to study it every single day (Ps. 1:1-3).

“that the man of God” – It’s easy to call yourself a Christian, but only followers of the Bible and the Bible alone are true men and women of God.

“may be competent”artios in the Greek, meaning perfect or complete.  Want to be cleansed from your sins so you may be found perfect in God’s sight?  Want to be truly complete as far as your Creator is concerned?  Want God to consider you competent?  Follow the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone.

“equipped for every good work” – On Judgment Day Christ will condemn many who were involved in a lot of good works in his name because in reality they did not obey his Father (Matt. 7:21-23), so that leads me to question whether those good works were in fact good works in the sight of God.  A sobering thought.  Car washes and bake sales to raise money for the church sound like a good work, but you don’t read in Scripture that the church raised money in those ways (1 Cor. 16:1-2)…so are they really good works?  Having a choir backed by a rock band sing to the congregation during worship sounds like a great thing to be involved with, but you don’t read of choirs or instrumental accompaniment in New Testament worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)…so is it really a good work?  Do you want to know how to do any and all works that God would consider good?  Read and follow your Bibles.