This post is a continuation of a series of posts about what I am learning from a set of mini-courses I am reading through on OnlineBibleCollege.com. See the previous post here.
The Bible’s Authorship
The Bible is more than just a regular book because it’s author is more than just a regular person. Although the books in the Bible have human authors (over 40 different ones throughout), behind each of these was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament writers believed this about the Old Testament scriptures – in Acts 4:25, Peter prays and says of God “You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.'” And in Acts 28:25, Paul speaks and says “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet…” And Paul and Peter both taught that all scripture was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” And Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” So, as the OBC puts it, “many different kinds of men wrote the Bible…yet each of them was ‘carried along by the Holy Spirit’ so that what he wrote could be described as ‘God-breathed.'”
The Relationship Between the Spirit and the Word
The OBC writes something that I found very interesting and which I feel in my spirit to be very true. Although the Holy Spirit had a hand in the writing of the the Bible, it’s involvement doesn’t stop there. They list several examples (and I quote):
- The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of truth” (John 15:26) and God’s Word is called “the word of truth” (James 1:18)
- The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2) and God’s Word is called “the word of life” (Philippians 2:16)
- The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29) and God’s Word is called “the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32)
The OBC goes on to say that, although the Word and the Spirit go together like feet and leather (my analogy, not theirs), there is often a disparity in what many Christians focus on.
Some Christians are Spirit-oriented – they emphasize the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the moving of the Spirit in their lives. Others are Word-oriented – they put an emphasis on the teaching of God’s Word and the establishing of strong biblical foundations. Both the Spirit and the Word are needed. If you have God’s Spirit without his Word, your life will lack boundaries. You will be like a river without banks. On the other hand, without the Holy Spirit’s work in your life, your life will have no power. You will be like river banks without a river flowing between. Both the Holy Spirit and his Word have equally vital roles to play in bringing the Christian toward the goal of maturity in Christ. The Spirit of God provides the impetus; the Word of God provides the direction. — OBC, A Passion for God’s Word, Lesson 1
Wisdom and Revelation
The OBC writes that it is totally possible for a person to read the entire Bible and not get any of the spiritual meaning found in it. It takes more than just reading, but revelation of God’s truths by the Holy Spirit, to grasp this meaning. In Ephesians 1:17-18, Paul says “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” This spirit of revelation is exactly what it says after that – the ‘enlightening’ of the eyes of our hearts.
Beyond just revealing the meaning behind the words, the Holy Spirit also helps us to live out and apply what we learn from God’s word. This practical application of revelation to our lives is called wisdom. James 3:13 says “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
“Revelation opens our eyes to God’s thoughts; wisdom directs our feet in God’s ways.” — OBC, A Passion for God’s Word, Lesson 1