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Friday, June 27, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 3

"God's Full Intention Governs Everything That He Does" (continued)

3. The Interpreter of the Bible is the Holy Spirit

Now we come to number three: the interpreter of the Bible is the Holy Spirit. I have said that Jesus is the interpretation of the Bible. I am saying now that the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of the Bible.  We are familiar with the words in the Letter to the Corinthians, but let us just look at them again now. The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter two and verse thirteen: "Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words."

Now I do not know if you have marginal references in your Bible, but the more correct translation of those words is this? "interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men." Let us read the whole passage again in that way:

"Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men."

That scripture is a very important statement, and it definitely affirms the principle that we are now setting forth - the interpreter of the Bible is the Holy Spirit. First of all then, the Bible is the Holy Spirit's Book. The Bible is not firstly man's Book, it is not our Book, we have not got the Book. We have got certain writings which are called Scripture, but in truth we do not possess the Book.

You remember the case in Acts of the Ethiopian eunuch. When Philip came near to his chariot, he heard the Ethiopian reading. He was reading the Book at Isaiah 53. Philip said to him, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  and he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" Here is a man who had the Book in a certain sense, but in a real and profitable sense he did not possess the Book. We can have the Book as a volume, and yet we may not possess the Book, because the Bible is the Holy Spirit's Book first. The mind of man and the Mind of the Spirit are two altogether different things!

Do you know that there are many, many Christians who do not recognize that ! There are many Bible teachers who do not recognize that! And this is the cause of very much confusion, and the reason for very much spiritual smallness and weakness. I think this may lie at the bottom of most of the controversy. The Bible is a closed book to all but spiritual men and women. This is the principle that the Lord Jesus set before Nicodemus: You must be born from above before you can see what is above.

Our measure of understanding of the Bible will be just in accordance with the measure of our spiritual life. This is why the Lord takes us through experiences in order to bring us to understanding. The measure of our death to the natural mind will be the measure of our understanding of the things of the Spirit. Please remember that in these days which are before us - something has got to happen in us before we understand the Scripture. We cannot understand the Word of God by just deciding that we are going to have a training course, that we are going to have some classes for Bible teaching. No, that is not the way in which we come to understanding of the Word of God. We shall only understand according to the measure of our spiritual life. That is the third principle of Biblical interpretation. Now we come to the fourth.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4 - "The Final Mention")

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