Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Scripture passages that provide the basic concepts of the Holy Spirit.
[Prayer] Father, again we turn to Thee with thanksgiving for Thy word and for the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. We thank Thee that illumination comes from him. And that he takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us. And we pray that we may be open to his testimony as he speaks to us those wonderful things concerning the Lord. Guide and direct us and may we, as a result of our studies, know Thee better when our class is over.
We pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Now, tonight, we are beginning a study of “The Holy Spirit and the Word of God,” and if we have time, we will finish it. But, if we don’t have time, we will continue this particular study because it is important that we understand the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the word of God.
For Scripture, will you turn with me to 1 Corinthians, chapter 2 and let’s read together. I will read, you follow along in your text verse 6 through verse 16. 1 Corinthians 2, verse 6 through verse 16.
Now, Paul writes, it might seem from what he has just said that the Gospel did not contain any wisdom because he has just said it does not appeal to philosophy or to wisdom, but it is a preaching of Jesus Christ and him crucified, in order that the faith of its recipients should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. But then, to allay the suspicion that all one needs to understand Christianity is a first grade education, he goes on to speak about the fact that there is a wisdom of God, but it is not the kind of wisdom that you learn in the schools. It is a spiritual wisdom and it is learned through spiritual relationship to the Lord.
And, whether we have been to school or not, is not really the issue in understanding it. It comes down, ultimately, to divine revelation and spiritual illumination and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit’s teachings. This means, of course, that anyone who is responsive to the word of God is, ultimately, able to know the deep things of God. This accounts for the fact that there are many people who do not have very much of an education who know a great deal more about divine things than some who have had a great deal of education because the way we learn spiritual truth is different. Now, listen to what Paul says, beginning with verse 6.
“Howbeit [or nevertheless] we speak wisdom among them that are mature: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
[That text is often used as a text at funeral services but it really does not have to do with that, as the very next sentence shows us. For, after Paul has said that, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” As if to counter the suggestion that, well, when we get to heaven we’ll know about those things, he says in verse 10, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. And so he is not talking about something in the future, he is talking about something in our past our Christian past. “For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man.” That little article, definite article, should be there after ‘the spirit of’ there should be a “the” because he’s not talking about man in general, he’s talking about a particular man. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him?”
In other words, no one really knows how I felt last night when the score reached 38 to nothing, except me. “No man knows the things of the man except the spirit of the man, which is in him.” You cannot know it. You may look at my face and surmise some of the things that are going through my mind, but you really cannot know. Only the spirit of the man can know. So, Paul says, “Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. In other words, no man, ultimately, can know the things of God except God. And if God does not reveal himself to us, we would never know anything about God.
Now, Paul continues, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit, which is of God.” That is, we Christians. “That we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” In other words, we have the mind of God, the Spirit of God, so that we might know the things of God, which we could not know without God’s revelation. “Which things also we speak,” Paul says, “Not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Or perhaps, something like speaking in spiritual language for spiritual people. That seems to be the idea. So that Paul is saying, these wonderful things of God we are speaking and we do not speak them in words which man’s wisdom teaches but we speak them in words given by the Holy Spirit. And so, the language of the apostles is fitted to the thing that they are trying to do, preach the things of God. So, they preach the things of God in the language of God. And, that is what Paul claims for his utterance. It is Spirit directed utterance.
Verse 14, “But the natural man,” that is, the man who is not a Christian, the man who is dominated by his soul, “The soulish man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And this man does not have the Holy Spirit and, consequently, he cannot understand the things of the spirit of God. If we do not have the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand divine things. They are spiritually understood or, we could, I think, paraphrase it; they are understood by means of the Spirit.
Verse 15, “But he that is spiritual,” that is a man who is dominated by the Spirit, he that is spiritual, “judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” That is, he is potentially able to understand all, but men who do not have the Spirit do not understand him.
Have you ever noticed that about Christians? I can remember when I was not a Christian, and I can remember watching and observing the actions of Christians and it seemed very strange to me some of the things that they did and some of the things that they said. But, you see, I was not a Christian, and consequently, I was unable to judge them. I didn’t understand them. Verse 16, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” Through the Spirit, Paul means.
Now, “The Holy Spirit and the Word of God,” and let’s begin by reviewing some of the things that we have learned, very quickly. We started out, remember, speaking about the necessity of theology. We said that it was logically necessary because the human mind has an instinct for systems and that system aids in understanding and it aids in memory. And, therefore, logically, theology is necessary.
We pointed out that it was necessary Biblically because there were indications in the word of God that God has given us truth, at least certain important facets of truth in a logical and consistent way. To turn simply to the illustration of the Ten Commandments. That is a marvelously systematic exposition of the moral Law of God and it is hard to conceive of anything more systematic than the Ten Commandments and what they say about the moral character of God.
And then we pointed to Romans, chapter 6, verse 17, in which the apostle speaks about a form or a pattern of doctrine, both of which Christians were delivered. And, by that statement we pointed out that Paul believed that there was such a thing as a norm of truth and that this is the justification for theology. It should not be necessary to do this, except that in the twentieth century there have been some who have suggested that theology is really not only an unnecessary thing but a thing that diverts Christians because the Bible has not been given to us in theological manner. And, therefore, we are not justified in arranging it systematically into its various standards of teaching. But, I think that these reasons are sufficient to let us know that we must have some form of theology. And, even when we don’t have a theology that becomes, essentially, our theology.
And we went on to talk about the importance of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in a general way. We said it was important because the Holy Spirit is responsible for the Scriptures. He was involved in the creation. He was involved in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ because it was he who guided him and directed him in his earthly life. The Spirit is the one who regenerates us through the word of God. We are born of the Spirit. The Spirit is the one who educates us, for he teaches us. And, later on, we shall look at this passage in 1 Corinthians in much more detail and talk about his ministry of teaching. The Spirit also sanctifies us. That is, he’s the means of our growth and grace.
And finally, we spoke about the fact that the Holy Spirit is the power for Christian service through the gift that he gives to every Christian; some of which are utterance gifts and some of which are nonutterance gifts, but all of which are important for the building up of the body of Christ.
And, we launched into a study of the history of the doctrine of the Spirit, and we talked about the way in which the Christian Church has wrestled with the problems of the personality of the Spirit, the deity of the Spirit, the procession of the Spirit, until the time of the Reformation. And then from the time of the Reformation on, how the Church has been involved, primarily, in these doctrines that have concerned the Spirit’s ministry about which we have just spoken; his ministry in salvation, his ministry in sanctification.
And, we came on to suggest or just to say that in the last hundred years there has been a demonstration of a renewal of interest in the gifts of the Spirit in the Pentecostal movement. And we shall talk about all of these things in more detail next spring, the Lord willing.
Then we studied the Spirit in the Trinity. And we especially studied the Trinity but noted the Spirit’s relationship to the Trinity. He is the third person of the Trinity that he is truly God and yet he is a distinct person. He is the third person. He participates in all of the ‘ad extra” works of the Trinity, that is, he is involved in all that the Trinity does outside of itself. But, there are some works, the “ad intra” works of the Trinity, that each one of the members of the Trinity have exclusively. The Son alone knows the experience of generation. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and so on.
And, we spoke about the fact that they had a certain order of subsistence and operation, but that we must be careful about compartmentalizing the functions of the persons of the Trinity because they do seem to overlap. And, just to take one simple illustration, creation. It seems evident from the word of God that not only is the Father involved in the creating work and the Son, but also the Holy Spirit. They all seem to be involved in that work. But that is what we should expect because that is an “ad extra” work of the Trinity. And so while one member of the Trinity may be predominant in some activity, the others do participate and occasionally the Scriptures say that they have a part in it.
Now, in this lecture we are coming to the relationship of the Holy Spirit to Holy Scripture, and we’re beginning here, the more specialized study of the doctrine of the Spirit in the Bible, because this, I think, is where we should begin, the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Bible. Then, we’ll move on to the contents of Scripture.
This subject is of great importance. Someone has said that in the eighteenth century the Bible died. That, of course, was because of the Enlightenment. In the nineteenth century, God died. Nietzsche was responsible for the statement that, “God is dead.” And, in the twentieth century, mankind has died. If that is a fair summarizing of the general trend of things, the Bible died, God died, Mankind has died; you can see that the sequence is not accidental. For if the Scriptures do, in a sense, become insignificant, it’s not surprising that God should not have any meaning for men. And, if God has no meaning for men, then man has no compass by which to direct his life. And so, in the twentieth century, in the latter part of it at least, man seems to be little more than an animal and his thoughts betray this view. And, the philosophy of the last part of the twentieth century seems to be dominated by this; that man is hardly more than an animal, although, here and there, there are some indications of the fact that this philosophy leads, ultimately, to a despair of insignificance in life and hence, suicide becomes a very prominent part of our twentieth-century life.
One man said not long ago in a public meeting that I attended and he was a very well educated man, he said that “The incidence of suicide in the United States, now, is greatest among psychiatrists as a class of people.” [Laughter] Now, you know, that’s the way I reacted, too. I sort of smiled and chuckled. But, perhaps, if that is true, I don’t have any way of verifying it now, but he was a very intelligent man, an official at one of our universities. It may, at least, reflect the fact that often it is these men who do think about the significance of human life and, if they do not see any God, it is only natural that they should follow the philosophy of despair.
Now, tonight, as we think about this subject of the Holy Spirit and the word of God, we must begin by defining three important terms. Two years ago, we defined these terms but a lot of you were not here then and so we want to define them again.
And they are these terms, revelation, inspiration, and illumination. These are, in some ways, the three most important terms in the study of the relationship of the Bible or the word of God to men.
Let’s begin with revelation. What is revelation? Well now, you know, that to reveal means to unveil. The Greek word means, literally, that. It means to uncover, to unveil, to lift the cover off of. And so revelation refers to the unveiling of God’s truth to men, and it also refers to the resultant truth that is unveiled. For example, the Bible has come to us by revelation. That is, God has unveiled certain truths, which was unknown to us before, which we could not know. And, by the process of revelation, by the process of unveiling, we have come to an understanding of certain truths that God has been pleased to give us. But we also speak of the Bible, itself, as “the” revelation of God. It has been given to us by revelation and it is now “the” revelation of God. This is the special revelation of God. Now, of course, God has revealed himself in nature and he has revealed himself in conscience and history and government, providence, but he has preeminently revealed himself in the word of God, specially. And, in the word he addresses man as a sinner. So, we speak of this then as “the” revelation of God.
So revelation then is the unveiling of God’s truth to men and it is also the resultant truth. Revelation.
By the way, revelation is now complete, so far as the word of God is concerned. And, I would presume that the only way in which revelation continues is that we may find some new facets of God’s dealings with men in history and providence. But, we will probably not go beyond that which is already set forth for us in the word of God, so far as the principles are concerned.
Now, our second word is inspiration. What does inspiration mean? Well, inspiration refers to the means whereby God secured an infallible communication of the revelation. Let me say it again. Inspiration refers to the means whereby God secured an infallible communication of the revelation. It is, then, a mode of revelation. It refers to the recording of what God has made known to us. Revelation has to do primarily with the content of truth. Inspiration has to do with that final act, which secures its trustworthiness. So that inspiration, then, is the means whereby God has secured an infallible communication of his revelation. So, if we were thinking about revelation, we are speaking about God’s unveiling truth to us and this is his revelation. But by inspiration, by the act of inspiration, he has secured an infallible communication of this truth to men. So that by inspiration, his revelation is a perfect revelation, a revelation that he desired and that he accomplished. That is inspiration. So, inspiration then secures the trustworthiness of the revelation.
Third, illumination. Now, we all know what illumine means. That’s what these lights are doing in this room. They are illumining this room. They are giving us light, enabling us to see. So, illumination refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in granting understanding of the inspired revelation. So illumination, then, is the work of the Holy Spirit in granting us understanding or enlightenment in the inspired revelation.
So God has revealed to us his Scriptures, and he has revealed them to us by inspiration so that we have an infallible communication, a trustworthy record of his revelation, and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit who enlightens us, we are able to come to an assurance that this is the word of God and come to understand it further.
So these words are very important words. I wish, now, we could just have a little quiz, you know, about what is revelation? What is inspiration? What is illumination?
And some of the things, of course, that we would say in connection with this would be if this is the revelation of God and this is the only revelation of God addressed to man for man’s salvation, then that means we must go to this book alone for our knowledge of God in his saving activity.
Now, we do not learn about God and his saving activity to men through some incidental or some spiritual speaking of the Holy Spirit, which is not found in Scripture, because that would be so subjective that it could not be tested. But, here, in the objective revelation of God, we have the test by which we can ascertain if any idea is Scriptural. For example, suppose you have an experience and you go around talking about your experience. And I look in the Bible and I do not see any indication that that experience that you have had is a scriptural experience. Well then we have reason to doubt your experience.
Now, I know a lot of people would say, “Oh, but I had my experience.” I know, but there is no experience that is valid Christian experience, which is not “wedded” to the words of the Bible. Suppose, for example we would, and we’re going to talk about this next spring, but let’s just suppose for the sake of argument that we can indicate from the Scriptures that it is highly unlikely that the tongues movement, as constituted today, is a Scriptural movement. We’re not questioning the fact that God “could” enable someone to speak in tongues as the Bible sets it forth. It’s a dangerous thing to say, God cannot do anything, except those things, which are contrary to his moral nature. He cannot lie, and so on. But let’s just suppose that we can demonstrate that the tongues movement, as it is constituted today, is not a Scriptural movement. And then let’s just suppose that for the sake of illustration, and this has often happened to me, that you want to come to me and talk to me about your experience of speaking in tongues. And you say to me, “Dr. Johnson, I would like to tell you about my experience of speaking in tongues.”
And so I will listen to your experience because I think everyone ought to listen to your experience. And I’ve listened to a lot of experiences. And so I listen to your experience then I say to you, “Well, I don’t really think this is in accordance with the word of God.” And then you say to me, “Well, Dr. Johnson, but I have had this experience.” And I say, “But I don’t think it is in accordance with the word of God.” “But, Dr. Johnson, I have had this experience.” And I will say, “But, as far as I can tell, this is not the teaching of the word of God.” But you may insist that you have had this experience, but if it is not in accordance with Scripture, it is not a valid Christian experience.
Now, you may have had an invalid Christian experience or you may have had an experience that is valid but you are misinterpreting it. But, we cannot have any valid Christian experience which is not wedded to the words of the Bible. So every experience that we have should be traceable to the word of God. If it is not, if it contradicts the Bible in any way, it’s a lying experience. It may be something that we have been misled by or in.
So it is very important for us to realize that this is God’s completed revelation and all of our experiences are to be tested by the word of God. And, of course, I think, also, we should say we shouldn’t be just negative. All of the experiences that God desires that we have as Christians should find their motivation from the word of God. In other words, we should seek to have the experiences that the word of God authorizes and urges us to have. So it should not be just negative but it should also be positive.
I did have an experience. In fact, I’ve had several experiences just like I told you. And I still remember one particular one. And finally, as the person said to me when I said, “But this is not in accordance with Scripture. Let’s open up the Bible and look at it.” And she said to me, “Well, Dr. Johnson, I didn’t come here to argue with you about the Bible. I just came to tell you about my experience.” And I didn’t want to argue either. But I just felt that it was just a logical thing for us to do to take a look at the word of God. And finally, she said, “Well, Dr. Johnson, I don’t care what you show me from the Bible, I have already had this experience. And so, for you to tell me that it is impossible is to tell me that something is impossible that I have already experienced.” And so I was, of course, unable to argue with her and further because she was assuming the truthfulness of what she was saying and was unwilling to test it by the Scriptures.
Now, I won’t say that what she had was wrong or right, that’s not the point. But, we should be willing to test all the experiences that we have by the word of God.
Now, if then, this is the revelation of God, everything should be tested by it. Now, of course, as far as inspiration is concerned that means that this word that we have in its original languages, I do not think that we would be so ignorant, I hope we would not, as to think that our English Bible is inspired in its word. But, we rather think that the words that the apostles wrote and the prophets wrote, in their original tongue, were inspired to the extent that God has, through them, given us a verbal revelation of himself in a trustworthy form, so that the resultant revelation is verbally inspired. God has given us the very word that he wished us to have in his writing. That is inspiration. The reason that inspiration has been given has guided the office of Scripture is that this revelation might be a trustworthy revelation. Now, if the words of the Bible are not true, then how can we trust the teaching of the Bible? So, that’s the reason why we have inspiration.
And then, of course, illumination is given us to understand that which has been given to us.
Abraham Kuyper has written a very good book on the Holy Spirit and in this book, he has said this, “To believe in the Scripture is an act of life of which thou, O lifeless man art not capable, except the Quickener, the Holy Ghost, enable thee. He that caused Holy Scripture to be written is the same that must teach thee to read it. Without him, this product of divine art cannot affect thee.”
Now, that is, in fact, what we are trying to say through this that it is the Holy Spirit who has given us the revelation. He is the agent of it. He is the one who has inspired the word. And he, therefore, is the best teacher of it. That means, and I hate to say it, a better teacher than I is the Holy Spirit.
Now, there are lots of men that are better teachers than I, too, but the best teacher of all is the Holy Spirit of God, because he wrote the word. Now, that means, my dear Christian friend, that if we are to understand the Bible, a great part of our study of the Scriptures should be the reading and the studying of them under the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Now, by the way, you are not at the present moment, “not” under the teaching of the Holy Spirit because he hath given us men as gifted men to be the instrumentality of the teaching of the word of God. And so, it is the Spirit’s desire that you be taught through the medium of men and then through the direct study of the Scriptures yourself. Both of these things should be part of your experience. You should listen to Godly men teach the word of God and you should also study those Scriptures for yourself. You should not do one to the neglect of the other. It is thoroughly unscriptural and you are surely not in fellowship with God if you never come together with the saints to hear the gifted men expound the Scriptures.
Now, you may say, as much as you please, well, I just study the Scriptures by myself at home. But, as Calvin says, “That is an insanity.” A man is insane, a Christian is insane to think that he can do without the teaching of the men whom God has given. It is an insult to God because he has given us gifted men. That’s why, as far as I’m concerned, one of the things that I have always enjoyed doing is listening to other teachers of the word of God because, they have been given to us by God.
Now, let’s look at our first part of our division: The Holy Spirit and revelation and Capitol A – The author of the revelation. And, we’re going to look now at a few of the Scriptures that pertain to this topic. And so I want you to turn first to 2 Peter, chapter 1 and let’s read verses 20 and 21. 2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 20 and 21. It is the emphasis of the Scriptures that their author is the third person of the Trinity. Now, remember, we are talking about “ad extra” works of the Trinity, and so all of the members of the Trinity participate in the giving of the Bible. But, it is the Spirit who is stressed in the teaching of the Scriptures as the one who gives us the word of God, inspires it and teaches it to us. 2 Peter, chapter 1, verse 20 and verse 21. Peter writes.
“Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:”
In other words, men did not sit around and say, ‘I think I’ll write a book of the Bible. I think I’ll give some divine revelation.’ David didn’t sit by the side of the Jordan River and say, ‘I think I will strum out a few Psalms for the world that is to come.’ Or Isaiah did not say, ‘I don’t have anything to do today in the courts of the King of Judah. I think I’ll write a few prophecies. I’ll put down my experiences, in order that the generations to come may feast on my understanding of divine things.’ The prophecies did not come, at any time, by the will of man.
“But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
And so, the ultimate motivation for the movement of the men who wrote Scripture came from the Holy Ghost. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
In the Greek text those words, “by the Holy Spirit” are framed in such a way that they refer to direct agency. And, you know, I think one of the most interesting things about Believers Chapel is the way in which so many of you are now studying Greek. I think that [name indistinct] still has fourteen in his Greek class. Now, we’re going to have quite an intelligent congregation, one of these days. And, you’ll be able to preach, maybe, one of these days, preach from the Greek text in Believers’ Chapel. Won’t that be something?
Those of you that are studying Greek know that there is a Greek preposition “kata” and when used with the passive voice it refers to direct agency. So, it is rendered often in the New Testament by “by.” But then there’s another preposition, “thea” which also means “by” which refers to intermediate agency. This is immediate agency or direct agency. And so when we read, “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” this is direct agency. The Holy Spirit moved men to write the prophecy, that is, the Old Testament.
So in that text we see that it is the third person of the Trinity who is the motivating force behind Scripture. Scripture is not, then, the product of man, it is the product of God. Now, we’ll say more about that later.
Let’s turn back a few pages to the Book of Hebrews and let’s read verses 1 and 2 of the first chapter. Hebrews, chapter 1, verses 1 and 2: Here we read,
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
Now, it is evident from the reading of these verses that the writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews says that it is God who has spoken in the past age to the “fathers by the prophets.” And, it is the same God who has spoken in the present time, “by his Son.” Now, I put a little diagram on the board to represent God speaking in revelation and it is very simplified because if we were to do it completely we should not only put nature here but providence and history and conscience, the other ways in which God has spoken to man. But the two great ways in which he has spoken have been in natural revelation and in the special revelation of the word of God. And, as a result of his speaking to man through nature, we have an understanding of his power, God’s power. We look at nature and we see his power. We do not see his plan of salvation in nature. But, through the word of God we see his salvation. So, it is in Scripture that we see God’s salvation. This is addressed to man as a man, this is addressed to man as a sinner, a man in need of salvation.
Now, God is speaking through the Scriptures, and I would think that this should be through the Spirit, he has given us Scriptures, he has spoken by the Prophets in the Old Testament and we have as a result of that The Old Testament. Now this term, the prophets, is of course a term that refers to the largest section of the Old Testament. As a matter of fact, all from Samuel on or from Samuel on they were prophets. Samuel was a prophet. David was a prophet. All of the prophets that we know as authors of the prophetic books were prophets, and so the major part of the Old Testament was written by prophets. Moses also was a prophet, too. So that the prophets is a term for the Old Testament authors, generally, and as a result of that has come our Old Testament.
Now, he has spoken in the Son, who has communicated his message by the apostles to us, so that through them, and that again is speaking generally, we have the New Testament. So, God has spoken in the past through the prophets to the fathers and we have the Old Testament. And, he has spoken through his Son and the apostles and we have the New Testament. Now, that is the force of these words. As you can see, however, the specific reference to the Holy Spirit is not here. It simply says God has spoken in these last days by his Son. So turn over the page to chapter 3 and let’s read a few verses here. And, let’s read chapter 3, verse 7,
“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”
Now, if you were to take a look at this passage that he quotes here in the New Testament then you would have turned back to the Old Testament and read Psalm 95, you would discover that that does not say that it was written by God. But, in the Old Testament this 95th Psalm is the product of a man, and so it belongs to the Old Testament that he has just said in chapter 1 is the speaking of God, but here in chapter 3 he identifies the God who speaks as the Holy Ghost. So the passage of the Old Testament quoted here is referred to the Holy Ghost. And yet in chapter 1, he has said it was God who has spoken by the Prophets to the fathers. So it would seem evident from this that the author of this Epistle, because he does this more than once, thinks of the God who in ancient times spoke to the fathers by the prophets, is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
Let’s turn over to chapter 10 in verse 15 and 16. Here again, a passage from the Old Testament is quoted which is not specifically referred to the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament. It is simply the word of the Lord. But, in the New Testament, as Jeremiah 31 is quoted, we read, verse 15.
“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
Now, that is a citation from Jeremiah, chapter 31. But, in Jeremiah, chapter 31, it is referred to as the Lord, but here it is referred to the Holy Spirit. In chapter 1 of his Epistle, he says it is God who speaks in the Old Testament. But, when he refers to the Old Testament specifically, he says it is the Holy Ghost who speaks. And so it is evident from this that he thinks of the author of Scripture as being God, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the blessed Trinity.
Now, let’s turn to 2 Samuel, chapter 23, verses 1 through 3, 2 Samuel, chapter 23, verses 1 through 3.
Is anybody warm? Is anybody too warm? Nobody’s too warm except me? Okay. That’s all right. This is part of the suffering of being a teacher.
Second Samuel, chapter 23. Now, let’s read a few verses beginning with the first verse, 2 Samuel, chapter 23. For those of you who are still looking, page 382 in the old edition of the approved edition of the King James Version. 2 Samuel, chapter 23, now listen, beginning with verse 1.
“Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,” notice, he is looked at as the author of the Psalms, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
And so David, here, is speaking of the God of Israel who spoke to him says it was the Spirit of the Lord who spoke through him. And so, again, he looks at the author of revelation as the Holy Spirit.
Let’s turn to the prophecy of Micah. There we shall see, well, do you know where those books are? I’ll tell you this, if you get to Jonah, you’re warm. And I’m warm whether I’m near Jonah or not. I’m not appealing to you Dick to cut it down. That’s all right, if everybody else is happy, that’s fine. We’ve only got fifteen more minutes anyway. Micah, chapter 3. Now, let’s read a few verses beginning with the 5th verse of Micah, chapter 3. It’s page 947, for those of you who are looking for the Easter egg, still. Micah, chapter 3, verse 5.
“Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God. But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.”
And so again Micah attributes the power of utterance to the Holy Spirit, who directs him as he speaks his word to Israel.
Let’s look in the New Testament again, now, Acts, chapter 1 in verse 16. Acts, chapter 1, verse 16. Peter is speaking in the days before Pentecost when choice of the twelfth apostle to replace Judas is being made. And he is going to cite two passages from the Psalms. One, from the 69th Psalm and the other from the 109th Psalm. And in verse 16 he begins his little speech by saying:
“Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”
And so again, Peter refers to the Old Testament Scripture and says it is the Holy Ghost who spoke by the mouth of David. And so you can see here a kind of philosophy of divine revelation. It is God who speaks, God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, but it is the human instrumentality by which we have the words conveyed to us.
So when we look at the Bible, we should look at the Bible as the word of God. Have you ever noticed that the Bible refers to itself as the word of God. “Thus saith the Lord.” The word of the Lord. It never says the word of man. So there is a sense in which that would be true. Men are the instrumentalities for the conveyance of that truth to men but the truth comes ultimately from God. So it is the Holy Ghost who spoke out the mouth of David.
Now, you do have words in the Scripture like “Moses said” or “David said” and that is perfectly all right. You understand by that “Moses said” Moses is the instrumentality. He’s the human instrumentality but ultimately that word comes from God through Moses. So that seems to be the thought here.
Now, turn over to Matthew, chapter 22, verse 43. Matthew, chapter 22 in verse 43. Here the Lord Jesus is speaking and let’s read beginning with verse 41. Our Lord has already answered the Herodians. He has answered the Sadducees and now the Pharisees have been answered. They’ve stood up to take their cut; so they have been struck out by the Lord. And now, he decides he will ask them a question. And so we read in verse 41.
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.”
The Messiah is to be the son of David. Alright, He said, if the Messiah is the son of David, then how does David call him Lord? If, as you say, the Messiah is the son of David, how does David call him Lord? Now, you see, our Lord wanted to show them that David’s son was more than David’s son, he was also David’s Lord. And he wanted to point out by this that he was to be a divine messiah because David called him Lord. But notice, I skipped a word that we want to look at in this connection. “How then doth David in spirit call him Lord.” In other words, David is speaking in the power of the Spirit, so it is the Spirit who guides David in his speech. David speaks but he speaks in the Spirit. So the author of revelation is looked at as the Holy Spirit.
Now, one final passage because you would be perhaps thinking, well what about the New Testament. Because most of these passages that I have referred to have to do with the Old Testament. Well, let’s turn to John, chapter 14 in verse 16 and read a few verses here and then also in chapter 16. John, 14 now beginning with verse 16, and in the Upper Room Discourse, the Lord says.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, [that is the Holy Spirit] that he may abide with you.”
For six months or until you sin? Well, until you’ve sinned mortally. Until you commit the unforgivable sin. No. The Holy Spirit has come to abide with us forever.
That is one of the signs of the evidences and the securities of “eternal security.”
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Now, chapter 16 and let’s read beginning at verse 12. So, the Holy Spirit has been promised and he’s the spirit of truth. Now the Lord says to the Apostles:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: [In other words, he’s going to be our teacher. But, more than that:] for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
In other words, the picture of the Holy Spirit is as a mediator between the Lord and his Disciples. The Holy Spirit will listen to hear the voice of our Lord. “whatsoever he shall hear” he shall not speak from himself. He shall speak from the Lord, he shall listen, and the words that the Lord gives him, he shall convey them to you.
“Whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
And so the Holy Spirit is pictured as the third person of the Trinity who listens to the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, he conveys the words to the Lord’s disciples. But did you notice that expression: “He will show you things to come.” What are things to come?
Now, many of you know that Dr. Pentecost has written a book called, “Things to Come.” It’s a book about prophecy. Doc Pentecost, himself, knows that that expression does not refer to things that are prophetic from our standpoint. It’s much broader than that.
Things to come? What are things to come from the standpoint of the Upper Room Discourse? He will “show you things to come.” Well, of course, the “things to come” from the standpoint of the Upper Room Discourse were all of the things that are recorded for us in the Acts, in the Epistles, as well as the Book of Revelation. So things to come from the standpoint of the time in which our Lord spoke these words is the remainder of the New Testament. Well, now, in the light of that will you notice verse 26, chapter 15, I missed chapter 14. No, I meant chapter 14.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Many years ago, there was a young man who went in to Dr. Barnhouse’s church in Philadelphia and he heard a man give a message on the New Testament and particularly on the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation. He made reference to John as the author of these books. And he made reference, also, to the fact that John was an elderly man when he wrote them. In so far as we know, John may well have been well a man, perhaps, 80 years of age. Some modern scholars now think he was a little younger, maybe as early as 65 when he wrote these books. But, it has never ceased to be a little bit of a problem how he was able to tell us so dogmatically that these were the things that Jesus said, when he was such an elderly man and so many years had elapsed between the time of writing and the time of these books. And, many of our modern scholars, of course, say that this is not really to be expected to be the words of our Lord at all. It’s simply the theology of John, written many years after. And, we are not to find the very words of our Lord in the Gospel of John, particularly, but we are to find a theological interpretation matured over a number of years. And then, of course, if we as some modern scholars think of John as an old man.
Dr. Charles Howard has a friend who’s a minister over in Richardson, who told him when he told this friend of his that he was studying the Book of Revelation at Believers Chapel several years ago. He said, “I don’t understand why you’d study that book by that senile old man, John the Apostle.” And so, if we add to this the fact that John was an elderly man and his book is so different from the other Gospels, how can we be sure that he has given us the words that our Lord really spoke?
Well, notice what our Lord has said. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
And so, it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to remind the apostles of the things that Jesus taught them.
And, Mr. Earl E. Olson, who was speaking in Dr. Barnhouse’s church, said that after this message, the young college student came up to him and said, “How can we expect to believe that the Gospel of John is an accurate record of the things that Jesus said, when maybe sixty years elapsed between the writing and the time those words were spoken.” And, Mr. Olson, who is now standing as an investment banker on Wall Street and an outstanding Christian who used to preach around in many of the churches in the East, very well known Christian said, “I pointed him to this text ‘and shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’” And he said, “Well, I’ve never seen that before and that does explain things. Because, if Jesus said, he will bring all things to their remembrance, I think he could do it.”
So you see, if this is true, then we have here, in a sense, an authentication of our Gospel. And then, in chapter 16 in verse 12 “He will show you things to come.” We have a pre-authentication of the remainder of the New Testament. And so, our Lord refers the writing of the Gospels and the remainder of the New Testament to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit who gave the revelation to the prophets of the Old Testament has given truth to the apostles of the New Testament and has so guarded that truth and brought it into being by inspiration that it is the infallible word of God.
Now, I know that that’s a miracle. Of course it’s a miracle. It is the word of God. It is just as great a miracle as Jesus Christ is a miracle, for he is called the “Living Word of God.” This is the written word of God. Why should it not be just as much a miracle as our Lord’s own supernatural birth and supernatural life and supernatural resurrection is a miracle. And, I want to tell you, and I say this with all of my heart, that after twenty–five years of the study of the Scriptures in the original languages, I’ve spent an awful lot of time in it, a lot of time, I must confess, in all truthfulness time that I didn’t want to spend, but I had to because I was teaching men who expected me to for them. But after all these years of study, I am more convinced that this is the word of God than I was five years ago or ten years ago and far more than fifteen or twenty years ago. It is a word that attests itself as you study. It has within itself the testimony that it is the word of God.
And, Calvin was right when he spoke about the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. And the man who reads and studies the word will have that testimony borne to him that this is the word of God. It is intuitive. It is just like we know that outside is black and inside is light. For it is just the same kind of knowledge that we have that we know that if we take a lemon and we cut it open and we eat it, it will be sour. And if we take sugar and put it in our mouth then it is sweet. These are intuitive types of understanding that we have. And, the Spirit brings that to us as we study his word.
Now, I’ve been going slow this time, because I think this is all important that we get this straight in our minds. We’re going to have to pick it up here next time with the means of revelation. Isn’t that interesting? We just covered Roman I and Capitol A tonight.
Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for Thy word. And we know that because it is Thy word, it is an infallible and inerrant word. We acknowledge, Lord, that there are many things that we do not understand. There are some difficulties that we have not solved. But we pray that Thou will give us enlightenment through the Spirit and as the days go by enable us to understand the things that we need to understand in order that we might have, as the apostle has said, equipped for every good work.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.