The Holy Spirit And The Sacred Scriptures
Paul, writing to Timothy, said: "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus; all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:14-17)."
A careful analysis of this Scripture brings out some great thoughts: Timothy was exhorted to continue in the things he had learned — knowing from whom — Divinely authorized and endowed teacher — he had learned them.
He had known the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and these Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation.
The Scriptures Are Of Divine Origin.
They are profitable for teaching.
They are profitable for reproof. They are profitable for correction.
They are profitable for instruction in righteousness.
By them the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
No theory of the Holy Spirit's work in conversion or sanctification that eliminates or modifies in any sense the Holy Scriptures, can possibly be true.
The Scriptures are Divine in their origin: "Knowing this, first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation; for prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20, 21)." This refers to the Old Testament. Of the origin of the gospel John testifies: "And he that saw it bear record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe (Jno. 19:35)." Again: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ ... (Jno. 20: 30, 31)." Peter testifies to the same effect: "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul; of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow; unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven: which things the angels desire to look into (I Pet. 1:9-12)."
Again: . . being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever; for all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you (I Pet. 1:22-25)."
Hear Paul: "which is not another. but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ; but though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:7, 8)." Hear Jesus in His final message to the church and to the world: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of this prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev. 22:18, 19)."
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of God, and no man can change or destroy except to his eternal detriment.
God spoke to and through Moses: "And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth; and he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream; my servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house; with him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye .not afraid to speak against my servant Moses (Num. 12: 5-8)? He spoke through David, and his description fits the work of all of God's prophets. ''The Spirit of the Lord spake to me, and his word was in my tongue (II Sam. 23:2). We have in the Old Testament the writings of sixteen prophets, namely: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah. Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and many others who left no records, and some whose names are not given. He spoke through Jesus the Christ: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him (Jno. 3:34)." He spoke through the apostles: "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you (Matt. 10:20). "Again: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4)." He spoke through those on whom apostolic hands had been laid. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them: and they spake with tongues, and prophesied (Acts 19:6).''
If God spoke through Moses, through the prophets, through Jesus, through the apostles and their associates, the Spirit is the Author of the Scriptures and they must therefore command our most profound respect; and we must conclude that through them the Holy Spirit is still speaking.
It is amazing how consistent these Scriptures are: begin with Genesis and follow with care to the end and there is always something ahead. The testimony — internal — as to their authenticity and veracity is cumulative; it piles up from the beginning, from generation to generation, from century to century, to millennium. Moses endorsed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God's servants and parties to His covenant (Exo. 32: 11-13). Joshua endorsed Moses (Josh. 7, 8: 8: 30-32). Josiah, in his reformation undertook to break up witch craft and idolatry: "That he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord (II Kings 23:24).'' In the days of Manasseh the Lord said He would afflict the people: "So that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses (II Chron. 33:8).'' Again, in Ezra's time: "This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given (Ezra 7:6)." When Nehemiah and his associates taught the people, it is said: ''All the people wept, when they heard the words of the law (Neh. 8:9); It is recorded of the children of Ephraim (Israel) that: "They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law (Psa. 78:10)." Isaiah endorsed the law (Moses): ''Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah (Isa1. 10)." Jeremiah endorsed the law (Moses) and accounted for their troubles on the grounds that they had not kept it (Jer. 44:23). Again, Ezekiel endorsed the law (Ezek. 7:26). Hosea endorsed the law (Hos. 4:6). Habakkuk endorsed the law (Hab. 1:4). Zephaniah endorsed the law (Zep. 3:4). Haggai endorsed the law (Hag. 2:11). Zechariah endorsed the law (Zech. 7:12). Malachi endorsed the law (Mal. 4:4).
Jesus endorses both Moses and the law: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (Jno. 1: 17). "Again: -Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law (Jno. 7:19)?'' Stephen endorsed the law: -Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it (Acts 7:53).'' Paul endorsed Moses and the law: ''And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:39)."
There is no possible plan by which Moses and his writings — Scriptures — can be eliminated and save the remainder; all must stand together.
Jesus endorsed the Scriptures as a whole by endorsing some of the characters whose names would be unknown in history if it were not for the Scriptures. He named Abel (Matt. 23:35); he named Noah (Matt. 24:37); he named Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matt. 8:11); he named Moses (Jno. 1:17); he named Elijah, and Elisha (Luke 4:25-27); he named Jonah (Matt. 12:39, 40); he named Daniel (Matt. 24:15). Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Noah, Elisha, Jonah, Daniel! - they almost constitute the framework of all the Scriptures.
Jesus endorses the Scriptures as a whole without hesitation, without qualification, without embarrassment: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jno. 5:39)." Again: "If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken (Jno. 10:35)." Again, He said to some of His opposers "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God (Matt. 22:29)." Again, after His resurrection He met certain disciples and upbraided them because of their unbelief: "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets,"-mark you, all the prophets!- "he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things pertaining to himself (Luke 24:27). Expounding the Scriptures and all the prophets is certainly high endorsement. Finally to the eleven, and this also after He arose from the dead: "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must the fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms, concerning me ... (Luke 24: 44-46)." With one stroke Moses is endorsed, the prophets are endorsed, the psalms (David) are endorsed, the Scriptures as a whole are endorsed, and He reaches a triumphant and glorious climax in: "It is written!"
Jesus endorses the Scriptures, without qualification by quoting from them. Hear him: (Psa. 118:22; Mark 12:10; Prov. 18:4; Jno. 7:38).
Jesus endorsed the prophets repeatedly as a whole, without any explanation, or without naming them. Hear Him (Matt. 5:12; 5:17; 7:12; 13:17; 22:40; 23:31; 23:37; Luke 16: 16; Luke 24:25).
Jude endorsed Enoch (Jude 1:14). Jesus endorses both Moses and the prophets by using the words of Abraham to the rich man in torment (Luke 16:29).
Jesus endorses the book of Genesis by quoting: "Have ye not read... (Gen. 2:23, 24; Matt. 19: 4, 5)?
Jesus endorses the prophets by quoting from them approvingly and applying their predictions to Himself. He endorses the prophet Moses (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Deut. 6:16: Matt. 4:7; Deut 6:13; Matt. 4:10). Jesus endorsed David (Ps. 110:1; Matt. 22:41-45) (Ps. 69:9; Jno. 2:17). Jesus endorses Isaiah the prophet (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:16-22) (Ise. 65: 7; Mk. 11:17).
The apostles endorse the Old Testament by naming many of its prominent characters, and rehearsing the most important events in their lives as recorded. Paul refers to Adam and Eve and their temptation, sin, and death: "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses (Rom. 5:14)." (I Cor. 15:22; II Cor. 11:3; Gen. 3:1-13; I Tim. 2:13, 14. Paul mentions Abel and enrolls him among God's ancient servants (Gen. 4:1-4; Heb. 11:4). John names Cain and condemns his wickedness (Gen. 4:4-10; I Jno. 3:12). Paul endorses Enoch and gives him a high commendation (Gen. 5:21-24; Heb. 11:5). Paul mentions Noah and makes his life immortal in the roll of the saints (Heb. 11:7). Peter agrees to this (II Pet. 2:5). Paul commends to us as real men, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:1-3; Heb. 11:8, 9). Paul refers to Abraham, and names Sarah, and emphasizes some of the great events in their lives recorded in the book of Genesis (Gen. 11:30; Rom. 4:19). Jesus endorses Lot's wife as a historical character (Luke 17:32), and Peter does the same for Lot, referring to his deliverance from destruction (Gen. 19:1-11; II Pet. 2:7, 8). Paul endorses Joseph and the great departing of Israel from Egypt (Gen. 5:26; Heb. 11:22). Jude names Korah, who led an insurrection against the priesthood, and in the same connection he condemns the sins of Cain (Gen. 4:1-9) and Balaam (Num., 23rd and 24th chapters; Jude 1:1 I). Stephen, on whom apostolic hands were laid, names Joshua, and endorses the history of the invasion and occupancy of Canaan under his leadership: he also endorses David (Acts 7:45). Peter endorsed Samuel as a prophet of God (Acts 3:24). Paul endorsed as realities of history, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel, and David (Josh. 6:17; Heb. 11:31, 32). Paul endorsed Saul the son of Kish as Israel's first king (Acts 13:22). James endorsed Elijah as a prophet of God and the great work he did in influencing the rain by his prayer to God (Jas. 5:17, 18). James endorsed Job (Jas. 3:11).
The apostles endorse the great promises recorded in Genesis, originally made to Abraham and renewed to him on Mount Moriah and confirmed by his oath; subsequently renewed to Isaac and still later to Jacob (Gen. 12:1-3; 22:15-18; 26: 1-5: 28:10-131. Hear Peter: "Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham. And in thy seed shall all kindreds of the earth be blessed (Acts 3:25)." Hear Paul: "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed (Gal. 3:8; Gal. 3:16; Heb. 6: 13, 14).
The leading facts of Old Testament history are mentioned in the New Testament. Hence, if an Old Testament author's name is unknown and his work is approved by the Lord Jesus and His apostles, it must stand; their endorsement is equivalent to the signing of their names to it!
The apostles endorse the Scriptures — Old Testament — as a whole by mentioning them frequently and by quoting from them. Peter testifieth: "Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, which was a guide to them that took Jesus (Acts 1:16)." Hear Luke: The place of the Scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth; in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth . . . and Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus (Isa. 53:7, 8; Acts 8:32, 33, 35)." Hear Paul: "For what saith the Scripture, Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3)?" Again, "Wot ye not what the Scripture . . .11 Kings 9:10, 14; Rom. 11:2, 3)." Again, "Nevertheless what saith the Scriptures? Cast . . . (Gen. 21:9-11; Gal. 4:30)." Again, "For the Scriptures saith ... (Ex. 9:16; Rom. 9: 17)." Again: "For the Scripture saith . .. (Isa. 28:16; Rom. 10:11). "Again: "For the Scripture saith (Deut. 25:4; I Tim. 5:18)." Again: "The Scripture hath concluded . . . (Gal. 3:22)." James witnesseth: "Do you think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusted to envy (Jas. 4:3)?" Peter adds his testimony: "Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded (Isa. 28:16; I Pet. 2:5)." Again: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture . . . (II Pet. 1:20)."
I lay emphasis here on the fact that the word scriptures is in common use in connection with apostolic work and writings, an indication of their endorsement of what had previously been written in the name of God. Hear Luke, respecting Paul's custom: -And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures--on nothing else could he base his argument! — "opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ (Acts 17:2, 3)." Unquestionably Paul based his argument as to the Christ and His work on the ancient records — and we may well follow in his steps. Again, it is said of the Bereans, to whom Paul preached the word of God: "These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures- — Luke makes no apology for this — "daily, whether these things were so (Acts 17:10, Apollos was not an apostle, but he has the endorsement of Luke who has the endorsement of Paul. This is what he did: "For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the Scriptures — Moses and the prophets, no one else — that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:24-28)." Again, let Paul speak: ''For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Rom. 15:4)." Again: -Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures," and "he arose again the third day according to the Scriptures (I Cor. 15:3, 4)."
The apostles and their friends and co-laborers endorsed the prophets singly, as a whole, and by quoting their words. By prophets, I mean Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Matthew quotes approvingly Isaiah's prediction concerning Emmanuel: "Now all this was done . . . (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:22, 23)." One of Peter's first official acts after receiving the keys of the kingdom was to endorse Joel as a prophet of God (Acts 2:14-20). Paul, in the same connection, endorses the Judges and the prophet Samuel (Acts 13:20). Following close on the endorsement of Joel the prophet Peter officially recognized David the prophet (Acts 2:25). Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit, declared that God had done what He said (Luke 1:67-70).- Philip laid this tribute at the feet of Jesus: -We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph (Jno. 1:44, 45).- Peter endorses -all the prophets" without naming one of them (Acts 3:12-18).- Peter also endorses Moses the prophet (Acts 3:22). Hear Paul's defiant and triumphant note: -But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call Heresy, so worship I the Lord of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets — the Scriptures — (Acts 24:14)." Again: -Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come (Acts 26:22).- Again, before the king: -King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets (Acts 26:27)? Again, "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets (Rom, 3:211 Again: "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets," — Moses, Samuel, David, etc. -according to the commandment of the everlasting God" — the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) "made known to all nations for the obedience of faith (Rom. 16:25, 26)." Again: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles--Simon Peter, Andrew, James, ... these men spake "as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4)---and prophets" — Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah ...; these men -spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20, 21) — Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom all the buildings fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:19-21)." Again, and finally: "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times 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; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high (Heb. 1:1-3)."
Back of the Scriptures stand the apostles; back of the apostles stands Jesus; back of Jesus stands Moses and the prophets; back of the whole remedial scheme stands Jehovah, I AM, God, the Almighty, the Self-existent, the Eternal Spirit! No wonder Paul declares that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:16, 17)!"
The Holy Spirit spoke to and through Moses as an agent, but as the message was of the Spirit and not of Moses, The Spirit continues to speak through the message after the agent has passed away.
The Holy Spirit spoke to and through Joshua as an agent, but as the message was of the Spirit and not of Joshua, the Spirit continues to speak through the message after the agent has passed away.
The Holy Spirit spoke through Samuel, David, Isaiah . . . — the Spirit was in them — it was His message, and when the prophets passed away the message was the same, and thus He — the Spirit — continued to speak.
The Holy Spirit spoke through Jesus (Jno. 3:34) — His unlimited resources were subject to the demands of Jesus — He spoke God's message anew, made the prophets live again, and when He passed to His glory, having given voice to the Spirit's great message, the Spirit just spoke on, and will so do to the end.
The Holy Spirit spoke through the apostles, and finished God's revelation; the apostles died and passed from earth, but their Message, His Message, is still sounding!
The Holy Scriptures — the Old and the New Testaments — the prophets and apostles, are of God; the various sections are independent, dependent, inter-dependent; their unity is their impregnability. In them we find Jehovah, God, our Father — there He speaks to us, and He does not speak to us elsewhere. In them we find Jesus, our Saviour, Lord, Redeemer. He speaks, and lo! it is morning to the soul, and He does not speak elsewhere. In them we find the Holy Spirit; He speaks to us and does not speak elsewhere. If you would hear the voice of God, of Jesus, of the Spirit, open your Bible and read; open your soul and listen! Jesus is the door to the understanding of all revelation. Let us enter by Him, with praise and thanksgivings. God is a spirit (Jno. 4:32) eternal; His resources, infinite, are in His word. Whoever therefore opens one revealed thought of God, recorded in the Scriptures, to the human mind, makes it possible for the Holy Spirit to work; yea — and I would make all lands hear it — makes it impossible for the Holy Spirit not to work. Beyond all discussion this argument justifies this conclusion: Every theory of the Holy Spirit's work in conversion and Christian growth that eliminates the thoughts of God expressed in human language and recorded in human language in the Scriptures, and that eliminates the human understanding from conversion and Christian growth, is a delusion and a snare!
(Editor's Note: This Excellent Article Is A Condensation Of A Chapter In The Book, "The Holy Spirit And The Human Mind," Published In 1903, The Condensation Was Done By Robert H. Farish The Article Is In Tract Form, And May Be Had From The Gospel Guardian At 15 Each, Or $10.00 Per 100.)