The Bible is a living document containing sixty-six books, all of them given by special revelation from God (2 Timothy 3:16). It claims of itself,
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ASV).
By what power does it live? Not only is the Bible alive; it gives life to those who are convicted, converted and sanctified by it. Scriptures are not merely ink and paper (or a series of zeros and ones on your computer screen).
In the book of Ephesians we read, ” take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (6:17 ASV). The word of God is the instrument of the Spirit. He uses the Bible to operate on the souls and spirits of those who read the Gospel. We were once ignorant of the necessity of faith but by Bible education we acquired proper belief (Romans 10:17). Now, if the Spirit does not work on our spirit we are helplessly bereaved of the capability to acquire the understanding of truth because it is spiritually discerned. We have the wisdom and power of God presented to us in the Bible. However, without the influence of the Spirit on the heart the Bible is nothing more than information.
Read 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 with me.
“But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words. Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
We have the mind of Christ. However, that does not mean we have a monopoly on understanding the totality of what is to be learned from Scripture. We do not receive an understanding of the mind of God in total when we acquire faith and obey the Gospel. First of all, the New Testament says in Rom 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!” Just because we have the mind of Christ does not mean we entirely know all of God’s judgments and ways of operating in our environment. Secondly, the Spirit gives no additional knowledge than that which is already revealed in Scripture. To claim a supernatural knowledge beyond the Bible is vain. Third, we must constantly study to learn more and correct past misunderstandings of Scripture.
Jesus told the disciples the Comforter would come to them after His departure. This Spirit will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8b ASV). We learn in Titus 1:9 bishops who hold to the faithful word are able both to exhort in doctrine and to convict the gainsayers. In other words, sound doctrine which is the healthy teaching of biblical truth is able to do the very thing Jesus said the Comforter would do. Since it is valid to say the Spirit Comforter convicts the human spirit and since it is valid to say sound doctrine that is faithful to the word convicts the human spirit, it must be valid to say the Spirit Comforter convicts using sound doctrine that is faithful to the word. It is only by ascertaining, understanding and obeying the truth revealed in the Bible that we may acquire liberation from sin and death (Matthew 8:31-38). It is only by the operation of the Spirit, conjoined with the word, we have living oracles we can understand in order to submit to the works of grace.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:2 ASV).
Without the life-giving Bible I would have never known my sin; I would not have known repentance and baptism are commands to be obeyed for my sins to be forgiven. I would have never known the power of a new life, walking after the Spirit instead of the carnal flesh (Romans 8). I would not even know that there is the Holy Spirit, if it were not for the Gospel of salvation.
-Donny Weimar, TBC Online Instructor