None of us is all-knowing, only God is, but one thing is sure; Every person who is truly born of God will not come up with a warped interpretation because the Holy Spirit would lead the person to truth (John 16:13). This is a guarantee. Any assertion coming from a professing Christian that contradicts what Jesus Himself revealed is to be rejected. If Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will lead the believer into ALL truth, any person who asserts that the Word of God is not sufficient to defend truth does not have the Holy Spirit or is simply oblivious of the verses. I’m hoping it is the latter because the former is making the outrageous claim that man’s wisdom supplants the whole counsel of God contained in Genesis to Revelation.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
There are also those who say, “There are people who believe they are led by the Spirit who are clearly out there.” True. People in cults and even the largest professing Christian denomination claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, but Scripture also tells us to “test the spirits” in 1 John 4:1-6. It doesn’t matter how much people claim they are led, their fruit will always manifest. A denomination that claims to live by the Spirit but is deeply entrenched in pagan idolatry and condoning unrighteous lifestyles clearly defy Scripture and cults defy Scripture by asserting aspects of Jesus that clearly does not line up to what is revealed. The key words are “It IS written…” and not “It is believed to have been written somewhere.”
BY THEIR FRUITS YOU WILL KNOW THEM. – We have heard this countless times, but the only thing that muddies absolute truth are people without the Spirit who claim to have the Holy Spirit in which Scripture reminds us that those who truly have the Spirit are outnumbered (Matthew 7:13-14)! As vigilant Christians, we are admonished in Romans 16:17-18 to “avoid” those who push doctrines contrary to what the Bible teaches. The same admonition is also found in Jude 23, “but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” which stresses on how we must make sure to keep ourselves from being sucked back into sinful fleshly pursuits.
Some question about how the Bible came about, to which if the person raising the question happens to claim to be Christian, I’d ask, “Do you believe in God’s sovereignty?” There were other manuscripts that eventually did not make it in the Bible. This would be attributed to divine intervention which ties to sovereignty. You could choose to address the question but it doesn’t remove the fact that the question about how the Bible came about instantly raises another question on whether or not the person truly believes in God’s sovereignty.
If you believe the Bible to be Absolute Truth, does it still remain absolute when people think they can come up with different interpretations when it comes to the things that are in it? If different interpretations are indeed to be accepted, does that not automatically convert the absolute to relative? We all know relative truth is NOT the truth.
Does the Bible contain absolute truth? If you claim to be a Christian and your answer is not a resounding yes, it’s time to reassess what you truly believe.
“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
How the Bible came about: God inspired prophets and apostles to speak his Word and to write his Word. The result is a book that is 100% God’s Word and also 100% of human origin, much like Jesus is 100% God and 100% human. Because the Bible is of human origin, we can understand it and can study it with the tools that come from studying any literature. Because it is of divine origin, it is entirely trustworthy and true.
How did the early Christians know which books were inspired? They had to be of apostolic origin. (Mark and Luke’s writings were accepted because of their association with Peter and with Paul, respectively.) They had to agree with what was being taught in the churches. The writings had to be known throughout the Christian world, not only in one or two congregations. We can trust the human process that assembled the Bible, confident that it was guided by God, but also seeing how careful the early Christians were not to be led astray. J.
“Because the Bible is of human origin, we can understand it and can study it with the tools that come from studying any literature.”
– On the surface yes, the historical accounts and some various principles that are clear in itself. As far as the metaphor and spiritual principles, a couple of verses to back this up that it HAS TO BE divinely revealed would be what Jesus said in Matthew 13:10-11, “Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do You speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” Its meaning is clearly veiled from those who had calloused hearts, those who didn’t accept His message.
Another verse which also gives clarity that they have to be revealed by the Holy Spirit is in 1 Corinthians 2:14 which states, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
An example of this would be Bart Ehrman. One can be a student of The Word and end up rejecting it because plainly, he does not have the Spirit, otherwise, he would not have become an apostate.
In addition, I would like to challenge this statement, “The result is a book that is 100% God’s Word and also 100% of human origin” by asking the question, Is prophecy then 100% of human origin?
The vocabulary, the grammar, the imagery of the prophets–all human. The message revealed by that vocabulary, grammar, and imagery–all backed by God, trustworthy, and true.
As to the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, that knowledge is knowing the King. When we consider the identify of Jesus (Son of God taking on human form to save sinners) and look for that in the parables, we find their true meaning. Take the Good Samaritan. He is Jesus–helping the victims of sin and evil which God’s good commandments cannot rescue. Jesus does all that is necessary to save us. Of course, we should “go and do likewise”–we should imitate Jesus–but knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven comes from knowing Jesus. And knowing Jesus comes from the work of the Holy Spirit–no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit..
And yes, people can understand the Bible and still reject it–even demons believe that God is real, and they shudder. But the same Holy Spirit who guided the apostles and the prophets also guides us today to see Jesus in their message, recognize his saving work, and trust in him unto salvation. J.
I’m only addressing what I disagree on but first, I will answer the question I asked you, “Is prophecy then 100% of human origin?” According to 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” There is no disputing that the origin is divine and people are merely conduits.
“The vocabulary, the grammar, the imagery of the prophets–all human”
– Indeed, but to claim that Scripture is “100 of human origin” clearly contradicts the verses above. Since Scripture contains historical accounts, principles and prophecy, most of what is mentioned IS NOT of human origin. One, there would be no humanity without the Creator, 2, the moral principles contained in the book are of divine origin, and 3, prophecy is of divine origin.
“but knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven comes from knowing Jesus.”
– Yes, from knowing Jesus in Spirit and in truth. Knowing of Jesus and following Jesus are two distinct things. As a matter of fact, I just recently used on yesterday’s post the very verse of Jesus’ strong disavowal of those who claim to know Him but really don’t in Matthew 7:21. Many worship through lip service only which can also be found in Matthew 15:8-9, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. 9They worship Me in vain; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men.” Most in the RCC are in danger of being welcomed with this disavowal, but I don’t doubt there are those who are truly born anew but are still entangled in that church and my very hope is to reach such people.
We may partly be able to grasp the parallels like the one you gave on the Samaritan and Jesus shows us the examples to follow. After all, He still HAD TO literally explain the true meaning to His disciples prior to His ascension. There is no true illumination of The Word apart from the Holy Spirit. To say that we could grasp it on our own unaided would actually contradict what Jesus Himself said regarding the revelation of the spiritual significance of i.e. the washing of feet found in John 13 until the time that the Holy Spirit permanently indwelt the apostles, and later for those who are truly born of the Spirit. The same can be said with everything in Scripture. However, the message that there is no Savior apart from Jesus Christ is something that needs no interpretation and what the Holy Spirit does is convict the person of their need for Jesus.
“And yes, people can understand the Bible and still reject it–even demons believe that God is real, and they shudder. But the same Holy Spirit who guided the apostles and the prophets also guides us today to see Jesus in their message, recognize his saving work, and trust in him unto salvation. J.”
People cannot understand the Bible unless they respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Let us look at why Jesus spoke in parables.
In Matthew 13:15 it says, “15 For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back— and I would heal them.”
A person with a stubborn heart will not get the meaning of Scripture. It completely depends on one’s heart condition. When the heart is willing to open up to Christ then He opens up their understanding to know the truth which will set them free.
I believe that you have misapplied “And yes, people can understand the Bible and still reject it–even demons believe that God is real” That is not what the context is saying. In the context of James 2:19 it says, “19 You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.”
It is not referring that the demons know the Bible but that they understand that there is only one God not many. So, your application does not fit with the passage in James 2.
To be clear, no one can understand Scripture unless the Holy Spirit tells them what it means. That is one of the reasons you have many cults.
We are essentially agreeing with each other. God’s Word is made plain by the same Holy Spirit who inspired it. Jesus is known through the work of the Holy Spirit. But I will continue to say that God spoke through the prophets and apostles–as conduits, if you will–without robbing them of their human personalities and perceptions. So prophecy does not have its origin in the human will, as Peter wrote, yet it is communication in human languages. I think the miracle of inspiration is greater, not less, when we see the inerrant Word of God communicated through the mouths and the hands of ordinary men.
Look at it this way. God chose a tax collector, a fisherman, a physician, and an experienced pastor to write the four Gospels. (This assumes the church historians are correct when they say that Mark wrote the preaching of the Gospel he heard from Peter.) Each writer described, correctly and without error, the ministry of Jesus, but each had his own way of describing it. Matthew, a numbers guy, is fairly stark in his descriptions, while Mark’s descriptions of the same events add more vivid detail. (Compare Matthew 17:2 to Mark 9:2-3 to see what I mean.) We get a fuller picture of Jesus from the four Gospels because of the human differences between the four writers. J.
“God spoke through the prophets and apostles–as conduits, if you will–without robbing them of their human personalities and perceptions.”
– I agree. He continues to use people in their uniqueness today with different personalities, backgrounds and upbringing to reach people (though stripped of the titles of prophets and apostles).
The most important thing is that we are able to hear and continually obey Him.
Have a pleasant weekend!
Thank you; you do the same. J.