Part One of A Living Book Series
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
A man must have God’s Word as the basis of his ministry. He also must possess the Holy Spirit to interpret that Word. He must have God’s revelation and God’s Spirit concerning God’s Word. Without that revelation and that Spirit, he is not a minister of God’s word.
When God created man out of the dust of the earth, man was not alive. Man was not made a living soul until God breathed His living breath into him. Congruently, the Bible would have been just another book, without God breathing His life upon every Word. Therefore, the Bible is a living book - written by men, yet God’s breath is upon every word (2 Peter 1:21), which is the meaning of “all Scripture” being God’s inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16).
What makes the Bible so unique is its dual character. On the one hand, there is the outward, physical shell. On the other hand, there is the spiritual, God-breathed, dimension. As far as its outward shell is concerned, it was written from man’s memory and can be retained in man’s memory. It issued from man’s mouth and is heard by man’s ears. It is written in human language and understood by human understanding. The truths contained in the Bible can be retained in man’s memory, understood by man’s mind, and passed on from one man to another - when one only deals with its outward shell. This is the physical aspect of the Bible. Doctrines and creeds can be included in this category, because they are elements that can be grasped, understood and comprehended by man’s intellect.
But, there’s another dimension. The Lord Jesus said, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). This dimension involves Spirit and Life. In this dimension, God speaks His word within man. It is God’s speaking and God’s breath - which is not something a clever man can understand or a man with a good memory can grasp. It is not something that an intelligent man can fathom. This requires another Being. Physical ears, eyes, and mind cannot see nor understand this dimension of God’s word, because it is related, completely, to the Holy Spirit; it is God’s speaking and God’s breath.
So we understand the Bible, not by its physical dimension, but rather, by its spiritual dimension. Those who only touch its physical dimension are not ministers of God’s word. If the Bible didn’t have its physical side, there would be no mistake - a man would either be a minister of God’s word or not.
But the Bible does have its physical element. In this aspect, the Bible can readily be understood and accepted by man. This is where the danger lies. A man can preach the physical, human elements in the Bible by the power of his own faculties, and presume that he is a minister of the word. He can present all of its human elements and presume that he is serving the Church. He can presume that the truths he preaches are scriptural truths and that they conform orthodox into pure faith. But he deceives himself because his teachings have nothing to do with the spiritual aspect of the Bible; they are from another realm. We may think that because we understand Greek, we understand God’s word. But many men who understand Greek, know very little of God’s word. We may understand Hebrew, but not necessarily understand the Old Testament, because, the Bible contains words which are beyond Hebrew and Greek. It is one thing to understand a language, it is another thing to know God’s word. It is a common misconception that the more we study God’s word, the more we can be a minister of His word. The matter is not if we study the Bible, but how we study it. God has to speak His word into us before it can become God’s word to us. We must know God’s voice. Only God can speak God’s word. We must know God’s voice, and God has to speak to us before we can become ministers of God’s word.
In preaching the gospel, we do not preach the basis of the gospel, we preach the gospel, itself. The Bible is the basis of the gospel - it is the basis of God’s speaking. However, we cannot say that this is what God is speaking to us today. God has spoken through His Bible. Yes, indeed! Without a doubt, God spoke those words at one time. But, God must breathe His breath into those words before they become living to us today. We still need God’s revelation, God’s breath, today. The Bible is not just God speaking in the past, it is His speaking today. His past speaking was His word, but today He must breathe His breath, afresh, once again upon His word to bring life.
We must realize that there are two realms to God’s word. One is the written Word: doctrines, knowledge, teachings, prophecies, and truths. But this is only the visible realm. We may read that Abraham believed God and God reckoned him righteous. But God’s justification of those who believe, may be nothing more than an outward, physical teaching to us. Anyone with a strong physical intellect can preach justification by faith, and believe he is preaching God’s word, but actually, he may merely be preaching the superficial aspect of the word.
The Bible is the ministry of God’s word by His servants in the past. Romans was Paul’s past ministry. At one time God spoke - breathed upon - those words, to and through Paul. But, today, He must breath upon those words or we may only be touching the surface, the physical, outward side of Romans. It is not enough for God to breathe His breath just once. He has to breathe once again before we can touch His word and live.
(next - Part 2: Inspiration & Revelation)
A Living Book (Part One: “God-breathed”)
Published: 22 August 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 4 August 2011 in FAITH Column of The County Journal.
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