“A Living, Organic Whole”
Part Three of A Living Book Series
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
Our spoken words cannot be independent from those that are found in the Bible. All of God’s subsequent Words are based on His original Words. All of the Words of the New Testament are based on the Words of the Old Testament. Hence, our speaking today must be based on the Words of the Old & New Testaments. God’s Word is one living and organic whole.
But our spoken words must not only have God’s original Word as its foundation; God Himself must open and explain that Word to us as well. Therefore, not everyone who bases his speaking on God’s Word is an true expounder of His Word. Neither can a person claim to be a preacher of God’s Word simply because he has equipped himself with that Word. Many disciples were well-versed in the Old Testament, but that didn’t condition them to write the New Testament. In the same way, just because a man is well versed in the Old & New Testaments, ordained & licensed, doesn’t mean he is a teacher of the Word today. The Bible must be the foundation, but God must also furnish the explanation. We cannot trust our minds, memory, or diligence in speaking the Word. We cannot take God’s previously spoken Word as it is, and make it God’s speaking today.
A man who memorizes all 150 psalms may not be able to expound the Psalms. A man cannot interpret Isaiah simply because he’s memorized it, or explain Daniel’s prophecies just because he’s spent fifty years studying it. Those who do not base their speaking on God’s previously spoken Word cannot be His spokesmen, but those who do, are not necessarily His mouthpieces either. Those who speak without the basis of God’s written Word are immediately disqualified. But this doesn’t mean that those who speak with such a basis are accepted either. There were many scribes and Pharisees who were very familiar with the Old Testament, but none were His spokesmen. Just because someone has studied the Bible very thoroughly, doesn’t mean that he’s qualified to teach the Bible. God’s true spokesmen are those who are familiar with God’s written Word and those to whom God has explained and opened up that Word. God’s spokesmen must first possess a proper foundation, but he also must have the proper interpretation.
How does God interpret His word? There are at least three ways. Through prophecies, history, and synthesis. And all three require revelation by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit took full control of Matthew when he related the story of the Prophecy of the Lord Jesus. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (Matthew 1:23). This was Matthew’s quotation of Isaiah 7:14. While Matthew was writing his Gospel, the Holy Spirit enlightened him, showing him that Isaiah referred to the birth of the Lord Jesus. That’s revelation. “Emmanuel” - God is with us. Prior to that day, God was not with us in quite the same way. Now God is with us through the Lord’s appearance on earth. This was revealed to Matthew by the Holy Spirit. We, as Matthew, must be familiar with God’s past speaking, but we also must have the interpretation, the revelation of the Holy Spirit to His past speaking. Only the Holy Spirit can ascertain the meaning of the Word for us today.
Paul speaks of the History of Adam and Eve. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived; but the woman, having been deceived, was in transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13,14). Satan didn’t deceive Adam directly, his deception was aimed at Eve. He tempted Eve first, and then Eve tempted Adam. Eve fell as a result of Satan’s deception, and then Adam fell as a result of Eve’s temptation. In the Old Testament we only have the record of this fact. But in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit opened up this fact to reveal to us that a woman should not be the head in the church - she should not dominate over the man. A pattern is shown, and a basic principle is established. Whenever the woman assumes any headship, sin is brought into the world. This is part of the History of Adam and Eve. Yet, when this is opened up, it becomes the basis of the Word today.
On the day of Pentecost Peter utilized Synthesis and spoke from three passages: Joel 2, Psalm 16, and Psalm 110. His ministry of the word at Pentecost consisted of three parts of the Scripture. The Holy Spirit combined three passages together and reveled the meaning behind them. With a Synthesis interpretation, we receive New light from the Word today.
We do not receive isolated, unrelated, revelation all at once. Rather, we build upon God’s past speaking. This was the way with Paul, Peter, and et alii. This is the Lord’s way, today. There were men before Paul, and before us there are the apostles, and God’s written Word. Today’s revelation must match our predecessors. Today’s light and Word must match that of our forbearers. Paul needed the Spirit’s revelation before he could preach or write the Word. If we want to be spokesmen of the Word today, we also need that same revelation of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word is handed down from generation to generation. The second person sees more than the first, the third person more than the second, ad infinitum. As time moves on, more is revealed. God’s Word continues to grow. In order to see more, we have to see what our predecessors saw. If God is merciful and gracious to us and opens our eyes to what He has spoken in the past, we will have a basis upon which to serve as true spokesmen of His Word today.
A Living Book (Part Three: “A Living, Organic Whole”)
Published 23 August 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published 18 August 2011 in the FAITH Column of The County Journal.
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